Environmental


We all know about climate change. The use of products that produce dangerous gases and pollute the air we breathe, resulting in warmer temperatures. But do many of you know how you can do just a little bit which will make a big impact to the climate and environment around you?

Turning off unwanted electrical items like chargers and computers, walking or cycling instead of using the car, planting trees and growing your own vegetables. All these things can be done quite easily, but will make a big change to the way in which we all live.

Below is a small list of things one can do to live a greener life but there are many more things one can do.

  • When making coffee or tea use enough water for the number of cups you need.
  • Make sure the pan you are using is the right size for the job and the ring you are going to use on the cooker.
  • How about making your own meals instead of shop brought rubbish? Making your own meals means you know exactly what goes into them. If you use your own home-grown veg, fruit, herbs and other edible items, you will have a great tasting, healthy meal.
  • Always open the windows around the house to let in fresh air and dispel any old, stale air which can be bad for you. Even in winter a few minutes makes a difference.
  • Never leave the TV, satellite receiver or any other electrical device on standby. Leaving it on standby means you are still using electricity to keep it on standby and raising your electricity bills.
  • Planting trees is an excellent way of helping the planet deal with pollutants which we pump into the air like carbon monoxide and turn it into oxygen which we need.
  • Never buy bottled water. Yes it is an invaluable source in emergency situations where the local supply has been cut off or contaminated, BUT there are ways for these companies to distribute water without using plastic. Cardboard cartons and bottles is one way in which they could distribute water needed in times of disaster. Plus the transporting and making is incredibly expensive and bad for the environment.
  • Growing your own food like vegetables, fruit and herbs are another great way for you to live greener lives and conserve the environment. Not using pesticides will greatly improve the air and the soil in which you have planted your vegetables and they will taste delicious too.
  • Conserving rain water is a great way of living a green life and there are many ways in which one could utilise the collected water. First off is the garden. Water the plants, trees, and all those vegetables with rain water which is free from chlorine, fluorides and other chemicals water companies pump into our drinking water. Some plants like Venus Fly Traps should only be watered with rain water as the chemicals in drinking water will rot and kill it outright. Other good ways for using rainwater is the toilet and if you can have the correct filters in place, the shower.
  • Composting. When you are preparing your vegetables and fruit why not have a small compost bin in the kitchen with a lid on. When it’s full take it outside and put that waste into a compost bin. This will rot down over time thanks to the beneficial insects and worms, leaving you with beautiful compost which you can use in your garden. The plants will thank you for it too.
  • Try to recycle as much as you can. From paper to plastic, metals and even batteries can be recycled. No longer working electrical items like fridges and freezers can all be recycled. Furniture you no longer require and old clothes can be recycled to. Just give the local charity shop a ring or go visit them and see if they will collect you’re unwanted items. I save some containers to use in and around the house and in the garden. Old yoghurt pots can be great emergency plant pots, so can tin cans. Plastic egg cartons can be used as seed trays. If they have a lid then you have a mini propagator. Just think about it, the possibilities for recycling are endless.
  • When washing clothes use the coldest setting possible and try to hang them up to dry instead of using a tumble dryer. Bad for the environment and the pocket.
  • Other more common things to do to live a greener life include leaving the car at home instead replacing it with either walking, cycling or getting public transport to work and wherever else you may be going. If you need to use the car make sure it is as environmentally friendly as possible and always make sure the tyres are at the correct pressure. Turn off lights when not needed and even turning down the thermometer by 1 degree makes a difference.

As one can see these changes are nothing major, most of them you will already know and, hopefully already implement. But they will make a big difference to the environment and climate, especially if everyone practices these simple procedures. It’s not hard or even rocket science, just common sense.

As the sun is shining I decided to go and spend some time down by the river. It’s a quiet

spot with a path running for about 600 metres alongside the river Tame. I have been there a few times and love it as it’s peaceful and tranquil, gives me time to reflect, come up with new ideas and just chill out. Back in September 2010 The Telegraph newspaper asked the question: “Is The English Countryside The Most Beautiful?” I have to say yes to that. Nearby where I live is the oldest National Park on earth, The Peak District National Park. We have some of this planets most beautiful areas of natural beauty topped up by stunning wildlife and people prepared to keep our green and pleasant land just that.

I sat on one of the benches and looked around, nothing and no one around, only the birds singing their warning calls to each other from their favourite trees. A warning to others to stay off their territory, but to us mere humans a song of beauty, tranquillity and peaceful with its melodramatic mesmerising tones.

I walked down to the river which is only thirty or so feet away. The murky brown

waters of the River Tame ran silently and quickly, following a path cut by countless hundreds of years of water coming down from the nearby hills. Its currents sweep away debris as it follows the route cleansing the water, banksides and ground over which it travels. Two plants are busying themselves along the bankside and now displaying their yellows, purples and candy pinks. I took some pictures which you can see, they looked stunning with the river as a backdrop.

I looked down at the water’s edge. Last time I was here frogs were close to the bank probably looking for nesting spots as now they have been replaced by their offspring. The tadpoles hugged the shoreline of the river in water only just deep enough for them to swim in. They know by instinct if they venture into deeper darker water they are at risk of being swept away in the silent but deadly current. Another problem awaits them in the murky depths, predators lie in wait in every nook and cranny waiting for them and other prey should they venture into their territory.

I walked back and sat on the bench, it seems I am not the only one to use this bench for on the floor are discarded parts of a needle, wrapping and a spoon. I presume that whoever was here had been using heroin or something, what do I know? I know nothing about drugs and their effects, I have enough trouble taking prescribed drugs. Still it’s a sad sign of the times when a place of such beauty is used for something sinister.

Not to be deterred I sit down look and listen to the events around me. No sign of human’s anywhere and that pleases me, I prefer to be alone in situations like this as I can relax and really enjoy the splendours our countryside affords us. I watch as a bee busies itself going from flower to flower to collect the life giving pollen that will sustain them and their colonies. 1 in particular catches my eyes as it’s only small but clumsily flies from flower to flower with huge golden orange sacks of pollen attached to its thin legs. It lands on a flower and descends inside. The weight of the bee is too much for the flower and it starts to bend downwards towards the earth as if trying to discard the overweight bee the only way it can. As the bee clumsily flies off, probably back to the hive, the flower shoots back upwards and once again faces the sun where it can bask in the glorious warm rays.

In the air above me house martins fly majestically through the air playing catch me if you can with one another. Their rasping calls shatter the silent still air around me forcing me to look skywards. I watch is awe and glee as these wonderful birds perform their magnificent, majestic movements with ease. They are such wonderful fliers and I can watch them all day, but, sadly it’s time for me to go. I walk past a beautiful wild rose and snap a few

more pictures before hobbling off back home. My hip is killing me as I walk the few hundred metres home, but it can’t wipe away the wonderful hour I have just had by the side of

the River Tame.

If anyone has read my blog you will probably have guessed I love to walk, especially out

in the countryside, by the river or canal, in fact anywhere where I can be “one with nature.” Yesterday I had to go into the next town so I went along the canal, something I always do. Getting on the canal in Ashton and then walking up onto the first lock I noticed something was missing; the water.

Usually the canal is full as there are many narrow boats travelling up and down the canal which is great especially now the Huddersfield Narrow Canal has been re-dug out and pretty much follows it’s original path through Tameside and beyond.

I stood there for a few minutes surveying the scene before me with amusement wondering what had happened then noticing that what little water was left was quickly travelling through a sluice gate. I figured that someone had gone through the lock with their canal boat and had forgotten to close the gate properly, but what do I know? I have never been on a narrow boat before so don’t know the etiquette and fineries for narrow boating.

I  travelled on along the now well drained canal taking some pictures, looking for any dead fish and wondering who could have done this? The water level did rise a little in the middle part of the canal which is also the deepest so canal boats can travel safely up and down the canal, but it was moving quite fast and figured it wouldn’t be there for much longer if the second lock was locked stopping any water travelling into the lock in question.

 

I got to the 2nd lock and walked up the slope and looked. This part of the canal was ok and full so carried on, figuring someone had forgotten to close it off properly. Speaking to some fishermen fishing the second lock 1 said that some unscrupulous people around the area had drained the lock, netted it and taken all the fish out, probably to eat or “sell

      them on.”

Well that did make me think as I saw only 3 small fish in the remaining water, and I know there are some nice fish in that part of the canal including pike, carp and skimmer bream.

Did that happen I wonder or has someone forgotten to close the gates? Maybe that stretch of the canal has been drained for a reason, like removal of the rubbish one could see scattered everywhere in the canal? I hope to find out but I won’t hold my breath. If it is some callous people then I hope they get some strange disease or something. Destroying the countryside, rivers, lakes and canals in my eyes is something we should look upon with disdain and punish the people in question. Again I won’t hold my breath.

 

As the weather was warm last weekend I decided to go for a small walk down to the local river. There’s a small path that runs alongside the River Tame for about 600 metres so I thought I would go there and look around. The sun was blazing and although not

summer yet it certainly felt like it as the birds, singing their summer songs were flying from tree to tree, butterflies were darting around looking for flowers which were open so they could have their fill of nectar, the life giving substance that will keep them going till more blooms are fully open. A blackbird, startled by my silent approach suddenly flew from it’s perch in one of the trees, warned the others nearby by it’s high pitched shrill. It’s flight looked erratic as it flew across the river to the safety of the other bank where it could regain it’s composure. Then suddenly another bird song. A song I haven’t heard since late last year when these birds migrated South to warmer climates. A rasping, wonderful sound as they announced their arrival, flying around the river in search of a snack probably after such a long distance they

were hungry, well who wouldn’t be. I looked skywards and saw them, small black specs at first then they came down from their lofty heights and I smiled as they darted along the river easily picking off insects in flight. Yes summer is here I said to myself and

smiled. Not quite I know but when I see the first House Martins of the year I always say summer’s here.

I sat down on 1 of the bench’s and admired the scenery around me. All around were trees and shrubs all starting to show their majesty as they began to produce their leaves. In front was the river itself,  the River Tame with fast moving crystal clear water. Small fish began jumping out of the water as if trying to evade a larger predator underneath caught my eye. They skirted around the overhanging branches trying desperately to escape the hidden danger, I didn’t see anything but something certainly spooked them.

All around me was quiet, no cars or people just the birds singing in the trees and in the sky. The odd train passed by, their wheels clattering against the rails on the old viaduct taking their passengers to their destinations. Passengers, looking out from within their cool compartments, seemed to admire the sudden change in scenery and I could see the odd face straining to see the scenery as the train continued on towards its final destination. I too looked around and smiled as I had left the hustle and bustle of everyday life and quietly sat on the banks of the river taking in the sun and scenery.

Summer isn’t quite here here in the UK just yet but the recent good weather is turning everyone’s thoughts to summer, mine included.

I spend quite a lot of time in Southern Sweden in a small 300 year old house. All

around me are fields and trees, trees and, erm, trees. Well there were lots of trees. Apparently the Swedish Government have given permission for logging companies to go ahead and cut down whatever they want to. Originally it was cut a tree down you replace it with another, but it seems that’s gone out of the window, around here anyway.

On the way to the next village which is 3 kilometres away there are swathes of trees from pine to silver birch. As you can see form the first 2 pictures it’s very thick which is a haven for all kinds of wildlife. It was here last year that we saw a Ural Owl by the side of the road scavenging. That owl was huge and wonderful but it wouldn’t hang around while we took a picture.

Now on the other side of the road:

It seems they have cut down MOST of the pine trees and left some of the silver birch standing, BUT also cut down lots of smaller trees.

It really is sad to see all those magnificent trees cut down and taken away on those large logging trucks. They seem to work day & night too which is a nuisance when you are trying to sleep.

It’s not just this area where they are cutting down the trees. All over this area they are going into once wonderful forests and cutting them down. They seem to cut from the inside out, maybe that’s just me though.

Today I was checking my Twitter account (@SensibleLiving) and someone I follow posted a link to a website that is trying to get Europe to STOP this ILLEGAL logging. @stephenfry the wonderful comedian, philosopher and general wonderful man posted this link on Twitter:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/eu_trees_not_tricks/?vl

PLEASE follow this link and fill out the form. It only takes a few seconds BUT could make our Governments take notice and action against these Governments which are ILLEGALLY cutting down our beautiful forests for their gains.

Do you really want to go from this:

To this:

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I am very keen on a number of things and one is the environment and recycling, so I have started another blog called Sensible Living. I have been doing it for a few months now and finding it pretty enjoyable and I am always looking for new things to add to it.

I blog about things I reuse and recycle, gardening, the environment and another thing that is close to my heart, wildlife. Why not nip over and read it, I hope you do and find it useful and maybe pass it on to your friends.

Sensible Living.

Spring Daff's

I am in the process of writing a small E-book about organic gardening which will cover a host of different ways in which to garden the organic way.

Topics include:

Recycling

Herbs

Medicinal Herbs

Perennials

Organic Pesticides

And a few other topics not yet decided upon. I will have the E-book finished and ready for sale by the 25th July and I will charge $6US initially. All the work is done by me and that includes the pictures which accompany this book

If anyone is interested or have any ideas let me know.

Beautiful in white or lilac

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