World Water Day 2014

World Water Day 2014 logo

The United Nations World Water Day is celebrated annually on the 22nd of March  – thats only 5 days away! Every year brings a different theme to raise awareness of issues relating to our most precious resource and this year’s theme is “Water and Energy”.

Water and energy are closely interlinked and interdependent. Energy generation and transmission requires utilization of water resources, particularly for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources. Conversely, about 8% of the global energy generation is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers.

In 2014, the UN System – working closely with its Member States and other relevant stakeholders – is collectively bringing its attention to the water-energy nexus, particularly addressing inequities, especially for the ‘bottom billion’ who live in slums and impoverished rural areas and survive without access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, sufficient food and energy services. It also aims to facilitate the development of policies and crosscutting frameworks that bridge ministries and sectors, leading the way to energy security and sustainable water use in a green economy. Particular attention will be paid to identifying best practices that can make a water- and energy-efficient ‘Green Industry’ a reality.

UN Water, 2014

Energy + Water

I tried to see if there were any events happening in Sydney but the search has thus far proved to be elusive as the main event is occurring in Tokyo, Japan. Nonetheless, you can host your own event with the UN providing lots of free resources including posters, fact sheets, and even T-shirt templates.

Fact on Biodiesel

You can find out more at the UN and the UN Water website. In the meantime, savewater is promising the chance to win a plethora of stuff, including an Apple iPad, for survey fill-ins (they are pretty short).

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Time To Fight Back

It started with milk, then bread. Predictably the battle then spread to produce, with the fruit war making headlines daily. Owl and I were becoming increasingly uncomfortable and wary of these so-called ‘great savings’ which may be great in the short term, but will no doubt ultimately cause endless grief once all competition has been wiped out and mass market monopoly rears it’s ugly head.

Besides the fear of jacked up prices, there is also the fear of Aussie farmers throwing in the trovels and calling it a day for better pay in other industries. If we set prices of commodities by the amount we earn and spend, how can we expect farmers to survive on losses and minimal wages for the sake of our own greed? We would rather buy an iPad than think twice about whether our grocery savings are driving farmers out of work. We feel good about buying fair trade items from Oxfam but forget about doing the right thing by our own countrymen.

zucchini

from Little Eco Footprints

It is time to fight back. I was going to write a whole article about this but I think this blog does it so well that I’m just going to redirect you to it (I hope you don’t mind, Tricia!). I urge you to please think about the future of produce supply in Australia and to make an educated choice when you make your grocery run. I’m not talking about buying organic, GM-free, free range etc (even though they are good too). I’m talking about Australians supporting Australians and doing justice to generations of farmers choosing to feed you as a profession. I hope you understand that it is no less noble than a doctor saving your life, or a teacher educating your kids, or a social worker caring for the needy.

A website not linked on Tricia’s site is the Aussie Farmers Direct. Don’t forget also that the Pyrmont Grower’s Markets are on this Saturday (4 Feb 2012) from 7-11am and are on every first Saturday of the month. Might see you on Saturday if you go  😉

A baby was born

do i sees a nom?

When I was a wee bonny lass I walked into a second-hand bookstore and picked up a tattered book titled “My Family and Other Animals”. It was one of the funniest books I had read and actually reminded me of Roald Dahl, only with all his adventures involving animals and real events. Thus my love for Gerald Durrell was born. It is not easy to find his books and I have bought all of my collection from second-hand bookstores around the world. There was something about his wit and deep, genuine love for animals which really spoke to me.

Years later I was to discover how important he really was, his name notable and foremost amongst conservationist and advocates for endangered wildlife. Here in Sydney, we make it a point every year to visit the Australian Museum for their Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition where the most acclaimed prize is named the Gerald Durrell prize in honour of his conservation efforts. This exhibition travels all the way from London’s Natural History Museum (in conjunction with BBC and yes, Durrell is a Brit).

Recently in late March 2011, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust has had a major achievement with the birth of the very rare Black Lion Tamarin. There are less than 1000 of these cuties left in the wild, with all of them residing in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Read more about the efforts here and here plus see videos of Francisco, the newest member of the Durrell tamarin troop. While you’re there, do feel compelled to drop off a small donation towards the crucial work of the selfless Durrell Trust.

I highly recommend the Durrell books (the earlier ones are better) and the photography exhibition which runs from around December to March each year in Sydney.

A Taste For Green Tangerines – Barbara Bisco

A Saucy Romp through the Rainforest

This book is subtitled ‘A Saucy Romp through the Rainforest’. On first glance I thought it was about food adventures in a rainforest; a revelation about using local plants, herbs and possibly insects as part of a meal interwoven with the usual drama that came along with a fictional novel. After reading the book, however, it became clear to me that ‘saucy’ was just a politically correct way of saying ‘raunchy’.

It depicts the adventures of an English anthropologist accepting her first real job studying the Dayak people over in the rainforests of Borneo with a rainforest conservation company. While the sauciness of her story is rife yet tastefully unremarkable, notable points of this book lie in the rich descriptions of the Dayak culture and its capacity to make you think about the pros and cons of mining and logging; and the socio economic versus conservation impacts of the two. This book is also unashamedly anti-government, probably with the aim of raising awareness of the amount of corruption going on in Indonesia particularly within the conservation (or lack thereof) context. However, having said that, Bisco also gives us insight into how locals might view this laxity in laws and why they might not be as supportive of conversation as some of us.

I can’t believe I’ve made the book sound like an essay on culture and conservation. It really isn’t. Most of it is about the anthropologist and her friends, a mystery at the campsite, lots of drama, lots of sauce and enough character development to keep you interested.

I’m not one to give the storyline away while writing a review. I hate reading the synopsis of a movie before I watch it – it’s too much like reading notes of the Great Gatsby at English class and writing an entire essay of it without having actually read the book. So I’m going to just rate the readability and other such aspects of the book and leave it at that.

Readability: 3/5

I’d read this over sleeping on a train (* * * )
Good for sitting on the loo (* * * *)
Something to read to help you fall asleep (* * *)
It’s like trying to read foreign language signs when you’re busting to go to the bathroom (*)

Thinkability: 4/5
Keepability: 1/5

– ant –