Monday, July 6, 2009

New home page released

I'm pleased to announce I just finished my new home page. My last one was a template I found and modified to my likings. But I was never entirely satisfied with it and felt for a long time id like to make one I made myself.

So here it is:

Feedback is welcome and its not 100% finished yet. Some of the logos need a bit of work :).


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Convenence going to kill us all?

We are all fairly lazy these days whether we like to admit it or not. And we only seem to be getting worse. Everything seems to be geared up to make life easier despite the cost. I’ve met a lot of people who won’t turn things off as its to trouble to turn it back on. Imo they are just selfish and lazy.

We waste huge amounts of power and other resources to make our lives more convenient and to what end? Most of the population seems to be overweight and global warming approaching the tipping point if it’s not already passed. It’s fairly obvious our current lifestyles are going to kill us all.

Things like standby need to become a thing of the past. Waiting a few minutes while your computer turns on won’t kill you. Walking to the shop may even do you some good. Turning off the light when you leave the room and back on when you enter isn’t exactly hard. Sorting your recycling won’t consume all your time.

All of these things are so simple yet so many people don’t do them. They leave things on, they drive places and all because it’s convenient. It’s all well and good but if us westerners don’t change our lifestyles now voluntarily then future generations will have to whether they like it or not. Great world we are leaving for our kids.

I know I’m ranting :P just sick of lazy people who won’t do simple things that will make a difference. Like turning off the TV, light, computer, walking to the shop, bus/train station. It’s not exactly going to eat up all your day. In fact some of it might do you some good.

Here are some straight forward idea's:

  • Turn off the TV at the wall.
  • Turn off your computer when your leaving it for 30 min or more (if it takes ages to start up maybe this can help) . And turn it off at the wall over night.
  • Next time you need to go to the corner store walk or ride your bike. Same applies with going to the bus\train station. If you don’t already use these but could then give it some serious consideration.
  • Turn off lights when you’re out of the room you only need to light the rooms you’re in. Don’t worry your furniture isn’t scared of the dark.

And there is plenty more you can do. My website ELBH may offer some ideas and otherwise you could Google it. Yes it’s my turn to be lazy :P.

And at the end of the day remember that attachment to material things will leave you ultimately unhappy.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Winds of change

Anyone who payed any attention to the European elections or watched the news the last few days will have heard about the abysmal performance of the UK labor party. It made me wonder may our labour party be heading down the same path. They are unlikely to get involved in the same money related scandals or that Mr Rudd’s popularity is going to plummet. Though there is a 3rd problem that hit the UK Labor party and is showing signs of hurting ours to. That is the fact they have drifted so far to the right. They have alienated many of their traditional left wing supporters by their conservative views. Right now various state Labor parties are in the process of trying to privatize things, that is traditionally a Conservative idea. The Australian labor party is no better than the UK branch it may not have renamed its self new labor though it has defiantly drifted to the right. The Recent victory of the Greens in Fremantle is a sign of this change. (http://greensmps.org.au/blog/730-report-fremantle-election).

The same happened in the UK with their labor party losing labor seats to other parties notably the BNP. I’m not pleased about the BNP's rise but it’s hardly suppressing given the mess the UK labor party is in. Although I am glad to see the UK Greens, doing better out of it to.

As the 7:30 Report suggests things are changing. Labor needs to change to or they are going to suffer the consequences. We don’t have any strong straight forward left wing parties in this country although the Greens are a serious contender. When you look past the name they are fairly central left wing. If labor continues down this path they will be fighting the Liberals for seats and the Greens and Socialist Alliance will claim all their old strong holds.

I’m well aware that Rudd’s popularity is still very high (Click here) though change is coming and labor seems to have stuck their heads in the sand. Much like they are ignores other types of change to sadly.

O well on a positive note for labor supporters out there. The National party are even more screwed. Unfortunately for them the rising sea levels won’t flow off the edge of the world.

For the record I voted for Rudd as he was clearly the lesser of two evils. Though unless labor makes some serious changes. They have lost my vote next time.

O and if you missed the EU elections and want to know what happend here is the results: BBC and Wikipedia.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Grow your own food!


I’ve been thinking recently about how much money could be saved if you grow your own food. Not to mention the benefits it would have to you and the planet. The cost of transporting/storing fresh fruit and veg can’t be good. Given a lot of it probably comes from the other side of the country or world and spends weeks or months in cold storage. (So much for fresh fruit/veg)


Im not suggesting we give up on our fruit and veg. I’m only suggesting that we try to grow some more of it ourselves. Buying locally grown is also good though that’s not the point of this post).


It can be quit rewarding to know that you grew your dinner yourself. Growing your own food is nothing new. I guess it’s gone a bit out of fashion in the last 30 years. Though it’s increasingly becoming fashionable again give the high cost of food and concern about climate change. Once upon a time everyone would have grown food as we moved into towns then cities and the coming of the industrial age this began to disappear. It’s reappeared in some countries since then for example growing of food was rather important in most European countries during World War 2. Today in modern Cuba there is a big program in place to get everyone to grow food in any spare soil around the city of Havana (it may happen in others I don’t know).


I’ve recently got into this a bit myself back in January I planted some old potatoes that had started to grow in the ground and despite forgetting about them during the worst of the drought. They amazingly have done quite well.


I also planted some garlic today for much the same reason, it’s started to grow. Hopefully it will be a similar success. Growing veggies is nothing new to me as I live on a farm though I must say our veggie garden has suffered some neglect. One bed is ruled by fennel and another is covered by a branch.


You don’t need a lot of space to grow veggies as this blog shows: http://www.eightsquaremetres.com/


And here is a rather clever idea to grow potato’s http://tipnut.com/grow-potatoes/ I’ve not tried it but I’m told it would work :).


Monday, May 25, 2009

Green Google Reader feed

For anyone whos intrested ive created a collection of Green blogs/sites that you can easly subscribe to all in one go. I did this using Google Reader (and this guide).

Here is a link to Subscribe if you use google reader: http://www.google.com.au/reader/bundle/user/02463715468181652455/bundle/Green

If anyone has any suggestions for me let me know and ill add them. If you dont have Google Reader create a Google (gmail) account and you can use it for free.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Recycle for the Economy.

We are all aware of the benefits of Recycling and how it helps the environment. Although not many people think about its economic benefits. After all given the mess our economy is in anything we can do to boost it sounds like a good idea.

Now I’ll explain my theory:

Say I throw out a plastic bottle right now after writing this and it goes into the regular rubbish. Next that rubbish bin gets picked up by a truck this truck has 1 to 2 people operating it (2 jobs). After it this plastic bottle gets tipped into the Landfill at the local tip there isn’t anyone required to unload it and only usually 1 part time job created running this landfill. Also this costs large amounts of money to maintain. Although I can’t give you an exact figure most are in the millions. That money is just going down the drain. I’ve read quotes of landfill costing over 20 million (USD) a year.

So for my Plastic bottle to go into the local tip it’s created 3 or so jobs and cost the local government millions. May I remind you those millions come from your rates and tax's.

Now let’s say my Plastic bottle is instead recycled. The first part of this process is fairly similar. It goes into my Recycling bin then is picked up and taken to the Recycling depot (2 jobs again). Now this is where things start to change. Next the bottle is unloaded and sorted from the other recycling. Although a lot of this process is automated. This does create a few jobs as not all the sorting is done by machines. After its been sorted it would get squashed into a large cube with lots of other bottles and then it’s shipped off to a factory where it will be melted down and turned into new bottles. We shall say there was 2 jobs getting it from the Cube to the factory. Then plenty of jobs turning it back into a bottle. On the other hand this doesn’t cost the council nearly as much and it’s not a bottomless pit. This has created jobs and stimulated the local economy. In some areas (e.g. South Australia and other countries around the world where they have reverse vending machines and bottle return) then this creates even more jobs although I don’t know enough of this process to say more. The NSW governments a bit slow on the uptake also so we don’t have it here yet..

Odd given we are the "first state" I think that’s a bit of a lie we general seem to be going backwards maybe we should rename ourselves to the "last state". Although i admit we aren’t the worst on some issues so let’s call us "the state that sits somewhere in the middle, but isn’t leading the country in many if any initiatives." that would make for a good number plate.

Anyway back to the point it doesn’t take a genius to work out that by recycling my plastic bottle I’ve done more for the economy than letting it go into recycling. Although i admit half the time the bottle may get shipped off to china that’s not my fault maybe we should have privatized everything. Generally most of our normal waste is recycled here.

So next time your worrying about your job and the economy. Remember to Reduce Reuse Recycle. (The Reduce and reuse bit also apply to this as we import almost everything we use.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Destroying Sustainable Environment

Is anyone else living in or near Victoria sick of the smoke and all the lies associated with it? No I’m not talking about the bush fires they where different as they were not deliberate and everything was done to prevent them. What I’m grumbling about is the DSE's burn offs. Although let’s get one thing straight I don’t dislike the DSE and i have nothing against any of their employees they are just doing their job. Moreover, I know even some of them are a bit concerned about this. You can’t shoot the messenger after all its the Victorian government who’s to blame for all this. 

Some would tell you it’s needed or beneficial yes let me guess when you where young smoking (cigarette smoking) was good for you? How on earth is it beneficial? You don’t have to be a geniuses to realize that it’s not? 

Some of the arguments I’ve heard are: 

1. The Aboriginals did it. Does that make it right? The Romans made people fight to the death in stadiums for entertainment. Although I don’t think it happens a lot in Italy today. Not to mention we have little proof aboriginals in this area of the country did burn off. After all there wasn’t many of them and we pretty much killed them off when we arrived. For some reason I don’t think the first settlers asked them nicely before how they managed the environment. Also look at the environment, most of Victoria was once covered in Mountain Ash before we cut them all down. They are also not in the slightest bit fire tolerant and are badly affected by fire. 

2. It reduces the fire danger. No it doesn’t, I’ve seen areas that have been burnt off it doesn’t look very "reduced" in fact it just killed most of the undergrowth and half the trees (i admit that one got a bit out of control). There wasn’t less fuel there was in a way more due to all the dead timber around and grass that grew as a result. No amount of burning off and fuel reduction would have stopped the fires in Victoria earlier this year. Nothing could have stopped them. 

Burning our native forests isn’t going to help them or us. It just produces lots of air pollution and speeds up global warming that dries out our climate and there for makes the fires even worst. Not to mention the damage it does to the native flora and fauna. It kills many native animals and destroys their homes. It also kills plants they aren’t designed for this and they take years to recover. What sorta world are we creating for our children? 

Think of the damage it’s doing to us to? The amount of smoke in the air, it’s killing my lungs. I am getting rather sick of it and I’ve read other stories of people suffering rather badly as a result to. How’s this helping anyone? who’s it protecting in the long term the damage out ways any gains. 

Is this really likely to make fires less common? Nope, it doesn’t make us any safer. It’s about as beneficial as fridge magnets to protect us against terrorism. Ah what am I on about we all know that they stop terrorism sorry my bad. Considering most of the states, fires are started by arson. Then this really won’t make a difference. If the conditions are right, it will burn fuel or no fuel. 

PS: I am not attacking the DSE or their employees well maybe there bosses in Melbourne, as I am sure, they have a part in this but mostly my anger is directed at Mr. Brumby and the Victorian Government. I guess also to some extent the media for pushing this. Although I do blame the DSE for a "fuel reduction" burn a few years back that got out of control and burnt most of the Bluffs National Park. That last time I read was a Protected Environment and considered very special due to its unique plant species. Unfortunately with the drought and the fire much of this has been lots. Funny how as it wasn’t threatening any homes there was no resources committed to it at all.

For thoes that dont know. The DSE Stands for Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Changing Windows theme's

Got sick of the Windows XP default themes? There is 3 of them and after you have used windows for more than a week you have probably got bored with them. This also applies to Vista it has like 2 or 3 themes doesn’t it? I miss good old windows 95/98 when you could change the colours so that they hurt everyone’s eyes :P. 

Well there is two ways to change your theme's in XP/Vista. There are 10000s of themes out there to choose from and I’m sure you can find one you like. I’ve had a range of them over the year and finally settled on a nice simple clean on that seems to remind people of Linux never thought of it myself. (Here's a picture

The way I’m going to cover involves installing a small patch that removes the protection in Windows that stops custom themes from showing up. Although if that’s to scary and you like to have more programs on your pc that slow down its boot time there are plenty of programs to also do the job (eg StyleXP).

(This guide is for Windows XP Home/Pro although i think you can do the same thing on Vista using vista (not xp) patch).

Step 1: Download UxTheme Multi-patcher: here or here. (make sure you get the theme appropriate to your service pack if you haven’t got SP3 (the latest for XP) download it here.

Step 2: Run the UxTheme patcher and follow the steps. 

Step 3: It will restart but you won’t notice any real change, Until you go to your Display Property/Appearance. Although you won’t notice any change yet as I haven’t told you how to get custom theme's.

Step 4: Download the custom themes you like. Here a few sites: 

If you don’t find what you’re looking for Google it and you will find plenty. Although if they distribute the theme in a .exe its possibly a virus/spyware/adware so be careful id avoid this site http://www.themexp.org/

Step 5: Download the file and extract it. It will most likely be in the form of a rar or zip file. You can open them using winrar

Step 6: Now copy the contents of the file (or extract it) to the following folder: C:\WINDOWS\Resources\Themes

Step 7: Now if you have done it right when you go to the Appearance tab of Display properties your custom theme should be listed there simple select it, apply it, and off you go. 

Hope this helps any problems please get in touch with me or if there’s anything I’ve missed let me know. Also sorry i cant help with Windows Vista although think it would be about the same process. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A fair trade Easter.


You been doing your bit? Brought a Fair Trade Easter egg of something similar? If not well there’s always next year. I’m proud to say I have. I had a bit of trouble finding anything, in the end I settled for 2 blocks of dark orange chocolate :P Its quite nice, It's Made by Scarborough Fair. Found it in Coles (It’s a supermarket if you’re not Australian). 

For those of you wondering what on earth I’m on about. Well Fare Trade is an global social movement that encourages a fair price to be paid for products. It aims to developing countries and ensures that the people producing the product are paid a fair price for their product and are not exploited by large multinational companies for example. It also is promotes sustainable practices, and ensures that workers are paid a proper wage and no child or slave labor is used. This is helping to reduce poverty in developing countries, protect the environment and improve people’s lives.

There are plenty of Fair Trade products now available in our shops. So next Easter, look for one and do your bit to help others :). 

And keep in mind this isn’t confined to Easter you can buy fair trade products though out the year. I know there’s a few tea’s on the shelves at my local supermarket along with chocolate. I’m sure if you look around there’s probably more.

For Australians World Vision has produced a good chocolate guide. http://www.brbc.org.au/files/ChocolateGuide.pdf

More information can also be found on these sites: