FROM THE EDITOR
Welcome to Green News. This monthly newsletter is all about promoting green action, saving the environment and generally encouraging everyone, especially young people, to discover that taking care of the earth can be fun.
I'm sure you're all aware of the global environmental crisis that over-shadows us in our modern world. Just a small example can be found in the bay near your house, or on your local beach, especially after heavy rainfall. The photo above was taken in Rushcutters Bay by my mum a few days ago. It didn't get cleaned up that day, because we didn't have the right equipment.
In this issue, we will be introducing the idea of an environmental activist group called CUFF (Clean Up For Fun) that consists of a group of children who go around Sydney's harbour and beaches, with only their equipment and their determination, removing rubbish that would otherwise seriously damage the ecosystem. At this stage we haven't found anyone to join us, so my mum and I have been getting on with it ourselves. We urge you to join us, or perhaps start your own group.
If you see rubbish on the beach or in the water, you can take action by picking it up and putting it in the right bin. It's not that hard. You may think it's boring, but it actually gives you great satisfaction. Once we discover that saving the earth is fun, anything is possible!
There are many ways to help the environment, not the least of which is picking up rubbish which could end up in our water ways and cause serious harm. Believe it or not, some people just leave their rubbish lying around and don't bother to put it in the bin, let alone the right one!
We suggest finding a neglected area, somewhere, which would otherwise be beautiful, where rubbish has been allowed to accumulate and go there with a friend, sibling, parent or other family member, to clean it up. You would be surprised how many 'rubbish hotspots' you'll find when you start looking. These are the things you will need:
a grabber or an old pair of long- handled tongs
a net on a long pole
a pair of gardening gloves
gumboots if there's lots of rubbish you will step in or if it's in a creek
a container for collecting the rubbish
"You may think it's boring, but it actually gives you great satisfaction."
A good place to start is your local area. You're more likely to notice a problem when it occurs and you'll have a better chance of finding the time to do something if it's near where you live. On our regular walks in our local park we noticed a fenced-off area on the edge of the harbour where rubbish was accumulating but not being cleaned up. Some of it might have been chucked over the fence but much of it had washed up from the harbour and would have easily found its way back in the water at the next extra high tide. It was quite late on a Sunday afternoon when we decided to take action and there was far more rubbish hidden amongst the seaweed and bushes of this no-man's land than we thought. It was getting dark and we still hadn't finished but it felt good to be making a difference and we resolved to come back the next day after school to finish the job.
Australia is one of the most wasteful economies on the planet. The average family throws out around a tonne of food waste every year. And yet, all over the globe, people are starving to death. How did it get like this? In the documentary War on Waste, Craig Reucassel shows us how much we buy and throw out unnecessarily. It follows the 2015 BBC programme: 'Hugh's War on Waste'. The food in 1 out of 5 bags of shopping you buy will get thrown out. It is unbelievable how wasteful we humans are. Tonnes of food don't even make it to the supermarkets. Instead, they get sorted at the farms and the ones picked out are dumped. This happens because of the cosmetic standards of the supermarkets, such as 'too short, too long, too curved, too straight' and many other unreasonable requirements. The supermarkets claim that the customers will not eat fruit and vegetables that aren't a perfect shape and size. When confronted, most customers declare that they would eat them anyway. Worse still, when all that food waste from homes, shops and farms goes into landfill, it doesn't just break down. First, it releases a powerful gas called methane. And methane is 25x worse for the environment than the pollution from your car! Now, if everyone composted their food scraps or put them in a worm farm, this would not happen. Planning your meals for the week would also help minimise waste.
The plastic problem is just as bad. If you go diving in Sydney harbour, it is likely that you will see about 5 fish and a lot more rubbish, as Craig does in Episode 2. This is a pretty widely known fact, but turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, and styrofoam balls for fish eggs. Not to mention getting tangled up in drift nets! In War on Waste, you really get a sense of how dire the environmental situation is, and how something has to be done about it; and quickly!
So far, there have been three episodes of War on Waste on ABC, all of which can be found on iview.
Would you believe what I found at the Nowruz (Persian New Year) festival in Newcastle? A girl walking around with a mini lop-eared bunny rabbit in a basket. Totally random but very, very cute. I made two new friends at once!
This is the first edition of GREEN NEWS. In the next issue we'll have lots more news, reviews and inspiring environmental action to report.
If you would like to be part of a CUFF action or contribute an article or photo to Green News, write to me at email@example.com
Happy World Environment Day - 5 June 2017!