Winter’s End

Is this winter season coming to an end in the northern hemisphere? The UK’s Woodland Trust provides some tips as to how the spot the beginnings of spring. I’ve definitely seen some bulbs starting to peep up out of the soil and old leaves, and on a recent cycle saw multiple active rookeries.

Have you seen any signs of spring recently?

spring

The sun – another sure sign of spring? (image author’s own)

Drones to prevent the dumps

Drones are absolutely taking off. And not just for military or consumer purposes, also to aid in conservation  and environmental management. This week there was yet another excellent example of drones being used to track down environmentally-damaging behaviour: the Australian (Victorian) Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has been using drones to track down illegal rubbish dumps.

What do you think? A good idea or too much technology in the sky?

drone

Just droning about.

Homes for Horses

Horses are at the heart of many Australian stories. It was horses, after all, that led much of the exploration of the land by European invaders. A favourite childhood series of mine was that by Elyne Mitchell: The Silver Brumby.

Much like mustangs in the United States, everyone has an opinion about brumbies (Australia’s wild horses), and there are many different opinions to be had. Whether the animals are natural or not; do they belong in the Australia bush, the landscape? Whether something should be done to control their numbers, or get rid of them all together.

Chris Giles is a bit of a horse whisperer, who took part in the 2016 Australian Brumby Challenge. In this challenge, participants are given a certain amount of days (around 100-150) to work with a wild brumby, and then showcase what man and horse are able to achieve together at Equitana, a huge annual equine event in Melbourne. At the end of this process, the horses are then put up for auction to find them a new home. While this event clearly has a lot of entertainment-focus, it also plays an important role in raising awareness on the fate of Australian brumbies, who are not infrequently culled to keep their numbers down, and engage new people in a discussion as what form of environmental management is appropriate for the high plains the brumbies occupy.

brumby

Brumbies are not appreciated by all as a part of the Australian landscape, but if they are to be removed from it, at least let it happen with minimal culling – preferably none at all. (Image from Mick Stanic, Flickr)

2017: the Year of Conservation?

Will 2017 be the Year of Conservation? Might things finally look brighter rather than bleaker for the state of earth’s nature? According to Nicholas Harvey, there are hints that 2017 could finally be a better year, with China’s banning of ivory trade and the potential mainstream movement of conservation being two positive indications. The Conservation Optimism Summit, to be held in London in April, also suggests we should look to the bright side of conservation rather than get fixated on the failures.

Let’s hope they’re right, and each do our bit to help make it be so!

life

A moment of life, a glimmer of hope (image author’s own)

Guardian Top Tips

With Donald Trump about the step up to be the President of the United States of America, UK newspaper the Guardian is running a 24-hour bombardment of news on environmental and climate change issues. As a part of this, they published an excellent list of 15 ways to cut your carbon consumption!

Be sure to check them out in greater detail on the Guardian website, or else read my own similar suggestions on being more sustainable!

The Guardian’s 15 Carbon Cutting Tips:

  1. Fly less
  2. Eat less meat
  3. Be more efficient in heating your home
  4. Replace old gas/oil boilers
  5. Drive less
  6. Maintain your car properly
  7. Replace Halogen lighting with LEDs
  8. Don’t use home appliances more than necessary
  9. Consume less (less random shopping!)
  10. Become knowledgeable on the carbon costs of various good and services
  11. Invest in your own source of renewable energy
  12. Buy from and work with companies that support the switch to a low-carbon future
  13. Divest and support divestment iniatives
  14. Let your politicians know what you want
  15. Buy gas and electricity from retailers who sell renewable energy