Sunday, 12 August 2007
Floods in Cape Town South Africa

The weather is only getting stranger. I was on the phone to relatives in South Africa who told me it was raining so hard in Cape Town South Africa that they are scooping up water by the bucket load from their garden and pouring it down the sink.

If you have been to Cape Town before you will know that when it does rain it usually drains away into the ground, however its not doing that now because there is so much of it. In some houses in South Africa its naturally assumed that the water coming down the guttering from the roof can be allowed to flow out into the garden with no further drains. This design however could lead to flooded gardens. Soon these adverse weather conditions will start changing the whole structure of how houses are architectured in countries around the world.

So far there have been:

  • Massive floods in Britain
  • Heat waves in Europe coupled with forest fires
  • Severe flooding in parts of India
  • Floods in Cape Town
  • Unusually large insects such as spiders not native to the UK suddenly appearing in the UK and surviving the climate.

Mmm smells looks like global warming.

posted on Sunday, 12 August 2007 02:07:09 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [1]

 Sunday, 05 August 2007
Big Spiders in England

I've lived in England for some time now and never before have I encountered rather large and varied species of spiders until now. During the past year we have seen hobo spiders and some rather large spiders hidden under tea towels that make even me (being the hardened macho person I am) scream in terror. I'm just wondering if its the change in climate that's making these large spiders thrive, I remember when leaving South Africa how glad I was that I wouldn't wake up one morning with a large furry spider starring me in the face. Its looks like that horror will once again be returning ahhhhhh! 

posted on Sunday, 05 August 2007 12:16:29 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [2]

 Sunday, 13 May 2007
Supermarkets

We all know that the super markets we go to, give their suppliers a very raw deal when it comes to buying their produce. They argue though, that this is partly to do with us the consumers wanting the lowest prices but the highest quality. Prices are so low in supermarkets that its possible to live off just a couple of pounds a day if you shop frugally enough. But the truth is that when we buy food from our super markets so much of it goes to waste we buy one and get another free but we seldom eat the free item. Portions we buy are large to big for us to consume in the time we have to eat the produce. Would it really hurt us if we paid just a little bit more for our food just that 50p extra that would be the difference between a farmer being able to pay for his farm or going bankrupt.

Many people have already started;

  • Getting your milk direct from your local dairy
  • Getting your vegetables delivered from box schemes such as Able & Cole
  • Getting meats and fresh produce from local farmers markets
  • and there are many more

I am not saying supermarkets are bad or we shouldn't use them, but like everything in life things have to be balanced its called avoiding a monopoly. We the consumer, need to reintroduce the balance once again by making sure we have a good alternative to supermarkets and that producers of food products also have a good alternative market for their food. Choice is good and it has to exist in both supply and  demand, when it doesn't certain factions get more power than they should and start to dictate the way we live.

 

posted on Sunday, 13 May 2007 17:07:16 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Saturday, 14 April 2007
The wheelie bin thief

A few months a go we had our wheelie bin stolen. It happened on a Sunday when we were still at home the only thing I can remember happening on that day is a girl asking us if we would like to sponsor a dog, although I am rather fond of dogs I had to decline because I couldn't understand what the girl was saying and what she was saying just didn't seem right. I really didn't give it much though, I was tired and Sunday was my lying in day. It was not until later when I went to take the rubbish outside that I noticed the bin had gone, confused I looked for it walking about the whole neighborhood looking at peoples bins and getting some rather odd looks that evening.

Now I'm not sure if the girl was involved with the theft of the bin but it all seemed far to coincidental, however I never saw her again in order to ask her if she had noticed it there when she had knocked on the door. Anyway I phoned the police who took everything rather seriously they even gave me a crime number I could give to the council to get a new bin they would also phone back to take a full statement. I couldn't understand why the chap I spoke to on the phone just couldn't take down the details. Anyway I got a crime report letter and a leaflet on how to cope being a victim of crime (sounds funny for a bin theft I know). My wife phoned the council and they said we would have to spend 53 pounds for a new bin because it was not stolen on bin collection day (I should really have told the thieves to steel my bin on bin day! (heavy sarcasm)). We had no choice but to agree to the charge which I found would not be covered by my household insurance as there was an excess. We waited 2 weeks for a new bin, and eventually phoned the council when one did not arrive. The council said the bin had been delivered, we informed then that since the theft we had placed a small motion detection camera looking out of the front of the house (will blog more about this later) and did not see any one approach the house on the date and time they said they had delivered it. Eventually the council agreed to send another free bin which arrived and my wife and I promptly set about covering every inch of the bin with our house number and post code. I then installed a large chain and padlock which I used to fasten the bin to the wall. The inconvenience of not having a bin was far to much for me and prevention was the best possible option. Nothing happened for some time until Friday when my wife returned home to find someone had tried to drag the bin out from the little dip it was in by the side of the house had then tried pulling the chain around, discovered a big lock on the end and decided to leave it. The thing that frustrated me the most was I had not had the camera on that day, of all the days it was the one day I had forgotten to turn it on, however the big chain had served its purpose.

Now many thoughts had rushed through my mind:

  • Why were these thieves so fascinated by my bin? I could understand the first opportunity theft but a second from the same place?
  • Why hadn't they taken another bin maybe one from any of the other houses in the neighborhood that were far easier to get to than ours and some of them didn't have any identification on them.
  • Was this some conspiracy by the people who sold bins to the council to make more money?

Having had a look on the net I realized this could be something to do with identity fraud via wheelie bin where they steel your bin go through it to find any identity documents so they can steel your identity or find an opportune moment to rob your house which we later discovered happened to someone else in the neighborhood. They stole his bin used the rubbish to work out where they worked and when they were likely to be home then came to the house with a white lorry one day knocked the door in and proceeded to clear out the house as though they were removal men, what a cheek!

Now the only thing I can do now is wait and see what happens next.

posted on Saturday, 14 April 2007 14:09:49 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Sunday, 18 March 2007
The enigma of carbon and global warming

I'm sure everyone's seen just what a hot topic the environment has really started to become and it appears that of late this has all started to center around carbon emissions. I suppose the thing that worries me the most is that people have been lead to believe that carbon is a bad thing. Carbon is basically one of the building blocks of life we are after all carbon based life forms without carbon we probably wouldn't exist. Just like most things, too much of something can sometimes cause an imbalance,  we breath in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide CO2, trees take in Carbon Dioxide and let out Oxygen in return through photosynthesis.

Its a simple enough process but there are other things that let out carbon such as cars, planes, factories and power plants. While the majority of carbon dioxide is actually not made by man but occurs naturally itself in the atmosphere from the oceans, volcanoes and natural biodegrading of plant life, the small percentage we contribute to the environment is thought to be enough to offset enough of the worlds CO2 to cause a global warming effect.  However people do not seem to realize that carbon is only one of the gasses thought to be responsible for global warming in addition to CO2 there is Methane, Nitrous oxide, CFC-12 etc. and what appears to have happened is a whole industry has sprung up around Carbon many calling themselves "carbon neutral" companies. There are organizations that have risen to start profiting on the idea of carbon credits. Now you can trade the right to create pollution and in theory if there is to much pollution the price of carbon credits goes up because everyone wants them or they in theory could face a fine.

How they measure how much carbon a company creates from production is probably another question but surely such a system can only help the world if major manufacturing countries such as those in the Asia economies sign up to the carbon credit idea? Another thing that appears to have got African states annoyed many with young economies only just starting is the imposing of these restraints on them. "Look how easy it is for you to go green" they are told."You have so much sunshine why not use solar power?". What many people do not understand is that solar energy is not enough by itself to power manufacturing in these countries and solar panels are still relatively quite expensive. Solar energy is also not very reliable, subject to popular belief they do get stormy weather in Africa and the sun isn't always available. I agree that more money should be spent investigating cleaner energy, but people in the developing world are often unable to afford it.

Maybe the cost of renewable energy should be offset against the tax's on fossil fuels?

posted on Sunday, 18 March 2007 13:12:02 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Monday, 12 March 2007
Politics and being Green

Its quite interesting how being green has become the next big political thing. Politicians have finally woken up to the fact on how important it is to be green, they have realized what a vote winner it can be for them.

What they seem to have done so secretly however is avoid the discussion about Britain's future energy requirements. I like many of you would love most of our energy to come from renewable energy sources, the problem however is that these renewable energy types are not yet very reliable. Wind energy is not the great solution it was thought to be and still leaves us at the mercy of the wind, it has also been campaigned against by ironically enough green campaigners. Solar energy also has its issues, the solar panels are still quite expensive and will take in some cases a life time to pay back for the energy they generate they also rely on sunshine which we don't have much of in winter. Hydro electric power is reliable but relies on there being a steady damn however it does not generate enough power for our means and it requires some change in fragile ecosystems when damns are created.  This only leaves nuclear power as emission free but with a far more serious issue later on - nuclear waste. So what on Earth can we do?  Well what ever is decided on you are bound to annoy someone, so it all comes down to compromise doesn't it?

I wonder if anyone will ever come up with the ultimate green abundant energy source?

posted on Monday, 12 March 2007 20:28:10 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]