Recent Posts

Gardening Myths, Busted

Gardening Myths, Busted

When it comes to gardening, there are a lot of myths and misinformation. Here are a few popular ones, debunked. Myth: Adding sand to clay soil will lighten it Truth: The sand will make the soil hard and heavy, as it draws in a lot […]

Event: Mindful Succulent Potting for Beginners, Sydney

Event: Mindful Succulent Potting for Beginners, Sydney

Succulents might be one of the most popular starter plants, but that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest to take care of. This workshop will teach you the basics, from potting to treatments. Nat Tsirimokos from Environmental Rights Organisation will present the workshop and teach you […]

Best Flowers to Grow in the Winter

Best Flowers to Grow in the Winter

Need some colourful blooms to brighten your chilly winter days? Try grabbing these flowers or their seeds in your next garden shop visit…

Pansy

Coming in every colour of the rainbow, pansies will be a great addition to your winter garden. They grow well in cool areas and bloom larger, more brightly-coloured flowers during the winter. Make sure your pansies are well-watered, planted in slightly acidic, well-drained soil, and have at least half a day of full sun exposure.

 

Hellebore

Hellebores don’t require a lot of maintenance – they grow well in shady, low-light areas. For optimum growth, plant them in rich, moist and drainable soil. Grow hellebores close to the surface to promote healthy flower production.

 

Apple Blossom

When in bloom, apple blossom produces an abundance of flowers and can grow to 80-100cm in height at its maturity. Apple blossom can be grown in full sun or partial shade. Make sure you use clay, sandy, well-drained soils with neutral pH.

 

Cyclamen

Thriving in cold and wet conditions, cyclamens should be grown in a shaded area with free drainage. Plant the tubers on or near the surface.

 

Forget-Me-Not

This flower is excellent for shady and damp areas, as they allow moisture retention. Other than that, it doesn’t require a lot of attention. Make sure to keep the soil moist, and add fertiliser once every season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event: The Winter Garden + Prepping for Spring, Sydney

Event: The Winter Garden + Prepping for Spring, Sydney

Winter isn’t exactly the easiest season for gardening – but that doesn’t mean you have to sit still and wait it out until spring. The Winter Garden + Prepping for Spring workshop will allow you to learn the best ways to foster a healthy winter […]

Event: Build Your Own Terrarium Bar, Sydney

Event: Build Your Own Terrarium Bar, Sydney

In search of a terrarium to grace your desk? Don’t go to the shop just yet – try making your own at this workshop. Little Succers’ pop-up shop in Chippendale is bringing a workshop where you can build your own terrarium. Materials such as soil, […]

The Hidden Carbon Cost of Everyday Products

The Hidden Carbon Cost of Everyday Products

Kai Whiting, Universidade de Lisboa and Luis Gabriel Carmona, Universidade de Lisboa

The targets set in the Paris Agreement on climate change are ambitious but necessary. Failure to meet them will lead to widespread drought, disease and desperation in some of the world’s poorest regions. Under such conditions mass migration by stranded climate refugees is almost inevitable.

Yet if richer nations are to be serious in their commitment to the Paris target, then they must begin to account for the carbon emissions contained within products they import.

Heavy industry and the constant demand for consumer goods are key contributors to climate change. In fact, 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions are produced through the process of converting metal ores and fossil fuels into the cars, washing machines and electronic devices that help prop up the economy and make life a little more comfortable.

As one might expect, the wealthier parts of the world with their higher purchasing power do more than their fair share of consuming and polluting. For every item bought or sold there is a rise in GDP, and with each 1% increase in GDP there is a corresponding 0.5 to 0.7% rise in carbon emissions. The growing demand for day-to-day conveniences exacerbates this problem. For metal ores alone, the extraction rate more than doubled between 1980 and 2008, and it shows no sign of slowing.

Every time you buy a new car, for instance, you effectively mine 3-7g of “platinum group metals” to coat the catalytic converter. The six elements in the platinum group have the greatest environmental impact of all metals, and producing just one kilo requires the emission of thousands of kilos of CO₂.

That car also consumes one tonne of steel and you can add to that some aluminium, a whole host of plastics and, in the case of electric cars, rare earth elements.

Often, no one is held accountable for the carbon emissions connected to these materials, because they are produced in countries where “dirty” industry is still politically acceptable or seen as the only way to escape poverty. In fact, of the carbon emissions that European consumers are personally responsible for, around 22% are allocated elsewhere under conventional carbon accounting practices. For consumers in the US, the figure is around 15%.

From mine to dump

Carbon emissions from the exhaust pipe tell only part of the story. To get a full sense of the carbon footprint of a car, you have to consider those emissions that go into producing the raw materials and digging a hole in the ground twice – once to extract the metals contained in the car, once to dump them when they can no longer be recycled.

Buying a new car and dumping the old one might be justifiable if the change was made because the new vehicle is more fuel efficient, but it is certainly not when it’s a question of personal taste or corporate-level planned obsolescence. The same is true for any number of high tech items, including smartphones that run on software that renders them unusable in the medium term. The environmental consequences of replacing a smartphone, in terms of carbon emissions alone, are considerable. Apple found that 83% of the carbon dioxide associated with the iPhone X was directly linked to manufacture, shipping and recycling. With these kinds of figures, it is hard to argue a sustainable case for upgrades – regardless of how many solar panels Apple sticks on the roof of its offices.

Governments of richer countries that import products but not their emissions must stop pointing the finger at China or other manufacturing or mining giants and start taking responsibility. This means going further than they have been willing to go so far, and implementing sustainable material strategies that address a product’s entire lifecycle from mining to manufacturing, use, and eventually to disposal.

The ConversationOn an individual level people must vote with their money. It’s time to leave behind the laggards who hide the cost of the carbon contained within their products and who design them to fail in order to put profits before people and the environment.

Kai Whiting, Sustainability and Stoicism Researcher, Universidade de Lisboa and Luis Gabriel Carmona, Researcher in Sustainable Systems, Universidade de Lisboa

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The Farmer Wants a Hive: Inside the World of Renting Bees

The Farmer Wants a Hive: Inside the World of Renting Bees

Manu Saunders, University of New England Almonds, blueberries, apples, melons – all of these fruits, and many more, rely on insect pollination. Some crops rely more on pollinators than others. Insect pollination isn’t just about the number of fruits produced – it can also improve […]

Event: Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation, Sydney

Event: Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation, Sydney

Learning how to grow mushrooms – the edible kind, that is – could be quite overwhelming for first-timers. This workshop will walk you through the steps! Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation is a two-day workshop where you can learn how to start farming delicious oyster, shiitake, enoki, […]

Best Plants to Improve Your Nighttime Sleep

Best Plants to Improve Your Nighttime Sleep

Having trouble keeping your eyes shut at night? As unlikely as it sounds, house plants might be your solution. These plants can help you get your forty winks by purifying the air and relaxing your body. Here are a few plants to add to your bedroom…

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is more well-known for its gel, which can be used to treat minor cuts, burns and insect bites as well as condition hair – but it’s also great to help you get some sleep at night. It produces oxygen in the evening and thus can purify the air as you fall into deep slumber.

 

Peace Lily

This plant has one of the best performances in removing pollution from the air, breaking down harmful gases and eating up mould spores. It also increases humidity in the room, which can help ease sore throat and sinus as well as prevent drying skin.

 

Lavender

Lavender flower not only brings sophistication to the room with its beautiful purple colour, but its scent also has relaxant properties that help reduce and prevent stress and anxiety.

 

English Ivy

Allergies keeping you up at night? Consider stocking up English Ivy, which cleans up the air and remove airborne mold and faeces in just a day.

 

Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus or schlumbergera will adorn your room with its beautiful flowers and, like aloe vera, it releases oxygen at night. Plus point: it’s also not hard to manage at all!

Soils 101: Plants and Treatments

Soils 101: Plants and Treatments

Everything requires a great base, including your garden. By knowing your soil, you can figure out the best plants to grow and the proper ways of maintaining and improving the ground. Read on to find out the various types of soils, as well as the […]