The Chinese: from Yellow Peril to Green Peril?

Daniel Ben-Ami writes a thought provocating essay on China that debunks some of the generalisations that we have read over the years about China and its disregard for the environment

The possibility that China could become a fully industrialised and urbanised society, with living standards akin to those in the West, has become the ultimate environmentalist nightmare. Whereas China under Mao was sometimes called the ‘red peril’, and before that was sometimes referred to by Western racists as the ‘yellow peril’, contemporary China is often viewed as a ‘green peril’.

Source: spiked – The Chinese: from Yellow Peril to Green Peril? .

Britain’s queen says global warming likely to hit hardest at most vulnerable nations – International Herald Tribune

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on Monday called on the Commonwealth to help the most vulnerable nations deal with the impact of climate change.

The 53-nation Commonwealth of Britain and its former colonies includes some of the world’s wealthiest countries as well as some of the poorest.

“The impact of pollution falls unequally: it is often those who pollute the least — notably in the world’s least-developed nations — who are closest to the razor’s edge: most affected by the impact of climate change and least equipped to cope with it,” the monarch said in a Commonwealth Day message.

Source: International Herald Tribune – Britain’s queen says global warming likely to hit hardest at most vulnerable nations.

Melbourne 2030 – no longer a true vision

Victorian Premier John Brumby freed-up land today for 90,000 new homes in the councils of Wyndham, Melton, Hume, Whittlesea and Casey. The land will be zoned residential.

The governments actions are as a result of research and calls from various social and government department research stating that this is a shortage of housing for low-income earners. The governments actions condradict its own Melbourne 2030 vision.

The release of land is merely a short term cure for low income earners as soon as they have moved into there new fringe houses they will become city residents who will experience high transport costs and will be time poor due to lack of efficient and fast public transport in fringe areas of Melbourne. These fringe-dwellers will also create a larger environmental impact due the large amount of resources required to supply basic infrastructure to these new inefficient housing estates.

The government would be better injecting a sufficient amount of funds and resources into reducing the planning approval process for high density developments and also fastrack more development zones for high density residential housing around inner city transport hubs such as Hawthorn, South Yarra, Collingwood, Clifton Hill and Footscray.

The government would also be wise to redevelop some existing low-income housing in the inner city to have a greater a density.

The governments actions show that is out of touch with the growing trends in the rest of the world to create higher denisty cities with efficient transportation which in turn reduce the environmental and carbon footprint of its residents.

Landscape Architects Offer Easy Water-Saving Steps – ASLA

Water costs continue to rise. However, smart landscape design and simple watering habits can significantly reduce a home’s utility bills. By planning now, homeowners can save hundreds of dollars and thousands of gallons of water this summer. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recommends the following steps for a water-saving garden makeover:

 

Start Early. Plan ahead so that all new plantings take place in the spring. It keeps you out of the summer heat and plants require much less water to get situated compared to the warmer months.

 

Go Native. When deciding what to install in your yard, consider native and drought resistant plants. They typically require less maintenance and little watering once established (sometimes none at all!).

 

Must Mulch. Use compost when planting and cover the area with mulch afterwards. Compost helps keep the water by the plant’s roots and mulch prevents evaporation. Make sure to leave some space around the base of each plant and resist creating mulch mounds around plants and trees.

 

Less Lawn. The average American uses 200 gallons per day watering their lawn. Consider replacing some of that grass with an attractive groundcover which is drought resistant, covers a large area, and requires zero mowing.

 

Super Soak. Up to a third of all water from sprinklers can evaporate during the heat of the day. Instead, give your plants fewer, heavy soakings. If you must use sprinklers, only use them in the morning.

 

Grey is Good. Recapturing grey water or rainwater can provide a free source of garden irrigation. These systems can be easily installed and even incorporated into irrigation systems.

 

Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip irrigation systems water plants right at the root and serve as an efficient alternative to sprinkler systems. Be sure to get a timer for maximum effectiveness.

 

There are many ways to significantly reduce utility bills through landscape design. To learn more or find a landscape architect near you with Firm Finder, visit www.asla.org.

Water costs continue to rise. However, smart landscape design and simple watering habits can significantly reduce a home’s utility bills. By planning now, homeowners can save hundreds of dollars and thousands of gallons of water this summer. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recommends the following steps for a water-saving garden makeover:

 

Start Early. Plan ahead so that all new plantings take place in the spring. It keeps you out of the summer heat and plants require much less water to get situated compared to the warmer months.

 

Go Native. When deciding what to install in your yard, consider native and drought resistant plants. They typically require less maintenance and little watering once established (sometimes none at all!).

 

Must Mulch. Use compost when planting and cover the area with mulch afterwards. Compost helps keep the water by the plant’s roots and mulch prevents evaporation. Make sure to leave some space around the base of each plant and resist creating mulch mounds around plants and trees.

 

Less Lawn. The average American uses 200 gallons per day watering their lawn. Consider replacing some of that grass with an attractive groundcover which is drought resistant, covers a large area, and requires zero mowing.

 

Super Soak. Up to a third of all water from sprinklers can evaporate during the heat of the day. Instead, give your plants fewer, heavy soakings. If you must use sprinklers, only use them in the morning.

 

Grey is Good. Recapturing grey water or rainwater can provide a free source of garden irrigation. These systems can be easily installed and even incorporated into irrigation systems.

 

Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip irrigation systems water plants right at the root and serve as an efficient alternative to sprinkler systems. Be sure to get a timer for maximum effectiveness.

 

UK PM to get tough on plastic bags

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Friday warned retailers they had to start charging shoppers for the 13 billion plastic bags they currently get for free each year or the government would step in to force them.
Most bags end as landfill waste or being blown across the countryside, littering the landscape and harming wildlife.

Read more @ Business – Guardian.co.uk|.

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