The story of Plastic Free July

Plastic Free coverPlastic Free is a warmly personal narrative by the founder of Plastic Free July, a sustainability initiative which began less than ten years ago, almost by accident, in Perth.

Prince-Ruiz was working at the time as a community educator in waste management so she was well equipped to support the programme when it unexpectedly took off – and that was all it needed.

Her emphasis was always on community, on shared learning, and on doing what’s possible right now rather than aiming higher and missing the goal. It made Plastic Free July an achievable and therefore engaging challenge, which then became a gateway to engagement with other sustainability issues – avoiding other single-use products, reducing food waste, joining food co-ops, and so on.
Continue reading “The story of Plastic Free July”

Citizen Science – iNaturalist

The internet and digital photography have opened up wonderful opportunities for ordinary people to get involved in citizen science as observers of the natural world. Online meeting places and forums come and go but the best at the moment seems to be iNaturalist – https://www.inaturalist.org.

It’s a global project and the numbers are huge: 54 million observations by 1.4 million observers from nearly every country in the world when I looked recently. That presents a management problem, of course, which is solved by having countries run independent branches, e.g. https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/

Anyone at all can browse the content of the site but people have to sign up to participate. When that’s done (at no cost and very little trouble) they can upload their observations, help with identifying others’ observations, and join the discussion forums.  It’s a big and complex site but not too difficult to negotiate because it is exceptionally well planned and because there is no need to use most of its functions until you want to. (I have to admit there are some that I haven’t bothered with in the year I have been a member.)

And ordinary people can make very useful contributions to the project, especially if they (we) are outside the big cities.

Continue reading “Citizen Science – iNaturalist”

Odd bird portraits

These are odd portraits of birds rather than portraits of odd birds, although the Jacana probably qualifies on both counts. I took them on a ride along the Annandale side of Ross River from Aplin’s Weir to the Palmetum a few days ago.

There are always swallows flitting about the weir, resting on the weir wall between excursions over the water in search of insects. I liked the contrast of the small-fragile-soft, but absolutely nonchalant, bird against the massive-brutal masonry. For the record, it’s a Welcome Swallow, Hirundo neoxena, our only resident swallow species.

Welcome Swallows Hirundo neoxena on Aplins Weir wall
Welcome Swallow, Aplin’s Weir

Continue reading “Odd bird portraits”

Noisy garden

We live in a bird-noisy garden and suburb and we are usually suitably grateful. Our gratitude was somewhat strained, I have to admit, when this family of Blue-winged Kookaburras started calling at dawn, but I had enough goodwill left for them to spot them in the top of a neighbour’s eucalypt an hour later and immortalise them.

That’s Dad on the left, with Mum beside him and (presumably) their well-grown chick on the right.

They are very loud when they let loose. So are the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos which often pass overhead and sometimes pause in the Burdekin Plum tree. So are the Curlews which scream at night on our footpath and, at this time of year, the incessantly-calling Koels.

But we would be far poorer without them.

A sister site for Green Path

Green Path now has a sibling, companion, doppelganger or whatever you like to call it, which is the home for my non-environmental interests – primarily books and photography, so I have called it ‘words & images’. It’s a blog very like this one and I have been setting it up during the last couple of weeks.

It already has twenty-odd posts, mostly older book reviews republished from elsewhere; the first new post on it is an introduction to Discworld for those unfortunate enough to have missed that very special fantasy series.

Normal service on Green Path can now resume.