Friday, July 10, 2009

Letter to the Editor - Sustainability

To Whom it may concern,

I believe that sustainability isn't a topic that is pushed around enough these days and is widely disregaurded by many many people. So, I have organised an argument in the structure of a letter to get the message across. There is no point waiting until it is all too late. Being sustainable is a great thing.

Why? well firstly, if you take that leap today and start living a sustainable live, you will manage to save quite a lot of money and buy that special something for that special someone, or perhaps yourself. How, you may ask? Things like your power bill will come down by a noticable margin if you start being sustainable and use less electricity, e.g not using the dryer to dry your clothes, using less hot water, and replace your regular lightbulbs with energy efficient lightbulbs. Going to the vege shop and buying fruit such as oranges from the U.S.A is a very stupid thing to do. Not only do they cost more, they used some of earths natural resources, like fuel to fuel the boat or plane they were imported on, which is polluuting the air we breathe. It is much more sustainable to grow your own fruit and vegies or buy local, because they are fresher and cheaper. Driving a car or motorbicycle to the shop or to work when it is only a short distance manageable by foot is not a sustainable thing to do. It costs money to buy the fuel, which adds carbon dioxide to the air when it is burned by a vehicle. To be more sustainable you could cath a bus or car pool, or you can do the most sustainable action of all, getting around on foot or by bike.

Secondly, at the moment on earth, we continue to consume most of earths natural resources, instead of using renewable resources. When people these days go out to cut down a tree, they don't plant another few! we should be planting at least one tree for every one of them we cut down, otherwise timber wouldn't be a renewable resource anymore. When a tree is cut down, the airs oxygen supply becomes lesser. Why? because trees breathe in the carbon dioxide, a gas which pollutes the air, and they breathe out oxygen, a gas all animals require to live. The bottom line is, if we have no trees or plants, we will have no life what-so-ever. Another unsustainable unrenewable resource are petrols and fossil fuels. They cost lots of money, and pollute the are with plenty of Carbon Dioxide. Like we need any more! eventually they will run out and we will find a way to replace fossil fuel burning vehicles. So we do we have to wait until it all runs out and we maximise the pollution? it would make a lot more sense to stop using fossil fuels and petrols immediatley. Because of our current unsustainability, my research has shown that we only have 1/33 of the earths surface area to grow natural crop. This isn't good enough! no wonder many people in many countries are being deprived of there nutritious supplements. Who is to blame? the unsustainable people of our world. But it is not to late. We can turn all of this around before it can get possibly worse. We have to start this instant. Lifes could depend on it.

You may not know it, but you, the everyday person, is creating massive amounts of waste every second. We can help cut the amount of waste we create short by reusing and recycling. Instead of using plastic bags when you go shopping that can damage very easily and will only last you one use, try using re usable fabric bags. They are far more durbale and on the long term the will be cheaper than using plastic bags. another example is using cloth nappies instead of plastic nappies, because plastic nappies only last for one use as well. If there is a product that is not recyclable, avoid buying it. Try and find a recyclable substitute. my final example of this is using containers instead of gladwrap or gladbags because they can be re used. Also remember to recycle your paper, because it doesn't have to spend ages in the dump rotting away. You could recycle it or better yet - you could put it in a worm farm. Worm farms are very useful for getting rid of your food scraps and sometimes paper. If you want to help the environment, get a worm a farm! just remember you can't feed them anything that contains citrus, and cut the paper up and flatten it before feeding it. You benefit from this by rededucing your total waste, which is being more sustainable, and you can sell the vermacast the worms produce.

That is why it is a great thing to be sustainable and save the planet while we still can.

Yours sincerly,

Winged Hussar

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Footprint progress 3

My 3rd post on my carbon footprint reducement progress. I have stopped using the dryer to wash my clothes, I now hang them up inside during the night instead. It still gets the same result and reduces energy use and my carbon footprint.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Footprint progress 2

I have started to turn the tap off when I am brushing my teeth, which is the second part of my carbon footprint progress.

Footprint progress 1

It's me, reporting on my carbon footprint progress. I have started to have shorter hot showers. It would be better if i had cold showers, but it is winter so doing something like that is a bit foolish.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How much food do we have?

Me and Mystery Man have been engulfed in a math project to find out how much of the earth we have to grow food. Two Waikato University students from SIFE (students in free enterprise) came in and said we only had 1/32 of the earth's surface to grow our crop. So we set out to prove if this was true. First we got the Earths land and sea surface area and converted it to rough fractions. Using my talent i determined that there were:
surface area: 510 065 600 km²
land area: 148 330 000 km²
sea area: 361 740 000 km²
using my further talent i determined that this meant that:
15/51 surface area is land.
36/51 surface area is ocean.
This instantly eliminated 36/51 from our equasion.
with the 15/51 we had left, we had to take out the mountanious, desert, forest, and urban (buildings) land.
In the end we had about 1.5/51(something like that) left to grow food. We then found out this was roughly equivelant to 1/33( includes permanent crop and arable land). So, in conclusion, we have about 1/33 of the earths surface area to grow food. So the two university students were incorrect by just a tiny bit.
This is important because we have to be sustainable, and be careful about what we do with the tiny bit of land we have for growing food.

Eco footprint diary - Thursday 18 June 2009. (Winged Hussar)

This is a diary of my thoughts, about what I can do to help the environment. The smallest things do count, so I am going to start small.

  1. I will turn the tap off when I am brushing my teeth.
  2. I will have shorter hot showers
  3. I will try to avoid using the dryer to dry my clothes and substitute it by hanging my washing on a clothesline or
  4. I will turn electrical appliances off when i am not using them

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sustainable Architecture

On Wednesday 3rd June 2009 Kris Wilson, an Architect from Design house ( came in and made a presentation about sustainable architecture. He pointed out that sustainable doesn't just mean eco friendly. He said that a sustainable house must be able to live and interact with the environment and keeping it healthy and happy at the same time. Kris mentioned that you don't have to be an architect to contribute to sustainable architecture. You could be a builder, a plumber, etc. There are three key aspects to Sustainable architecture.
energy Efficiency
High level of insulation
passive solar power
effiecent heating
eco friendly light bulbs
thermal mass (concrete absorbing and releasing heat)
Waste Management
Weather resistant cladding
Recycling while building
Grey water systems ( re usable water)
low flow/ low pressure water taps and shower heads
Building Materials
Non Toxic
Locally made


On Tuesday 2nd July 2009 Jo and Clement from Waikato University, in association with S.I.F.E (Students In Free Enterprise), Came in to our class and did a presentation about Sustainibility, being eco friendly and worm farming. They mebtioned some common sense things such as the three R's. Reuse, Recycle, reduce. They told us that we only have 1/32 of the earths surface area to grow all the food the world consumes. at the end they talked about worm farming, And how it reduces your rubbish, (half of it in my case). you can also sell the worm juice and keep some for yourself because it works as a brilliant fertiliser. one important thing they talked to us about is the amount of rubbish we produce, and how it is bad that we throw recycable materials away like paper in tin cans, into a hole in the ground which then gets covered over. In New Zealand, there are only 60 open landfills, and 1000 closed landfills.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Supply► and Demand ♦

In Economics, Services supply the demands of the Consumer. When the consumers demand for a good meets the price of the suppliers product( as seen in the graph on your left), it creates an intersection, better known as a equilibrium point. The equilibrium point isn't created by the manufacturer or the consumer, but by the forces of the market. If the demand for a product is higher than the supply, the price of the product is likely to increase. If the supply is higher than the demand of a certain product, the price decreases and if the demand is really low, the product may become obsolete. When it becomes obsolete, the quantity will be really low. The price and quantity of a product is determined by their relationship with each other.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Eco House

When designing a house there are 5 important things - Floor, Roof, Wall, Door, and Windows.
The Wall is simple. I will use Adobe bricks. If you look at my previous post titled "My Job"
You will see that my profession revolves around clay, which can be used to make adobe bricks. to make adobe bricks, see this link here. For the floor, I will use wood. I know this will eat away at our trees, but i will use bamboo floors. The roof will be made of Adobe as well, but not brick. it will just be smooth and flat. The doors will be entirely made out of wood. For the handle and hinges we will import iron from Mr. Devoy's island, and hire especially trained peoples to fit them. And finally, for the windows I will use double glazed Glass that slides up into the adobe brick wall, with two adjustable things halfway up the window that can stop the window from sliding back down.

for blankets and rugs etc. you could use the wool from sheep. ( i decided to bring breeding sheep with me to the island as one of my six things

My Job

Everyone on our island has to have a proffession in which they can get deeply stuck in to, and is ideal to have a job/profession that helps the island be an eco friendly and sustainable environment to live in.
I have chosen to be a... i don't what its called. Somebody who mines clay, moulds clay, sellls moulded clay, and one large area which is really great for eco housing: adobe bricks. they are an excellent natural building resource which is made from easy to get materials. they are soil, sand, clay (ideally the soil is mixed with the clay [i think]). And to fire the clay so it stays in its solid state permanently, I can make a kiln using adobe bricks and straw. This way we don't have to cut down half the trees in our forest for building materials. Of course, we just might run out of clay after a lot of time. It can be found in the ground, usually about 60cm> under the ground.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

6 Goods

This is a list of six things we are allowed to take to the Matai islands ( which aren't real). These things were decided based on needs of survival, and how to set up and sustain an environment suitable to live in, keeping in mind that there are 30 other people bringing their own 6 items.

1. Breeding pair of cows, prefferably those that naturally produce A2 milk.
2. A large working wooden cart/wagon capable of being pulled along baring full load by a 11-12 year old.
3. Plenty of seeds to grow different types of vegetables
4. A large Toolkit with everything from hammers and nails to shovels and saws
5. medication
6. Breeding pair of Sheep

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What is sustainability?

Well. according to wikipedia...

Although the definition of sustainable development (above), given by the Brundtland Commission, is frequently quoted,[8] it is not universally accepted and has undergone various interpretations.[9][10] Definitions of sustainability may be expressed as statements of fact, intent, or value with sustainability treated as either a "journey" or "destination."[11] Where we are now, where we need to be going, and how we are to get there are all open to interpretation[12] and will depend on the particular context under consideration.[13]

This difficult mix has been described as a dialogue of values that defies consensual definition.[14] Sustainability has been regarded as both an important but unfocused concept like "liberty" or "justice"[15][16] and as a feel-good buzzword with little meaning or substance.[17][18][19] The idea of sustainable development is sometimes viewed as an oxymoron because development inevitably depletes and degrades the environment.[20] Consequently some definitions either avoid the word developmentand use the term sustainability exclusively, or emphasise the environmental component, as in "environmentally sustainable development."[21]

Another representation showing economy and society bounded by the environment.[22]

The dimensions of sustainability are often taken to be: environmentalsocial and economic, known as the "three pillars"[23] These can be depicted as three overlapping circles (or ellipses), to show that they are not mutually exclusive and can be mutually reinforcing.[24]

While this model initially improved the standing of environmental concerns,[25] it has since been criticised for not adequately showing that societies and economies are fundamentally reliant on the natural world. According to English environmentalist and author Jonathon Porritt, "The economy is, in the first instance, a subsystem of human society ... which is itself, in the second instance, a subsystem of the totality of life on Earth (the biosphere). And no subsystem can expand beyond the capacity of the total system of which it is a part."[26]

For this reason a second diagram shows economy as a component of society, both bounded by, and dependent upon, the environment. As the American ecological economist Herman Daly famously asked, "what use is a sawmill without a forest?"[27]

The concept of living within environmental constraints underpins the IUCNUNEP and WWF definition of sustainability: "improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting eco-systems."[28]

The Earth Charter goes beyond defining what sustainability is, and seeks to establish the values and direction needed to achieve it: "We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations."[29]

The next section traces the evolution of thinking about sustainability in human history.