The First Day of Spring: Celebrating Wattle Day

The First Day of Spring: Celebrating Wattle Day


Most of us are aware that the 1 September is the 1st day of spring in Australia. (In the astronomical calendar spring begins the 21 September but we do things differently here.)

If we are walking through life with our eyes wide open we notice nature blossoming all around us during this time of year, in particular, the strikingly yellow blossoms of a vast variety of wattles.

Wattle Day & the Golden Wattle

The Golden Wattle in full bloomThe 1st day of spring is also Wattle Day and the Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) is Australia’s official national floral emblem.

The Australian national colours of green and gold are derived from the Golden Wattle and are very well known due to national and international sport events – it would be interesting to find out how many Australians are aware of their origins.

The Wattle League Foundation

I was reminded last year when I was lucky enough to be involved in the launch of the Wattle League Foundation, a wonderful initiative aimed at providing supported transitional accommodation and support to veterans who find themselves homeless or at risk of homelessness as a result of mental health concerns.

As part of the background research for setting up this foundation I came across Wattle Day and loved that this common and humble plant is the national floral emblem of Australia. How very fitting and it wouldn’t it be lovely to make the wattle fashionable.

Plant a Wattle

Wattle Bush in Broken Head

Wattle Bush in Broken Head

I have planted quite a few in my garden and they are prospering and are much loved by bees and birds.

Why not plant a Golden Wattle or any other variety this September to celebrate Australia and all its beauty? You can find instructions on this fact sheet!


Sustainability education: educating young change makers

manthinkHow do we ensure that future generation are equipped to deal with the challenges they will face? Climate change consequences and overpopulation are two of the major issues forcing us to take a good look at the way we live including our diets: the production and distribution of food; land ownership; the nature of work and the entire economic system.

One of the greatest tasks for society then is to equip children with the attitudes, values, knowledge and skills necessary to rethink and change current patterns of action and to secure healthy, just and sustainable futures for all. (Davis and Cooke, 1996)

Sustainability Awareness

Knowledge and information about the world around us is more available than ever before. Society is finding ways of solving social and environmental problems and making the shift towards creating change. But practical change is slow. [Read more…]

The 17 UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDG’s)

The 17 UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDG’s)

This is an overview about the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, about the what, why and where to from here and why should we care about them. Please note that the information in this article is largely derived from the resources and links quotes in it.

The UN set up a very comprehensive website about the Goals which is complex and quite confusing. It shows just how difficult it is to break down positive sustainable development meaningfully.

What are the sustainable development goals – the basics

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) are a set of 17 goals with 169 associated targets designed and guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.  The SDG’s replace and build on the Millennium Development goals (MDG’s). The major difference to of the SDG’s are that they are broader in scope and go much further in addressing the root causes of poverty and the universal need for development that works for all people.

The new Goals are universal and apply to all countries, whereas the MDGs were intended for action in developing countries only.

What do the SDG’s mean?

[Read more…]

The best Mother’s Day present

The best Mother’s Day present

There is something unifying about Mother’s Day that few other commemorative days have to offer – we all have a mother and wouldn’t be in this world without her (our fathers have played a minor role of course… but that is a story for another day.)

Mother’s Day is for all of us and, regardless of circumstance, is an opportunity to cherish women for what they bring to the world. Women, like men are diverse human beings and come in all shapes and forms. Women are not perfect by any means however, today is not about a balanced discussion about the complexity and diversity of women. [Read more…]

International Women’s Day: girls and women – where to from here?

Here we go again, it is International Women’s Day 2016. A great day to celebrate women’s achievements and their place in the world. If you are a man, cherish the women in your life. If you are a woman and lucky enough to live in circumstances that allow you to kick back and relax, do whatever makes you feel good – and yes, I know it is Monday, but what the heck! We deserve it :)

250 million girls live in poverty worldwide

[Read more…]

Single on Valentine’s Day? Don’t stress – it has it’s benefits!

Single on Valentine’s Day? Don’t stress – it has it’s benefits!

You are single but you are not alone!

World-wide, the single person household is growing rapidly in line with economic development and education. The more developed and educated, the higher the proportion of single person households…it is predicted that the lone person household will rise most of all households over the next 25 years and more than half of these households are females.  And the reason is simply that people want to live an individualistic lifestyle when they can afford it.

What does this mean for Valentine’s Day? [Read more…]

Valentine’s Day 2016 for you greenie sweethearts

Valentine’s Day 2016 for you greenie sweethearts

What is Valentine’s Day about ?

If love is an embrace, a kiss, caring and feeling – a fondness or affection, why then has the annual celebration of love – St. Valentine’s Day become a consumer driven machine worth an estimated $18.9 billion USD that leaves even the most reasonable of spendthrifts feeling a little sinful (estimate of figures by About News – that’s huge!)

In the 1850’s Esther A. Howland began mass producing Valentine’s cards in the US, from the 18th century custom of exchanging handmade cards to loved ones on St. Valentine’s Day and it has steadily gained momentum to the excessive holiday it is today that people love to hate and retailers unashamedly relish.

St. Valentine’s Day wasn’t always linked with love, it wasn’t until Chaucer’s Love Birds that the custom of exchanging cards began.

The history of Valentine’s Day:

[Read more…]

World Animal Day 4 October

World Animal Day 4 October

Did you know that there is such a day as World Animal Day? And that this week is also ‘Be Kind to Animals Week’?

Each of us can make a big difference to animals.  Rather than harping on about the state of animals around the world today I will let the wonderful initiatives that various people have founded to celebrate animals speak for themselves:

Check out the Be Kind To Animals Week website which is a bounty of resources for schools and others who simply wish to care for animals.

The top 10 ways to help animals according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). I don’t entirely agree with this list but it is good food for thought.

World Animal Day UK website – very cool site with lot’s of information!!

Check out the beautiful rescue animals – more than 300 – who live at Edgar’s Mission in Victoria, Australia! That will put a smile on your dial! There are similar projects all around the world which are testimony to the many animal lovers out there who wish to create a fairer place for all animals, human and non-human! And maybe somebody will get inspired to set one up right now.

And last but by no means least, please watch the wonderful Avian Behaviourist Josh Cook : Thinking Outside the Cage and showing us how we could engage in a beautiful two way relationship with birds.


Happy World Animal Day everybody!!!


9 must reads for conservationists

Protecting the environment is becoming more and more urgent and is by no means a new issue. We need more conservationists. Our green conscience has been evolving since the beginning of the industrialisation. Here are nine must read books – some because they put the climate change debate and environmental protection into historical context and others because they are entertaining and have brought environmental issues to the masses.

Just click on the links in the carousel below. Should the carousel not load for you, below is the list spelled out again.

The list is:

  • Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, 1865
  • Germinal by Emile Zola, 1885
  • Silent Spring by Rachel Carson 1962
  • Flight of Ashes by Monika Maron 1986
  • Farewell to Matyora by Valentin Rasputin, 1995
  • Purple America by Rick Moody, 1998
  • The Future of Life by Edward O. Wilson 2003
  • The Swarm: by Frank Schatzing,  2007
  • The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, 2008
self induced hearing loss & how to prevent it

self induced hearing loss & how to prevent it

Self Induced Hearing Loss

Attention has been focused on the potentially negative effects smartphones can have by way of emissions, privacy intrusion and unsafe driving practices. We haven’t yet shed sufficient light on the impact smartphones, MP3 players and other listening devices can have on our hearing.

1.1 Billion Young People Are at Risk of Hearing Loss

This has led to a situation where,  according to estimates by the World Health Organisation, about 1.1 billion young people worldwide are at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices.

Due to the prevalence of relatively cheap modern technology we are facing a sharp rise in self-induced hearing loss.  Luckily, however, state of the art remedies – including highly effective and almost invisible hearing aids- are available.

Prevention of Hearing Loss Requires a Change in Attitude

[Read more…]