I went to Tiritiri Matangi Island (see previous post) with a group of 7 other people, 3 of whom I knew. While we were eating on the evening, it occurred to me how amazing it is when a common language and common interest can unite people.
The group consisted of 2 English, 2 Spanish, 1 Brazilian, 1 Polish, 1 Korean and 1 Italian…and yet everyone was united by speaking English and also by a love of New Zealand wildlife and conservation.
It is incredible how a common language can break down barriers and expose us to greater knowledge, understanding, experiences and a deeper insight into other cultures…but I must say it would be nice to have the challenge occasionally of that language not being English.
While visiting the Wairarapa region of New Zealand, I went to the Pukaha Mount Bruce national wildlife centre. This is primarily a location where they assist with the conservation of native species, including many of NZ’s birds.
One of the highlights is undoubtedly the native Kaka, a woodland parrot. They sure know when feeding time is and queue up in the trees for 3pm. Clever, and beautiful, birds. Hopefully one day they (and others) will be able to spread out across NZ once more as mammalian pests are brought under closer control. These Kaka are wild but sure know where they are best to hang out!
Dogs love the smell of kiwis. Kiwis have a strong smell. The two together make for a bad marriage.
When a dog is left to run wild in kiwi habitat the outcome is often not good. Unlike many birds, the kiwi does not have a sternum (breastbone) which means it doesn’t take much pressure to cause major damage to internal organs. A dog may not even mean to cause damage but the outcome can often be bad. Those who handle kiwi must be trained in order to pick up the bird in a way that won’t cause harm.
So, if you’re in New Zealand with a dog, please make sure you respect the signs and the rules and keep your dog away from this national icon and help preserve it for the future.
I occasionally read blogs or meet people who like to talk about their bucket lists. Things they want to do before they die. They are generally (and quite rightly) very selfish. Some lists are ridiculously long, some seem acheivably short. Often the contents include travel or jumping out of means of travel.
I was wondering what would happen to these bucket lists if the human race proceeds along its irresponsible current path of destruction and pillage. I then thought how there ought to be a Bucket List for the World. Here are some things that it might be nice to have on there…
- Significant population reduction of the human species
- Stop the use of damaging pesticides and chemicals in the environment
- Large reduction in number of species in danger of extinction
- Greater quality of life for all living species
- Greater quantity of preserved habitat for non-humans
- Clean oceans and rivers
- Wholesale improvement (i.e. reduction) in the man-made impact on climate change
- No need for fossil fuels
- Stop logging from unsustainable sources
- Responsibly questioning our manufacturing to not produce the next day’s waste
- 100% recycling, 0% waste
- No weapons of mass destruction
- No ignorant bigotry based on race, religion, gender, sexual preference, disability etc
- All countries working together for mutual benefit and advancement rather than for their own power and interests
Does anyone have any others they’d like to see? Wouldn’t it be great if we could somehow make them a reality? If only…
We Have Just One World – We Need to Look After It
I’ve been thinking of late about how we are seemingly all sucked in – in some way, shape or form – to the cycle of upgrading technology.
The latest mobile phone, the latest annual iteration of a computer game, the latest remake of a classic film, the latest TV…whatever it is, we are sold a new item which replaces something which is not even close to being obsolete, and often that new item doesn’t even do anything markedly different to that which it is replacing and is simply a set of new gimmicks. Is this the ultimate con trick of these companies who make new technologies? If they were actually being deceitful about their items, I’d say yes, but we allow ourselves to just go along and spend our hard-earned cash on something which is probably 95% identical to the last one in its functionality and gives us only fleeting satisfaction (and maybe an opportunity to gloat at someone who doesn’t have it – like they even care). Are we conning ourselves?
I’ve inherited my last two mobile phones. At one point I went into a store to look at the latest iPhone and asked the shop assistant about the different models available. He asked me what I needed the phone for and I said “to make calls and send texts”, to which he honestly replied, “why don’t you just get an older one?”. Refreshing.
When you upgrade your mobile phone (as an example, and assuming you just buy the same brand), the first thing you do is set it up exactly like the old one, and iTunes even does this for you! There isn’t really much fun in it or much reason to explore. It doesn’t seem to make much sense if it isn’t replacing obsolescence, except for those companies who want to keep making lots of money so they can keep designing small improvements to roll out next time. Perhaps it is simply the milking of brand loyalty by large corporations.
It is hard to understand how we can get so much gratification from this, and yet somehow we do, me included with certain products. Surely it would make sense for us to upgrade less often and actually feel like we are getting something that is actually much better (maybe even life-changing) instead of just mildly different? We’d have the added benefit of saving some of the earth’s scarce resources if we upgraded any consumable items less often, which would be an added bonus, although at least older phones can be dismantled by machine and the valuable components re-used.
Something for us all to think about.
Following on from my recent post about buying Palm Oil free products, I was thinking about the choices we make as consumers, and the irresponsible actions of businesses.
Why do we need plastic straws in our drinks when there are sustainable alternatives?
Why do we need Christmas Crackers? These invariably go into the bin on the same day!
Why do we need little plastic “toys” or suchlike in cereal packets (or indeed Christmas Crackers)? It seems absurd that these add any value to anyone.
Why do some food items come packaged in both a box AND a bag?
In the digital age, do we really need to send paper birthday (and other occasion) cards around the world?
When was the last time you refused free plastic bags? We don’t need them most of the time, nor should we want them.
As a consumer, I feel underinformed at times about what the most sustainable option is for my purchase (often you don’t even get a choice)…as a business, I suspect they just want to make as much money as possible by hooking people in, but maybe we can alter the behaviour of businesses if we begin to shift away from cheap wasteful gimmicks and analyse “traditions”.
I recently stayed in an hotel which provided a little bag encouraging you to take any toiletries away with you. The sentiment is great as opposed to leaving partially used items in the room that must often just go in a bin, so I applaud it in that regard, but why is a bag required? Why not just a small sign or a note in a guestbook? As a concept it seems up there with humans producing a paper leaflet about saving trees. Scenic Hotels – this is not an ECO bag…it is a bag that did not need to be made at all…you have wasted resources in an effort not to waste resources. THINK!