Tag Archives: environment

I’m trying to go poo-less

I did something rad this morning – I washed my hair without shampoo.  That’s right, I was ‘poo-less’.  I read that a solution of bicarbonate of soda (1 tablespoon in 1 cup of water) would work well and be kinder to the hair and even though it sounds dodgy, I reasoned that we do know that sodium bicarbonate has a reputation for dissolving grease and grime and neutralising odours.  So, purely in the interests of science, I gave it a go. 

I wet my hair then gently rubbed the solution into my scalp (because that’s the bit that gets the most dirty – well, obviously)!  There is, of course no lather so I was a bit skeptical.  (Here’s an interesting, but relevant aside: Did you know that manufacturers actually put a bubble-making agent into washing-up liquid?  It’s pretty much unnecessary but market research has shown that we consumers didn’t trust the liquid to work without those bubbles.  Humans …such simple creatures). 

Anyhoo, I left the bicarb solution in my hair for a few minutes whilst I got on with washing my bod and then I rinsed my hair.  I was genuinely surprised at how much styling gunk came out – impressive.  I finished by conditioning the ends with a solution of 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar to 1 cup of water.  Leave for a minute, then rinse. 

All very New Age.  All very Hippy Dippy Mother Earth and importantly, good for the body and good for the environment.  No sodium lauryl sulphate [SLS] – which makes those highly desired bubbles.   (Whether or not you believe the links between SLS and cancer, this substance does seem to commonly cause scalp irritation so may actually be causing or contributing to your dandruff, if you have it).

So what’s the verdict on today’s experiment?

Surprisingly, my hair doesn’t look half bad.  It appears pretty clean and is less fly-away than usual.  I’m not converted yet however because the poo gives a nice smell and there is, of course, no perfume in this simple bicarb mix.  BUT, maybe I can remedy that with a herbal rinse – rosemary water is good for red/brunette hair.

As my hair is less fly-away, this suggests that some oil still remains.  In all fairness that makes for a healthier scalp, but will it mean that my hair needs washing more often than the every 2-3 days it gets now?  If that’s the case, I’d be using the curling tongs more often – bad news for luscious locks and more time-consuming in the styling department. (Make no mistake, styling my hair is a given if I want to avoid looking like I’ve just been connected up to the electrical supply).

So there we are – an interesting experiment.  We’ll see how it pans out over the next few days.

Anyone had any experience with this poo-less life?  How did you get on?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

This article also appears at my other WordPress site.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Beauty, environment, health

Cold apprenticeship

TropicalI read yesterday that 1st October is ‘Central Heating Day’ because it’s the day when many turn their central heating back on.  Now I must say, if that’s true, I don’t understand that kind of pedantic thinking.  Yesterday was glorious and I had the windows and doors open all day, (clearly no point in sticking the heating on just because of a calendar date then) but I’m only too aware that tomorrow may bring eskimo chills, with winds whipping down from the north.  Then I’ll have no hesitation in flipping the switch for a bit of warmth blasting throughout the house.

There is a trend to make people like me feel a little guilty about seemingly unthinkingly flipping the central heating switch.  I have to say, however, you’re not going to easily persuade me to go around in ever increasing layers of woolly pullies as the winter sets in, rather than basking in a generally gloriously warm and welcoming atmosphere.  My home is insulated, doubled glazed and I’ve just gone and ordered some new thickly interlined curtains for the cold months ahead.  I feel I’m being a pretty good citizen therefore and, more to the point, I’m old enough to remember the days pre-central heating and dearly hope never to have to live like that again.

Cold, 2Sure, you can sit around with extra layers on and even blankets over your knees, but when the atmosphere of the whole house chills down things start to become damp and inhospitable.  Getting ready for bed becomes a question of superquick timing to get under the covers as quickly as possible and then curling up like a pill bug until the bed warms up.  On top of that, those bed covers can, in themselves, be slightly damp if you are unlucky enough to live in something like an old granite building (as I once did).  Going to the loo in the night has to be done at speed, so as to not lose too much body heat and getting up in the morning?  Well, there is the real killer.  You’re all toasty under the covers but the almost numbing cold on your nose tells you that ‘out there’ is a different matter.  If you think it’s bad getting up to a 6.30 alarm on a cold winter’s morning now, trust me, that is pure luxury compared to hauling yourself out of the warmth of bed, into the the cold and then stripping off for a wash in an even colder bathroom.  As a child I developed a technique for blasting through to the bathroom for as quick a wash as I could reasonably manage, positioning myself as much as possible under the small electric ceiling heater, and then hopping back into my hopefully still warm bed to put on my school uniform.  Yes, that’s right.  In the very coldest months I actually dressed for the day in bed.

Worst memory of cold winters gone?  That’s a toss up between the damp sheets on the damp bed in the damp granite property I just mentioned and a mercifully short stint in a big empty guest house during the bleak winter months where it was so cold that my breath steamed just standing in the bedroom.

So, it’s October now and very shortly I expect to see articles telling me that I rely too much on central heating.  Maybe so, but you know what?   I feel I’ve done my cold-damp-apprenticeship and I’d like to enjoy a few more winters in the welcoming warmth of my home … before my pension fails to cover my fuel bills and I’ll be full circle, freezing my buns off again.

11 Comments

Filed under environment, Home

A question of ownership

SealThe city of San Diego as been given 72 hours to remove seals from a beach at the area of La Jolla so that children may use a concrete paddling pool there.  The pool was originally built and gifted to the city by a local philanthropist in the 1930s and nowadays contains such high levels of bacteria that there are signs advising people not to use it …. yet they still do.  (…??!…candidates for the Darwin Awards no doubt…)

As you might expect with one of these ‘man versus the environment’ issues, passions are running high.  City authorities are now at loggerheads with those who say that the seals are a valuable tourist attraction, the seals need a period of rest each day and that the area should instead be made into a sanctuary for the animals.

As the seals are a federally protected marine species, the only suggested solution is to employ someone to walk up and down the beach with a public address system loudly playing the sound of dogs barking .  (Torture for nearby human residents too I would have thought). Of course, passions are so inflamed that authorities feel that the person with the dog barking address system will need police protection – probably 2 officers will do.

I suspect the seals have always visited this beach and maybe back in the 1930s, when La Jolla was a quiet little seaside resort, shared use of the beach by man and animal wasn’t perceived to be a problem.  During the 1990s seal visitors increased and coincidentally, by that time there had also been an explosion of human visitors and residents.

LaJolla_Seals2I was at La Jolla a couple of times in the 1990s and my visits gave me magical memories that I treasure and make me want to visit again some day.  Forget the man-made attractions of cafes, restaurants and up-scale boutiques because I can find those around every corner.  What I can’t easily see in very many places, and therefore made my visit so special that I’d like to return some day, was the beautiful coastline and particularly the ability to get close to a large gathering of wild seals.  People had gathered too – some on the beach just yards away from the seals, some standing up on the little harbour wall.  All of us just quietly watching, all no doubt enjoying an all too rare opportunity to get so close to an aspect of nature that we rarely see.

In my opinion it would be a huge mistake to try to remove the seals.  Not only will it be costly to keep two policemen on ‘seal patrol’,  if the annoying public address system does the trick the seals may move on, but they may well take up residence on the very next beach along, causing a nuisance to swimmers, surfers and beachgoers there.  If they should sadly disappear entirely from the La Jolla area then I think that the town will notice a big drop in visitor numbers.  To me La Jolla without the wildlife is just another pretty coastal town and I (along with many others, I suspect) will have little reason to return.

Then there is the bigger moral question of who really owns this or any other piece of  coastline?  Is it ever ours to trade – to sell or to give away, imposing our will on all those who share it?  I’d argue that the marine life was there long before man and so we have a duty to be good new tenants, finding ways, wherever humanly possible, to discretely share the same space.  Besides which, is it really so difficult for us to find another place for a toddlers’ paddling pool?

La Jolla_Seal beach

15 Comments

Filed under environment, Green issues, modern life, People watching, Photography, world

Could do better

Who is the biggest polluter in the world now?  China?  India?  Here’s a chart you may find interesting:

CO2 emissions

China, as a developing country, is not yet required to reduce its emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, but as it accounts for one fifth of the world’s population, its emissions could dwarf any cuts made by industrialised countries.

The U.S. withdrew from its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6%, preferring instead to support voluntary reductions through the development of cleaner technologies. (A strategy which, according to this chart, didn’t seem to be working).  Finding more recent figues has proved difficult but according to an April 2008 article China and the U.S. were still vying for the dubious title of being the world’s top carbon polluter.

If, like most people, you are a follower of the theory that greenhouse gases are responsible for global warming, then this all makes for depressing reading.

A breakdown of the countries on the above chart, together with their commitment and performance relating to the Kyoto Protocol can be seen here.

There is also a fascinating ‘live map’ of the earth, showing CO2 emissions, birth and death rates over at breathingearth.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under environment, Green issues, modern life, web memorabilia, world

Find the right tools

World issuesThis week a meeting will take place in Copenhagen of the ‘Polar Bear Specialist Group’, set up by the IUCN / Species Survival Commission.  What is quite extraordinary is that one of the world’s foremost experts on polar bears, Dr. Mitchell Taylor will not be attending.  He has been told to stay away because his views do not accord with the rest of those attending.  Dr Taylor has studied polar bears for the last 30 years and contrary to the popular view, has stated on more than one occasion that polar bear numbers are actually much higher than they were 30 years ago.

You can read the full article here and while you’re at it, you might also note that the famous ‘polar bears on a melting iceberg’ shot that has been used over and over by people such as Al Gore to support their standpoint was taken by photographer Amanda Byrd just off the Alaska coast.  She has said that the bears were in fact in no danger, and that the photo was taken simply because the wind-sculpted ice on which they were standing made for a striking image – it wasn’t taken to illustrate global warming.  

All of which goes to show that you can prove anything if you speak to the right people and find the right tools to illustrate your point.

5 Comments

Filed under Envioronment, media, modern life, People watching, web memorabilia

Sunday pilgrimage

CarsWe were out to the ‘city’** dump again yesterday a.m. to drop off cardboard and glass, both of which we permanently seem to have a surfeit of.  The Parish has just provided boxes for certain recyclables.  Little boxes.  I mean seriously little boxes.  The box for tins is as big as the box for paper.  I don’t know how many tins other people get through in a week but for us it’s…er, let’s see…none. On the other hand just one copy of the local newspaper every night fills up the piddly paper bin, never mind anything else.  We’re awash with old paper (that description makes no sense at all, does it … ‘awash’…with paper)??!  Awash with cardboard.  And as for plastic bottles?  I could probably build an impressive art installation to adorn the empty fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.   We average two large water bottles per day and one small recycling box measuring 15 x 12 x 8 inches just won’t cut it I’m afraid.  We’re always struggling with plastic bottles and paper overflowing our own [large] recycling bins on the back step.  Nice idea to give us recycling bins ‘n all that but they’re totally inadequate and that means that every weekend we’re pootling down to the dump in our ‘gas guzzling’ car…along with everyone else. But let’s not travel any further on that bandwagon of discussion today.  I’ve been down that road before and I’d only be repeating myself. Again.

……… ** the word ‘city’ is my juvenile joke to myself because there is no city here, only a wee small town…….

Leave a comment

Filed under modern life, Smile / Humour

Natural pest control, 2

LacewingI’ve already covered planting to deter aphids and encouraging toads into the garden to munch away slugs, snails and other garden pests.  Everything in nature is in fine balance and in just the same way that certain bugs are determined to eat their way through our efforts in the garden, so Mother Nature has given us other insects that are the natural enemies of the garden marauders and are therefore our friends.  There are many garden friendly insects but the two most recognisable are the pretty green Ladybirdlacewing (Chrysoperla rufilabris …seen above), and everybody’s favourite – the ladybird, the adult and/or larval forms of which will eat aphids practically by the lorry load. 

To encourage garden friendly insects to your patch of green, first and foremost you must stop using chemical sprays (but then I’m sure you probably guessed that already). 

Secondly, if you can leave a sunny patch of your garden to grow wild, then please do.  In fact the ladybird’s favourite plant for nesting in is the humble nettle so where you see nettles Ladybird larvaestarting to grow, please leave them – you will be helping to increase the ladybird population.  Bear in mind that it is sometimes the larvae of garden friendly insects that are the biggest help to us and this is certainly the case with the ladybird, although you may, up until now have assumed that this little chap is just another pest.  He isn’t.  He’s a veritable aphid hoover!

Third, you can give garden friendly bugs a home in which to live.  There are attractive commercially made bug condominiums available to buy but making your own is also incredibly simple.  I made mine (pictured at the end of this post) by cutting pieces of hollow bamboo to a uniform length using secateurs – I’d say, cut the lengths to about 10 inches long.  (Bamboo is often used as plant supports and so can be easily purchased from garden Bugs1nurseries).  Cut both ends off  a large/2 litre plastic drinks bottle and tightly stuff the cut lengths of bamboo into the resulting plastic tube.  Tie string or twist wire around both ends of the newly made ‘bottle condominium’ so that you are able to hang it in a horizontal position.  Place it somewhere warm, preferably near the main problem area in the garden.  Pretty soon insects will find it and start to settle in your bug condo.  By the way, many insects hibernate over the winter months so it may be helpful to put your bug shelter somewhere like a garden shed over the coldest months to help protect it from frost.

Finally, make a compost heap, the simple presence of which will help to encourage insect life into your garden … not to mention providing you with fabulous compost.

If your garden is under serious attack right now, (or you are of a very impatient temperament!) friendly bug ‘attractants’ can be bought on-line.

0088, Bug shelter

4 Comments

Filed under Gardening, General tips