Keep it Green!

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By Valentina Diaz

Planet Ark’s National Tree Day and Schools Tree Day combine to make Australia’s biggest community tree-planting and nature care event.

It aims to inspire, educate and recruit Australians to actively care for our unique land and create future generations of committed environmental custodians.

Although Australia is only made up of 0.3% of the world’s population we contribute about 1.5% of the total international greenhouse gas emissions which are the cause of the global temperature increase.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics since 1950 our average national temperature has risen by 0.9 degrees Celsius, and if our emissions continue this way by 2070 it is projected to increase by 2.2 to 5.0 degrees C.

This substantial climate change will have significant impacts on our water, agriculture, biodiversity, coastal settlements and eventually directly impact human health.

Evidence for climate change include increases in air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising sea levels.

The main production of greenhouse gas emissions is from the combustion of fossil fuels for our energy consumption.

The greenhouse gasses made up of carbon dioxide and methane produced by landfill are not the main culprit. But we will soon be running out of space for landfill sites which produce a toxic liquid called leachate (something like toxic bin juice). A mixture of organic acids, dissolved chemicals and rain water which can contaminate surrounding land and waterways.

Let’s face it, anyone who has lived near a landfill site will tell you, it is not pleasant waking up to the scent of society’s toxic waste, which will gently waft over your home when the wind is right.

47% of our waste is organic so we can reduce our total landfill contamination by composting our fruit and veg scraps and using them to nourish the garden free of charge.

All you need is a little spot in your backyard and a compost bin from wherever u can find one! (Its really only like an upside down bin with a lid where the bottom should be so u can lift and close to keep scavengers out).

If you are serious about your delicious compost heap you can buy some worms, catch them yourself or ask your neighbour if they have any and put the little buggers in your new compost hotel. Where they will hopefully thrive and multiply given the right living conditions which will in turn make your garden soil into fertilised gold.

Once our rubbish ends up in landfill it cannot be recycled which is a waste of our precious resources.

Plastic makes up a large part of household waste and it cannot be re-integrated into our natural environment as synthetics can take hundreds of years to break down if ever.

Every year over 6 million tonnes of our waste is dumped into the world’s oceans and 80% of this is plastic. This plastic waste is responsible for killing more than a million sea-birds and 100,000 mammals every year.

When recycling it is important to remember not to include plastic bags as they can get stuck in the sorting machinery causing problems and rubbish placed inside rubbish bags cannot be adequately sorted.

Plastic lids are also to be removed from bottles and jars as they too can cause problems in the recycling process.

Schools Tree Day is on Friday, 24 July 2015

National Tree Day is on Sunday, 26 July 2015

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