Dedicated to finding a path to sustainable development

We’re not all human

April 2nd, 2016 | Posted by Rochelle in Blog - (0 Comments)

الخيارات الثنائية التداول مراجعة الروبوت I’ve been thinking for a very long time that I need to get writing regularly.  Having recently listened to Dr Tim Spector on the radio talking about our microbiome I have been (re)inspired to write about how enmeshed humans are in our environment.  I’m hoping to maintain the mojo for future editions.  My main problem is that I have so much to say that I procrastinate over what to say first, so here goes…


rendimento fisso garantito opzioni binarie Firstly, I’d like to touch on the concept of an ecosystem.  By training, I am a zoologist so I’ve learned about the complexity of ecosystems and the variety of functions each component plays.  Each part of the system compliments or competes with other components.  An ecosystem tends towards an equilibrium where everything is in balance but various factors can upset that balance.  These are things like differences in availability of food, extreme weather events, and evolution.  The more diverse a system is (biodiversity) the more resilient it is to imbalances.

forex kurs aktuell As an example, let’s look at recent beech ‘mast’ events in New Zealand (2014 and 2016) when climatic conditions have been perfect for a bumper crop of beech seeds.  The beech mast provides lots more food than normal for all who live in the forest, including native birds.  However, the balance tips in favour of the pests such as rats and stoats who experience a population boom as a result of their huge breeding capacity relative to the natives.  This upsets the balance of the ecosystem when the pest species have a greater impact on native birds by eating more eggs and preying on ground dwelling chicks such as kiwi.

que significa call en opciones binarias Obviously this is a modified ecosystem, like most on earth, and human intervention is an attempt to balance the equation. To help adjust the ecosystem balance back in favour of the birds, the NZ Department of Conservation (DOC) drops 1080 poison.  This has a high success rate but also affects a small number of native birds and dogs can die if they eat a poisoned carcass so it can be controversial.  It’s the best tool in the arsenal at the moment.

The human ecosystem

posso fare trading con l app della bpvgo I thought I had a good idea of how ecosystems worked but never realised how completely entwined we are with the world until more recently.  In particular, I remember an article I saw published some years ago that really made me think about my relationship with the rest of the natural world.  It was by a Norwegian researcher, Fern Wickson, entitled “Why we need to forget about the environment”.

binary option prosignals Strong words.  Fern argues we have a problem with the way we are thinking about conserving our planet.  We conserve areas of land or sea thinking the value is in preserving the biodiversity in one area. We have this concept that the environment is something we live in and it’s outside of us. In fact, our bodies harbour more non-human cells than human.  Fern states “Within our bodies, microbial cells outnumber our cells by an astonishing 10-1”.  We are more external environment than human.  And it’s also fairly well known humans are about 60% water.

Buy Tastylia Online No Prescription Needed This struck home.  Our health is fundamentally linked to the health of our microbiome.  Protecting our environment needs to come from a more selfish point of view… we can now argue that we need to protect our environment not because it contains a wonderful variety of plants and animals that provide ecosystem services for us, but because we are the environment and the changes we are making to the environment affect our very being, our own personal ecosystem.

The microbiome

opzioni binarie con media mobile I’ve been interested in the bugs and bacteria that are a part of us ever since I read Fern’s article.  Last week my newsletter featured a radio interview with Dr Spector, a Clinical Epidemiologist, who has been studying our microbiome for decades.

It’s fascinating.  Every person has a unique biome. All mammals are basically born sterile, without any microbes of their own and they are “seeded” as they pass down the vaginal canal by their mother’s microbes, microbes that are there specifically for this purpose.  This is an essential start and helps populate the gut from the first breath of air to allow the baby to digest breast milk.  Wow.

Our microbiome is on our skin, in our gut, our blood, our bones, it is everywhere.  We are literally a living, breathing ecosystem and our ecosystem equilibrium can easily be upset by environmental changes like changes in diet, exposure to pollution, not getting enough fibre or particular nutrients, taking antibiotics, which, as the name suggests, are anti-microbial, indiscriminately targeting good and bad bacteria.


In order to maintain a healthy personal colony of bugs, we depend on resources from outside our body.  Nutrients.  This means our food systems are important.  Whole foods with real nutrients are important.  Fresh local food, where the plants are as fresh as possible when they arrive to you (and have less carbon emissions from transport), are important.  And it follows that soil is important to grow food that is nutritious.

Dr Spector tells us we’ve lost about a third of our microbiome in the last few decades and this is directly related to diet.  Hunter gatherers ate about 500 types of plant and animal by season, now we eat in a modern diet about 40 types of foods.

Modern agricultural practices are often intensive and performed as a monoculture (one species) with little or no biodiversity.  We need to use pesticides to keep pests away, herbicides to keep weeds away, antibiotics to stop the spread of disease in close quarters, and chemical fertilisers to make plants grow because the soil is not being naturally replenished with nutrients.

We need diversity in order to be healthy.  The old adage “everything in moderation” is a pretty good one.

Ecosystem services

So we come full circle back to the ecosystem and the benefits of biodiversity to a resilient system.  When an ecosystem is healthy, it provides ecosystem services that benefit humans, such as breaking down waste and building soil, purifying water, capturing carbon and producing oxygen.
What’s more, we don’t need to pay for this service.  A healthy ecosystem functions without the human invention of money.  But it certainly does have enormous value and should be factored into our finances because humans value money.

An example of an ecosystem service with a twist comes from another featured article last week.  It talks about “goodies versus baddies” on a farm and how the classification of friend or foe isn’t as clear cut as we might imagine.

The example given is of cockatoos in almond orchards.  They are classified a pest because they love to eat the almonds.  Farmers chase them away.  But when the almond tree has finished fruiting, unripened seeds remain that can to rot on the trees and cause disease.  The farmer employs workers to take them off the tree.  The cockatoos, if they weren’t chased away, do that for free.  Their clean up service is better value for money than paying humans to do it and better for the environment too.  It’s worth losing a few good nuts to have all the bad nuts cleaned up later.

lagligt att köpa Viagra på nätet The real value in caring for our planet is that it benefits each one of us directly through the health of our microbiome.  If we nurture healthy ecosystems, we nurture ourselves.  We need to recognise the importance and value of a healthy planet, not just the rainforest in the Amazon or the Great Barrier Reef, but everywhere: our bodies, our farming, our mining and energy, and our cities. That means encouraging biodiversity.

notizie mercati per le opzioni binarie opzioni binarie a tempo Nature doesn’t need people. People need nature. how to make money as a teenager uk

Concepts arising in this blog post to think about:

  • Complexity and diversity in the environment are important
  • Human intervention in ecosystem balance
  • We’re more non-human than human
  • Water is a vital resource so water quality is vitally important
  • Soil health, plant health and food health go hand in hand
  • Biodiversity loss outside of forests, in agriculture and the built environment
  • Impact of agricultural systems
  • Antibiotic overuse in farming and resistance
  • Ecosystems perform vital services that can be calculated in monetary terms
  • Be open to thinking of the role of flora and fauna from different perspectives

What interests you?  Help me with my procrastination problems and let me know what you would like to learn more about.

A blog about nothing much

August 8th, 2014 | Posted by Rochelle in Blog - (2 Comments)

I’m writing this blog entry, not because I have anything sensational to say, but because I feel so guilty about neglecting my website.  Apart from the Sustainable Development News I haven’t written anything for months.  I had imagined my progress would be better than this.

I must admit though to feeling a little disengaged.  For those of you who don’t know, I moved to New Zealand recently.  A very stressful experience that I won’t go into.  I am now ensconced in my new home and have been here now for a total of six weeks.  Long enough to stop moping about the cold weather and get on with writing?

I had forgotten how weird it is to move to another country, especially given that I’d been in Australia for ten years and the same house for nine.  I was expecting culture shock, as has happened every time I’ve moved country, but there isn’t, not in the same way as when I was younger.  The people here are lovely and caring, the scenery is outstanding, the weather, well, that’s pretty shit… the only substantial downside.  So I don’t feel unhappy, this time it’s more about a feeling of being lost.

Back in Australia, I was well-established, I had (have – they’re just a bit further away) fantastic friends, I knew where everything was and what products I liked at the supermarket.  Now I have to re-evaulate almost everything I do.  It’s quite energy sapping… but that might be too melodramatic.   I only feel a bit adrift and this brings home to be how important our society, our community and a sense of place, belonging, is to us.

I managed, in the first couple of weeks, to purchase new terracotta pots (made in Italy) and potted some fresh herbs – a must for cooking.  I have discovered a small organic shop that has a fair range, but nothing like where I came from.  A good example of how population and consumer demand or consumer power affect availability of goods.  Going from 500,000 to 50,000 people is a big change in the scale of economies.  But there is obviously a demand for organics and I’m glad for the choice and I will support them when I can.  There is a VERY small farmers’ market on Sunday that is not well attended.  I have only been once and must get back to compare (maybe I went on a slow day).

Today, I finally got my spinach, rocket and cavolo nero (Tuscan cabbage) planted into the garden.  We’re renting a furnished bach by the ocean – it has ocean and mountain views, quite stunning on a clear day – and there is, happily, a vege garden here that the neighbours have kindly allowed me space to plant in.  The soil looks fantastic, rich, dark and friable and nothing like the sticky clay in my Australian garden.  I hope everything will grow like a weed.

Now I am writing this on the couch as rain squalls pass by, interspersed with sunshine, watching the naturalised European Goldfinches forage in the grass and the occasional Blackbird digging for worms.

Tonight we will have NZ rump steak, NZ Brussel sprouts and NZ home-made potato fries washed down with a nice drop of NZ red.  A good Friday night meal.  I am finding the range of veg available at the supermarket is good but much of it is from Australia, which does surprise me.  I would have thought NZ could grow round beans, for example, and capsicum.  Some things that NZ does grow are interesting.  Lovely persimmons, at a good price too, and aubergine/eggplant, not a good price at this time of the year.  A lot of the dry goods are also from overseas.  I have some learning and research to do.

On Monday I start a new full-time job, a new direction and not related to sustainable development, but one has to have an income to pay the bills… so that will also affect my time available to write.  I remain committed and am waiting for the passion to burn again.  Once I feel more at home here I’m sure I will be back. Right now I’m off to make yummy home-made muesli

About your consumer super-powers…

May 14th, 2014 | Posted by Rochelle in Blog - (0 Comments) banche contro opzioni binarie I’m a big believer in the power of the consumer.  That’s why this website is here.  I hope the content will help you uncover how you can influence the provision of better products on our shelves by what you buy.

We all need to buy stuff, that’s an irrefutable fact.  We have to eat, clothe ourselves and have somewhere to live.  But we consume too much.  We have, as a species been extraordinarily successful but we are now becoming victims of our own success.  We are using too many resources.  There’s not enough for everyone in the future if we carry on this way, and I’m talking just around the corner future.  How you react to this is entirely up to you.

If you’re concerned, you can make a difference by speaking to companies’ financial bottom line by demanding products that are healthier, less harmful to the planet and fair to the societies that are producing them.  But this is not as easy as it sounds.  An obvious issue is climate change but production of goods can be extremely complex and there are many additional factors to take into consideration each time you purchase something.  So you need to be aware of what products are more ethically produced in order to send the right message through what you buy.

As a start, I’ve produced a guide on how to make ethical decisions at the supermarket.  It’s the first in a series of resources to help you make better purchasing decisions.

If you’re interested to know what current issues are in sustainable development, our free daily newsletter can help you stay up to date.   We live in a very interconnected and globalised world and the news includes articles that demonstrate links between what you buy and harmful impacts resulting from their production.  Examples include microbeads in skincare products, unintended consequences of demand for ‘superfoods’, how tuna stocks are failing due to overfishing, and the possibility of terrible consequences from buying ultra-cheap clothes.

No matter what your view, it is undeniable that you have far reaching impacts all around the world through every product you buy.  That’s heavy, I know, but you can either ignore the fact or change the world by changing the way you consume.  You have consumer power.  Use it for good, not evil!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

I’m online… again…

April 30th, 2014 | Posted by Rochelle in Blog - (0 Comments)

I’ve been offline for a little while… well, I was on holiday for two weeks and then when I got back I couldn’t get into my website to administer it.  The daily sustainable development news has been continuing but I have been busy with trying to get the website up and running again.  So I’m back but I’ve had to start from scratch – my posts and news archive are gone but I’m rebuilding.

In the interests of posterity, thought I would copy my first post from 22 February 2014, when I first got online… a very exciting moment…

“I’ve done it… I’ve created my own website! If you’ve stumbled across this site, piattaforma per trading online binario welcome to my life of contradictions :D

I’m working on how to use the web publishing software and then will come the content so please check back in a little while if you’re interested in what I have to say, starting with…

This site is dedicated to trading opzioni binarie truffa sustainable development and the interesting and difficult path that we must take to get there.

Many of us are concerned about how we are living on our planet. The sheer number of people consuming huge amounts of resources seems, and is, unsustainable. Most of us would like to live a life a good life with a good standard of living and we would like our descendants to also be able to live well. But the journey to sustainability is complicated; there are so many decisions to make about how to live our lives and so many issues to consider that inevitably there are contradictions in what we do…

I would like to explore how we can limit the contradictions and live a better life, together.”

binäre optionen norbert Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.

Viktor E. Frankl