Kirsten McCulloch

Kirsten McCulloch is an Australian mother of three living in the suburbs. She has a background in writing and editing, particularly for the web, and a life long interest in living sustainably. On her journey to reduce her energy and resource consumption, she makes her own non-toxic cleaners, keeps chooks, has a few fruit trees, and a mostly organic vegetable patch. She is learning to knit and crochet but she can’t sew to save her life. She is trying hard to declutter her home. Slowly. She is trying to teach her children to value the natural environment and not to waste resources, with somewhat patchy success to date.

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Sustainable Cities Toolkit

A new toolkit to assist with sustainable urban development is the current project of researchers at RMIT University in partnership with the UN Global Cities Programme. Professor Paul James, Director of RMIT’s Global Cities Research Institute, recently spoke to ABC Radio National’s Future Tense, where he described one part of the toolkit as something that…

Antibiotics in Animal Feed Create “Super Bugs”

In a paper published last month in Environmental Health Perspectives, experts explain how administering medicine through animal fodder can cause antibiotic resistant bacteria to develop. “If they don’t get all their food, they don’t get all the medicine, and if they don’t get all the medicine, then the whole bacteria population isn’t wiped out, and…

Full Range of Fairtrade Chocolate

Some, but not yet all, of Green & Black’s organic chocolate bars are fairtrade certified. But they have announced that not only are they on track to met their pledge of being entirely Fairtrade by the end of 2011, and in the UK they have already achieved that goal. This includes both chocolate bars and…

In Brief: Bee Populations Continue to Decline

According to the UN’s Environmental Agency, the world’s bee population will keep declining without changes to the way we manage them and their habitat. Since 70% of the crop species that feed 90% of the world rely on bees for pollination, that is a significant issue for humans as well as bees. To provide some…

UN Report: Eco-Friendly Farming Can Double Food Production Within 10 Years

“Today’s scientific evidence demonstrates that agro-ecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live – especially in unfavorable environments,” reports Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food. The recent UN report “Agro-ecology and the right to food” states that small-scale farmers can double food…

South Australian Plan to make Biofuel from Algae

Environment engineer Stephen Bedford Clark is setting up a programme in the Eyre Peninsular in South Australia which will see agriculture using locally grown algae to make locally produced fuel. “We’re not having to transport carbon with carbon and the costs are reduced, ” he told ABC reporter Annabelle Homer. Clark is setting up an…

Why I Love Modern Cloth Nappies

Cute baby wearing a lion Starbunz pocket diaper

Since Marion Donovan first invented disposable nappies in 1950 (and sold her company for $1 million a few years later), they have become the standard form of ‘diapering’ in the Western world. Back when my first child was born in 2002 I was one of only a few women I knew using tradition terry cloth…

Simply in Season: Buy Local, Think Global, Cook Seasonal

Simply in Season book cover

Only a decade ago I couldn’t get the grapes my pregnant body craved because they were out of season. Yet now I spend perhaps a third of the year refusing to buy my children the grapes they can see in the supermarket because they are grown in the USA and imported to Australia, where we live; we are trying to buy local at least to the extent of buying produce grown in our own country. Though when Australian grown mangoes appear in the shops in Spring, I must conclude that they have travelled thousands of kilometres south to where we are still huddled beneath our thick quilts on frosty nights.

Buy Local, Think Global. It is a slogan that represents the local food movement and is becoming well known as we consider the fossil fuels burned and carbon emissions released when we fly grapes half way across the world so we can have the convenience of eating them year round. Before the long months of nausea in my first pregnancy, when I craved juicy oranges and mandarins and the elusive grapes, I had little awareness of the seasonal nature of produce.

Prefold Cloth Nappies

Flat and prefold cloth nappies (or diapers) are the least expensive of the modern cloth nappy family, but by no means the worse for it. Prefold nappies are really just as easy to use as pocket diapers, and  no more likely to leak, as long as you have a good nappy cover. While prefolds can…

Installing Residential Solar Power Systems

two rows of solar panels cover one side of our home's roof

(This article updated in May 2012) It is is becoming more and more cost effective to install solar power in homes, around the world. This is not only because of the reduction in costs associated with building a rooftop solar power system (costs of PV solar panels dropped by around 50% in 2011 alone), but…

Using Fitted Cloth Nappies

Three colourful bamboo fitted cloth diapers

Fitted cloth diapers (also called fitted cloth nappies) are a version of the modern cloth diaper that is easy to use and generally highly absorbent. They are better for the environment than disposable diapers (the jury really is not out on this anymore*) and many people claim their babies get less diaper rash with cloth than with disposables.