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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Solar Protest Action in Australia

Members of the solar sector in Australia have pronounced the 2011 Federal Budget, released last week, as “disappointing”. But Australian’s aren’t taking disappointment lying down. The Solar Last Chance Rally today is a response to the NSW Government permanently closing down their Solar Bonus Scheme (notably started by the previous government), and announcing last Friday…

Solar Power Boosts Home Values

A recent study in California found that having a rooftop solar power system installed significantly increased the value of homes. No surprise right? But the interesting thing was that the sale value of the homes with solar power increased by about the cost of installing the system – even though the original home owner had…

Western Meat Consumption Causing Malnutrition in Africa

Western diets high in meat are coursing malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a study presented recently at an international conference looking at agriculture and its effects on nutrition and health. The report, presented by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), finds that if people in Western countries at less meat, the price of…

National Permaculture Day on May First

Sunday May 1 is National Permaculture Day in Australia. Permaculture is a term that was coined in the ’70s as a shortening of both “permanent agriculture” and “permanent culture”, by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. Josh Byrne, well known from the ABC TV Show, Gardening Australia, calls permaculture “practical, grass roots sustainability in action”. What…

Housewarming Gift Ideas for Green Living

Salad growing in a pot on the kitchen bench

So your friends are moving into a new house and you’d like to get them something useful to celebrate, but what? These are simple living people who simply won’t appreciate what they perceive as unnecessary clutter. Or more explicitly, as landfill. Here are some housewarming gift ideas that might help: Consider getting useful solar powered…

Best Ever Banana Bread Recipe

Banana bread is a delicious snack  fresh out of the oven, served cold with or without butter, or toasted with lashings of organic butter. In our house though, it rarely makes it past the first sitting, and if there is some left over I generally freeze it in slices and use it for a lunch…

The Fairtrade Easter Egg Hunt

Lots of small Divine Fairtrade Easter Eggs in gold patterned foil

If you leave your Easter egg shopping to the last minute, you must expect to have to hunt around for the best eggs, particularly if you are after Fairtrade Easter Eggs. Oxfam stores are always a good bet, but then, that’s where everyone else is looking for their Fairtrade chocolate too, so this close to…

PUL Fabric For Your Nappy Covers

PUL fabric, or Polyurethane laminate, is the most commonly used material for making nappy (diaper) covers. It is very popular largely because it is very water-proof but breathable at the same time. For that reason, PUL is also used in the lining of pocket and all-in-one nappies. PUL was orginally developed for medical use, where…

Update on Bamboo Fabric (How Sustainable Is It?)

According to a recent article in the Australian Choice Magazine, the soft “bamboo” fabrics on the market are actually rayon, or viscose – two names for the same fibre made from the cellulose in plants like bamboo. This is the fibre produced with the harsh chemical treatment discussed in my earlier article on bamboo nappies,…

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…