Quote of the Day 8th June 2013…

“The average person is still under the aberrant delusion that food should be somebody else’s responsibility until I’m ready to eat it.”
―    Joel Salatin,    Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World


Top 5 Urban Apps (Revisited)

eplanning…love the concept.

JOC Consulting

In March, I wrote an article for PIA New Planner magazine and looked at 6 urban apps to add to your digital library. These apps included Blockbrief, Monocle and the Sydney Foodtrucks app. As we move closer to an ever connected world, based on smarter cities and eplanning, I wrote about 6 more apps making waves in and outside of Sydney for the June issue.

Download the article here > 37220_PIA_New Planner June 2013web vFA 13(1).

And also check out Run That Town, a great app by the ABS that I’ll be discussing in more depth in the September issue of New Planner magazine.

John O'Callaghan PIA New Planner June


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Domestic Waste Management…

One of the biggest issues I deal with on a daily basis in my day job is domestic waste management.  I’ll admit sometimes it can be incredibly frustrating that people are just not getting the message about the 5 Rs… Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair, Redistribute.

I will be quick to mention that waste management in my household is not perfect. However I think we do a pretty good job with a household of six. The little ones are still getting use to separating the waste but it is a work in progress.

For those that don’t know about our kerbside waste service we have a 120Lt general waste bin, a 240Lt recycling bin and a 240Lt organics bin through NAWMA (Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority).  I am amazed by the amount of people who tell me this is not enough.  Personally I would be lucky to fill up my general waste bin on a weekly basis.  Whereas my other two fortnightly bins (recycling and organics) are usually bursting at the brim to be emptied every fortnight.  However before I look to purchase another recycling or organics bin (an option that is available to us) I really need to look at ways I can reduce or find alternative ways to recycle.

Cans and bottles, clothes and food scraps are most probably the easiest things I can dispose of without having to place in the kerbside waste.  Cans and bottles we collect and cash in, clothes we donate and foodscraps quite often get placed in our worm farm.

At the moment we have a couple of tables and a matress to get rid of but I have taken advantage of a “free” (it is paid for within rates) hard waste service that our local council offer.  This offer allows us to until the end of the year to get rid of one 6×4 trailer at the local transfer station.

I guess some of the things that I or we could improve upon in the household is recycling soft plastics.  I guess I’ve been a little slack in implementing that “rule” into the house and making it happen.  I do hope the other supermarket chains pick it up as I tend not to shop at the big multi-nationals (for ethical reasons).

Domestic waste management does require discipline.  Even for the people who live, work and breathe sustainability.  However if a household of six can manage with the bins that the local council give us and the programs that are available for recycling on top of that I’m sure that most can.  Do a little research on your local council’s website,  “google” recycling for your area, you will be surprised with what’s out there.

Recommended Reading…

101 Ways to Recycle Everyday Household Items

Domestic Waste Management

Domestic Waste Management

Cover of "Worms Eat My Garbage: How to Se...
Cover via Amazon

Worms Eat My Garbage: How to Set Up and Maintain a Worm Composting System

The Death of Backyard Cricket: A town planner’s perspective

Quite a while ago I was going to write a paper on a topic to do with town planning. I am passionate about town planning as I am a town planner by trade. While my current profession as a Sustainability Officer keeps my finger on the pulse to some extent, I do miss it. So I thought with this blog entry I might share this discussion with you. This is a condensed version but I might find myself writing that paper for a journal yet.

The Death of Backyard Cricket
Many children of my generation and before have grown up in Australia with the tradition of playing backyard cricket. The quarter acre house allotment was not a rare sight and the house was configured in such a way that there was ample room for a pitch. If you were really lucky the groundsman (Dad in most cases) would mow in a pitch to make it look authentic.
Children were encouraged to play outdoors. In fact we loved playing outdoors. Weekends and holidays were a bonus as half the neighbourhood would turn out and convert the quiet suburban backyard into something resembling a Boxing Day test match at the MCG. Some would take it quite seriously as well.
What concerns me as a town planner is the disappearance of these quarter acre blocks and therefore the death of a great Aussie tradition… Backyard cricket. Today it is becoming the norm for a small 300 square metre block with a 3-4 bedroom house tucked on it and a small courtyard style garden. To put it bluntly a yard not even big enough to swing a cat around, little lone swinging a cricket bat.
I would be the first to understand that the draw of gaming, social media and the Internet in general is enough to lure any teenager away from the great outdoors. I have a son who is almost 15 years of age. However one must wonder if there is a relationship between these shrinking backyards and childhood obesity.
We have moved to a society with smaller allotments, parents both working full-time hours with little time to spare to take kids to parks and the fear of letting our precious children out on their own. It’s sad but it’s true. While I understand that these smaller allotments do suit our hectic lifestyles what price are we ultimately going to pay with our children’s health?
It’s easy to say get them involved with a sports club but the cost is not cheap. My son plays both cricket and football for a club and also plays indoor cricket. I can tell you from first hand experience it is not cheap.
Another issue that has an impact on the game of backyard cricket is our society tends to live in our little sheltered cocoons.  How many times in the last month have you spoken to your neighbours?  I suspect many haven’t.  It seems gone are the days where children would play freely between houses, especially on a weekend or school holidays.  Are we now too protective of our children to let them out the front door?
So unfortunately it appears the death knell is ringing for the game of backyard cricket. Sad but true.  Will this even have an impact on the future of cricket for this country?  Well if the current state of our cricket team is to go by perhaps it might or it certainly won’t help.

What a Productive Weekend…

Had a big clean up this weekend.  The weather was just perfect for getting out in the garden and getting a few household chores done.

With the lawns mowed I decided to sort the cans and bottles and take them down to the recycling centre.  Made myself $47 to go spend down at the hardware/garden centre.  Needed some supplies to pot some plants up (including the lemon tree which Diesel liked).

While I was down at the hardware/garden centre I took advantage of the light globe recycling.  ZeroWaste SA state that this program “…ensures that globes will be recycled instead of going to landfill and prevents mercury contained in some globes from harming the environment”.

So while I was in the recycling mood I dropped off a few bags of clothing to the Lifeline bin.  Of course I put aside a couple of t-shirts to make myself a few more t-shirt bags.

Recycling and reusing was really the theme for the weekend.  I had realised how much I do recycle and reuse.  My yellow recycling bin is almost full for the fortnight (lucky it gets collected on Wednesday).  The green organic bin is also just about full.  Unfortunately for that bin I’ll have to wait another week.  Oh well perhaps I can take it easy on the weeding for the next week.  However I’m sure I will find plenty to do.

Books that may be of interest to keen recyclers and reusers…

101 Ways to Recycle Everyday Household Items

Jewelry Upcycled!: Techniques and Projects for Reusing Metal, Plastic, Glass, Fiber, and Found Objects

1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse: Remake, Restyle, Recycle, Renew (1000 Series)

Diesel vs The Lemon Tree…


Oh yes!  My special pup Diesel. What can I say? The temptation of a freshly potted lemon tree with the luscious taste and smell of cow manure was just too much. Lucky for Diesel the damage was superficial but I think I will be getting the chicken wire out tomorrow.

Chicken wire my saviour in the veggie patch!!!


World Environment Day

World Environment Day

This year’s theme is “Think. Eat. Save”.

Food security is an issue that affects us all. Do you know where your food comes from? Do you support local growers and producers? Questions that perhaps we should all reflect on.