Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Environmentality, 31st July 2013

Hello Environmentality Listeners,

Apologies that the show did not air this week. 

Courtesy of

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Environmentality, 24th July 2013

 Hello Environmentality listeners,

This week our friend, Robert Bender, returned to talk all about fungi. Strange but true fact, the fungus is the largest living organism on Earth!

Jaime, Robert and Smokey at the studio

Fungi are commonly classified as a plant, however as Robert explains, fungi is not a plant as it does not photosynthesize. Rather fungi is classified as a separate kingdom. Most of the fungi living matter can be found underground. Mushrooms are the ‘fruit’ of fungi and are akin to pimples on us! The role of the mushroom is to spread spores through air or water. The body of the fungi is a thin material that propagates through the soil, logs and living wood. Fungi are made up of 96% of water; they will only pop out during wet periods.

Fungi has been around for the past 400-450 million years, its essential function is to rot wood, extracting nutrients from dead or living wood. Fungi has a symbiotic relationship with vascular plants such as trees, grasses and herbs. Vascular plants do not extract nitrogen from the ground well; fungi do not have the ability to make their own foods. Vascular plants and fungi partner together that is mutually beneficial to both, vascular plants obtain their nitrogen from fungi in exchange from nutrients extracted from the vascular plants. About 97% of Australian vascular plants use fungi to absorb nitrogen.   

Previously we didn’t know very much about Australian fungi, it was estimated that there are 10,000 species of fungi. The Fungimap project started to map the different species of fungus. Starting with 100 species 15 years ago, there has been 10,000 citing of fungi by volunteers. Volunteers have taken photos of fungi and sent them into fungimap. Fungimap 2 with 100 species have started, to learn about mapping fungi in your area, view their website.   

If you plan on going on a mushroom hunt, field mushrooms are edible. However the Yellow Strainer is a native species that looks just like a field mushroom except when it is bruised, it turns sulfuric yellow. Death Caps also look similar to field mushrooms that are commonly found in domestic gardens. Mushrooms have been known to cause serious illness and even death, thus before eating wild mushrooms, make sure you know it’s not poisonous.  

The Yellow Strainer, courtesy of
Fungi come into all different shapes, colours and sizes. To learn more about fungi and truffles (yes truffles is a fungi!), look up Fungi down under and tune into the podcast

Tracks played today:
Stereo Love
Lisa Miller- It will never happen again
Get back again- Kutcha Edwards
Battleships- Bernard Fanning. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Environmentality, 10th July 2013

Hello Environmentality listeners,

Jaime, Ahmed and Fola chatted to Cintia Gonzalez about upcycling. Cintia comes from a crafty family and has learnt how to sew and knit from her mother. Cintia has been blogging for the past 5 years.

Courtesy of

Upcycling is when something new is made from something old or something that might have been thrown away. Although its roots may have come from thriftiness, upcycling not only benefits your hip pocket but also the environment. By choosing to reuse, we are diverting waste from landfill and saving the water, energy and resources that would have gone into making new products.  

Upcycling is also great to develop and learn new skills. By creating your own products, you will be more likely to appreciate the time and skill required to make the product, hence more likely to value it and less likely to throw it away. You don’t need to have formal training to start, just interest! Start small and build up your skill set with each project. A good project to start with is decorating old jars and shoe boxes for storing things. Pinterest is great if you’re stuck for ideas as we were! You-tube is also fantastic if you’re looking to up-skill.

One of Cintia’s projects is a braided carpet made from 13 old t-shirts that have been worn out. Cut into strips, the t-shirts were braided and sew together. One of Cintia’s better known projects is the cross stitch chair that was fixed and covered in wool cross stitch pattern. The chair has been featured in international design websites and magazines.

Braided T-Shirt Rug, Courtesy of

For other projects and photo step to step guides, check out Cintia’s blog. You can also follow Cintia on twitter @mypoppetshop and instagram  

The joy Cintia attains from creating her own products is infectious and Cintia’s enthusiasm can clearly be shown through her work. To hear more about Cintia’s blog, her other projects, yoghurt container curtains and catch some of Cintia’s enthusiasm, listen to the podcast.

For more information about the Broadmeadows Bicycle Hub, click on Banksia Garden’s website.

The Environmental champions monthly social catch up meets the second Wednesday of every month from 6:30pm till 9pm at the Hume Global Learning Centre. For bookings and other events, go to or call 9205 2310 

Tracks played:
What are friends for- Gabriel Lynch
Waking up is hard to do- Go You Huskies
Lights down- Go You Huskies

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Environmentality, 3rd July 2013

Hello Environmentality listeners,

Jaime, Fola, Ahmed and Smokey spoke to Beth Askham from the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) about the September issue of ReNew magazine. The ATA is member organization which provides information and resources to member about how to improve the sustainability of their homes.


Courtesy of the ATA

Learn about how to make your own biochar from a modified drum in the latest issue. Biochar is clean charcoal made from burning organic matter through pyrolysis; the organic matter is burnt cleanly so there is no smoke produced. Biochar is great for the soil nutrients and for holding carbon in the soil.

Beth also talks about some of the appliances that can be used to monitor the energy use at home. Monitoring the energy use is a good way to understand where and when you’re using the most amount of energy. Some of these appliances tap into the smart meters. For more a guide to smart meters, you can go to the ATA website.

The recent Electric Vehicle Expo brought together electrical vehicles such as bikes, skates and cars. Although several years ago the only way to have an electric car was to make your own, it has now become more affordable. Despite Victoria coal driven electricity, electric cars can still be environmental friendly with solar PV roofs, solar recharge station such as at CERES and high levels of efficiency.

The University of Wollongong has retrofitted a fibro shack and entered in the Solar Decathlon competition. Using sustainable technology and green design, the house has been designed to be energy neutral; creating all the energy the house needs. To learn more about the project, visit their website:
Courtesy of UOW’s Illawarra Flame

To learn more about the petition set up government grants to help start community owned energy projects such as energy and solar go to the website  

The ATA has also started selling accredited green power through the Community Climate Chest. We can now buy green power from community groups and NGOS rather than the retailers. 

We then further chatted about Soccer, politics, the East-West Tunnel, and the carbon tax and emissions trading scheme. Tune into the podcast to hear more about the ATA and Smokey’s views the East-West tunnel and the carbon tax.      

Tracks played:
Wolf Mother- White Unicorn
The Pixies- Here Comes Your Man
Tim Buckley- Chase the Blues Away
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