Thursday, May 22, 2014

Environmentality 21 May 2014, Robert Bender, Bat Enthusiast

Have you even seen anything so cute as this grey headed flying fox?
Grey Headed Flying Fox

Well maybe you have.  These beautiful flying foxes are native to Australia and fly across the skies of Melbourne every dawn and dusk.  

According to the Department Environment and Primary Industries, the flying fox colony at Yarra Bend in Melbourne has up to 30,000 residents over the summer period.  This does fall over the winter, however with the resurgence in planting of native trees and shrubs over the years our flying foxes don't need to go as far for food as they used to.

As Robert was informing us on the show our native fruit bats (all Australia's bats are native) play a huge part in the health and pollination of our native plants.  Fruit bats are prolific feeders and therefore are great pollinators and because they fly great distances the seeds in their droppings are dispersed and germinate creating more native bush.  

© Gould's Wattled Bat - The State of Victoria,
Department of Environment and Primary Industries/McCann
Our passionate guest, Robert Bender has been studying bats for 20 years.  His particular interest is not our fruit eating flying fox species of bat but the insect eating Gould's wattled bats. Gould's (named after English naturalist John Gould) are tiny bats normally as big as your thumb and weighing between 7 and 16 grams.  

Make sure you listen to the show to hear what Robert has to say.

The Australasian Bat Society has a fantastic website with more information than you could imagine on bats. There are lots of PDF downloads great for school assignments or to raise awareness of these magical mammals.

If you are lucky enough to have microbats roosting under your house or in your eaves, remember they are eating all those nasty mozzies and making your life much more pleasant.  And if you don't have any microbats under your house you can get a bat box and do your bit for these tiny creatures.

Music played today:

Coleman Hawkins - Sugar Foot Stomp
Asa - Jailer
Turlough O'Carolan - Carolan's Farewell
Coleman Hawkins - Watermelon Man

Next week on the show we have Jodi Jackson, My Everyday Garden

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Environmentality 14 May 2014, Jason Mundy, Australian Antarctic Division

What an amazing experience to be involved in the Antarctic.  So much going on in an area that most of us associate with seals, penguins, whales and ice.

Thanks goes to Jason Mundy, General Manager of the Australian Antartic Division's Strategies Branch for talking with us on Environmentality.  Jason was a keynote speaker at the 'Strategic Science in Antarctica' conference, you can read excerpts of Jason's speech here.

No one country actually 'owns' Antartica.  Seven nation; Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, France, Norway, Chile and Argentina have claimed a stake on some areas, however over 50 nations have signed an agreement which covers what activities can be undertaken on the Antarctic continent.  One point of the agreement is that there is a ban on mining and exploration within the entire Antarctic area for the forseeable future.

So what does go on in the very far, far south of our lands.......

Research, science and conservation, none of which is done in isolation but in collaboration with countries from all around the world.

Some projects are more obvious such as the conservation of seabirds, in particular the Albatross and ensuring fish stocks are not plundered by over fishing, but there are others such as the drilling and pulling of ice-cores which scientists are then using to determine what carbon dioxide levels were thousands of years ago.

There is endless amounts of information on the Antarctic on the web, for those that are interested, you could read for days and days.  You may even be inspired to apply for a job.

Credit: Mount Erebus Volcano Observatory, NM Tech
Live Science has 50 amazing facts about Antarctica one of them being about towers on Mount Erebus the second highest volcano in Antarctica.

Giant, hollow towers of ice form on Mount Erebus when fumarole cracks on the volcano that vent hot gas spew steam into the open air. The steam freezes in place in the frigid air, forming towers up to 30 feet (10 meters) tall.

Make sure you listen to the show to hear more about this intriguing part of the world.

Music played today was chosen by Jason:
Midnight Oil, Antarctica
Damien Rice's cover of Princes When Doves Cry
The Lemonheads, Outdoor Type
Alex Lloyds cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah

Next week on the show Robert Bender is talking bats with us.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Environmentality 7 May 2014, Robyn Deed, ReNew Magazine

Wow, if you live in Melbourne or surrounds you would have woken to a very chilly morning today.  Just 5 in the city and much cooler on the outskirts!

Great timing to grab the latest copy of ReNew and read up on draught proofing your house.

Did you know that the average Melbourne house loses between 15-25% of its heat through cracks in floorboards, windows and doors.

There are many ways you can fix some of these draught issues; you can buy draught sealing tapes for your windows from hardware shops and they are normally pretty low cost.  You can put sausages at your doorways to stop the air that comes under the front and back door.  This is always a problem, especially in old house that move during hot and cold periods.  And let's not forget curtains, heavy drapes stop lots of hot air escaping through old windows.  Your Home is an Australian Government site on passive solar heating and is quite a good reference point for improving your energy efficiency around the house.

For those of us that can't resist the temptation to light a fire, (using reclaimed timbers of course) there was a interesting article on a burner that uses wheat pellets as an energy source.  You can also buy all purpose burners that can use corn, lentils and crushed olive pits!   Amazing.  I don't know how easy that fuel would be to source in the city but someone might like to give it a try?

 As some of you may know, community radio is under threat, yet again.  With the Federal budget being handed down in 5 days time, I urge all of our listeners and readers to get on board and join the campaign - Committ to Community Radio.  Check out the site, and join the petition to save stations like North West FM!

Thanks Robyn for choosing our tunes today:
Cowboy Junkies, Blue Moon Revisited
Boogie Wonderland, Earth, Wind and Fire
Cowboy Junkies, Sweet Jane and a selection from Ahmed
Sam Cooke, A Change is Gonna Come

To ensure to you stay clean and green - LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Next week on the show we have Jason Mundy from the Australian Antartic Division!
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