The Green Ghost

Lemons for health

The lemon has been known to aid metabolism and help reduce weight. It helps the digestive system flush out sludge left within our bodies. Bellow we present you some simple rules to follow that it will help you.

Eight maids a milking - is milk SAFE???

For years, we have been told that milk is good for us and, perhaps, in the good old days of working with nature it was.

These days we see an increase in the use of factory style milking sheds that house the super GM bred cows all their short lives, never seeing the outside world or a field - just concrete.

Often they live just five years before being culled compared to natural field reared cows that can live to 25 years old, enjoy fresh grass and fresh air - rain too.

There are always two sides of an argument about animal welfare so, if you desire to know more on the subject visit www.peta.co.uk or their milk web site www.milksucks.com and the Dairy Council at www.milk.co.uk which is a not for profit information organisation about the white stuff.

Some interesting none dairy products are to be tested in the New Year such as Cheezly, Scheese and Tofutti so watch out for those.

Fish tales

Always on the look out for sustainable fish following stories of the depleted cod stocks around the world I found a great web site www.fishonline.org published by the Marine Conservation Society. Dedicated to helping conscious decisions to be made about what fish, if any, we buy and eat.

There are many ways of helping the fish population survive the over zealous fishing habits of humankind. One method is the use of a round hook to catch Tuna rather than using a net, often catching turtles and other endangered species at the same time. Sustainably sourced fish that are caught from a healthy, well-managed stock that has minimal impact on the seas is another way. Surprisingly, organic fish only refers to farmed fish fed with organic certified food by the Soil Association. Growing mussels on rope is another way of maintaining a healthy stock and policing the numbers remover for the table. Avoid mussels dredged from the seabed as this also has an impact on the environment, leaving some areas sterile of life. Better to go for hand picked from the wild. Talking of which, wild fish are just that and should carry the Marine Stewardship Council stamp.

Fish on line is a great source of information ranging from what fish to buy, what to avoid, which restaurants have sourced sustainable fish for the menu and where to buy fish for home cooking. In 2007, Marks and Spencer won joint first with Waitrose for best-sourced sustainable fish with Tesco and Sainsbury's in third and fourth place respectively. Enjoy.

Keeping cool using the summer heat

While most Australians are taking care to shield themselves from the harsh summer heat this year, scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Energy Transformed Flagship are working on ways to harness the sun's warmth to cool their homes and offices.

The leader of the Flagship's solar cooling research project, Dr Stephen White, has shown significant greenhouse gas savings can be achieved in air conditioning by using energy from the sun. Solar cooling utilises heat from solar thermal collectors to generate cooling for building air-conditioning. Most conventional mechanical air conditioners use high-emission electricity derived from fossil fuels to provide the energy to compress a refrigerant and cool a building. This typically accounts for 20-30 per cent of building energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The solar cooling technology CSIRO are developing directly uses the natural heat from the sun to power a thermally-driven cooling process. Solar cooling has the potential to reduce peak demand on the electricity grid by reducing the amount of electricity that is required to meet those air conditioning demands on the hottest days of the Australian summer. With the sun being one of the countries most abundant renewable resources, it is also the reason for the high-energy demand in the summer.

Solar cooling technology is ideally suited to their climate and as the technology develops, it is likely to make an important contribution to the development of future zero-emissions buildings. When the units go into production, they hope to send the technology all around the world. Part of this work is the production of printed solar cells that will be subject of another article here at Green Ghost.

Make you own greenhouse - out of plastic bottles!

We all hear that there are tonnes and tonnes of plastic bottles heading for land fill but what about using them to make a greenhouse. It may sound a mad idea yet in Scotland the REAP trust that connects folk, work and place have worked with a number of schools around the country to build eco greenhouses.

The first task was to collect 1500 2ltr plastic bottles that were cleaned and the labels removed. The base of each one is then cut off and these can be used later as water wells for plant pots later. The children from the school then threaded the bottles on to either canes or hazel sticks to a height that fitted the pre made wooden frame.

The schools that have made the green houses are also building and planting their own vegetables for use in the school canteen where head teachers have noticed a 17% increase in uptake of school lunches. The children have seen where the food comes from and how it grows.

Working with the charity Garden Organics from Warwickshire many of the schools have gone organic and have been composting green waste from the canteen for use in the raised beds. The children have also been going home to encourage their parents and guardians to grow vegetables at home. Encouraged by the staff of the Food for Life Partnership pupils have been turning empty sections of their school play areas into vegetable and fruit gardens.

Even the smallest space can grow fresh vegetables using containers on windowsills, balconies, and even the roof (flat is best!). With more and more garden centres selling plug plants of vegetables it is an easy introduction to vegetable growing. For the adventurous, there is a new breed of dwarf fruit trees that can be planted up in containers producing a good crop of fruit by the second year.

Visit www.gardenorganic.org.uk/schools, www.reapscotland.org.uk, www.foodforlife.org.uk where you can download information, ideas and even order your seeds for this season. The way to build the eco greenhouse are at the REAP web site.