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Sitting in the shade at Steel Park

Sitting in the shade at Steel Park

If you have watched or listened to the news of late you will know that a massive heatwave is expected tomorrow Friday continuing  through Saturday & Sunday.  We have had excessive heat all week, but the weather to come is concerning the experts.

“The Bureau of Meteorology says a severe heatwave is moving through the southern parts of South Australia and much of Victoria, while spreading further east into New South Wales’ coastal regions and south-west Queensland.”  http://ab.co/2kpo3ay

Heatwaves can kill.  Babies, young children, older people & sick people are most at risk, but really, no-one is immune to being struck by heatstroke.  Those with kidney disease & diabetes, people taking medication (diuretics & beta blockers), people with alcohol or other drug misuse problems, pregnant & breastfeeding woman, people who are overweight & tourists from cooler climates are deemed especially at risk.

The following are some ways to help manage the heat –

  • It may be obvious, but stay inside. We have all seen someone running in sweltering midday heat.
  • Draw the curtains & close the windows. Opening windows may not help unless you are getting a cool breeze.
  • Run a bath of lukewarm water & get in & out as needed.
  • Cool showers can also help lower body temperature.
  • Eat light food.
  • Drink lots of fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Wear light, loose non-synthetic clothing. Wet your clothes, wear a wet towel or a wet sarong.
  • A wet washer on your head can help too.
  • Sit down & soak your feet into a container of cold water.

Other actions –

  • Bring pets inside & ensure they have easy access to drinking water.
  • Put water out in numerous places for the wildlife.
  • Please check on your neighbour, especially if they live alone.
  • If you have air-conditioning, invite neighbours, family, friends over who don’t.
  • Never leave kids, adults or pets in hot cars. The temperature inside a parked car can rise rapidly to 30-40°C hotter than outside.
  • If it is too hot at home & the following are not far away, go to air-conditioned buildings like the local library, a community centre, the cinema or shopping malls.

Signs of heat exhaustion include dizziness, heat rash, muscle cramps, headache & fainting.  It can be helped with rest, cooling down & good hydration, including electrolytes.     The internet has many DIY electrolyte replacement drink recipes.

Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can shut down the body’s ability to sweat. From this point, it is a short progression to heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. Symptoms include dry skin, high temperature, confusion & if allowed to progress, unconsciousness & perhaps death.

Taking the heat seriously & being prepared can help save your life.

Friday  10th February 2017 – The temperature in my courtyard is a hefty 46 degrees celsius at 3:45pm.

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Development on the Prices Highway at Wolli Creek. Notice how it is built right to the footpath boundary on the Princes Highway. It would have been much better if there was a green line if trees dividing the building form the highway.

Housing development on the Princes Highway at Wolli Creek built right to the footpath boundary, as is common practice. It would have been much better and healthier for the residents if there was a green line of trees dividing the building from the highway.

Medical journal ‘The Lancet’ released research that found that dementia is more common in people who live near main roads.  See – http://bit.ly/2ja2Hgh

The research was performed in Ontario, Canada.   6.6 million people were tracked from 2002 to 2012.  It was found that dementia rates rose in those people who lived close to busy roads.  This should make the government rethink their current push to build high-rise housing along major traffic thoroughfares such as Parramatta Road & the Princes Highway.

The researchers found that –

  • People who live within 50 metres of a main road had a 7% higher risk of developing dementia.
  • People who live within 50-100 metres of a main road had a 4% higher risk of developing dementia.
  • People who live within 101-200 metres of a main road had a 2% higher risk of developing dementia.
  • People who live more than 200 metres of a main road had no increase in risk of developing dementia.

“While the study only highlights an association between the two, air pollution experts said it opened up “a crucial global health concern for millions of people” and warranted further investigation to see if preventative measures could be found.”

I’d suggest increasing the urban forest, especially street trees.  For new high-rise development, instead of building right up to the footpath, space be left to create a green barrier of trees between the building & the street. Not only would this look better & create more attractive streetscapes, but the trees would help trap fine particulate matter, thereby creating a healthier environment for everyone.

It’s pretty simple really.  We do not have to create an unhealthy city unless we choose to.

 

Look at all that bat, bird, bee and other insect food.

Look at all that bat, bird, bee and other insect food.

Merry Christmas. Happy Hannukkah.  I hope that whatever you are doing today you enjoy yourself.  Jacqueline 🙂

Natural looking table setting taking advantage of the view & the shade of the surrounding trees.  Excellent to not see a slab of concrete here.

Natural looking table setting taking advantage of the view & the shade of the surrounding trees. Excellent to not see a slab of concrete here.

I was most impressed when I came across a lovely oiled wooden picnic table setting on the bank of the Cooks River at Ewan Park.

The picnic table was organised by volunteer groups The Mudcrabs & Friends of Ewan Park with Canterbury Council.

What I particularly like is that a slab of concrete has not been laid under & around the table setting as is common across the old Marrickville municipality.  Of course, the legs of the furniture have been set into concrete, but users can feel dirt underneath their feet.  I think the less concrete there is the better.

Well done to all involved.  This is a great place for a table setting & it is nice that it adds to the beauty of the area.

Canterbury Road Hurlstone Park - now part of the amalgamated Inner West Council.   High traffic and very few street trees.

Canterbury Road Hurlstone Park – now part of the amalgamated Inner West Council. High traffic and very few street trees despite there being room for them and power lines located on the opposite side of the road.

This week the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in London released a report by the Imperial College looking at how to make air cleaner to “cut” death rate because air pollution is a contributing factor in whopping 25,000 deaths a year in the UK. http://bit.ly/2g8JL0B

In a separate article, dated 2nd December 2016, about air quality alerts being issued at bus stops, tube stations & roadsides across London, the mortality numbers are different.  Air pollution is now Britain’s most lethal environmental risk, killing about 40,000 people prematurely each year.”   http://bit.ly/2gcyuMw

The Imperial College report advocates the following interesting changes to lower air pollution –

  • Road speed humps should be removed because they force drivers to accelerate & decelerate thereby causing a rise in of harmful emissions air pollution.
  • Cycle lanes should be separated from vehicles by foliage. [I like this one.]
  • Cycle routes should not be along high traffic routes.
  • Instead of the traditional living room at the front of the house, it should be moved to the back of the house to put more distance from passing traffic. [This poses a problem for those living in apartments built along busy main roads.]
  • Idling any vehicle outside schools & retirement homes should be banned, again because of harmful emissions being added to the air.
  • New schools, childcare facilities & retirement homes should be built away from high traffic areas.

“…… planners must take into account the effect of air pollution when designing speed reduction schemes and that any ‘physical measures’ must be designed ‘to minimise sharp decelerations and consequences accelerations.’”

The study compared one street that had speed humps & a 20mph speed limit to a similar street with the same speed limit, but with road cushions instead of humps.  They found that a petrol driven car driving along the street with the speed humps produced –

  • 64% more Nitrogen Dioxide,
  • 47% more particulate matter &
  • almost 60% more Carbon Monoxide than the street with road cushions.

If this isn’t a great argument to dispense with or to refuse the installation of speed humps, I don’t know what is.  Speed humps are also noisy when vehicles travel over them.  Kerthump!

One thing I did not know was that using the brakes grinds very fine particulate matter which is released into the atmosphere.

Traffic flow improvement was also recommended because where there is congestion there is also an increase in air pollution.

The report also suggested public awareness initiatives such as ‘car-free days,’ charging to enter traffic congestion areas & creating clean air zones.

With the massive increase in development happening across Sydney the issue of managing & lessening air pollution is serious.   I have long been concerned about the stacks that will be popping up all over the inner west when WestConnex is up & running.

If development goes ahead with the attitude of ‘business as usual’ & without doing as much as possible to lessen air pollution, we may find that our city becomes a toxic place to live with weather reports of windy conditions being greeted with joy.  Unfortunately, all that air pollution has to go somewhere, even if it is blown away from our sky.

Male Red-rumped parrot - not too often I get a good shot of that red rump.

Male Red-rumped parrot – not too often I get a good shot of that red rump.

The following comes from an interesting article by Dr David Suzuki, well-known Canadian academic & environmentalist.  http://bit.ly/1Nrvy8k

The article discusses how being in nature is calming & healing to humans.  Living in an urban environment is actually not good for us & is causing raised stress levels & an increased risk of chronic disease.  The impact on our brain is an increased sensitivity to stress, resulting in a brain that is hyper-alert & has difficulty concentrating for long periods.  The impact on learning will be obvious.

People who live in cities have “a 21% greater risk for anxiety disorders & a 39% increased likelihood of mood disorders.”

The good news is that spending time in nature helps our brain slow down & rest.  Dr Suzuki has challenged Canadians to spend at least 30-minutes in nature every day for thirty days to allow their brains to slow down & recover.  This is something we can all do if we plan our time & are motivated.

Obviously this would be good for people who feel stressed &/or depressed, but it is also advantageous for all of us.  The trick is to go to the park & not only get busy with park activities designed to provide entertainment for us.  While these are good for us, what is more beneficial is going for a peaceful walk or bicycle ride & taking time to observe & connect with the nature around us.

Once it is up there in the Cloud .....

Once it is up there in the Cloud …..

I was looking through Marrickville Library Services today at the current workshops on offer when I saw the photo and video consent information,’ so I clicked this link – https://cdn.evbuc.com/eventlogos/71037383/photographyconsentformonline.pdf & found the following –  (bold is my emphasis).

“Photo and Video Consent information

By attending our events, you consent to Marrickville Library and History Services using and publishing photographs and/or videos containing your image. Photographs and/or videos may then be published to promote Marrickville Library and History in any of the Marrickville Library and History Services publications and materials (including though not limited to written, electronic or multimedia materials) for distribution anywhere in the world, or the Inner West Council Services publications and materials (including though not limited to written, electronic or multimedia materials), for educational, promotional or reporting purposes.

When giving your permission you should be aware that any information published on the internet is accessible to millions of users from all over the world, that it will be indexed by search engines and that it may be copied and used by any web user. This means that once the photograph is published, Marrickville Library and History Services we will have no control over its subsequent use and disclosure.

You also acknowledge that you are not entitled to any remuneration, royalties or any other payment from the Inner West Council in respect of the use by the Marrickville Library and History Services of the photographs and/or videos.”

Frankly I was shocked & annoyed at such demands made by Inner West Council to the community using services that they, the rate-payers have paid for. 

There are plenty of people in our community who do not want their photo or a video of them being uploaded to the internet to be accessed and/or used forever more by any person or organisation or company around the world.  In Council’s words, our images will be “accessible to millions of users from all over the world.”  And for what reason?

I think it is appalling that the Inner West Council requires residents to sign off their rights to privacy as a condition of attendance of any workshop, talk, event.

What about the rights of victims of domestic violence who may not want their ex-partner knowing where they or their children go around the community?  What about Silent Voters?   What about those people who do not want their image all over the internet for whatever reason?  Once there is one image on the internet, is it there forever.  You are searchable & poof! there goes your privacy.

When aggregated with other information, especially in times where many government departments & private companies possess facial recognition technologies, what council enforces on its ratepayers is nothing short of an instrument of impermissible surveillance & profiling by an unpredictable and unknown number of entities & people.

In comparison, anyone who attends a Council Meeting is prohibited from taking photos, record or film the Council Meeting. If you want to do any of that you are at the absolutely discretionary whim of Council to give you permission, plus you have to give your details & provide reasons why you want to take photos, record or video proceedings.

Whether or not you get permission is debated & voted upon by the Councillors at the start of the meeting & they can refuse to allow this.  If Councillors have the right not to allow residents to take photos or videos of them at Council Meetings, where is the equity for residents who may want to attend an activity at the Library without having their image taken in photo or video published on the internet or in other publications? If this isn’t a double standard, I don’t know what is.

I firmly believe that the Inner West Council is breaching the privacy rights of residents by extorting people this consent to attend any workshop, talk, group or activity arranged by the Library Service & that they should remove this requirement from their attendance agreement.

Furthermore, it is polite to ask attendees if they mind if their photo is taken or they are videoed & explain that this may be used on Council’s website or in Council publications.  Some residents might consent, but for those that don’t want this, they should be given a choice.

When photos or videos are taken it is easy to include in the frame only those who give their free & informed consent.

Doing so does not prevent Council from getting the happy snaps they need to spruce up their internet site, Facebook & Twitter posts or paper publications.

I don’t take people’s photo to use on this blog without asking first.  Council should behave with the same level of civility towards its community. It is not a matter of choice. It is Council’s obligation at law to respect people’s fundamental human right to privacy & not forcibly take away this right.

 

 

A shock of orange.

How pretty is this.

We were driving up Moorefields Road Kingsgrove today when our eyes saw a shock of orange.  The green arbor was in flower & what a sight it was.  I last wrote about this here – http://bit.ly/1PnJ1it

Now that I have seen the flower I know it as the Orange Trumpet vine (Pyrostegia venusta).  Although native to Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia & Paraguay, it is common sight covering sheds & fences in Queensland adding pops of orange to the landscape through winter to spring.

Unfortunately, the Orange Trumpet vine has naturalized in Queensland.  It can be grown from cuttings & can sometimes spread due to branches taking root in the ground.

‘Grow Me Instead’ suggests planting the Red Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) instead saying, The plant [Orange Trumpet vine] must not be planted near environmentally sensitive areas as it will escape & invade adjacent natural systems.”  However, in this location in Kingsgrove, I’d be surprised if it caused any problems.

The vine was brought to England from Brazil in 1815 by Admiral Sir John Beresford.  A prolific climber, it can climb 6-metres or more.  The bees love the trumpet-like flowers disappearing inside the trumpet for ages.

Despite its problems in Australia, I think it looks fabulous in this pocket park & there is nowhere for it to spread to.   The arbor itself is a great way to create a sense of peace in a small patch of green next to a busy road.  I am glad to have seen it looking its best.

Colour!

Colour!

Tsunami map for Dulwich Hill, Marrickville, Tempe, Sydenham & St Peters.  Click to enlarge.

Tsunami map for Dulwich Hill, Marrickville, Tempe, Sydenham & St Peters. Click to enlarge.

Yesterday the NSW State Emergency Service released a tsunami evacuation map for New South Wales.  The map shows all the areas that lie –

  • under 10-metres above sea level,
  • are 1 km or less inland &
  • are 10 km up an estuary.

This includes Marrickville, Dulwich Hill, Tempe, Sydenham, St Peters & Lewisham. 

Other suburbs in our new municipality are also affected.  These are  Rozelle, Balmain, Balmain East, Birchgrove, Leichhardt, Annandale, Lilyfield, Haberfield & I think, Croydon.

Our neighbours at Summer Hill, Campsie, Canterbury, Ashbury, Hurlstone Park, Earlwood, Undercliffe, Wolli Creek, Bardwell Park, Mascot, Banksia, Rockdale & Botany are also affected.  All the suburbs surrounding Botany Bay are included in the map & Sydney Airport is inundated.

To have a look at the map see – http://arcg.is/1Pt7M28

The NSW SES website has comprehensive education on tsumanis & what to do, including a section specifically for schools.  See – www.tsunamisafe.com.au

Since 2007, four tsunami events caused by earthquakes off the Solomon Islands, New Zealand, Chile & Japan reached the NSW coast.

The ‘NSW Tsunami Inundation Modelling and Risk Assessment’ report “outlines that the NSW coast is exposed to tsunami hazard, with inundation of low lying coastal land possible even with more likely events including those that have a 1 in 200 & a 1 in 500 chance of occurring in any given year (also known as a 200 & 500 year Average Recurrence Interval).”

The community will be alerted if there is a tsunami warning by radio & television broadcasts, social media, internet news & if you are on the beach, warning sirens.  Also a text or recorded voice message may be sent to your mobile phone or a plane may fly lower than usual & broadcast a warning.

If a tsunami warning has been issued, the NSW SES says,

  • “People are strongly advised to go to higher ground, at least ten metres above sea level, or if possible move at least one kilometre away from all beaches & the water’s edge of harbours & coastal estuaries.
  • Take only essential items that you can carry including important papers, family photographs & medical needs.
  • It may be in your own interests to walk to safety if possible to avoid traffic jams.
  • If you cannot leave the area take shelter in the upper storey of a sturdy brick or concrete multi-storey building.”

 They ask that you do not return to your home until an official all-clear has been given.  AND, importantly, do not go sightseeing to the coast or the river.

There is a downloadable Stormsafe app available for free at – http://www.stormsafe.com.au/stormsafe-apps

Looking at the arbor from Moorefields Road.

Looking at the arbor from Moorefields Road.

I have looked in passing at this green arbor along Moorefields Road Kingsgrove often while driving past, but recently decided to stop & have a closer look.

Google image of the pocket park hidden behind an arbor

Google image of the pocket park hidden behind an arbor

A vine has been grown over a trellis structure to create a very interesting archway into an unnamed pocket park at the end of Rolestone Avenue, which ends in a cul-de-sac.   The vine covered arbor makes this green space peaceful because the main road is buffered by the vines & your attention is taken elsewhere.   Most vines bloom, so this would be very nice while happening.

The arbor would also provide habitat & safety for wildlife.

I have not seen anything like this green entrance in a public space & like it a lot. It is a clever idea by Rockdale Council & one that I could see used successfully elsewhere, especially where heavy traffic is an issue.

Looking out to Moorefoelds Road from inside the pocket park

Looking out to Moorefoelds Road from inside the pocket park

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