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The book Scienceblind is about the intuitive theories we have about the world, why they're often wrong, and why we sometimes hold on to them despite overwhelming scientific evidence.

You might imagine I headed straight for the climate change chapter. Actually, I read the introduction first. But then straight to Chapter 7.

Climate and weatherTurns out that we really do confuse weather and climate. In surveys done on hot days, people are far more likely to agree that climate change is happening.

Should one day's weather in one tiny speck of the planet really change our mind about whether the entire planet is warming year after year, decade after decade? Probably not. But it does.

What can we feel?The thing about intuitive theories is that they are based on what we perceive. We can't perceive this month's global average temperature and compare it to similar months over the last 3 decades. We sense today's temperature - right here, right now. So that's the data we use. Not very scientific.

Another thing we perceive is that serious climate change must lead to serious behavioural changes. The more fearful we are of such changes the more we are inclined to deny that climate change exists, or deny that it is serious.

So what's the solutionOften people don't know what it is they a rejecting. A study in which people were given the following description were found to be more accepting of global warming.

Earth transforms sunlight’s visible light energy into infrared light energy, which leaves Earth slowly because it is absorbed by greenhouse gases. When people produce greenhouse gases, energy leaves Earth even more slowly - raising Earth’s temperature.

A second solution is to inform people that 97% of scientists agree that human carbon emissions are causing climate change. People tend to think this figure is around 60-70%.

Finding out that the science community is practically unanimous resulted in people being more accepting of the reality of climate change and also more willing to take action.
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We use the phrase "plenty more fish in the sea" to console someone on a missed opportunity. In coming years there'll be more plastic than fish in the oceans. We may need to update the expression for our polluted world.

How did it get to this?How did we get enough plastic in ocean to outnumber all the fish? The numbers tell the story. Globally we buy a million plastic bottles a minute. Each year we use 5 trillion plastic bags and millions of tonnes of plastic leaks into the ocean. The average Australian generates 107 kg of plastic pollution a year. Only 14% of this is recycled. The rest ends up in landfill or the ocean where it takes around 100 years to degrade.

In 2016, a yoghurt container from the '76 Olympics washed up on a beach in France. Closer to home, Gold Coast man Jim Hinds picks rubbish out of the waterways. He averages about 10,000 items per month.

So this year's World Environment Day theme is Beat Plastic Pollution.

Why does this matter?100,000 sea creatures are killed by plastics each year. Birds that eat floating plastic, thinking it's food, have been found dead with hundred of pieces of plastic filling their stomach. It is also a problem for humans as we eat the fish that eat the tiny pieces of plastic.

A Bottle's Odyssey - YouTube


What can we do?Here in Australia we have an initiative called Plastic Free July. For one month, or for the year, you can pledge to avoid the 4 main types of disposable plastic - bags, bottles, straws and coffee cups. We can upgrade to re-usable containers, and use the sites Responsible Cafes and Trashless Takeaway to identify business that accept reusable containers. Some even give discounts.

#CleanSeas Break-Up PSA: "It's not me, it's you." - YouTube


Our consumer behaviour can help businesses be more responsible, and policy can help support these changes. Here in Queensland we're phasing out single-use plastic bags and later this year we'll start a container deposit system for plastic drink bottles - along with bottles and cans.

This can also be chance for community groups (churches, scouts, sports clubs) to collect containers as a fundraiser while also improving the environment.
Hopefully we can keep plastic out of the ocean, out of our fish and out of our bodies.
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We enjoy great food, but it's disappointing when it comes in a white foam container - or other non-recyclable plastic that will end up in the bin.

Australians generate 107 kg of plastic waste per person - and only 14% gets recycled. The rest goes to landfill or ends up in the ocean.

Trashless Takeaway shows you the shops that accept reusable containers for takeaway food. You may even get a discount.


Ways to help trashless take off:
  • Support the places that are help reduce plastic pollution
  • Add #trashlesstakeaway to your photo of your trashless meal
  • Ask your favourite place if they accept reusable containers
  • Add them to the map if they they do

Apart from saving the planet, this can be healthier, cheaper and yummier. Business can also save money and get more exposure.

Find out more about The Plastic Problem - and the solution.

PS. For coffee shops, there's a similar site called Responsible Cafes.
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Paper coffee cups. How do we recycle them? 7-Eleven have launched Cup Rescue and aim to recycle 70 million cups each year.

What to doAt selected 7-Eleven stores you can return your paper coffee cups, the lids, and slurpee cups into these handy tubes to be recycled by Simply Cups.


Where is it?Enter your postcode to see if your local store participates. If it doesn't have one, ask 7-Eleven to put one there.

Start your ownYou can also contact Simply Cups and register to have a coffee cup collection at your workplace, school or event to save cups from landfill.

The Simply Cups website track how many cups are collected. As I write this, they've done more than 930,000 cups. From only 250 sites, that's quite amazing.

Of course the best thing to do is to use a reusable cup (see which cafes give you a discount for that). But the next best thing is to recycle the paper cups - especially at the office where there are so many.
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This Saturday Aldi (in Australia) are having an amazing sale on LED lights - which are super efficient. How efficient? Their conversion chart shows ust how much less power these bulbs use to give the same light. Huge savings.


So much do these amazing pieces of technology cost? Not much.

LED bulbs are $2.99 (to replace a standard bulb)


Dimmable LED bulbs are a bit more - $6.99.

LEDs downlights to replace halogens are just $4.99.


If you're wondering how that compares to the energy the old bulbs are using, check out my Super Easy Energy Calculator.

A 60W bulb for 4 hours a night costs $24 per year in power - just for that one light. It's a great deal to slash that cost for just a few dollars. And the planet wins too.

Is there any reason not to change?
Aldi's sale starts Saturday while stocks last - so be quick.
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How much energy does a light bulb use? Is it worth replacing it? Those kind of answers can be found with this easy guide.


Find the light bulb wattage on the left hand side. Across the top find the hours per day it is used. Where that row and column meet is the cost of powering that light bulb for one year.

An old 75 Watt bulb running 5 hours a night costs $37 a year. Definitely worth changing to a more efficient option.

It also works for other items - if you know their power usage. A stereo that uses 10 Watts in standby mode all day will cost $24 a year even without playing any music; might be worth turning off at the wall. A laptop computer that uses 20 Watts and is used for 4 hours per day will cost just $8 to run.

For this calculator I've assumed 27 cents per unit of electricity. If your price is different then the estimates may vary.

Also, if the exact wattage isn't in the table, use one that is close to it as an estimate. Or if you've got a calculator you can do the exact calculations yourself. Here's the formula:
Cost = Watts x hours/day x 0.365 x price($/kWh)
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Take this quiz to find out how you score on your climate change knowledge.

It's been all over the news, but how much information has sunk in?


I aced it with 10 from 10 - but it is multiple choice so that makes it a bit easier.
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It's a question that many people have asked. Australian consumer affairs TV show The Checkout took a look at at practically every solar question people ask.

Quirkiness is the trademark of the show, but the information is good.

Shocking Savings: Solar Power - YouTube


Here's the link to the solar calculator they mention.

In case you missed it, here is the information on payback periods.

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Check out the blue and red boxes on this energy sticker (for our washing machine).


Those numbers (55 and 464) represent the energy needed for cold and hot washes. Quick maths shows the blue number is 88% less than the red number.

To put that another way, the hot wash uses more than 8 times as much energy. Surely this is a no-brainer.

For cold washes that's a yearly total of $14.85 in electricity. If we used hot water, that number would surge to $125.28. Woah, that's a big difference.
The cold wash button is really saver.
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Often there's a mental barrier to getting energy-saving lights. They cost money.

Is it worth it?Yes. Even if you're renting. For your main lights, most upgrades make their money back in less than a year.

The Checkout did the maths for a light that's on 5 hours per night at a price of 30 cents/kWh.


A six dollar bulb can save you around $20 every year! That's an amazing return on your money.

Plus they also last longer. So in the long run you save even more by not having to replace them as often.

Shocking Savings: Light Bulbs - YouTube


The video also mentions the Light Bulb Saver app. It's handy for calculating the saving for your particular situation and is available on Google Play and iTunes.
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