Category Archives: Health

Why should you be doing more gardening?

Blooming marvellous: Why gardening keeps you grounded

Getting led up the garden path isn’t always a bad thing. You’d be amazed at the treasures and pleasures that await.

George admiring the flower he has grown.As a metaphor for life, gardening is the best there is. Think strong roots and firm foundations. It makes sense in any context, whether you relate it to family togetherness or designing a skyscraper. Any gardener will tell you that.

They’ll also say that life (and gardening) is better with barrowloads of patience. Plants grow slowly and no amount of rushing things (with fertiliser) will speed them up. So sit back and enjoy the ride.

Gardening is also good for you. It helps people battling high blood pressure, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, helps moderate mood and alleviate stress and doubles as a workout. Did you know three hours of moderate gardening will burn as many calories as a one-hour gym workout?

But back to gardening itself. Gardeners understand the only certainty is change – it’s why everything looks proportional in a garden for only so long. Plants get woody or diseased. And they die. That’s why in 10 years no garden will resemble the way it is now.

Gardening is an exercise in accepting whatever happens. Going with the flow. Especially when it comes to native plants – our fickle locals can keel over suddenly and inexplicably. Healthy one day, dead the next. And this is why gardeners are such get-on-with-it pragmatists – they rip out the ailing and lifeless, and plant anew. Usually with another little experiment, in the hope it might be hardier.

But enough of metaphors – gardeners have a low-tolerance for fluff. They are ‘practical folk’ whose idea of fun is getting dirty – rugging up and hitting it in any weather, slogging through winter for the rewards of spring and sweating under sunscreen and hat while everyone else is inside with air-conditioning.

Using secateurs to cut the stem off a lemon.This isn’t as unappealing as it may sound. The seasons are so much richer when you see them up close – turning leaves, peaches plumping out, birds gleaning twigs for nests and butterflies appearing like magic on the first warm days of summer.

A flourishing garden is certainly a thing of beauty, although any keen gardener will tell you it isn’t just about the results. It’s about the doing. Gardeners know that every day you miss takes at least two to catch up. Hacking back the overgrown is cathartic but it’s really just damage control – the thing you do before real nurturing can begin.

Beyond the heavy industry of digging, pulling, chopping and raking, gardening is about watching for signs, day in day out. And then one day seeing them – like a tiny green bud on a stalk that, the day before, looked dead.

Gardening comes with some strange belief that all those growing, independent and capable plants somehow need you. They need your diligent watering and well-researched fertilising and pruning.

Who knows where such enthusiasm and dedication originates? Maybe gardening is in the genes, or maybe it comes from childhood remembrance of helping mum or dad on rose-coloured weekends when the distant sound of lawn mowers meant no school today.

You’re either into it or you aren’t.

For gardeners, nothing beats a day in the dirt – potting up cuttings, digging in fertiliser, hunting out weeds. Time either stops or it flies.

As a gardener you become part of a living world that has as many ups and downs as ‘regular’ life, but is infused with an extra richness that defies description. You know the feeling. If you don’t, get out in the garden and find out.

Why gardening is good for your health

  • Three hours of moderate gardening burns as many calories as one hour at the gym.
  • Gardening can reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke by almost 30%.
  • Gardening reduces the risk of obesity.
  • 75% of gardeners rate their health as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.
  • People who grow more fruit and vegetables eat more fruit and veg.
  • Gardening is more effective at reducing the stress hormone cortisol than reading.
  • Gardening requires skills that can protect the brain from ageing.
  • Regular gardeners are less likely to suffer from dementia.
  • Gardening improves your memory.

Source: Blooming marvellous: Why gardening keeps you grounded

Plastic Waste Piles Up as China’s Ban Goes Into Effect

What will the U.S. do now with the plastic China won’t take?

 

PHOTOS COURTESY OF RECOLOGY

 BY KATHERINE WEI | FEB 3 2018

If you were at Dolores Park in San Francisco last weekend enjoying a bottle of water, chances are the bottle ended up at Pier 96 not long after you tossed it into a recycling bin. That’s where much of the city’s discarded recycling waste piles up—in giant bales of neatly bound cardboard and plastic scrap, sitting in an empty parking lot just off the pier. The cardboard bales will be shipped off to China in a shipping container for recycling. The plastic water bottles and other scrap will continue to sit there, however, waiting for another country willing to take them.

That’s because China has decided to crack down on the quality of plastic scrap imported from overseas—the yang la-ji, a crass, blanket term government officials have been calling imported scrap. It translates literally to “foreign trash.”

In July 2017, China filed a notice with the World Trade Organization announcing its decision to stop importing 24 types of foreign waste and to dramatically tighten its standards for impurities in scrap bales. In the official notice, China’s Ministry of Environment Protection said, “We found that large amounts of dirty wastes or even hazardous wastes are mixed in the solid waste that can be used as raw materials. This has polluted China’s environment seriously.”

Before the announcement, China allowed 5 percent of impurities in imported bales of plastic. The new, 0.5-percent threshold has proven impossible for U.S. facilities in the short-term, leaving recycling operators scrambling for alternatives.

“We worked hard to make sure our bales contain less than 5 percent of impurities, and sometimes lower than 4,” said Robert Reed, who is part of the team that runs Recology San Francisco near Pier 96.

The ban went into effect in 2018, with a transitional period of five months for its scrap trade partners. WTO members that rely heavily on China’s role in the international waste trade protested in meetings following the announcement; the United States, the E.U., Japan, Australia, and Canada all asked for a longer transitional period of up to five years.

China is already carrying out the ban anyway, which has caused a flurry of panic through the international waste trade. “China practically gave us no time to adjust, no time to transition,” said Adina Adler, a senior official at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. It takes at least two months for a scrap shipment to go from the United States to China; the last bales that the U.S. was able to get out of the country without facing rejection at China’s ports were shipped from September to October, making the ban effective three months after the announcement.

The lack of instructions from China also didn’t help. There is scrap piling up in storage facilities on the West Coast, waiting to be redirected to domestic or foreign facilities, or waiting indefinitely for the regulations to relax. This in turn is taking a toll on the facilities’ budgets; some have informed local residents that they are no longer taking in plastic items and that plastic has been going to landfill instead, according to Adler.

In the official notice China filed with the WTO, the banned types of scrap include “plastics waste from living sources, vanadium slag, unsorted waste paper, and waste textile materials.” But no further explanation was given, and there were no clear examples for exporting facilities on what they are allowed to ship and what they aren’t. The government has also announced a plan to completely ban plastic waste imports in 2019.

China became the world’s main solid waste importer in the 1980s, when it needed cheap raw materials to feed its growing economy. But in recent years, the government has pointed to environmental damage caused by the trade and unwonted smuggling of illegal scraps. China hasn’t made clear exactly what it means by environmental damage. However, one of the heaviest polluted regions in China, Guiyu, a small town in the Guangdong Province, is said to take in the most electronic waste in the world. Once primarily reliant on rice-planting before 1995, the coastal village had transformed into a huge e-waste processing hub by 2013 for economic reasons. Rice no longer grew because the water and air became severely polluted from burning plastic.

In 2013, officials launched the Green Fence campaign, which prohibited unsorted shipments of recyclables from overseas. In March 2017, China also launched the National Sword initiative, a project that led to detailed investigations at nine major ports known for the daily incoming cargo of foreign scrap.

“In periods of development in the past, parts of imported solid waste have served (China) to some extent, but as China advances economically and socially, we see problems exposed in importing solid waste for raw materials,” said Guo Jiang, the head of the environment protection ministry’s Department of International Cooperation. “Especially the yang la-ji. Everyone has something negative to say about it.”

The United States in particular has been hit hard by the ban, thanks to a lack of domestic plastic processing facilities nationwide. There hasn’t been a new recycling plant built in the U.S. since 2003. Meanwhile, Americans throw away an average of 35 billion plastic bottles every year. Up to 40 percent of U.S. scrap exports used to go to China. What happens next?

For now, your bottle and its plastic companions are going to Vietnam or Malaysia. Scrap exports from September 2017 through January 2018, compared to the same period of time in 2016, shows a 95 percent increase of scrap paper going to Vietnam, and a 138 percent increase in plastic scrap going to Malaysia. For that same period, there was a 17.8 percent drop in plastic scrap export from the United States to China.

“We are working very hard with the city of San Francisco and our customers to meet China’s new standards, but after November 2017, our plastic bales have been redirected to Southeast Asia,” said Reed, who hopes that the Chinese government will relax its new regulations.

Inside China, the scrap industry is also seeing fissures after the government crackdown. China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection investigated 1,800 recycling facilities last year to see if they followed environmental laws regarding imported scrap, but over half were found to be violating said laws. “These companies either went out of business or lost their import licenses temporarily,” said Adler. This also contributed to the chaos in the global scrap trade, because these licenses not only gave the facilities permission to import foreign scrap, they also determined how much each facility is allowed to import. Once taken away, the losses are huge.

Even more companies were denied licenses this year, said Steve Wong, the owner of the plastic recycling company Fukutomi in Hong Kong. “The number of the first batch of import permits granted in 2018 was released at the end of December. The number is down by nearly 95 percent in comparison to last year,” said Wong.

There is still no official plan on how to deal with the excess scrap piling up in places like San Francisco’s Pier 96, but recyclers are trying to identify domestic options rather than going overseas. “There are resources in the U.S. and Canada that people are starting to scout out now,” said Adler.

Wong agrees. “The amount Southeast Asian countries are taking is small compared to what the U.S. is used to exporting. I’m planning to open a facility in the U.S. to help combat the problem.”

 

Source: Plastic Waste Piles Up as China’s Ban Goes Into Effect

जनैपूर्णिमा (Janai Purnima)

फोटो : trekkingmart

प्रत्येक वर्ष श्रावण शुक्ल पूर्णिमाका दिनमा मनाइने ऋषितर्पणी, रक्षाबन्धन एवम् जनै पूर्णिमा बिहिबार मनाइँदैछ ।

सत्ययुगमा दानवद्वारा लखेटिएका देवगणलाई गुरु बृहस्पतिले रक्षा विधान तयार गरी जेले गर्दा अत्यन्त बलशाली दानवराज बली बाँधिए, त्यसैले म तिमीलाई बाँध्छु, यसले तिमी सुरक्षित बन, विचलित नहोऊ भनी डोरो बाँधेर जोगाएका थिए भन्ने पौराणिक मान्यताका आधारमा चलेकोे रक्षाबन्धनको परम्परा आज पनि प्रचलित छ ।

यसैकारण रक्षाबन्धन गर्ने बेलामा गुरु पुरोहितहरुले ‘येन बद्धो बलिराजा दानवेन्द्रो महाबल तेन त्वां प्रतिबध्नामी रक्षेमा चलमाचल’ भनी रक्षासूत्र, रक्षाबन्धन अथवा डोरो बाँध्ने वैदिक परम्परा रहको नेपाल पञ्चाङ्ग निर्णायक समितिका अध्यक्ष प्रा डा रामचन्द्र गौतमले बताए ।

मानव रक्षाका लागि जप, तप र पूजा गरी मन्त्रिएको रक्षाबन्धन अर्थात् डोरो वैदिक परम्पराको मन्त्रोच्चारण गर्दै ब्राह्मण पुरोहितहरुले यजमानको नाडीमा बाँधिदिने गरिन्छ ।

आजकै दिन तागाधारीहरुले आफ्नो जनै (यज्ञोपवित) फेर्छन् । यसका लागि बुधबारदेखिनै कपाल मुण्डन गरी एक छाकमात्र खाएर चोखोनीतो गरी बसिन्छ । यसरी व्रत बसेका तागाधारीहरुले आज बिहानै पोखरी, ताल, तलाउ, नदी र कुण्डमा गई गाईको गोबर, खरानी, दत्तिउन र सप्तमृत्तिका लगाएर स्नान गर्दछन् ।

स्नानपछि जौ तिल र कुशद्वारा ऋषिहरुलाई तर्पण गरी वैदिक रुद्राभिषेक पद्धतिबाट मन्त्रिएको नयाँ जनै (यज्ञोपवित) फेरिन्छ । ऋषिलाई तर्पण गर्ने भएकाले आजको दिनलाई ऋषितर्पणी पनि भन्ने गरिएको छ । आजै मन्त्रिएको जनै फेर्ने गरिएकाले नै श्रावण शुक्ल पूर्णिमालाई जनैपूर्णिमा पनि भनिन्छ ।

वैदिक गुरु परम्पराअनुसार यज्ञोपवित अर्थात् जनैलाई ब्रह्मसूत्र अथवा ज्ञानको धागोसमेत भनिन्छ ।

जनैका दुई शिखामध्ये एउटा शिखामा रहने तीन डोरालाई ब्रह्मा, विष्णु र महेश्वरको प्रतीकका रुपमा पुजिन्छ । अर्को डोराको तीनवटा शिखालाई भने कर्म, उपासना र ज्ञानको त्रियोगका रुपमा मानिन्छ ।

यस किसिमको महत्व भएकाले नै आज बिहानै यजमानहरु आफ्ना गुरु पुरोहितकहाँ गई यज्ञोपवित मन्त्रने गर्दछन् । आजकै दिन मन्त्रेको जनै वर्षभरिका धार्मिक कर्ममा प्रयोग गरिनुका साथै फेर्नलाई समेत उपयोग गरिन्छ । कुनै पनि धार्मिक कर्म गर्दा र जुठो, सूतकबाट चोखिँदा आजकै दिन मन्त्रिएको यज्ञोपवित फेरेर शुद्ध भइन्छ भन्ने वैदिक मान्यता छ ।

आजकै दिन शरीर शुद्ध गरी देवता, सप्तऋषि र पितृलाई पनि तर्पण गरिने भएकाले नै ऋषि तर्पणीसमेत भन्ने गरिएको हो । आजको दिन सप्तऋषिहरु काश्यप, अत्रि, भारद्वाज, गौतम, जमदग्नि, वशिष्ठ र विश्वमित्रलाई तर्पण दिने गरिन्छ ।

आजका दिन एघारथरिका गेडागुडी मिसाई भिजाएर टुसा उमारेर क्वाँटी बनाई खाइन्छ । यसरी क्वाँटी बनाई खानाले शरीरमा रोग नलाग्ने, पेट सफा हुने र वर्षायामभर खेतीपातीको काम गर्दा शरीरमा लागेको चिसो निकाली भित्रदेखि नै तापको सञ्चार गर्छ भन्ने मान्यता छ ।

नेपालको तराई क्षेत्रमा भने आजकै दिन दिदीबहिनीले दाजुभाइलाई राखी बाँधेर मनाइन्छ । यसबाट दिदीबहिनी र दाजुभाइका बीचमा प्रेम सम्बन्ध बढ्छ भन्ने सामाजिक मान्यता छ ।

आजको दिन काठमाडाँैको पशुपति र मणिचूड, रसुवाको गोसाइँकुण्ड, ललितपुरको कुम्भेश्वर, सिन्धुपाल्चोकको पाँचपोखरी, धनुषाको जनकपुरधाम, धनुषसागर र गङ्गासागर, जुम्लाको दानसाधु एवम् नवलपरासीको त्रिवेणीधामलगायतका ताल, पोखरी र कुण्डमा मेला लाग्छ ।

नेवारी समुदायले भने श्रावण शुक्ल पूर्णिमालाई गुँपुन्ही भनी मनाउने गर्दछन् । विशेषगरी क्वाँटी खाने परम्परा नेवारी समुदायको यसै पर्वबाट आएको हो भन्ने तर्क पनि एकथरि संस्कृतिविद्को छ । आजका दिन नेवारी समुदायका मानिसले घण्टाकर्ण राक्षसलाई समाप्त पार्न योगदान गरी मानवीयतालाई बचाउन सहयोग गरेको विश्वासमा भ्यागुतालाई पूजा गर्छन् ।

बौद्ध दर्शनलाई अँगाल्ने बौद्ध धर्मावलम्बीले भने आजको दिनलाई भगवान् गौतमबुद्धले कामशक्तिमाथि विजय प्राप्त गरेको सम्झनाको दिनका रुपमा मनाउने गर्दछन् । बौद्ध धर्मग्रन्थ ललितविस्तरमा यससम्बन्धी विस्तृत रुपमा व्याख्या गरिएको छ । यसैका कारण आज स्वयम्भूमा पनि विशेष मेला लाग्ने गर्दछ । रासस

Source: आज जनैपूर्णिमा, यसरी सुरु भयो रक्षाबन्धनको परम्परा

YES! Every Drop Counts..

As we recently celebrate the World Water Day, this interesting infographic on global water availability and usage definitely deserves to look  and ponder upon..!!

Every-Drop-Counts-Infographic

My Weekly Small Pleasures #5

Weekly Pleasure#5
I had a pretty busy week with few social events. Got a chance to meet many relatives and lots of friends which was lots of fun. Few small pleasures to mention are:
  1. My four months old daughter started on solids. Even though she still needs to learn how to swallow properly, its gives immense pleasure to see the little one tasting her new food  (making  weird faces).
  2. Attended my niece’s   bahra  ceremony, one of the important ritual in the Newar community that  I belong to. The ceremony is  conducted for all the girls before their first mensuration and mark the girl become an adolescent. Learn more about bahra ceremony at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahra_ceremony
  3. Also attended the feast to celebrate the bahra  ceremony of my niece. Got to enjoy authentic Newari food prepared by my cousin and aunt. I also had a great time meeting my relatives and friends.
  4. Took my son to his first swimming class. Initially he was reluctant and would not want to go to class but rather play on his own in the pool. I am glad it didn’t last long and I saw him enjoying rest of the session.
  5. Discovered a beautiful park just 30 mins  walking distance away  from my place.  I took a new route for my evening walk and found this lovely place with lots of activities for children and adults. Coming across new things in your neighbourhood is the best part of the walk apart from the health benefit.

what are your weekly small pleasures.. would love to hear!

Also see My Weekly Small Pleasures #4                                                                                                        My Weekly Small Pleasures #3                                                                                                        My Weekly Small Pleasures #2                                                                                                        My Weekly Small Pleasures #1

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I came across this blog event ( Weekly Small Pleasures – Blog Event) a while ago. I found it quite interesting and have been thinking of sharing my weekly small pleasures too, which I have not been able to start due to one or the other reason. As we enter the brand new week of the brand new year, I think this is the perfect time to begin this journey.

This blog event is simply about remembering and sharing those small things that made you happy during the week; things that made you smile, made you laugh, made you do a happy dance, made your heart silently smile, or they even made you cry for joy.

Weekly Small Pleasures

Know more about this blog event here Weekly Small Pleasures – Blog Event

My Weekly Small Pleasures #1

Since it was festive season and holiday times, I got an opportunity to indulge myself in bit of travelling and other fun activities.

Here are my weekly small pleasures #1

weekly pleasures

1. Went to Melbourne with my family (hubby and two kids) for holidays. We spent 4 days  there and had a great time meeting friends, eating good food and visiting beautiful places.

2. Went on a long road trip (of that length) for the first time. We chose to drive from Sydney to Melbourne which is approximately 870 km. Even though it was supposed to be just 8 hours drive,  it took us 11 hours of pleasant driving with few survival breaks in between.

3. Went for a swim with my family and friends to kill the scorching heat in Sydney.

4. Went shopping  to grab some New Year sale. Got some stuffs for kids, hubby and myself as  a New Year gift. This was the best part of the holiday.

5. Hubby and I went to watch a Bollywood movie in the cinema (after more than a year), while my cousin babysit my three years old. The movie was completely entertaining and insightful. Hence worth a watch.

 

The Idea originated from

My Weekly Small Pleasures

I came across this blog event ( Weekly Small Pleasures – Blog Event) a while ago. I found it quite interesting and have been thinking of sharing my weekly small pleasures too, which I have not been able to start due to one or the other reason. As we enter the brand new week of the brand new year, I think this is the perfect time to begin this journey.

This blog event is simply about remembering and sharing those small things that made you happy during the week; things that made you smile, made you laugh, made you do a happy dance, made your heart silently smile, or they even made you cry for joy.

Weekly Small Pleasures

Know more about this blog event here Weekly Small Pleasures – Blog Event

 


 

Mama Let’s Go Green !!

Mama Let’s Go Green !!

Mama Let’s Go Green !!

go green mama

Go Green Mama

My enthusiasm and perseverance for green living has always motivated me to make it a part of my everyday life. The interest became more apparent after I had my first baby. Being a mom I realised that there are lot more we can do to raise a healthy family which will also help to protect our environment as well save us money. The idea hit me when I was mopping my tile floor using a general antibacterial cleaning product. I felt that the smell being emitted was so strong and intense that it was literally making me nauseous and giving me a headache. Having a little one sitting just around the corner, my concern grew towards the quality of air he was inhaling. And this is when I started looking for alternatives for household chemical cleaning products. To my surprise, I came across numerous things that parents could adopt to sustain a green and healthy living. And now opting a green living has become more than just an interest to me, it has become a mere necessity.

Having baby means buying more stuff and creating lots of waste, utilising more water and energy, more expenses and less savings. On the other side children are vulnerable to the chemicals and other external particles that get emitted through cleaning products, plastic toys, smoke, dust etc. While it is important for children to stay away from all these, it is equally important to think about protecting the environment which they will inherit in future.

This space will hold information on how parents can adopt green and healthy living in a simple, fun and yet effective way. Be it small actions like washing your clothes in cold water and drying them in sun rather than using dryer, or making your own cleaning products rather than buying chemical laden products from supermarket. Changing ourlifestyle and our behaviour will not only lead us towards healthy life but also significantly reduce our impact on the environment. As a parent to two young children one of my main focus is to reduce the use of toxic chemicals which are found in abundant quantity in the mainstream cleaning products.

Through this page I aspire is to encourage all the moms (and dads) to be mindful of the environmental impacts of their everyday actions and live a more sustainable life. If you are a beginner in green living and just started getting concerned for a healthy family and better environment, you are just at the right place. It will give you much pleasure than ever that there are so much you can do for yourself, your family, community and the entire planet. Being a mom gives you one more reason to go green.

Mama… Let’s Go Green… !!

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