Captain Planet Was a Golfer

While everyone turns the discussion to making sacrifices for the sake of the planet, some bells and whistles can actually help save it.

Image by Dru Bloomfield via Flickr
Image by Dru Bloomfield via Flickr

 

Don’t put the five-iron down, and relax. By supporting your local golf course, you might actually be helping reverse global warming –or in the least, you may not be making it worse.

It’s true.

The green-conscious eco-movement isn’t only a cause fought for by Birkenstock wearing, tree-hugging hippies. Golf-enthusiasts can fight the cause, too; from the turf.

So don’t re-book that Friday afternoon business meeting. The only earth-friendly decision you may need to make today is which golf course to spend your money on.

Not every golf course is a mecca for eco-friendliness, so it’s important to know what to look for. Here are a few tips on how golf courses are going green.

  1. Pass the Grass

Not all golf course turf is created equal. If you’re going to spend time on a course, and the environment your playing golf on is of conscientious consequence for you; be sure to select a golf course that uses turf composed of grass that relies on less water consumption.

Some strains of grass that consume water differently are Buchloe dactyloides, Cynodon dactylon, and Paspalum vaginatum.

Buchloe dactyloides has been bred by the University of Nebraska, and it is a special grass turf that can use up to 50% less water than typical turf grass.

Cynodon dactylon was developed by the Oklahoma State University for colder climates, and conserves 30% – 50% water savings.

The University of Georgia’s Paspalum vaginatum is inherently salt-water tolerant, so water can be irrigated directly from the ocean without further tampering or filtration.

  1. Irrigation Practices

Golf courses that cycle irrigation as opposed to using fresh water all day long, day in, day out, are high on the list of eco-friendly golf course practices –however more attention can be paid to other facets of modern golf course practices such as limiting traffic to paths which minimize turf wear and tear, or root-pruning trees near critical turf areas to conserve water consumption.

golf2

 

Employing mulches that reduce water evaporation will also maximise water use, and ensure that no drop is wasted.

  1. Creative Water Sources

Ponds that line your turf should provide more utility than looking good cosmetically; they can serve as water reservoirs to feed the green above and beyond municipal reserves.

golf pond

As mentioned earlier, University of Georgia’s Paspalum vaginatum is salt-water tolerant, and allows for the use of ocean water to feed the green. Not only is it the right thing to do ecologically, it saves money, too.

Even a desalinization plant on-site will allow for the use of ocean salt water, without burdening local infrastructure and provide an unlimited source of grass turf hydration.

  1. Landscaping and “Earth Shaping”

Drainage isn’t just about preventing flooding on the gold course, it’s also about water catchment for the recycling of available water.

Capping golf courses with a 6-inch layer of sand allow for the free-flowing of water which will prevent stale water and rot, while allowing water to flow back into a water catchment system for redistribution.

  1. Aerification and Cultivation

Healthy grass ensures proper use of water resources. Using effective nutrient levels will ensure grass remains healthy, while absorbing water that might otherwise evaporate and get wasted.

Further to this, golf courses that facilitate effective spiking, slicing, and core aerification practices improve water infiltration, and minimize water runoff.

In closing, you can either take this checklist to every single golf course in town, or you can take our word on it;  Murray Downs Resort has what you’re looking for.

Rhino Rescue

Anyone who has travelled to Australia knows that its government is intensely wary of alien species. Visitors must promise they are not smuggling any in, by accident or on purpose. Passengers raising the slightest suspicion are thoroughly searched.

A South African-born Australian businessman wants an exception to be made for rhinos. They are poached mercilessly in his homeland but he believes their salvation may lie in a closely monitored breeding programme in the Outback. His plan is a drastic last resort, as controversial where the rhinos would be taken from as where they would be taken to. It would be expensive and it would be worth every penny.

Rhinos are being hunted to extinction. From a total population of barely 20,000, more than 1,000 white rhinos were slaughtered in South Africa by poachers last year, an increase of 300 on the previous year. The pace of killing is increasing. More than 80 were shot dead in January this year alone. The western black rhino, the only sub-species once found in West Africa, was declared extinct last year. The outlook for sub-species once common in the jungles of South East Asia is scarcely less bleak: fewer than 100 Sumatran rhinos are still thought to exist in the wild. For Javan rhinos the number is below 50.

Rhino Rescue

The driving force behind this shameful butchery is Chinese and Vietnamese demand for powdered rhino horn. Baseless myth confers on it miraculous effects, particularly for the sex lives of young men. In reality, as one expert from the conservation group WWF puts it: “You would get the same effect from chewing your own fingernails.”

Ignorance reigns where education is most needed, and demand for rhino horn grows in line with Chinese spending power. In some parts of Africa middlemen are at last being handed meaningful fines, but nothing has deterred the poachers at the sharp end of the supply chain. Most of those targeting South Africa’s rhinos slip over the border from Mozambique, find their prey in the Kruger National Park and are back across the border before their victims are found, often still alive but bleeding to death.

The proposal for which Ray Dearlove, of the Australian Rhino Project, is now seeking approval in South Africa is for 30 black and white rhinos to be flown across the Indian Ocean to a new home in a large fenced reserve 200 miles north-west of Sydney. It might just work. Experts say the climate on the temperate fringe of the Outback is perfect. Security is guaranteed. Airlines have long experience of flying rhinos round the world for zoos, sedated and in special breathable crates. And the separate case of the Spix’s Macaw — extinct in the wild in Brazil but being brought back from the brink in a captive breeding programme in Tenerife — shows that in principle it can be done.

The potential obstacles are numerous. South Africa’s rhinos are a symbol of its national pride. To outsource their rescue could be seen as an admission of defeat, although to their credit the authorities in Pretoria have so far been open to any possible solution. In Australia, the Government must be persuaded that rhinos deserve exemption from rules that have evolved precisely because of the havoc caused by alien species, from cane toads to myxomatosis-resistant rabbits. The question is whether rhinos are a special case. They are. This bold effort to save them deserves a chance, because nothing else is working.

Cheap Family Days Out That Won’t Break the Bank

National Museums and GalleriesIf money is tight at the moment, you may be concerned that you will not be able to do as many fun things with your family and take them out as often as you would like.  However, while it can be great fun to visit a theme park or one of the expensive Sea Life Centres or zoos, a day out with the people you love the most does not have to feel like a burden.  There are always ways round the little matter of not having enough money, and we are here to help you discover some of these

National Museums and Galleries

All 50+ of the national galleries and museums found up and down the country are completely free to enter.  This means that you can take your children out for an interesting day of learning and exploring while keeping the expenses to a minimum.  Although art galleries can be a bit stuffy at time, museums are great places to get lost in amongst the different exhibits and in modern museums there are often interactive and multimedia exhibits alongside the more traditional ones.

Get On Your Bikes

We all know that the UK is a very scenic and naturally beautiful place to live, but have you ever really taken the time to properly experience the countryside up close?  Regardless of whether you have or haven’t, if all the family can ride and own bikes you should head out into the great unknown and experience the other side of Britain to the busy cities and shopping centres.  If you fancy something more challenging rather than just heading out on a simple bike ride, you could organise a trip to one of the many bike trails that the UK has to offer.  There is likely to be at least one or two local to you and there is often a choice of different routes to suit people who have different levels of ability and experience.

Visit the Local Fire Station

Most children admire firefighters and some would love to be one when they grow up.  Why not feed their interest by organising an educational and exciting trip to the local fire station.  It should be noted that whether your local fire brigade can accommodate visitors or not is usually up to the brigade themselves and the people who run the station, you should also remember the phrase “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”.  You will find that as fire brigades and stations have become more involved with their local community nowadays that they are more than happy to welcome kids on to the premises as it helps to educate them about fire safety.

Hopefully you can see from the above suggestions that by thinking outside the box a little, you can still take your children out for the day without emptying your bank account.  If the above suggestions have inspired you, then we are glad, but we would also like to encourage you to take a look at www.quietcountrylife.com that features some great family-orientated posts and articles and www.parentslate.com a parental resource that has recently released a great little downloadable and completely free eBook on the subject of free and cheap family days out.

Re-use Paper Bags to Save the Environment – AND Money!

Paper bags have become more popular since the recent introduction of fees for plastic bags in supermarkets and shops in the UK. Environmental issues have really risen to people’s consciousness now because of this – and we’re definitely not complaining! Paper bags are a thousand times better for the environment, are a lot safer when for kids and pets in the home, and have tonnes more used that their plastic counterparts.

Continue reading “Re-use Paper Bags to Save the Environment – AND Money!”

Our 5 Hidden Gems in Green, Gorgeous Ireland

If you have visited Giant’s Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher and driven round the Ring of Kerry or just want to avoid the places more likely to be full of tourists, Northern Ireland and Ireland has plenty to offer you.  In the following article we highlight 5 of the best hidden gems the Emerald Isles has to offer, and a perfect start for any road trip around Ireland.

Torc Waterfall at Killarney National Park, Ireland

torc waterfall

Torc Waterfall at Killarney National Park is located at just 4 miles outside of Killarney and features a jaw-dropping 60 ft. drop from the Torc Mountains into the river, cheerfully titled Devil’s Punch Bowl.  Not only is it completely surrounded by thick and beautiful countryside, it is also very easy to access and completely free to enter.

The Mourne Mountains in County Down, Northern Ireland

Mourne Mountains will particularly interest fans of epic fantasy stories such as Game of Thrones and The Chronicles of Narnia.  The mountains and the surrounding area is covered in lots of follies, caves, grottos, rivers and forests that will easily make you feel as if you have transported to another realm.    As well as reportedly serving as the inspiration for CS Lewis when he was writing of the mythical world of Narnia, it also serves as the location for filming HBO’s Game of Thrones adaption.

Glendalough in County Wicklow, Ireland

glendalough

Glendalough is also known as the Valley of 2 Lakes and sits in a valley deep at the centre of the amazing Wicklow Mountains.  The city of seven churches originates as far back as the 6th century when it was founded by a monastic settlement and when you visit here it’s not too hard to see why.  Along with just basking in the beauty of the landscape, you can explore the ancient stone structures, medieval church remains, decorated stone crosses, a very unique round tower and a very old cathedral.

Aran Islands in County Galway, Ireland

The Aran Islands are located just 40 minutes on a ferry away from Rossaveel near Galway and to say that they give you a chance to travel back in time is an understatement.  The Gaelic language is still spoken on the isles and for the most part, locals travel round in traditional fashion either by horse and buggy, bike or their own two feet.  Inis Mor is the largest of the isles and although it isn’t very touristy, it is very popular and features an up market youth hostel, B&Bs and bike rentals.  It is best to experience the island on a day trip by bike and explore the ruins of Dun Anegus, an old and imposing Iron Age fortress that features 3 walled sides and 1 open and a 300 ft. drop that leads to the sea.

Inis Oirr and Inis Meain are the other two Aran Isles and receive even less visitors so offer the chance to see completely unspoiled Irish scenery.

Skellig Michael in County Kerry, Ireland

skellig

You need the help of a fishing trawler and a clear day to get across the choppy waters to Skellig Michael, but it is worth the effort.  Once there you climb the weather-beaten and ancient carved stone steps to the top where you find an amazing sight.  There is a group of beehive-style stone huts that date back as far as the 6th century.  It is amazing to think that people actually lived on this desolate and beautiful but imposing piece of rock.

This article was written by the guys over at www.traveltrout.co.uk who are passionate about blogging and sharing their experiences with other bloggers and readers.