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Friday, November 8, 2013

Green Camping

I am finding it very difficult to be a ‘green’ camper on this trip. At home I religiously recycle and reuse. Here recycling rules are different from state to state, perhaps even city to city in Australia. None of the many campgrounds we have seen so far, have recycle bins or offer ways to separate garbage. We asked in several stores about bottle returns and were told they don’t do that here. We spotted one recycle station in a National Park today so perhaps it will become more readily available.
Living close to nature, I realize how recycable we all are! Many birds circle a dead kangaroo on the side of the road. In no time at all, there’s nothing left. Hiking on a trail, I notice a dead bug. It is surrounded by thousands of ants and, in no time, there’s nothing left.

Often there are water restrictions in this dry land, so I take very short showers. We use reusable shopping bags and use any bags we gather as garbage bags. Any plastic bags or containers are put to new use. But still, we seem to produce more waste here than at home. And of course, all that wrapping material represents danger to many animals. Turtles and dolphins have been known to be killed by plastic bags, when they mistake them for jellyfish, and by plastic six-pack holders. Many beaches are very clean and towns often have ‘tidy city winner’ signs so they do take pride in being clean. Nevertheless we do see garbage in the bush and on the beach.

I just realized that none of the homes or hotels we’ve stayed at, have central heating. Our hotel rooms have a small portable heater. And every bed, so far, has an electric heating pad. But it seems that no heating is needed besides a fireplace.

Australia gets 4 stars for clean air. I haven’t been in a place for a long time that has such little air pollution. The sky is brilliant blue, it smells clean and it’s a joy not to see layers of brown smog in the distance. Of course that is because there are relatively few cities, traffic and industries. It’s a far cry from places like Shanghai! The starry night sky is amazing. Pitch black with millions of sparkling stars. 

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