Before I went to University to begin my studies in Geography, I owned a small gardening business.
Gardening is a peculiar past time.For some it is a necessary chore; the weeding of a drive, the mowing of a lawn, these monotonous activities need to be done in order to keep one's garden looking presentable, therefore conforming to the accepted norm. For others (me included!), it's a joy that gives them endless hours of pottering around and fresh air. Each project that we take on is one that will stand the test of time, each seed we plant, an investment in the future. Although the work started out as relatively simple, small jobs, weeding gardens and planting flower beds, soon I was asked to bring to life my clients' dream gardens to life and do it all in an environmentally friendly way. You might assume that this would be a relatively easy job to perform, you'd be surprised at how demanding clients can be and how hard it can be to keep your carbon footprint small - even when you're working on the smallest of back gardens. Responding to these requests required ingenuity and a great deal of research. Although large scale garden transformations might have been all the rage back in the 90s, the modern homeowner does not look as kindly on concrete pathways, dodgy water features and wooden decking as it once did. As a result, the onus was on me to devise and source environmentally solutions to my clients' demands.
Thankfully, I was given a relatively free rein, in regards to how I got my work done. I could therefore take some interesting routes to solving my problem.Say, for example, that my client wanted 'natural looking' garden furniture - an alternative to the plastic and glass monstrosities that you so often see being sold at B&Q and Homebase. My solution to this? Upcycle timber packing cases from an online seller and re-shape the boxes into affordable, beautiful outside furniture. Although the gaudy fountains and ugly faux-concrete ornaments firmly belonged in the past, clients still wanted some kind of water feature in their back gardens. Flat-out refusing anything approximating one of those God awful pre-moulded plastic ponds, I instead opted for a natural, eco-friendly option. Although more labour intensive, this method allowed me to be more creative with my designs as well as further protect the environment.
Of course the go-to option that I recommended each and every one of my clients was a compost heap.Most people might not like the idea of a stinking pile of garbage in their back garden, but using more of those handy timber packing cases I found ways of constructing and hiding these compulsory garden staples and allowing my clients' to successfully reduce their waste. I was fortunate enough to be paid to do something I enjoy for the 6 years that I ran my business, this was my first foray into independent enterprise.
Through my gardening, I gained the passion and motivation to pursue my career as a teacher.
Geography News this week...
Series Of Earthquakes Stun Italy
Up until August last year, most people would have considered Italy a safe, viable destination to travel to.Although known for it's corruption and questionable police force, it has remained an enduring tourist attraction, thanks to it's well preserved national heritage sites and celebrated culture. With temperate summers and mild winters, it has long been a destination for holiday makers - but this might soon change. On August 24th 2016, the country was rocked by a series of Earthquakes, the most aggressive of which registered at 6.2 on the richter scale. Nearly 300 people lost their lives and over 400 people were injured across the country. It was the first of a series to hit the country after a 4-year hiatus from tectonic activity. The most recent of these, registering at 5.7, has led to at least 14 fatalities at an Italian mountain hotel in Abruzzo. After 5 incidents in the space of a year, it would appear that Italy is entering a new era of increased natural disasters.
Asia's E-Waste Mountains Rise To Record High
China is currently leading the way with record amounts of e-waste being left as a result of an ever increasing market for new consumer electronics.A whopping 16 million tonnes of electronics waste was dumped in the space of a single year - a number that has risen by 63% within 5 years. E-waste includes any kind of electronic item that contains toxic or valuable metals that can not simply be put into a landfill. Items such as televisions, phone and toys often contain pollutants that have been linked to adverse effects on human health, including inflammation and oxidative stress. These symptoms are often seen as precursors to serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and even cancer. The demand for consumer electronics is unlikely to desist in China or the rest of Asia, where similar cases of e-waste have been increasing for the past few years. The question remains, what will the long-term consequences be for these countries' populations and is there a way of turning the tide?
Popularity Of Geography Under Threat In Scotland
After a series of particularly poorly received exams have left both students and teachers scratching their heads, the popularity of the Geography A-Level in Scotland may well be on the decline.The Royal Scottish Geographical Society, back in November, made a submission to Members of Scottish Parliament, warning that if the Scottish Qualifications Authority did not amend their exams properly for the next year the subject could see a significant decrease in popularity. Of all the teachers, who took part in a survey on the much criticised exam paper, 10% considered the paper as 'fair, OK, or better' whereas over 50% of the teachers thought it was 'poor, shocking, terrible, worst ever and nothing like the specimen or previous paper.' SQA have responded insisting that the paper was of an 'appropriate standard'. Fortunately for us, the subject still remains as popular as ever in England and Wales.