Today in Copenhagen it was announced that our fragile seas and oceans are becoming acidic at a faster rate than any time in the last 55 million years – a disaster for sea-life and of course our subsequent food supplies in Jamaica – fish is part of our staple diet.
There are people on the world political stage like Sarah Palin who believe that “environmental policymaking is about weighing real-world costs and benefits – not pursuing a political agenda” which is always interesting to read particularly when the disbelievers are of the opinion that climate change this isn’t man made. We’d love to invite her to Jamaica to experience the change in the weather patterns over the last 50 years and the impact this has had on a Caribbean island, attempting to repair itself after the fallout of another hurricane.
Rather than emulating politicians who believe the world’s fate is out of human hands and in the hands of God, at Hotel Mocking Bird Hill we prefer to try and work towards slowing down the rate of carbon in the atmosphere by doing our bit ourselves.
We believe that the more people are educated or experience the impact of these new weather conditions affect on developing world countries, the more people would be politicized and do the same.
Hotel Mocking Bird Hill’s Human Side of Science Tips
1. Storage & packaging
Choose deposit bottles instead of card board boxes or plastic bottles.
Return packaging to suppliers such as egg trays or use re-usable plastic trays that and just wash out and keep reuse.
At the supermarket opt for the bio-degradable cartons rather than the Styrofoam or plastic egg cartons.
Wash out plastic bags and re-use them. We even use the individual packaging from the toilet rolls!
Store food in reusable plastic boxes with lids instead of throwaway cling-wrap.
Pack picnic lunches in re-usable boxes rather than Styrofoam.
2. Creative Menu Planning to use up Left-Overs
We have great fun in seeing how far we can use food to create new things and avoid wastage. If you do end up with leftovers, you can get adventurous and rustle up some great dishes out of scraps. Bits and pieces of cheese are great for using to make a cheese sauce or use in a quiche or pizza; Black Bean Salsa can be used to make Black Bean Chili and the leftovers of that was used to make Mixed Bean Soup.
At breakfast we offer a variety of home-made breads – and the broken bits and ends are all gathered to make scrumptious bread puddings. The dinner rolls and savoury breads we make are either toasted to make breadcrumbs or we use them make the delicious Italian tomato and bread Salad, Panzanella.
3. Reducing Waste in Other Areas
Replace disposable utensils with washable and reusable ones wherever possible.
Use re-usable wipe up cloths instead of throwaway paper towels that can be washed in the washing machine and used over and over again.
Re-use bits of old soap, if you mix them with warm water, the solution make a good nature-safe insect spray for plants).
Check for expiry dates to avoid food spoiling soon after purchasing. Do not buy damaged, bruised goods, bacteria thrives in bruised areas and leads to spoilage.
4. Waste Separation
The more one separates one’s waste the easier it is to recycle or re-use them – you should separate: paper, bottles, tins, cartons, food scraps, and organic waste are separated.
Have a large stock pot so that all vegetable peelings go straight into the pot and are boiled to use in fresh stock or for soup each day.. It just adds so much flavour to anything rather than cooking with plain water!
When preparing fruit for breakfast, have another pot into which you can place all the skins and core etc. when cleaning the pineapple. Boil this and then strain to make fresh fruit punch.
Whatever cannot be used for juices or stock gather and compost to make rich mulch for our garden and where possible if your garden is big enough to feed your kept chickens.
Glass bottles are used as candle holders in the gardens after cutting off the tops, as flower bed borders. One can purchase a plastic feeder attachment which one screws onto bottles and converts as birdfeeders by hanging upside down. We have used bottles to create wall lamps and are currently working on making chandeliers. Bottles can also be used effectively when building garden walls.
Use cloth napkins to avoid one-use disposable paper napkins and also have lovely silver and steel cocktail swirlers that can be used as re-usable straws rather than the plastic ones.
Also try using a “napkin-pouch” ( napkin rings can be used at home) where guests can place their napkins to reuse again at the next meal if not soiled – reusing them saves a lot of laundry and lowers utility costs by using les water, heat, electricity not to mention reducing detergent usage and saving ironing!
Torn napkins are used for polishing brass and silver.
Worn placemats are sewn together to make a rustic, colourful-looking rugs.
Old towels and bath mats are used as mops and recycled by our maintenance team to wipe paint brushes etc.
Make note and draft pads by using paper that has only been used on one side.
Shred paper after using on both sides and give to kindergarten or other hobby schools or even teach your children the art of papier mache. We give our paper to a women’s co-operative that makes handmade paper.
Reuse envelopes using labels.
Use rechargeable batteries.
Use newspapers to polish windows, glass doors and oil lamps.