Aussie Mum Network
Reports from Fairfax and the ABC this morning indicate the CSIRO are moving to cut 350 jobs from the Oceans and Atmosphere and Land and Water divisions. It’s expected climate science teams will be amongst the hardest hit by the cuts with CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall flagging a move away from measurement of climate change to adaptation strategies as the rationale behind the move. Leading Australian scientists are voicing their concerns over this development.
Associate Professor Todd Lane, President of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society said:
"This is terrible news for climate science in Australia and threatens our ability to predict future climate and the inherent risks. Research at CSIRO is at the core of our climate modelling and monitoring efforts, and is essential for better future climate projections. Climate science is not solved - out to the year 2030 most of the uncertainty in climate projections is due to uncertainty about the ways to represent some physical processes in climate models. We know that the risks associated with extreme weather and climate events increases disproportionately as the globe warms. Cutting funding in this area now doesn’t make any sense."
We know climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity and the way we go about our lives. Which is leaving many scientists wondering why the CSIRO is headed down this path, instead of having both climate measurement and adaptation as important areas of focus. Our dry and hot climate is vulnerable to the warming of the planet, with implications for our agricultural sector amongst others.
"Larry Marshall surely has a point about rejuvenating organisations and solving new challenges, but I worry about his statement that there is no further need post-COP21 to understand climate change since we now know it is real. Effective action requires detailed understanding. For example, Marshall speaks of contributing to the proposed agricultural development of the Northern Territory, but we don’t know for how much longer this region will still support agriculture or even human habitation as the Earth keeps warming, nor how much drying (if any) Australia's existing agricultural regions will experience. The groups that would help provide answers are the ones he says we don’t need any more." said Professor Steven Sherwood, Co-Director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.
With the CSIRO moving away from studying the climate, Associate Professor Kevin Walsh, from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne, expressed his concern about the quality of decisions we will make when considering our response options to climate change in Australia:
"It is with dismay that I read the reports that climate research in the Ocean and Atmosphere section of CSIRO is effectively to cease, due to staff cuts. It is incorrect to say, as CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall has stated, that the climate change science problem is solved, and now all we need to do is figure out what to do about it. No working climate scientist believes that. Also, it is very hard to believe that good decisions will be made on what to do about climate change if CSIRO has little remaining expertise in climate science."
We recently spoke with Kristina Plimer founder of money coaching and mentoring service www.thewealthtutor.com.au about some of the money traps consumers are falling into with credit cards.
They are one of the hidden assets in our streets that you don’t really think about until you need one. Footpath water hydrants are something you likely only put thought into if a fire breaks out in your street.
The Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney is the site of a Tomato Festival on 20-21 February 2016 with lunches, a learning hub, cooking demonstrations by well-known Sydney chefs, and plenty of other activities.
The Tomato is a culinary staple in cuisines from all over the world perhaps including pasta sauces, salads, and pizzas. The 2016 Sydney Tomato Festival will include:
- Tomato-inspired lunches
- Pop-Up Relish Café & Bar
- Cooking Demonstrations by well-know chefs
- Indigenous education through Bush Tucker talks and didgeridoo workshops
- Free guided walks – From our Garden to the Table which will broaden your knowledge of plants that are edible, both common and the unusual
- A Vegetable mandala display – 5m in diameter
- Aztec inspired children’s activities trail including tomato throwing
- The D’VineRipe Cooking & Learning hub featuring new talks such as The Good, the Bad and the Deadly – A brief history of the tomato and its closest relatives, by the Botanic Garden’s Paul Nicholson
“The Festival Village will again be the epicentre of action with a range of celebrated Australian producers featuring local and heirloom produce for sale, tomato tasting, themed guided walks, plant sales, tomato and chilli competitions and more,” said Kim Ellis, Executive Director of the Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands.
“2016 marks the Garden’s 200th birthday and although we are unsure when the first tomatoes were grown in Australia as they weren’t listed on seed inventories of the First Fleet; we do know that they have been grown in the Garden since 1827 so we have a long standing history with the world’s favourite fruit.”
“The festival is a great way for us to showcase all the great growing techniques but more importantly address seed conservation and environmental issues in an imaginative and accessible way – which is at the core of our scientific work here at Garden. Each person will leave the Festival with new knowledge that comes from experiential learning. They will be that little bit closer to the pleasure, complexity and threats in our natural world.”
Dates: Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 February 2016
Times: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
Venue: Band Lawn, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
Cost: Free and some ticketed events
To find out more visit the Royal Botanic Garden’s new website here.
We spoke to Dr Brett Hill author of Nourish Without Nagging. Dr Hill is a chiropractor, co-host of Australia’s #1 health podcast show The Wellness Guys and author of How To Eat An Elephant.
Getting kids is must be a challenge for all parents?
I think it’s a challenge for every parent. No household is perfect. No child is perfect and no parent is perfect. Every parent has something that they would love to have their kids eating that they can’t get them to eat.
What are some of the reasons children refuse to try a food?
To a large degree it’s quite normal. It’s an experimental phase for kids. Leaning about their environment and about themselves. Try different things at different times and think about who they are, what they like and what their preferences are. Kids are developing their own personalities and are influenced their peers, society, media, and advertising. There is a lot of pressure around what you should or shouldn’t be eating.
Kids are interested in what tastes good, and they also look to you as a role model. They pay attention to what parents are eating, and what siblings are eating. If they are told this is broccoli you might not like it but you should try it, kids already have an expectation that it won’t be nice. Try telling them from the start this is something you will love. Some kids do struggle with textures and tastes so keep that in mind.
Why do children suddenly turn up their noses at foods they have previously eaten without issue?
If I knew the answer to that I would be rich. There isn’t any one answer. It’s all about learning and discovery. Learning about their power and that they can make choices. Realising what they can and can’t do and asserting themselves. Kids tastes also change over time. You need to be patient so it’s worthwhile to keep trying.
In your book ‘Nourish Without Nagging’ you address how to get kids to eat without nagging. What is your top tip for getting a fussy eater to try something new?
There are ten tips in the book. There isn’t one strategy that works for everyone. You need to keep tinkering and be curious about your kids. What motivates them? It can change from day to day but try different methods. Eventually something will click.
If you use the strategies in the book they help to make it like teamwork and help you to work together and towards a common goal. It can feel like the same old argument day after day. Make it teamwork and show them why they would love to do it and help them see the benefits. Help them teach them why they would love to do it. Helping them to find the motivation, which is so much nicer than fighting all the time to get them to eat healthy.
The Nourish Without Nagging eBook can be downloaded on iTunes and Amazon and can also be purchased from www.drbretthill.com/shop for just $9.95 AUD as an instantly downloadable eBook.
With many children around Australia returning to school today or in the days ahead we spoke to Tech Expert, Trevor Long and Positive Psychologist, Michelle McQuaid who have teamed up with Officeworks to make the back to school transition easier for parents. We asked Trevor for his best tech advice for parents buying devices to help children at school.
How important is tech becoming in the classroom?
The great thing about technology is the way it’s enhanced what kids are doing in class. Last 5 to 10 years the proliferation of technology in classrooms in phenomenal with electronic light boards, and computers in every classroom. Some schools are now requiring computers as part of a child’s day-to-day class work. You can’t have education without technology these days.
What are some of the challenges parents and children face as a result of the proliferation of technology in schools?
Cost. Whether mandated by school or peer pressure. Parents feel obliged. Perhaps they aren’t obliged to overspend when something cheaper will do. Parents should set a budget and be guided by the school as to what they need to have, followed by what you want them to have. If you are on a tight budget perhaps the use of a shared device at home is an option for your family. Some parents may be able to provide a device for each child. Challenges are around equity. Setting a budget applies to all technology purchases and you should know the minimum technical requirements. You don’t want to find out that the device you choose doesn’t work with other technology the school is using. Officeworks have the tech selector which sits to the left of the screen on the Officeworks website as you are searching products. Pop in all your specifications and your budget. The selector Filters out devices that don’t fit your criteria and you are left with the choices that you can afford.
At the moment Officeworks are price matching and parents can be assured they will receive the best prices on back to school essentials with Officeworks’ Parents’ Price Promise running until February 12, 2016 . If parents find an identical stocked item on their child’s school list at a lower price, Officeworks will beat it by 20% (T&Cs apply).
How can technology help children with their studies?
This is the exciting part. I think back to my childhood and buying study guides. I’m blown away by tech today. Young kids using PowerPoint. My 7 year old uses PowerPoint. He does simple PowerPoint presentations that I didn’t teach him. He learnt at school. When you look at how kids can use this to do homework it’s amazing and is an enhancement of learning and development. Something parents may not realize is learning and development outside of class and homework that is available. Kids can learn through apps, and simple games. These are now subliminally or intentionally helping kids to learn. Officeworks has an app called growing minds that helps kids to learn. If kids ask for screen time you can suggest that they use learning geared apps during allotted screen time.
Where can parents get help with the set up and any technical issues with their child’s devices?
I get those calls all the time. Everyone has the nerdy nephew. Someone in the family who is the go to person for tech. There are a bunch of services out there. Those in your family who can help you can be a fantastic resource but you are probably going to get the best advice from a professional. Officeworks has a tech service, which helps people with installs and glitches. They can help you set up networks and connected hardware. When a child goes from one level of tech to another that can present parents with issues, but getting the right advice makes it much easier. One of the things you need to think about is during the year when a child has a deadline. The last thing you want is a problem right on deadline. Think about what technical requirements there may be before you need it so you aren’t frantic right on the deadline.
We also spoke to Positive Psychologist, Michelle McQuaid who has some great advice to help parents identify kids strengths and encourage their positive behavior.
How can parents help children discover their strengths?
Younger than 10 are the easiest group, look for when they light up, their voice becomes animated, and their eyes light up. Pay attention to what they are talking about. Young people 10 and older can complete a great survey at character.org to help them identify their character strengths.
Pay attention to the language you use with younger kids. With my 5 year old, we could see his love of learning facts about animals. Even though he couldn’t read, he would be looking at animals in books so we could see his persistence trying to work out what was happening on the page. We praised his willingness to stick with it and let him know that we were proud of him.
What can parents do to reinforce positive behaviours of their children?
Big one actually look for them. Our brains are naturally wired with a negativity bias. We are much better at seeing what kids are doing wrong rather than what they are doing right. We tend to say the bad things rather than the good. Set a goal to find two or thee things that you can see them doing well. Hunt for the good stuff. Be attuned to what they are getting right whether little or big. Telling them what we see and why we appreciate it. Don’t just them they’ve done a good job; tell them why you appreciate it.
Do you have any tips for parents to include children in family decisions about what activities they will do together?
One thing we know from research, the more heartfelt and genuine the experience the better our resilience is over time. What creates heartfelt positivity for your kids? It can be a Saturday arvo chilling out and watching a movie and eating popcorn, write ideas on a slip of paper pop in a jar and pull them out when you are looking for something to do and make time to spend together and enjoy heartfelt positivity together. I like to call it a jar of joy. It can be any activity from going to park, board games etc. As the year goes on and we start to feel worn down its much easier to reach into the jar and find inspiration.
Connecting with our kids can be difficult in our busy lives, how can we foster that sense of connection?
Quantity is sometimes a luxury we don’t have. Quality of connection is most important. Try and be fully present. Turn off technology. Put it away for a couple of hours until the kids go to bed. Be fully present. Try and listen to the stories they are telling themselves. We are constantly trying to figure out why things are the way they are. Particularly with kids and trying to catch the stories and see if that is a really true story or is there a plausible explanation or connection in that story. Nobody likes me or such and such is mean. Instead of just being busy or slightly distracted and saying oh tomorrow it will be better. That’s a great teachable moment. Sit down for 5 or 10 minutes and talk about it. Is there another explanation? Help them build the skills to change the story and find the reason things happened. Tuning in is really important for the connection we have with our kids and helps them build the skills they need to navigate their lives more successfully.
As parents we often expect perfection of our selves. We need to give our selves permission that we are also learning and growing. Show up with the best intentions. Love them as much as you can and tell them as often as possible.
It has been one of the biggest news stories on the Australian food scene in years. René Redzepi has brought his two Michelin star Danish restaurant, Noma to Sydney for a sold-out ten-week residency. Tickets sold out in just 90 seconds when they went on sale, with Australian’s jumping on the chance to experience the cuisine of one of the world’s best-known chefs.
Redzepi and his team have spent the last twelve months scouring every corner of Australia to learn about & taste our native ingredients local wines and cooking methods.
Redzepi said “On my many trips around Australia I’ve seen a larder that is so foreign to me. Foraging for abalone, eating fresh muntries, nibbling on pepper berries and cracking open a bunya nut – these experiences are so wild compared to what we’re used to in Europe. Spending time with indigenous communities in places like Arnhem Land, have left the biggest impact on me and the Noma team. For instance seeing the use of fire as the main way of cooking ingredients inspired us. Most of what we’re cooking at Noma Australia will be cooked over fire. We’ve built a menu based around the ocean and the coastal ranges. Clams, crabs, marron – the seafood is so pristine in Australia that we’ve had almost too much to choose from.”
Redzepi is in Australia as part of a partnership between Noma, Tourism Australia and Lendlease, to showcase Australia’s best and most interesting produce with a particular focus on coastal ingredients. John O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australia said:
“René has had the ultimate Australian trip. He’s visited the most iconic locations in this country and some lesser known, all with the purpose of cementing Australia as a global destination for food and wine. They’ve had some really special experiences from seaweed diving in Tasmania, to a last-minute dash across the country to Albany for snow crabs. The Noma team has created something extraordinary and we know it will have a lasting impact. We’ve been incredibly proud to partner with them on their journey.”
Seafood Platter & Crocodile Fat
The partnership is already paying dividends for Australia’s food and wine sectors with international visitors food and wine expenditure growing by nearly $700 million (16.6%) Since the launch of ‘Restaurant Australia’ in May 2014. During that period global in the same period, global perceptions of Australia as a food and wine destination have improved – with the country’s ranking rising from 10th to 6th.
Redzepi said: “We couldn’t have created Noma Australia if we had not travelled this vast country. You need to meet the people who are harvesting, growing, catching, foraging your food. Once you meet them, and you understand their work, you start planning what flavours you want.”
The opening Noma Australia menu plays on the theme of seafood with a nod to a few classic Australian dishes – seafood platter of pippies (Victoria), sea bounty mussels (Victoria), strawberry clam (Eden, NSW), flame cockles (Eden, NSW), oysters and crocodile fat; a pie of dried scallops (King Island, Tasmania) and lantana flowers; abalone (Ulladulla, NSW) schnitzel and bush condiments; and a rum lamington.
The Noma Australia residency will run from 26 January until 2 April.
Noma Australia, Anadara Building, Barangaroo, Sydney
Officeworks have a great range of products available to make sure the kids have all they need when they go back to school. Here are some of our tops picks.
Presto and Moonlight Cinema are giving away a family pass* to a special Presto screening of Good Dinosaur this Saturday!
The outdoor cinema is located in Centennial Park's picturesque Belvedere Amphitheatre and is a must do for summer.
When: Saturday 30th January
Where: Moonlight Cinema Sydney, Belvedere Amphitheatre, Centennial Park, Paddington, Sydney, NSW, 2000