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26/04 2017

Toowoomba Open House 2017 & Festival of Rail

Image of WW1 honour roll at Toowoomba Railway station

Toowoomba Festival of Rail

Toowoomba Open House, National Trust of Australia Queensland, Royal Bull's Head Inn, Queensland Rail, Downs Steam and others invite you to help celebrate 150 years of rail in Toowoomba on Saturday 29 April with a day of steam, markets, tours, tours and more... and a chance for a sneak peak inside the Toowoomba Railway Air Raid Shelter.
MORE INFO …

Image of presentation being given at Toowoomba Railway station

Talks & Tours April 29

Meet at the central marquee for one of five tours available on the day covering a range of interests relating to rail.

  • 11.45 The triumphs and tragedy of steam
  • 1.15 Toowoomba during WWII
  • 2.00 Range railway works 1865-67
  • 2.45 The Railway Track that saved Queensland

MORE INFO …

Empire Theatre interior

Start planning for Sunday 28 May

Come along to the Festival of Rail on April 29 and pick up your copy of the Toowoomba Open House 2017 map and start planning your day. Old favourites the Empire Theatre, City Hall and St Luke's return with new places Augusta's Cottage in the Mort estate, and the Toowoomba Flexi School in Chalk Drive open for the first time.
MORE INFO …

Image of volunteer

SignUp to help

Volunteers are needed on the day to help the owners meet and greet visitors to each of the Toowoomba Open House venues open on May 28. This year we are using Signup.com to organise the roster for helpers both on the day, at the walking tours and in other preparations for the big day. SignUp.com »

Signup at the Royal Bull's Head Inn Sunday 7 May 2.00-3.30pm. and get free entry to the Inn... details here »

MORE INFO …

FOUNDATION PARTNERS AND EVENT SPONSORS INCLUDE


25/04 2017

NATIVE PLANTS IDENTIFICATION DAY

Community Field Day in Drayton | Saturday 13 May 2017

The Toowoomba Landcare Group (TLG) would like to invite you to an information day on native plants identification and riparian land management

Join Darren Fielder, Principal at Redleaf Environmental to find out more about the native plant species in your area.

Event Program:

  • 8.30am: Introduction from guest speaker: Darren Fielder, Principal at Redleaf Environmental
  • 9am: Presentation and Guided walk in a Drayton Watershed
  • 10am: Morning tea
  • 10.30am: Group activities and Q&A
  • 2pm: Optional guided walk of the Toowoomba Retention Basins
DATE:
Saturday 13 May 2017
TIME:
8.15am (for a 8.30am start) to 12pm
(Optional bio-retention basin visit: 12pm to 1pm)
LOCATION:
60 Postle St, Darling Heights
CATERING:
Morning tea will be provided
(Bring a hat, chair and walking boots, camera and USB stick)
RSVP:
By Wednesday 10 May 2017
CONTACT:
Vanessa Durand, mob: 0409 923 627, email: va.durand@gmail.com
View/download flyer »

24/04 2017

Toowoomba’s Festival of Rail

Celebrate 150 years of rail in Toowoomba with this family friendly day featuring visiting steam trains, tours, including of the air raid shelters, displays and markets to suit all tastes.

Tours and Talks

All tours meet in the presentation area in the railway forecourt

11.45am
The triumphs and tragedies of the steam engine
Downs Steam Tourist Railway & Museum

From James Watt to Mallard breaking the world speed record for a steam train, Robert Ketton from DownsSteam will take you on an enlightening tour of the triumphs and tragedies of the steam engine. Learn about the fascinating history of steam as the eloquent Mr Ketton takes you on journey through time.

12.30pm
History of the WW1 Honour Roll
Toowoomba Historical Society

From 1914-19 a magnificent wooden honour board at the North end of the station, pays tribute to those Downs railway workers who served in World War 1. Over 500 names are to be found on this fascinating display, crafted at the North Ipswich railway workshops. The boards tell a fascinating story in themselves. Join with Maurice French from the Toowoomba Historical Society on an exploration of the significance of the board and the names it lists.

1.15pm
Toowoomba and the railway precinct during WW2 including tour of the air raid shelters.
National Trust of Australia Queensland

Toowoomba during World War 2 was a hive of activity, much of it centered on the Railway. A vital transport corridor, Toowoomba was at the forefront of the so-called Brisbane line. To ready for a possible attack, two large Air Raid shelters were constructed at the station. Come and explore the significance of Toowoomba’s war history with the National Trust’s Paul Herbert.

2.00pm
A Very Up and Down Place: Life, death, and work and the railway construction (Navvie) camps on the Main Range railway works in 1865-7
Queensland Rail

Join Queensland Rail historian Greg Hallam as he outlines the hardships, the perils and eventually the triumph of the human spirit associated with the rail crossing of the range.

The construction of the Main Range railway, Section Five of the contract awarded to Peto, Brassey and Betts in 1864, to build a railway between Ipswich and Toowoomba was one of the major engineering works in colonial Queensland in the mid-19th century and also in the Australian colonies. Those who built the railway came from Britain and Europe, and the life of these people shed light on the importance of the railway in Queensland.

2.45pm
The Railway the track that saved Queensland
National Trust of Australia Queensland

The most important piece of transport infrastructure ever built in Queensland. Join the National Trust's Paul Herbert as he develops an argument to support this grand claim. Learn why Toowoomba was the destination for Queensland’s first railway and why it started at Ipswich? Learn why an almost broke colonial government, riven by disunity, united to construct the line.


20/04 2017

Gecko Free Event | Wednesday 26 April

Re-greening our gardens with native plants and the GroNATIVE App

Time:
6:30pm for a 7pm Start
Date:
Wednesday 26th April
Venue:
Currumbin RSL, 'The Cove' Room. 165 Duringan st, Currumbin
Hosted:
Gecko – Gold Coast & Hinterland Environment Council

15/04 2017

HOPE Community Forum | Saturday, 22 April 2017

Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc logo
Householders' Options to Protect the Environment Inc.
PO Box 6118 - Clifford Gardens, Toowoomba QLD 4350
(22 Vacy Street, Toowoomba QLD 4350)
Ph: 07 4639 2135; Email: office@hopeaustralia.org.au
Website: http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au
Facebook: http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au
ABN 48 036 173 161
Think Globally. Act Locally!

The importance of our Heritage

Maintaining Regional Heritage Values is the theme of this month’s community forum hosted by Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. The forum is being held on Saturday 22 April, 1pm – 4pm at the Toowoomba City Library (Level 3, Cnr Herries and Victoria Sts, Toowoomba).

The program features 4 speakers, with each presentation followed by a Q&A session. The speakers are:

  • Eleanor Cullen, a member of the National Trust of Australia (Qld) and a founding member of Toowoomba Regional Council’s Heritage Advisory Committee. Eleanor will give an overview of the National Trust and the role of the Heritage Advisory Committee.*
  • Peter Cullen will explain the use of tombstone tours, radio talks and research in identifying and promoting heritage values.*
  • Hugh Krenske, President of Friends of the Escarpment Parks (FEP) Toowoomba Inc. , will talk about efforts to preserve the 'Eagle’s Nest Swagmen’s Camp' (which was set-up during the Great Depression in the 1930’s).
  • Paul Herbert, Chairman of the Toowoomba Festival of Rail, explores the value of the railway and its precinct (all heritage listed) to the Darling Downs and Queensland.
  • *Eleanor and Peter will also speak on their involvement in the Toowoomba Open House project.

Bookings for the community forum are essential. To reserve your seat, please RSVP by Friday 21 April to the HOPE office. To make a booking or find out more, please phone 4639 2135 or email office@hopeaustralia.org.au.


07/04 2017

ATA Toowoomba Branch - Public presentation

Community Owned Renewable Energy

Alternative Technology Association (ATA) logo

There has been much controversy in recent months about energy security and the role of renewables. While politicians have bickered, communities are taking their energy needs into their own hands.

There are many options for community owned renewable energy.

The Toowoomba Branch of the Alternative Technology Association is hosting a public meeting on Wednesday 10 May at the Toowoomba City Library to look at some of the successful community energy models that are already operating across the country.

One model in regional NSW has a local cooperative installing solar panels on businesses and letting them use the energy generated for a cheaper price. The money comes back to the cooperative to pay for the investment and provide a dividend which might then be used for community energy efficiency education. See Repower Shoalhaven.

Another in the Northern Rivers has local investors establishing an energy retailer in competition with other established retailers such as AGL and Origin, providing less expensive energy and returning funds to the community. See Enova Energy.

One Melbourne Council has a program for assisting low income households, such as pensioners, put in rooftop solar panels with the repayments made with the rates. See Darebin Council Solar Saver Program.

Not only are there financial benefits of these programs, the communities in which they take place are empowered and energised by their involvement.

At the ATA meeting on 10 May, the community has an opportunity to hear in more detail about these exciting developments. This is also a chance for Toowoomba and the Darling Downs to be part of a national community energy initiative.

RSVP 8 May 2017: toowoomba@ata.org.au

For further information contact:

  • Mark Tranter
  • ATA Toowoomba Branch Convenor | 0419 736 219
View/download flyer »

03/04 2017

Heads-up: AELA events in Brisbane this year

  • 1-3 September 2017,”Building a new economy for Australia” - Community Summit – (Southbank, Brisbane) a 3 day grass-roots, economics fiesta that will see the launch of Australia’s first community created ‘new economy coalition’. Everyone’s welcome to participate. All the information is here: www.neweconomy.org.au
  • 23-24 November 2017, “Inspiring Earth Ethics- linking values and action”, 2 day Conference (Griffith University Nathan Campus, Brisbane) – will bring together people from many different fields of work and life – indigenous knowledge, environmental education, environmental psychology, philosophy, ethics, religion, law and business – to ask the key question: how do we build Earth centred ethics in Australian society? All the information is here: www.earthlaws.org.au/our-programs/earth-ethics/inspiring-earth-ethics-linking-values-and-action

Dr Michelle Maloney
National Convenor, Australian Earth Laws Alliance
Email: convenor@earthlaws.org.au | Website: www.earthlaws.org.au
Phone: 617 419 497 596 | Skype: myshmal
Advocates for Earth centred law, governance and ethics


03/04 2017

Time to declare a climate emergency

Petition calls for politicians to declare a climate emergency

On 27 February 2017, while media focused on penalty rates, an event of much greater significance to the well-being of all Australians quietly unfolded in the Parliament House forecourt.

Politicians of various political persuasions assembled for the interim handover of the Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation petition, along with several engineers, a former coal executive, a kayak adventurer, and various climate campaigners. The petition asks the Australian Parliament to declare a climate emergency and implement climate solutions at the scale and speed necessary to protect all people, species and ecosystems.

Former Liberal leader John Hewson was there, although not representing the Liberal party. Pat Conroy MP represented Bill Shorten, and Adam Bandt MP along with Senators Rhiannon and Janet Rice represented the Australian Greens.

Who is mad here?

Handing over the Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation petition was Steve Posselt, a Fellow of Engineers Australia. He had just completed a gruelling eight-week kayak trip from Ballina in northern NSW to Canberra, collecting petition signatures along the way.

Penalty rates were the big story that week, but climate impacts are already killing people and destroying ecosystems. Every time our government approves a new coal, oil, or gas project they are putting all Australians in greater peril. Every day they fail to begin a very rapid but orderly transition to a fossil-fuel free society, they are failing to act in the interests of we, the Australian people

Perhaps Steve Posselt was a little mad to kayak 1,200 kilometres in support of a petition. Or perhaps it is all of us – the 24 million Australians – who are mad for allowing our government to get away with blatantly putting us all in peril?

Emergency measures

We know most of what we need to do to reverse the climate emergency. We already have the solutions and the technology. We have known for decades how rapidly we need to not just lower carbon emissions but reduce atmospheric carbon to a safe level.

An Emergency Declaration is not just words. When an emergency is declared, measures that otherwise might be politically impossible suddenly become possible for the duration of the emergency. In times of war, nations throw out business-as-usual assumptions and direct as much as possible of public and private resources at tackling the threat to the well-being of their citizens. Our governments could, and should, do that again right now in response to the even greater threat that is the climate emergency.

Australians are great at rising to the challenge when faced with an emergency. As Adam Bandt commented at the petition handover event, when the global financial crisis struck, the world found trillions of dollars in a very short time to bail out the banks. Massive and very rapid responses are indeed possible when we recognise we are in a crisis.

Public support necessary

Five federal Greens elected representatives have signed the petition or a statement of support, as have five federal Labor MPs, but a huge show of public support is necessary before they can propose an emergency declaration and mobilisation bill in Parliament. The petition target is 100,000 signatures, and so far, over 18,000 Australians have already signed. As Posselt said as he handed the box of petition sheets to Adam Bandt, This is just the start.

Our elected leaders only get away with ignoring what climate change has to do with 100-year flood havoc, heat waves and bush fires, because we are allowing this with our silence.

We must demand that our government act at sufficient scale and speed to protect us all from the harmful impacts of extreme weather events and the many other consequences of political procrastination.

It’s time to stop the madness.

Those who have signed this petition are people from all walks of life. Please encourage members of your local groups, family, friends, and people in your networks to sign the petition as well.


03/04 2017

Climate Change Facts video

The facts on climate change -- and what to do about it.

In advance of Earth Day on April 22, National Geographic Magazine released its latest edition this week featuring the guide, Seven Things You Need to Know about Climate Change. It includes facts from scientists about the causes of climate change and how humans can help mitigate its consequences. For more, the magazine’s editor in chief Susan Goldberg joins Hari Sreenivasan.

Video & transcript on PBS site »

03/04 2017

Invite to Repertory Theatre outing, 25 April 2017

Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc logo
Householders' Options to Protect the Environment Inc.
PO Box 6118 - Clifford Gardens, Toowoomba QLD 4350
(22 Vacy Street, Toowoomba QLD 4350)
Ph: 07 4639 2135; Email: office@hopeaustralia.org.au
Website: http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Householders.Options.to.Protect.the.Environment
ABN 48 036 173 161
Think Globally. Act Locally!
Email HOPE » Repertory Theatre »; Online Bookings »;

03/04 2017

You are invited to an Open Day at Redwood Park

Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc logo
Householders' Options to Protect the Environment Inc.
PO Box 6118 - Clifford Gardens, Toowoomba QLD 4350
(22 Vacy Street, Toowoomba QLD 4350)
Ph: 07 4639 2135; Email: office@hopeaustralia.org.au
Website: http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au
Facebook: http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au
ABN 48 036 173 161
Think Globally. Act Locally!

Open Day at Redwood Park, Toowoomba - Saturday 8 April 2017

As part of National Youth Week 2017, Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. and Friends of the Escarpment Parks (FEP) Toowoomba are holding an Open Day at Redwood Park, Toowoomba on Saturday, 8 April 2017.

Included in the open day activities, are 2 workshops on Nature Journaling, being led by Dr Paula Peeters, an ecologist, artist and writer based in Brisbane.

What is Nature Journaling?It is the process of drawing, writing, or creating a poem or song in response to nature. You get a chance to slow down, take in your beautiful surroundings and create your very own creative nature journal and art piece.

Places are available for 15-20 secondary students at each of the workshops.

This event is part of 2017 National Youth Week activities; and this project is supported by Condamine Alliance, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

For enquiries and registration for either of the Nature Journaling workshops, please contact the HOPE office by phoning 4639 2135 or emailing office@hopeaustralia.org.au.


30/03 2017

BirdLife Australia: What exactly are nature hotspots?

Image: Daintree Rainforest canopy, courtesy of Shutterstock

Friends of the environment

Last week we introduced you to the concept of 'Key Biodiversity Areas', but what exactly are these ‘nature hotspots’? And how did we determine which are ‘the most important places left for life on Earth’?

Back in 2009, BirdLife Australia’s then ‘Important Bird & Biodiversity Area’ (IBA) Program identified 315 places that were critical for the survival of threatened Australian birds based on globally standardised scientific criteria.

IBAs became a crucial conservation and advocacy framework for the protection and management of the most important sites for birds across Australia, and around the world.

However, like IBAs, other conservation approaches also emerged. These generally focused on one species or a specific ecological community, often resulting in confusion among decision-makers and, crucially, duplication of conservation efforts.

Recognising the power of working under one unified conservation approach, BirdLife worked with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and partners to develop overarching framework to identify sites that contribute significantly to global biodiversity. This was a monumental change in the global conservation landscape.

That framework came into effect last September and is known as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). Almost all of the places we identified as IBAs in Australia (sites of importance for birds) immediately met criteria to be recognised as KBAs.

In practice, KBAs mean that no threatened species or ecological communities are left out.

At BirdLife Australia, we are genuinely excited by the opportunity this presents for collaboration with governments, private landholders and other partners to work towards better protection and management for these sites, based on shared values.

You can learn more about the KBA Partnership here. Over the coming weeks, I look forward to sharing with you BirdLife Australia’s plans to play our part in conserving our most important natural places.

Best wishes,
Paul Sullivan
Chief Executive Officer
Birdlife Australia


30/03 2017

Young Reporters for the Environment initiative

Keep Australia Beautiful Welcomes Young Reporters for the Environment Australia

In 2017, Keep Australia Beautiful is extremely happy to launch a second Foundation for Environmental Education program, Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE)!

What is YRE?

We’re glad you asked! Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) aims to empower young people (11-21y.o.) to take a stand on environmental issues they feel strongly about and to give them a platform to articulate these issues through the media of writing, photography or video. We want to prove to young people that they can make a difference in the world and hopefully give them the motivation to continue to do so as adults.

YRE originated in France in 1990 before spreading through Europe and became international in 2007. Now there are 77,000 young reporters in 29 countries.

How does it work?

YRE uses a proven 4-step methodology:

Investigate a local issue following set criteria
Research solutions
Report a production: article, photograph or short film
Disseminate to educate

What’s happening with YRE in Australia?

We’re launching YRE in Australia with the Litter Less Campaign thanks to the Wrigley Company Foundation. The Litter Less Campaign aims to engage and educate young people on the issue of litter and encourage them to make positive choices. To start them off we are offering 10 NSW schools support to implement YRE and a $500 grant to run a Community Action Day to raise awareness of the impacts of litter in their neighbourhood. You can find out more about the grant in the opportunities section below.

Our school is not in NSW. Can we still be involved?

Yes! We welcome submissions from anywhere in Australia. All valid entries will be entered in the Australian competition and have a chance to be submitted to the international competition.

Find out more about the YRE Australia program on the KAB website http://kab.org.au/yre/ where you’ll find program resources including student and teacher resources and classroom activity sheets.


29/03 2017

CLIMATE CHANGE AND EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS

Climate change will throw Australia into a true endless summer

Imagine a city where 265 days a year, the temperature rises above 95 degrees F (35 C).

The residents of Darwin in 2090 will not have to imagine it, because for them, it may well be their reality.

As Australians endure the summer of the seemingly never-ending heatwave, a new report from the Climate Council essentially has one message. Get used to it.

If the country’s greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace, it’s going to get much worse.

The independent research body predicts a rapid rise in extreme heat in Australia in the next 73 years, with heatwaves in all Australian capital cities predicted to start earlier and last longer as the effects of greenhouse gas emissions bite in the next decade.

According to the Climate Council’s Cranking up the Intensity: Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events report, by 2030, the number of extremely hot days — classified as maximum temperatures of more than 35C — are tipped to climb in all capital cities.

But it is the Australia inhabited by this generation’s grandchildren, 2090, where the heat will really be on, if greenhouse gas emissions worldwide fail to meet current reduction targets.

By that year the report predicts Darwin will have a staggering 265 days each year above 35C. The current average is 11.

Read the article » View/download the report »

28/03 2017

Open Day at Redwood Park, Toowoomba


26/03 2017

CAHA - Draft Policy Framework - Open for review

Draft Framework for the National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia

Colleagues,

Following extensive consultation with health stakeholders and experts in 2016 regarding the need for a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia, the Climate and Health Alliance has been working with collaborating partners to develop a draft Framework for this Strategy.

We are very pleased to announce that the Draft Framework for the National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being is now available and being made public for consultation until 7th April 2017.

To view the draft document, please click here.

Our intention in developing this Strategy is to support Australia in meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement (global climate agreement) in relation to ensuring its citizens' 'right to health' in the context of national climate policy.

This Framework has been developed through collaboration with experts, reviewing relevant research and using the key inputs of the Discussion Paper: Towards a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia, Survey of Health Stakeholders, Health Leaders Roundtable, Online Discussion Forum and the World Federation of Public Health Associations Global Climate and Health Policy Survey Report.

During this review period, we will be continuing to consult with experts, policymakers and parliamentarians to seek their advice, support and to build commitment for the implementation of a finalised Framework.

We welcome feedback on the approach outlined and ideas for further development.

Please send your responses to Nick Horsburgh at nick.horsburgh@caha.org.au by Friday 7th April 2017.

The website for the Campaign for a National Strategy for Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia is now live - visit: www.ourclimate-ourhealth.org.au

Supporting Organisations


20/03 2017

REDWOOD PARK OPEN DAY


13/03 2017

Registrations now open for Nature Journaling workshops

Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc logo
Householders' Options to Protect the Environment Inc.
PO Box 6118 - Clifford Gardens, Toowoomba QLD 4350
(22 Vacy Street, Toowoomba QLD 4350)
Ph: 07 4639 2135; Email: office@hopeaustralia.org.au
Website: http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au
Facebook: http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au
ABN 48 036 173 161
Think Globally. Act Locally!

Want to learn more about our natural environment?

If your answer is yes and you are a secondary school aged youth, then why not register for one of two free Nature Journaling workshops being held on Saturday 8 April 2017.

What is Nature Journaling? It is the process of drawing, writing, or creating a poem or song in response to nature. You get a chance to slow down, take in your beautiful surroundings and create your very own creative nature journal and art piece.

Dr Paula Peters (PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) will be coming to Redwood Park and running two workshops on Saturday April 8.

The workshops are being hosted by Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. as part of the larger “Open Day at Redwood Park” event being hosted by Friends of the Escarpment Parks (FEP) Toowoomba.

This event is part of 2017 National Youth Week activities; and “this project is supported by Condamine Alliance, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.”

Spaces are available for 15-20 secondary students at each of the workshops.

To be one of the lucky attendees simply answer in 25 words or less, why you love nature, and send through your response along with your contact details to HOPE Inc. via email at office@hopeaustralia.org.au.

For enquiries and registration for either of the Nature Journaling workshops, please contact the HOPE office by phoning 4639 2135 or emailing office@hopeaustralia.org.au.

Background

Dr Paula Peeters

Paula Peeters is an ecologist, artist and writer based in Brisbane. After completing her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Monash University, Paula worked in Wildlife Conservation for 13 years, mostly for State Government environmental agencies in South Australia and Queensland. In recent years, Paula has become interested in combining art and science to celebrate nature, and promoting Nature Journaling as a way of improving the connection between people and nature. Paula’s illustrations have appeared in the colouring books Bimblebox Wonderland and Riverina Grassland Ramblings, and Ruth magazine, and have been commissioned by the University of Otago, Pollinator Link, the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, Murray Local Land Services, Land for Wildlife South East Queensland and the Ecological Society of Australia. Her writing has appeared in Australian Birdlife, Zoomorphic, Tasmanian Geographic and her blog Paperbark Writer. In 2016 Paula wrote, illustrated and self-published Make a Date with Nature: An introduction to nature journaling, and led nature journaling workshops for the Bulimba Creek Catchment Committee, Downfall Creek Bushland Centre, the Gympie Regional Gallery and the Woodford Folk Festival. Paula is currently working on a range of projects including a children’s picture book, and a work of fantasy fiction for young adults, with an ecological bent. You can see more of her work at www.paperbarkwriter.com.

Introduction to Nature Journaling - 2 hour workshop with Dr Paula Peeters

Nature journaling is the practice of drawing or writing in response to nature. This fun, relaxing practice helps you to connect more closely with nature, and results in the creation of your own unique nature journal. Both the practice and the end product are important.

The practice improves your recognition of different animal and plant species, and your understanding of where and how they live. Nature journaling calms your mind, and increases your attention to detail and appreciation of beauty. With time, it also improves your ability to observe, to draw and to write.

A journal allows you to capture the moment (a sunset, a view, a critter, a flower, a fungus…), and recall observations which would otherwise be forgotten. Nature journaling can be used to compile species sightings and other scientific observations that are of great value to citizen science projects. Your journal can also give you inspiration for other creative projects, such as writing, painting, textiles, music, other crafts… the opportunities are endless.

Nature-based learning is known to have great benefits for learning outcomes and personal wellbeing. Nature journaling has immediate relevance for subjects such as Biology, Geography, Art and English, but can also be used as a springboard to explore many other subjects. Lessons learnt in context, and in the outdoors, tend to be understood more thoroughly by the learners, and this understanding stays with the pupil long after the lesson.

I’m an ecologist, artist and writer who enjoys combining art and science to explore Australian nature. In this workshop, I’ll introduce the practice of nature journaling, and teach you some simple exercises to get you drawing and writing. I’ll introduce you to the ecology of the area, and talk about some of the plants and animals we’re likely to encounter. At the end of the session you will have started your very own nature journal, and have plenty of ideas to keep you inspired.

Each participant receives a print copy of my book Make a Date with Nature: An introduction to nature journaling. Electronic copies of this book are also available as a free download from my website - http://www.paperbarkwriter.com/want-to-get-started-with-nature-journaling-this-little-guidebook-will-show-you-how/.


08/03 2017

Volunteers needed

Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc logo
Householders' Options to Protect the Environment Inc.
PO Box 6118 - Clifford Gardens, Toowoomba QLD 4350
(22 Vacy Street, Toowoomba QLD 4350)
Ph: 07 4639 2135;
Email: office@hopeaustralia.org.au
ABN 48 036 173 161
Think Globally. Act Locally!

More active volunteers – both local and remote (i.e. online) – are required to help us maintain our high levels of activity. Volunteers are needed to help with projects, events and display activities, as well as general admin duties and media/publications work. We invite members and supporters to step up and volunteer some time and talents to help share the workload. Current vacancies include Secretary, Treasurer, Media Officers and Publication Team members.

A fair portion of the above work would ideally be done by locals (i.e. in the Toowoomba area) because the HOPE office is in Toowoomba. However, quite a bit of the literature review, research, media and publications activity can be done via email. If you have a little bit of time to help us in any way, then contact the HOPE office on email office@hopeaustralia.org.au


16/03 2017

Eco-Business - News & Views | 15 March

Editor's Choice

6 megatrends that will shape the future of cities

6 megatrends that will shape the future of citiesAs cities look to 2050, how will they tackle big challenges like climate change, population growth, and food security? Will augmented reality, urban farming and wearable technology be the answer?
Read now …

3 reasons we’re losing the climate battle, and 1 reason we’re winning the war

The Wall Street Bull - a symbol of financial prosperity or financial recklessness? Image: Sam Valadi, CC BY 2.0Capital markets are punishing companies that are trying to be sustainable. But it’s the capital markets that will ultimately suffer, writes Assaad Razzouk, CEO of Sindicatum Sustainable Resources.
Read now …

Water is a human right, but who will deliver it?

Linggiu Reservoir, Johor in June 2016. The reservoir provides Singapore with about half of its water supply, but dry weather and increased usage in Malaysia have seen drastic drops in water levels. Image: Eco-BusinessWater is key to the private sector's survival, but will businesses step up as stewards of this life-giving resource? Yes, says Asit Biswas, co-founder of the Third World Centre for Water Management.
Read now …

West Papua gives indigenous communities control over forests

Sira village leader Amos Sremere (right) receives permit for Social Forestry from the government during the handover ceremony in Teminabuan, West Papua. Two villages, Mangroholo and Sira, officially received a permit to manage social forestry in their area. Image: © Jurnasyanto Sukarno / GreenpeaceSome rare good news for Indonesia's forests: For the first time, West Papua has given control of some forests to indigenous communities, who plan to keep big agribusiness out.
Read now …

News

All News

UK emissions should be ‘net-zero’ by 2070 at the latest, study says

Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland is one hell of a sight at night. Image: Malcolm Craig , CC BY-NC-ND 2.0A new study concludes the UK should aim to be carbon neutral by 2070 at the latest, if it is to play its part in meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Read now …

Opinion

All Opinion

Heading off a climate migration crisis in Asia

Families affected by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 live in temporary tents. Climate change is set to drive more people from their homes in the future, but the world is ill prepared to deal with climate migrants, say experts. Image: ADB, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0Only proactive policies can minimize the human displacement caused by climate change, says Asian Development climate change and sustainable development expert Bart Edes.
Read now …

The climate finance architecture the world needs

Floods are one consequence of climate change that will impact the lives of local communities. Streamlining the global climate finance system will enable aid to be delivered in a more organised manner to where it will do the most good. Image: Global Environment Facility, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0To enable sustainable development and protect communities against the worst impacts of climate change, we need to fix the climate finance architecture to ensure finance gets to where it is needed, writes WRI researchers.
Read now …

Eco-Business … Newsletter …

08/03 2017

Red fire ant national emergency tour

In May 2017, agriculture ministers will meet to decide whether federal, state and territory governments back a ten-year funding plan to eradicate red fire ants from between Brisbane and the NSW border. If they don't fund eradication the ants will spread to all parts of Australia and cause major environmental and other damage.

The Invasive Species Council is staging a national tour with US fire ant expert, A/Prof. Robert Puckett from Texas A&M University, from 20 to 24 March and building support for eradication. Dr Puckett is an expert on fire ants having spent over a decade battling them in the US.

You can find a fire ant fact sheet here: https://invasives.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/fs-fire-ants-2016.pdf

You can register for the event in Brisbane on the 20th through this link: bit.ly/fire-ant-tour

Tour dates:

Already Barnaby Joyce has publicly supported fire any eradication. Queensland is a supporter, but we urgently need pressure placed on other state and territory governments who are not yet totally on board.

We also need help advertising the tour, can you share our posts on Facebook and Twitter, and put up our poster in your workplace or anywhere else you think it might get attention?

Invasive Species Council logo

Reece Pianta, Outreach Officer
MOB: 0422 935 665 EMAIL:  reecepianta@invasives.org.au
TWITTER: twitter.com/ISCAustralia
FACEBOOK:  facebook.com/invasivespeciescouncil
WEB: www.inasives.org.au



08/03 2017

National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being

A National Strategy for Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia is underway!

The Climate and Health Alliance is leading an effort to develop a policy framework for a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia on behalf of a group of health stakeholders (see logos below).

This will be put forward to parliamentarians and policymakers to guide policy development later this year. The Draft Framework will be available for comment from 20th March 2017 – if you would like to be involved in this review, please email nick.horsburgh@caha.org.au.

The website for the Campaign for a National Strategy is now live - visit: www.ourclimate-ourhealth.org.au


27/02 2017

Threatened Wildlife Photographic Competition

Australian Wildlife Society Threatened Wildlife Photographic Competition

The Australian Wildlife Society Threatened Wildlife Photographic Competition is a national competition that awards and promotes endangered Australian wildlife through the medium of photography.

The Australian Wildlife Society invites photographers to raise the plight of endangered wildlife in Australia.  Our Society aims to encourage the production of photographs taken in Australia, by Australians, which reflects the diversity and uniqueness of endangered Australian wildlife.

An annual judge’s prize of $1,000 will be awarded.

An annual people’s choice prize of $500 will be awarded.

Rules of entry:

  1. The subject of each entry must be a threatened Australian species – fauna or flora
  2. The entry must be the work of the entrant
  3. The photograph must have been taken within the twelve months prior to the date of entry
  4. The name of the threatened species, photographer and date taken must be in the ‘file name’ of each photograph submitted
  5. Entrants retain the copyright to their entries but accord the Australian Wildlife Society (AWS) the right to use them in any of its publications or any reprint arising therefrom
  6. Entries to be submitted by electronic means to – photo@aws.net.au
  7. All entries must be accompanied by a short paragraph (maximum 150 words) describing the status of the endangered species, the location of the photograph and the reasons and circumstances for choosing to photograph it
  8. Directors of AWS or their families are ineligible to submit entries
  9. There shall be no charge for entry and entrants may submit more than one entry
  10. The final result is at the discretion of the Directors and will be announced in August each year.

CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRIES:  30 JUNE

ONLINE VOTING FOR THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE WILL BE OPEN FROM 1 JULY TO 30 JULY

AWS …

27/02 2017

Climate Council report: State of solar 2016

'State of solar 2016: globally and in Australia' report cover

State of solar 2016: globally and in Australia

KEY FINDINGS

  1. Globally, solar photovoltaic (PV) power is surging on the back of scaled-up production and continually falling costs.
    • 70GW (projected) of new solar power capacity was added globally in 2016, breaking last years’ (2015) record of 50GW capacity added.
    • China (34.2GW), the United States (13GW) and Japan (10.5GW) continued to lead with the most solar PV capacity added.
    • The solar sector employs 2.8 million people globally, outnumbering coal jobs. In the United States, solar now provides twice as many jobs as coal.
  2. Solar costs are now so low that large, industrial-scale solar plants are providing cheaper power than new fossil and nuclear power.
    • Solar costs have dropped 58% in five years and are expected to continue to fall by a further 40-70% by 2040.
    • Electricity prices from new coal power stations could rise to A$160 per megawatt hour, while solar parks are around $110 per megawatt hour and are expected to come down significantly in price over time.
  3. Australia remains a world leader in household solar.
    • The cost of solar power is now well below the retail power prices in Australian capital cities, and continues to fall. The exception is the ACT which has the lowest retail prices in Australia.
    • Australia adds more solar power every year than the combined capacity of South Australia’s (recently closed) Northern and Playford coal-fired power stations.
    • Over 8000 Australians are now employed in solar and solar has the potential to create thousands more jobs as it grows.
  4. 2017 will be a huge year for large-scale solar in Australia.
    • Larger solar PV installations are already taking off in Australia – on airports, mines, healthcare facilities and businesses.
    • In 2017 over 20 new large-scale solar projects will come online. A further 3,700 MW of large-scale solar is in the development pipeline (roughly equivalent to three coal fire power stations).
    • Australia is expected to reach over 20GW of solar PV in the next 20 years, equivalent to about a third of Australia’s current total power generation capacity.
  5. A range of energy storage technologies will complement the growth of solar power providing secure, flexible power.
    • Solar and battery storage for households and businesses is already gaining traction in Australia – with more than 6,500 households installing the technology. Uptake is expected to triple in 2017.
    • Large-scale developments such the Lakeland solar and battery storage project and the Kidston solar and pumped hydro project (both in North Queensland) are demonstrating the potential of combining large-scale solar and energy storage technologies.
    • The Victorian Government is seeking expressions of interest to build a large scale battery storage facility in western Victoria to improve grid stability.

Read summary/Download report » Climate Council »

22/02 2017

Quick survey on Qld Government's proposed ban on plastic bags

We did it!

Plastic bags banned in QLD from next year! But the Government wants to know - how far should they go? Answer the quick survey.

Did you hear the great news last year? The Queensland Government have announced they will ban single use plastic bags from 2018, with support from the opposition. This is a huge win for our oceans. But the job isn’t done yet. To really help reduce the plastics threatening our sea turtles, marine birds and whales, we need to make sure the ban works, and that we don’t stop here.

The Queensland Government have called for public comment on what should be included in the ban, and what other measures should be considered to further reduce plastic pollution.

We have until Monday 27 February to let them know what we think. Answer the quick survey to have your say on how we can really make a difference to plastic pollution in Queensland.

Banning plastic bags is just the start. To really help reduce the plastics threatening our sea turtles, marine birds and whales, we need to make sure the ban works, and that we don’t stop here.

Tips for answering the survey questions

The Queensland Government’s survey asks four questions about how the proposed plastic bags ban and future action on reducing plastic. Here are some good ideas for you to consider when writing your answers.

Q1. What are the appropriate timeframes and transitional arrangements to implement a plastic bag ban in Queensland?
  • We want a ban to be implemented as soon as practical - certainly by 2018.
  • For it to work, there should be an education program for both consumers AND retailers. Everyone needs to understand why a ban is being put in place and what alternative practices they should follow.
  • It is important that these education programs are properly funded.
  • It is important that the ban applies to all retailers and is introduced at an appropriate time - not at a busy time like Easter or Christmas time.
Q2. Do you agree that biodegradable bags should be included in a ban?
  • YES! Degradable bags are designed to break into smaller pieces and resemble food for wildlife as a result.
  • Recent data released by the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service found that over 70% of loggerhead turtles found dead in Queensland waters have ingested plastic. Once in their stomach, the space for normal food is reduced, feeding behaviour is altered and energy levels drop often resulting in starvation.
  • Biodegradable bags contain agents to slow down their decomposition when in contact with liquid - so that they can be useful as a carrier bag. This means that they decompose slowly in the marine environment, up to two years. By that time they have already done the damage.
  • They tend to be littered more, because people think that they are okay to discard, because they are biodegradable!
Q3. Do you support the Queensland Government working with other states and territories to encourage industry to reduce the number of heavier weight plastic department store bags?
  • Yes. Plastic lasts for thousands of years, collecting in the ocean in massive floating garbage dumps, and causing massive harm to our marine life. We need to reduce and eliminate all so called disposable plastic items.
  • Thicker plastic bags end up in landfill, where they become wind-borne and eventually make it to the sea. Alternatives to thicker bags, such as consumers just using their own bags, must be encouraged.
  • The best way to do this is ban thicker bags or put a price on them.
Q4. What else can be done by the Queensland Government to address plastic pollution?
  • Ban the release of helium balloons in Queensland. Once released, they end up in the sea and become a serious threat to marine wildlife through ingestion and entanglement.
  • Discarded fishing tackle and bait bags are also a significant litter problem.
  • Microplastics (fibres, film, pellets and beads) also need to be managed - either through bans, take back schemes, filtration systems or simply using alternative, non-disposable, or organic items.
  • Cigarette butts are plastic fibres and usually contaminated with chemicals.
Do the survey …

Thanks for doing your part to end plastic pollution in Queensland. With your help, we’re making a real difference.

James Cordwell email signature

20/02 2017

Climate Council Factsheet: There's No Such Thing As Clean Coal

In response to current discussions regarding clean coal, The Climate Council of Australia has published a factsheet on 'Clean Coal'.

 

The bottom line is: There's no such thing as clean coal.

Clean coal factsheet cover

If we build new fossil fuel power plants now, it will lock-in negative impacts on our emissions, electricity costs and poor health outcomes for the next 30-40 years. We’ll blow the budget in so many ways.

We hope this is a useful resource - please help us share it with your networks.

Cheers,
Amanda

Amanda McKenzie
CEO, Climate Council
E amanda@climatecouncil.org.au W climatecouncil.org.au P 0409 535 437 


16/02 2017

HOPE Community Forum

Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc logo
Householders' Options to Protect the Environment Inc.
PO Box 6118 - Clifford Gardens, Toowoomba QLD 4350
(22 Vacy Street, Toowoomba QLD 4350)
Ph: 07 4639 2135;
Email: office@hopeaustralia.org.au
ABN 48 036 173 161
Think Globally. Act Locally!

Community Forum: “Gardening – the natural, organic way”, Saturday, 18 February 2017

Want to learn how to grow healthy, nutritious food?

If your answer is yes, then you are welcome to come along to “Gardening – the natural, organic way” community forum being held on Saturday 18 February, 1pm – 4pm at the Toowoomba City Library (Level 3, Cnr Herries and Victoria Sts, Toowoomba).

The forum hosted by Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. features Mike Wells and Peter Macqueen from TAFE QLD South West (Horticulture) and Colin Johnson from Earthlife Pty Ltd.

The program for the afternoon features 3 speakers, each followed by a Q & A session

The speakers and their topics are:

  • Mike Wells - “An Introduction to Organic Gardening”
  • Peter Macqueen - “Organic Pest Control - Non-toxic preparations for insect & disease control”
  • Colin Johnson - “Healthy soils, healthy plants ... it’s that simple!” & an overview of Earthlife ’s products

    Bookings for the community forum are essential. To reserve your seat, please RSVP by 16 February to HOPE office by phone 4639 2135 or email office@hopeaustralia.org.au.

  • Event: Community Forum: “Gardening – the natural, organic way”
  • Date: Saturday 18 February, 1pm – 4pm
  • Venue: Toowoomba City Library (Level 3, Cnr Herries and Victoria Sts, Toowoomba
  • Cost: Entry by gold coin donation

The Invasive Species Council | Fire Ants Down Under

17/02 2017

The Fire Ants Down Under National Emergency Tour

The Invasive Species Council has just received confirmation that US fire ant expert Dr Robert Puckett will join our Fire Ants Down Under tour next month, visiting five capital Australian cities in just one week.

The key task of our whirlwind tour is to warn as many Australians as possible of the dangers to our nation if we fail to eradicate Queensland’s current fire ant infestations - they need to know we can’t afford to let this genie out of the bottle.

Now we need your help. Can you come to one of our national fire ant forums, and bring your friends and family?

We're holding forums in Brisbane on March 20, Canberra on March 21, Sydney on March 22, Melbourne on March 23 and finishing in Perth on March 24.

Book your free tickets online »

We also need help advertising the tour, can you share our posts on Facebook and Twitter, and put up our poster in your workplace or anywhere else you think it might get attention?

You can also support the campaign to eradicate fire ants by signing our petition and donating to support the national emergency tour.

Why is this tour so important?

In less than four months Australia’s agriculture ministers will decide what to do about fire ants. To eradicate fire ants, they must commit to a 10 year, $380 million program this year.

Failure to eradicate fire ants means Australians will be forced to confront a terrifying future, one where no capital or regional city will be free from the threat of fire ant invasion. A future where a family picnic can turn into a life-or-death situation if someone stumbles into a hidden fire ant nest.

Fire ants are a super pest – if we fail to eradicate them now in the future they will exact a devastating toll on our environment, farming communities, lifestyle, health system and infrastructure. They will cause human deaths, hospitalisations and animal extinctions.

The projections sound extreme, but more than 85 deaths have been recorded in the US alone from fire ant attacks.

Home truths

If anyone can bring home the dangers of living in a country where fire ants are out of control it's Assistant Professor Robert Puckett.

Robert lives in Texas, a fire ant hotspot, and has been part of the United States' decades long fight against fire ants.

As well as speaking at our national forums Robert will meet key state and federal government politicians

We look forward to seeing you at one of our forums and remember, you can also support the campaign to eradicate fire ants by signing our petition and donating to support the national emergency tour.

Regards,

Anderw Cox signature

Andrew Cox
Chief Executive Officer

The Invasive Species Council logo

Your action needed: red fire ants

Fire ants are an aggressive invasive species originally from South America. They are one of the world's worst invasive species.

If unchecked they will spread to almost all parts of Australia and cause major damage to the environment, agriculture and forever change our outdoor way of life.

Help us campaign for a properly funded eradication program to ensure the 400,000ha infestation of fire ants between Brisbane and the NSW border is eradicated.

Donate now »

Adani guilty of fraud & devastating the marine environment

16/02 2017

Adani’s history of environmental devastation, fraud and criminal action has been exposed. If we act now, we can ensure the Government knows about the danger to the Great Barrier Reef before it’s too late. Will you send them the report now?

Friends of the Environment,

An explosive new report has just been released, revealing a horrific record of environmental devastation and criminal corporate behaviour by the Adani mining company and its subsidiaries. These startling revelations raise one serious question:

How can we trust Adani with our Great Barrier Reef?

Coal spill devastation.

In 2011 an unseaworthy coal ship chartered by Adani Enterprises Ltd sunk off the coast of Mumbai, spilling over 60,000 tonnes of coal and a massive amount of oil into the ocean. Adani did nothing to clean up the mess for five long years. Meanwhile, the spill destroyed mangroves, polluted beaches, and seriously damaged Mumbai’s marine life and tourism industry.

Illegal dredging and clearing.

In the coastal town of Mundra in India, a subsidiary company of Adani ports has left devastation in the wake of its coal-fired power station - ignoring environmental regulation and development permits to illegally clear 75 hectares of protected mangroves, dredge the ocean, and block waterways. As a result fish stocks were decimated, and the groundwater turned saline.

Villagers reported the company using bribery and intimidation to silence anyone who tried to challenge them.

Water pollution disaster.

In 2010, working for another company, Adani’s Australia CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj was responsible for the operations of the Konkola Copper Mines in Zambia. The mines discharged acidic, metal-laden water from copper mining into the Kafue River - poisoning water used for cooking, cleaning and bathing. The company later pleaded guilty to criminal charges for pollution and failure to report the incident.

Now Adani Mining wants to build a mine that risks our Great Artesian Basin - the water source for a quarter of Australia.

Bribery and corruption.

In 2011, an Indian state Ombudsman found that parent company Adani Enterprises had bribed police, politicians, customs officials and others to facilitate and hide illegal exports of 7.7 million tonnes of iron ore. The Indian government is currently investigating numerous Adani Group entities for billion dollar fraud to inflate prices and evade taxes.

With so much evidence of corruption and environmental devastation, how can our Government trust Adani with something as precious as our water, our money, and our Great Barrier Reef?

Send a copy of the Adani Brief to your MP

We are still cleaning up the damage left when the Shen Neng 1 coal ship ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef in 2010. The 225-metre carrier carved a 2.2-kilometre-long, 400,000 square metre scar in and around Douglas Shoal, and left a 4 kilometre trail of heavy fuel oil in the Reef’s waters. The marine habitats and organisms, especially the corals, will take many years to recover

The full cost to taxpayers has been estimated to be $141 million. After 6 years, the Commonwealth has only managed to get $40 million from the company at fault.

We know how this could end. We know Adani has been careless with the marine environment and with the law many times before. How can we possibly trust them with our most precious marine ecosystem?

It’s these times when our local MPs can stand up and do something. But they won’t do it unless they know the local people in their area care about what happens next.

3 things you can do

  1. Send a copy of the Adani Brief to your local MP.
  2. Share on Facebook - or - Share on Twitter
  3. Chip in to our fighting fund to protect the Reef.

Please stand with us in asking the Government - how they can defend entrusting this company with our Great Barrier Reef?

Thank you for standing up for our Reef.

Imogen Zethovan email signature

13/02 2017

Professor Will Steffen | The Anthropocene equation

Humans causing climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces

Greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans over the past 45 years have increased the rate of temperature rise to 1.7 degrees celsius per century. Photograph: ISS/NASA

Researchers behind ‘Anthropocene equation’ say impact of people’s intense activity on Earth far exceeds that of natural events spread across millennia

For the first time, researchers have developed a mathematical equation to describe the impact of human activity on the earth, finding people are causing the climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces.

The equation was developed in conjunction with Professor Will Steffen, a climate change expert and researcher at the Australian National University, and was published in the journal The Anthropocene Review.

The authors of the paper wrote that for the past 4.5bn years astronomical and geophysical factors have been the dominating influences on the Earth system. The Earth system is defined by the researchers as the biosphere, including interactions and feedbacks with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and upper lithosphere.

But over the past six decades human forces have driven exceptionally rapid rates of change in the Earth system, the authors wrote, giving rise to a period known as the Anthropocene.

Human activities now rival the great forces of nature in driving changes to the Earth system, the paper said.

Steffen and his co-researcher, Owen Gaffney, from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, came up with an Anthropocene Equation” to determine the impact of this period of intense human activity on the earth.

Explaining the equation in New Scientist, Gaffney said they developed it by homing in on the rate of change of Earth’s life support system: the atmosphere, oceans, forests and wetlands, waterways and ice sheets and fabulous diversity of life.

For four billion years the rate of change of the Earth system has been a complex function of astronomical and geophysical forces plus internal dynamics: Earth’s orbit around the sun, gravitational interactions with other planets, the sun’s heat output, colliding continents, volcanoes and evolution, among others, he wrote.

“In the equation, astronomical and geophysical forces tend to zero because of their slow nature or rarity, as do internal dynamics, for now. All these forces still exert pressure, but currently on orders of magnitude less than human impact.

According to Steffen these forces have driven a rate of change of 0.01 degrees Celsius per century.

Greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans over the past 45 years, on the other hand, have increased the rate of temperature rise to 1.7 degrees Celsius per century, dwarfing the natural background rate, he said.

This represented a change to the climate that was 170 times faster than natural forces.

“We are not saying the astronomical forces of our solar system or geological processes have disappeared, but in terms of their impact in such a short period of time they are now negligible compared with our own influence,” Steffen said.

Crystallising this evidence in the form of a simple equation gives the current situation a clarity that the wealth of data often dilutes.

“What we do is give a very specific number to show how humans are affecting the earth over a short timeframe. It shows that while other forces operate over millions of years, we as humans are having an impact at the same strength as the many of these other forces, but in the timeframe of just a couple of centuries.

The human magnitude of climate change looks more like a meteorite strike than a gradual change.

Gaffney and Steffen wrote that while the Earth system had proven resilient, achieving millions of years of relative stability due to the complex interactions between the Earth’s core and the biosphere, human societies would be unlikely to fare so well.

Failure to reduce anthropological climate change could “trigger societal collapse, their research concluded.

Read the original article on the Guardian …

13/02 2017

Invitation to Campaigns Night | The Wilderness Society

We'd like to extend a warm welcome to you and your supporters to join us this Wednesday night for The Wilderness Society's launch of the next wave of the campaign to stop broadscale landclearing in Queensland, and the beginnings of our networks of regional teams as part of our ambitious community organising program: Movement for Life! Please feel free to forward this invitation on to any colleagues or supporters who may be interested.

The Wilderness Society Campaigns Night

Please join us for one of our biggest nights of the year!

Many of you will have heard about the tripling of tree clearing rates in Queensland in recent years with an area the size of the MCG now cleared every 3 minutes. After the government failed to get the Vegetation Management Bill passed last year, we've been busy plotting out the next wave of the campaign - keeping in mind it's an election year but also the need for a stable long-term solution and factoring in the possibility of less favourable governments. This evening will be about getting your input and involvement in winning not just this campaign, but in being part of the movement of people across QLD and Australia, which will help us ensure that we can collectively hold our decision-makers accountable for the decisions they make on our behalf. Whether you are concerned about escalating landclearing, new investment in fossil fuel projects, species decline, climate change etc, it is evident that we need change, and this evening marks the beginnings of this change.

On the night you will hear from several speakers including:

  • Lyndon Schneiders - The Wilderness Society National Director, who can speak to the long history of this campaign.
  • Damian Ogden - National Community Organising Manager - will talk about our community organising program and how this is at the heart of our strategy.
  • Gemma Plesman - Queensland Campaign Manager - will introduce the strategy for the next wave of the campaign, and how you can play a part. We will also have a Q&A and invite your input into the campaign strategy.
  • We will also have a couple of special guests who will speak about their involvement with tackling local urban clearing, as well as a couple of Wilderness Society volunteers who can speak about their involvement, including our free 2-day community organising training.
  • Most importantly, we will provide you with a chance to meet people from your community who share your values, and give you the chance to get involved. 
  • Time: 6pm-8.30pm, Wednesday 15 February
  • Where: The Fox Hotel, 71-73 Melbourne St, South Brisbane
Please RSVP here … The Wilderness Society …

This is a free event, and some food will be provided, and drinks available for purchase at the bar.  Please don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions - brisbane@wilderness.org.au or 07 3846 1420.


13/02 2017

Energetic Communities Update | February 2017

Rooftop by rooftop, communities across Queensland are nudging our sunshine state towards a sun-powered future. In fact, Queenslanders are world leaders at harvesting sunshine!

But too many people don’t have access to clean energy. They are being left behind with dirty old energy that’s damaging our climate and harming our communities.

We know we need to cut pollution and shift to clean energy, fast. To make this happen – and enable everyone, everywhere, to power their lives with clean energy – our government must step up and lead.

Right now, the Palaszczuk government is developing a plan to see 50% of Queensland’s power needs met by clean energy sources – like wind and solar power – by 2030.

So we’re asking individuals, companies and organisations to sign pledge to make sure this plan is a stepping stone to 100% renewables and achieves real climate action by retiring Queensland’s dirty power plants – there’s no other way! Other policy asks are here – SPQ Policy Asks.

Sign the Pledge …

With the end of fossil fuels upon us, and the gradual closure of coal plants around the country, it is critical that the Queensland Government gives communities and workers sufficient notice to transition to other industries, whilst keeping fossil fuels safely in the ground.

The dirty fuel era is over. It’s time to shift to clean energy and help people transition to jobs that are good for their health, their families and communities, and the world we live in.

Join the Sun-Powered Queensland campaign which is calling on the Queensland Government to:

  • Make our renewable energy target law
  • Phase out coal and gas-fired power
  • Help people who work in affected industries and their communities prepare for jobs for the future
  • Champion large-scale clean energy projects across our state.

The sun-powered Queensland campaign is supported by 350.org, Australian Conservation Foundation, Environmental Defenders Office, Energetic Communities, GetUp, Queensland Conservation Council and Solar Citizens.


We are so looking forward to the Coalition for Community Energy's (C4CE) Community Energy Congress, this time in Melbourne in a few weeks. There are many amazing sessions and side events:

  • Working with renewable energy developers
  • Community Energy Financing, Legals and Risk
  • Community energy and fossil-fuel affected communities
  • New technologies and models of community energy
  • How to: Models of community solar
  • Renewable energy in Aboriginal communities
  • Hepburn Wind Tour
  • Council Master Class
  • Finance Toolkit Training
  • Business Model Development Training

Check out some confirmed speakers here, including:

  • Søren Hermann who spearheaded his community’s efforts to become 100 percent energy independent; and
  • Candace Vahlsing the Senior Policy Advisor for Energy and Climate Change at the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Bimblebox: art-science-nature | 10 February 2017

06/02 2017

NPAQ |Lecture, 15 March 2017 | Brisbane

06/02 2017

Romeo Lahey Lecture | Making Conservation Relevant in a Crowded World

The National Parks of Queensland (NPAQ) is hosting an evening lecture to inform on current issues in conservation, where guest speaker Peter Cochrane will address the topic: Making Conservation Relevant in a Crowded World

 

Peter Cochrane represents Oceania on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) governing council. He was Parks Australia CEO and Australian Government Director of National Parks from 1999-2013, and has a passion for creating and sustaining partnerships across government agencies, NGOs and community groups.

Details for the evening:

View/Download flyer Facebook …

Kind regards,

Marika Strand | Business Development Officer | National Parks Association of Queensland
Phone: (07) 3367 0878 | PO Box 1040 Milton QLD 4064 | business.devt@npaq.org.au

www.npaq.org.au | www.facebook.com/NPAQld


01/02 2017

International River Foundation News

From our CEO, Ian Atkinson

Welcome to 2017! I hope it proves to be an exciting and fulfilling year for you all

For us here at IRF, this year is going to be a time of consolidation and cautious optimism. We have had some difficult periods over the last couple of years but 2016 saw us complete our plans to address long-standing financial commitments, and set a modest but sustainable agenda for the future. Crucial to this has been the generous financial support of the recently established ‘Bert and Vera Thiess Foundation' and other key donors. The success of our first International Riversymposium outside Australia - In New Delhi, India - also helped IRF significantly, and we look forward to more truly international events in the coming years.

This year, the International Riversymposium will be held back in our original home, the wonderful river city of Brisbane. Planning for the event includes a celebration of the 10th anniversary of “The Brisbane Declaration on Environmental Flows". This declaration presented summary findings and a global action agenda that sought to address the urgent need to protect rivers globally. It was proclaimed at the 10th International Riversymposium and International Environmental Flows Conference, held in Brisbane, Australia, on 3-6 September 2007. The anniversary is a great opportunity to review what has been done, and what remains to be done, to sustain healthy people and ecosystems well into the future.

As a small NGO working in an area of great urgency, there is always more we can do. If you feel there are opportunities IRF should be looking at and which are consistent with our goals and vision, please contact me to discuss them. As always, we would particularly like to hear about ways to attract greater financial support for our programs.

Ian Atkinson
CEO, International RiverFoundation

Ken Thiess Scholarship Recipients Announced

Two talented, emerging water professionals have been awarded our Ken Thiess Memorial Scholarship—giving access to one of the world’s leading post-graduate qualifications in integrated water management.

Mr Reg Winlove from the Philippines and Ms Camaria Holder from Antigua and Barbuda were selected from a pool of worthy applicants to travel to Brisbane in 2017 and commence the International WaterCentre’s Master of Integrated Water Management.

Mr Winlove, an Ecosystem Management Specialist, and Ms Holder, a Project Engineer, have demonstrated an aptitude for leadership, an understanding of the benefits of cross-disciplinary approaches and a clear passion for making change in the water sector.

The Ken Thiess Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually, providing future water leaders from developing countries with the skills and knowledge to advance their careers and work to improve sustainable water management in their home countries and globally.

More on our Ken Thiess Memorial Scholarship …

2017 Riversymposium - Save the dates!

A decade on from the hugely successful 10th International Riversymposium and Environmental Flows Conference, we are inviting water experts to Brisbane to reignite this conversation, with a focus on exploring the progress made, and challenges faced, since the release of the 2007 Brisbane Declaration and Global Action Agenda. The 20th International Riversymposium is an opportunity for those involved in all aspects of sustainable river basin management globally to share their knowledge, learn from others and collaborate – all while enjoying Australia’s stunning river city. Abstract submission opens early 2017.

Riversymposium website …

Coming Up: World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day is held each year on 2 February, celebrating the anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971. The theme this year is "Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction", putting a spotlight on the many ways that healthy wetlands help us cope with extreme weather events. Share your event with the world by tweeting #WorldWetlandsDay, #WetlandsForDRR & #WetlandsForOurFuture.

More on World Wetands Day … More stories from IRF …

01/02 2017

KQB: What goes up, must come down!

The Queensland Youth Environment Council (for which KQB is the secretariat) invites you to help support their call for the Queensland Government to amend current litter and illegal dumping legislation to specifically ban the release of helium balloons and to investigate options to outlaw the mass-distribution of helium balloons at events, such as the EKKA.

What goes up, must come down!Keep Queensland Beautiful clean-up (Adopt-a-Spot) volunteers across the State are reporting an increase in balloon fragments being found in our parks, creeks and beaches. If consumed, these fragments are deadly to our marine and wildlife.

I know you are busy, but if we don’t act now – when will we? Please take 30 seconds to sign the Queensland Government ePetition: http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/e-petition?PetNum=2691

Our marine and wildlife deserve better.

Please help our campaign by sharing the link on your social media accounts, or join the conversation: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/QLDYEC


CORENA Funding

Solar installations and energy efficiency for non-profit organisations

CORENA logoSolar PV installations are a great way of reducing carbon emissions, something that benefits us all, but they also reduce electricity bills. Solar panels usually 'pay for themselves' in around 5 years. Subsequent savings over the lifetime of the panels probably mean the panels ultimately save something like 5 times their up-front cost. If energy efficiency measures, like installing LED lighting, are also taken, potential savings are even greater.

It's a no-brainer, but only if you can spare the up-front capital to pay for a solar or energy efficiency project.

Unfortunately, many of the non-profit organisations that provide valuable services to the community are already trying to do too much with too little, so installing solar seems out of the question for them, even though it would eventually lower their carbon emissions and their operating costs

That's where a CORENA Quick Win project can help. We offer 'free capital' in the form of interest-free loans to pay for solar PV and/or energy efficiency projects at the premises of non-profit organisations, with the loan repayments set at less than the expected resultant savings on power bills. The NFP will never be out of pocket, but nor will they save very much over the repayment period (average 5 years). However, after that the savings on their power bills will mean they have much lower operating costs than previously, meaning more funds available for the services they offer to the community. They will also have greatly reduced their carbon emissions at no cost to themselves.

All our funds are donated, and as Quick Win projects literally 'pay for themselves' and the loans are repaid, the donations are used over and over again in subsequent projects - the money is never 'used up'. Donations made to our first two projects a few years ago, have already paid for more than double the initial value of those donations.

CORENA itself is a non-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers. Our minimal admin costs are covered by membership fees, meaning that 100% of the donated money in the revolving fund is always used to fund our projects. Our operations are completely financially transparent, as you will see if you look the Quick Win project pages on our website.

Often another hurdle for NFP organisations is access to solar and energy efficiency expertise. We have experts on our committee who give free technical advice to help NFPs plan the best projects for their organisation, including the most cost-effective solar installation size, the most reliable panels, and the most effective energy efficiency measures.

images of CORENA progectsNow that we have completed 14 Quick Win projects and have a regular stream of quarterly loan repayments coming back into our revolving fund, we are always looking for more Quick Projects to fund. If you are involved in a non-profit community organisation, please take a look at our project applications page and consider submitting an application for an interest-free loan for a Quick Win project to reduce the carbon footprint of your operations.

For more details, please contact admin@corenafund.org.au.


24/01 2017

HOPE’s Annual Fund-raising Appeal

Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc logo
Householders' Options to Protect the Environment Inc.
PO Box 6118 - Clifford Gardens, Toowoomba QLD 4350
(22 Vacy Street, Toowoomba QLD 4350)
Ph: 07 4639 2135;
Email: office@hopeaustralia.org.au
ABN 48 036 173 161
Think Globally. Act Locally!

Dear Friend of the Environment,

Householders Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Australia invites you to support its annual fund-raising appeal by making a regular annual pledge or one-off donation to help defray our operating expenses; and to enable us to more effectively promote new projects, events and activities.

Appeal support can be made at http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au/annual-pledgedonation/

Established in 1988, HOPE is a national community-based, not-for-profit organisation encouraging citizens to embrace sustainable living practices at home, in the workplace, at school and on recreation. We also look at broader environmental issues that impact adversely on communities locally, state-wide and nationally.

HOPE, in partnership or association with other organisations, seeks to deliver on its charter of environmental stewardship through:

  • awareness raising campaigns via our website, newsletter and Facebook; as well as through  traditional media
  • developing educational resources such as information sheets and Helpful Hints guides
  • hosting community forums, workshops and other events.

Currently, HOPE has membership with 5 Queensland organisations; and partnerships with 6 national and 3 international NGOs. Full details of our alliances/partnerships may be found at http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au/about-us/partnershipsalliances-ngos/ .

HOPE’s major achievements over the years include the production of various publications such as Low Carbon Living starts at home  and Helpful Hints Guide (http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au/resources/sundry-hope/) and the staging of significant events/campaigns such as environmental expos, community forums, rallies, petitions and the Darling Downs Solar Neighbourhood Project.

So, if you would like to support our efforts of encouraging residents in your community to embrace sustainable living practices, please consider donating today.

Visit our website at http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au/annual-pledgedonation/ to lodge your donation; or consider our crowd funding campaign at https://ozcrowd.com/campaign/3303 .

Further information on HOPE and its activities is available by contacting the office on phone 07 4639 2135 or by email office@hopeaustralia.org.au

Information about corporate sponsorship is available at http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au/about-us/sponsors/ .

Yours faithfully,

Frank Ondrus, President - HOPE Inc.

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph 07 4639 2135

PS. We also welcome in-kind contributions of office stationery – especially photocopying paper and postage stamps.


Toowoomba area | FEP - Walk to Eagle Nest Camp

Walk to Eagle Nest Depression Camp | Thursday 9 February

Hello all

 

On Thursday 9th February, you are invited to join members of FEP on a walk to the Eaglenest depression camp site starting from the Edwin Bernays Picnic Ground in the lower part of Redwood Park at 7.30 am.  Hopefully it will be a cooler day.

Redwood Park site map  

Recently, due to the high temperatures,  we have been starting the morning off at 6 am and working till 9 am.  I expect that some of the regular FEP Thursday Redwood Group members may start work at 6 am, but most of us will join the walk to Eagle Nest Camp.

Joining us on the morning will be Daniel Tay Chean, the newly appointed Trails and Outdoor Recreation Project Officer.  What we hope to accomplish is a better understanding of where the camp actually was and the location of the garden area using some historic photos.  I hope that we can restore the area in due course and equip it with a decent track, picnic tables and interpretive signage.  Most of the weeds are privet and lantana.  There are a number of hoop pines and brown pines (or kauri pines) that I believe were planted by the residents of the camp or by the organizers of the camp.

I would prefer that we develop a separate volunteer group to do the vegetation work.  It may be appropriate to get one or more schools involved in the project.

Anyway, see if you can make it.  You will need to be reasonably physically fit and wear appropriate clothing shoes and hat.  Please bring water and morning tea.

 

Regards
Hugh


25/01 2017

Rainforests of Subtropical Australia Symposium March 2017

On the 23rd and 24th of March,  Healthy Waterways & Catchments (HWC) will host the Rainforests of Subtropical Australia Symposium on the Gold Coast.

The booking page for this event is now live:  www.rosa2017.eventbrite.com

Should you have any queries regarding the event, feel free to give me a call or send me an email.

Kind regards

Paul Donatiu
GPO Box 557
Coastal Catchments Southern Area Manager
Healthy Waterways & Catchments

M 0437 910 685 | F   07 3177 9190 | E: pdonatiu@seqcatchments.com.au

 

24/01 2017

 QCC Communique | QLD taking the lead 🌞

Queensland should be a leader in clean energy.

As one of the sunniest states in Australia, we have the most to benefit by leading the transition away from old polluting energy like coal towards clean energy like wind and sun. But to do this we need the Queensland Government to step up.

Sign-up!

We have just launched the Sun-Powered Pledge to call on the Queensland Government to lead the way, by committing to legislate an ambitious renewable energy target, to phase out coal-fired power and invest in large-scale clean energy projects across our state. But to have real impact, we need to be able to show that thousands of Queenslanders want a sun-powered future.

Will you stand with us and sign the pledge?

If we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change such as more severe storms, worse droughts, and rising sea levels, we need to cut carbon pollution and switch to clean energy fast. The stakes couldn't be higher.

Over the coming months, we will be meeting with politicians, talking with people in the community, building our base of allies, and mobilising public support for our vision for a sun-powered Queensland.

A number of organisations, businesses, and community groups have already jumped on board to help make this campaign happen, but we are looking for more. If you know of a group or business that would be interested in supporting the campaign, please get in touch by email. With your help, we can show that there is strong, diverse public support for a planned transition.

Find out more about the campaign on our website.

Together, let’s move Queensland out of the dirty energy past and into the clean energy future.

For a sun-powered future,

Jackson Turner,
Community Organiser
Queensland Conservation Council · Australia


24/01 2017

WELA - Applications open

Women's Environmental Leadership Australia (WELA)

Applications for WELA 2017 close on Friday 10 February - information and application forms

Are you a woman and an active environmentalist living in Australia? Are you looking to take your next step in leadership?

Then WELA 2017 is for you!

The Women's Environmental Leadership Australia (WELA) program will bring together 20 women with a mix of ages and diverse backgrounds for a challenging and inspiring program. Participantw will be working on a variety of environmental issues and campaigns around the country, some with environment groups, some independently, and in both paid and unpaid roles.

The program includes:

  • three residential retreats in Victoria (May, July and October)
  • mentoring sessions with experienced women environmental leaders
  • small group projects on key issues facing women environmentalists
  • access to an ongoing supportive network of powerful women!

The retreats will be facilitated by Holly Hammond (Plan to Win) along with special guests with expertise in campaigning, political life, management, and many other aspects of leadership.

Here's what 2016 participants had to say about this life-changing program:

  • The best thing you can do for your health is to get a girl gang. WELA introduced me to women who are inspirational, wise, generous and experienced in a wide range of environmental and social justice work.
  • WELA is an amazing gift. It is a rare chance to stop, listen deeply, learn from other passionate environmentalists and reflect.
  • WELA has been the best leadership program I have been involved with.

For further details contact: welaprogram@gmail.com

WELA Program information and application form: welaprogram.org.au

To speak to someone from the WELA 2017 team, write to welaprogram@gmail.com with your phone number and a good time to call. One of us will ring you back, Sue, Holly, Margaret

Green Institute
GPO Box 557
Canberra, ACT 2601
Australia

 www.greeninstitute.org.au | office@greeninstitute.org.au |  +61 419 877 325


22/01 2017

Sustainable Living Festival - Program Launch 2017

This summer there’s something big happening. Some of the world’s leading names are coming together to make a big impact for big change at the National Sustainable Living Festival. Join the three week program, with over 200 events, and find out how you can make a big impact. There’s something for everyone in this year’s Festival.

FEATURING

Festival Big Weekend 10th-12th Feb - Federation Square, Melbourne

Sustainable Living Festival … View/Download Program …

20/01 2017

Boomerang Alliance Communique

About Plastic Bags

In 2005, all Australian Governments agreed to phase out plastic bags by 2008. To date only South Australia, Tasmania, ACT and NT have. Those jurisdictions that have banned the bag report less litter, consumers who have changed their behaviour and bring their BYO bags and surveys that show significant support for the bans.

In November 2016, the QLD Government announced a ban on single use, lightweight plastic bags from 2018. A Discussion Paper has been released to ask the community how and when this should happen.

While so- called ‘degradable or biodegradable’ bags may offer some environmental benefits they fail to address the primary problem of bags – entering the marine environment, where they are potentially even greater problem than the traditional bag. Degradable bags break into small bits quickly and look even more like food to marine species. Biodegradable plastic takes too long to decompose, as they contain agents to prevent break down in water, that also include the potential to increase toxic contamination of our oceans.

Bait bags and dog waste bags are amongst the most common types of litter found in Queensland.

Releasing helium balloons is littering and causes harm to wildlife. Evidence suggests they take between 3 months to 1 year to break down. Water slows down the process. Seabird autopsies have revealed balloons are a major contributor to seabird mortalities.

Over 30 countries around the world have banned or levied plastic bags. In the US over 168 counties and cities have bans or levies. California has banned the bag. The UK has a levy on all supermarket bags. Bangladesh banned the bag to reduce flooding caused by waterways blocked by plastic.

Environment groups and major retailers agree that a State ban is the most acceptable measure to restrict plastic bags. Many retailers have already stopped supplying single use bags to customers.

Facts and Figures

  • A single use plastic bag has an average useful lifespan of 12 minutes
  • Every plastic bag ever produced remains in our environment and could take up to 1000 years to fully decompose. Plastic bags are persistent and toxic in the environment. They endanger wildlife.
  • They break ‘up’ not down into smaller bits, posing an event greater opportunity for wildlife to ingest
  • Plastic in the ocean kills over 1 million birds and 100,000 sea mammals every year
  • 30% of sea turtle deaths in Moreton Bay are attributable to plastic ingestion. 70% of loggerheads found in QLD have ingested plastics
  • Australians use over 7 billion bags every year. In QLD the estimate is 1 billion. The average family collects over 60 per week.
  • Supermarkets account for over 50% of plastic bag use with about 3% recycled
  • In NSW, it costs local government $162 million in litter clean-up costs. Given its greater size, it is likely to cost QLD even more. Thousands of active citizens take part of the annual Clean Up Australia day and report plastic as a major problem.
  • Plastic bags are made from non-renewable fossil fuels

Further information is available at Boomerang Alliance, http://www.boomerangalliance.org.au/ .


18/01 2017

Free seminars on Qld planning instruments & SEQ Regional Plan!

Environmental Defenders Office

Have Your Say On Planning - Free Seminars!

Care about the environment, community, responsible development and quality planning?

Right now, important opportunities exist for you to have your say on how planning happens in your region and across the state.

To make sure you have the information and analysis you need to take up these opportunities, leading independent community legal centre Environmental Defenders Office Qld is partnering with the Qld Department of Planning to put on a number of free seminars.

Queensland Planning Instruments Seminars

Updated versions of the Planning Regulation, State Planning Policy and State Development Assessment Provisions have been released and are open for public comment until 10 February 2017 (read more here).

SEQ Regional Plan Seminar

The draft South East Queensland (SEQ) Regional Plan has been released and is open for comment until 3 March 2017 (read more here).

Each seminar will end with a dedicated slot for the speakers to take questions from the audience.

And if you have a burning question or an issue you would like to see covered in any of these seminars, let us know at adminqld@edoqld.org.au so we can make the presentations as useful as possible.

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland · www.edoqld.org.au,


18/01 2017

Community Energy Congress to kick off the 2017

Community groups will unite with legal and energy experts, business and government to supercharge Australia’s renewable energy future at next year’s Community Energy Congress.

Two internationally-acclaimed community energy experts will headline the February event. Denmark’s Søren Hermansen – who led the way in creating the world’s first renewable energy island – will be joined by Candace Vahlsing, who works at the White House advising on US President Barack Obama’s environmental agenda.

An increasing number of Australians are discovering the many benefits of community energy. There are more than 50 operating projects around the country, and another 80 in the works.

By owning and operating clean energy projects, such as wind farms and solar breweries, communities can save money, cut pollution, create local jobs and attract new investment.

Up to 800 people are expected to attend the Congress where successful projects will be showcased and attendees will discuss what action is required to ensure that all Australians can take advantage of the clean energy transition including low-income households, renters and indigenous communities.

All are welcome to the Community Energy Congress in Melbourne on 27-28 February 2017. Find out more and register at c4ce.net.au/congress 


12/01 2017

EDO Qld - Swim for the Reef

10 days to Swim for the Reef, will you help?

Dear friends,

Have you heard about Swim for the Reef, when we get together to swim laps and raise funds for vital legal cases to protect the Great Barrier Reef? The swim is just 10 days away on 21 January. So please join us, and tell your friends, and family members, and urge them to be part of this wonderful, creative event!

Maybe you have a partner, friend, child or workmate who might like to participate? Now is your chance to use loads of fishy puns until they take the bait and join. The challenge can be customised depending on where and how participants prefer to swim – at your local pool, or the beach; in a small team or large. It’s all about having fun and personally contributing to the Reef’s protection.

This year is gearing up to be huge! The Krabby Patties, our first Yeronga Pool team ever, have raised an amazing amount before they’ve even touched the water! The Wobbegongs are an impressive second at the moment, followed by last year’s fundraising winners Turtley Awesome and Avid Reader. Over 100 swimmers are registered already, but can you help us double or even triple that figure?

Whether you swim 4 laps or 40 laps, your valuable participation will attract donations and help us undertake crucial legal work to protect the Reef. Our overall tally of laps in 2017 will be added to last year’s 5,700 laps as we aim to swim the equivalent distance of the Great Barrier Reef (-a massive 2,300km!).

The swim is just 10 days away, will you help? Please register now or forward this link (http://www.swimforthereef.org.au/)to your friends and family.

Email us at swimforthereef@edoqld.org.au if you need help with registering.

If you don't have a team, register anyway and we will find one for you.

Sunny regards,

Jo-Anne Bragg
CEO/Solicitor – and swimathon participant-in-training!
Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld)

PS. As well as Musgrave Park Pool (home base) other additional pools have now also registered to host Swim for the Reef events-

  • Ithaca Pool, Caxton Street, Paddington/li>
  • Yeronga Park Pool, School Road, Yeronga
  • Bellbowrie Pool, 47 Birkin Road, Bellbowrie
  • Petria Thomas Swimming Pool, Jubilee Avenue, Mullumbimby 
  • Stanthorpe Swimming Pool, Talc Street, Stanthorpe 

11/01 2017

“IN BRIEF” Notice - Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Wanted: Used Postage Stamps

Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc logo
Householders' Options to Protect the Environment Inc.
PO Box 6118 - Clifford Gardens, Toowoomba QLD 4350
(22 Vacy Street, Toowoomba QLD 4350)
Ph: 07 4639 2135;
Email: office@hopeaustralia.org.au
ABN 48 036 173 161
Think Globally. Act Locally!

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) invites residents and businesses to collect stamps from their incoming mail for reuse by local community groups.

Community groups take these stamps and re-sell them to raise funds for local and overseas missions work.

Mr Frank Ondrus, President of HOPE said we also welcome unwanted stamp album collections.

You can post a pack of used stamps to the HOPE (Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment) office, PO Box 6118 - Clifford Gardens, Toowoomba, QLD 4350; or drop them off at 22 Vacy St, Toowoomba.

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph 07 4639 2135; email office@hopeaustralia.org.au


02/01 2017

Make 2017 Sustainable

New Year’s Green Resolutions

A new year is beginning and a lot of us like to have “resolutions” to give us a focus or an aim, for the year ahead.

Frank Ondrus, President of Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc., is suggesting that 2017 resolutions include actions to help improve environmental concerns. HOPE’s motto is Think Globally, Act Locally, said Mr Ondrus. In our everyday actions, each of us can contribute to the betterment of the environment.

For example:

  • Be vigilant with electricity use – turn off unnecessary items including lights and electronic equipment when no one is using them
  •   Make a deliberate choice to walk, ride a bike or take public transport instead of driving your car every day
  • Establish routines in your household for the preferred disposal of recyclables, green-waste and rubbish.

These simple actions can become good habits and the collective benefit to the environment will be appreciable said Mr Ondrus.

These suggestions are grounded in HOPE’s Charter. Read more about HOPE and its Charter on the website at www.hopeaustralia.org.au .


26/12 2016

Renew Economy - Clean Energy Facts

10 clean energy facts

hot-10-sign

Over time, I have felt my share of despair and anger as sensible policy has been blocked, reversed and abused. I have been frustrated as I have seen exciting technological and social developments squashed, and abuse of power run rampant. A few issues have caused me serious distress…

So we don’t have to waste even more time debating our energy future, I thought it might be useful if I listed a few things we really know about energy.


  1.  Leave it in the ground

Two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions and three-quarters of Australia’s emissions result from fossil fuel extraction and burning. Most of the world’s existing ‘profitable’ fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground to avoid dangerous climate change. Spending money on exploration and building extra fossil fuel supply capacity is money down the drain.

  2.  We know it creates more jobs

An energy-efficient renewable energy future creates more jobs than conventional energy, because most of the new jobs are in light manufacturing and services sectors, which are much more employment-intensive and much less capital-intensive than traditional energy supply industries. We have known this for decades.

  3.  And it’s cheaper

An energy-efficient, renewable energy future will be cheaper than a ‘conventional’ energy future, even if we don’t introduce a carbon price. Much of our existing energy supply infrastructure will have to be replaced over the next few decades anyway, so comparison of the cost of a clean energy future with existing energy costs is invalid—the real choice is between different investments, and should include a science-based carbon price.

A lot of energy efficiency potential is profitable (the ‘lunch you are paid to eat’ as pointed out by Amory Lovins decades ago). While renewable energy has been expensive in the past, costs are declining rapidly (and performance is improving), and it already seems to be cheaper or similar in cost to building new traditional energy plants.

Interestingly, a clean energy future will also be mostly privatised—in a democratic way.

  4.  Plus more reliable and resilient

A well-designed, efficient renewable energy system should be more reliable and resilient than a centralised system, as local energy storage, smart management and generation reduce reliance on networks (where most disruptions occur) and transmission lines.

Debate about supply of base load power can only be described as outdated and misinformed.

  5.  Developing countries benefit too

An efficient, clean energy future offers many developing countries multiple benefits including lower energy import costs, better services to the rural poor and lower pollution.

  6.  Transport is not just about EVs

Transport is a very challenging energy problem, not because it can’t be fixed, but because very few countries and cities even understand the fundamental problems. A car-based society is not practical, equitable or economic. Electric cars are only a small part of the solution. Virtual service delivery and workplaces, coordinated planning, comprehensive public transport, low-speed electric vehicles (with suitable infrastructure, speed limits and rules to ensure safety for all, including pedestrians), and better-organised walkable cities are needed.

  7.  Fly lower and less

Air travel is a much bigger climate problem than most people realise. The overall warming effect of air travel is two to five times the value calculated using Kyoto carbon accounting. And most of this impact is due to the release of emissions at high altitude, not CO2—so switching to renewable aircraft fuel doesn’t fix the problem. Flying lower and less, and transitioning to electric aircraft, will be necessary

  8.  New buildings remain a problem

We are constructing buildings and urban infrastructure that will be future liabilities, not assets. And we are not providing the necessary infrastructure to support a successful economy and equitable, enjoyable lifestyles. The failures are deep and systemic. I really don’t know how we fix this one.

  9.  Add monitoring to appliances

Our appliances and equipment are ‘dumb’, as well as inefficient. They must all have built-in real-time monitoring, benchmarking and feedback systems so faults are detected, operation is optimised and inefficient products are exposed.

 10.  Skills currently in short supply

We have very limited numbers of designers, tradespeople, professionals and customers who are competent to deliver energy-efficient low-carbon solutions. We have poor supply chains to deliver what is needed. Training capacity is limited and certification weak. We have few incentives and many disincentives regarding sensible decision-making and action.

Overall, it’s a miracle we have progressed as far as we have! Based on our track record, it will also be a miracle if humanity gets out of the hole we’ve dug without a lot of pain, misery and conflict. But we have the tools and some smart people. The problems are our leadership, short-sightedness, the misguided fear we will be worse off in a clean energy future, and lack of vision and practical focus.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Alan Pears, AM, is one of Australia’s best-regarded sustainability experts. He is a Senior Industry Fellow at RMIT University, advises a number of industry and community organisations and works as a consultant.
Renew Economy … 10 clean energy facts …

21/12 2016

Planet Ark’s - The 12 DOs of Christmas

Make a list and save this Christmas

It seems that Santa might have been on to something when he made a list and checked it twice.

With Australians spending over $1,079[i] at Christmas in recent years, some forward planning for meals and presents can lead to big savings.

On average, Australian households throw out 14% of weekly groceries worth about $1,100 each year[ii], and this is most pervasive at Christmas. Collectively that’s more than $10 billion of food every year, representing almost half of all municipal waste that goes to landfill.

Planning meals ahead of time and shopping accordingly, opening food as you need it and resisting the urge to over-cater will reduce this waste and the cost of festive celebrations. 

Planet Ark’s The 12 DOs of Christmas awareness campaign includes tips for reducing food waste and excess packaging, more environmentally friendly choices when buying gifts and recycling items like wrapping paper, foil, cartons, drink containers, plastic and cards as well as electronics and batteries.

At Christmas we spend more, eat more and party more than any other time of the year, so it’s no wonder that councils report dramatic waste spikes over the festive season and everyone’s credit card bills skyrocket, explains Ryan Collins, Recycling Programs Manager at Planet Ark. It’s easy to get carried away with the excitement and buy too much. When you throw food in the bin it’s pretty much like throwing money away. It also represents a waste of the water, fuel and resources it took to get the food from the paddock to your plate.

Meal planning, sticking to a list and buying presents in plenty of time avoids those last-minute panic buys, saving you money and lessening the environmental impact of Christmas.

This year we’re tipped to spend an average of $539[iii] on presents, up 28% on last year, many of which are unwanted. Taking someone shopping for their present, giving experiences, gift vouchers or donations are great ways of reducing the likelihood of a present sitting in a cupboard unused.

Electronic waste is also a big theme at Christmas as people receive new electronic items like mobiles, tablets and computers or and toys as gifts, which are often battery-heavy. As electronics include non-renewable and toxic materials, it’s important to make sure that old ones are re-homed or responsibly recycled.

Christmas is a great time of the year but it’s true that getting everyone together can result in an argument or two. Checking RecyclingNearYou or downloading the free recycling app is the best way to avoid arguments over what goes in the recycling! says Collins.

The interactive app draws data from the RecyclingNearYou site for every Australian council and allows users to easily search for information about how to recycle over 170 household items.

The RecycleSmart App and The 12 DOs of Christmas tips are available on recyclingnearyou.com.au, a comprehensive online household recycling directory on which the app is based. For more information call the Recycling Hotline on 1300 733 712.

The recyclingnearyou.com.au website and hotline are supported by sponsors Bingo Bins, MobileMuster, TechCollect, Tetra Pak and ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’.

  1. ASIC MoneySmart https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/managing-your-money/budgeting/spending/australias-christmas-spending
  2. [RaboDirect Financial Health Barometer 2016, Food and Farming Report
  3. Finder.com.au https://www.finder.com.au/press-release-nov-2016-record-xmas-aussies-to-spend-10-billion-on-gifts
View/download The 12 DOs of Christmas

22/12 2016

Eco-Business - News & Views | 21 Decrmber

Editor's Note

Jessica Cheam
Jessica Cheam
Editor and Founder

In our last newsletter of the year, we look back at the top stories in 2016 across the subjects that we cover, and bring you more interviews and exclusive news breaks.

This year, Eco-Business continued to deepen our coverage of sustainable development and responsible business issues in this region and expanded our offerings to include research, video production and bespoke events. We couldn't have done it successfully without you, our readers. Thank you for being part of this ever-growing community. We have some exciting plans and initiatives for the new year which we will be announcing soon. See you in 2017!  

Editor's Choice

The top 5 carbon and climate stories in 2016

Stop climate change. The Paris Agreement has set the direction for the way ahead, and the world's policies, technology and finance must now follow. Image: Joe BruskyRecord-breaking temperatures (again), scary weather, an action plan for aviation, Paris optimism and Trump trepidation: Here are the climate and carbon stories that made the headlines in 2016.
Read now …

Thai slave-crewed fishing boats shift seas to evade law

Representatives from the Command Center for Combating Illegal Fishing (CCCIF) inter-agency taskforce inspect a Thai trawler returning from the Saya de Malha Bank. Image: Greenpeace.Rogue fishing vessels are sneaking into remote waters to dodge the law, a Greenpeace investigation has found. One of the biggest seafood buyers, Nestlé, says it has now cut slave-caught fish out of its supply chain. Well, almost.
Read now …

Have yourself a merry low-carbon Christmas

Eco-friendly paper ornaments adorn a Christmas tree. Have a low-carbon festive season this year by learning how you can cut down on your waste and carbon emissions. Image: Patrick QGive the planet a present this Christmas and New Year period and cut down on those carbon emissions. Here are 5 ways to do that.
Read now …

G20 group issues first set of guidelines for climate risk reporting

The legal pressure on big companies to disclose the business impact of climate change in their financial reports is building. A G20 taskforce has published the first set of guidelines to show them how.
Read now …

News

All News

The top 5 cities stories in 2016

The smoggy skyline of Shanghai, China. Air pollution is a “silent killer”, which can increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory diseases such as asthma. Image: PixabayAir pollution, climate change, and above all, Donald Trump: City leaders had many battles to fight this year. But they forged on, with the help of global alliances and smart technology.
Read now …

The top 5 manufacturing stories in 2016

Apple's Liam Robot, an industry first for solutions to recycle smartphones in a cost effective and efficient manner. Image: AppleCompanies have a long way to go when it comes to achieving sustainable, ethical production practices and supply chains. But there were encouraging innovations this year, such as edible packaging and finally, a way to recycle smartphones.
Read now …

Indonesia’s forestry ministry takes Greenpeace to court over freedom of information request

Central Kalimantan, Borneo. Palm oil estate encroaches upon the forests in Borneo, Indonesia. Image: Glen HurowitzIn October, Greenpeace Indonesia won a yearlong suit demanding access to seven geospatial maps of Indonesia, including those showing oil, palm, timber and mining concessions. Indonesia's forestry ministry has moved to appeal the decision
Read now …

Opinion

All Opinion

The global road-building explosion is shattering nature

A new mapping study shows that roads have sliced and diced almost the entire land surface of Earth, leaving huge areas prone to illegal logging, mining and hunting, writes James Cook University's Bill Laurance.
Read now …

Overhauling logistics can make our cities more livable

Chongqing is a city with cutting-edge infrastructure, but also suffers debilitating pollution. ADB transport expert Sharad Saxena shares how cities can solve traffic and pollution problem through better logistics infrastructure.
Read now …

Eco-Business … Newsletter …

18/12 2016

The Places You Love Alliance - Report

Places You Love conducted a landmark survey of Australia’s natural systems – our rivers, energy, climate, food, forests, waste and pollution, land management, oceans and reefs.This report details some of what they discovered.

Places You Love … View/download report …

17/12 2016

Have your say on clean air in NSW

A great opportunity to fight for clean air

The New South Wales Government is seeking community input on options for controlling air pollution.

Have your say! We've set up a submission form for you with what we think are the key issues and solutions. Fill it out and tell the NSW EPA what you think.

How bad is air pollution in NSW? Each year, in the Greater Sydney region alone, air pollution causes:

  • 520 premature deaths
  • 6300 cumulative years of life lost
  • 1180 hospital admissions
  • an estimated $6.4 billion in health costs.

And it’s expected to get worse. 

Thank you for helping to make our air cleaner for all! 

Nicola Rivers
 Director of Advocacy and Research, Environmental Justice Australia

Dr James Whelan
 Researcher, Environmental Justice Australia

Make a submission now …

17/12 2016

What We've Learnt This Year - Sustainability

SUSTAINABILITY

The wonders of statistics - a typical person is more than five times as likely to die in an extinction event as in a car crash. Welcome to the Anthropocene.

Tormod V Burkey: Can We Save The World?
http://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/can-we-save-world/
George Monbiot: The 13 impossible crises that humanity now faces.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-7362089446090203960
Professor Stephen Hawking says humanity has less than 1000 years left until extinction
http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/space/professor-stephen-hawking-says-humanity-has-less-than-1000-years-left-until-extinction/news-story/94cee9901615e1f6501fa368220ac054
Sustainability practitioner, Guy Lane, talks about his new non-theistic belief system, Eearth, whose central belief is that the biosphere is sacred..
https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/eearth--a-new-belief-for-sustainability,9527
20 big questions about the future of humanity.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-6458064555473421235
Can humanity survive the 21st century?
http://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/humanity-survive-c21/
Disasters have cost world $92b this year,
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-18/disasters-have-cost-world-92b-so-far-this-year/7764750
Natural Disasters Since 1900 - Over 8 Million Deaths, 7 Trillion US Dollars
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160418092043.htm
What the world’s population will look like in 2050: By the numbers.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-1241197897698174674
Charting environmental conflict - the atlas of environmental justice.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-3752169746675911756
Human consumption of Earth's natural resources has tripled in 40 years.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-5364447484801523634
Kevin Bales: How modern slavery is destroying the environment.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/832800435233587385
New research indicates that crime committed in 2011 in England and Wales gave rise to more than 4 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/w-eet062216.php
Last year was the deadliest ever for the world’s environmental activists.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/3183515088992545161
John H Knox et al: Protecting those who defend the environment is a matter of human rights.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/3183515088992534058
Environmental crimes increasing according to the UN.
http://www.enn.com/wildlife/article/49619
Craig Cormick: Why emotions blind us to science and facts
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/why-emotions-blind-us-to-science-and-facts-20160617-gpldx6.html
A typical person is more than five times as likely to die in an extinction event as in a car crash - report.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/5246333912304622172
Doug Weir: Universalizing environmental and human rights.
http://newint.org/blog/2016/03/03/universalizing-environmental-and-human-rights/
Top trends conservationists should be paying attention to  but aren’t.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-3192370230874981655
Myth: Growth is the only way.
http://newint.org/features/2015/12/01/alternatives-to-growth/
Human impact has pushed Earth into the Anthropocene, scientists say.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/07/human-impact-has-pushed-earth-into-the-anthropocene-scientists-say
Livestock farming is responsible for 18 percent of the world's greenhouse gases, and ruminants such as cattle, sheep and goats generate 35 percent of one of these gases - methane.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160502161108.htm
Alex de Waal: Is the era of great famines over?
Despite a record drought in Ethiopia, people aren't dying of starvation  proof that famine inherently is a political issue.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/5246333912304625664
2016 Environmental Performance Index rates world's top and worst performers.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-01/ysof-2ep012516.php
Less than 1% of the nuclear weapons in the world today could cause a nuclear famine with the potential to put two billion people at risk of starvation.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/28/banning-nuclear-weapons-is-crucial-for-global-health
Politics, Not Ignorance, May Pollute Support for Pro-Science Solutions.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160601132310.htm
To deal with climate change we need a new financial system.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/2216504303922670595
Finance for deep-rooted prosperity is coming.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/oct/17/finance-for-deep-rooted-prosperity-is-coming
Economic growth doesn't have to wreck the planet.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/2506646131511034591
Andrew Simms: It's the economy that needs to be integrated into the environment - not the other way around.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/14/putting-a-price-on-nature-is-wrong
How green is your super?
http://www.smh.com.au/money/super-and-funds/australian-super-fund-comes-second-in-global-green-rankings-20160429-gohxfo.html
Eliminating future investments in tar sands, deepsea drilling and other high-carbon, high-risk projects would create more value for shareholders, analysis says.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-2656422006675952855
Where is environmental giving headed? Here's a (mostly) hopeful look.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-3001660755380204341

17/12 2016

INFRASTRUCTURE

Anthology of Daily Links on Infrastructure.

In 1800, only 3 percent of the world's population lived in urban areas. By 1900, almost 14 percent were urbanites, although only 12 cities had 1 million or more inhabitants. In 1950, 30 percent of the world's population resided in urban centers. By 2014, this number had grown to over 50 percent and is expected to be around 66 percent in 2050. All these people need housing, food, water, transport, energy, communications and sewerage. At the current growth of population it is expected that Australia will need to create the equivalent of a city the size of Melbourne every decade.

Global spending on infrastructure will total $90 trillion in the next 15 years and is the key to greener economic growth - study
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/1335253505058018631
Where to put the next billion people.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-718697387869779694
Projected 10 billion world population drives moderate-to-high risk worries
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-03/uos-p1b030316.php
A new report rated countries on ‘sustainable development.’ The US did horribly.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-3752169746675909174
Built-up areas on the Earth have increased by 2.5 times since 1975. And yet, today 7.3 billion people live and work in only 7.6% of the global land mass.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161018132405.htm
By 2050, an expected 2.5 billion people around the world will be moving to cities. Can cities around the world correct course?
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/2364695645905418692
Shrinking cities: the rise and fall of global urban populations
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2016/nov/02/global-population-decline-cities-mapped
Big cities win out over smaller communities when it comes to healthy, happy residents, and it's largely because of sidewalks, parks and good public transport, according to a new survey.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/1335253505058023083
The world's most fragile cities, mapped.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-718697387869784593
What really makes cities liveable?
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18541
Brendan Barrett: The ethical city - an idea whose time has come
http://theconversation.com/the-ethical-city-an-idea-whose-time-has-come-53385
We have one generation to save our cities, global engineering firm warns.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/4387049902894504069
6,000 years of people moving to cities - video
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/3183515088992545189
Judith Rodin: What can 100 cities teach us about the future of this vulnerable world?
http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/jun/06/100-resilient-cities-future-vulnerable-world-judith-rodin
How cities can lead the way toward a low-carbon future - graphic
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-830704989550334576
Why your office is the cause of - and the solution to - climate change.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-8878616388554073644
Is it time to rethink recycling?
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/905943641272904410
How can we reduce concrete’s hefty carbon footprint?
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/3131830505619130915
Why planting more trees is one of the smartest things a city can do.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-7362089446090202256
Mechanisms on Why 'Green' Helps in Urban Life
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160802133747.htm
Finding connections to nature in cities is key to healthy urban living
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/uow-fct060316.php
The Size of City Parks Can Predict Residents' Well-Being.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160418145627.htm
Wade Graham: Are we greening our cities, or just greenwashing them?
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-633648703360779967
Greener Cities Become More Unjust.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160720094604.htm
Green roofs take root around the world.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/2364695645905423298
The real value of urban farming.
(Hint: It's not always the food.)
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-2656422006675945470
The coming revolution in transport.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/1426159339294682584
What factors are influencing electric vehicle purchases in China?
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-11/aiop-wfa111016.php
Electric car sales set to pass 2 million landmark globally by end of 2016.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/1335253505058024363
The rapid growth of electric cars worldwide, in four charts
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/8962104283772281017
Electric cars 'will be cheaper than conventional vehicles by 2022'.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/25/electric-cars-will-be-cheaper-than-conventional-vehicles-by-2022
How driverless cars could change our whole future.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/25/uber-self-driving-cars-pittsburgh-how-driverless-cars-could-change-our-future-lyft-john-zimmer
Rebecca Solnit: We don't need self-driving cars  we need to ditch our vehicles entirely.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/06/self-driving-cars-public-transportation
Rocky Mountain Institute researchers think we’re nearing ‘peak car’  and the consequences could be dramatic.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-718697387869785255
Even cities that can't go car-free should have to.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-951636293557494403
Lots to lose: how cities around the world are eliminating car parks.
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/sep/27/cities-eliminating-car-parks-parking
Shifting to a low-carbon transport system would have save the world $US330bn in oil by 2030.
http://www.afr.com/business/energy/emissions-action-to-cut-global-fuel-bill-20160419-go9v27
50 reasons why everyone should want more walkable streets.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/2364695645905415422
Lack of safe walking, cycling infrastructure leading to millions of deaths: UN.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/2364695645905415422
Can cyclists travel happily with pedestrians?
https://blogs.crikey.com.au/theurbanist/2016/07/13/53499/
Which cropping system is best for the environment?
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-11/au-wcs112316.php
Report reveals a big dependence on freshwater fish for global food security
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-10/uow-rra101916.php
Why industrial farms are good for the environment.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-718697387869783347
Can we feed 10 billion people on organic farming alone?
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/7863159006185367724
Organic agriculture key to feeding the world sustainably.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-02/wsu-oak020116.php
A switch to ecological farming will benefit health and environment, says report.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/02/a-switch-to-ecological-farming-will-benefit-health-and-environment-report
What you need to know about the world's water wars.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-3752169746675915058
We’re running out of water, and the world’s powers are very worried.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/3820096801947574990
By 2050 Asia at high risk of severe water shortages - MIT study.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/3820096801947578697
Clean water and toilets is something many of us take for granted - but a new report shows as many as 2.3 billion people across the world are going without.
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/11/18/finding-toilet-cities-around-world-no-easy-task
Two-thirds of the world faces severe water shortages.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/905943641272906802
Water 'haves' and 'have nots': Why water scarcity is a human rights issue.
http://www.theage.com.au/comment/water-haves-and-have-nots-why-water-scarcity-is-a-human-rights-issue-20161012-gs0x0t.html
We have to recycle water on a massive scale  this is how we can.
https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23130864-800-we-have-to-recycle-water-on-a-massive-scale-this-is-how-we-can/
Where are the world’s most water-stressed cities?
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/7215800581468107015
Clean Energy Could Stress Global Water Resources.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160304092012.htm
International charity Water Aid says more than one-tenth of the 650 million people worldwide without access to clean water live in India.
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/03/22/76-million-indians-lack-clean-water
The world's poorest pay largest percentage of income for water, study says..
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/2243729126751407934
What will your home look like in 2025?
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-19/your-home-in-2025:-smarter,-connected-and-more-climate-friendly/7751794?section=environment
Fifty-two per cent of Australians think it is too expensive to transition to a sustainable home. Is it?
http://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/more-than-half-of-australians-fear-the-cost-of-converting-to-a-sustainable-home-20160719-gq926t.html
An effort to rethink air conditioning could have an outsized global warming impact.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/1335253505058024389

05/12 2016

GLOBAL WARMING

Anthology of Daily Links on Global Warming.

The consensus appears to be that it will be very unlikely to impossible that we will be able to restrain global warming to 2 degrees. Current action, even without Trump, is a long way from what is required.

Mark Silk: Global warming: where the arc of the moral universe stops
http://religionnews.com/2016/11/21/global-warming-where-the-arc-of-the-moral-universe-stops/
150 years of global warming in a minute-long symphony - video
https://www.theguardian.com/global/video/2016/nov/18/150-years-global-warming-minute-long-symphony-video
Worldwide emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide have flattened out, research shows
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-14/co2-emissions-fall,-research-shows,-raising-climate-change-hopes/8023218
Last five years were hottest on record: UN
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/11/09/last-five-years-were-hottest-record-un
Increased growth of plants fertilised by higher CO2 levels is only partly offsetting emissions and will not halt dangerous warming
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/11/09/last-five-years-were-hottest-record-un
Climate change may be escalating so fast it could be 'game over', scientists warn.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/2216504303922673047
Top climate scientists say the earth is on track to surpass the 2C threshold for dangerous global warming by 2050.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/planet-hurtling-towards-warming-threshold/news-story/997271844ec02ad9a7c0e64315917043
Planet at its hottest in 115,000 years thanks to climate change, experts say
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/03/global-temperature-climate-change-highest-115000-years
Globally Averaged CO2 Levels Reach 400 parts per million in 2015
http://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/globally-averaged-co2-levels-reach-400-parts-million-2015
Bill McKibben: Recalculating the climate math.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-718697387869784113
New projections suggest the world could warm 3-7 degrees over coming centuries.
https://theconversation.com/current-emissions-could-already-warm-world-to-dangerous-levels-study-66040
The World Passes 400 PPM Threshold. Permanently
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/world-passes-400-ppm-threshold-permanently-20738
Temperatures, sea levels and carbon dioxide all hit milestones amid extreme weather in 2015, major international ‘state of the climate’ report finds
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/02/environment-climate-change-records-broken-international-report
See Earth’s temperature spiral toward 2C rise - graphic
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/10/see-earths-temperature-spiral-toward-2c-rise-graphic
New data on the variability of the Earth's reflectance over the last 16 years
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/idad-ndo051816.php
Far from turning a corner, global CO2 emissions still accelerating.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-3001660755380204411
Why Some Climate Processes Are More Effective at Warming Earth
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160525084536.htm
John Church and Peter Clark: What does the science really say about sea-level rise?
http://theconversation.com/what-does-the-science-really-say-about-sea-level-rise-56807
Global warming may be far worse than thought, cloud analysis suggests
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/07/clouds-climate-change-analysis-liquid-ice-global-warming
Did global warming really slow down? Have a large injection of nuance and a side-order of abuse.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-633648703360782367
Earth saw 'explosive' annual growth in carbon dioxide in 2015
http://mashable.com/2016/03/10/carbon-dioxide-increased-by-record-amount-in-2015/#AdzDLiZ9APq5
This mind-boggling study shows just how massive sea level rise really is.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-748063421523478520
Climate warming accelerating carbon loss from thawing Arctic soils, Dartmouth study finds
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-03/dc-cwa031616.php
Climate Change Redistributes Global Water Resources
http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/49426
Katrin Meissner and Kaitlin Alexander: Mass extinctions and climate change - why the speed of rising greenhouse gases matters
http://theconversation.com/mass-extinctions-and-climate-change-why-the-speed-of-rising-greenhouse-gases-matters-56675
No climate conspiracy - NOAA temperature adjustments bring data closer to pristine
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/feb/08/no-climate-conspiracy-noaa-temperature-adjustments-bring-data-closer-to-pristine
Sea level rise in 20th century was fastest in 3,000 years, Rutgers-led study finds
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-02/ru-slr021816.php
Earth is warming 50x faster than when it comes out of an ice age.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-5209117700639669783
Fossil fuel burning 'postponing next ice age
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/13/fossil-fuel-burning-postponing-next-ice-age
2015 temps 1C above pre-industrial levels
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/01/26/2015-temps-1c-above-pre-industrial-levels

14/12 2016

Eco-Business - News & Views | 14 Decrmber

Editor's Choice

Landmark human rights case against world’s biggest fossil fuel firms pushes on

Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) devastation. Many houses were wiped out by container vans that were pushed by the typhoon from a nearby port in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines. Image: Asian Development Bank,In what could be the most contentious legal case in the history of climate action, the Philippines Commission on Human Rights is pressing on with legal proceedings against Big Oil for alleged human rights abuses.
Read now …

Trump's choice on climate change

Donald Trump speaks at a pre-election campaign rally in Iowa, in December 2015. Image: Matt A.J.Climate change is a "threat multiplier" that intensifies security risks. By denying it is real, Donald Trump will fail to fulfill his presidential duty to the American people, says American Security Project head Stephen Cheney.
Read now …

5 ways Australia can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

John Thwaites, professor, Monash University, speaks at the Sustainable Development Goals Australia 2016 conference in Sydney. Image: Eco-BusinessAustralia places 20th on a global index that ranks country progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. It has a duty to lead the region as it works to achieve the SDGs, experts concluded at a recent conference in Sydney.
Read now …

A new collaborative vision to solve Asia’s water woes

About 630 million people in Asia do not have access to water. Newly launched, Singapore-based incubator the Asia Public-Private Partnerships Hub believes innovative multi-sector partnerships can solve this.
Read now …

News

All News

Trump to pick Exxon CEO as secretary of state

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Image: William MunozThe 64-year-old CEO of the Texas-based oil company has no government experience, but some Trump advisers said they saw a “mold-breaking pick who would bring an executive's experience to the diplomatic role” in Tillerson.
Read now …

Climate deniers face scientific pushback

Prominent climate change denier Lord Monckton was assailed by climate activists at COP 15 in Copenhagen Denmark, 2009. Image: Mat McDermottA British scientist who has researched ocean acidification says the scientific community should take the time needed to rebut climate deniers.
Read now …

Four cities announce landmark ban on diesel vehicles

An electric Monmartrobus in Paris. Image: David MckelveyAustralia places 20th on a global index that ranks country progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. It has a duty to lead the region as it works to achieve the SDGs, experts concluded at a recent conference in Sydney.
Read now …

Opinion

All Opinion

For China, climate change is no hoax – it's a business and political opportunity

China's determination to take action on climate change is more fact than fiction, and it stands to gain politically and economically. University of Southern California's Matthew Kahn explains why.
Read now …

Methane from food production might be the next wildcard in climate change

Growing concentrations of methane in the atmosphere threaten to derail progress against climate change even as carbon emissions in the world level off. Scientists explain why we need to pay attention to the global methane budget.
Read now …

Eco-Business … Newsletter …

13/12 2016

Citizens' Science

Building Australia Through Citizen Science

Citizen science enables members of the public an opportunity to work closely with scientists on an important scientific project that aims to benefit the wider community. Many Australians cherish their environment, as we are privileged to still have a large exposure to our natural landscape, in most places. Currently, there are approximately130,000 Australians that are active in over 90 citizen science projects1, predominantly in environmental science fields. Many kinds of organisations are also involved, including universities, all levels of government, schools, industry groups, community groups and museums1.

The diverse projects undertaken, produce many observational records that would otherwise be unachievable by a single scientist1. This is crucial in a fast-paced changing climate, especially where development almost springs up overnight. As an example, over 500 people searched for koalas on one day in South Australia, recording 1,500 sightings as part of The Great Koala Count1. Researchers then developed a model of koala distributions from the spatial data collected1.

Depending on the project, the collaborative work undertaken will require different relationships between the scientists and community members. There are three recognised forms of partnerships which include:

  • Contributory - citizens collect or process data for scientists
  • Collaborative - citizens engage in work beyond data collection or processing, such as project design, analysis or communication
  • Co-created - citizens and scientists work together in all aspects of the scientific process1.

There are many benefits of this work, including the vital contribution to the growth of Australia, by the protection of its unique fauna and flora and tangible advantages are gained for the research community, individuals, and society1. Citizen science is a way to further increase ones’ exposure to the natural world, and through this, manifests a deeper appreciation and sense of belonging to something greater. When the Australian Conservation Foundation asked readers to participate in a survey, inquiring whether they would rather be a part of - a movement, a team, a network or a community, an overwhelming response indicated that participants would rather be a part of a community2.

Citizen science aids to provide new information for government decision-making, through highlighting issues such as; pest and disease outbreaks, pollution breaches or the discovery of new species3. It also creates a greater understanding of science principles, increases education which leads to the development of new skills, and helps the research community gain an increased scale of data collection and access to resources such as private land3.

We are entering a phase of history where every single human being should be acknowledging how they impact the Earth, and be aware of our role as planetary stewards. Individuals alone cannot solve all our pollution and extinction crisis2, however when we work together as mobilised and organised community, we can create the change we wish to see in the world.

For further information please visit: http://www.citizenscience.org.au

References

  1. Pecl, G., Gillies, C., Sbrocchi, C., Roetman, P., (2015), Building Australia Through Citizen Science, Occasional Paper Series, Issue 11, Office of Chief Scientist, Australian Government.
  2. Australian Conservation Society, (2016), Changing the Story: The power of words, Habitat, Vol. 44, No. 2.
  3. Executive Director, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, (2015), From mapping fish to counting koalas Australians are becoming passionate citizen scientists, University of Tasmania, Australia, (accessed online 07-12-2016, http://www.imas.utas.edu.au/news/news-items/from-mapping-fish-to-counting-koalas-australians-are-becoming-passionate-citizen-scientists).

06/12 2016

Call the PM about stopping the Carmichael Mine

Adani has been given provisional approval for $1 billion of taxpayers’ money to build a rail line from their controversial Carmichael coal mine to Abbot Point Port on the Reef coast. To stop it from becoming a reality, we have to show the Prime Minister we don’t want it. Will you give him a call and tell him what you think?


06/12 2016

CLIMATE CHANGE

Anthology of Daily Links on the causes of climate change from the LIVE (Locals Into Victoria’s Environment) website.

While the burning of fossil fuels remains a crucial cause of climate change, other contributors identified this year include reservoirs, forest fires, deforestation, crime reduction, livestock emissions, uneaten food, urban soils, small ponds and mushrooms.

Globally, reservoirs are responsible for about 1.3 percent of the world’s man-made greenhouse gas emissions each year.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-718697387869778705
Research suggests that raging peat fires in Indonesia could substantially worsen global warming in this century.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/1335253505058015413
Fossil fuel industry's methane emissions are up to 60% greater than previously estimated
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/05/fossil-fuel-industrys-methane-emissions-far-higher-than-thought
Just 90 companies are accountable for more than 60 percent of greenhouse gases.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/2364695645905426494
The world has lost 10% of its wilderness areas in the past 20 years and, with it, vast stores of carbon.
http://theconversation.com/the-worlds-carbon-stores-are-going-up-in-smoke-with-vanishing-wilderness-65345
The oil and gas we have already tapped will take us past 1.5 °C
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2106758-the-oil-and-gas-we-have-already-tapped-will-take-us-past-1-5c/
How lowering crime could contribute to global warming.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-5364447484801517856
Climate warming 'started about 180 years ago' near the beginning of the Industrial Revolution
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-25/climate-warming-'started-about-180-years-ago'/7773270
NASA: Earth is warming at a pace 'unprecedented in 1,000 years'
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/30/nasa-climate-change-warning-earth-temperature-warming
Carbon emissions from Indonesia forest fires hit new high
http://www.enn.com/wildlife/article/49723
Geoff Russell: Cattle And Coal Are The Keys To The Climate
Those worried about the impact of population growth on the environment should look at what’s on their plate first
https://newmatilda.com/2016/07/08/cattle-and-coal-are-the-keys-to-the-climate/
Climate models are accurately predicting ocean and global warming
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/jul/27/climate-models-are-accurately-predicting-ocean-and-global-warming
The temperature spiral has an update. It’s not pretty.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-3001660755380195430
What would a global warming increase of 1.5 degrees be like?
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/515501742094048283
Why we’re still so incredibly confused about methane’s role in global warming.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/5246333912304623868
World could warm by massive 10C if all fossil fuels are burned
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/23/world-could-warm-by-massive-10c-if-all-fossil-fuels-are-burned
Deep, old water explains why Antarctic Ocean hasn't warmed
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uow-dow052616.php
Aimée Slangen and John Church: Burning fossil fuels is responsible for most sea-level rise since 1970
http://theconversation.com/burning-fossil-fuels-is-responsible-for-most-sea-level-rise-since-1970-57286
Vivien Cumming: This is how far seas could rise thanks to climate change.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/3820096801947575006
Study finds humans have caused all the global warming since 1950.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-8654598417117850527
Andrew King and Mitchell Black: We traced the human fingerprint on record-breaking temperatures back to the 1930s
http://theconversation.com/we-traced-the-human-fingerprint-on-record-breaking-temperatures-back-to-the-1930s-55438
Dangerous global warming will happen sooner than thought, study finds.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/5497482671713808425
Plants' response to heatwaves will make events 3-5 degrees hotter
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/heatwave-surprise-plants-response-will-make-events-more-intense-than-thought-20160321-gnnjna.html
The enormous carbon footprint of food that we never even eat.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/5863920798415473078
Small ponds produce an outsized share of greenhouse gases
Tiny ponds play a disproportionately large role in global greenhouse gas emissions from inland waters, according to a new study by Yale's School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-02/yu-spp020116.php
How Do Mushrooms Contribute to Global Warming?
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160129090704.htm
Urban soils release surprising amounts of carbon dioxide
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-02/bu-usr022316.php
Global mercury emissions down 30 percent as coal use drops.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-1177986081141587128

05/12 2016

GLOBAL WARMING

Anthology of Daily Links on Global Warming.

The consensus appears to be that it will be very unlikely to impossible that we will be able to restrain global warming to 2 degrees. Current action, even without Trump, is a long way from what is required.

Mark Silk: Global warming: where the arc of the moral universe stops
http://religionnews.com/2016/11/21/global-warming-where-the-arc-of-the-moral-universe-stops/
150 years of global warming in a minute-long symphony - video
https://www.theguardian.com/global/video/2016/nov/18/150-years-global-warming-minute-long-symphony-video
Worldwide emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide have flattened out, research shows
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-14/co2-emissions-fall,-research-shows,-raising-climate-change-hopes/8023218
Last five years were hottest on record: UN
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/11/09/last-five-years-were-hottest-record-un
Increased growth of plants fertilised by higher CO2 levels is only partly offsetting emissions and will not halt dangerous warming
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/11/09/last-five-years-were-hottest-record-un
Climate change may be escalating so fast it could be 'game over', scientists warn.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/2216504303922673047
Top climate scientists say the earth is on track to surpass the 2C threshold for dangerous global warming by 2050.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/planet-hurtling-towards-warming-threshold/news-story/997271844ec02ad9a7c0e64315917043
Planet at its hottest in 115,000 years thanks to climate change, experts say
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/03/global-temperature-climate-change-highest-115000-years
Globally Averaged CO2 Levels Reach 400 parts per million in 2015
http://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/globally-averaged-co2-levels-reach-400-parts-million-2015
Bill McKibben: Recalculating the climate math.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-718697387869784113
New projections suggest the world could warm 3-7 degrees over coming centuries.
https://theconversation.com/current-emissions-could-already-warm-world-to-dangerous-levels-study-66040
The World Passes 400 PPM Threshold. Permanently
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/world-passes-400-ppm-threshold-permanently-20738
Temperatures, sea levels and carbon dioxide all hit milestones amid extreme weather in 2015, major international ‘state of the climate’ report finds
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/02/environment-climate-change-records-broken-international-report
See Earth’s temperature spiral toward 2C rise - graphic
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/10/see-earths-temperature-spiral-toward-2c-rise-graphic
New data on the variability of the Earth's reflectance over the last 16 years
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/idad-ndo051816.php
Far from turning a corner, global CO2 emissions still accelerating.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-3001660755380204411
Why Some Climate Processes Are More Effective at Warming Earth
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160525084536.htm
John Church and Peter Clark: What does the science really say about sea-level rise?
http://theconversation.com/what-does-the-science-really-say-about-sea-level-rise-56807
Global warming may be far worse than thought, cloud analysis suggests
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/07/clouds-climate-change-analysis-liquid-ice-global-warming
Did global warming really slow down? Have a large injection of nuance and a side-order of abuse.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-633648703360782367
Earth saw 'explosive' annual growth in carbon dioxide in 2015
http://mashable.com/2016/03/10/carbon-dioxide-increased-by-record-amount-in-2015/#AdzDLiZ9APq5
This mind-boggling study shows just how massive sea level rise really is.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-748063421523478520
Climate warming accelerating carbon loss from thawing Arctic soils, Dartmouth study finds
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-03/dc-cwa031616.php
Climate Change Redistributes Global Water Resources
http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/49426
Katrin Meissner and Kaitlin Alexander: Mass extinctions and climate change - why the speed of rising greenhouse gases matters
http://theconversation.com/mass-extinctions-and-climate-change-why-the-speed-of-rising-greenhouse-gases-matters-56675
No climate conspiracy - NOAA temperature adjustments bring data closer to pristine
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/feb/08/no-climate-conspiracy-noaa-temperature-adjustments-bring-data-closer-to-pristine
Sea level rise in 20th century was fastest in 3,000 years, Rutgers-led study finds
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-02/ru-slr021816.php
Earth is warming 50x faster than when it comes out of an ice age.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/-5209117700639669783
Fossil fuel burning 'postponing next ice age
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/13/fossil-fuel-burning-postponing-next-ice-age
2015 temps 1C above pre-industrial levels
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/01/26/2015-temps-1c-above-pre-industrial-levels

06/12 2016

HOPE - National Membership Drive

HOPE National Membership Drive graphic

30/11 2016

Wanted – Old Corflute Signs

Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc logo
Householders' Options to Protect the Environment Inc.
PO Box 6118 - Clifford Gardens, Toowoomba QLD 4350
(22 Vacy Street, Toowoomba QLD 4350)
Ph: 07 4639 2135;
Email: office@hopeaustralia.org.au
ABN 48 036 173 161
Think Globally. Act Locally!

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. is seeking the community’s support through the provision of old corflute signs that can be reused for their 2017 programs of events, projects and other activities..

So, if you have old promotional, advertising, event or election signs that you no longer need, please consider donating them to HOPE.

Please drop off the unwanted corflute signs to the HOPE office situated at 22 Vacy St, Newtown, Toowoomba.


17/11 2016

We need you | The planet needs you

Householders' Options to Protect the Environment Inc.
PO Box 6118 - Clifford Gardens, Toowoomba QLD 4350
(22 Vacy Street, Toowoomba QLD 4350)
Ph: 07 4639 2135;
Email: office@hopeaustralia.org.au
ABN 48 036 173 161
Think Globally. Act Locally!
Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc logo

HOPE’s Volunteer Requirements

More active volunteers – both local and remote (i.e. online) – are required to help us maintain our high levels of activity.

We are currently looking for people to assist with admin tasks; internet research and article writing; and media and marketing activities.

We are also seeking expert comment from academics and the like to assist in critiquing government and industry reports.

On-ground helpers are also required to assist with staffing information displays, and helping out at events.

Please contact the office on 07 4639 2135 or email office@hopeaustralia.org.au to offer your assistance.

Note: A fair portion of the above work would ideally be done by locals (i.e. in the Toowoomba area) because the HOPE office is in Toowoomba. However, quite a bit of the literature review, research, media and publications activity can be done via email. If you have a little bit of time to help us in any way, then contact the HOPE office on email office@hopeaustralia.org.au or phone (07) 4639 2135. Frank Ondrus, President - HOPE Inc.

Frank Ondrus, President - HOPE Inc., ph 07 4639 2135



14/11 2016

Qld - Links to Helpful Information

  1. Water efficient products - www.waterrating.gov.au
  2. Energy efficient products - www.energyrating.gov.au
  3. Tips for being water wise - www.qld.gov.au/environment/water/use
  4. Purchasing solar products - www.qld.gov.au/law/your-rights/consumer-rights-complaints-and-scams/buying-products-and-services/buying-products/buying-solar-products
  5. Technology certificates for small-scale renewable energy systems - www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/RET/Scheme-participants-and-industry/Agents-and-installers/Small-scale-technology-certificates
  6. Planet Ark information for recycling of white goods and other replaced items - recyclingnearyou.com.au
  7. Adapting to climate change - www.qld.gov.au/environment/climate/adapting
  8. Climate resilience for landscapes, ecosystems and biodiversity - www.nccarf.edu.au
  9. Recovery/conservation plans - www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/species-recovery/index.html
  10. WetlandInfo - wetlandinfo.ehp.qld.gov.au/wetlands
  11. Weeds - www.daf.qld.gov.au/plants/weeds-pest-animals-ants/weeds
  12. Threatened species - www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/threatened-species/index.html
  13. Regional NRM plans - www.nrm.gov.au/regional/regional-nrm-organisations

10/11 2016

EnviroSource | Tools and resources helping your work

Wetland Summary

Moreton Bay Ramsar site
Photo by EHP

A comprehensive tool for exploring wetland information, wildlife statistics and species lists according to different spatial divisions across Queensland. Read more …

Wonderful wetlands

Wetlands are important for our environment, economy and our livelihoods. They have many functions from reducing floods to producing clean water and food for humans, industry and agriculture. They provide important habitat for many animals and plants. Wetlands are the great ‘connectors’ across our landscape providing places for our enjoyment and relaxation. Regardless of whether you are doing a school or uni assignment, managing a wetland or undertaking research, you will find a wealth of information on WetlandInfo. Read more …

Citizen Science Project Finder

"Since 2010 the Atlas of Living Australia has been working with more than 100 organisations across Australia, providing support to their citizen science activities. Through this we have gained a deep understanding of the citizen science landscape across all biodiversity-related domains and the issues which confront people organising projects, the public wanting to participate in projects, and scientists needing data in their research.

With the BioCollect tool the ALA is aiming to address many of the issues which can be resolved, or at least reduced, with technology. Whilst BioCollect as a product is still developing and is still short of our vision for it, we believe that this tool fills a very significant gap in capability to support the growing needs of both scientists wanting to engage the public in their research and the public wanting to participate in important scientific work, including collecting their own observation data." Read more …

Design Your Creek Week

Ipswich City Council is embarking on an innovative new project which invites the community to help return life to a local creek. Design Your Creek Week runs from 11-16 Nov 2016. Read more …

EnviroSource … EnviroSource Weekly Wrap …

09/11 2016

Invitation: Climate Change and Health Policy Webinar

'Global and National Climate and Health Policy: The Role of Health Organisations and Health Professionals' webinar registration on Health Care Without Harm site (opens in external window)

As the global climate change negotiations resume in Marrakech, Morocco, please join us for a free webinar on Climate Change and Health Policy.

The webinar Global and National Climate and Health Policy: The Role of Health Organisations and Health Professionals will discuss the findings of a Global Climate Change and Health Policy Survey Report released by the World Federation of Public Health Associations in 2015 and hear from experts about:

  • The role of public health and medical associations in engaging in advocacy on climate change and health.
  • The implications of the findings of this report - and what more needs to be done by nations to address the health impacts of climate change?
  • A communications perspective on climate and health policy - the importance of the health ‘story’ in global and national climate policy discussions.

When: (Please check your time zone)

8:00 AM 15th November -  Sydney (AEDT)
10:00 PM 14th November - Berlin (Central Europe Time)
3:00 PM 14th November - Chicago (US Central Time)
5:00 AM 15th November - Beijing, Manila, Singapore, Taipei
Register Now!

Speakers:

  • Dr Nick Watts is Executive Director - The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change. Director of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change.
  • Dr Anumitra Chand is the lead author of the WFPHA’s Global Climate Change and Health Policy Survey Report. Working as an Environment Planning Strategies Officer for Gosford City Council.
  • Professor Peter Orris is Professor and Chief of Occupational Medicine at University of Illinois at Chicago and Chair of the Environmental Working Group of WFPHA.
  • Christian Terieteis Network Director, Global Strategic Communications Council for the European Climate Foundation.
  • Fiona Armstrong (Faciitator) - Founder and Executive Director of the Climate and Health Alliance, Project Coordinator, WFPHA's Global Climate Change and Health Policy Report.

Check out the Report, Summary Matrix Results and Complete the Survey below!

Discussion Paper: Towards a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia - cover

In response to the 2015 global report, the Climate and Health Alliance in Australia has launched a national campaign for a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being.

Download the Discussion Paper: Towards a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia here!


09/11 2016

CoP22 Interfaith Climate Statement

Greetings on the eve of CoP22 in Marrakesh to you all,

At this historic moment, as the Paris Agreement enters into force,  an unprecedented global consensus has produced a universal framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to build greater resilience to climate impacts. We are profoundly grateful for the leadership that produced this agreement. We are also mindful of the challenges and the complexity that lies ahead.

The CoP22 Interfaith Climate Statement is a joint collaboration of over 30 faith based organisations globally, including Catholic Earthcare Australia and the Global Catholic Climate Movement. It emphasises that across all faiths we share a moral obligation not to harm others, to be fair and to care for the vulnerable in Creation.

Our continued use of fossil fuels and other extractive industries, while knowing the damage they cause, is ethically untenable. We must deliberately turn away from investing in fossil fuels and stand together, to call for a collective shift by sovereign wealth funds and public sector pension funds from fossil fuels  towards climate solutions. This will send a necessary and transformative signal to public and private borrowers and investors worldwide and will help end the fossil fuel era. 

We must commit to new ways of living that honour the dynamic relationships between all forms of life to deepen awareness and the spiritual dimension of our lives. We appeal to all people living today to draw on courage, hope, wisdom and spiritual reflection to enable our young and future generations to inherit a more caring and sustainable world. This is the time to step forward and act as trustees for Mother Earth. Together, by supporting each others progress we can go further and faster.

We invite you to sign the Interfaith Climate Statement here.

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has sent a message to the Marrakesh Climate talks (the UNFCCC COP22 Session Marrakech, Morocco, November 7-18, 2016). His beautiful message can be found here.

Pope Francis has proposed six new beatitudes for the modern era:

  • Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others, and forgive them from their heart;
  • Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized, and show them their closeness;
  • Blessed are those who see God in every person, and strive to make others also discover him;
  • Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home;
  • Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others;
  • Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.

This month, Catholic Earthcare Australia is partnering with the Columbans as Father Sean McDonagh, renowned Ecological Theologian from Ireland tours Australia, speaking on Laudato Si'. Father Sean was a contributor to the drafting of Laudato Si' and will share with us his many insights about developing an integral ecology. This invitation is a special opportunity for us in Australia.

Lastly, thank you kindly for the donations that have been given to assist Catholic Earthcare Australia in bringing about the important work of ecological conversion and integral ecology. We do need your support to continue to bring Laudato Si' to life in our communities. Your contribution to this great work is deeply appreciated!

Peace and hope for all Creation,

Catholic Earthcare Australia Newsletter …

09/11 2016

Launch of Marine Plastic Threat Abatement Plan

Hi all,

We have organised events in Brisbane (RSVP by 23rd November) and Melbourne (RSVP by 21st November) for late November to release our Threat Abatement Plan targeting a wide range of marine plastic pollution. An event in Sydney will be held early next year.

Links to the invites below - if you live in Victoria or Qld or you'll be in the state at the time, we'd love to see you there.

Regards,

Jeff Angel
Executive Director, Total Environment Centre
Convenor and Director, Boomerang Alliance

Brisbane Invitation … Melbourne Invitation … RSVP …

08/11 2016

National Recycling Week Special: 7 - 13 November 2016

WIN A Year's Supply of Naturale 100% Recycled Toilet Tissue

Ever had that awkward moment when you realise you've run out of toilet roll?

Enter the Naturale 100% recycled toilet tissue competition and you've no need to worry about running out for a whole year!
Enter now …

The Best Environmental Paper Availalbe

Photograph - recycled printing paperWith the launch of Planet Ark Paper you don't need to compromise on quality to get the best environmental office paper available.

Planet Ark Paper is 100% recycled, bright white, carbon neutral, FSC certified and made in Australia. So it's good for the planet, for the economy and for you.
Find out morn …

Test Your Recycling Knowledge - Do The Quiz

Do you know what construction and demolition waste can be turned into or what  8 out of 10 Australian councils say is the biggest recycling problem? How many people can confidently tell the difference between virgin and 100% recycled paper? 

Test your knowledge and find just how good a recycler you are.
Find out more …

Planet Ark … Newsletter …

07/11 2016

Highfields Pioneer Village Appeal for plants

Appeal for plants to landscape miniature railway precinct at Highfields Pioneer Village

Photograph pf miniture railway

The Highfields Pioneer Village Museum and Park Inc. is seeking the community’s support through the donation of plants to landscape their soon-to-be-opened miniature railway precinct.

Plants sought include bromeliads, birds-nest ferns, native outdoor ferns, agapanthus, callistemon, cannas, clivia, gazanias, potted geraniums, lamb’s ears, lavenders, daisies, delphiniums, hydrangeas, catmint and lady’s mantle In fact, any old hardy plants you have in your garden and wish to part with or provide cuttings will be gratefully accepted and appreciated.

The pioneer village is a community based non-profit organization established in April 2000 to support, maintain and give voluntary assistance to a functioning pioneer village at Highfields, on the Eastern Darling Downs.

So, if you have something donate, please contact the Highfields Pioneer Village by phoning (07) 4696 6309 or email highfieldspioneervillage@hotmail.com or simply drop off the goods at the village located at 73 Wirraglen Rd, Highfields.


06/11 2016

EDO Qld: Adani 'critical infrastructure' declaration

EDO Qld today released a report recommending that the Queensland Government revoke the ‘prescribed project’ and ‘critical infrastructure’ declarations for the proposed Adani Carmichael Combined Project.

Our new legal analysis reveals these powers have never been used before on a private commercial development, and could fast-track water assessments and potentially strip most review and appeal rights.

Report front cover | Photograph of Statue of Themis, Greek goddess of justice, outside Brisbane Law Courts
Read the summary …
Report front cover | Photograph of Statue of Themis, Greek goddess of justice, outside Brisbane Law Courts
Read the full report …

04/11 2016

From Neck of the Woods | NPAQ eBulletin

Image: NPAQ Image Library

Has the Queensland Government done a backflip?

NPAQ understands the pressure that Minister Miles may be under, however the need for a review of leasehold lots of Grongah National Park is questionable. An analysis of the state biodiversity significance of Grongah National Park leases shows a significance of 92%, with a significance rating of 96% and 100% on the two individual lots in question.

As a review has been instigated, it is imperative that any investigation of past assessment processes or a re-assessment of the conservation values of leasehold lots of Grongah National Park instituted by the Minister, be based on clear scientific criteria, that is publicly available.  Read more…

Image: via ABC Open contributor getoutandwalk

National Park Protection for Private Areas

The Queensland Government is planning to create a new category of environmental protection for private land, that would allow landowners the chance to have equal environmental protection to national parks.

Appropriate protection is a positive step for the private sector of landholders who have acquired and or dedicated their properties to recognising and protecting biodiversity. This will give confidence to charities, the community and the private sector that their efforts for conserving these properties will be supported with a high level of protection, to be known as "Special Wildlife Reserves". Read more…

Image: Hinchinbrook sunset, Ann Ingham

Hinchinbrook Island National Park Management Plan

Is Hinchinbrook Island National Park a favourite park of yours? The Hinchinbrook Island National Park Management Plan and Visitor Strategy are currently under review. For more information, visit …

Neck of the Woods online …

02/11 2016

The Conversation | Carmichael coal mine fast-tracking

Four environmental reasons why fast-tracking the Carmichael coal mine is a bad idea

Abbot Point port would have to be expanded to ship coal from the proposed new mine. AAP Image/Greenpeace

Pressure is mounting for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine to proceed in inland Queensland. Recently the state government quietly gave the project “critical infrastructure” status to prioritise its development.

Providing this level of government status to a private enterprise is unusual – the last time it happened was in the early 2000, and it is usually reserved for projects associated with national security, public education and health.

In response to delays and finance issues, Adani has also reportedly scaled back its initial proposal to increase the mine’s viability. There are also growing political calls to weaken the ability of environmental groups to challenge infrastructure projects.

Others have commented on the mine’s issues around employment, finance, and indigenous and rural communities. But as ecologists, there are four good reasons why we believe the mine should not go ahead.

Climate change

To meet the obligations under the Paris climate agreement to limit warming to well below 2℃, it is widely accepted that 90% of Australia’s coal will need to stay in the ground.

The proposed extraction of 2.3 billion tonnes of coal from the Carmichael mine flies in the face of global efforts to stop climate change. The emissions from the coal from this one mine would exceed 0.5% of the entire global carbon budgetthe total amount of carbon than can be emitted without exceeding 2℃ warming.

Put another way, the 4.7 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the mine will be equivalent to nine times Australia’s overall emissions in 2014.

Yet these emissions have been given little consideration in the mine’s approval process. Adani’s Environmental Impact Statement makes little reference to the mine’s “downstream” emissions, and Australia’s former environment minister Greg Hunt, in his reasons for approving the mine, said the emissions would be “managed and mitigated through national and international emissions control frameworks”, including in those countries that import the coal.

Following an appeal challenging Hunt’s assertion that these emissions would have no directly quantifiable impact on the Great Barrier Reef, the Federal Court found that the minister was entitled to find that the burning of the coal will have no relevant impact on the reef.

The Great Barrier Reef

The shipping of coal from the Carmichael mine is contingent upon redeveloping the shipping port at Abbot Point, which requires dredging the seabed.

Following public opposition to dumping dredge spoil at sea, the most recently approved proposal is to dredge 1.1 million cubic metres of the seabed and dump the spoil on land next to the Caley Valley Wetlands.

The wetlands are important habitat for at least 22 migratory shore birds listed under the national environmental legislation, so the current plan is still contentious.

The current plan to dump the dredge spoil on land still won’t save the reef because the actual dredging process removes the seabed, along with the seagrass and animals that survive there.

Dredging also releases fine sediments, reducing water quality while smothering surrounding seagrass beds and coral reefs, with some models predicting the spread of fine sediments up to 200km from where the activity took place, within 90 days.

Corals exposed to dredge material are twice as prone to suffer disease. Improving water quality is a key factor for increasing the resilience of coral reefs to major bleaching events.

Water

The Carmichael Mine as currently proposed would extract 12 billion litres of water each year. Removing this water to access the coal seam will reduce water pressure in the aquifer (rock that stores water underground), with knock-on effects. The mine is situated close to the Great Artesian Basin, a key resource for agriculture across inland Australia.

For instance, this drawdown could reduce water reaching the Mellaluka and Doongmabulla Springs Complexes, which have exceedingly high conservation value. These springs are some of the largest examples remaining and provide habitat for many species of specialised plants that are only known from spring-fed wetlands.

If the springs go dry, even temporarily, endemic species will not survive and will become extinct at the site.

Removing groundwater is expected to increase the duration of zero- or low-flow periods in the Carmichael River system. The communities and ecosystems in the region are already highly reliant on groundwater, due to variable surface waters. This could also affect the acidity and salinity of soils.

Clearing the land for the mine itself – an area equivalent to Queensland’s Moreton Island - will likely reduce local rainfall considerably.

Due to the high uncertainty surrounding groundwater, the independent scientific committee before proceeding with the project. The high degree of uncertainty and inadequate treatment of groundwater impacts in the Environmental Impact Statement were the subject of legal proceedings in the Land Court in 2015.

Threatened species

The Carmichael mine site is home to the largest known population of the endangered southern Black-throated finch (Poephila cincta cincta), which has lost 80% of its former habitat.

The intact areas of continuous habitat in this region - such as that at the mine site - have so far remained in good condition and relatively free of the invasive weed species that are contributing to the finch’s decline in other parts of its range.

The Black-throated Finch Recovery Team highlighted their concern over the Carmichael development with state and federal agencies.

Adani has proposed to offset the loss of finch habitat resulting from the mine by protecting alternative, nearby habitat. But losing the best remaining habitat means the most viable population will be compromised. Experts have warned that offseting the loss of habitat from mine development will not avoid serious detrimental impacts on the finch.

Keeping this habitat intact, continuous and unfragmented will be key to maintaining its suitability for the finch. The only way to avoid severely impacting the finch is to avoid destroying its high-quality habitat – which would mean not digging the mine in these areas.

A brighter future

Giving the mine “critical infrastructure” status allows special dispensations to ignore normal approval processes. And this decision sends a signal to the wider community that this type of short-term thinking is front and centre in the state government’s mind.

Given the clear environmental impacts this mine will have, not just for the region but for the whole planet, we question the effectiveness of Australia’s current environmental laws that have allowed it to be approved. We believe it is time to place the entire social and environmental costs and benefits of this mine on the public table, and ask the question of the politicians who are meant to make decisions in our best interest: is the short-term profit of selling some coal worth it?

Read article on The Conversation …

04/10 2016

Wildlife Queensland presents Peter Garrett

Wildlife Queensland is hosting an evening on Brisbane's riverfront to raise awareness of wildlife conservation. Enjoy canapes on the lawn and a 2 course dinner as well-known musician, environmentalist, activist and former politician, Peter Garrett AM reflects on "Why It Matters". 

Event info & booking … Wildlife Queensland …


02/11 2016

The Climate 90 | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Just 90 companies are accountable for more than 60 percent of greenhouse gases

Global and Carbon Major entities’ CO2 emissions, 1810–2013. Global industrial emissions of CO2 from theCarbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, plus methane information from Stern & Kaufmann & European Commission (black line). Results of all Carbon Major entities’ emissions of CO2 and methane (red line). Image courtesy Richard Heede.

There’s a tendency to think that when it comes to climate change, we’re all equally at fault—and if everyone is to blame, then no one is to blame. But now it’s possible to identify the contributions of individual companies, thanks to the work of researchers such as Richard Heede. What he found is revealing: A handful of companies bear a lot more responsibility for climate change than others, having pumped much more carbon into the atmosphere.

And Heede proved this by spending nearly 12 years collecting and analyzing data from a variety of publicly available sources, pinning down which companies have contributed what percentage of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution—and then named names. Sometimes working alone for long periods while squirreled away in a houseboat on San Francisco Bay, Heede laboriously put together a sort of enormous jigsaw puzzle of facts, painstakingly chasing down obscure skeins of data to come up with the big picture.

Some of the results were astonishing, such as that the number of companies responsible for the majority of the carbon in the atmosphere was so small that [Y]ou could take all the decision-makers and CEOs of these companies and fit them on a couple of Greyhound buses. He’s found that although there are thousands of oil, gas, and coal producers around the world, just 90 entities are responsible for 63 percent of all the industrially produced carbon dioxide and methane being emitted into our atmosphere.

And nearly half of that carbon was pumped into our atmosphere in just the past 30 years.

Article and transcipt of interview with Richard Heede on BAS site …

02/11 2016

RenewEconomy Factsheet

A 10-step guide to going off grid from your utility

Last year, a CSIRO study confirmed that up to one-third of all consumers may wish to quit the grid altogether if presented with the right technology, and they get tired of the way they are treated by the grid-based utilities.

Many downplay the idea, describing such decisions as “irrational” and “uneconomic”, and seek to convince consumers to stay on the grid, sometimes with scare campaigns about the cost of leaving. One utility, however, has decided to address the issue in a different way, and published a 10-step guide for consumers considering the idea.

Artwork depicting cottage 'off grid'
David Foyster
Ergon Energy doubles as the main network operator and retailer in Queensland – apart from the south-east corner – and because it services regional and sometimes remote areas, is likely to be at the forefront of the move to quit the grid. In fact, it predicted as much in its annual report several years ago.
With reducing costs for solar PV/battery systems and a rise in off-grid enabled products on the market, many more people are considering making the switch, the company notes in its newly posted off-grid briefing for consumers.

We’re here to support you in any decision you make about your energy future. So, if you’re thinking of going off-grid one day, we want to ensure you’re well informed before you spend any money.

The principal author of the report, Dean Comber, Ergon’s product manager for customer inverter systems, says it is about providing consumers with choice and control, and this involves solar PV, battery storage and home energy management systems.

We appreciate there is a small and growing number of customers who wish to exercise choice and control by buying and managing their own electricity generation and storage system and disconnecting their premises from the grid, Comber told RenewEconomy in an emailed statement.

Based on our insights from our research, the media, and informal discussions with customers and intermediaries such as the PV and storage industry, we want to ensure aspiring grid-disconnectors have an understanding of the realities of living with a stand-alone system.

As you know, once they buy their Tesla or other battery system, disconnecting from the grid may seem an easy next step, in theory, but it’s not the same for every customer and there are many technical or cost differences between grid-connected and stand-alone battery systems.

The Ergon approach is a softer one than that adopted by the main networks lobby, which last year published assessments that put the cost at disconnecting at around $72,000 a home. That may be the case for some, but not for all.

Comber, in an email to colleagues in other networks a few weeks ago, said Ergon was seeking to highlight the realities of leaving the grid, without looking like a big corporate entity trying to scare customers into staying with us.

In his statement to RenewEconomy, Comber says that Ergon recognises that a positive outcome is certainly possible for those grid-disconnectors who have energy-efficient homes and lifestyles, who are willing and able to maintain their stand-alone systems, and who are prepared to make lifestyle adjustments if necessary to live within their energy means.

We also know that some may simply be prepared to make more significant investments in larger systems to meet their energy use patterns.

The key motivation, he says, is to minimise bad outcomes for customers who want to disconnect, but find that it is not such a great idea for them. Those bad outcomes include having oversized systems, still facing standing charges, or just finding the whole experience terribly inconvenient.

The issue about leaving the grid is particularly important because so many consumers are looking to battery storage, particularly with feed-in tariffs low and many in some states losing the premium tariffs that they have enjoyed in recent years.

But, installers note, there is a large degree of misunderstanding about what battery storage can achieve, and what different technologies are best applied for households depending on their need.

Others suggest that consumers may jot be getting good advice because of the sales-driven process of some vendors. And there are also concerns about quality and safety standards.

Early feedback on our new web page about going off-grid is that many people have had their eyes opened to the challenges of living off the grid, Ergon says.

We also hope that the PV industry will view this web page as a resource to help educate their potential customers and manage their potentially unrealistic expectations before investing time that may prove to be wasted

A 10-step guide to going off grid from your utility

30/10 2016

AMCS: Don't Let Them Destroy Our Sanctuaries

There are only 2 days left to have your say to save our sanctuaries from major cutbacks. Sign here (or here if you fish) to reject the cutbacks and fully restore our national network of marine sanctuaries.

After wasted years and public dollars, the Abbott-era Review into our suspended national network of sanctuaries is out. And it’s worse than we thought.

Worst hit is our globally important Coral Sea – the cradle to the Great Barrier Reef and one of the last places on Earth where wild ocean giants like sharks and tuna still thrive.

We only have two days left to make our voices heard and tell the government what we think of the review panel's recommendations.

Sign the petition now to reject the cutbacks and save our national network of sanctuaries.

Yes, I fish and I want to save our sanctuaries I want to save our sanctuaries

As well as carving up our Coral Sea, these plans pander to the oil industry in the Kimberley and Great Australian Bight. They pave the way for damaging trawling in the North, gillnettingin the South, and cut back crucial sanctuary protection at Lord Howe and Bremer Bay – even in a southern right whale nursery! It’s beyond belief!

Tragically, the government’s assurance that the review would be science-based has been ignored in favour of expanding mining and commercial fishing.

We’ve already had 15 years of science and consultation, decades of work by all sides of politics, and overwhelming community support.

I urge you to add your name today to save our sanctuaries.

Yes, I fish and I want to save our sanctuaries I want to save our sanctuaries

27/10 2016

Help us get at least 50% Renewable Energy

What is Community Owned Renewable Energy

What's this all about?

Imagine if you had the power to ensure that more of our energy comes from renewable sources, that the profits stayed in your community, that you could feel a sense of pride about where your power comes from, where you invest your money and that this investment meant that more community groups received funding.

If you neither have the capital nor the roof to install solar, community owned renewable energy allows you to change this, as it provides renters, apartment owners, community groups, businesses and those on a low income with the ability to contribute, own and benefit from renewable energy when they can’t afford or are unable to install their own. Community Owned Renewable Energy (CORE), or Community Renewable Energy (CRE) refers to renewable energy developments that are owned and developed by and for the community.  There is not a one size fits all, as these developments can be large or small in scale and can potentially include any of the renewable energy technologies, such as solar, wind or biodigesters.

CORE projects are often established through first registering as a co-operative. They are owned and established through community participation.  Some of things that they all have in common are decarbonisation, energy security, energy sovereignty and community development.

Anything you invest in CORE projects through Energetic Communities will be money to finance renewable energy in your community, with profits being returned to the community through the investors themselves or through a small percentage going towards a community fund.

If you would like to propose your roof or site for a community owned renewable project, please let us know!

 Ideally, what we're looking for in potential sites is:

  • Large unshaded north facing roof.
  • You own the building (or site) or have a long term lease.
  • You have a high electricity demand.
  • Electricity bills of thousand of dollars per month.
Image: Solar Epiphany

Queensland Renewable Energy Expert Panel:

Credible pathways to a 50% renewable energy target for Queensland - Draft Report

Queenslanders have shown they support clean energy by leading the country on rooftop solar - nearly one in three Queensland households already has solar panels on the roof!

The state government is now considering how to deliver on their 2014 election commitment to for a 50% Renewable Energy Target for Queensland by 2030. Community Energy is not directly mentioned in Draft report – only alluded to at the top of page 59. The policies and mechanisms recommended by the Panel miss the opportunity for community owned and mid-scale renewables, which collectively can go a long way towards the 50% Renewables Target. Both NSW and Victoria are demonstrating strong support for the Community Energy Sector.  Without similar support, Queensland communities are missing out.

The trouble is, without visible community support for Community Owned Renewable Energy, the panel is unaware of the state-wide support for Community Energy. At the forums in Regional Queensland, many groups were talking about community energy.  The message that communities want support for Community Energy needs to be loud and clear! Here are some thing's we'd like to see recommended by the panel:

  • Reverse auctions on their own make it difficult for community energy
    • Community Carve out – up to 10% of target for community energy projects (as they do in ACT)
  • Work with COAG to support AEMC rule change with respect to Local Generation Network Credits and Local Electricity Trading.

Smart Energy Community Program

  • Establish Community Energy Powerhouses (as part of 50 Nationally)
    • The “Landcare” of community energy
    • Is currently Federal Labor Policy
    • Part of National campaign, but co-funded by State (would demonstrate what is needed to Federal Government if Queensland funded one SEQ and one regional Community Energy Powerhouse)
    • Allows community energy groups to access legal and technical expertise, tools and funding.
    • Modelling demonstrates that every dollar of government money spent supporting community energy can leverage $10 to $17 of community investment

Submissions to Queensland Renewable Energy Expert Panel Draft Report.

The panel is calling for submissions, which can be made here. See our information sheet here for some ideas of what to put in your submission.

Energetic Communities is of course writing a submission. Would you like to help? Email us if you would like to participate.

Create a buzz around Community Energy - Online Platform

Can you also contribute to the Forums to keep the discussion current and reinforce we want support:

http://www.qldrepanel.com.au/engagement-hub

Energetic Communities … Energetic Communities Update (Oct 2016) …

30/10 2016

EDO Qld LawAlert

Critical infrastructure declaration, water, planning, renewables, and more!

Adani critical infrastructure declaration

Mining Minister Lynham has declared Adani's Combined Project 'critical infrastructure'. This could limit the community in taking legal action against unlawful decisions.
Read more …

Thank you, for fighting for fair water laws! It's not over yet…

Congratulations to everyone who made a submission to help protect underground water. The Parliamentary Committee has now released its report, and your efforts are still very much needed..
Read more …

Planning: important new instruments opening for consultation

The Draft SEQ Regional Plan has been released and is open for comment until midnight on Friday 3 March 2017.
Read more …

The new planning supporting instruments are now being released for public comment. The Development Assessment Rules are now open for comment until Monday 19 December, and other supporting instruments are expected to follow shortly.
Read more …

Qld Renewable Energy Expert Panel releases Draft Report

EDO Qld welcomes the release of Credible pathways to a 50% renewable energy target for Queensland. You can have your say on the Draft Report until 2 Nov 2016.
Read more …

Landmark Acland case draws to a close

The largest case in the history of the Qld Land Court finished this month, with our client Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) joining forces with Darling Downs landholders to expose potential risks to farms, water and clean air from the proposed Acland coal mine expansion.
Read more …

Whitsunday locals take on Abbot Point port expansion

EDO Qld lawyers were in Qld's Supreme Court this month with our client Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping (WRAD), challenging the lawfulness of the Qld Government’s decision to approve Adani’s controversial Abbot Point coal terminal.
Read more …


30/10 2016

toowoomba|brisbanetimes - Electric Vehicle Expo

Toowoomba flocks to Electric Vehicle Expo

Hundreds of people were at the Cobb+Co museum in Toowoomba Sunday, October 16 to see and hear about the current offerings of electric vehicles.

The Alternative Technology Association's (ATA) Toowoomba branch hosted the event.

ATA Convenor Mark Tranter said people were surprised and fascinated about the arrival of electric vehicles.

People heard from owners about the quietness, comfort and low running costs of the vehicles, he said.

There were a variety of electric vehicles on hand including Teslas, BMWi3s, Nissan and Mitsubishis as well as electric bicycles.

Attendees were very keen to check them all out.

There were also a range of talks about things such as the kilometre range of the vehicles, how to go about charging the vehicles and also a glimpse at the very near future with a presentation about driverless vehicles.

A very informative addition was the attendance of Greg Caldwell from Ergon Energy who was on hand to tell people about the network of vehicle charging stations which will soon be established across the state including Toowoomba.

It seems very clear given the new electric vehicles to be released in the next year or so and the growing number of charging stations, that the internal combustion engine is on the way out as far as personal transport is concerned, Mr Tranter said.


28/10 2016

People are overpowering the planet - WWF report

Wildlife populations plunge almost 60 per cent since 1970: WWF

Photo: Climate change, hunting by humans, pollution and invasive species are posing threats to many species.
(ABC News: Kanika Kirpalani)

Worldwide populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have plunged by almost 60 per cent since 1970 as human activities overwhelm the environment, according to the WWF conservation group.

An index compiled with data from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) to measure the abundance of biodiversity was down 58 per cent from 1970 to 2012 and would fall 67 per cent by 2020 on current trends, the WWF said in a report.

The decline is yet another sign that humans have become the driving force for change on Earth, ushering in the Anthropocene epoch, a term derived from "anthropos", the Greek for "human" and "-cene" denoting a geological period.

Conservation efforts appear to be having scant impact as the index is showing a steeper plunge in wildlife populations than two years ago, when the WWF estimated a 52 per cent decline by 2010.

Wildlife is disappearing within our lifetimes at an unprecedented rate, Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, said in a statement of the group's Living Planet Report, published every two years.

Biodiversity forms the foundation of healthy forests, rivers and oceans, he said in a statement.

We are entering a new era in Earth's history: the Anthropocene, he said.

The index tracks about 14,200 populations of 3,700 species of vertebrates - creatures that range in size from pea-sized frogs to 30-metre-long whales.

The rising human population is threatening wildlife by clearing land for farms and cities, the WWF's report said.

Other factors include pollution, invasive species, hunting and climate change. But there are still chances to reverse the trends

Importantly ... these are declines, they are not yet extinctions, said Professor Ken Norris, Director of Science at ZSL.

Deon Nel, WWF global conservation director, said it wasn't all bad news.

I don't speak at all about doom and gloom, we do see a lot of positive signs, Mr Nel said.

One hopeful sign is a global agreement by almost 200 nations last year to curb climate change could, for instance, help protect tropical forests, slow a spread of deserts and curb an acidification of the seas caused by a build-up of carbon dioxide.

And a 2015 UN plan for sustainable development by 2030, seeking to end poverty with policies that safeguard the environment, would also help if properly implemented

Some species are making a slight recovery. Last month, the giant panda was taken off an endangered list after a population resurgence in China.

WWF … Living Planet report … Read article online …

27/10 2016

Urgent: submission on TPP due Friday

Submissions to the Senate inquiry into the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) close this coming Friday (28 Oct).

Fair trade is fine, but do not be fooled into thinking that the TPP is a fair or even ‘free’ trade deal’ between nations acting in the best interests of their people. It is really a one-sided deal between massive multinational corporations and gullible governments (remember, 60% of the world’s one hundred and fifty richest entities are multinational corporations, the rest are countries).

The TPP has been designed by 500 US multinationals to increase their power when doing business in other countries. It limits the capacity of member nations to regulate around environmental protection, health care, labour rights and a host of other key public interest areas which make Australia a fair and successful nation.

Worst of all, under the TPP, multinationals attempting to crash through our environmental regulations can bypass our legal system and challenge Australian Governments in a foreign tribunal set up and run by corporate lawyers whose primary interest is pleasing multinationals. They will be able to do this because the Turnbull Government agreed to the inclusion of ‘Investor State Dispute Settlement’ (ISDS) in TPP. The Senate can stop the TPP being ratified through Parliament, but only if Labor votes against the TPP. Labor is sitting on the fence on this at the moment – they need to know that while we accept fair trade deals, we won’t accept having our legal rights bypassed through the inclusion of ISDS provisions.

Submissions to the Senate inquiry into the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) close this coming Friday (28 Oct). If short of time, please copy and paste the brief submission below into your  own email, with your full postal address and contact details included in the email, and send to fadt.sen@aph.gov.au today.

I have provided more detailed information for those who want to write a more comprehensive submission.

Please copy and paste the submission below and send to fadt.sen@aph.gov.au as soon as possible (due this Friday at the latest), with your full postal address and contact details included in the email

Thank you,

Barry Fitzpatrick


[DATE]

Submission to the TPP Senate inquiry

I make the following submission to the Senate TPP inquiry with particular reference to the impact of the agreement on:

  • The effect of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)
  • Australia’s democratic values
  • Australia’s environmental policies

I submit that ratifying the TPP with Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) inclusions will not be in Australia’s national interest because:

  1. In the 21st century the application of ISDS in free trade deals has evolved to be much broader, and now presents an insidious new threat to our sovereignty, democratic rights, environmental laws and our rights to redress through the Australian legal system.
  2. While Australia has historically agreed to ISDS inclusions in a few trade agreements, until now it has not had a free trade deal with the US that included ISDS provisions, and therefore has not been subject to ISDS lawsuits from litigious US multinationals.
  3. ISDS will privilege foreign multinational investors, putting them above our citizens, our legal system, State and local governments, Australian Federal and State courts and even above Australian corporations.  This would represent a violation of the basic principle of equality before the law.
  4. ISDS has been extended in 21st century free trade agreements to include compensation to multinationals for loss of future profits, resulting in claims often in billions of dollars against nations, the majority of which relate to environmental and resource industry regulations. This has led to ‘regulatory chill’ (1) - the reluctance on the part of these governments to act to protect the environment because of the risk of ISDS challenge.
  5. In its 2015 report on ISDS, the Productivity Commission concluded that ISDS is not even needed in free trade agreements for nation states to successfully trade and that the potential legal and financial risk posed by ISDS could engender a chilling effect on public interest policy. (2)
  6. Australian decision-makers must take heed of the growing global backlash against ISDS provisions in trade deals.
  7. Australian voters are seeing mounting levels of expert opinion condemning free trade agreements like the TPP because of the inclusion of ISDS provisions. These include Robert French, chief justice of Australia’s High Court, The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Australia’s Productivity Commission and the ACCC.
  8. A comprehensive economic analysis of the TPP by the World Bank has found that the Trans-Pacific Partnership ‘would boost Australia's economy by just 0.7 per cent by the year 2030.’  (3)

Conclusion

I submit that ISDS provisions in the TPP that would confer greater legal rights on foreign businesses than those available to domestic businesses are unnecessary and not in the national interest, nor are unacceptable provisions that clearly would constrain the ability of Australian governments – State and Federal - to make laws on environmental and other public interest matters.

I propose that the TPP is too dangerous as it stands and should not be ratified with ISDS inclusions. I also propose that ISDS provisions are excluded from all future trade agreements negotiated between Australia and other nations, and that existing trade agreements containing ISDS provisions should be re-negotiated to exclude ISDS provisions.

[NAME]

[ADDRESS]

[CONTACT DETAILS]

References:

1 and 2: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/isds-the-devil-in-the-trade-deal/6634538
3: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/transpacific-partnership-will-barely-benefit-australia-says-world-bank-report-20160111-gm3g9w.html


28/10 2016

News from the GAIA network

GAIA Members in Action!
Fall 2016

GAIA logo

#Breakfreefromplastic: a global movement

An international group of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) is coming together to do something big. Our goal is to work together to stop plastic pollution. We are trying to make this movement as big as possible, and we want you to join! We share the common values of environmental protection and social justice, and these shared values guide our work in building the world in which we wish to live
Learn more and join the #breakfreefromplastic movement! …

Imported garbage to be returned to Canada!

Photograph - Waste in shipping containerA few years ago, more than a 100 container vans of mixed waste that were falsely declared as plastics intended for recycling were illegally exported from Canada to the Philippines.  Last week, a regional trial court in the city of Manila handed the decision to return the waste to Canada.  There is still a long fight ahead to make sure that this court decision will be implemented, but for now, we'd like to celebrate this great news with all of you!

A big THANK YOU from the Philippines and all of us to those who supported this campaign, especially GAIA members and allies in Canada. 
Read the full article …

Bans on polluting microbeads in Taiwan and Korea!

In Taiwain, the EPA has announced plans to ban microbeads from products, citing marine pollution and threats to human health.
Read more ….

And in South Korea a similar policy has been passed to ban microplastics in cosmetics, and campaigning continues to expand this to all products.
Read more ….

Congratulations to Greenpeace Taiwain, Taiwain Watch Institute, and others who have advocated against microbeads!

GAIA … Newsletter …

28/10 2016

Eco-Business - News & Views | 26 October

Editor's Choice

Nature is priceless — so let's value it

Photograph - Ka'ena Point in Oahu, Hawaii.Have you ever paid more to buy something labeled "organic"? Looked for a "recycled" or FSC label? If so, you're supporting nature in monetary terms. But does that mean that you put a price tag on nature? Of course not.
Read now …

TripAdvisor bans ticket sales to wild animal attractions

Photograph - Chained tigers at the Tiger Temple in ThailandTravel website TripAdvisor has announced that it will no longer sell tickets to tourism experiences that allow physical contact with captive, wild animals or endangered species, such as elephant rides and petting tigers.
Read now …

One high speed rail, eight new cities: A new plan for Australia's growing population

Photograph - High speed trainIn a bid to ease population pressure on Sydney and Melbourne and revive regional economies, a private sector plan aims to build eight new cities in inland Australia and connect them with a high speed rail—all without a cent of public money.
Read now …

The media's role in the climate change story

From acting as a watchdog on errant corporations to raising awareness, the media has an important role to play in fighting climate change and environmental degradation. But its potential remains largely untapped, say experts.
Read now …

News

All News

World Bank money is helping to finance Asia’s coal boom: Report

Should the World Bank Group be held accountable when financial institutions it supports invest in projects that threaten forests and communities? Activists who traced the Group's links to projects like the Rampal coal power station say "Yes."
Read now …

China is demanding cleaner shipping – so should the rest of the world

Governments are meeting this week to take a decision that could undermine Chinese efforts to clean up pollution from container ships.
Read now …

India’s solar power set to outshine coal

Solar power in India will be cheaper than imported coal by 2020, but replacing the subcontinent’s fossil fuels with renewable energy is an enormous task.
Read now …

Opinion

All Opinion

Corporate climate risk is all about turning a profit, not fixing the problem

Most businesses construct climate risk solely through the lens of profitability and market opportunity. But this is too narrow an interpretation of the concept for meaningful change, say academics Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg.
Read now …

Beyond the Paris climate agreement

If we are to have any chance of meeting our climate targets, we need to take strong action now to reduce emissions drastically – action that goes beyond the Paris agreement., says Danish writer Bo Lidegaard.
Read now …

Eco-Business … Newsletter …

29/10 2016

Where is the hope for nature conservation?

No Lost Cause

We see so many troubling stories about the environment that the good news often comes as a surprise. But there's more to be hopeful about than many people realize.

A good friend of mine, Steve Blake, who led a major study of poaching of African forest elephants, often used to end his emails with the phrase, "We're all so screwed."

Steve is a dedicated conservationist and was deeply alarmed by the epic slaughter of elephants he was witnessing, but I don't think for a second he was suggesting we give up the fight. Nor are many of the rest of us who have devoted our lives and careers to conservation. Yet in the pages of science and nature publications, and in communications put out by conservation organizations—including ALERT, a scientific organization I founded and lead—we often hear depressing, even devastating, stories about the rapid destruction of wildlife and their habitats. So where is the hope for nature conservation?

I would argue that, in fact, there's a great deal of hope and plenty of good news to celebrate and expand upon. While it's true that we're losing more nature every day, we are also making some important gains. Here is a quick synopsis of some of the good news.

Zero-Deforestation Agreements Signed

Who would have believed four years ago that many of the world's leading corporations—including many large palm-oil, wood-pulp, and food-manufacturing firms—would announce plans to avoid destroying native forests? Yet many large palm-oil firms have done just that, pledging to develop new plantations only on previously deforested lands and, in a few cases, to restore native forests in areas that were formerly cleared. Even tire manufacturer Michelin, which sources much of its rubber from the tropics, has jumped on the bandwagon.

That's not to suggest that these pledges are perfect and that are all working well: It's a mixed bag. For example, a recent assessment by Greenpeace of corporations that use palm-oil in their products praised Ferrero and Nestlé, but slammed PepsiCo, Colgate-Palmolive, and Johnson & Johnson. Despite such mixed progress, however, these recent developments illustrate that corporate behavior can be influenced by public attitudes and pressures. For big corporations, the fear of damage to their brand reputation and loss of market share is a very big stick that conservationists can wield with great effect.

We've Stopped Some Really Bad Projects

A number of other organizations, including ALERT, Greenomics Indonesia, and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, have played a leading role in convincing the government of Aceh Province in northern Sumatra, Indonesia to avoid further degradation of the precious Leuser Ecosystem—the last place on Earth where tigers, elephants, rhinos, and orangutans still coexist.

The government had planned to criss-cross this region with a massive network of roads, and destroy large expanses of forest for palm-oil, rice, and timber—and in doing so would have opened up the forests to a wave of illegal poaching and mining.

But that's now been stopped, and the latest news (see here and here) suggests that the Aceh and Indonesian federal governments are serious about this commitment. We need to applaud their vision and efforts, and ideally convince other national and regional governments of the benefits of taking similar stands where dwindling natural resources and imperiled species are concerned.

There's a number of other examples, too. Certain Amazon dams have been halted, as has the ill-advised Serengeti Highway in Tanzania, and planned roads that would have sliced through the heart of Seima Protected Area in Cambodia and TIPNIS National Park in Bolivia.

Despite such good news, we still have our work cut out for us. By mid-century we could have another 25 million kilometers of paved roads, several thousand new hydroelectric dams, and a total of 2 billion cars driving around the planet. In Africa alone, our research suggests that a large series of planned "development corridors" could bisect more than 400 protected areas and degrade another 1,800 of these valuable habitats. We just have to roll up our sleeves and keep fighting the good fight.

Falling Commodity Prices Have Bought Us Time

The global economic slowdown, as challenging as it's been for some, has come with a brilliant silver lining with regard to the environment. Before the slowdown, rising global powers such as China and Brazil were extracting natural resources, such as minerals, fossil fuels, and timber, at alarming rates. The precipitous drop in commodity prices has since reduced demand for these resources, slowing the exploitation, and effectively protecting areas that might otherwise have been lost.

The slowdown has given us some desperately needed "breathing space" that we can now use to improve land-use and infrastructure planning in the developing world. In 2014, I was lead author on a paper published in Nature called "A global strategy for road building," which highlighted where on Earth we should, and should not, build roads—the objective being to maximize the economic and social benefits of new roads, while avoiding serious environmental degradation.

Our 2014 paper looked at broad-scale efforts. What we need to do now is work rapidly—especially in environmentally critical regions of the world—to implement such strategies at national and regional levels. We need to partner with governments and key stakeholders to do everything we can to help them make wise land-use decisions. The survival of the natural world depends on it.

We Can Influence Government Policies

Almost everywhere we look, there is evidence that government policies are being shaped, at least in part, by environmental priorities. It is often a tug-of-war between those who wish to protect land and natural resources and those who seek to exploit them—but still, great progress has been made.

For example, in the battle to reduce illegal logging, three major timber consumers—the United States, the European Union, and Australia—have enacted tough laws that put the burden of responsibility on timber-purchasing corporations to ensure that they are buying only legally harvested wood and wood products (ALERT and Greenpeace Australia Pacific were active in pushing through the Australian legislation, whereas WWF, Transparency International, and various other groups lobbied for laws to combat illegal logging in Europe and the U.S.).

These laws are having a real impact. A report by the respected UK think tank Chatham House estimated that illegal logging has fallen by 22 percent globally since 2002. Particularly impressive gains have been made in nations such as Indonesia and Cameroon, where illegal logging was rampant, and where it has now dropped by 50 to 75 percent.

And there's another promising example from one of the world's most important and sought-after ecosystems: the Amazon. In 2001, an international research team that I led published a paper in Science that painted a bleak picture for the future of the Brazilian Amazon. The paper described how the region would look 20 years into the future, assuming the Brazilian government proceeded with its scheme to build $40 billion in new roads, dams, power lines, gas lines, and other infrastructure that would criss-cross the basin.

The paper went viral, and was featured in news stories around the world. Brazil came under tremendous international pressure, and there was also a huge outcry among many Brazilians worried about the future of their Amazon. The media storm lasted for many months, and I did literally hundreds of interviews, and testified before Brazil's Congress and the U.S. Embassy about the proposed projects.

As a result of the hue and cry, the Brazilian Government eventually conducted a thorough review of the projects, involving eleven different ministries, and concluded that a number of them should be cancelled. Although many of the projects did proceed, they did so only after important mitigation measures—such as the establishment of new protected areas along planned road routes—were in place. These measures have helped to reduce the waves of deforestation and land speculation that often follow road-building in remote wilderness areas.

The Bottom Line

These examples suggest that there is a variety of strategies we can pursue to effectively advance nature conservation. There is no silver bullet—no "one-size-fits-all" approach that can be employed everywhere. But examples such as these illustrate that the status quo can be changed. The loss of nature is not inevitable—even in poorer nations where there is an urgent need for economic and social development.

The bottom line: For those worried about our environment, we can influence public policies, governments, corporations, and public attitudes—and we can achieve some very meaningful victories along the way. We will never win every conservation battle, but we can prevail sometimes. The world will be a far poorer place if we fail to try.

Read on bioGraphic …

23/10 2016

High-tech drones help count Qld koalas

Brisbane's Logan region and its 435-hectare Daisy Hill koala centre is also being monitored [by drones].

Drones equipped with with artificial intelligence are being deployed to help manage southeast Queensland's dwindling koala population.

Researchers from Queensland's University of Technology have developed a drone-driven program using thermal imaging and statistical modelling that can quickly scan an area for its koala population to help with better planning.

The project relies on picking up the heat signature on the animal, and can scan four hectares of land 90 minutes quicker than humans. It's also more accurate, given the marsupials are particularly hard to spot in the canopy.

It allows us to better estimate and allows better planning with more information about the number of koalas in an area, project leader Felipe Gonzalez said.

While it's impossible to pinpoint the exact decline in the koala population, some reports show figures decreasing by two-thirds in southeast Queensland in the past 20 years.

Tests are underway in the newly developed northern Gold Coast suburbs of Pimpama and Coomera, while Brisbane's Logan region and its 435-hectare Daisy Hill koala centre is also being monitored.

Gold Coast's chair of city planning, Cameron Caldwell, said the data will be used to preserve areas for the animals when planning new developments.

It's very important that we know where the koalas are and when and what their movements are, Mr Caldwell said.

We can work on improving their habitat, particularly through maintaining good corridors where they can move from place to place.

Koala numbers have also dropped in nearby Logan City, where new developments at Yarrabilba and Flagstone have pushed into traditional bush areas.

You've got human population coming in and unfortunately humans need habitat too, deputy mayor Cherie Dalley said.

They're going into bushlands, so we can actually protect those corridors a lot better if we know where the corridors actually are.

Read the article on The Australian …

Kathy Faldt
Vice President Logan and Albert Conservation Association
www.laca.org.au


22/10 2016

Reef In Troubled Waters

Please share our graphic on social media now if you want urgent action to fix the Reef’s poor water quality!

Coral bleaching, crown of thorns starfish, poor condition of the inshore Reef.

We know our Reef is struggling and yesterday our fears were confirmed with the release of the annual Great Barrier Reef report card.

For the fifth year in a row, the Reef’s overall condition has been rated as ‘D’ by the government report card, and the assessment took place before the biggest coral bleaching event on record - meaning the condition has likely gotten even worse!

It’s clear our political leaders are failing our Reef.

The report card reveals massively inadequate progress and investment from government and a failure to deliver on their promises to achieve reef water quality targets.

  • Nitrogen pollution, mainly from fertiliser, has been cut by only 18% - way short of the 50% needed by 2018: Rating E
  • Only 23% of sugarcane land and 36% of grazing land is managed using best farm management practices – way short of the 90% needed by 2018: Rating D

Behind the stats is the simple fact that our Reef can’t survive or thrive without clean water

We have to respond quickly.  Please share this graphic now if you want urgent action to fix the Reef’s poor water quality.

Click here to share this image on Facebook

There’s a risk that decision makers think this news will go unnoticed, that people will think it’s too complex to pay attention to. By sharing this image you are helping to send a strong message to our politicians that you’re concerned about this, and that action is needed urgently. If we can get thousands of people sharing it, and filling up social media feeds, politicians will see just how many people are angry about this neglect of the Reef.

In less than two months, the Australia Government must report back to the World Heritage Committee and show its progress implementing the Reef 2050 Plan and that it is investing enough to deliver its promises. This report card shows it’s failing on both counts.

Thank you for all that you do,


22/10 2016

Another critical reason to save wilderness

The world’s vanishing wild places are vital for saving species

Cheetahs have extraordinarily low genetic diversity, placing them at risk. © Amy Nichole Harris/Shutterstock

In science, it’s rare that a new idea comes along that stops people in their tracks. For ecologists, this has just happened, in a paper that found that species living in wild places have more genetic diversity than the same species living in areas dominated by people.

Why is this big news? For starters, it’s a completely new reason to worry about the decline of wilderness.

My colleagues and I showed recently that wilderness areas have shrunk by a tenth globally in just the past two decades. Large wild areas are now mostly confined to cold, dry or otherwise inhospitable parts of the planet such as the far north and big deserts. Biologically rich rainforests have been destroyed the fastest.

In Southeast Asia, as elsewhere, human activities are expanding while wilderness areas are shrinking. Shown here are changes in the Human Footprint over the past two decades. O. Venter et al. (2016) Scientific Data

The traditional reasons for defending wilderness areas are that they store massive stocks of carbon, produce clean drinking water, limit destructive flooding, harbour countless rare species, generate billions of dollars for local communities via ecotourism, and provide a scientific basis for understanding how nature is supposed to function in a rapidly changing world. These are compelling enough.

But this new finding is a game-changer, because it shows that genetic variation, the raw fuel for evolution, relies on wilderness too.

Environmental armageddon

The history of life on Earth has been a lot like what soldiers experience in a war: long periods of relative stability and even boredom punctuated by sudden periods of stark terror. Right now, we are living in one of the scariest times since life arose at least 3.7 billion years ago.

Life on Earth today is being battered by massive habitat disruption, climate change, invasive species, foreign pathogens, pollution, overhunting, species extinctions and the disruption of entire ecological communities. And it’s all down to humankind, which currently dominates three-quarters of the planet, according to our recent estimate.

Faced with this environmental onslaught, which will surely worsen in the coming century as the Earth struggles to support up to 12 billion people, the options for species are frighteningly limited.

Change or die

As Charles Darwin argued more than a century ago, hidden within most species is a surprisingly large amount of genetic variation. Humans vary in height, weight, body shape, skin colour, physiology and biochemistry.

Wolves, first domesticated around 40,000 years ago, have since been bred into dog varieties ranging from tiny Pekinese to Great Danes.

The world’s hugely varied breeds of domestic dog all arose from a single species of wolf. Shutterstock

For most organisms (except simple bacteria and other organisms that reproduce by cloning), there are two main sources of genetic variation: mutations and sex.

If life were a card game, then mutations create new cards. Most mutations are bad for the individual – such as those that cause the bleeding disease Haemophilia A – or are more or less neutral. But now and then a mutation generates a highly beneficial wild card.

While mutations create new cards, sex shuffles the deck, mixing our genes into new combinations. That’s important too, because by doing so one can discard bad cards. Individuals with bad cards tend to die or fail to reproduce, removing their dud genes from the population. And every once in a while a really good combination of genes pops up, like a Royal Flush, that can then spread rapidly through the population.

The ability of species to change and adapt, or evolve, is vital. We tend to think of evolution as an incremental process, requiring thousands or millions of years, but that’s not always so. When things get rough, species with lots of genetic variation can evolve surprisingly fast.

Evolution in action

Consider what happened when scientists introduced myxomatosis to Australia in 1950 to kill off introduced European rabbits, which were stripping the continent’s vegetation bare. At first, most of the rabbits died. But a few, which by random chance were more resistant to the pathogen, survived and reproduced. Within a few decades rabbits had evolved a far greater capacity to resist the disease.

And just as remarkably, myxomatosis evolved as well. It became less deadly. If you’re a pathogen, you don’t want to kill your host straight away because then you’ll die too.

Instead, you just want to make your host sick, or kill it very slowly. That way, you can spread to lots of other hosts. So while rabbits became more resistant, myxomatosis also became less virulent. And it all happened in just a couple of decades.

Something similar is happening with Tasmanian devils, which are being killed off by a bizarre contagious cancer that spreads when the notoriously scrappy marsupials fight with one another.

Recent studies show that genes which produce greater resistance to the cancer are rapidly increasing in the population. Unfortunately, the devils don’t have a lot of genetic variation but hopefully they’ll have enough variation remaining to get past the killer cancer.

A Tasmanian Devil suffering from facial tumour disease, a contagious cancer. Menna Jones

Things are even scarier for the cheetah, the world’s fastest land animal. While built for speed on the African plains, cheetahs will have a hard time outrunning new environmental challenges. That’s because they have almost zero genetic variation.

Roughly 12,000 years ago, cheetahs went through a severe population bottleneck, eroding most of their genetic variation. The species is paying a price for this today, with reduced sperm quality, kinked tails, and palate deformities among other problems. These maladies arise both from low genetic variation and from inbreeding, which occurs because individual cheetahs are so similar genetically.

Sadly, this could make Cheetahs perilously vulnerable to an “extinction vortex”. The vortex starts with a population crash, perhaps from a newly-introduced disease, habitat loss or climate change. The remaining individuals are already so severely inbred and depleted of genetic variation that they reproduce and survive poorly. Their population dwindles and crashes into oblivion.

We need wilderness

That is why the new study is so significant: it shows that a particular species living in a wild area has more genetic variation than does the same species living in a place where humans abound. The study was based on over 4,500 different species of amphibians and mammals scattered across the planet and was published in one of the world’s best scientific journals. This gives us a lot of confidence in the strength of its conclusions.

The bottom line is that the world’s wilderness areas are under assault. We are not just losing wild places with clean air and water and beautiful vistas. We are losing the raw fuel of evolution and adaptation that has taken life millions of years to accumulate.

Given the breakneck pace at which we are currently changing the planet, eroding the capacity of species to adapt to new challenges is absolutely the last thing we want to be doing.

he sun sets over the wilds of the Western Ghats in southern India. William Laurance
Read the article on The Conversation …

24/10 2016

Naturally Together | Queensland Water and Land Carers news

RECOGNISE ♦ CELEBRATE ♦ INSPIRE

The 2016 Premier's Sustainability Awards recognise the work of Queenslander’s achieving excellence for leadership in sustainability, innovation and eco-efficiency.

Nearly 150 nominations have been received from across Queensland proving that the state’s enthusiasm for innovation, efficiency and sustainability is still running strong.

The quality and diversity of entrants highlights that the state’s future matters to everyone, from big companies to switched on schools.

Read more @ Department of Environment and Heritage Protection …

What is the Citizen Science Network?

Citizen science is a hands-on approach to engaging people to gather data, ask questions and seek evidence for decisions. It broadens the definition of the expert as it is often carried out by large volunteer networks who can add to our understanding of the environment by contributing their local knowledge and expertise

Read more @ SEQ Catchments …

On the Frontline: Climate Change & Rural Communities

'On the Frontline: Climate Change & Rural Communities' coverA report from the Climate Council reveals that climate change is likely to worsen the systemic disadvantages suffered by rural and regional communities, and further widen the gap between rural and urban areas.
The 'On the Frontline: Climate Change & Rural Communities' report finds the increase in extreme weather events is disproportionately affecting those in rural areas, with serious social, health and economic impacts.

Report @ Climate Council … Read Naturally Together newsletter online …

21/10 2016

Bush Poet’s Breakfast | Sun 23 October 2016

Full cooked breakkie, entertainment and activities.

  • Budding Poets Competition Prize: Trophy- People's Choice. $50 Value Prize Best Youth (under 18yrs*). $50 Value Prize Best Adult (over 18yrs).
  • Sun 23rd October 2016, breakfast starts at 7am and finishes at 9:30am.
  • Your ticket includes a Poetry Writing Workshop at 10am with Noel Stallard!
  • Highfields Pioneer Village, 73 Wirraglen Road, Highfields Queensland 4352
  • Your ticket includes entry to over 60 historic buildings will back memories from time gone by.
  • Conditions*: Youth entrant must read or recite their poems on the day.
Event information and booking …

21/10 2016

Aussie Backyard Bird Count

Monday, October 17, 2016 to Sunday, October 23, 2016

BirdLife Australia and the Birds in Backyards team have come together to bring you the Aussie Backyard Bird Count

Check out the results from the 2015 Aussie Backyard Bird Count here

You too can celebrate National Bird Week by taking part in the biggest citizen science project to hit Aussie shores! From 17-23 October 2016, thousands of people from across the country are heading out into their backyards, local parks or favourite open spaces to take part in the third annual Aussie Backyard Bird Count!

To get involved all you need is 20 minutes, your ‘green patch’ of choice, and some keen eyesight (or binoculars!) And it doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or an expert—we’ll be there to help you out along the way! Simply record the birds you know and look up those you don’t on our ‘Aussie Bird Count’ app or our website. You’ll instantly see live statistics and information on how many people are taking part near you and the number of birds and species counted not just across your neighbourhood but the whole of Australia!

Not only will you get to know your feathered neighbours, but you’ll be contributing to a vital pool of information from across the nation that will help us see how Australian birds are faring.

So get your friends and family together during National Bird Week, head into the great outdoors and start counting!


21/10 2016

National Water Week

Sunday, October 16, 2016 to Saturday, October 22, 2016

Each year, National Water Week makes a splash across Australia inspiring individuals, communities and organisations to work together to build community awareness and understanding around water issues and opportunities for growth and innovation. This year's National Water week’s theme is ‘Water - life - growth’ encouraging sound water practices and investment in all the water sources to ensure we don’t exhaust our current sources in potentially challenging times ahead.

National Water Week provides an opportunity to remind ourselves and teach others that water must be used wisely if there is to be enough to meet the needs of our future generations. While the week is dedicated to encouraging communities to take action to protect our vital water sources, it’s also a celebration of innovation and water achievements that have and will contribute to Australia’s sustainable future and economic prosperity.

The Australian Water Association is the national coordinator for National Water Week and works with their members, interested organisations, schools and communities to promote National Water Week events, activities and educational resources, and increase involvement across the country.


20/10 2016

2016 National Twitchathon

Every year, hundreds of passionate birdwatchers race around the great Australian bush competing in a unique sporting event called a Twitchathon. The aim? To see or hear as many bird species as possible, and in the process help protect our birdlife for years to come.

In 2016, the BirdLife Australia National Twitchathon is back, bigger and better than ever. Whether it’s your first time spotting or you’re a fully-fledged twitcher, the Twitchathon is now a nationwide competition that caters for all birders. No matter where you live you can take part and raise funds for BirdLife Australia’s important conservation work.

This year, the event will be held on 29–30 October in all states and territories (except Victoria, where it will be held on 5–6 November).

Interested in participating?

This year there are three different event options to choose from. Choose an event, form a team, and start planning a route and fundraising strategy!

As always, the 24-hour race will be a marathon of maximum habitat coverage, yielding massive species totals – winning teams regularly see over a quarter of all Australia’s birds, driving hundreds of kilometres and stopping only to twitch. This year, a system for calculating the national winning team has been created using statistical analysis of BirdLife Atlas data found in our new Birdata web portal.

For those with less time, the 12-hour ‘Champagne’ race gives teams half a day to spot as many birds as they can. This more relaxed event avoids the need for teams to drive overnight, and even includes an optional lunch break.

The ‘Birdathon’ targets everyone, young and old, experienced and novice. Each team has three 1-hour blocks to birdwatch over the course of the day, which they can choose to use at any time, and in any place. So one hour (or more) could be spent at your local park or wetland, or it could be that patch of mallee or rainforest that’s a few hours’ drive away.

To register, visit the BirdLife Australia National Twitchathon page and follow the directions provided, or alternatively email twitchathon.aus@gmail.com and the national coordinators will put you in contact with the right person.

Sponsor a team

Each year, the funds raised go toward a different bird conservation initiative in each state. As much as $20,000 can be raised for a single project thanks to the Twitchathon, so even if you are busy on the race weekend, you can still play an important role. Sponsor a team, or, if you can’t choose between them, donate directly to a species or your state’s cause. You can also make donations after the event, till the end of November.

To learn more about each state’s conservation project, and to donate, please visit our Just Giving page and follow the links to the state pages.

Merchandise for Gould's Petrel and White-faced Storm-petrel

Check out AviNature Designs, an Australian T-shirt brand set up specifically to help raise funds for the NSW Twitchathon’s project – protecting Gould’s Petrels and White-faced Storm-Petrels on the Mid-North Coast of NSW. Beautiful T-shirts, featuring these threatened species, can be carefully customised to suit anyone’s liking. To check out the designs and order one (or more!) visit their website

BirdLife Australia


20/10 2016

The National Sustainable Living Festival - 4 to 26 Feb 2017 - applications open!

In 2017, we are facing a critical climate situation. So we are absolutely pumped to be taking an even stronger stance with a bolder message for next year's Festival! Sustainable lifestyles and cooling the planet are now more important than ever. To reinforce our message we have amazing climate change photography from Benjamin Von Wong to accompany our campaign.

Our first Online Festival will be launched as part of the 2017 program, which will open the doors for varied and new content, reaching an even wider audience.

Join us on our journey to engage even more of the community in protecting the things we care about

Sarah Jedrusiak | Program Coordinator | Sustainable Living Foundation


20/10 2016

What’s New around the World

Editor's Choice

Here's a guide to help countries implement the SDGs

Weaving the Sustainable Development Goals into national governance takes vision, collaboration, and methodology. Policymakers and experts from Asia and Europe meet this week in Stockholm to discuss the way forward Read more …

Climate deal struck to curb ‘super greenhouse gases’

The legally binding agreement reached in Kigali on October 14 - which experts call “the single most important measure" to limit global warming in the short term - promises to drastically cut the use of HFCs. Read more …

From fear to opportunity: How sustainable business can help address the refugee crisis

Countries taking in refugees may find it challenging to cope with increased pressure on resources, public services, and jobs. Earth Security Group chief executive Alejandro Litovsky shares how sustainable, inclusive business can help. Read more …

Tasty insects benefit poor and climate

New research shows how nutrient-rich insects can make a big contribution to diet in poor countries – and help in the fight against climate change Read more …

News

To meet the SDGs, Asia and Europe must work together

The Sustainable Development Goals offer the hope of a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous world by 2030, but will be impossible to achieve without unprecedented global collaboration, say experts. Read more …

How the food we eat makes climate change worse

To feed a growing global population, agricultural production must rise by about 60 per cent by 2050. Read more …

Opinion

Business action on the SDGs: closing the trust deficit

New research shows the extent of the ‘trust deficit’ between corporate action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and millennials’ expectations. Businesses must act to close this gap, says Corporate Citizenship's Nana Guar. Read more …

How smart thermostats are making energy efficiency easy

Smart thermostats have the potential to revolutionalise home energy efficiency, but also bring concerns such as privacy and security. Tech writer Emma Bailey shares how the technology can be scaled up more effectively. Read more …

Eco-Business … Newsletter …

18/10 2016

Help the Rights Of Nature Tribunal Australia

People's Tribunal for the Rights of Nature

In 4 days time, the Forests of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Artesian Basin and the Kimberley Region's Mardoowarra River will challenge Australia's governments for violating their rights to exist, thrive and evolve.

These precious ecosystems are the first members of the Earth community to be represented in Australia's new People's Tribunal for the Rights of Nature, being held in Brisbane on Saturday 22nd October.  Click here for a copy of the Tribunal Program, and find out about the incredible people who are part of the Tribunal - First Nations Peoples, environmental groups, scientists, lawyers and concerned citizens who are speaking on behalf of nature.

The Tribunal offers a unique forum in Australia, to speak out against the destruction being caused to the natural world.  But we urgently need your support. We cannot make this happen without your donation

CLICK HERE to donate and support the Rights of Nature Tribunal

Your donation will help us pay for:

  • venue costs, so we can keep entry fees as low as possible to enable maximum participation;
  • travel and expenses for speakers including First Nations people, scientists and community representatives; and
  • some wages for essential organising and administration (which has been 100% voluntary all year).

Our current legal system has failed to support the ecological health of the non-human world. Despite some excellent initiatives in environmental law, the overall legal system is geared to support unsustainable human centred ‘development and growth’ that destroys the natural world. That is why we need to support the Tribunal.

This event will be inspiring. Please be a part of this! We really need your donation to make this a success
Click here - donate now!


14/10 2016

Eco-Business Weekly Newsletter Highlights

Editor's Choice

Landmark Paris Agreement to enter into force

With over 55 parties covering more than 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions ratifying the Paris Climate Change Agreement on Thursday, the landmark accord will enter into force in 30 days. Read more …

The business sector is the deer caught in the Paris Agreement headlights

The Paris climate agreement's ratification exposes how the private sector is lagging in its fight against climate change, says Sindicatum Sustainable Resources' Assaad Razzouk. Read more …

Transport infrastructure: We keep building what we don't need

We are doggedly investing over a trillion scarce dollars a year in new carriers, ports, roads, railways and airports. The big question is, are they the right kinds of infrastructure? Aurecon ports and marine leader Jeroen Overbeek explores. Read more …

Sustainability is good business — and here's proof

A compendium of 22 research studies proves that profit and sustainability in business are synergistically linked. Read more …

News

Fossil fuel industry must halt expansion

Analysis of fossil fuel projects shows that prospecting for new coal, oil and gas has to stop to prevent the planet overheating. Read more …

Scoring palm oil buyers on their sustainability commitments

2015 was supposed to be a tipping point for the palm oil industry — so how are companies that purchase palm oil for use in their products faring in terms of achieving their sustainability goals? A new "Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard" released by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) found decidedly mixed results. Read more …

Opinion

South Australian blackout: renewables aren't a threat to energy security, they're the future

South Australia's blackout last week raised questions about the role of renewable energy in energy security. Samantha Hepburn from Deakin University explains why energy security for the future is about diversity, and not an outdated reliance on fossil fuel-generated power. Read more …

Health is a prerequisite for sustainable urban development

After a slow start, traction on health issues in the Habitat III process has grown. But before the New Urban Agenda is finalised this month, researchers suggest one addition. Read more …

Eco-Business … Newsletter …


06/10 2016

Ride 2 Work Day | 12 October 2016 | Toowoomba

The countdown is on – with a week until National Ride2Work Day - Wednesday 12 October 2016.

Toowoomba Regional Council and Toowoomba Bicycle Users Group invite you to take part in this year’s national event and join us for breakfast

This year’s Free Breakfast will be held in the Civic Square, outside the new City Library at 155 Herries Street, Toowoomba.  The Cycle Hub located on Victoria Street at the City Library will be open for use and for people to view the end-of-trip facilities (i.e. bike racks, showers, change rooms, lockers and toilets).

In line with previous Ride2Work Day events, this year’s Workplace Cycling Challenge is to encourage new commuter cyclists.  Your challenge is to support staff in your workplace, who are not regular commuters, to gear-up and join this year’s Ride2Work day.

Help us spread the word and fun by uploading your favourite cycling photo to Instagram and tag #Ride2WorkToowoomba. 

Don’t forget to join the Facebook event: Ride2Work Toowoomba 2016



05/10 2016

Australian Permaculture Magazine (pip) | Celebrating Bill’s Life

Vale Bill Mollison 1928 -2016

Bill Mollison, co-founder of the permaculture concept with David Holmgren, passed away peacefully in Hobart, Tasmania, on September 24, 2016. Tributes have flown in over the last few days for this giant of the permaculture movement, a true pioneer and visionary, and today we’re reflecting on a life richly lived and generously shared.

He gifted so much to the world: a vision and framework for a positive future, a special concern for developing countries, and above all, hope…A massive tree in the forest of humanity has fallen.

Permaculture Research Institute, on behalf of Bill’s widow Lisa Mollison

Bill was born and raised in Tasmania, and his early life involved little formal education, but rather an education in the workings of the natural world. His early careers included shark fisherman and seaman, forester, mill-worker, trapper, tractor-driver and naturalist. A man of the outdoors, Bill joined the CSIRO Wildlife Survey Section in 1954. His time in Tasmania’s rainforests and natural systems gave him the founding structure for what became his life’s major w0rk — the Permaculture Design System – and led him to a teaching position at the University of Tasmania.

[He had…] meaty hands and thick nicotine stained fingers; of a working man, I thought.

David Holmgren, A chance meeting

A chance meeting in Hobart, at the University of Tasmania in 1974, between Bill and David Holmgren was to have a massive impact on the course of both their lives, and the lives of millions around the world.

In 1978, Bill and David collaborated on the writing of “Permaculture One”, a book whose ripple effects and influence have transformed the lives and livelihoods of countless people around the world. For his service to humanity Bill was honoured with numerous awards, including the Right Livelihood Award in 1981 and the Vavilov Medal.

With the passing of Bill Mollison, aged 88, in Tasmania on Saturday comes the end of an era for many thousands of people around the world whose lives were transformed by the teaching and writing of one of Australia’s most influential ecological pioneers. My two year student/mentor relationship with Bill from late 1974 was certainly the defining relationship that set the course for the rest of my life

David Holmgren, co-founder of the permaculture concept



06/10 2016

Eco-Business Weekly Newsletter Highlights

Systems thinking: Unlocking the Sustainable Development Goals

The world has made some good progress towards advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, but there is a key piece missing from these efforts, says Forum for the Future deputy chief executive Stephanie Draper. That is: systems thinking. Read more …

How aviation could, finally, agree a climate deal

The aviation industry does not feature in the Paris Agreement, and yet it emits millions of tonnes of CO2 a year. Would a new scheme on emissions reduction spearheaded by the International Civil Aviation Organisation finally take flight? Read more …

Fossil fuel majors ignore climate crisis

Eminent US environmentalist Bill McKibben warns that fossil fuel use is destroying the planet, and calls for curbs on the political power of the oil industry. Read more …

Putting carbon back in the land is just a smokescreen for real climate action: Climate Council report

Expecting the land's carbon absorption to make up for emissions from burning fossil fuels masks the need for real climate action, say scientists in Australia. Read more …

Eco-Business … Newsletter …


04/10 2016

Survey finds 90% of Australians believe government should drive action on climate change

A survey of 2000 Australians found that 77% believe climate change is occurring and 90% believe the government has a responsibility to drive action. Climate Institute CEO John Connor said Australians are realising that climate change is occurring now and are certainly expressing great concerns about not only things like the Great Barrier Reef, but also health. Read more …



04/10 2016

There's still time to have your say!

Discussion Paper: Towards a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia - coverDiscussion Paper: Towards a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia.

This paper reviews the health impacts of climate change in Australia, examines the current national climate change mitigation and adaptation policies and highlights the obligations Australia now has under the global climate agreement, the Paris Agreement, to consider health in the context of its climate policies.

Click on the image on the to view/download the discussion paper

All health care stakeholders and interested parties are invited to respond to the ideas raised in the Discussion Paper through the online survey (available for review prior in the paper’s Appendix).

Read more of the latest 'Climate and Health News & Events'



03/10 2016

Australians left critically vulnerable to climate change: health experts warn

 

Leading health experts say Australia’s health system is unprepared for the impacts of climate change, leaving communities unnecessarily exposed.

In a national first, the Climate and Health Alliance surveyed more than 130 peak health bodies, unions and health professionals – including doctors, nurses, midwives, public health practitioners and psychologists – to evaluate the sector’s preparedness for the impacts of climate change.

The results uncovered major gaps and widespread concerns, revealing:

  • Health professionals consider the government’s current climate policy a failure (52% considered the Direct Action Plan “not at all effective”)
  • 78% think Australia’s current climate policies are inconsistent with our international obligations, including the Paris Agreement
  • Nearly 90% of respondents were well informed about climate change and health and aware that people’s health could benefit from climate mitigation and adaptation strategies

The results of our survey were explicit and urgent, said Dr Liz Hanna, President of the Climate and Health Alliance.

In Australia, climate change is already increasing heat-related illnesses and deaths, outbreaks of infectious diseases, mental illness and stress associated with extreme weather events, and risk of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, among others.

Public Health Association of Australia’s Dr Peter Tait, a former GP of the Year, said: That ignorance is putting communities unnecessarily at risk from illness, accidents and stressors that could be managed with a national health strategy.

It is time for a national strategy to build our resilience and response capacity as climate change increasingly impacts vulnerable communities over the next decade.

The survey also revealed:

  • High level of concern about the exposure of Australian patients to serious health issues worsening under climate change (ranging from food insecurity, to injuries and deaths, to vector-borne and infectious disease)
  • Huge gaps in state and federal policies, with two thirds (65%) of those surveyed unable to name a policy in place designed to cope with what’s being described as the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century[1]; and
  • Almost universal agreement (98%) regarding the need for Australia to develop a national strategy on climate, health and well-being.

These results make three points abundantly clear, Dr Tait said. First, Australia is totally unprepared for the health impacts of climate change. Secondly, the health sector is demanding a national strategy in order to build resilience and a robust health response to this emerging dilemma. Lastly, that we are running out of time to make our communities as safe as possible, and that responsibility lies at the feet of the federal government.

This survey came on the heels of a recent global survey that found Australia lags behind comparable countries when it comes to protecting the health of its citizens from climate change, and has failed to recognise climate change related health impacts in its national climate change policies and planning efforts.

Download a copy of the Preliminary Report into the survey results here. Access the media release here.

The online survey to respond to the Discussion Paper: Towards a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being remains open and can be accessed here.

The Discussion Paper (which includes a copy of the survey itself), can be downloaded here.

For more information about the campaign for a national strategy on climate, health and well-being for Australia, click here.



03/10 2016

Port Hinchinbrook Re-run as Hinchinbrook Harbour

‘Port Hinchinbrook’ re-run as ‘Hinchinbrook Harbour’:
 How will the GBRWHA fare this time?

The Alliance to Save Hinchinbrook Inc (ASH) was incorporated in 1997 principally to ensure protection of the world heritage listed Hinchinbrook Island and Hinchinbrook Channel from adverse impacts arising from inappropriate development.

The first intention announced by the new owners of ‘Hinchinbrook Harbour’, the twice liquidated canal estate previously known as ‘Resort Village Cardwell’ (1980s -1993) and ‘Port Hinchinbrook’ (1994 -2012), is to prioritise dredging of the silted-up marina.

ASH spokesperson, Ms Moorhouse, said: We trust the new owners are aware of the highly sensitive natural environment of their acquisition; that Hinchinbrook Channel is home to seagrass-dependent dugongs, listed as vulnerable to extinction, which now need every care to survive; and that these dugongs and other marine animals of the Hinchinbrook Channel were important factors in having the Great Barrier Reef inscribed on the world heritage list.

These are also the reasons that dumping of dredge spoil into the Hinchinbrook Channel was formally refused in 2009; the acid marine mud is required to be stored ashore.

Perhaps the new owners are not aware that ‘Hinchinbrook Harbour’ sits on an old mangrove island in a shallow catchment; or that it has a highly mobile seabottom causing severe siltation (Queensland Government coastal engineering report 1977); or that the rapidity of silt infill has defeated past owners.

Documents show that the high cost of land disposal coupled with frequent dredging proved too much for Keith Williams. Ms Moorhouse said After covering around 60 ha south of Stoney Creek with 4-5 metres depth of acid mud, Keith Williams simply ran out of space.

‘Port Hinchinbrook’ residents however were kept guessing: anyone who cares to do the math on the disposal of 130,000 cubic meters at $30 per cm … will quickly realise that the cost is nearly four million dollars … we must ask … (again) why there is so much silt ... (PHC BAMLPAYERS ASSOCIATION Newsletter July 2008).

Ms Moorhouse said ASH is keen to hear from the new owners of ‘Hinchinbrook Harbour’ as to how they intend to prioritise protection of the sensitive biodiversity and remote wilderness values of Hinchinbrook Channel and Island.

Margaret J Moorhouse
Alliance to Save Hinchinbrook Inc.
PO Box 2457, Townsville QLD 4810
hinchinbrookforever@gmail.com, mob: 0427 724 052



30/09 2016

Have your say on the protection of Queensland's koalas

I am writing to provide an update on the review of the koala programs and initiatives and to invite you to participate in consultation.

An expert panel has been convened to provide advice on an appropriate response to the continued decline of koalas in South East Queensland.

The Queensland Government also recognises that there are many other individuals and groups that can make a valuable contribution to this process. You are invited to provide feedback though an online survey.

The survey is available at https://www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au/gi/consultation/3260/view.html and will be open from 30 September to 21 October 2016.

Kind regards
The Koala Policy and Oversight Team



28/09 2016

Electric Vehicle Expo | 16 Oct 2016 - Toowoomba



26/09 2016

3 weeks until AELA Conference - Register Now!

The future of Australian environmental law: politics, reform and community activism

AELA Conference - only 3 weeks to go!

Thursday 20th and Friday 21st October 2016
Griffith EcoCentre Griffith University, Nathan Campus

It's only 3 weeks until our fantastic AELA Conference. Register now and join us for a unique opportunity to hear presentations from Judges - such as the Chief Justice of the NSW Land and Environment Court - and presentations from leading environmental law academics, the CEO's of Greenpeace and ACF, and from the CEOs of EDO NSW, EDO Qld and Environmental Justice Australia.

Registration is just $360 (standard) or $180 unwaged/full time student, for two full days.

CONFERENCE INFORMATION

  • REGISTRATION– please click here to book your place at the conference, via our Trybooking Registration page
  • PROGRAM– please click here to read about the fantastic speakers and sessions
  • CONFERENCE DINNER – will be held Friday evening, 21st October 2016 at G’s Restaurant , on Griffith University Nathan campus (10 minute walk from conference venue). You can book for the conference dinner when you register to attend the conference (please use the Trybooking link above)
  • ACCOMMODATION - information about accommodation close to the venue in Brisbane is available on the conference webpage
  • RIGHTS OF NATURE TRIBUNAL - If you’re able to stay in Brisbane for an extra day, you might like to attend Australia’s first Rights of Nature Tribunal, being held on Saturday 22nd October, at Banco Court. Please click here for more information - bookings are now open
  • AWESOME ARTS EVENING, BRISBANE POWERHOUSE - THURSDAY 20TH OCTOBER –We’ll be hosting a special evening at the Brisbane Powerhouse for interested conference delegates on Thursday 20th October, to see the exhibition 'Plenty', which is co-curated by AELA to celebrate the rights of nature. Please see the Conference Program for more information.

See you at the conference!

Dr Michelle Maloney
National Convenor, AELA

WWW … Facebook … Program … Email … Registration …


27/09 2016

Renewable Energy Expert Panel Draft Report Forum invitation

Dear Stakeholder,

Earlier this year, the Queensland Government established the Renewable Energy Expert Panel to investigate credible pathways towards achieving a 50% renewable energy target in Queensland by 2030.

Following the release of an Issues Paper in May, and in preparation for the development of its Draft Report, the Panel held a number of community forums and online events seeking the views of Queenslanders in relation to developing a renewable energy economy for our state.

The Panel is due to release its Draft Report in mid-October.

The Panel will then host a second series of regional forums and online discussions to share their findings and to seek further feedback from the Queensland community and industry.

We invite your attendance at the one of the regional public forums. Registration is essential and is now open for the following locations:

Please visit www.QLDREpanel.com.au for more details on the Draft Report and further opportunities to contribute to the consultation process.

Yours sincerely,

The Renewable Energy Expert Panel team



26/09 2016

Australian Bird Feeding and Watering Study results

Friend of the Environment,

Well I am only delighted to share an interview I did on Afternoons on ABC Radio National on Friday 23rd. On the show I discuss a few very early trends from the data you supplied during the winter stage of The Australian Bird Feeding and Watering Study (www.feedingbirds.org.au). Please remember the trends I talk about during the show reflects very early findings/trends and may well change! I plan on exploring these trends in more detail and apply more rigorous statistics before drawing any real conclusions. In addition we need information from the summer survey before I can say anything is for sure.

In saying all this!!!! I do want to share the excitement of what the data is revealing in this early stage as this is my favourite part of science – finding trends by combining all the information you have supplied. I hope you enjoy the show and you can listen to it on the ABC site.

The summer dates are as follows:

  • Week 1 Monday 30th Jan – Sunday 5th February;
  • Week 2 Monday 6th – Sunday 12th of February;
  • Week 3 Monday 13th - Sunday 19th February;
  • Week 4 Monday 20th – Sunday 26th of February.

If you cannot commit to the full time period that is ok – just do what you can.

Before the summer survey starts myself and my hubby will be working on the website (www.feedingbirds.org.au) to make it easier for you to use. We are using the feedback some of you have supplied, in particular setting of date and time for a survey! We will also have a paper based option for the summer survey where you can download and print off a form to fill in a survey that you can either email or post back to me.

Anyway that is all for now! Do stay in touch and feel free to email me with pictures or stories about your interactions with birds. Also, we have a facebook page facebook.com/bathingbrids where you can share photos of both feeding and bathing birds.

Warmest Wishes,

Grá



23/09 2016

QCC - Update on the Queensland land clearing campaign

The Queensland government's Bill to restore land clearing laws to where they were in early 2012 was defeated on 18 August, thanks to the LNP, Katter Party and Independent MP Billy Gordon voting against sensible, moderate reform. The Bill presented to Parliament was the culmination of a lot of public and private advocacy by conservation groups across Queensland, and in the latter stages was also backed by some farmer groups. With a hung Parliament, some live wires on the crossbench and heightened political debates about the impacts of clearing, there was always a reasonable chance the Bill would not be passed.

We should thank the Palaszczuk government for pursuing its reforms, consistent with election commitments made in early 2015, to restore stronger laws to protect wildlife and habitats, the Great Barrier Reef and the climate. We should acknowledge the leadership provided by the Deputy Premier Jackie Trad on these issues, and the strong support the Bill received from Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles, and many other Ministers and backbenchers who made eloquent speeches and who engaged with their communities on land clearing issues.

We should also thank Independent MP for Cairns, Rob Pyne, for his support for the Bill and reforms, and to other Independent MPs for listening to our concerns. I remain quite convinced that Billy Gordon's vote had little to do with the Bill itself, and more to do with being a lonesome Independent who has pretensions of re-election. He has said as much in the media since! None of the Independents spoke on the Bill, leaving it to Labor and the Nationals side of the Opposition to do most of the talking. This was quite instructive, and the last two speeches in particular (from Seeney and Trad) could not have contrasted more. Jeff's was all about the past, and quoted from his own words in 1999 opposing the original Vegetation Management Act, while Jackie's was about the present and the future, including Reef protection and climate change. Both are worth a read (see http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/hansard/2016/2016_08_18_WEEKLY.pdf full debate starts on Hansard p3003, and last two speeches start p3070).

Other things to note: the real science on land clearing, that is the empirical research and the analysis and statements from literally hundreds of researchers including world-leading conservation biologists and others, was never challenged, and remains a key challenge to be addressed. Meanwhile, the bullshit claims from AgForce and others remains out there, wrong but undoubtedly believed by many landholders and repeated by conservative MPs, and these need correcting. But most importantly, the problems raised by land clearing have not gone away: clearing rates and associated carbon emissions will remain a big concern, habitats will continue to be lost threatening native fauna, and the Great Barrier Reef now runs the risk of being further damaged and placed on the World Heritage in Danger.

So, what happens now? The Palaszczuk government has made several media comments about there not being another crack at legislative reform this term…understandable. However, clearing remains a big problem, and Labor still has a clear policy to restore stronger land clearing laws which is needs to implement. This all points to this as one of the main environmental focuses in the next Queensland election. Queensland Conservation Council is currently working with a number of conservation groups and others to plan the next stages of the campaign to see stronger land clearing laws in place.

In the meantime, there are some temporary administrative options which the government could use, which conservation groups have advocated from the very start as ways of reducing some clearing in key areas, including GBR catchments. But this won’t stop rapid clearing where permits already exist (and we have some intel this is underway), panic clearing of other high conservation value regrowth vegetation, nor illegal clearing. We are also waiting to see how serious the Federal government is with interventions under the EPBC Act.

Thanks to all the groups and people who earlier this year held local meetings, put in submissions, wrote letters, did media, met with politicians, talked to progressive farmers, and otherwise got active. This made a big difference, but we didn’t quite get there. We can win this, but we will all need to significantly ramp up the campaign over the next twelve months and beyond to see our native woodlands better protected, for the critters that depend on them, and for the reef and climate which need them intact.

We will endeavour to keep you informed of the refreshed campaign as it develops and evolves.

For nature and a healthy climate

Dr Tim Seelig
Coordinator
Queensland Conservation Council



22/09 2016

Urgent land clearing campaign

Dear friend,

I hope this finds you well. This message relates to land clearing and a documentary about the tragic death of Environment Protection Officer Glen Turner in 2014 and an exploration of the wider political implications of the murder, in the context of proposed changes to Australia's environmental protection laws.

I think it is vitally important that these issues are brought to public attention – the crowd-funding runs out in 4 days and they still need about $7000 to reach the tipping point. Here are excerpts from the Pozible link for the documentary Cultivating Murder: https://pozible.com/project/cultivating-murder-4

The film has the unqualified support and participation of Glen Turner's family and we need your support to tell the story in the most effective way possible.

Land clearing is a major source of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, contributing approximately 12 percent to Australia’s total emissions. It contributes to higher temperatures, decreased rainfall and more intense droughts. Over the past twenty years Australian governments have been introducing more environmental protection regulation to meet carbon emission reduction targets. Large corporate interests have entered the industry with greater financial resources and plans to industrialize the landscape. The frustration of farmers at increased regulation has played into the agendas of these large corporate farming operators.

Cultivating Murder presents personal stories from the frontline of this new environmental battle, that is shaping up to define the future of farming practice and environmental protection in Australia. With both sides unhappy with the draft laws, we are now in limbo with the NSW and Queensland governments soon to debate new bills.

Presently in the NSW Parliament the vegetation and biodiversity legislation process is on foot – the following is taken from correspondence from the NSW Farming Future group and they are encouraging people from NSW to sign these petitions. I think we have a lot to learn here in Queensland from these developments in New South Wales.

Three months ago Glenn Morris, a beef farmer from Inverell rode his horse Hombre over the Harbour bridge to raise awareness about the plight of our fragile landscape.

Now Glenn has joined with farmers and land managers across NSW to send an open-letter to Premier Mike Baird about his plans to overhaul the land-clearing laws which protect healthy soils, waterways and vegetation. Glenn also wrote the message below to share with you.

As someone who makes a living from the land I know what true sustainability means. For me it means fostering healthy soils, preserving trees in the landscape, producing food that nourishes, and remembering that one day someone else will call this land home.

That’s why I’ve taken a stand against the NSW Government’s plan to scrap our land management laws which have protected soils, waterways and trees for over a decade.

Last week I stood with other farmers across the state and released a statement to Premier Mike Baird calling on his Government to seriously consider rewriting new laws which are more in line with delivering sustainable agricultural and environmental outcomes. You can join me by signing the statement too.

When I read through the Baird Government’s proposed changes to the laws I could not believe that yet again climate change and healthy soils barely rated a mention. This is 2016!

Doesn't the Premier know that land clearing causes climate change, erodes soils and destroys the foundations of an effective water cycle? If you believe the future of agriculture relies on us all being greater stewards of the land, learning from best practice and supporting farmers to do the right thing then join me.

If you’re a farmer, food producer or land manager please join me in signing the statement and sharing it with your contacts. In the coming weeks I’ll make sure the statement with your signature gets to the Premier before he makes any final decisions on the future of our laws.

Thank you for your time, Glenn Morris - Inverell North-West NSW

There is a groundswell of farmers who are trying to present the government with an alternative pathway (world view) for farming in NSW which does not involve further destruction of vegetation, soils and biodiversity. They would really appreciate it if you could circulate the regenerative farmer’s petition to as many farmers and progressive farmer’s networks as you can find.

If you are a land manager or land owner you can sign onto the petition that the group of holistic farmers have initiated; go to Farming Future webpage here: www.farmingfuture.org.au/

If you are not a land owner or manager you can sign onto the petition compiled by Stand Up For Nature http://www.standupfornature.org.au/petition

Please circulate these two petitions to all your contacts. We have to show the Baird Government that there is a large majority of farmers and general public that don’t agree with the proposed Bills who want a new approach for holistic and sustainable management of Native Vegetation that puts a value on the ecosystem services provided for agriculture and the conservation of flora and fauna.

Here is the report about Glenn Morris’s ride:

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/horseman-protests-on-sydney-harbour-bridge-against-clearing-vegetation-20160623-gppxup.html

Moree is in the heart of the once great Brigalow Belt that used to extend from northern Victoria, now from south of Dubbo in central-western NSW to just north of Collinsville – North Queensland. I made a submission to a Qld Parliamentary Inquiry in April and referenced Brigalow and other vital ecosystem and governance issues here and further afield.

https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/committees/AEC/2016/11-VegetationMangt/submissions/656.pdf

Below are more relevant notes and links:

Unique Australian wildlife risks vanishing as ecosystems suffer death by a thousand cuts - January 7, 2016

  • Ayesha Tulloch - Research Fellow, Australian National University
  • James Watson - Associate professor, The University of Queensland
  • Jeremy Ringma - PhD Candidate, Conservation Biology, The University of Queensland
  • Megan Barnes - PhD Student in Conservation Science, The University of Queensland
  • Richard Fuller - Associate professor, The University of Queensland

The brigalow forests and woodlands of Queensland contain the only remaining populations of a number of unique species, including the endemic Retro Slider, Brigalow Scaly-foot and Golden-tailed Gecko. Brigalow previously covered almost 100,000 square kilometres of inland Queensland – bigger than Tasmania.

Brigalow has been affected by the double jeopardy of high loss (87%) and high fragmentation. Two-thirds of its remaining extent is in patches smaller than 50 square kilometres.

Time for new way of thinking

Current environmental policy means we continue to degrade nature at a rapid pace. Clearing of remnant vegetation in Queensland alone nearly doubled from 520 square kilometres in 2012-13 to 950 square kilometres in 2013-14, and nearly quadrupled since 2009-10. The Queensland Labor government has vowed to reform land clearing laws that contributed to this increase. [The legislation to reinstatement laws failed to pass in August 2016]

Patches smaller than five hectares can be routinely cleared without permits. Small patches such as these are mostly ignored by conservation activities, and instead, policies in fragmented landscapes largely focus on keeping remaining large patches intact. This will not be enough to save some ecosystems.

Well over 1,100 square kilometres of remnant vegetation patches have been approved for clearing for High Value Agriculture in Queensland. On a single property in the north, almost 580 square kilometres was recently cleared to make way for high-value agriculture such as sorghum and soy beans.

Policies urgently need to change at state and federal levels. We need to stop the clearing of vegetation communities and fragments. For example, the arbitrary five hectare threshold for land clearing in Queensland needs to be re-evaluated. These thresholds should instead be tailored to each ecosystem.

Globally we need to stop thinking only about the total amount of vegetation loss and consider size and number of remaining fragments. This will be crucial for assessing the health of ecosystems and protecting remnants.

Since most remaining vegetation is on private land, landholders will need incentives to retain small patches, and developers will need a way of choosing between two patches to ensure economic growth and resource consumption needs can still be met. The long-term consequences of policy inaction is the slow, inevitable decline of remaining vegetation communities, and further loss of the species dependent on them: a death by a thousand cuts.

https://theconversation.com/unique-australian-wildlife-risks-vanishing-as-ecosystems-suffer-death-by-a-thousand-cuts-52499

Queensland land-clearing changes threaten trees farmers need - October 3, 2012

  • Kat Grigg - PhD Candidate, GPEM, The University of Queensland
  • Jason Halford - Botanist, The University of Queensland

The Queensland State Government has recently proposed changes to the Vegetation Management Act 1999.

Under the planned reforms, landowners will be able to clear and thin out vegetation using self-assessable codes without the need to apply for permits. This is sounding warning bells for already endangered brigalow-dominated communities.

Brigalow (Acacia harpohpylla) is a silver-leafed, black trunked tree; “brigalow” was an Aboriginal name adopted by white settlers in the 19th century. In Queensland and northern NSW, there is an area called the brigalow belt that is dominated by, you guessed it, brigalow. This same area is also hugely popular with landowners for running livestock, typically cattle, as well as growing crops like wheat, cotton and sorghum.

Over the past 50 years, much of the brigalow coverage in the area has been reduced by over 90%. In the 1950s, large areas of brigalow forest were removed for pasture improvement and cattle grazing. Heavy machinery tore open fields, with burning another favoured way for clearing

In the 1990s, concerns grew over the extent of the clearing. The Queensland government introduced the Vegetation Management Act in 1999 (amended later by the long winded Vegetation Management and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2009). The aim was to protect “high value regrowth” for trees like brigalow to prevent landowners clearing them…

With less than 10% of many brigalow-dominated ecological communities remaining, brigalow-dominated and co-dominated ecological communities are now classed as “endangered” under the main federal environmental legislation for Australia, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act (EPBC Act 1999). Endangered means that particular animal or plant is “facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future”.

Land clearing encourages exotic and invasive plants, animals and insects to make a new home. These invasive species include weeds like lantana (Lantana camara) and the rubber vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora), which are a nightmare for farmers. And brigalow holds the soil together and helps water seep down into the ground. Clearing brigalow has meant more erosion problems for farmers, increased runoff for water, and higher salinity levels in the groundwater.

Whether you’re growing crops or pasture for cattle, if you want to have good soil, brigalow is an extremely important tree to have around. Too often, the health of the soil on a property is not valued enough. Farmers have been found to favour clearing these types of vegetation from the most fertile areas on their properties.

Putting at-risk brigalow-dominated ecosystems on the endangered list helps bring attention to this tree, but it isn’t enough. There has to be a change in attitudes and land management practices by property owners in this area.

Education is definitely one way. Financial incentives such as the Carbon Farming Initiative may be another way to encourage famers to keep existing brigalow trees on their properties. Until this happens, legislation like the Vegetation Management Act 1999 provide an important way to protect brigalow from being cleared. The proposed changes by the state government are a step backwards for the Brigalow Belt.

https://theconversation.com/queensland-land-clearing-changes-threaten-trees-farmers-need-9714

The value of Biodiversity is incalculable as species have been millions of years in evolution and adaptation but are being lost before they have even been identified. The following except from an article about microbes and soil & ecosystem health is very relevant to land clearing and biodiversity loss:

Is Climate Change Putting World's Microbiomes at Risk? - 28 Mar 2016

Researchers are only beginning to understand the complexities of the microbes in the earth’s soil and the role they play in fostering healthy ecosystems. Now, climate change is threatening to disrupt these microbes and the key functions they provide.

As vital as they are, we are only beginning to understand microbes and the role they play in the world's ecosystems. The problem is that these fungi, archaea, and bacteria are so small that in a gram of soil (about a teaspoon), there are a billion or so, with many thousands of species. Perhaps 10 percent of the species are known. The Lilliputian communities that these microorganisms create are enormously complex, and their functions difficult to tease out. But in the last decade, new tools have been developed that have begun to change the research game.

"Soil was a black box," said Janet Jansson, chief scientist for Biology Earth and Biological Sciences at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and president of the International Society for Microbial Ecology. "I have been working in microbial ecology for decades, and it has been difficult, if not impossible, to study them. Now we have these new molecular processes, and suddenly the whole field is exploding."

There is a Manhattan Project-like urgency to sussing out these secrets. A paper in the journal Science last year called for a Unified Microbiome Initiative, and experts have held a series of meetings about it at the White House. The Earth Microbiome Project is a massive global effort to collect samples of microbial communities from thousands of ecosystems around the world. Meanwhile, the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative got underway in 2011 — one-third of the world's biodiversity lives beneath our feet — and it’s focused on preserving the services that healthy soil ecosystems provide, such as a place for plants to grow, the breakdown of waste, and the natural filtration of water. The TerraGenome Project is sequencing the metagenome of soil microbes.

All soil contains large stores of CO2, and scientists are trying to understand how climate change will impact those stores, and how they could be released by land management practices. Much of this information will help create more accurate models of global climate change. And it will also provide insight into ways to alter land management practices to minimize the amount of CO2 released from soil. Tillage and desertification, for example, unlock greenhouse gases in the soil and allow them into the atmosphere. "There are certain soils that just dragging a plow through it displaces huge, huge quantities of carbon," said Bailey. No-till farming, which leaves residue from past crops on the soil and minimizes plowing, is far more beneficial because it gives the microbes food and shelter.

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/is_climate_change_putting_world_microbiomes_at_risk/2977/



19/09 2016

AELA - Rights of Nature Tribunal Australia - 22 October 2016

Rights of Nature Tribunal Australia

What if you could create a unique national forum for Australians to speak out on behalf of the ecosystems, plants and animals we love? You can!

You're invited to be part of the People's Tribunal for the Rights of Nature Australia and work with us on the long-term transformation of how our society and legal system treats the natural world.

AELA has established the Rights of Nature Tribunal Australia to be a permanent civil society institution that can be a voice for local communities and the natural world. The Tribunal will provide a unique forum for people in Australia to speak on behalf of the non-human world, to challenge the current legal system's failure to protect the health of our ecosystems and to highlight the role that the legal system, government agencies and corporations play in destroying the Earth community. The Tribunal will also make recommendations about law reform and restorative actions that need to happen to ensure the future protection of Australia's precious ecosystems and wider Earth community.

The Tribunal will investigate how innovative legal mechanisms, like those being used in New Zealand to better protect rivers and forests, can be created in Australia.

The Tribunal will bring together First Nations People, community groups, scientists, environmental organisations, concerned citizens and Earth lawyers. Our Tribunal Judges include lawyers and elders from Australia's First Nations Peoples, and as the Tribunal is a Regional Chamber of the International Rights of Nature Tribunal, our work will bring Australian issues to the attention of the international community.

The four cases to be heard by the Tribunal on 22nd October are as follows:

  • Mardoowarra/Fitzroy River (Western Australia) vs the Federal and WA Governments
  • The Forests of Australia vs Federal and State Governments.
  • The Great Artesian Basin vs Federal & State Governments and Unconventional Gas Industry.
  • The Atmospheric Commons and Great Barrier Reef vs Australian Government and the Fossil Fuel Industry.
For more information about the Tribunal …

How you can be part of the Rights of Nature Tribunal

  • Attend - register to attend Australia's first Rights of Nature Tribunal, being held in Brisbane on Saturday 22ndOctober 2016, at the Banco Court, 415 George Street.
  • Donate - towards the costs of hosting the Tribunal. Your donation will help us bring indigenous leaders, community members, activists and scientific experts to attend and speak at the Tribunal. It will also help us pay for costs associated with the event, including venue hire.
  • Become a Sponsor - your organisation can sponsor the Tribunal, and have its logo featured on the Tribunal program and other promotional material. Sponsorship ranges from $50 to $5,000. Just send an email to tribunal@earthlaws.org.au expressing interest in becoming a sponsor, and we'll send you our sponsorship information pack.
  • Volunteer - like to volunteer to help out on the day of the Tribunal, or if you have legal, research or media and communications skills you'd like to share with the Tribunal Secretariat. We need lawyers and law students who'd like to be part of working groups to support the Tribunal's work; we also need administrative and communication volunteers to help with a range of projects.
  • Get Creative - find out how you can be part of the national network of creative events and responses that are happening all around Australia, under our RONA16 (Rights of Nature Australia 2016). From our National Exhibition at the Brisbane Powerhouse, to regional art exhibitions and local story telling, everyone can be part of the celebration
  • Register your favourite members of the Earth community - in 200 words or less, tell us which ecosystems and communities of life are most important to you and why you think they should have their own legal rights to exist, thrive and evolve. We'll list everyone's most precious members of the Earth community in our new Rights of Nature Register and contact you about how we might work together to advocate for rights of nature in your community.

Share information about the Tribunal with your networks



06/09 2016

Animal Welfare Film Night, 5 October 2016 - Toowoomba

Fund-raising
F I L M N I G H T

Wed. 5 October 2016 at 6:30pm
at BCC The Strand, Toowoomba

Tickets are $22 each and available online at:
https://fan-force.com/screenings/the-animal-condition-bcc-strand-toowoomba/
or pre book your tickets by phoning Sue Higgins, HOPE member, mob: 0408 747 257

The Animal Condition chronicles three and a half years of recent Australian history, when animal welfare grew from a fringe issue to a national focus. Four young people take an investigative road trip around Australia. Unafraid to ask questions they speak to all sides, from politicians to activists, farmers, Indigenous Australians, philosophers, scientists and immigrant-workers. Views on the subject change with each new encounter, leading to questions about society that go beyond the treatment of animals.

The Animal Condition follows four NIDA graduates who take an investigative road trip around Australia after meeting a group of activists who break the law in order to show an uninterested public what is going on behind the shed doors. However, only one side of the story had been told. They contact camera shy farmers who unexpectedly open their doors, discussing the hardship inflicted by activists, industry and government.

Filmmakers Michael Dalstrom, Ande Cunningham, Sarah-Jane Mcallan and Augusta Miller show their own doubts about extreme oppositional views to rigorous livestock production as they speak to all sides of the debate. Their views on the subject continue to change as they question everyone from activists and welfare agencies to government and industry folk. As the documentary reveals, it becomes apparent the issue of animal conditions extend far beyond the farm gate.

This isn’t just another animal welfare film, it’s a documentary about human and animal suffering; the dying farmer unable to keep his operating costs low enough to break even, the activist jailed for refusing to pay trespassing fines and the animals caught in the middle, said Dahlstrom.

Over the last few years in Australia, animal welfare has grown from a fringe issue to a national focus. This unbiased and even-handed documentary presents all sides of the story, giving the farming industry every opportunity to put its case, and allowing audiences to draw their own conclusions. The Animal Condition has been doing the rounds at film festivals over in the US as well as here in Australia, earning rave reviews. The issues in the film extend beyond animal welfare, which also examines the way that society’s management systems influence how we as humans treat each other

Facebook … Bookings … The Animal Condition …


13/09 2016

National Organic Week (17-25 September)

Gardening Australia host 'Costa the Composter' is the Ambassador of National Organic Week (NOW). Here's your chance to find out more about the benefits of organic products and farming. Attend a NOW event near you, or vote in the Organic Consumers Choice Awards for your favourite product or business. Checkout the Australian Organics Directory for certified organic products.

As consumers, you want food you can recognise and trust. Buying organic products supports food safety, health, good nutrition and the environment. ~ Costa Georgiadis

National Organic Week (17-25 September)


11/09 2016

National Environment Meeting, 20-23 October 2016, Sydney

NEM2016 will be held October 20-23 at the University of Sydney.

The National Environment Meeting 2016 'Hope In The Dark' is fast approaching!

Since 2014, a National Environment Meeting has been held annually, bringing staffers, activists and allied scholars together from across the environmental movement.

Previously hosted by WWF Australia and ACF in 2014 and 2015 respectively, we are proud to announce that this year's National Environment Meeting will be co-hosted by Greenpeace and the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, in partnership with the Sydney Environment Institute.

For the first time ever, the National Environment Meeting has been extended to include public and academic streams, allowing many different environmentalists from across Australia to share their knowledge and skills.

NEM2016 has an exciting program of forums, keynote speakers, workshops, and plenty of opportunities for you to build connections for your important work.

The National Environment Meeting will be held October 20-23 2016 at the University of Sydney.

Register here to attend the public events on Thursday 20 October and Saturday 22 October.

Register here to attend the closed meeting for NGO staff, activists and allied scholars on Friday 21 October.

NEM2016 … View/download program …


15/09 2016

US study - Household dust is laced with harmful chemicals

Household dust is laced with toxic chemicals, study finds

Household dust does more than collect in corners and on bookshelves full of novels you haven’t gotten around to reading. A new study shows it can expose people to a wide range of potentially toxic chemicals.

In what the authors are calling the first study of its kind – a meta-analysis of more than two dozen previous studies on chemicals in dust – they report that 90 percent of dust samples taken from houses in 14 states contain harmful chemicals, including one that’s known to cause cancer.

Most studies only measure a few chemicals so it makes it hard to understand typical exposures in homes and work places, said the study’s lead author Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environment and occupational health at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, in Washington, D.C.

The chemicals studied come from all sorts of common consumer goods, including furniture, personal hygiene products, flooring, baby products, cleaning supplies, fast food and food packaging. Zota said the chemicals are released into the air and then seep into dust that settles on furniture and floors. People can inhale or ingest small particles of dust or even absorb them through the skin.

No matter which way we looked at it, there were some chemicals that stood out, co-author Veena Singla, a staff scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told CBS News. The non-profit group helped to fund the study

Ten harmful chemicals were found in 90 percent of the dust samples tested. Phthalates, used in toys and vinyl flooring, among other products, occurred in the highest concentrations.

They were followed by phenols, often used in cleaning products. Then came flame retardants, fragrances and perflouroalkyl substances, which are used in carpets, textiles, and leather to make them water-, oil- and stain-repellent and to create grease-proof and waterproof coatings for products such as paper plates and food packaging.

Phthalates are linked to multiple health hazards, including reproductive, Signla said. And some flame retardants are linked to cancer.

We think our homes are safe havens, but what we found is the surprising reality that our homes are being polluted by the products we have every day. Our choices about what we buy and the policies we support can make a real difference, Singla said.

Want to know more:



12/09 2016

Interesting articles from Elementa

Carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural land: Ten diet scenarios

Research Article – Sustainability Transitions

Part of an Elementa Forum - New Pathways to Sustainability in Agroecological Systems

Harvest control rules in modern fisheries management

Research Article – Ocean Science

Part of an Elementa Special Feature - Climate change impacts: Fish, fisheries and fisheries management

Elementa … Checkout more aticles …


09/09 2016

Can You Urgently Ask Your MP To Invest In The Reef?

Our Great Barrier Reef suffered a severe coral bleaching event this past summer. As a result, nearly a quarter of the corals have died.

Ocean warming is driving this massive die off. The mining and burning of coal is warming our ocean and leading to huge impacts on our precious marine life.

Australia needs to stop investing in coal and instead invest far more in renewable energy to protect our Reef from the ravages of global warming.

Next week, an important decision will be made on whether to strip $1 billion in much-needed funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), a program helping to grow affordable renewable energy across the nation.

Renewable energy is vital for the future of the Reef. If we want a healthy Reef and a viable tourism industry, we are going to have to invest in solar and wind power.

Please call your local Federal MP and let them know you want them to save ARENA in order to protect our Great Barrier Reef.

Use this handy guide from our friends at Solar Citizens to find your MP’s number, then give them a call during office hours.

MPs are out in the community over the next couple of days and they must get the message that investing in renewables and a healthy Reef is important to voters in their local area.

Give your MP a ring during business hours on Thursday or Friday and let them know you want their support for ARENA. If they’re not in, politely leave a message

Find your local MP's phone number …

Make your MP work for you. Ask them to reject cuts to renewable energy investment that risks the future of the Reef and tourism jobs.

We have only two days until MPs head back to Canberra – and decisions are made. The more calls made, the more we can show our MPs the strength of community support for renewables and the Reef. Call your MP ASAP.



09/09 2016

From Neck of the Woods - Fortnight of 5 Sept 2016

Approval of Mine on Conservation Land

Image: Springvale Station gully erosion - Kerry Trapnell, via ABC News online

In an unprecedented conservation effort, the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) recently spent $7 million to purchase Springvale cattle station, to mitigate effects on the Great Barrier Reef caused by sediment run off from the badly eroded and overgrazed property.

However, last week the Department approved a draft environmental authority for alluvial gold and tin mining from the river bed on the same property. Read more …

Grass should always be greener on the park side of the fence

Image: NPAQ

Not all cattle are black and white, nor are the sensationalist headlines and statements contained within news reports that stray cattle found on Cape York protected areas will be seized and shot by QPWS staff if found on the wrong side of the fence.

Sadly, once again media misinformation stirs cattle station owners into yet another showdown with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Please read the facts …

Efforts by QPWS rangers in conjunction with traditional owners, to help permanently preserve the natural condition of protected areas on Cape York Peninsula by phasing out cattle grazing and permits has been underway for some time now. Neighbouring cattle properties have had twelve months to round up and remove any remaining stock. Read more …

Neck of the Woods online …


06/09 2016

Food for thought - Sweden diverts its waste from the landfill.

How Sweden diverts 99 percent of its waste from the landfill

Sweden is already an environmental leader with its electric roads and plans to be 100% fossil fuel-free by 2050, but they’re not stopping there. The trailblazing Scandinavian nation also diverts 99 percent of its waste from landfills. A significant portion of the nation’s waste is recycled, and a process called waste-to-energy generates electricity from about 50% of the country’s garbage

Of the Sweden’s 4.4 million tons of household waste produced annually, 2.2 million tons are converted into energy using waste-to-energy (WTE), according to Global Citizen. Garbage that is sorted for WTE plants is burned to produce steam, which is then used to spin turbines and generate electricity. Sweden is so proficient at its waste management practices that it actually imports 800,000 tons of rubbish from nearby countries to its 32 WTE plants.

The system depends on residents responsibly in handling their trash, which has become more commonplace over the years. Citizens sort their garbage to go to recycling facilities or WTE plants, resulting in the impressive 99 percent diverted waste statistic. Meanwhile, the U.S. sends 55 percent of its waste to landfills each year.

Read article on inhabit.com …


03/09 2016

Boomerang Alliance | Threat of Marine Plastic to the Environment

Deadly – The Environmental, Economic and Health Threats of Plastic in the Marine Environment

CATALYST ABC TV - PLASTIC OCEANS

Over the past 3 weeks we have been explaining the amount of plastic entering Australia and the world’s oceans – millions of tonnes of toxic material being dumped into our seas, contaminating our seafood, devastating our wildlife and despoiling our beautiful beaches and coasts.

But the question is: what is the effect of all this plastic? The answer is: it threatens our lifestyle across a range of fronts.

Biodiversity

Estimates on the impact of plastic on biodiversity are hardly precise, as it a very complicated process to try and monitor the diverse range of species but It is well documented (GESAMP 2010, UNEP 2014) that plastic litter causes physical harm to marine mammals, fish and invertebrates and death by entanglement, asphyxiation or blockage of organs are common. It is also known that plastic particles tend to accumulate persistent, bioaccumulating and toxic contaminants such as PCBs, DDT and PBDEs (e.g. Ivar du Sol and & Costa 2014, Ogata et al. 2009).

Late last year CSIRO upgraded its estimates to indicate that up to 90% of all seabirds have already ingested plastics and that the growth rate of plastic production indicates the amount doubles every 11 years. Numberofanimalsingesting.pngParticles, including microplastics have recently been found in the circulatory systems and other tissues of filter feeding organisms such as blue mussels following experimental exposure, i.e. in organisms low down the food-chain. These particles caused typical inflammatory responses (GESAMP 2014). Very small (nano-size) microplastics have been shown to cross cell membranes, under laboratory conditions, causing tissue damage (GESAMP 2014).

Within marine food webs, plastic debris commonly serves as both a transport medium and a potential source of toxic chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), endocrine-active substances and chemicals similar to DDT (often used as an agricultural insecticide). These chemicals are known to compromise immunity and cause infertility, even at very low levels.[1]

The Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2014 identified marine debris and plastics as a major threat to the health of the reef. It was found that in the time period of 2008 to 2014, 683,000 items of marine debris were recovered within the marine park. According to a recent study by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, corals digest micro-beads at about the same rate as normal food.[2] Studies have shown that marine litter will tend to collect in mangrove forests, and that such habitats may act as a partial sink for plastics (Ivar do Sul et al. 2014).

In addition to the manner in which plastics act as a toxic sponge, is that microplastics are so small that they have the huge potential to affect virtually all marine life. When things get that small, it opens it up for 96 per cent of the world's biodiversity, which are invertebrates, to potentially start ingesting them. They can enter the bloodstream through the gut, and then they can circulate in the bloodstream, they can directly enter cells and tissues of these animals, states Professor Emma Johnston, from the Sydney Institute of Marine Science.

Marine Biologist Dr. Kathy Townsend from the Moreton Bay Research Station, University of QLD, confirms that approximately 30% of the turtles she autopsies have plastics, including plastic bags, in their intestinal tract with a further 6% killed due to entanglement. Marine turtles are particularly vulnerable to floating debris as some species of marine turtles are thought to mistake plastic bags and other items for jellyfish prey.

The Economy

The UNEP (2014) Report Valuing Plastics: The Business Case for Measuring, Managing and Disclosing Plastic Use in the Consumer Goods Industry estimated that 10 to 20 million tonnes of plastic is finding its way into the world’s oceans each year, costing approximately AUD$17 billion p.a. in environmental damage to marine ecosystems. This includes estimated financial losses incurred by fisheries and tourism as well as time spent cleaning up beaches.

Closer to home, in 2009, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)[3] estimated that the cost to the tourism, fishing and shipping industries was AUD$1.7bn. The best available estimates of direct economic damage from marine debris are from two sectors. From data on the marine economy, the damage from marine debris on the fishing, shipping and marine tourism sectors has a value of AUD$1.7bn billion per annum in the APEC region. The breakdown of this estimate is as follows: AUD$473million to the fishing industry, AUD$362 million to shipping and AUD$808 million to marine tourism. Using APEC fishing catch values data, an estimate of damage of AUD$3482 million was made for the fishing industry.

Another major area of cost to the community is in the bill to clean up our mess –local authorities bear most of the cost of cleaning up litter from beaches, maintaining litter traps and bins etc, which in NSW alone represents a staggering $132 million p.a.

Our health

There is growing concern that the high levels of plastic ingestion by marine species is contaminating our seafood. The August 2016 Greenpeace International Report Plastic In Seafood identified that, across some 10 international studies, on average 27.1% of seafood was found to contain plastic. While there needs to be a lot more research, these findings create a huge threat to our long term health. We need to both understand the direct impacts of plastic ingestion, but potentially more threatening, understand the impacts of both the toxic chemicals contained within the plastics themselves and the chemicals sucked up while in the ocean. These have the potential to cause a range of health problems including cancers, cellular mutation and birth defects.

So Why Haven’t We Acted?

Put simply, the lack of specific action on marine plastic and its major sources has been stymied by our process of regulatory assessment in Australia, which requires an economic assessment to ensure there is a net benefit of any new regulation. This is a notion the writer strongly supports BUT in the areas of marine plastic pollution and waste it is difficult to quantify the impacts on our environment and biodiversity in economic terms. Consequently, it is a narrow approach as currently practiced. Internationally, governments follow the ‘precautionary principle’ to offset this uncertainty. The precautionary approach was discussed at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in June in 1992 and adopted as Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development:

There is overwhelming evidence that marine plastics are widespread in the oceans and that they have caused a range of social, economic and ecological impacts. What is unknown is the overall quantitative impact, on different social systems, economic sectors or species and habitats. But there is a sufficient body of knowledge to argue convincingly of the need to invoke the precautionary approach, in reducing the input of plastics into the ocean and minimizing the risk.

Until our governments properly incorporate the precautionary approach into our supposed ‘best practice approach to regulation’, the only result we can expect is no regulation at all and ongoing pollution. Our view is that strong regulatory action is required now on key sources of plastic where such action can have a relatively quick impact. Further research may indicate additional actions that are necessary.

Recommendations

  1. Government should immediately commission research to test the level of plastic found in Australian seafood along with its potential long term impacts on human health.
  2. Tourism and fishing are important sectors to the Australian economy. Studies to better quantify the impact and long term threat marine plastic pollution to these sectors and the overall economy are important priorities for policymakers.
  3. Consistent with UN principles, the application and use of the precautionary approach must be a key aspect of any regulatory investigations by government.

References

Read online … Boomerang Alliance …


28/08 2016

Eco-Business | Articles

Time for the Green Climate Fund to grow up fast, or it will die slow

The Green Climate Fund should show some guts and stop supporting fossil fuels and their proponents, drawing a clear red line delineating those it won’t do business with, says Sindicatum Sustainable Resources CEO Assaad Razzouk.

Read now …

How Australia can cut waste and grow responsibly

Australia needs to move to a more responsible model of prosperity, say experts. Circular economy business models, better-designed buildings and innovative recycling strategies can help it decouple economic growth and resource use.

Read now …


25/08 2016

NSW Farmer's petition calling for a new approach to management of native vegetation

Please Sign farmers' petition calling for a new approach to holistic management of Native Vegetation

I am seeking your support to force the Baird Government to abandon its Draft Local Land Services Amendment Bill and Biodiversity Conservation Bill that they hope to raise in parliament mid-September. If passed and implemented the new legislation will result in broad scale land clearing, increased carbon emissions, and lead to further decline of endangered ecological communities and threatened flora and fauna. What is proposed has no scientific basis, it is written to appease a minority and totally ignores the principles of conservation biology and ecologically sustainable development.

There is a groundswell of farmers who are trying to present the government with an alternative pathway (world view) for farming in NSW which does not involve further destruction of vegetation, soils and biodiversity. They would really appreciate it if you could circulate the regenerative farmers petition to as many farmers and progressive farmers networks as you can find.

If you are a land manager or land owner you can sign onto the petition that the group of holistic farmers have initiated here or go to Farming Future webpage here: www.farmingfuture.org.au/

If you are not a land owner or manager you can sign onto the petition compiled by Stand Up For Nature http://www.standupfornature.org.au/petition

Please circulate these two petitions to all your contacts. We have to show the Baird Government that there is a large majority of farmers and general public that don't agree with the proposed Bills who want a new approach for holistic and sustainable management of Native Vegetation that puts a value on the ecosystem services provided for agriculture and the conservation of flora and fauna.

If you would like more understanding of what is wrong with the proposed regulations you can read the attached statement by the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists and The Guardian article at the end, there is also my review of the draft Bills attached in a Dropbox link at the end.

Secondly this email is to make you aware of the documentary Cultivating Murder that tells the story of how the government's failure to stop illegal clearing led to the death of Glenn Turner at Croppa Creek. See the links below to the film and consider donating on the crowd funding site available here: https://pozible.com/project/cultivating-murder-4

The aim is to raise $25,000 get the film completed and released in the next month. Quite a few of the OEH staff, and people who were closely involved in the Croppa Creek case contribute to the interviews in the documentary, it has been a mammoth effort to film and now edit. Glenn Turner's death is reason enough why the government must not be allowed to relax the laws to appease a few farmers like Ian Turnbull.


Two months ago month Glenn Morris, a beef farmer from Inverell rode his horse Hombre over the Harbour bridge to raise awareness about the plight of our fragile landscape.

Now Glenn has joined with farmers and land managers across NSW to send an open-letter to Premier Mike Baird about his plans to overhaul the land-clearing laws which protect healthy soils, waterways and vegetation. See their attached media release. Glenn also wrote the message below to share with you.

As someone who makes a living from the land I know what true sustainability means. For me it means fostering healthy soils, preserving trees in the landscape, producing food that nourishes, and remembering that one day someone else will call this land home.

That's why I've taken a stand against the NSW Government's plan to scrap our land management laws which have protected soils, waterways and trees for over a decade.

Last week I stood with other farmers across the state and released a statement to Premier Mike Baird calling on his Government to seriously consider rewriting new laws which are more in line with delivering sustainable agricultural and environmental outcomes. You can join me by signing the statement too.

When I read through the Baird Government's proposed changes to the laws I could not believe that yet again climate change and healthy soils barely rated a mention. This is 2016!

Doesn't the Premier know that land clearing causes climate change, erodes soils and destroys the foundations of an effective water cycle?

If you believe the future of agriculture relies on us all being greater stewards of the land, learning from best practice and supporting farmers to do the right thing then join me.

If you're a farmer, food producer or land manager please join me in signing the statement and sharing it with your contacts.

In the coming weeks I'll make sure the statement with your signature gets to the Premier before he makes any final decisions on the future of our laws.

Thank you for your time,

Glenn Morris
Inverell North-West NSW


More about Gregory Miller who is making the documentary called Cultivating Murder.

About two months after the murder of Glen Turner, I met an amazing chap called Greg Miller who makes film documentaries. He decided that illegal clearing and the Croppa Creek murder was a story that he wanted to tell the world and began filming, and has not stopped since, including sitting in on the trial that lasted many weeks.

The story covers:

  • The extent of illegal clearing that has been going on
  • The NSW and Federal govt failure to do anything about it and their failure to act to stop Ian Turnbull
  • The mixed messages that farmers like Ian Turnbull were getting from dept hierarchy and politicians
  • The impact that the illegal clearing and murder had on Croppa Creek residents
  • How Glen Turners wife has coped since the murder
  • The film also looks at the way the NSW government is about to slash the environment protection laws in this state which will lead to broad scale land clearing once again. It's a massive step backwards in Australia's carbon footprint, not to mention wildlife habitat.

Greg has interviewed many people who have been directly and indirectly involved in the case, many of them are ex dept experts who have worked with the enforcement of the Native Vegetation Act.

We are hoping that Greg's film will result in an inquiry into the failure of the NSW and Federal govt's to enforce their land clearing laws, which ultimately led to Glen Turner's death.

The link below is an excerpt from CULTIVATING MURDER on the SMH website check it out:

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/nsw-koala-habitat-lost-as-land-clearing-continues-it-would-take-the-army-to-police-these-blokes-20160802-gqjjm6.html also see http://www.cultivatingmurder.com.au/

Crowd funding through Pozible is hoping to raise $25k in one month

The link is now publicly available here: https://pozible.com/project/cultivating-murder-4

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Native vegetation adds up! Native vegetation can be considered to be our 'safety net'.

Native vegetation is not just a home for animals, it provides a whole range of services to our communities, including clean water, protecting soils, storing carbon, helping with pollination and providing people with inspiration and interest in the landscape. Various studies have identified that these services are worth many millions of dollars, these are outlined below.

Apart from sustaining life, it helps to mitigate the impacts of all the activities that cause collective damage to our landscape and our wellbeing.

A study that informed the report Sustaining our Natural Systems and Biodiversity for the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council in 2002 summarised the following monetary values of native vegetation from an Australia-wide perspective. This adds up to a lot of value!

Collateral benefit Estimate of value (2002)

  • Dryland salinity $110 per ha per year
  • Soil erosion $10 per ha per year
  • Carbon sink $1,400 per ha bushland
  • Clean water $230m per year
  • River salinity $46m per year
  • Water regulation Road damage - $45m pa
  • Pollination $1b per year
  • Tourism $6.6b per year total
  • River recreation $259,200 per 10 km river
  • Landscape aesthetics $226,800 per 10,000 ha

A closer look will explain exactly how native vegetation supplies the below services and values. Without native vegetation, our landscape falls apart. Maintaining native vegetation and preventing land degradation are interlinked. For example, the presence of native vegetation at the top of hill slopes has been shown to result in less run-off and erosion on farmland (Young 1997). A study by Walpole, Miles et al. (1998) derived a $9.54 per hectare benefit attributable to the control of land degradation by remnant native vegetation. By contrast, clearing native vegetation can result in adverse impacts on agricultural production. Howard (1996) identified that salinity, waterlogging, water erosion and wind erosion are all exacerbated by a lack of native vegetation in the landscape.

As well:

  • More than 2.5 million hectares of Australia are affected by dryland salinity, at a cost of more than A$270 million a year in environmental degradation, degraded water supplies, lost agricultural production and damage to infrastructure such as roads, buildings and recreational facilities (Campbell 1999).
  • Land degradation in Australia costs $1.15 billion annually in lost production- that is, around 5% of the local value of agricultural production of $23.4 billion in 1994-95 (DEST 1993).
  • If all land degradation were eliminated, the value of agricultural output would rise by $7.3m per year per

Thanks for taking the time to show support, if we all spread to word we will be a force to be reckoned with.

Regards
Phil Spark
22 Garden St Tamworth


If you would like to read more about what is wrong with the draft legislation you can read my submission at the Dropbox link below. Also below are links to articles about the impacts of land clearing:



24/08 2016

'Money doesn't just buy access'

Sibelco sand mine on Stradbroke Island.

Report highlights cosy relationship between mining industry and political parties

THE cosy and often secretive relationship between political parties and their donors in the mining industry has been highlighted in a report that looks at six controversial projects in Queensland including Adani's Carmichael mine.

All of these projects received extraordinary outcomes including policy changes, project approvals and even legislative changes, a statement from The Australia Institute says.

The Greasing the Wheels report, which was co-authored by the Australian Conservation Foundation, found there were "systematic" issues with how governments were dealing with mining approvals in Queensland.

Dr Belinda Edwards of the University of NSW, said the study demonstrated how political donations, specifically cash-for-access fundraising by political parties, corroded democracy.

It demonstrates that money doesn't just buy access, it buys outcomes, Dr Edwards said in the report.

The report found mining companies seeking approval for six controversial mining projects in Queensland, gave more than $2 million in political donations to the Liberal and National parties at both state and federal levels.

These mining projects all gained extraordinary access to government ministers and extraordinary outcomes, the report states.

They included Beach Energy's plans for unconventional gas in the Cooper Basin, Sibelco's sand mine on North Stradbroke Island, Karreman Quarries, the Acland Stage 3 coal mine, Adani's Carmichael mine and underground coal gasification trial projects in Chinchilla and Bloodwood Creek.

These outcomes included legislative changes to remove environmental protections, federal and state government approval of projects despite serious environmental concerns, and even retrospective approval of illegal mining activities, the report stated.

Read more … View/download report …


24/08 2016

AMCS: Your Free Guide To Sustainable Seafood

One of the great pleasures of living in Australia is our access to quality, fresh seafood. But it can be hard to balance living sustainably and enjoying Aussie pastimes like eating fish and chips on the beach. The good news is, there's still plenty of great seafood that doesn't come with a heavy cost to our environment.

That's why we created Australia's Sustainable Seafood Guide over 10 years ago - to take the uncertainty out of choosing seafood that tastes good and is good for the environment. And we've just updated a number of listings in the Guide!

Sustainable Seafood Guide …

You can take it with you to the supermarket, restaurant or fish and chip shop - anywhere you buy your seafood!

Australia's Sustainable Seafood Guide features an easy to use traffic light system to inform you of any threats to protected species or fish stocks and how the seafood is farmed or fished.

Over three-quarters of our global fish stocks are either over-exploited or fished right up to their limit. AMCS is working tirelessly to ensure Australian seafood is sustainable and your seafood choices help make a big difference.



23/08 2016

Articles | Neck of the Woods | NPAQ e-Bulletin

They just keep falling! Legislation failed to pass

Latest figures showed that 296,000 hectares of woody vegetation was cleared in 2014-15. So disappointing that agreements could not be reached to pass the Native Vegetation Clearing Laws. This rate of clearing is not in the best interest of people, agriculture, farming, wildlife, or eco-systems supporting the rivers, bays and reefs of Queensland. Read more …

Shocking News for Threatened Species!

It is so disheartening to hear that almost two dozen of Queensland's native species have had an upgrade to their threatened status.

This is another key reason to support the recent push for tougher vegetation clearing laws in Queensland!

Alarming recommendations this week from the State Government committee charged with assessing flora and fauna included listing the Bramble Cay melomys as extinct. Read more …

Time is Running Out for our Threatened Species and for Action on Climate Change

Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles has announced a review into the risk tree-clearing poses to Queensland’s plant and animal species after 21 were assessed as facing an upgraded threat.

Dr Miles confirmed Queensland’s Species Technical Committee (STC) recommended 21 of the 29 species of flora and fauna it reviewed be re-listed to a more threatened protection status.

He said nine species assessed by the committee on Thursday had been upgraded to "endangered". Read more …

Activities

Saturday 27 August - Sunday 4 September

NPAQ Outback Parks Exploration

(please note this is fully booked)

Sunday 25 September

Bird Activity at Karawatha Forest

Sunday 23 October

Bird Activity at Anstead Bushland Reserve

Sunday 23 October

Clif Bell Memorial Picnic at Anstead Bushland Reserve

Read e-bulletin online …


23/08 2016

Alternative Technology Association (ATA) | Goodbye Gas

'Goodbye gas' brochures

Gas used to be seen as a cheap and clean form of energy. Not anymore. The ATA (Alternative Technology Association) has produced two brochures encouraging people to move away from gas to efficient electric appliances. Read the Goodbye Gas and Green Heating brochures.



21/08 2016

Communique from EDO Qld - Land Clearing Bill

Queensland Parliament fails to pass land clearing Bill

The Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 was defeated last night in Parliament by two votes.

So many of you fought for the Bill to be passed. Thank you. All your hard work was not in vain, you have let our political representatives know that you value sustainable agriculture, and you expect them to take the strong action necessary to protect our environment from the myriad of impacts from uncontrolled and excessive land clearing; and it’s not over yet…

Click here to find out what you can do now!

Together, let’s take a deep breath and continue to stand up for our threatened species, sustainable agriculture, our climate, our Reef, and our children’s future.

EDO Qld logo


19/08 2016

Lock the Gate Alliance | Rally, 29 August - Brisbane

Can you come and join us as we celebrate all that we love about Queensland and raise our voices against all that is put at risk by allowing unfettered and dangerous coal and gas mining projects?

Come and hear directly from affected communities about their courageous efforts to demand a clean and healthy future for our great state. Let’s put our food, water and people first!

There’ll be music, entertainment and great new speakers. Please come along for an hour or so if you can make it, for the love of Queensland. And remember to wear your black and yellow!

We’ll showcase the following four major issues with key speakers on the day:

  1. Protect People’s Health from Risky CSG! Basic human rights to clean drinking water and clean air should be guaranteed for the people of the Western Downs. You’ll hear about the new initiative from the Downs to pursue their human rights.
  2. Save the Darling Downs Food-bowl from Coal mines. Basic human rights to clean drinking water and clean air should be guaranteed for the people of the Western Downs. You’ll hear about the new initiative from the Downs to pursue their human rights.
  3. Don’t Frack our Outback Rivers! Fracking the fragile Outback country could damage some of the last remaining desert rivers in the world, and threaten the Lake Eyre Basin. Hear about the unique wonders of our Outback Rivers.
  4. Make mining giants clean up their own mess. Rio Tinto is trying to sell the Blair Athol coal mine for $1! Linc Energy has gone bankrupt and walked away from the biggest contamination event in our history. Taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for the mining mess.
RSVP … Facebook … Email …


19/08 2016

Australian Marine Conversation Society - Petition

Ask the Australian Government to Reject This Damaging Tree Clearing Permit

Good news! The Australian Government has just taken a big step to address the massive tree clearing harming our Great Barrier Reef.

The broadscale clearing of trees causes serious erosion, with muddy waters flowing into the Reef. This smothers corals and seagrass meadows, which are important feeding grounds for turtles and dugong.

Dirty turbid water makes it harder for corals to grow, the last thing our corals need after the severe bleaching event last summer!

Broadscale tree clearing in Queensland spiked when the former Newman Government changed the laws to allow it. A third of this clearing was carried out in the catchment of the Great Barrier Reef.

Thankfully the Australian Government has recognised the harm massive tree clearing does, and intervened on a big clearing permit for the sake of the Reef.

The permit, which was issued under the Newman Government, would allow around 2,900 hectares of woodlands to be cleared on a cattle station in the Normanby catchment. This catchment flows directly into the Reef!

The permit is now up for public consultation, so we have a rare chance to stop this tree clearing harming the Reef.

Please tell the Australian Government you want the permit to be rejected, for the sake of the Reef.

Our turtles and dugongs are counting on us. Please have your say!



19/08 2016

Rechargeable Batteryback Program | Toowoomba Area

Rechargeable batteries don’t last forever!

So it is important to make sure you recycle them in a responsible way.

You will find a variety of electronic devices that use rechargeable batteries in the home, the school and workplace. This includes cameras, lap top computers, wireless keyboards, mobile phones, remote controls for audio-visual equipment, as well as power tools, toys and model aircraft/cars/boats.

Rechargeable batteries actually have a finite life and it is likely that your organisation has quantities of these old and unwanted batteries ready for responsible recycling.

Why recycle rechargeable batteries?

Rechargeable batteries can contain toxic materials such as lead, lithium and cadmium and pose a risk to human health and the environment if not disposed of appropriately. Currently, less than 3% of handheld batteries are recycled in Australia.

Rechargeable batteries also contain valuable minerals such as nickel, copper, aluminium and copper that can be recovered and reused to manufacture new products, thereby reducing the consumption of finite resources and the impact on the environment.

How you can contribute

Many organisations use rechargeable batteries in laptops, wireless keyboards and mice, and remote controls for TV’s and projectors, and the tools of their trade. Rechargeable BATTERYback is a trial program running in Toowoomba until the 5th September 2016, which will collect and recycle unwanted rechargeable batteries. We are hoping you can participate by:

  • Collecting all old rechargeable batteries up to 5kg and dropping them into the specially marked collection bins at participating drop off locations in the Toowoomba area (see list below)
  • Giving us your valuable feedback by completing a simple online survey (5 minutes) that will assist us in developing future recycling programs, at http://www.recyclingnearyou.com.au/Rechargeables/
  • Sharing this information with your customers or community and asking them to do the same.

All rechargeable batteries up to 5kg in weight can be recycled through this program including: AA, AAA, C, D, or 9V, Lithium Ion (Li-ion), Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) and Nickel metal Hydride (NimH).

Recycling benefits you and your organisation too

Simply by recycling your unwanted batteries, your organisation can make a simple but important contribution to protecting the environment and recovering recyclable resources.

You can recycle your batteries at the following BatteryBack locations in or near Toowoomba QLD

For more information, please visit the program site: http://www.recyclingnearyou.com.au/Rechargeables/ or make contact:
Call 1800 489 278 or email: batteryback@infoactiv.com.au



16/08 2016

Community seminars on Qld Planning Laws - Toowoomba 22 Aug

QLD PLANNING LAWS

Reforms in Review and What's to Come

An overview of how planning laws operate, current planning reforms and important upcoming consultation opportunities.

Queensland's planning laws are changing. It is vital that the community understand how our planning law system works, and get involved in upcoming planning reforms that may affect your local region.

Don't miss the following free community events:

Each of these seminars will be a conversation between:

  • The Department of Planning, providing an outline of the new planning legislation and supporting instruments;
  • The Environmental Defenders Office Qld, talking about what the reforms mean for community and environment;
  • You! Got a burning question on the planning framework or reforms? Your questions and concerns can help shape our focus - send them in when you RSVP and we will address them on the night!


16/08 2016

Sustainable House Day, 11 Sept 2016

Cutting-edge green homes to open on Sustainable House Day, 11

Open the door to sustainable living by touring some of Australia’s most progressive homes on show at Sustainable House Day on Sunday 11 September 2016

The free national event allows people to inspect and learn from new homes and renovations that push the boundaries for sustainable design, garden design, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

If you’re considering building a new home or renovating, it’s a wonderful opportunity to see first-hand how others have made their homes more comfortable to live in and cheaper to run while lessening their impact on the environment.

More than 100 of Australia’s best environmentally sustainable homes will be open for public viewing on Sustainable House Day, from new builds and major renovations to off-grid homes and some whose owners have made a range of small changes to make them more environmentally friendly. Features like green roofs, thermal mass walls, backyard aquaponics and food farms, battery back-up and off-grid energy systems, hot water heat pumps and household electric cars will be on display at various houses across the country, in metro and rural areas and regional centres.

Talks and tours will be held on the day by homeowners as well as sustainable architects and designers. Sustainable House Day plays an essential role in sharing knowledge and inspiring people to make changes in their own homes. But don’t just take our word for it. A post event visitor survey conducted by Swinburne University showed that the event has significant impact:

  • Within a month of the event 31% of SHD attendees had already taken action in including sustainable design, features and appliances in renovations or builds since attending SHD
  • 59% of attendees plan to include sustainability in future
  • 92% of attendees shared their learning at SHD with friends and family
  • 96% of attendees found it very useful to quite useful to see how sustainable features were used
  • 89% of attendees found it very useful to quite useful to talk to SHD homeowners

While many homeowners are motivated about improving their environmental footprint they are also about creating much more liveable and healthier spaces.

Sustainable House Day is a fantastic opportunity for everyone to be inspired about what they can achieve in their own home and garden.

Sustainable House Day is proudly delivered by Alternative Technology Association (ATA) a not-for-profit organisation that enables, represents and inspires people to live sustainably in their homes and communities

Register and/or find local homes …


16/08 2016

National Landcare Week (Sept 5-11)

National Landcare Week

Landcare has become one of the largest environmental organisations in Australia since its beginnings over 30 years ago. Next month (Sept) we celebrate National Landcare Week so why not lend your support to this great organization and mark it on your calendar on September 5-11. Through the hard work of local community groups, Landcare encourages a sustainable approach to the management of agriculture and the environment.

The free national event allows people to inspect and learn from new homes and renovations that push the boundaries for sustainable design, garden design, renewable energy and energy efficiency.With the support of federal and state government, corporations and local Landcare communities, there are now over 5,400 Landcare and Coastcare groups throughout Australia. Over 20 countries have adopted the model. Landcare is community owned and run and supports integrated management of environmental assets with productive farmland and encourages a more sustainable approach to private land management.

A Landcare group usually starts when community members join together to resolve a local environmental issue. It may be sand dune erosion or weeds affecting agricultural produce. Groups can apply for government funding, work as often as they like and choose their own sites. It is through the compassionate care delivered by the community Landcare thrives and survives.

Landcare Australia …


16/08 2016

The Latest from Future Earth

Items from Future Earth's August 2016 newsletter, bringing you the latest news, events and opportunities in sustainability research

Future Earth Media Lab launches online

New incubator space merges science, art, design and technology

The Future Earth Media Lab, a collaboration between Future Earth, the International Council for Science (ICSU) and Globaïa, nurtures projects at the cutting edge of the digital revolution – the Internet of things, big data, new media, visualisation, virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Check it out …

News & opinion

Knowledge in action - Future Earth invites you to get involved in eight new research networks addressing the oceans, health, cities and more. Read more …

Sustainability summer - Summer programmes take students out of the classroom and into the Amazon and Alps. Read more …

Take the challenge - A new 30-day experiment is showing that changes in personal behaviour can inspire change on a larger scale. Read more …

Global Research Highlights

Future Earth is highlighting the research and other successes that came out of our global research projects in 2015. We start with IHOPE, IMBER and IGAC. Read about puffin management in the Viking age, small-scale fisheries, Arctic air pollution and more. Stay tuned for more highlights in the weeks ahead.

Watch a video series on sustainability

Watch experts from the Inter-American Institute (IAI) for Global Change Research as they discuss the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These short interviews delve into topics ranging from poverty to clean water and sustainable cities. Read more …

New partnership with Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The Future Earth Regional Centre for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has launched a partnership with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt. The two institutions will explore new ways of spreading and adapting the Future Earth vision in North Africa. Read more …

Workshop on extreme events and society

At a workshop in Berlin, participants from in and out of science gathered to discuss the most burning research questions around how societies deal with extreme climatic events like floods and droughts. In this blog, three experts talk about their experiences and the path ahead. Read more …

Events & opportunities

Public review: Global Climate Observing System Implementation Plan 2016

Send in comments to shape this draft document on climate observations.

Future Earth-PROVIA-IPCC risks and solutions workshop

Tune in to the live stream to help identify the research needed for the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report.

See website for all events. …


16/08 2016

"Barriers to Biodiversity Conservation" forum, 15 October 2016



16/08 2016

Garage Sale Trail

Garage Sale Trail: Organising sales on one day can help neighbours and environment profit

Neighbours are being encouraged to come together to plan garage sales in their streets in the name of sustainability.

The national Garage Sale Trail, now in its sixth year, aims to encourage thousands of homes to clean out and sell unwanted items on October 22.

Read more … Garage Sale Trail … Register a sale …


15/08 2016

Myall Park Botanic Garden "Spring Day", 27 August 2016



15/08 2016

EDO Qld Event: Climate Action for Qld, Bris 24 Aug

SAFE CLIMATE, CLEAN ENERGY:
How do we move to renewable energy powering Queensland?

WEDNESDAY 24 AUGUST 2016

Join EDO Qld for an in-depth discussion on how our State can overcome the hurdles currently blocking the renewable energy industry from taking off.

This event will also help inform submissions on the Queensland climate change discussion paper, now due 2 September 2016.

Guest speakers include:

  • Trevor Berrill, Sustainable Energy Systems Consultant and Educator; and
  • John Grimes, Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council.

Cliftons Brisbane, 288 Edward St, Brisbane City 4000 (map)

Details & RSVP …



15/08 2016

Koala Habitat protection, 15 Sept 2016

KOALA HABITAT PROTECTION: what is being done & what else can we do?

Thu 15 September, 5-7pm

Maya, koala detection dog Dr Romane Cristescu, Wildlife Ecologist, Research Fellow, University of the Sunshine Coast

Come and meet Maya the koala detection dog and her key offsider, Romane.

Romane is a qualified vet and a PhD graduate with extensive experience in ecological restoration. She has an interest in developing new methods in koala conservation which produce faster results with higher accuracy.

Peter Milne from Noosa Council will also attend to outline Council’s newly-established Koala Protection Plan.



01/08 2016

Australian Bird Feeding and Watering Study

The Australian Bird Feeding and Watering Study | During August

Citizen Scientists Database

For years, bird feeding in Australia has been one of the most popular forms of human-wildlife interaction. With good intentions to help wild birds, many households have created bird friendly environments by setting up birdbaths and feeders in their yards. However, due to the absence of scientific research within the area, little is known about the effects that may be caused by providing food and/or water for birds.

Researchers from Griffith and Deakin University have joined together to conduct ‘The Australian Bird Feeding and Watering Study’ that focuses on the interaction between people and birds through household feeding and watering. The intention of this study is to gather quantitative data on the effects of supplementary feeding and providing water for birds to help understand the impacts this may have on the environment, bird population and diversity within Australia. Along with this, they also want to explore the reasons why people do so, what bird species are attracted, what food is provided and the behaviour of these birds. With the help of citizen scientists monitoring birds that visit their yards, researchers aim to study bird activity right across Australia in the hope of developing important guidelines so that feeding can be done without any harm to their health.

This study will run over a four-week period beginning on the 1st of August 2016. For those of you with birdbaths or bird feeders and wish to participate in this upcoming study or would like to find out more, you can do so by clicking on the link below and registering, you will be contacted when the next study is to commence.

Further information …


02/08 2016

Queensland Planning Laws

Reforms in Review and What's to Come

An overview of how planning laws operate, current planning reforms and important upcoming consultation opportunities.

Queensland's planning laws are changing. It is vital that the community understand how our planning law system works, and get involved in upcoming planning reforms that may affect your local region.

Don't miss the following free community events:

Each of these seminars will be a conversation between:

  • The Department of Planning, providing an outline of the new planning legislation and supporting instruments;
  • The Environmental Defenders Office Qld, talking about what the reforms mean for community and environment;
  • You! Got a burning question on the planning framework or reforms? Your questions and concerns can help shape our focus - send them in when you RSVP and we will address them on the night!


21/07 2016

4th Ethical Enterprise Awards - Awards with a difference

Awards to Promote Ethical Enterprise

In the current economic system where billions of people are left excluded from the accessing our planet’s resources due to unfair and often times immoral business practices, Moral Fairground has been a driving force in creating awareness and raising the profile of fair trade, and ethical business and consumer practices throughout the local communities and business sectors Australia wide. Through their many diverse events, they have reached hundreds and thousands of people, have created a community of conscious traders and consumers, and have inspired hundreds of advocates to take action in helping the fair trade movement gain more support in the community.

This year, Moral Fairground is going to hold the 4th Ethical Enterprise Award and the Early Ethical Entrepreneur Pitch Competition to recognise and celebrate Australia’s most inspirational enterprises.

Ethical Enterprise Award 2016

The Ethical Enterprise Award is open to any existing Australian business or organization of any size that delivers innovative work with positive social, environmental and economic impact locally and/or internationally. The winners will receive the following prizes:

  • 1st Prize: $10,000 cash
  • 2nd Prize: $7,500 cash
  • 3rd Professional business coaching from One10 founder and entrepreneur Geoff Gourley worth $15,000.

Our past Ethical Enterprise Award winners are:

  • 2015 - Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia
  • 2014 - Seven Women
  • 2013 - Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku (WDNWPT) Aboriginal Corporation

Early Ethical Entrepreneur Pitch Competition 2016

The Early Ethical Entrepreneur Pitch Competition are for social entrepreneurs who are still at the early stages of their business planning and needs mentoring and support so that their business idea becomes a reality. Finalists will have an opportunity to deliver their pitch at the Ethical Enterprise Conference to held on the 20th October 2016. A panel of professional judges will select the winner on the day and offer professional coaching and networks to help the aspiring entrepreneur set up a successful business.

Award winners will be announced at the Ethical Enterprise Award Dinner during the Ethical Enterprise Conference in Melbourne on 20 October 2016. Application deadline is at 5pm, September 15, 2016

Moral Fairground … Ethical Enterprise Award … Pitch Competition …

If you need more information contact:

Celeste Simpliciano
Project Manager
Moral Fairground Pty Ltd



21/07 2016

Sustainable House Day (11/9/2016) | Seeking Sustainable Homes



21/07 2016

Alternative Energy Association (ATA) Presentation | August 9th



15/07 2016

HOPE information display

Toowoomba Camelia Show & Garden Expo | 16 - 17 July

  • FLOWERS
  • COMPETITIONS
  • DISPLAYS
  • GUEST SPEAKERS
  • ENTERTAINMENT
More information …


14/07 2016

Community Food Hubs of the Future | Thurs 11 August 2016



15/07 2016

Keep Australia Beautiful Network (KAB)

Save the date! Keep Australia Beautiful Week 2016 will take place from 22 – 28 August.

Keep Australia Beautiful Network (KAB), consisting of an independent federation network in each State and Territory, is a national organisation that is recognised as Australia’s independent litter prevention thought and practice leader, for a litter free and sustainable Australia.

Keep Australia Beautiful National Association is the national operator for the Eco-Schools program in Australia.

Eco-Schools is an international program of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), and aims to empower students to be the change our sustainable world needs by engaging them in fun, action-orientated learning. Australia is the 55th country to launch.

Some 'Resource' links from the KAB website are:

The Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB) website has a double menu for navigation their site at the top of the 'home' page. The top menu is their organisational menu, while the menu below indicates how local government, businesses, communities, schools and individuals are able to be involved in various activities of the KAB organisation.

For full information about KAB network visit http://kab.org.au/


05/07 2016

Myall Park Botanic Garden "Offshoots Exhibition"

Opening: Weds July 20, 2016 6:00 pm
exhibition continues until Weds October 5, 2016 3:00 pm

Myall Park Offshoots Exhibion


23/06 2016

Ecospecifier Global - Build Better Seminar 2016, 7 July

Elevate your practice | Build Better Seminar 2016

Sustainable design is an expanding field within Australia, with the imminent rise of new design strategies, building materials, technologies, government legislation, green building codes and rating schemes. Ecopecifier Global Education invites you to the Griffith University EcoCentre, to participate in the Build Better Seminar 2016. The focus of this seminar is to help you advance and embed the evolving field of green building design within your position and/or practice.

Who should participate?

We invite all professionals within the building sector to join us at the 2016 Build Better Seminar. From corporate property and construction groups to architects, interior designers to materials manufacturers, executive teams, project and product teams to sales executive and sales teams; the 2016 Build Better Seminar has experience and content to suit you and your profession.

Topics

Refine your knowledge in areas of:

  • Simplifying the sustainability policy landscape: how different green building, energy and sustainability programs and tools mesh and interact - which ones are mandatory and which ones can be used to drive your business's bottom line;
  • How to reduce building costs: explaining strategies to find and drive building synergy to minimise not only operational costs but first costs also, using Integrative Design, Integrated Cost Analysis and inverted product selection processes;
  • Building element and materials eco-profiles: explanation of the key ecological and health impacts of key materials and configuration alternatives
  • Life-cycle assessment in your future: explaining why LCA is the way of the future for describing how projects and products perform over their life span. Expanding on how LCA based programs are simple-to-understand despite being incredibly detailed and scientifically robust and how such programs are assisting with creating a mainstream movement toward green building.
  • How to green the tender process: explore avenues for green product procurement to ensure you get what you've specified. Learn of innovative tender processes, to streamline sustainability throughout a project's lifetime (not only in construction) and understand the importance of selecting the right design team, inclusive of the key attributes which help achieve integrative green building development

Speaker

David Baggs B.Arch (Hons) FRAIA, CA, ABSA, Green Star™ AP, LEED® AP is a multi-award winning chartered architect and sustainability consultant with over 30 years' experience. He is an Accredited Energy Assessor under the National Construction Code of Australia (NatHERS, AccuRate, BERS Pro BASIX) and is an Accredited Green Star® building Sustainability Assessor. He is also immediate past and current Vice President of the Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society (ALCAS).

Registration

To register your interest or simply learn more, please contact our Facilitator of Education and Training, Tamasin Chugg on 1300 669 997 or via email at education@ecospecifier.com.au

Find out more …


29/06 2016

6,000 years of people moving to cities

Watch 6,000 years of people moving to cities

Humans have been building and living in cities for thousands of years. But only very recently — in the past few years — did the scales tip to more of us choosing to settle in cities than in rural areas.

According to the United Nations, 54 percent of the world's population now lives in urban areas. That figure was 30 percent in 1950 and is expected to rise to 66 percent by 2050.

In the video below, you can watch the stunning rise of human cities, from their humble origin in the Fertile Crescent in the year 3700 BC to the boom of the past century.

Vox is a general interest news site for the 21st century. Its mission is simple: Explain the news. Politics, public policy, world affairs, pop culture, science


23/06 2016

HOPE needs you, you need HOPE!

New skills + More networks = Volunteering

Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc logo
Householders' Options to Protect the Environment Inc.
PO Box 6118 - Clifford Gardens, Toowoomba QLD 4350
(22 Vacy Street, Toowoomba QLD 4350)
Ph: 07 4639 2135;
Email: office@hopeaustralia.org.au
ABN 48 036 173 161
Think Globally. Act Locally!

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) needs active volunteers – both local and remote (i.e. online) – to help us maintain our high levels of activity. It’s a win-win situation. Volunteering enhances your wellbeing and HOPE gains from your expertise.

You can assist with:

  • administration tasks
  • internet research
  • article writing
  • media and marketing activities

We are also seeking expert comment from academics and informed people to assist in critiquing government and industry reports.

On-ground helpers are also required to assist with staffing information displays, and helping out at events.

Please contact the office on 07 4639 2135 or email office@hopeaustralia.org.au to offer your assistance.

Much of the work would ideally be done by locals (i.e. in the Toowoomba area) because the HOPE office is in Toowoomba. However, quite a bit of the literature review, research, media and publications activity can be done via email. If you have a little bit of time to help us in any way, then contact the HOPE office on email office@hopeaustralia.org.au or phone (07) 4639 2135.



21/06 2016

Signs that the environment is making an impact this election

Seven signs you’re making an impact this election

There’s less than three weeks to go until Election Day. Many Australians are heading to the pre-polls today, and we can see the collective impact of the hard work of this movement.

As frightening as the latest climate science may be, we can take hope from the cut-through that’s happened already during this election campaign.

Here are seven signs that you’re making an impact this election:

  1. Climate change is ranking as a top three issue in some marginal electorates, such as Corangamite, and is ranking fourth behind health, education, and the economy in terms of media mentions and in many polls. In particular, we’ve seen the Reef making front page news over the last week, including most recently yesterday in the SMH. And 79% of Fairfax readers agree that the health of the Reef should be prioritised before coal-mining.
  2. Ellen Degeneres (aka the voice of Dory) felt compelled to wade into the Australian political debate and call for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef. This story continues to dominate news feeds.
  3. The ABC’s Vote Compass shows that 74% of people think the Australian Government should do more to tackle climate change, up from 61% in 2013. This is based on responses from over 20,000 people throughout the campaign.
  4. Due to our pressure the Coalition has been forced to respond on climate and the Reef, yesterday announcing it would shuffle $1 billion from the CEFC to assist farmers implement clean energy and clean water solutions. The policy has been exposed as utterly inadequate by CANA members and others.
  5. Some key climate deniers and blockers continue to be under significant pressure, with George Christensen grilled yesterday about why he was refusing to attend a candidates’ forum on the reef and the environment.
  6. After years of campaigning, our friends at the Places You Love Alliance have secured commitments from the Greens and Labor to the next generation of environmental protection laws.
  7. The Victorian State Government has responded to a deep community-based campaign and adopted a stronger renewable energy target.

This week is 350’s week of action to push for pollution-free politics.

Whatever you’re doing to put climate on the agenda this election we wish you clear-skies for doorknocking, welcoming faces at polling-booths, and proper answers to the tough questions you put to candidates everywhere.

Onward,
Claire, Alex, and Lindsay
Climate Action Network Australia

PS - If you’re looking for a way to take action near you or to see what others are up to then checkout the www.voteclimateaction.com.au site or follow (and use) the #voteclimate tag on social media.



07/06 2016

Birdlife Australia - e-news June 2016

We need strong, new national environmental laws

BirdLife Australia, as a founding member of the Places You Love alliance, has joined a call for a suite of new environmental laws which will adequately protect Australia’s natural heritage, to replace the current system which is failing us all.

#Vote4birds

In just over a month, Australians will head to the polls to decide on the future we want to create. BirdLife Australia is working hard to ensure threatened birds and their habitats are part of the policy agenda, but we need your help. Pledge your support today at birdsyoulove.org and don’t forget to #vote4birds.

Conservation & Threatened Species

Threatened species listings

A number of Australian birds were officially recognised as threatened species recently, thanks in part to data collected by BirdLife Australia’s members. However, Muir’s Corella of Western Australia was removed from the list — it’s no longer a threatened species.

Read the rest of the newsletter online …


02/06 2016

New Economy Conference 2016 - 16-17 August

Building the new economy: activism, enterprise and social change

A two day conference bringing together community activists, social entrepreneurs, economists, academics, lawyers, regulators and students.

THE CONFERENCE’S GUIDING QUESTION: How can we reimagine work, exchange, money, care, law and our relationship with the natural world through the prism of a new economy?

Sponsors and Partners

University of NSW, Law faculty logo Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) logo
Conference home Call for Participation Registration


02/06 2016

Climate Change Conference - Gold Coast, 12 July



31/05 2016

ATA Public Seminar - June 14th

A public seminar on how to create a more energy efficient and comfortable home.

Case studies and practical ideas for retro-fitting or designing a new house.

6pm Tuesday 14th June 2016 Level 3, Toowoomba City Library Cnr Victoria and Herries Sts, Toowoomba

Limited Seats - To book, RSVP toowoomba@ata.org.au or phone 0439 404 608

Entry by gold coin donation.



27/05 2016

CSIRO - ECOS eNews - May 2016

Eye in the sky on reef pollution

Shipping in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is estimated to triple over the next 20 years. Image: Peter Asquith/Flickr

Spotting an oil spill in a 2,300 km long marine park is no easy task, but new remote sensing technology is set to change that. more…

Tropical forest carbon storage at risk from defaunation

Fruit-eating vertebrates, like this tamarin in Brazil, are important seed dispersers in tropical forests. Image: Marcio Cabral de Moura/Flickr

As fruit-eating vertebrates disappear from tropical forests, the structure and carbon storage capacity of the forests is changing. more…

A new spin on ocean eddies and marine primary production

Current understanding of anticyclonic ocean eddies has been overturned in a new CSIRO study.

Our understanding of the ocean’s biological pump, and the capacity of the ocean to sequester carbon dioxide, has been enhanced by a new study examining ocean eddies. more…

More articles ECOS May 2016 ECOS Archives


26/05 2016

Green Heart Fair - Sunday 29 May 2016

The Brisbane City Council’s Green Heart Fair is Brisbane’s biggest free bi-annual community and sustainability festival, promoting innovative green living in a fun, family-friendly environment for all residents to come and enjoy.

The Fair welcomes over 100 of Brisbane’s leading sustainability organisations, community groups, artisans, foodies, green-thumbs, conservationists, businesses and eco experts to share information and knowledge with Brisbane residents on how to live more sustainably. Fair goers are treated to heaps of fun activities and entertainment throughout the day with a jam-packed schedule.

Green Heart Fair WWW … Green Heart Fair Facebook …


24/05 2016

Queensland Ornithological Conference, 9-13 July 2016

Conference logo - stylized bird on plain green map of queensland

Queensland Ornithological Conference

9-13 July 2016, UQ St Lucia & SE Qld locations

This biennial conference is a series of talks related to birds and their conservation

On Saturday, come learn about some of the latest research on birds from leading ornithological experts and researchers. On Sunday, join us on one of five bird watching excursions, and then stay on for a few days on the BirdLife national campout.

Register and take advantage of the early bird rates
Raffle tickets
Some great raffle prizes (including Swarovski binoculars and stays at Mt Barney Lodge and O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat).
Campout registration View/download conference program


25/05 2016

Climate Action Network Australia - Call to action

Make climate matter this federal election

As the Great Barrier Reef bleaches, the Arctic melts further and faster than ever, and we cross a dangerous threshold of 400 parts per million, our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called an election for 2 July. Yet so far in the campaign, he's hardly even mentioned climate change.

We know, however, that this election is crucial in determining how our country tackles the climate crisis. Across Australia, people like you, from organisations like yours, are preparing to ensure that climate and energy issues are front of mind when Australians vote.

What’s happening this election?

You can see the type of vision that organisations are calling for, and what they have planned this election, by visiting the website www.voteclimateaction.com.au.

As a People’s Climate March partner, you can join efforts to make sure all candidates commit to solutions to global warming this election. You can:

  1. Get involved in a climate event that's happening near you this election.
  2. Join the National Day of Action on 28 May, by joining a doorknock near you, or running an activity your own and sharing it with #voteclimate. If you would like to run your own event, you can email me at claire@cana.net.au, and we can send you some useful resources like conversation guides. We’re also planning another day of action on Saturday 25 June, so stay tuned for that.
  3. Get the word out that voters care about global warming - encourage your networks to write to their local paper and call the local radio station.

We need as many voices as possible to make sure that global warming is a key issue this election. Australians want their next Government to do better to cut pollution and support clean energy. Let’s make them hear us, like we did on the streets last November.

Fossil fuel subsidies campaign update

You may remember that some People’s Climate March partners joined together to call for an end to fossil fuel subsidies around the Budget earlier this month. These organisations wrote letters and gave press conferences, urging the Government to invest money in our communities, and not give hand-outs to big polluting companies.

In its first budget, the Turnbull Government continued to make decisions in the interests of big polluters, giving $7.7 billion in subsidies to polluting fossil fuels, and keeping Tony Abbott’s billion dollar cuts to renewable energy. The ALP has also failed to commit to an end to fossil fuel subsidies.

But the Australian public is hearing us, as recent polling shows. Our campaign to make sure our taxes go to building the type of country we want will continue past the election. If you’re interested in getting involved post-July, then let me know by emailing claire@cana.net.au.

In solidarity,
Claire O'Rourke
Climate Action Network Australia

Authorised by Alex Rafalowicz,
Climate Action Network Australia 60 Leicester St, Carlton, 3053


25/05 2016

Climate Change for Good conference

Aim of the Climate Change for Good Conference:

To inspire and empower the community to think and act positively in creating opportunities at work, home and elsewhere for a better society that meets the challenges of climate change.
Climate Change for Good


26/05 2016

Environment Design Guide - Design note

EDG logo

A summary of urban assessment tools for application in Australia

With increasing world population, urbanization, and climatic changes impacting liveability there is a growing awareness of the urgent need for more sustainable and ecological approaches to urban settlements, city planning and infrastructure. This has led to the evolution of urban assessment tools that are visionary, holistic and designed to address complex issues facing global communities and cities today.

This paper provides an overview of international urban rating tools developed to assist with the regeneration of existing and new sustainable communities and cities, particularly those supported for use in Australia. The article covers the structure, themes and output of the tools, as well as the use and uptake in Australia. The summary is designed to provide awareness of the range of urban assessment tools available for use in Australia and to assist in an appropriate selection.

Tools discussed include: Circles of Sustainability, EnviroDevelopment, Green Star Communities, Living Community Challenge and One Planet Communities.

Environmental Design Guide… *Click here to go to design note…


24/05 2016

NSW announce best practice CDS, time for QLD to follow

A Big Win for Our Campaign on Litter and Plastics in the Environment

On 8 May the NSW Government announced it's plans for a cash for containers scheme. The scheme will be introduced in 2017 and is designed to reduce litter by 40% and provide valuable funding to community organisations interested in collecting bottles and cans.

I have been furiously lobbying the QLD Government and Opposition, and promoting the two key measures vital to litter reduction in QLD-cash for containers and plastic bag bans. Together containers and plastic packaging represent more than half of Queensland's litter.

The good news is that following the NSW announcement and all of our efforts both the Government and the Opposition are moving to support both measures. I have organised community demonstrations in Central QLD, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Bribie Island in the last 3 months. The community event in Noosa led to every single Sunshine Coast-based MP supporting calls for cash for containers.

In meetings last week I asked both political parties to support a cash for containers scheme and a ban on single use plastic bags and to act -THIS YEAR.

Can you let your local MP know that you support these measures? They are nearly there, they just need that public push to get them over the line.

The best email is: (your electorate name)@parliament.qld.gov.au - Find my electorate - ECQ | Contact details Qld MP's

Just tell your MP that plastics in the environment is an eyesore, a toxic pollutant, harmful to wildlife and now entering the human food chain. Support cash for containers and plastic packaging bans and reduce litter and plastic pollution.

Did you catch the Senate Inquiry Report on Marine Debris?

The report sets out the dangers of plastics in the marine environment, the lack of proper data and research and explicitly supports a cash for container scheme, plastic bag bans and micro-plastics phase out. You can see the report on:

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Marine_plastics/Report

Toby Hutcheon
Toby Hutcheon is a consultant and campaigner for the Boomerang Alliance and Wildlife Queensland. Community organisations working for a Cash for Containers and Plastic bag ban in Queensland.



24/05 2016

Cash for Containers Scheme for Queensland



19/05 2016

Enrich: Habitats for Life Field Day



14/05 2016

The Australian Bird Feeding & Watering Study

The Australian Bird Feeding and Watering Study is a citizen science initiative being conducted by researchers at Deakin University and Griffith University. Our interests are the interactions people have with birds in their own backyards, as this can have a huge impact on bird diversity and abundance. One of the most common ways people interact with birds is through providing food and water.

Why do we find this interesting? For the simple reason that we do not know how providing food and water might impacts on bird ecology and diversity in Australia. While providing food and water to birds is a popular activity, little is known about what species are attracted to these resources and why people like to provide them. Most importantly we need to understand the ecological and behavioural effects of bird feeding as almost all information from other countries regarding bird feeding simply does not apply here. We acknowledge that feeding of wild birds is an important activity for large numbers of people and that the practice may be a significant way for many to connect with nature.

The Australian Bird Feeding and Watering Study aims to gather quantitative data on the effects of supplementary feeding and providing water for birds and the reasons why people provided food and/or water. In doing so we aim to develop purpose guidelines for people who feed birds to do so with minimum risk to birds.

Visit the study website to register your interest


15/05 2016

Happy World Migratory Bird Day!

Today bird lovers across the globe are celebrating World Migratory Bird Day – and with good reason. The staggering feats of endurance undertaken each year by our migratory birds are some of the marvels of the natural world.

Over the last five months, BirdLife Australia has made a concerted effort to raise the profile of our often forgotten migratory shorebirds, ensuring that when they leave each April and May they have a home to return to the following spring.

As you know, we recently convened an international summit of experts, policymakers and volunteers to implement the recently released Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds.

With the help of the Australasian Wader Studies Group and our wonderful volunteers, we successfully attached satellite transmitters to five Grey Plovers to track their migration for the very first time.

We developed Australia’s first interactive Migratory Shorebird Conservation Map to demonstrate not only the areas where shorebirds are in trouble but also the pockets of community success.

But for all our successes, this day is also marked with sadness.

For the second year running, World Migratory Bird Day coincides with the Australian Government adding more migratory shorebirds to the official threatened species list. This listing is a solemn reminder that despite our collective efforts, there is still much work to be done.

For example, land reclamation at Toondah Harbour in Queensland’s Moreton Bay threatens to destroy critical habitat at this internationally recognised Ramsar site, while urban development at Moolap near Geelong in Victoria endangers the habitat of thousands of migratory shorebirds that visit each year.

With the help of dedicated people like you, BirdLife Australia has been a strong voice for our migratory shorebirds and this World Migratory Bird Day, will continue to ensure that while they are gone, they are certainly not forgotten.

Thank you for your support!

Donate to BirdLife Australia


15/05 2016

Happy World Migratory Bird Day!

Today bird lovers across the globe are celebrating World Migratory Bird Day – and with good reason. The staggering feats of endurance undertaken each year by our migratory birds are some of the marvels of the natural world.

Over the last five months, BirdLife Australia has made a concerted effort to raise the profile of our often forgotten migratory shorebirds, ensuring that when they leave each April and May they have a home to return to the following spring.

As you know, we recently convened an international summit of experts, policymakers and volunteers to implement the recently released Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds.

With the help of the Australasian Wader Studies Group and our wonderful volunteers, we successfully attached satellite transmitters to five Grey Plovers to track their migration for the very first time.

We developed Australia’s first interactive Migratory Shorebird Conservation Map to demonstrate not only the areas where shorebirds are in trouble but also the pockets of community success.

But for all our successes, this day is also marked with sadness.

For the second year running, World Migratory Bird Day coincides with the Australian Government adding more migratory shorebirds to the official threatened species list. This listing is a solemn reminder that despite our collective efforts, there is still much work to be done.

For example, land reclamation at Toondah Harbour in Queensland’s Moreton Bay threatens to destroy critical habitat at this internationally recognised Ramsar site, while urban development at Moolap near Geelong in Victoria endangers the habitat of thousands of migratory shorebirds that visit each year.

With the help of dedicated people like you, BirdLife Australia has been a strong voice for our migratory shorebirds and this World Migratory Bird Day, will continue to ensure that while they are gone, they are certainly not forgotten.

Thank you for your support!

Donate to BirdLife Australia


13/05 2016

Integrity of Queensland's national parks reinstated

Breaking News

The dawning of a new day - Integrity of Queensland's national parks reinstated

In the early hours of this morning, the Palaszczuk government reinstated nature conservation as the primary goal of national park management.

NPAQ congratulates the government, and in particular Minister Miles, for restoring the intention of the Nature Conservation Act to which it was created.

It took a lot to convince the opposition that the purpose of the Nature Conservation Act should be about conserving nature. It was a battle well fought and deserving of the outcome.

Restoring nature conservation as the core objective of national parks, restores the integrity of Queensland's protected area estate

This reform reverses the changes made in 2013 and 2014 which broadened and downgraded the protected area concept. Those changes had placed competing interests on a par with nature conservation in national parks.

The inclusion of additional matters (such as commercial, recreation or social) in the very objects of the Act, only served to detract from the primacy of nature conservation and caused confusion to the intention of the protected area estate.

National parks are again protected, and incompatible land uses kept at bay.

The reforms also include a legal requirement for community consultation for park management plans, the reinstatement of 'national parks (scientific)', and the reversion of 'rolling-term’ leases for grazing on national parks back to 'term leases’.

The rights and interests of Traditional Owners have been retained and enhanced, through recognition in the joint management of conservation areas on the Cape York Peninsula, streamlining the process of conversion of regional parks to national parks (CYPAL), and the Tenure Resolution Program.

Now that the process of reform has begun, we urge that it continue.

Michelle Prior
President, NPAQ

Media statements released by Minister Miles:



13/05 2016

Saving the planet, one film at a time | Science magazine

Fighting for our future

In March 2016, the theaters, libraries, universities, and museums of Washington, D.C., were once again the setting for the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital, an annual event (now in its 24th year) featuring more than 140 Earth-friendly films.

Learn what Science staff thought of 12 of this year's featured films.

The Babushkas of Chernobyl

For the past 30 years, the Ukrainian town of Pripyat has had just one official identity: a forbidden wasteland permeated with radioactive dust. The catastrophic explosion of a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 prompted the permanent evacuation of the entire city and all other areas within a 30-kilometer radius. But within months, hundreds of residents, undeterred by the risk of carcinogenic particles, had snuck back into the so-called exclusion zone to resume their lives. Now, an aging population of roughly 100 residents, nearly all of them women, subsists by planting, foraging, and fishing in a landscape that is slowly being reclaimed by nature. More on Science…

"The Babushkas of Chernobyl" is the story of three unlikely heroines who live in Chernobyl's "Zone of Alienation" or "Dead Zone." For more than 29 years they have survived - even thrived - on some of the most contaminated land on Earth.

The Babushkas of Chernobyl, Holly Morris and Anne Bogart, directors. USA, 2015, 72 min. More on Vimeo…

Ever the Land

The Tūhoe people, or children of the mist, of the Maori tribe have suffered at the hands of the colonizing New Zealand government for more than a century. But Ever the Land is not a historical film. Rather, it is the story of a people who are ready to close the door on the troubles of the past and greet a new era of compromise, one that will allow them to preserve their culture and land for future generations. More on Science…

EVER THE LAND explores the sublime bond between people and their land through a landmark architectural undertaking by one of New Zealand's most passionately independent Maori tribes, Ngāai Tūhoe.

Ever the Land, Sarah Grohnert, director. New Zealand, 2015, 93 min. More on Vimeo…

Good Things Await

This Danish film paints Niels Stokholm's biodynamic farm Thorshøjgaard into a picture of hyperbolic beauty: sweeping shots of verdant landscape, sensitive close-ups of leaves dripping with morning dew, and sumptuous sunsets, all accompanied by goose-bump-raising vocals of an a capella choir. First developed by philosopher Rudolf Steiner (whose thick tome on the subject Stokholm keeps readily available for curious readers), biodynamic farming is a holistic approach to agriculture that treats soil fertility, livestock care, and vegetation growth as one self-sustaining organism. More on Science…

Good Things Await, Phie Ambo, director. Denmark, 2014, 95 min. More on Vimeo…

Catching the Sun

Would a switch from fossil fuels to solar power create or destroy more jobs? Would the installation of solar panels on houses and businesses empower individuals and communities? Would it truly shift wealth from megacorporations to the less wealthy? Although not directly asked, these questions emerge from the stories told in Catching the Sun from filmmaker Shalini Kantayya. The documentary begins by detailing the health and environmental consequences of the 2012 Chevron fire and explosion in Richmond, California. The disaster became a catalyst for the environmental movement and shined a spotlight on the close relationship between Chevron and the local government, as Richmond's mayor at the time, Gayle McLaughlin, describes in the film. More on Science…

An unemployed American worker, a Tea Party activist, and a Chinese solar entrepreneur race to lead the clean energy future. But who wins and who loses the battle for power in the 21st century?

Catching the Sun, Shalini Kantayya, director. USA, 2015, 74 min. More on Vimeo…

Ice and the Sky

In Ice and the Sky, glaciologist Claude Lorius reflects on the history of climate research and the future of the warming planet. More on Science…

Ice and the Sky, Luc Jacquet, director. France, 2015, 89 min. Trailer on YouTube…

Check out some more fascinating earth-friendly films



08/05 2016

World Environment Day Awards Presentation June 6, 2016

World Environment Day Awards Presentation Dinner 2016

Tickets for the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Awards Presentation Dinner are now on sale!

Each year on World Environment Day, the United Nations seek to focus world attention on the environment and, particularly on innovative programs which aim to protect or restore the world’s natural heritage. The UNAA World Environment Day Awards, which have been held every year since 2000, play an important role in raising awareness of the key environmental issues and challenges within Australia. The 2016 Awards in particular will focus on attention of Australia's environmental commitments post-Paris. The Dinner will be hosted by Sarah Abo of SBS News with entertainment by Opera Scholars Australia. This special event showcases the cutting edge programs and initiatives of the year's award recipients, bringing together government ministers, senior industry representatives, UN representatives and environment leaders from all sectors.

Booking Link Presentation dinner details Venue (Zinc Fed Square) Link

Contact:: Maggie Smythe – Program Coordinator UNAA Victoria, 03 9620 3955, awards@unaavictoria.org.au



05/05 2016

Fracking in the US | Independent

Fracking in the US causing global surge in dangerous gas, study finds

Researchers solve 'atmospheric mystery' of why levels of ethane suddenly stopped falling and started rising across the planet

Researchers monitored emissions of ethane by flying over the Bakken Formation in the northern United States | Eric Kort

Fracking of shale oil fields in the US is causing a global surge of a gas that causes climate change and creates dangerous air pollution, according to new research.

Levels of ethane in the atmosphere had been falling since the 1980s, but in 2010 a sensor in Europe picked up a surprise increase.

The boom of fracking, a controversial process used to recover gas from within shale by fracturing the rocks, in the United States was viewed as the prime suspect.

Now a single oil and gas field in North Dakota and Montana, the Bakken Formation, has been found to be emitting about 250,000 tons of the gas - about two per cent of the total produced worldwide.

Ethane reacts with sunlight and the atmosphere to make ozone, which at ground-level causes breathing problems, eye irritation and damages crops. If levels get too high, it can prompt official advice to stay indoors. Ethane is also the third largest contributor to human-caused global warming after carbon dioxide and methane.

Researcher Colm Sweeney, lead scientist of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth system research lab aircraft programme, said: These findings not only solve an atmospheric mystery - where that extra ethane was coming from - they also help us understand how regional activities sometimes have global impacts.

We did not expect a single oil field to affect global levels of this gas.

His colleague, Eric Kort, an assistant professor of climate, space sciences and engineering at Michigan University, added that the emissions directly impact air quality across North America.

The researchers flew over the 200,000-square-mile basin that includes the Bakken field to monitor levels of the gas in 2014 and have now published a paper detailing their findings in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

While the Bakken field was found to produce between one and three per cent of global ethane emissions, it made up about two per cent of shale gas production in the US in May 2014.

So if other shale gas operations in the US emit similar amounts of ethane, the total produced as a result of the American fracking boom would be considerable.

However, the researchers said Bakken shale had a very high composition of raw gas which helped to explain the relatively high emissions of ethane. They said some shale fields might produce a similar amount while others could play only a modest role in ethane emissions.

Professor Christian Frankenberg, an environmental scientist at California Institute of Technology and a Nasa researcher who was not involved in the study, told the Washington Post that the research showed the impact that one gas field could have on the planet.

They've basically shown here that a single shale can account for most of the ethane increase that you've seen in the past year, he said.

Tony Bosworth, of Friends of the Earth in the UK, said the British Government should scrap plans for widespread fracking.

This is another example of why we should be saying no to risky and unnecessary fracking here in the UK - it's a lost cause, he said.

Support for fracking is the lowest it has even been according to the Government's own opinion survey published this week, and North Yorkshire councillors can deliver another blow to an industry in its death throes by rejecting [an application for] fracking in Ryedale three weeks from today.

Read this and related articles on Independent UK website


05/05 2016

Fossil Fuel Subsidies - New Matilda

$7.7 Billion Fossil Fuel Subsidies ‘Like Being In Bed With Big Tobacco'

Calls for an end to fossil fuel subsidies are growing louder in the lead up to Treasurer Scott Morrison's May 3 budget, with a diverse coalition of advocates demanding an end to the $7.7 billion free ride they claim the fossil fuel industry gets each year.

At a press conference in Canberra this morning academics, religious leaders, renewable energy interests and unionists said it was illogical and counter-productive for the government to continue to subsidise fossil fuels if it's serious about transitioning to clean energy.

Continuing to fund polluters when we know the damage being done to the environment is unforgivable intergenerational theft, said Luke Stickels, from the Australian Education Union.

It is grossly foolish and unfair. Developing our nation's future is foremost in the minds of educators in schools across the country, but that future is not secure when the government continues to defy the urgent public desire for strong action on climate change, he said.

In a letter sent late March, a group of more than 50 civil society groups spelled out the savings they believe could be made if the government winds back subsidies to the industries which are fuelling climate change. They urged the government to:

  • End non-agricultural fuel tax credits, boosting the budget by $5.5 billion in 2016-/17
  • End exploration and prospecting deductions for the mining industry ($650m)
  • End statutory effective life caps for the oil and gas sector ($349m)
  • End the concessional rate of excise levied on aviation gasoline and aviation turbine fuel ($1.24b)
  • Confirm that the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility will not invest in fossil fuel projects or in infrastructure that primarily assists such projects
IMAGE: Gerry Machen, Flickr.

This morning, former Anglican Church Bishop George Browning reiterated that the government must stop handing over billions of our dollars to the fossil fuel industry, whose activities are driving dangerous climate change.

Science and Christianity are on the same page in urging human responsibility in the face of escalating climate change, he said. The clock is ticking. We cannot sit on our hands any longer.

Treasurer Scott Morrison will hand down his first budget on May 3, with the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull excepted to pull the trigger for a July 2 double dissolution election shortly thereafter. Tax reform has been at the top of the national agenda in recent months, but the issue of fossil fuel subsidies has not penetrated the mainstream debate.

At the Paris climate conference late last year, Malcolm Turnbull controversially declined to lend Australia's support to a communique signed by over 40 governments which urged the phase out of inefficient subsidies for coal, oil and gas.

Australia is the world's largest exporter of coal. As New Matilda reported last week, Greenpeace Australia has crunched the numbers and found that through coal exports alone, Australia will sell off a billion tonnes of carbon this year. Yet the government is working to expand the export coal market, and expects to become the leading seller of liquified natural gas in coming years.

Graphic of Australian coal exports
IMAGE: Greenpeace.

This carbon intensive strategy has drawn an increasingly caustic response. According to the public health Professor Peter Brooks, from the University of Melbourne, Australia’s keen alliance with the fossil fuel sector is akin to being in bed with big tobacco.

Given that the largest contribution to this warming is the use of fossil fuels, don’t you think they should come with a health warning much like cigarettes? Our government must stop pumping billions of dollars of our money into this damaging sector, Professor Brooks said.

The community has more mixed views, going off a ReachTEL poll from April 12. It found that only 48 per cent of the 2,664 Australians surveyed believe that the claimed $7.7 billion in fossil fuel subsidies is too much, while a minority of 8.5 per cent of respondents believed $7.7 billion was ‘too little’ a subsidy.

A quarter of respondents said the hand-out was ‘about right’, and 18.5 per cent of the people surveyed said they ‘don’t know’.

But the poll also contained troubling results for the government. The ReachTEL poll found 36.4 per cent of respondents would favour a phase out of fossil fuel subsidies ahead of key issues that have cropped up on the national agenda over recent months as the government hunts for savings measures.

An end to taxpayer handouts for polluting industries proves more popular than hiking the GST, a reduction in tax breaks associated with negative gearing, an increase in taxes on capital gains, and a tightening of tax concessions for supernatants.

Ahead of the Paris climate conference last year, the Federal Government committed to reducing emissions by at least 26 per cent on 2005 levels by the year 2030.

Read the article on newmatilda.com


29/04 2016

Date Claimer: Community Forum - Friday 20th May 2016

Exploring Earth Laws, Earth Democracy and the Rights of Nature

Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc logo

Facilitator: Dr Michelle Maloney
National Convenor
Australian Earth Laws Alliance

AELA logo
AELA Dr Michelle Maloney Email RSVP

29/04 2016

Pip Permaculture Book Sale - ends this week!

To celebrate International Permaculture Day, we're extending our big Permaculture book sale until this Sunday May 1. Checkout the fabulous titles we've got on sale below, or browse our shop to see our full range of permaculture products for your kitchen, garden & you...

Browse more titles at pip…


25/04 2016

Date Claimer: Climate Change Conference on 1st/2nd July 2016

Climate Change for Good Conference

Gecko - Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council

Supported by the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and Orchid Partners - Griffith University

Join members of the Gold Coast Community to raise community awareness of the opportunities of climate change and the actions they can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

There are eight themes presented by the Conference speakers and investigated in the Workshops. Workshop outcomes will be carried out by Actioneers supported by a Mentor Group

About Gecko More news and events in email newsletter Conference information & registration


23/04 2016

Something big is happening in New York!

Dear Friend of the Environment,

Something big is happening in New York today.

As I write this, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, along with leaders and representatives from all around the globe, are gathering in New York to officially sign the landmark Paris Agreement. The Agreement sets out a plan to keep global warming well below 2 degrees C and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C – which is critical for preventing the worst impacts of climate change.

But back home here in Australia, we’re already seeing the devastating impacts of global warming, with the worst mass coral bleaching event ravaging our precious Great Barrier Reef, affecting 93% of our national treasure.

It’s a shocking reminder of how urgently we need the policies here in Australia to match the commitments we’ve made in the Paris Agreement – because signing onto the Agreement is great, but without the policies to implement it, it rings pretty hollow. Will you sign the petition, calling on Australian political leaders to take immediate action to protect the people, animals and places we love from global warming?

Signing onto the Paris Agreement is a huge moment in history. It’s the first ever global agreement that lays out a plan for tackling climate change. But when it comes down to existing policies, Australia is at the back of the pack. Our current policies mean that Australia won’t come anywhere near meeting our commitments in the Paris Agreement.

We have an enormous opportunity on our hands: on Tuesday 19th April, the Prime Minister announced that he intends July 2nd will be the date of the Federal Election. That means we have 72 days to show our political leaders just how much Australians want greater action on climate change.

So for the next 72 days, we’ll be calling on political representatives from all sides of politics to put in place a plan that will see Australia meet our commitments in the Paris Agreement – to protect the Reef, as well as all of the people, animals and places we love. Will you take a moment to sign the petition, to let all of our elected representatives know that you want a plan in place that reflects Australia’s commitments in the Paris Agreement? Click here to sign on.

On 3 July 2016, we want our next Prime Minister, to have promised that Australia will deliver its fair share of the Paris Agreement. Help us make that happen, by taking a moment to sign the petition, letting our leaders know how important these policies are to you.

Thanks for all that you do,

Kellie Caught,
National Manager Climate Change
WWF-Australia



22/04 2016

Renewable Cities - how do we create them?

If we want to create renewable cities and towns, we need to look past conventional feasibility studies, roll up our sleeves and make it happen (you might have heard us say that before).

For every report which makes the case for renewable energy, there is another making the case for something else - more hospitals, better schools, supporting innovation. Headlines become part of the noise.

So, how we ensure renewable energy is a priority? Come and have a yarn with us, and 25 great speakers from Councils, Communities and Enterprises, who are "getting it done" at the Inaugural Renewable Cities Australia Forum.

Dates: 1 & 2 June at the Australian Technology Park, Sydney

Overview: The inaugural Renewable Cities Australia Forum on 1 & 2 June will open dialogue between business and government, and focus on the steps towards 100% renewable energy supply and developing low carbon transport systems. Featuring speakers from leading cities and towns, the forum will 'share the solutions', as innovators drive change and transform their communities.

Join the two day, discussion style forum, which showcases and shares the plans, achievements and challenges of Australian cities and towns moving to renewable and innovative energy systems, for electricity and public transport. The event will be co-located with the successful Australian Energy Storage Exhibition and will enable delegates free access to emerging technologies, which will change the energy landscape of Australian cities.

Over 25 local government and industry presenters will take part in Renewable Cities Forum, which is expected to attract many community thought leaders, sustainability managers, precinct developers, town planners, school and government leaders to Sydney in June.

Download the program



22/04 2016

Fossil fuels could be phased out within a decade

Fossil fuels could be phased out globally within a decade

Shuttershock

A new study has concluded that the planet’s reliance upon burning fossil fuels for energy could be phased out in a decade.

According to a new study published by UK energy think tank Sussex Energy Group, part of the University of Sussex, the next great energy revolution which would see the transition away from fossil fuels towards cleaner energy generation could happen within a fraction of the time of past major changes. However, to do so will require a collaborative, interdisciplinary, multiscalar approach — one that learns from the trials from previous energy systems and technology transitions.

The paper, How long will it take? Conceptualizing the temporal dynamics of energy transitions, was published in the journal Energy Research & Social Science by Professor Benjamin Sovacool, a member of the Sussex Energy Group. Looking at past great energy transitions — such as from wood to coal in Europe, which took between 96 and 160 years, or to electricity, which took 47 to 69 years to enter mainstream use — could provide lessons that, if implemented now, could decrease the transition time away from coal. Additionally, according to Sovacool, with the scarcity of resources, the treat of global climate change, and increasingly improved technological learning and innovation, could all speed the shift to a cleaner energy future.

The mainstream view of energy transitions as long, protracted affairs, often taking decades or centuries to occur, is not always supported by the evidence, said Professor Sovacool. Moving to a new, cleaner energy system would require significant shifts in technology, political regulations, tariffs and pricing regimes, and the behaviour of users and adopters. Left to evolve by itself – as it has largely been in the past – this can indeed take many decades. A lot of stars have to align all at once. But we have learnt a sufficient amount from previous transitions that I believe future transformations can happen much more rapidly.

The study, which can be viewed in its entirety, highlights several examples of transitions that were faster, but are often overlooked in the greater analysis.

Source: CleanTechnica

Read the story, share & comment

About RenewEconomy

Since its launch in early 2012, RenewEconomy.com.au has quickly emerged as Australia’s best informed and most read web-site focusing on clean energy news and analysis, as well as climate policy. ...



22/04 2016

One Stop Shop legislation a victim of the proroguing

Hi everyone

The EPBC Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 has now lapsed due to the proroguing of Parliament.

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r5231

Congratulations everyone on the consistent and persistent campaign that stopped the One Stop Shop coming to fruition under the current government.

Glen Klatovsky
Director
Places You Love Alliance



20/04 2016

Solar Citizens: Our plan to repower Australia with 100% renewables

Friends of the Environment,

This is big.

Just a few short hours ago Prime Minister Turnbull all but confirmed an early double dissolution election will most likely happen on July 2*.

But this isn’t the only big news today. In partnership with GetUp!, we released our game-changing plan to repower Australia with 100% renewable electricity by 2030, and it grabbed the front page of The Guardian online**.

The problem is, our federal government has no plan! Can you believe it? no plan beyond 2020, and that’s only four short years from today. So, we did what sensible folks do when there’s no decent plan set to make a clean, renewable future a reality: we wrote one for them.

Introducing the Homegrown Power Plan, our comprehensive roadmap to get Australia to 100% renewable power by 2030.

A plan like this is only useful if it's put into action, so we need to make sure our MPs read it, then make it happen. Will you share the Homegrown Power Plan with your federal MP today?

A few months ago Solar Citizens joined together with Getup! and some of the brightest minds in the country at the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures to find out exactly what we need to do to transition Australia’s energy system.

The result? A credible, economically sound suite of policies that will repower the country with renewable energy, reboot our failing electricity system and remove the roadblocks holding back the renewables boom.

That’s right, in less than one generation every home and business in Australia could be powered by 100% clean, cheap renewable power!

Read the Homegrown Power Plan here and make sure every MP in the country has a chance to read it too. Click here to use our easy tool to send the plan to your MP today.

Last week I wrote to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and told him what I know a lot of us have been thinking for months - quite frankly, he has not lived up to his own rhetoric***.

We’ve heard a lot about the new innovation economy and the importance of science and technology. The PM has had a while to get solar and renewables back on track since investment tanked a whopping 88 percent under Tony Abbott. But let’s be honest, our government is failing all of us.

Ordinary Australians are already leading the world on rooftop solar. More than 1.5 million households just like you are generating their very own clean, cheap power from the sun - that’s 15% of the entire population, the highest proportion in the world.

But we’re falling behind on overall solar capacity because failing renewable policies aren’t supporting enough of the big solar projects we need to power our country****. This plan is set to change all that.

This plan means our politicians have run out of excuses and no longer have to ask "how do we get there?". Click here to read the Homegrown Power Plan today - and don't forget to pass it on to your local MP using our easy tool.

This report is a game changer. It’s the biggest and most visionary piece of research Solar Citizens has ever been involved in.

It’s vital that our leaders grab the opportunities presented by the global clean-tech boom with both hands. After all, clean energy is not only set to power the homes and businesses of the future, it will power our economies and create a new generation of jobs.

By joining together with thousands of your fellow Solar Citizens, you can make sure every MP knows about our plan to repower the country ahead of the July election. Click here to read the report, and pass it on to your local MP today

Yours for a 100% renewable future,
Claire O'Rourke
National Director Solar Citizens

Notes:

Solar Citizens is an independent community-based organisation bringing together millions of solar owners and supporters to protect and grow solar in Australia. You can keep up with Solar Citizens on Twitter or like us on Facebook.



20/04 2016

EnviroSource | New national environmental events directory

About the national enviromental events directory

As environmental practitioners, we're constantly striving to deliver better environmental outcomes. But keeping up with what's happening, when and where can be pretty tough sometimes.

That's why we've created a national directory for environmental events in Australia. Last week, we invited all of you to tell us about the workshops, conferences and other environmental activities that you're involved with. Well what a response! Thank you to all those who've taken the time to share your event with us - there's sustainability startup weekends, groundwater workshops, energy conferences, pest animal symposiums, field days, water engineering and climate change workshops and more! These events now feature as part of the EnviroSource Events Directory and we're spreading the news throughout the environmental community for you via social media.

If you know of someone who's organising an environmental event, please share the love - we'd love to see more transparency of what's happening across the environment sector and this is just the start! You can find out more about adding an event to the Directory here.

What's new

#EnviroWins Roundup

Conservation outcomes, renewable energy, drones in action, cultural heritage week, waste management and new land management initiatives. Read more.

Events



20/04 2016

Coal industry is Australia's top air polluter - SMH

Air pollution increases 69 per cent as coal named top polluter

Air quality across Australia has deteriorated to alarming levels with the coal industry the nation's worst polluter, new data has shown.

The most concerning rise in air pollution is from PM10, a coarse pollution particle about the width of a human hair. Nationally, total PM10 emissions have increased 69 per cent in one year, and 194 per cent in five years.

The figures come from the National Pollutant Inventory's 2014-15 report which collects information about toxic pollution. Non-profit legal practice Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) spent the weekend analysing the figures, which were released on Friday.

EJA researcher Dr James Whelan said the findings raise serious questions about the future of Australia's air quality and called for tougher federal government regulation, an urgent transition from coal to renewable energy, and a National Air Pollution Control Act.

Watching the continuing escalation of air pollution across Australia, particularly from coal mines and coal-fired power stations, is like seeing a car speed faster and faster with no police response.

Air pollution kills more than 3000 people in Australian every year, almost three times the annual road toll, and costs the nation more than $24 billion in health care costs each year.

Dr Whelan said reducing particle pollution is critical to avoiding a public health crisis in mining areas.

Particle pollution accounts for more than 90 per cent of the total health impacts of air pollution in general.

Dr Whelan said just like smoking, there is no safe level of particle pollution.

Any reduction has direct health benefits including preventing premature death, he said.

While PM10 emissions from the coal industry have fallen 8 per cent in 2014-15 to just under 400,000 tonnes, they have increased 84 per cent over the past five years.

Other findings from EJA's analysis include:

  • Coal companies reported almost 400,000 tonnes of PM10, an 84 per cent increase in the past five years
  • Newcastle's three coal terminals account for 62 per cent of the city's PM10 emissions (295,000 kilograms this year)
  • PM10 emissions from Maules Creek coal mine increased 187 per cent in 2014-15
  • Emissions of toxic pollutants from coal mines including PM10, lead, arsenic and fluoride increased by 100-200 per cent during the last decade
  • Australia's 20 most polluting coal mines are located in the Bowen Basin and the Hunter Valley
  • Particle pollution emissions from Mackay's two coal terminals increased by 50 per cent in just one year and 254 per cent over five years.

Reporting pollution data is mandatory, but is not audited and data is often missing, inaccurate or blatantly false, Dr Whelan said.

Read/Share on Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) website…


19/04 2016

Urgent E-Petition: No to Qld nuclear waste site

Petition closes APRIL 20

Queensland must reject national nuclear waste. Call on the Qld Government and Opposition to do what it takes to stop Qld becoming Australia’s nuclear dump.

http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/e-petition?PetNum=2564

On November 13, 2015, the people of Inglewood, on Queensland’s southern Darling Downs, woke up to find that their region had been selected as a potential site to house Australia’s national nuclear waste. In a highly-flawed and undemocratic process, without any community consultation, a local land-owner at nearby Omanana – had offered up his property as the site for a radioactive waste management facility. 5 other sites: 1 in NSW, 1 in NT and 3 in SA were also on the government list. These communities were given 120 days to respond.

The March 11 deadline has passed and the community at Inglewood and its counterparts in other regions sit in limbo, waiting for an announcement on an undisclosed date about further shortlisting of sites

The federal government has said that it will not impose this facility on an “unwilling” community.

Inglewood sits in Lawrence Springborg’s electorate. His silence on the issue must be music to the ears of the federal LNP who will select the place they think has the least resistance. Will the Leader of the Opposition sit idly by and let his electorate In Queensland become Australia’s nuclear waste dumping ground?

This issue affects all Queenslanders. The waste will travel through our towns, on our roads, even possibly through our ports. In fact, it is a national issue. The site will be responsible for Australia’s nuclear legacy for hundreds of years.

The Queensland government has indicated that is does not support this project at Omanama/Inglewood or anywhere in Queensland. It is time for the Queensland government to turn these words in to action. The Queensland government must tell the federal government that it will not allow this facility to be built in Queensland

Please sign the Parliamentary E-Petition calling on the Queensland government to represent the people of Queensland in saying NO! to national nuclear waste. http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/e-petition?PetNum=2564

Want to take further action?

Contact Lawrence Springborg: Southern.Downs@parliament.qld.gov.au

Contact Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk: thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au

Contact your local MP to let them know your concerns.

To find out more or to get involved in the campaign:

Friends of the Earth Brisbane/Nuclear-Free Queensland: www.nuclearfreequeensland.net

Friends of Omanama: https://www.facebook.com/Friends.of.Omanama



16/04 2016

Date Claimer - Logan Eco Action Festival (LEAF), 5 June 2016

Logan Eco Action Festival (LEAF)

LEAF is a free community festival welcoming everyone from all ages to attend and be actively involved in a fun and inspiring program. This interactive and educational event is designed to stimulate awareness about the environmental issues we face as a community, and through education, empower festival attendees to make a positive change.

Best of all HOPE will be in attendance at LEAF 2016 distributing information on sustainable living practices.

More about LEAF 2016…


14/04 2016

National Climate and Health Strategy campaign by CAHA

National Climate and Health Strategy

A national strategy on climate change and health for Australia. Makes sense, doesn't it?

We know from the World Federation of Public Health Associations Global Survey of National Climate and Health Policies in 2015 that Australia lags behind comparable countries in responding to the health impacts of climate change. See results here.

The Climate and Health Alliance is leading a process to develop a framework for a national strategy on climate change and health, building on the work we've done in calling for a National Plan for Climate, Health and Wellbeing.

A Discussion Paper to guide a national conversation will soon be released, and we will be consulting widely with healthcare stakeholders about the ideas it raises. If you want to be be part of the discussion, please contact info@caha.org.au to be added to the e-communications about this important consultation.

For more of the latest climate and health news:CAHA April 2016



14/04 2016

An important article from Landlink April 2016

What #Action4theLand will your local councillor take?

With over 5,300 registered Landcare groups across the nation, even the smallest of actions from a single Landcare group can add together – across the Landcare movement – to make a large difference.

As part of our World Environment Day 2016 activities, Landcare Australia will be running a fundraising and environmental awareness initiative, where we ask every individual, business, government agency, politician and media outlet we engage with across the nation What positive #Action4theLand will you take?

It is our hope that the #Action4theLand campaign can create a groundswell of awareness, and accompanying activity – where every dollar collected through our fundraising efforts will make a difference, by supporting Landcare groups and projects across Australia.

We’re reaching out across our network to encourage each and every one of you to start a positive #Action4theLand conversation. Over the next few months, get out there and ask your friends, family, colleagues, and local representatives, What #Action4theLand will you take?

In particular, we encourage you to reach out to your local councillors, and state and federal elected representatives to invite them to join your Landcare group for a day to see the positive #Action4theLand you have taken in your local community.

Don’t know who your local members are? Try these links:

For more from Landcare Australia read the newsletter online: LANDLINK | APRIL 2016



14/04 2016

Date Claimer - Work With Nature, 18-24 April 2016

You are invited to Work With Nature this April

Do you love getting out into nature? From 18-24 April, The Nature Conservancy Australia invites you to swap your desk for the great outdoors to spend one hour 'green-desking' as part of Work With Nature Week. What is green-desking you might be asking? We're taking the hot-desking concept a step further by bringing the flexible office outside into nature.

Register now to green-desk individually or with your office.

Whether it’s a walking meeting or a team brainstorming session in the park, reconnect with nature this April.



14/04 2016

Vandana Shiva in Brisbane 20/4: Making Peace With the Earth

Making Peace with the Earth with Dr Vandana Shiva

Making Peace with the Earth with Dr Vandana Shivabutton

7.30pm Wednesday 20th April (Powerhouse Theatre) – $35 | Book online

“You are not Atlas carrying the world on your shoulder. It is good to remember that the planet is carrying you.” – Dr. Vandana Shiva

Indian scholar, environmental activist and anti-globalisation author Dr Vandana Shiva has dedicated her career to investigating the most significant ecological and social issues of our time. The disastrous gas leak in Bhopal from Union Carbide’s pesticide plant in 1984 compelled Dr Shiva to shift her focus from Physics to environmental policy, the protection of agricultural diversity, organic farming and fair trade. Author of over 20 books including Making Peace with the Earth, Biopiracy, Stolen Harvest and Water Wars, Dr Shiva highlights the social, economic and ecological costs of corporate-led globalisation. Due to her first book, Staying Alive and her progressive views on women’s involvement in agriculture, Dr Shiva is also known as an eco-feminist who has helped redefine perceptions of women in developing countries. Dr Shiva chairs the Commission on the Future of Food and is a board member of the International Forum on Globalisation. In 2010, Forbes Magazine identified Dr Shiva as one of the seven most powerful women in the world

This evening, moderated by Paul Barclay host of Big Ideas, ABC Radio National, and is titled Making Peace with the Earth. We will enjoy Dr Shiva’s sharing of the importance of the soil itself which was acknowledged by the UN General Assembly when it declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. Tibet’s pivotal role as the water source for billions of people throughout Asia will also be a particular focus.

Dr Shiva’s passionate and compelling address will be complemented by evocative music by Tenzin Choegyal and friends.

Festival of Tibet Making Peace…


12/04 2016

The latest news from Future Earth

Stories from Future Earth's April 2016 newsletter

Climate models overestimate 20th Century wet and dry climate extremes

Drought-sensitive 1000-year old trees from the mountains of Greece. Researchers used tree-ring width and other data to reconstruct 12 centuries of Northern Hemisphere hydroclimate variability. Photo: Paul J. Krusic

A new study assembles the longest record of rainfall patterns in the Northern Hemisphere, finding that recent climate change may not have caused a sharp spike in rains and droughts.

For the first time, scientists have pieced together a 1200-year long record of water availability, rainfall and drought across Europe, North Asia and North America. The research, published in the journal Nature, is the first time scientists have been able to accurately see how rainfall patterns have changed during the 20th Century compared with the last 12 centuries. The findings show the Northern Hemisphere experienced considerably larger variations in rainfall and drought patterns during the past 12 centuries than in the 20th Century. The researchers, from Sweden, Germany and Switzerland, find that climate models overestimate the increase in wet and dry extremes as temperatures increased during the 20th Century. The new results, a contribution to the Past Global Changes (PAGES) 2k Network, can help improve how climate models represent future rainfall changes in a warmer world.

But the recent reconstruction challenges the conclusions of these climate models. The results, released this week in Nature, indicate that the undisputed temperature rise of the 20th Century may not have affected the hydroclimate – rainfall and drought-related climate anomalies – to the same extent as earlier suspected.

Lead author Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist, a historian and climate researcher at Stockholm University, said, Despite strong 20th Century warming, we find that rainfall and drought extremes in the 20th Century have varied within the natural variability we can now see in earlier centuries. Several other centuries in the past 1200 years show stronger and more widespread extremes and deviations from the average.

Climate models strongly overestimate the intensification of wet and dry extremes in the twentieth century, added Ljungqvist.

The team, working within a major international research initiative examining 2000 years of climate variability for the Past Global Changes project of Future Earth, used tree-rings, lake sediment, historical data and other types of archives to piece together the new picture of past climate. The researchers found larger land areas with relatively wetter conditions in the ninth to 11th and the 20th centuries, whereas drier conditions than during the 20th Century were more widespread between the 12th and 19th centuries.

The lack of agreement between the reconstruction and the climate models in the 20th Century indicates that the models can have limitations in realistically predicting which regions may get wetter and which may get drier in a warmer world. But one reason climate model predictions do not agree well with actual data could also be that twentieth century warming may not yet have been strong enough to trigger large-scale hydroclimate changes.

To investigate the links between temperature and hydroclimate variations, the scientists compared their reconstructed hydroclimate variations with a new temperature reconstruction they also developed. The researchers conclude that only in a few regions is it possible to see clear correlations between changes in temperature and hydroclimate. For instance, drought was most widespread during both the relatively warm twelfth century and the relatively cold fifteenth century.

The study shows the importance of placing recent hydroclimate changes in a millennium-long perspective, says Ljungqvist. Actual measurements of precipitation and drought are too short to tell if the observed changes today fall outside the range of natural variability. Instrumental measurements are also too short to test the ability of state-of-the-art climate models to predict which regions will get drier or wetter with global warming.

Read the article online…

Researchers look ahead to the growth of African cities

By 2050, the majority of young people in the world will live in cities like Nairobi, shown here. Such a shift in people will put new strains on infrastructure, resources and economies. Photo: Cordelia Persen via Flickr

As Africa undergoes a wave of urbanization, experts gathered in South Africa this month to discuss crucial challenges for the continent.

From Cape Town to Cairo, Africa is undergoing the most rapid urbanization on the planet. By 2050, the majority of the world’s young people will be living in cities such as Kinshasa, Lagos, Kigali and Nairobi. But this urbanization is largely unplanned, and many cities haven’t made the investments in infrastructure needed to handle the influx of people. Moreover, this growth is rolling out against a backdrop of extreme poverty and a rapidly changing climate — a shift that will see Africa become both warmer and drier in the years ahead.

It’s these changes that the annual International Sustainability Conference at the University of Stellanbosch outside of Cape Town, South Africa, was convened to address. The theme of this meeting, which was held earlier this month, was “Meeting Africa’s Challenges.”

Solving the complex challenges of poverty, development, urbanization and climate will require close links between researchers and those who make decisions at local levels. But the road between university campuses and government departments is a minefield, says Debra Roberts, a member of the Future Earth Engagement Committee and director of the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department, eThekwini Municipality in Durban. She compares the politics in cities to the TV show "Game of Thrones." On good days, Roberts says, her colleagues navigate minor skirmishes. On bad days it is all out warfare.

Opening the conference, Robert Scholes from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa articulated several differences between Africa and other parts of the world that cannot be ignored: people and nature are highly intertwined; local resources are often commonly managed; migration is a frequent coping strategy to hardships like violence, climate change and economic shifts; the development of the nation state is lagging behind the rest of the world; and many cultures prioritize communities over individuals.

Rooibos tea

This last theme informed Bagele Chilisa’s talk on indigenous research methods, which began with an explanation of the concept of “Ubuntu” meaning “I am because we are." Chilisa, from the University of Botswana, says colonization is still deeply felt throughout Africa, and it is evolving into new forms.

Over breakfast the following day, Chilisa explained how Western knowledge systems take knowledge out of Africa, alter it until it is unrecognizable according to western rules, then capitalize on it economically.

She used the example of rooibos tea from South Africa, a caffeine-free herbal tea that has recently become a commercial hit in the West. Local communities in South Africa have cultivated and used rooibos for generations, and their knowledge underpinned efforts to exploit this plant for global consumers. But local communities have yet to benefit from the economic success of the leaf. The South African government recognises these issues and is now urging any individual or organization involved in bioprospecting or biotrade using rooibos… to engage with the Khoi and San communities or people to negotiate a benefit sharing agreement. Still, it may be too little too late, Chilisa says.

The study shows the importance of placing recent hydroclimate changes in a millennium-long perspective, says Ljungqvist. Actual measurements of precipitation and drought are too short to tell if the observed changes today fall outside the range of natural variability. Instrumental measurements are also too short to test the ability of state-of-the-art climate models to predict which regions will get drier or wetter with global warming.

This knowledge drain from Africa is a problem, in part, because many cities on the continent are growing at phenomenal rates without a similar increase in industrialization or economic growth. That’s in contrast with previous periods of urbanization throughout history, such as the massive move from rural to urban areas that took place during the Industrial Revolution in nineteenth century Europe. China also launched a strategy in 2014 to support a wave of urbanization for economic growth that may be the greatest planned human resettle experiment ever undertaken. No such plans are in place for Africa.

Several reasons help explain why Africa’s urbanization is not following the same route as in Europe, the Americas, China, Japan and elsewhere in Asia: Africa’s high fertility rate means that much of the population growth in cities is not a result of migration from rural areas, but simply from new births. Other factors can include ethnic tensions and civil disturbances, which force communities away from certain areas and into cities. But globalization is also to blame. In recent years, manufacturing industries have fled Europe and North America for Asia, attracted by good, reliable electricity and roads and cheap, disciplined and educated labour forces. But the same isn’t true for many African cities. While labour in Africa is cheap, many sub-Saharan cities face regular blackouts and have poor education levels. The result, in places, has been de-industrialisation.

These economic dynamics will make it more difficult for the African continent to develop. Chilisa says: When any group within a large, complex civilization significantly dominates other groups for hundreds of years, the ways of the dominant group — its epistemologies, ontologies and axiologies — not only become the dominant ways of that civilization, but those ways become so deeply embedded that they typically are seen as ‘natural’ or appropriate norms rather than as historically evolved social constructions.

While physical colonialism may have ended, Chilisa says, Africans are still experiencing “colonization of the mind.” She advocates for an “African Renaissance” to address the continent’s developmental challenges. At its foundation is an appeal for Africans to base their knowledge production and processes on the customs, traditions and languages of the indigenous people. She cites academics Ngugi wa Thiongo and Mazrui who have argued that since colonial times African universities have often allowed a unidirectional borrowing and lending of western culture, literature, paradigms, values and ideals that are not necessarily relevant to African societies.

Paths forward

Many conference speakers discussed the value of transdisciplinary research to Africa and how this type of approach, with its now established methodologies for engaging groups, knowledge bases and institutions in co-design and co-production, offers a promising way forward.

But can such an approach help Africa’s mushrooming cities? Possibly, but there are still hurdles to overcome. Researchers usually lack the time and skills to engage with the right policymakers to achieve real results. Moreover, cities are chaotic places.

During the meeting, Thomas Elmqvist from the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University and Josephine Musango from the University of Stellenbosch separately discussed a complex systems approach to sustainability in cities. Elmqvist said: “Cities are complex social-ecological-technological systems that are constantly adapting and evolving. And they are getting more complex.” He added that new technology, such as mobile phones, is opening up new opportunities for scientists to collect and analyse large datasets to explore questions that were previously intangible in Africa.

Later this year, roughly 40,000 people will meet in Quito, Ecuador, for the UN Habitat III summit (17-20 October) to discuss the future of urban areas across the world. Africa will undoubtedly be a key topic of conversation. Many experts have called for an assessment of the research needs for Africa and an analysis of where urban research is happening and where it is needed most – in those areas expanding at breakneck speeds.

But even with a new push for research, local authorities in Africa and elsewhere are often overwhelmed by day-to-day events. Just getting heard is difficult, and long-term planning is, at times, impossible. To have any influence, researchers need to engage with formal and informal powerbrokers, says Roberts, who was recently appointed co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group II on climate adaptation and vulnerability. Strength of personality and personal conviction often trumps research findings. Your agency is about who you know, not what you know.

But even with this realpolitik, “somehow it all works. The lights stay on. The water flows. The roads are drivable,” adds Roberts. Mark Swilling, academic director of the Sustainability Institute at the University of Stellenbosch supports this conclusion, arguing that success may not happen through a coherent masterplan. But research that tackles the underlying, at times chaotic, approach that characterizes the African context will be key to supporting sustainable economic development on the continent.

Read the article online…
More, stories, events, etc. online…


11/04 2016

BRAVO - France to Ban Glyphosate Weedkillers

France to Ban Glyphosate Weedkillers Due to Health Risks

France is banning glyphosate mixed with certain adjuvants (additives) due to its perceived risks to human health. The move comes less than two months after Ségolène Royal, France’s minister of ecology, sustainable development and energy, called for the ban.

Monsanto’s glyphosate-containing herbicides have been linked to cancer in humans. Photo credit: Flickr

ANSES—France’s food, environment and health agency—sent a letter this week to manufacturers informing them that it intends to withdraw the authorization on herbicides containing glyphosate mixed with the adjuvant tallow amine, ANSES’ deputy director general Francoise Weber told Reuters.

According to Weber, ANES made the decision after the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) suggested greater potential risks compared to glyphosate alone.

Monsanto confirmed to Reuters they are one of the companies affected by the French ban, adding that the debate over glyphosate in Europe is “political.” The agritech giant has long maintained the safety of their flagship product, which is also the world’s most popular herbicide.

In Europe, there has been a great deal of controversy over glyphosate in recent months. It all started in November when EFSA rejected the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) infamous classification of glyphosate as a possible carcinogen.

However, as EcoWatch mentioned, unlike the IARC the Italy-based EFSA examined glyphosate alone, not glyphosate formulations. The adverse health effects of the herbicide, therefore, could be related to reactions with “other constituents or ‘co-formulants,’” the EFSA report said.

Last month, a number of government officials in France, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands rebelled against the European Commission’s plans to approve the relicensing of glyphosate in the European Union over health and safety risks. Licensing for glyphosate ends in June and the European Commission is proposing to grant the herbicide a new 15-year lease.

France already banned the sale of Roundup from garden centers last June due to its link to cancer. Royal has since urged for an outright ban on glyphosate herbicides across the EU.

Read on EcoWatch website;


11/04 2016

Will mega-banks drive more environmental and social disasters?

Development banks threaten to unleash an infrastructure tsunami on the environment

Major development banks are funding logging, mining and infrastructure projects that are having enormous impacts on nature. Here, forests are being razed along a newly constructed road in central Amazonia. William Laurance, Author provided

We are living in the most explosive era of infrastructure expansion in human history. The G20 nations, when they met in Australia in 2014, argued for between US$60 trillion and US$70 trillion in new infrastructure investments by 2030, which would more than double the global total value of infrastructure.

Some of the key players in this worldwide infrastructure boom are huge investors such as the World Bank. The past few years and decades have seen the rise of major new investment banks, such as the recently founded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the dramatic growth of funds such as the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES).

The new banks, along with traditional big lenders such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian, African, and Inter-American Development Banks, are very fond of funding big infrastructure such as roads, dams, gas lines, mining projects, and so on.

Some people had hoped that these banks would promote sustainable and socially equitable development, but it now seems that they could end up doing precisely the opposite.

The infrastructure tsunami

The next few decades are expected to see some 25 million km of new paved roads, thousands more hydroelectric dams, and hundreds of thousands of new mining, oil and gas projects.

The environmental impacts of the modern infrastructure tsunami could easily dwarf climate change and many other human pressures, as thousands of projects penetrate into the world’s last surviving wild areas. Roughly 90% of the new projects are in developing nations, often in the tropics or subtropics which harbour the planet’s biologically richest and environmentally most critical ecosystems.

In these contexts, new infrastructures such as roads can open a Pandora’s box of environmental problems, by promoting widespread deforestation, habitat fragmentation, poaching, fires, illegal mining and land speculation.

For instance, our research in the Brazilian Amazon has shown that 95% of all deforestation occurs within 5.5 km of a legal or illegal road.

In Brazil, 12 new dams planned for the Tapajós River (and their associated road networks) are expected to increase Amazon deforestation by nearly a million hectares. Across the Amazon, more than 330 dams are now planned or under construction.

In the Congo Basin, an avalanche of new logging roads has opened up vast areas of rainforest to poachers armed with rifles and cable snares. As a result, the past decade has seen two-thirds of all Forest Elephants slaughtered for their valuable ivory tusks.

Fears of fast-tracking

Brazil’s BNDES has been heavily criticised for funding scores of environmentally and socially harmful projects, such as mega-dams in the Amazon. Fears were raised that China’s AIIB would Asian Infrastructure Investment Bankbehave similarly, especially when it announced that it would be using “streamlined” procedures for evaluating its projects.

Such fast-tracked procedures would differ from those used by other major lenders such as the World Bank, which after years of criticism have gradually implemented measures designed to limit the environmental and social impacts of its projects. Even these safeguards are often inadequate, as I and others argued in a recent article, but at least they are a big improvement over past practices.

When China opened up its AIIB to other countries, 30 nations initially joined as founding members. Many of these are western economies, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Australia and New Zealand.

At the time, many observers hoped that the bank’s broader membership would encourage the AIIB to moderate its hard-charging stance — perhaps fostering environmental and social safeguards more akin to those of the existing major lenders.

Race to the bottom?

But in fact the exact opposite appears to be happening. Rather than the AIIB raising its game, the World Bank recently concluded a review of its environmental standards — a move that has been criticised as weakening its environmental and social safeguards.

It is doing so, it says, in order to keep up with “new and varied development demands”. This is widely seen as a response to increasing competition with other investors such as the AIIB.

What will this mean? The global economy has slowed for the moment, giving environmental planners a tiny window of breathing space. But make no mistake, the infrastructure tsunami is still happening. If the global economy rebounds to a degree, the feeding frenzy of projects seen in recent years could easily return.

This could be bad news for the global environment and socially disempowered peoples. For instance, a 2009 analysis found that many developing nations had become “pollution havens” for projects funded by China or Chinese investors, who were attracted to nations with weak environmental controls. Notably, other advanced (OECD) economies showed no such tendency.

How badly will the global avalanche of new infrastructure affect nature? With development pressures rapidly escalating in the tropics, species such as this Golden Dove, found only in Fiji, could be especially vulnerable. Will other major lenders follow suit? Will there simply be a “race to the bottom” among big lenders in order to remain competitive? Only time will tell.

The other key question revolves around the role of western nations that are parties to the AIIB, such as the EU members and Australia. Do they have enough influence and determination to make a difference? With China, India and Russia holding the biggest shares of the bank’s capitalisation, it’ll be an uphill battle.

Right now, for the environment and human rights, the signs are all pointing in the wrong direction.

Read online…


11/04 2016

Food Connect (Brisbane)

Food Connect

Food Connect Brisbane is a social enterprise founded in 2005 by ex-dairy farmer Robert Pekin, who was forced off his dairy farm in the late 1990’s and since then has been on a mission to create a fairer food system.

We ethically and transparently engage local farmers to supply ecological food that is in season and super fresh and we pay them about four times the amount of the big food chains, so more of your dollars go directly to the growers. Their beautiful produce is then delivered all over Brisbane for everyone to enjoy.

At Food Connect, local actually means local: our fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products and bakery items travel no more than 400 kilometres> before getting to your door, that’s why we can guarantee superior quality, freshness and a reduced impact on the environment*.

You can order and buy online, choosing from a range of great options: from weekly produce boxes to custom made shopping lists, fill up your fridge and pantry with delicious food that is fresh, in season, grown free from toxic chemicals and made with love by the best artisan food producers in the region. Start browsing through our local and seasonal food options and get your groceries direct from our great farmers.

We know you hate queuing at the shops, and that’s why we deliver all over Brisbane thanks to our unique network of City Cousins. It’s very simple: just find out where your local City Cousin is and we will deliver your groceries there every week, so you can do something fun with the time you save! Also, watch out for the occasional food tasting event that your local city cousin is hosting, those are heaps of fun and a great way to link to your local community.

So, that’s us... what about you? Are you passionate about food? Do you believe that a fairer food system is possible? Get in touch to find out more about our farmers, the issues they face every day and how we work to support them. Get involved with our many initiatives and events and help us democratise the food system!



11/04 2016

Wilderness Society calls for an end to large-scale clearing!

Let's bring an end to large-scale clearing in Queensland

Queensland Government finally moves to reform tree clearing laws

After more than 25 years as an advocate for the protection of nature and prosperous communities, I’ve learnt very clearly that, in the end, only people power can actually change the world for the better.

This was a huge achievement, one we have been working to bring about for the last twelve months, and secured with your support. But this was not without a substantial campaign by the LNP and ‘Big Ag’ to prevent the Bill from ever appearing, or even being formally introduced without having an unprecedented vote on that first step in the process. We then witnessed a five hour debate about how long a Parliamentary Committee Inquiry looking at the Bill should be.

Clearly, every step – no matter how small – will be challenged and contested by those who want to see the bulldozers and chains continue to run riot in our native woodlands. The campaign for tree clearing law reform in Queensland still has a long way to go, and we are not assured of victory.

We have seen clearing rates in Queensland rise rapidly. In 2013/14 alone, nearly 300,000 hectares of native woodlands were cleared, much of it vital habitat for threatened species such as the koala. This also released some 36 million tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. Tree clearing is bad for habitats and our native wildlife, the Great Barrier Reef and managing climate change.

The new Bill will restore tree clearing laws to how they were in 2012, and strengthens protection for Great Barrier Reef catchments. The Bill is also designed to deter some level of panic clearing by applying from March 17 if it becomes law. We must make sure the Bill gets passed, and does so without too much panic clearing happening in the meantime.

Take Action

  • Please help our campaign by showing your support for the Bill.
    The Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 has now been referred to the Agriculture and Environment Parliamentary Committee for an Inquiry. Submissions to this are now open, and close Monday 25 April. You can ensure your voice is heard by making a submission. This is easy to do, and will make a real difference.
    See our guide and checklist here to help you make a submission.
  • We are still encouraging supporters to ask your local MP to support the reform Bill. Check your electorate and find your MP's contact details.
  • We have really appreciated the generosity of supporters like you to help us get to this point. But we need to be able to keep the pressure up over the coming months to make sure the reforms become law. Please help support our Queensland land clearing campaign work.


11/04 2016

Lets get a ban on plastic bags and container deposits happening

Plastic Pollution-the Community Speaks

Lets get a ban on plastic bags and container deposits happening in Queensland this year. That's the message our politicians are certainly hearing. The facts and the solutions to plastic pollution speak for themselves.

The latest Clean Up Australia Rubbish Report released last month revealed a doubling of rubbish on beaches and coastal areas in Queensland, with over 40% being plastics. The Senate Inquiry into Marine Debris heard evidence that things were getting worse and that new evidence was showing that plastics were now getting into the human food chain.

Plastic in the environment is an eyesore, a pollutant, a threat to wildlife and now we could be eating it!

The good news is that many communities are stepping up their calls for action. The two key first steps concern plastic packaging and beverage containers, the bulk of the litter found. We are hearing from communities on both measures. The CSIRO found that South Australia has significantly less plastic and container litter than other States, like Queensland. South Australia has a container deposit scheme and plastic bag ban.

The headline pictures are a few of the media stories doing the rounds. They are all from Queensland. Livingstone Shire, Bribie Island, the Moreton Bay Islands, Surfers Paradise and Noosa. From community organisations to individuals, people have been talking to their political representatives, the local media and posting shots of themselves making a statement of support.

So how are Governments responding?

In February the NSW, Queensland and Victorian Governments agreed to a consistent approach to plastic bag restrictions, with Queensland prepared to make a decision this year. In 2005, all Australian Governments agreed to phase out plastic bags by 2008. To date only four have (South Australia, Tasmania, ACT and NT).

At a recent inter-government Roundtable, NSW/QLD/VIC heard from the four jurisdictions who had banned the single use bag, all reported less litter, significant public support for the ban and how people had changed their behaviour and used their own bags to go shopping. By the way, the push is on to make sure that when NSW and QLD act they will include 'degradable' and 'biodegradable' bags in their restrictions. The fact is they don't degrade or do so too slowly to avoid harm to wildlife and the environment.

Please give Queensland some encouragement to act this year. Steven Miles, the Environment Minister, should hear what you think. Let him know he must make a decision to ban single use plastic bags this year, 2016. You can email Steven at: environment@ministerial.qld.gov.au

The Commonwealth has announced the good news that it would introduce a ban on plastic micro-beads (found in many cosmetics and toothpastes) if the States don't phase them out first. The NSW Government also just finished a consultation on its proposed Container Deposits Scheme (cash for containers), that will be introduced in July 2017. They received over 11,000 submissions, overwhelmingly urging them to put a 10 cent deposit on bottles and cans. Once NSW announce their schedule, Queensland are ready to follow and seek the views of the public.

The Local Government Association now back a cash for containers scheme and plastic bag restrictions but remain slow to act. Neither the ALP or the LNP have publicly backed the measures.

As a member of the Queensland Advisory Committee on a Container Deposit Scheme, I am confident that we have designed a scheme that will work. A scheme that will slash litter, triple recycling rates, create jobs and provide over $25 million every year for charities interested in collecting cans and bottles. We just need Queensland to act this year.

If you want to know more try the DEHP website or you can contact me at tobyhutcheon@bigpond.com

We need every member of the Queensland Parliament to support these schemes so please let your local MP know that you want them to support this. Litter and plastic pollution are mainstream issues that they are well aware of, they will listen if you contact them. So far only a handful of MPs have declared themselves. Your MP can be contacted at:

(name of electorate)@parliament.qld.gov.au

Lets not waste the year with further delay.

You can sign the Boomerang Alliance petition at: boomerang alliance.org.au/C4CQLD

Toby Hutcheon

Toby Hutcheon is an environmental consultant and currently engaged by two ENGO's, the Boomerang Alliance and Wildlife Queensland to work on plastic pollution and litter.



10/04 2016

The very real and forecast impacts of Climate Change

Climate Change Dries Up Nicaragua

Boats stranded on the dry bed of Moyúa lake in northern Nicaragua, which has lost 60 percent of its water due to the severe drought plaguing the country since 2014. Credit: Courtesy of Rezayé Álvarez

MANAGUA, Apr 5 2016 (IPS) - A three-year drought, added to massive deforestation in the past few decades, has dried up most of Nicaragua’s water sources and has led to an increasingly severe water supply crisis.

Since January, photos and videos showing dried-up streams, rivers and lakes have been all over the social networks, local news media, blogs and online bulletins of environmental organisations.

Jaime Incer, a former minister of the environment and natural resources and the president of the Nicaraguan Foundation for Sustainable Development (Fundenic-SOS), is one of the loudest voices warning about the accelerated environmental deterioration in the country.

Incer told IPS that by late March the country had lost 60 percent of its surface water sources and up to 50 percent of its underground sources, which either dried up or have been polluted.

To illustrate, he cited the disappearance of at least 100 rivers and their tributaries in Nicaragua, and the contamination of Tiscapa and Nejapa lakes near Managua, as well as lake Venecia in the western coastal department of Masaya and lake Moyúa in the northern department of Matagalpa.

The scientist said the country’s largest bodies of water are also in danger: the 680-km Coco river, the longest in Central America, which forms the northern border with Honduras, is now completely dry for several stretches of up to eight km in length.

The water level in the river is at a record low, to the extent that it can be crossed by foot, with the water only ankle-deep.

And because of the low water level in the country’s other big river, the San Juan, along the southern border with Costa Rica, large sand banks now block the passage of boats, despite the dredging operations carried out in the last few years.

In addition, the 8,624-sq-km Lake Nicaragua or Cocibolca, the biggest freshwater reserve in Central America has suffered from serious water losses since 2012, which means docks and piers have been left high and dry, said Incer.

The same thing is happening in the country’s other large lake, Xolotlán, in Managua.

Although clean-up operations in the lake were launched in 2009, the results of these efforts have not been announced. But what is clearly visible is that since the drought began in 2014, the shoreline has receded up to 200 metres in some areas, according to reports by Fundenic-SOS.

This is what Lake Moyúa in northern Nicaragua looked like before it lost 60 percent of its water due to the effects of the El Niño climate phenomenon, which in this Central American country has spelled drought. Credit: Matagalpa.org

The environmental organisation does not only blame the crisis on the impact of climate change that has been felt in Nicaragua since 2014 due to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) – a cyclical climate phenomenon that affects weather patterns around the world – but also the lack of public policies to curb the rampant deforestation.

The big forest reserves in the south of the country have shrunk up to 40 percent, according to a study by the British consultancy Environmental Resources Management (ERM), hired by the Chinese consortium HKND Group to carry out feasibility studies for the canal it is to build that will link the Pacific and Atlantic oceans across Nicaragua.

The environmental deterioration of the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve and the Cerro Silva and Punta Gorda nature reserves in southeast Nicaragua was worse in the period 2009-2011 than in the previous 26 years, the ERM reported in 2015.

The study says that between 1983 and 2011, “nearly 40 percent of the natural land cover in southeast Nicaragua was lost.”

The non-governmental Humboldt Centre also reported 40 percent loss of forest cover in Bosawas, the largest forest reserve in Central America, declared a biosphere reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 1997.

Food security, a major victim

The impact of the drought has been felt in the economy and the food security of a large part of this country’s population of 6.2 million people, 2.5 million of whom live on less than two dollars a day and 20 percent of whom are undernourished, according to statistics from international bodies.

Organisations of farmers, stockbreeders and tourism businesses have complained about economic damages caused by water shortages.

For example, the National Livestock Commission of Nicaragua (CONAGAN) confirmed in February that the sector is extremely concerned about the scarcity of water in the parts of Nicaragua that account for at least 30 percent of the country’s livestock.

What worries them the most is that according to international and national weather reports, the drought caused by El Niño could last through August, when the first rainfall in 2016 is forecast.

And this month, the Union of Agricultural Producers in Nicaragua (UPANIC) estimated losses caused by the drought at 200 million dollars in 2015.

Nicaragua’s Central Bank, meanwhile, reported that in 2015, the drought affected hydropower production – the least costly energy in terms of production costs.

Sociologist Cirilo Otero, the director of the Centre of Environmental Policy Initiatives, said the part of the country hit hardest by water shortages is the so-called “dry corridor” – a long, arid stretch of dry forest where 35 of the country’s 153 municipalities are located.

According to Otero’s studies, the impact of the drought and the lack of water in that region, which stretches from northern to south-central Nicaragua, has been so heavy that 100 percent of the crops have been lost and 90 percent of the water sources have dried up.

The measures adopted by the government are ‘asistencialistas’ (band-aid or short-term in nature) – water and food are distributed on certain days – but there are no public policies to curb deforestation in the pine forests in the mountains of Dipilto and Jalapa, and that is one of the main causes of the disappearance of rivers and wells, Otero told IPS.

He said children and the elderly are suffering the worst food insecurity in the dry corridor.

There are entire families who have nothing but corn and salt to eat. The situation is very serious, said Otero.

The government, which has been the target of complaints for failing to declare a national emergency for the drought, has continued to assist families in the area, providing them with medicine, food and water.

Ervin Barreda, president of ENACAL, Nicaragua’s water and sanitation utility, said they send some 65 tanker trucks a day to the most critical areas, supplying some 2,000 families every day.

According to official data, in February 2016 there were 51,527 families in 34 localities who depended on highly vulnerable aquifers for their water supply.

Read article on Inter Press Service (IPS)

It’s not just Antarctica — why Greenland could also melt faster than expected

A large iceberg floats in the ocean near the town of Uummannaq in western Greenland March 17, 2010. Dutch artist Ap Verheggen plans to erect two giant sculptures on a piece of Greenland’s sea ice and monitor them drifting away after the glacier breaks off. REUTERS/Svebor Kranjc

Last Wednesday, a blockbuster new study in the journal Nature changed our understanding of the forces affecting ice melt in Antarctica and significantly increased expectations of the ice sheet’s future contributions to sea-level rise. But the news may not stop there. Some scientists are saying that the standing predictions for Greenland — which is warming even faster than Antarctica — may also be too conservative, meaning we may be seeing even faster sea-level rise than we thought.

Until now, the accepted predictions for future sea-level rise were those presented by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change back in 2013. That report concluded that the likely contribution of Antarctica to sea-level rise by the end of the century would be in the range of 4 to 5 centimeters, barring the potential (and now increasingly likely) collapse of certain marine-based sections of the ice sheet — in which case the likely contribution was expected to be a few tenths of a meter.

In contrast, the new Nature study, which leaned on advanced computer models and an improved understanding of the processes that have affected sea-level rise in the past, concluded that sea-level rise from Antarctic contributions alone could exceed a full meter by the year 2100 in a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario.

Now, according to some scientists, it’s possible that the IPCC’s predictions for Greenland — which contains 6 meters (or 20 feet) of potential sea level rise — are also too conservative. The 2013 report concluded that Greenland’s contribution to sea-level rise through the end of the century would likely be about 12 centimeters (with a range of 7 to 21 centimeters) in a business-as-usual, or high greenhouse gas emissions, scenario. Under more moderate scenarios, where governments take significant steps to control carbon output, the predictions are more modest — anywhere from 4 to 13 centimeters.

Currently, data from NASA indicate that Greenland is losing about 287 billion metric tons of ice per year — a staggering amount already and close to the total of 360 billion that is necessary to raise seas a millimeter annually. But what’s less certain is how much this loss rate will accelerate in the future as the climate continues to change — and how much scientists may need to adjust projections for the area’s future ice loss.

So we checked in with a few experts to find out what the scientific community thinks about whether these projections are likely to still stand.

According to some, the processes most significantly affecting ice loss in Antarctica may not be so pronounced in Greenland. One of the most notable characteristics about Antarctica — particularly the West Antarctic ice sheet, which is the region considered the most unstable at the moment — is that much of the ice sheet lies below sea level.

These “marine glaciers” can be more unstable than those grounded above sea level for a variety of reasons. Interaction with warm ocean water can cause increased ice melt and can also destabilize glaciers from the bottom up, making them more likely to break into pieces or collapse. As glaciers lose ice and retreat into even deeper water, they have a tendency to lose ice even more quickly.

We know these things can be unstable, but the question is always how rapidly they can actually disintegrate, said Martin Truffer, a physics professor and glacier expert at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, by email. The Nature paper makes a good case that it can be quite a bit more rapid than previously assumed. Greenland is not a marine ice sheet (most of its base is above sea level), so it is not subject to the same instability.

Ian Joughin, a glacier expert at the University of Washington, made a similar observation by email. He reiterated the fact that as marine glaciers retreat into deeper water, they tend to “flow” faster, meaning they lose ice more quickly. An improved understanding of this tendency is responsible for much of the new Nature paper’s updated predictions about the Antarctic contributions to sea-level rise. But because much of the Greenland ice sheet rests above sea level, this factor may not be so important there, so there’s less uncertainty about Greenland — although, as Joughin noted, there are bound to be some surprises.

But in some parts of the Greenland ice sheet, at least, the same processes feared to affect Antarctica are already at play, said Eric Rignot, a University of California Irvine glaciologist and senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Although much of the ice sheet rests above sea level, there are some marine glaciers, which serve as outlets flowing from the vast and mostly land-based ice sheet, that are currently losing massive amounts of ice to the ocean and may continue to do so at accelerating rates.

It would be a natural extension of [the Antarctica study] to examine how the rapid break up of icebergs would impact Greenland’s ice mass balance, Rignot said by email. We know that in the case of Jakobshavn Isbrae, this is indeed the dominant mechanism by which the glacier is retreating. So it is completely relevant and the new paper certainly calls into question the projection for Greenland.

The Jakobshavn glacier is based more than a kilometer below sea level and is one of the parts of Greenland of most concern to scientists, as it’s believed to be the ice sheet’s fastest flowing glacier. Past research has suggested that Jakobshavn may be losing up to 35 billion metric tons of ice each year. Jakobshavn is just one out of more than 200 major outlet glaciers flowing from the Greenland ice sheet, not all of whose vulnerability to ocean-melting is even known.

As for the rest of the ice sheet, other researchers added that even the areas grounded above sea level are subject to different and equally significant influences. They say there are other processes affecting the ice in Greenland than those that are dominant in Antarctica, in large part because Greenland sees warmer air temperatures — and these factors may contribute significantly to accelerated melt on the Greenland ice sheet in the near future.

Marco Tedesco, a researcher with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, pointed out that a process called “ice darkening” is one significant process at play in Greenland. Tedesco was the lead author on a recent study that focused on this effect in northern Greenland. The idea is that as the climate warms and the ice continues to melt, it begins to lose its ability to reflect the sun’s radiation away from the surface. Radiation that doesn’t get reflected is absorbed instead, causing the ice sheet to warm even further and melt faster — a vicious cycle.

More melting creates more darkening and accelerates the melting itself — a positive feedback effect, Tedesco said.

He also noted that in some parts of Greenland, less meltwater is being absorbed back into the ice sheet than in the past. A January study in the journal Nature Climate Change addressed this issue, focusing on a section of the ice sheet known as “firn” — a porous layer of built-up snow that’s capable of trapping meltwater as it flows over the surface and helping it refreeze.

The problem is that as a warming Greenland melts more quickly, this porous space is starting to fill up with refrozen water, meaning there’s less room for new meltwater to trickle in. So the excess meltwater has nowhere to go but run off the surface of the ice into the ocean, where it becomes yet another contribution to rising sea levels.

In an email to The Washington Post, Jason Box of the Geologic Survey of Denmark and Greenland affirmed that many of these processes ongoing in Greenland have not been reflected in past models — meaning that previous predictions are likely too modest.

Numerous sensitivities are not included in the IPCC model sea level projections from land ice, he noted. Some of the sensitivities are feedbacks that mean the warmer climate gets, the ice will be lost increasingly faster.

The question that remains is how much greater we can expect Greenland’s future contributions to be — and it’s one that remains to be answered. But scientists seem to agree that both Antarctica and Greenland still have some surprises in store, which will become more clear the better we understand the physical processes affecting the ice.

Both Antarctica and Greenland are these wild cards in the sea-level rise, Tedesco said. And the contributions from both is likely underestimated in any of the projections provided by the IPCC.

Read article at washintonpost.com


09/04 2016

Great opportunity for South East QLD food lovers

Two Food Festivals on the One Day!! Felton Food Festival and International Food Festival this Sunday 10th April

Dear Friends,

If you like food then you are spoilt for choice this Sunday. In the beautiful Felton Valley you will have a complete experience learning about and celebrating the rich agricultural heritage that brings food to our tables everyday. And it happens in our backyard! At the University of Southern Qld you will have an opportunity to taste food from around the world and get to know local Muslim community members a little better.

Peace

Mark

Dr Mark Copland
Executive Officer
Social Justice Commission
Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba
123 Neil St
Toowoomba Qld 4350



08/04 2016

Yandina Community Gardens and their Open Day

Yandina Community Gardens (YCG)

YCG is a Volunteer-run Community Garden dedicated to providing education and practical experiences in Permaculture Principles. Our education program is delivered via workshops, guided garden tours and documentary screenings. Permaculture values of ‘care of earth’, ‘care of people’ and ‘share of surplus’ underpin our organisation. Our education program reflects these values and inspires community members to grow their own nutritious, organic food; live simple, sustainable and healthy lifestyles; build inclusive communities where individuals feel connect and cared for; and care for our natural environment. Participants are encouraged to engage in practices to protect our natural environment and minimise their ecological footprint. At YCG we demonstrate and promote the following sustainable practices: worm farming and composting, minimising non-renewable energy use (though use of solar panels and solar hot water), the five Rs (refuse, reduce, re-use, recycle, re-purpose), minimising water usage by selection of subtropical Permaculture plants and use of wicking beds, rain water tanks, growing own food, creation of habitat to support biodiversity, and retrofitting of “The Blue House”. We educate community members about various aspects of sustainable living including: water, energy, waste, food, resource recycling, and conservation. You can find more information about YCG at www.yandincommunitygardens.com.au.

YCG Open Day: Sunday, 15th May 2016

Come along to Yandina Community Gardens Open Day and be educated and inspired!

On Sunday 15th May we are opening our gates for a celebration of sustainable, organic, healthy living and gardening – bringing together like-minded speakers, community groups, and businesses. YCG Open Day is a family-friendly event with stalls, activities, live music, and scrumptious food, plants, gardening and sustainable living products for sale.

Gardening Australia presenter, Jerry Coleby-Williams will be the main speaker for the day – presenting 2 talks and leading a ‘garden wander’. We are excited to have Jerry visiting YCG. Jerry is a down-to-earth gardening expert with a wealth of knowledge on all things horticultural, a passionate conservationist, organic gardener, seed saver and writer, and an inspirational example of sustainable living and gardening.

Our Open Day will also include local speakers, demonstrations and garden tours – something for everyone from the balcony gardener to the serious Permaculturist, and everyone in between! The Micro Gardener, Anne Gibson, will show busy people how to grow nutrient-dense food in small spaces; Elizabeth Fekonia from Permaculture Realfood will explore legumes – nature’s gift to humanity; Morag Gamble from SEED International will share her passion and tips for reducing waste to live more sustainably.

Stalls will showcase sustainable, environmentally-friendly products and services, and YCG will be selling plants propagated from our gardens, as well as seeds and gardening products (e.g., books, tools, fertilisers). In our Permaculture gardens we cultivate plants that are easy to grow, hardy and well-suited to our climate, both edibles and support species – come along and see them growing before you purchase for your own garden.

Scrumptious, homemade food, cakes, tea, and barista coffee will be available for purchase on the day, along with a sausage sizzle. Vegetarians and vegans will be catered for. Foods made from subtropical Permaculture produce will be available.

This is a fun, family-friendly day out. Live music will be provided by local group Az.U.R. and there will be free garden activities for the young and young-at-heart (e.g., basket weaving). Visitors will be able to make their own pedal-powered smoothie.

For more information please see our Poster, our Facebook Page, or email us at info@yandinacommunitygardens.com.au.

Read more…


09/04 2016

Solar PV Price Index: Renew Economy

Solar PV Price Index: What does solar cost in your state?

Since 2012, Solar Choice has been tracking residential solar PV system installation price trends in Australia’s capital cities (with the exception of Darwin). The data that we publish has been referenced by a wide range of organisations both inside and outside Australia – from government bodies, not-for-profits and academics to financial services companies and – of course – residential solar PV system shoppers and installers. We are excited to be sharing our insights with RenewEconomy readers from this month onwards.

The below figures are based on quoted prices from our network of 100+ installers across Australia, who have been selected for their reputation as quality operators with favourable customer reviews.All prices in the tables below are after the STC incentive has been applied and inclusive of GST; they represent the total retail cost of having the system installed.

We are currently mining our database, and expect to also be publishing a Battery Storage Price Index for the Australian market in the near future.

Average quoted price by city and system size
Median dollar-per-watt solar system prices
Read the rest of the story & view more graphs on line

About RenewEconomy

Since its launch in early 2012, RenewEconomy.com.au has quickly emerged as Australia’s best informed and most read web-site focusing on clean energy news and analysis, as well as climate policy. ...



09/04 2016

Rights of Nature Tribunal Australia, 22 October 2016

Rights of Nature Tribunal Australia

Save the date: 22 October 2016, Brisbane

Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) is holding a one day Rights of Nature (RON) Citizen's Tribunal in Brisbane on Saturday 22nd October 2016. Attendance is open to the public and details about how to book your place will be available soon.

The Tribunal will be held the day after AELA's Conference (20-21st October, Brisbane). For more information about the Conference, please click here. To stay up to date with the Tribunal, please visit our webpage and join our facebook event.

ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF NATURE TRIBUNAL AUSTRALIA

This citizen’s tribunal will hear cases presented by individuals and civil society organisations concerned about the destruction of ecosystems and the wider Earth community in Australia. Australia’s RON Tribunal is a Regional Chamber of the International Rights of Nature Tribunal. Information about the International Tribunal can be found on this website:http://therightsofnature.org/rights-of-nature-tribunal/

Australia's RON Tribunal aims to provide a unique forum for people in Australia to speak on behalf of the non-human world, to challenge the current legal system’s failure to protect the health of our ecosystems and to highlight the role that the legal system, government agencies and corporations play in destroying the Earth community. The Tribunal will make recommendations about law reform and restorative actions that need to happen to ensure the future protection of Australia’s precious ecosystems and wider Earth community.

CASES TO BE HEARD AT THE RIGHTS OF NATURE TRIBUNAL AUSTRALIA

The Tribunal on 22nd October will hear depositions from citizens and Earth lawyers, to admit their cases to the Australian Tribunal for further deliberation during late 2016 and early 2017. The cases that the Tribunal expects to hear are as follows:

  • Mardoowarra/Fitzroy River (Western Australia) vs the Federal and WA Governments. This case will be presented by traditional custodians of the Mardoowarra/Fitzroy River and will include claims that the River must have its legal rights recognised, in accordance with the traditional custodians’ ‘first laws’ and the rights of nature.
  • The Atmospheric Commons vs Federal Government and the Fossil Fuel Industry. This case will challenge Australia’s inaction on climate change and will feature some of Australia’s leading climate scientists and civil society climate advocates.
  • The Forests of Australia vs Federal and State Governments. This case will be presented by forest protectors from Tasmania, East Gippsland, Queensland, Western Australia and Northern NSW, challenging the legality of native logging across the continent.
  • The Great Artesian Basin vs Federal & State Governments and Coal Seam Gas Industry. This case will hear evidence from scientists, community members and civil society organisations such as Lock the Gate, about the contamination and depletion of Australia’s precious groundwater.
  • Earth Defenders vs the Tasmanian, NSW and WA Governments. This case will challenge the treatment of environmental protectors and Earth advocates, under new legislation aimed at suppressing peaceful protest activity in various Australian jurisdictions.
  • Watching brief: The Great Barrier Reef vs Australian and Queensland Governments. The Tribunal will receive an update on the status of the Great Barrier Reef, which was the first case that Australia took to the International Rights of Nature Tribunal. Concerns for the Reef have heightened in light of Sunday's announcement by the Queensland Government that it has approved the mining leases for the Adani Carmichael Mine.

For more information about the Rights of Nature Tribunal, or to express interest in participating in the Tribunal, please email: tribunal@earthlaws.org.au



06/04 2016

Help keep kids safe with regular chemical clean outs

Getting rid of unused household chemicals can help keep your family safe but proper disposal is a must, waste experts warn.

A report by the Australian Consumer Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has found almost 2,500 children were admitted to hospital each year due to poisoning.

A media release on the ACCC website outlines some to the key findings and recommendations of the report.

ACCC releases poisons report

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is reminding parents to remove poisonous products from children’s reach, with data revealing almost 2,500 children are admitted to hospital every year following poisonings.

As part of International Poison Prevention Week, the ACCC has released a report which analyses calls made to Poisons Information Centres (13 11 26) from June 2014 to May 2015.

Each year, 180,000 calls are made to Poisons Information Centres in Australia, with about half of these relating to children. The most common causes of poisoning incidents were all-purpose and hard surface cleaners, detergents, toilet bowl products, bleach, hand sanitisers, detergents and glow sticks, ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Children under 5 are most at risk of accidental poisoning, with the risk highest for 2 year olds

Poisonings often occur on holidays when families are heading to holiday houses or visiting friends and relatives who may not have young children. This Easter holidays, be especially vigilant and check the house on arrival to ensure medicines and household chemicals cannot fall into little hands, Ms Rickard said

The ACCC reports found that injuries range from skin irritations and eye damage through to severe internal burns. Ingesting toxic products can result in difficulty swallowing, chest pains, abdominal pain and vomiting. Some chemicals contacting the skin or eyes can result in rashes, chemical burns and blindness.

The most serious incidents relate to carbon monoxide exposure, button batteries, caustic cleaners such as oven and BBQ cleaners, acids, pool chemicals, household bleaches and herbicides, Ms Rickard said.

The ACCC is working with industry, parenting and accident prevention groups and other regulatory agencies to reduce the number and severity of preventable poisonings in Australia through raising consumer awareness about the hazards and encouraging product improvements.

The report is available at http://www.productsafety.gov.au/publication/analytical-report-poisons-call-data

Tips for parents and carers:

  • Cleaning products should be stored in a secure cabinet that children are unable to access.
  • Secure all chemical products in and around your home. Check areas in the house such as the kitchen, laundry, bathrooms, toilets as well as the garage and garden shed.
  • Check the house on arrival for medications and chemicals that are accessible.
  • Keep household chemicals in their original containers – never transfer them to used soft drink bottles.
  • Read the safety instructions on product labelling and follow the directions
  • Close containers so that ‘child resistant’ closures can function. Closures are not childproof and they are not a substitute for secure storage.


05/04 2016

Nature Laws workshop - Tuesday evening, 26 April 2016

Invitation to Nature Laws Workshop, 6.30pm-8.30pm, Tuesday 26th April 2016

Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc logo

Co-hosted by HOPE Inc. and Places You Love (PYL) Alliance
Facilitator – Mr Glen Klatovsky, Director - PYL

Places you love PYL) logo
Venue:
Time:
Doors open at 6.15pm with coffee/tea and supper at 6.50pm
Cost:
FREE event
Bookings:
Limited seats. Reserve your seat by emailing office@hopeaustralia.org.au. RSVP by Friday 22 April at the latest.

Hello Friends of the Environment,

Do you think nature is properly protected in Australia? Are you concerned with the health of our land, our rivers and our oceans? What are your thoughts about Coal Seam Gas Mining, etc. on good agricultural lands? or proposed mining; grazing and/or high impact recreational pursuits in national parks?

To make sure people and nature are best cared for, we’re doing something that’s never been done before.

We’re bringing together experts, communities, business and government from across Australia to reimagine nature protection so our air, water, wildlife, people and the places we love can thrive.

You can be part of creating a vision for nature protection in Australia – a strong set of solutions we can call on our government to adopt.

There’s lots of ways you can make a meaningful contribution. You can be part of series of conversations, workshops and activities that reimagine the way we protect nature so places like the Great Barrier Reef, Bunya Mountains through to the Felton Valley can be protected forever.

Join the conversation by attending the Toowoomba leg of the national Nature Laws Workshop series on Tuesday 26 April 2016, 6.30pm-8.30pm, Room T1235 at the University of Southern Queensland, Baker St, Toowoomba.

Don’t sit this one out, register by return email to office@hopeaustralia.org.au.

The laws that protect nature are the foundations for a thriving Australia. But right now, it’s clear – our current laws are not strong enough to keep Australia beautiful places healthy.

Over the past year, the Australian Panel of Experts in Environmental Law has reviewed the way nature is currently protected in Australia and made some initial insights and suggestions.

Now they call on the stories, ideas and support of all Australians.

We’re not all experts. We are ordinary Australians who care about wildlife, people and the places we love. And creating strong nature protection needs the knowledge and insight of all Australians.

Will you be part of creating a vision for nature protection where Australia can thrive?

Regards,

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc.

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc. and Glen Klatovsky and the Places You Love team

PS: Want more info?

Contact Jess, Engagement Officer at The Places You Love Alliance at community@placesyoulove.org



05/04 2016

Launch of Movement For Life (TWS)

Launch of Movement For Life

After more than 25 years as an advocate for the protection of nature and prosperous communities, I’ve learnt very clearly that, in the end, only people power can actually change the world for the better.

Every campaign needs the best economic and scientific research, skilful and persuasive communications and effective lobbying – but without the momentum generated by an informed and empowered community, even the best and most important campaigns cannot prevail.

This is why your Wilderness Society is launching the Movement For Life community organising program.

Movement For Life is a training program led by some of the most experienced and talented organisers in Australia. The program gives you, the citizen, the tools and knowledge to work with other concerned Australians to change the world for the better and to help us win our critically important campaigns to protect nature and create a safe and stable climate.

This community organising program kicks off with a series of launches over the next few weeks across the country. Please come along, meet the team and learn how you can become a powerful agent for change.

Lyndon Schneiders
National Director, The Wilderness Society



05/04 2016

EDO Qld LawAlert

Coral bleaching, land clearing, case updates and more!

Don't give up on our Great Barrier Reef

(IMAGE: Coral Watch, University of Queensland)

Like you, we love the Great Barrier Reef. And, like you, we were horrified to see the latest pictures of the widespread coral bleaching. We know the Reef is in danger. We know the threats. But at EDO Qld, we refuse to despair when there are still things to be done to protect the Reef!

Read more…

Acland: A community's battle

Last week the 'last man standing in Acland' (pictured) got the chance to go head-to-head in Court with New Acland Coal's former Chief Operating Officer.

Stay up-to-date with the case
In Court: coal mine's economist admits inflated job figures

New Acland Coal's economic witness admitted in Court today that job figures for the project are far lower than initially forecast.

Read more…

No luck for Adani: Court refuses costs

A welcomed success in the Adani Carmichael case: CCAQ will not be required to pay Adani’s legal costs.

Read more…

Law Reform

Don't miss our LawJams on land clearing

This is your last chance to find out more about land clearing at our Brisbane and Sunshine Coast LawJams, feat. EDO Qld's Jo Bragg, WWF's Dr Martin Taylor and The Wilderness Society's Dr Tim Seelig.

Limited seats available. Make sure you get in fast!

Chain of Responsibility Bill, ensuring those who profit from resources clean up their mess

EDO Qld commends the Qld Government for taking strong action to prevent environmental harm, and State liability for this harm, being incurred through the irresponsible operations of some players in the resources sector.

Find out more about the Bill…

$16M biofuel plant to support growth of Qld's promising biofuel industry

This week the Qld Govt announced a $16M advanced biofuels pilot plant to be built at Southern Oil Refining’s Yarwun plant at Gladstone.

Read more…


04/04 2016

New initiative from The Wilderness Society

Movement For Life

That’s why we’ve founded Movement For Life – a new community organising program by the Wilderness Society.

Created by our National Community Organising Manager, a member of the Obama '08 campaign team, the program teaches the skills and ideas behind the most successful movements in the world today.

You’ll learn to inspire and rally your peers around a shared vision.

RSVP now to reserve a place at your local launch event.

  • Sydney, 6 April 2016 6pm, Sydney Glebe Townhall
  • Melbourne, 7 April 2016 6pm, City of Melbourne Bowls Club
  • Newcastle, 11 April 2016 5.45pm, Cooks Hill Surf Club
  • Adelaide, 12 April 2016 6pm, Glenelg Surf Life Saving Club
  • Brisbane, 12 April 2016 6pm, The Fox Hotel
  • Newcastle, 14 April 2016 6pm, FORM Gallery
  • Hobart, 14 April 2016 6pm, Wild Island Gallery
Read online…


30/03 2016

Asbestos pipes in water reticulation system - ABC News

Asbestos-laden water piping 'needs upgrading at cost of $8 billion'

Water piping being wrapped in asbestos - The piping is located all over Australia but mainly found in regional areas.

Water consumers will face a hefty estimated charge of $8 billion to safely remove asbestos piping being used in Australia, according to the nation's peak water industry body.

About 40,000 kilometres of water pipelines contain asbestos cement that is starting to wear out, the body said.

It is not widely realised that many of Australia's water pipes were made by Australia's biggest asbestos manufacturer, James Hardie.

Hardies had a number of factories around the country that just made pipes and they were predominantly used by the different water companies around Australia, said lawyer Tanya Segelov, who is a member of the council for the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency.

There are millions and millions of pipes around the country that remain in the ground that are now 50, 60 or 70 years old.

The Water Services Association of Australia told 7.30 some of the pipes are coming to the end of their useful life.

So water utilities are monitoring how those pipes are working, how they are holding up, the association's managing director Adam Lovell said.

The pipes are located all over Australia but they are most concentrated in regional areas, where sometimes up to half of all water pipelines are made with asbestos cement.

There is no evidence the pipes can cause cancer by drinking water from them, but there is a potential danger from dust when the pipes are disturbed.

To fix worn-out pipes is a major expense.

We estimate that just to rehabilitate all of the asbestos cement pipelines out there is in the order of $8 billion, Mr Lovell said.

You don't necessarily want to go rushing out and replace it all, either. The current standard practice, the safest practice, is to remove sections of the pipeline ... rather than trying to repair it on site.

Asbestos dust can claim unexpected victims

Trevor Grant, a well-known former sporting journalist for The Age and The Herald and Weekly Times newspapers, has recently developed the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.

He was shocked to discover it might have come from exposures in the newspaper buildings where he worked.

There were pipes that I discovered that were regularly cleaned in The Herald building that contained asbestos, he said.

In The Age building, when they first built it, they just sprayed it everywhere as a fire retardant, I gather.

Mr Grant believes the relevant authorities need to raise much more awareness of this particular disease.

There's asbestos all around us. There are people from all walks of life who are going to continue to suffer, he said.

Australia's asbestos agency 'stifled' by bureaucrats

Support groups around the country are furious at what they see as a muzzling of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency by the Federal Government.

In 2013, the Coalition supported Labor's establishment of the independent Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) to do just that — promote awareness of asbestos hazards and to coordinate a national response

Since its inception ASEA has dealt with a wide range of asbestos issues, from the Mr Fluffy housing contamination to the continuing illegal importation of asbestos products from China.

We have the Telstra pits, we see illegal dumping stories about asbestos every week, Ms Segelov said.

We have asbestos in Dora the Explorer crayons, we have issues with the floors in generators, we have trains ... the list goes on and on.

It took a year to get state and territory governments to sign on to the ASEA's strategic plan, during which time the agency's budgeted $3 million remained unspent. That is $3 million the agency now cannot access.

It's like an episode of Yes Minister, Ms Segelov said.

There is a problem, you set up an agency to deal with the problem, they negotiate with the states to get a plan, and then because they didn't do it within the first two years the money has run out and there is no money to implement the plan.

Activists are frustrated and angry.

Victims support groups right across this country campaigned for over 12 years to have this agency put in place and now, to strangle it on the vine, so to speak, with a lack of funding, it's criminal, Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia president Barry Robson said.

It's being stifled by, can I say, the Canberra bureaucrats.

Employment Minister Michaela Cash was not available for an interview.

In a statement, her spokesperson denied the agency's funding had been cut.

She refused to comment on the $3 million underspend, saying the agency's funding had been set by Labor.

Read more …


25/03 2016

ATA Toowoomba Meeting

New Energy for the Future Household Battery Technology

View/download flyer View details/RSVP online


25/03 2016

Stop BP from exploring for oil in the Great Australian Bight

Act Now To Save the Great Australian Bight

The Great Australian Bight is wild, unpolluted, and home to whales, sharks, sea lions and albatross. A proposal to allow oil and gas drilling in the Bight is a disaster waiting to happen. Please sign the petition to keep big oil out of the Bight!

Dear Friend of the Environment,

Six years ago BP caused an environmental catastrophe with their Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Now BP is one of several companies proposing to drill for oil and gas in the Great Australian Bight.

The Bight is a calving and nursery ground for endangered southern right whales, and home to some of the last colonies of endangered Australian sea lions.

ACT NOW TO STOP BIG OIL

Offshore oil and gas drilling is already dangerous, but the remote conditions of the Southern Ocean make this a disaster waiting to happen.

The Gulf of Mexico disaster killed eleven people and spilled millions of barrels of oil into the ocean. Countless animals were killed, and tourism and local fishing industries were decimated.

Tourism, fisheries and coastal communities would all be at risk from these proposals. A major oil spill would devastate our Southern Ocean and coastline, potentially impacting as far away as Western Australia or Victoria and Tasmania.

Don't let this happen.

BP's proposal is being considered by an Australian Senate committee right now. Please act now and ask for an immediate halt to all oil drilling plans in the Bight.

Don't let big oil companies risk the Bight.

Thank you for all that you do,

Josh Coates
Marine Campaigner
Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS)

PS. As if the threat of an oil spill isn't bad enough - large fossil fuel projects like these will have a damaging impact on our climate, just when we need to move towards renewable energy. Please act now to save the Bight.

ACT NOW
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) is the voice for Australia's ocean wildlife. We are an independent charity, staffed by a committed group of professional and passionate scientists, educators and advocates who have defended Australia's oceans for 50 years.


24/03 2016

Duck shooting carnage endangers our threatened waterbirds

Duck season means threatened waterbirds are in even more trouble

Duck shooting season has begun in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. In such a dry year, this duck season is even more disastrous for our threatened native waterbirds than usual. Thousands of endangered native birds will be forced to flee the very few wetlands with any remaining water.

But where will they go?

It’s so dry and with hundreds of wetlands open to shooting there are very few options for our threatened waterbirds. Do they die of exhaustion looking for a safe haven? How many are injured or killed when they get caught in the crossfire? No one knows, so the best course of action is to close wetlands supporting threatened species.

Each and every year, BirdLife Australia is there to ensure that the voice of our precious native birds is heard.

Our impact is clear - in Victoria over the last few days the efforts of BirdLife Australia staff and volunteers from BirdLife's Victorian branches have ensured that wetlands with significant populations of threatened species such as Australasian Bittern and Blue-billed Duck were closed.

BirdLife Australia also fought for the last minute closure of Lake Elizabeth, which has saved a significant population of threatened Blue-billed Ducks from facing the barrage of duck shooters’ guns.

BirdLife Australia harnesses the passion and power of thousands of volunteers. Right now we are recruiting volunteers to survey Australasian Bitterns at Johnson Swamp to ensure that it remains closed to shooting while bitterns and other threatened species are present.

BirdLife Australia is making a difference by using science to protect our threatened birds during duck shooting season, however we could not do this without you!

Your support helps us fight and funds our work to stop duck shooting from impacting on threatened birds. Your support allows us to get the message out backed by evidence to argue for change.

Please support BirdLife Australia to protect our precious birds. Your gift will help BirdLife Australia lead the practical implementation of science-based recommendations and actions. I’m calling on you for a gift to help protect our wonderful native birds this duck shooting season.

Please make a gift to support this work today by clicking here and selecting 'Emergency Fund' from the drop down menu.

Thank you,

Birdlife Australia CEO
BirdLife Australia CEO
Birdlife Australia
Read online


23/03 2016

Earth Hour News - Herald Sun

Cities worldwide mark Earth Hour

The first Earth Hour event was held in Sydney, now the global event celebrated its 10th anniversary

Cities around the world turned out the lights on Saturday evening to mark the 10th annual Earth Hour, a global movement dedicated to protecting the planet and highlighting the effects of climate change.

As night came on, the lights went out in cities from South Korea to the United States in what the World Wildlife Fund describes as a moment of solidarity for climate action.

The group sponsors the event and says people in 178 countries and territories had planned to participate.

Lights went out for the hour-long event - from 8:30pm to 9:30pm local time - in Sydney Beijing, Moscow, Beirut, Cairo, Athens, Rome, and Paris. The lights atop the Empire State Building in New York were dimmed, and some billboards in Times Square also went dark.

In Seoul, the glass-covered City Hall was among several public buildings where officials switched off the lights inside and out. Lights illuminating landmarks such as the massive COEX shopping mall, the city's main railway station and several bridges on the Han River were all either turned off or dimmed.

In Beijing, Chinese actress Li Bingbing showed up at the iconic Temple of Confucius, which was shut dark for an hour while municipal government officials announced that the city's energy conservation slogan would be "Consume less, consume wisely."

The Taipei 101 skyscraper was among the buildings to go dark in Taiwan's capital.

Philippine officials in metropolitan Manila led hundreds of environmental activists, students and movie and TV celebrities in switching off lights at the Quezon Memorial Circle in suburban Quezon city. Amid the darkness, some participants pedalled bamboo bikes attached to small energy generators to power LED lights and illuminate a giant Philippine map to symbolise the country's yearning to shift to renewable energy sources, organisers said.

The first Earth Hour event was held on March 31, 2007, when the WWF conservation group inspired people in Sydney to turn out the lights for an hour.

Since then, the WWF-organised event has expanded to thousands of cities and towns around the world and has been held every March.

Read article at Herald Sun online


23/03 2016

Alert: have your say to keep irradiated foods labelled

Please message Food Standards Australia NZ that you want food irradiation labels kept, with the stronger and clearer words “irradiated” or “treated with irradiation”. Your comments will also go to the Food Forum (Health Ministers of all state, territory and NZ governments) who make the final decisions. Many thanks.

Food irradiation is a cleanup technology that masks industry's poor management practices, including fruit fly worm control. Irradiated fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices must now be labelled so you know they are processed, not fresh, but governments fear you will not purchase irradiated foods so intend to remove labels.

Twenty four fruits and vegetables are approved for exposure to radiation equal to at least 1.5 million chest x-rays. They are: apple, apricot, bread fruit, capsicum, carambola, cherry, custard apple, honeydew, litchi, longan, mango, mangosteen, nectarine, papaya, peach, persimmon, plum, rambutan, rockmelon, scallopini, strawberry, table grape, tomato, zucchini, with blueberries and raspberries next.

'Nuclear cooking' controls fruit fly worms and extends shelf life, and can also neutralise but not remove some contaminants. Some vitamins and nutrients are affected and at some radiation doses, toxins and carcinogens may be created. Irradiated feed killed and maimed Australian cats and is now banned.

Most other countries that require irradiated food labels, prescribe label wordings and are not reviewing their requirements. We must be informed too with good labels.

Food Irradiation Watch sample letter, Facebook and Twitter@FIWatch

Email your personal comments to FSANZ by March 29, 2016 in any format but mark them: “Submission on Rec 34: Review required labelling of irradiated foods”.

Copyright © 2016 Gene Ethics, All rights reserved



22/03 2016

Message from the Climate Council

Climate change is killing our reef

Last night, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority officially upgraded their rating of coral reef bleaching. Bleaching is at threat level three: the highest possible.

Coral bleaching is currently damaging the Great Barrier Reef, particularly the most pristine and isolated reefs in the far north. The worst affected sites, near the tip of Cape York, have experienced up to 50% coral mortality.

This bleaching would not have occurred without the influence of climate change. The emissions of greenhouse gases, through the burning of coal and other fossil fuels for electricity, is driving the rising sea surface temperatures and ocean acidity that pose the most serious threat to the survival of the reef.

So far, much public commentary about damage to the reef has ignored climate change. That is why the Climate Council has just issued an urgent science alert detailing the direct role of climate change on these bleaching events.

Can you help to get the message out by sharing this science alert with your networks?

Healthy coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse and economically valuable ecosystems on Earth. Australia's Great Barrier Reef is not only one of the seven wonders of the natural world, it’s also a billion dollar economic asset. The value-added economic contribution of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to the Australian economy in 2011-12 was $5.7 billion and supported 69,000 jobs. The continued and devastating bleaching of our national icon places billions of dollars and thousands of jobs in jeopardy.

Australia has weathered El Niño patterns for centuries but it was only when global warming began in earnest in the 1970s that the Great Barrier Reef began to experience repeated coral bleaching events.

The Great Barrier Reef is loved by millions around the world. To save it, we need them to fight for it.

But most people don’t realise that climate change is killing reefs, and killing them quickly. That’s our job, together. Please share this alert with anyone you know who loves the Reef, and ask them to pass it on too.

Help us to get the word out by sharing this urgent science alert far and wide.

Right now we are witnessing the shift from climate concern to climate change consequences before our very eyes. It’s scary, but it also drives us to work harder than ever. Thank you for supporting us and helping to shine a light on the clear impacts of climate change on coral bleaching.

With hope,

Will



20/03 2016

Q & A on Glyphosate Confirms Toxicity of Round Up

World Health Organization’s New Q & A on Glyphosate Confirms Toxicity of Round Up

The World Health Organization (WHO) has just published a clear question and answer form on the toxicity of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide concoction, Round Up. It leaves no question that the herbicide is truly genotoxic, causing damage to life everywhere.

The report has likely come out due to controversy over the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)’s determination that glyphosate is ‘safe.’ The herbicide is meant to be voted on to reinstate marketability later this month.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a research arm of the WHO, has stated clearly that both formulations containing glyphosate and pure glyphosate pose a grave risk. It is this clear explanation that leaves the EFSA little wiggle-room when trying to downplay glyphosate’s toxicity dependent upon the formulation.

The EFSA has tried to push propaganda that the herbicide is not a carcinogenic hazard to human beings, but multiple other studies say otherwise. It has now come to light that the EFSA has also hidden studies from public view which were used to make this determination.

The IARC, as compared to the EFSA, looked at over 1000 studies which involved glyphosate, including reviews of people exposed through their jobs, such as farmers and agricultural workers. The IARC also looked at experimental studies on cancer and cancer-related effects in experimental systems.

The EFSA did not even publish all the studies they referenced, nor clearly reporting who wrote them. More than 95% of authors for the glyphosate review reportedly refused public scrutiny of their determination.

Some of the Glyphosate Questions and Answers

Just a few of the questions the WHO answered are abbreviated as follows:

Could glyphosate’s toxicity be based on other co-formulants in a weed killer?

Essentially this question targets those who want to pretend that glyphosate isn’t the culprit, but that other adjuvants added to an herbicide or pesticide are to blame. The IARC states clearly that

“the evidence for [glyphosate] causing cancer in experimental animals was ‘sufficient’ and the evidence for causing genotoxicity was ‘strong’. The real-world exposures experienced by human populations are to a variety of formulations of glyphosate with other chemicals, because this is how glyphosate is mainly sold and used. Similar results were reported in studies of different formulations used in different geographical regions at different times.”

Could the co-formulants in the herbicide products be to blame for genotoxic outcomes?

Another nice try by Big Biotech to push the blame on something other than their collectively-favorite weed killer ingredient. (Glyphosate, is the main ingredient in Round Up, which currently forms the backbone of Monsanto’s worldwide billion-dollar sales.) The IARC’s answer again is clear. NO. Glyphosate is toxic all on its own.

There is controversy over whether or not glyphosate causes non–Hodgkin lymphoma based on one study. The IARC makes it clear that hundreds of studies were looked at to draw a link between glyphosate exposure and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Sorry – once again Monsanto, you can’t weasel out of this. Data was collected on over 50,000 farmers for the IARC to come to their determination.

Was it only animals that suffered from cancer due to glyphosate exposure?

The precise answer is, “NO.” I would put an expletive before that monosyllabic response, but you get the idea.

There are many more questions addressed. You can read through the WHO’s glyphosate Q & A.

The original source of this article is Natural Society

Copyright © Christina Sarich, Natural Society, 2016



19/03 2016

EDO Qld LawAlert: Qld Nickel, Land clearing, TPP and more

Law Reform, Acland, Adani Hearing & Precedent Climate Case

Law Reform

EDO Qld applauds Environment Protection (Chain of Responsibility) Amendment Bill

This week Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles introduced a new Bill to handle the Clive Palmer/Qld Nickel type situation. The Bill would give government more powers to make orders forcing clean-up against persons related to companies. This will lessen the risks of Qld taxpayers being left to fund massive clean-up costs if companies go into administration.

EDO Qld spoke on the 7:30 Report and ABC News calling for action to avoid taxpayer clean-up of the Qld Nickel site. Thank you to everyone who signed our petition calling for the government to ensure the public purse did not have to fund a clean-up of the Queensland Nickel site! If you haven't signed it yet please sign to help make sure the Bill gets through Parliament.

Sign the petition…
Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) Bill

On 17th March 2016 the Deputy Premier Jackie Trad introduced a Bill to reinstate vegetation protection laws weakened under the Newman government.

Read more …

Find out more about land clearing at our 7th April LawJam, feat. EDO Qld's Jo Bragg, WWF's Dr Martin Taylor and the Wilderness Society's Dr Tim Seelig.

PLACES ARE STRICTLY LIMITED, SO MAKE SURE YOU GET IN QUICK!
Update on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Over 15,000 submissions were lodged on the TPP. Next, there will be public hearings conducted by the Committee in early May 2016. The Committee is due to table its report to Federal Parliament by late June.

Find out more…

Acland: A community's battle

The Land Court objection to the New Acland Coal mine Stage 3 expansion started Monday 7 March 2016. On 17 March we heard in Court that the jobs figures in NAC's Environmental Impact Statement are thousands higher compared to NAC's expert witness' views referred to in Court.

Stay up-to-date with the case

Help EDO Qld lawyers support farmers like the Weicks (pictured, above) who, with their community, are battling to stop the mine's expansion that threatens to take away your local produce by making a donation to the case.

Sean Ryan talks Adani Federal Court Case

On 17 March 2016 EDO Qld Principal Solicitor Sean Ryan spoke about our federal court case challenging approval of the Adani Carmichael mine. The case for ACF is progressing through the court ordered timetable leading to a hearing 3 May 2016.

Read more…

Updated Info on Precedent Climate Case

The Alpha Coal case now has a hearing date for 7 June 2016. We are looking forward to taking this climate change precedent case to Qld’s highest Court and have updated the details about the case.

Read more…


19/03 2016

Australia21 - Think tank for the public good

Think tank for the public good. This short articulation of Australia21's charter became crystal clear at the biannual face-to-face meeting of the Australia21 Board on 25 February. It encompasses a focus on big, difficult issues with activities aimed at raising debate and engaging the community as we try to shape a better future for Australia.

We've made a 130 second video to sum it up. Feel free to share it! "Australia21: Who we are and what we do.

News

Drug law reform remains a key focus for Australia21 as well as educating young people about the realities and complexities of mind altering drugs. About a week ago Dr Alex Wodak, Australia21 Director and President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, committed to setting up pill-testing stations at music festivals in NSW. He risks imprisonment for standing by his belief that we need to minimise harm.