What's New?


12/12 2017

Alternative Technology Association (ATA) News

We all want more renewable energy in Australia, but how easy would it be to go all the way - 100% renewable - by 2030?

The Alternative Technology Association's (ATA) new report 100% Renewables by 2030 lays out all the issues and concludes a 100% renewable electricity grid is more than possible in just over a decade.

This Christmas, we are asking all our members and stakeholders to Give the Gift of Light, ensuring the ATA can continue the important work of installing solar-powered lighting and training solar technicians in East Timor.

Watch our video made recently of the work we do in East Timor - in 2017 we installed 185 solar systems, benefiting about 3000 people in villages without electricity.

The ATA has a new solar advice service. With summer a great time for solar, you can get free online advice on the best options for solar and batteries for your home from our experts.

The latest issue of Sanctuary Magazine is about to be released. It's the Renovations and Additions Special, with profiles of nine remarkable sustainable renovations. Make sure you have your copy!

And we're proud of our work with the Lord Mayor's Foundation in boosting renewable energy at not-for-profit organisations, helping them keep energy costs down while reducing carbon emissions.

100% renewables by 2030

Wind farmThe ATA's new report, 100% Renewable Grid by 2030, says Australia can run on 100% renewable energy by 2030. It can be achieved by accelerating wind and solar power installation by 80% with pumped hydro energy storage and extra transmission lines. Read more …

Give the Gift of Light

Electrical workersBy giving the Gift of Light this Christmas, you help the ATA continue our work installing solar-powered lighting and training solar technicians in villages without electricity in East Timor. All donations over $2 are tax-deductible

New solar advice service

Rooftop solar panelsThe ATA's new free online solar advice service gives you independent advice on the best options for grid-connected solar and batteries for your home in your location, including costs, likely bill savings and payback times. Click here for more info.

Alternative Technology Association (ATA) » ATA e-Newsletter online »

HOPE Office Closure

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: www.hopeaustralia.org.au
Facebook: facebook.com/Householders.Options.to.Protect.the.Environment
ABN 48 036 173 161
Think Globally. Act Locally!

Dear friends of HOPE, a brief reminder:

The office will be closed over the Christmas-New Year holiday period from close of business on Friday 22 December 2017 and re-opening on Monday 8 January 2018.


11/12 2017

2018 Bimblebox Nature Refuge Calendar

First Galilee Basin and Bimblebox Calendar

Hi Bimblebox Supporters,

Our Alliance’s members are always flat strap, so we are ‘late’ to introduce the 2018 Bimblebox Nature Refuge Calendar, but here it is:

This is the first time for us to give a calendar a go and depending if it’s feasible, we would like to keep a series going. Let’s see how we go this time!

The calendar has a message from me, photos of flora and fauna of Bimblebox and a sample of artwork (in pictures) of the Bimblebox artists. Thanks to the Bimblebox Art Nature Science Camp artists of the past 5 years who sent many pictures to choose from, to Maureen Cooper for taking on the project and for our editing team's suggestions.

Our calendar can be purchased using the online form at https://bimblebox.org/bimblebox-nature-refuges-first-calendar/ or through the following outlets:

  • Green Grocer, 144 Boundary St, West End, Brisbane, 07 3844 7961;
  • The Wilderness Society, 67 Boundary Street, South Brisbane, 07 3846 1420;
  • RFT Sheds, 65 Churchill Street, Post Office Complex, Childers (Walk up café ramp and turn right), Mara Rogers, 0400 672 560, PO Box 724, Childers, QLD, 4660; and
  • Mackay Conservation Group Environment Centre, 156 Wood St, Mackay, Queensland 4740, 07 4953 0808.

Thank you and Buon Anno,
Paola Cassoni
President, The Bimblebox Alliance Inc
Bimblebox Nature Refuge
Alpha, Queensland 4724
bimblebox@gmail.com | https://bimblebox.org/.


11/12 2017

Message from Queensland Conservation Council

Majority Palaszczuk Labor government needs to act swiftly to protect Queensland's nature

Peak environment group the Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) has offered its congratulations to Annastacia Palaszczuk on her re-election as Premier of Queensland, and on the return of her Labor government to power in Queensland.

Labor has been formally returned to government, this time with a clear Parliamentary majority and a clear mandate on a number of key conservation issues.

We congratulate Premier Palaszczuk on the re-election of her government, and her own return to the top political office in the state, said Dr Tim Seelig head of the Queensland Conservation Council.

Labor has the strongest suite of environmental policy commitments we have ever seen. And it now has a majority in Parliament to deliver.

We support Labor’s stated intent to build on its record of environmental protection over this term, and its commitment to a Queensland that ‘protects our wildlife habitat, our climate and our beautiful reef’.

QCC very much welcomed Labor’s publicly announced election commitments on issues such as land clearing, and its written commitments provided to us during the 2017 state election.

Land clearing is an issue that requires urgent action, given the risk of so-called ‘panic clearing’ (accelerated bushland destruction) by landholders, ahead of Parliament being convened and the opportunity to re-introduce stronger legislation.

We have urged the Premier to take all available immediate measures to prevent panic clearing across Queensland, and to use this opportunity to remind land holders that Labor has committed to a $500 million program of land restoration to support retention of woodlands.

This program complements the action we expect in the first one hundred days of government to pass stronger land clearing laws and policy measures to reduce clearing rates, protect native wildlife and woodland habitats, and avoid run-off into the Great Barrier Reef.

Labor also identified a series of priorities including addressing Queensland’s land clearing crisis, the need for ongoing expansion of renewable energy and stronger measures to address climate change, support for regional and statewide biodiversity and landscape/rivers protection, and reviewing and enhancing Queensland’s environmental regulation regimes.

QCC has also indicated that it will continue to advocate on matters it believes the government can do much better on, including the future of fossil fuels extraction and use in Queensland, and transformation of the state’s economy to a far more sustainable, far less environmentally harmful one.

Dr Tim Seelig, QCC Coordinator
Queensland Conservation Council
9/10 Thomas Street, West End, QLD 4101
Email: tim.seelig@qldconservation.org.au

View/download media release »

09/12 2017

Livable housing design

Australian Network for Universal Housing DesignAustralian Building Codes Board to consider regulation for access in housing.

Regardless of who we are, we want to belong, and to participate in family and community life. We need our homes to be designed and built from the start so that people, throughout their lives, can stay in their homes and visit their friends.

These homes include key “liveable” features that make them easier and safer to use by everyone: including, people with disability, older people, people with temporary injuries, their carer’s and families with young children. Liveable features include a step-free entry, corridors and doorways that allow for unimpeded movement throughout the home, and a bathroom and toilet that are safe and easy to use.

In response to the advocacy for more inclusive and age-friendly communities, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) encouraged the housing industry to change their design and building practices to include these features. They set a target of all new housing providing an agreed liveable standard by 2020.

Not surprisingly, this voluntary approach failed. In October 2017, COAG, through the Building Ministers’ Forum, directed the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) to assess the impact of regulation for liveable design in all new housing through the National Construction Code

It is critical that the ABCB consider the costs and benefits not only for the housing industry but also for those who live and visit the homes throughout the dwelling’s life, and for those who provide services and supports to people who want to remain at home.

The ABCB expect to release a discussion paper in early 2018, and to commence the Regulatory Impact Assessment by mid-2018. If you would like to contribute to this process, please complete this 5-minute survey.

Dr Margaret Ward PSM, Convenor, Australian Network for Universal Housing DesignAuthor:
Dr Margaret Ward PSM
Convenor, Australian Network for Universal Housing Design

View/download article » Take the survey »

10/12 2017

Review - Dan Bielich

Review of "Ecologists protest Australia’s plans to cut funding for environment-monitoring network" article

Theo Allofs/Getty Images
Field sites in the Simpson Desert are part of Australia's Long Term Ecological Research Network.

The paper states that the Long-Term Research Network (LTERN) funding will be cut in the next budget with the goal to re-invest money into the government’s Environmental Prediction System (EPS). The LTERN is a network that utilises multiple sites all over Australia to identify and track the changes of the ecological state of Australia’s flora and fauna over time, so far collecting over 75 years of data. However, due to predicted budget cuts and threats of the network closing-down, the collected data will not be utilised and would be practically wasted. Incomplete data sets are classed as very poor data sources. After reading this article, I can understand the frustration of the ecological community. So, was the government’s decision to invest in the EPS and cutting funding to the LTERN the right decision? We must firstly evaluate the practicality of a large prediction system.

Currently there are no systems that can accurately predict anything as complex as the weather, let alone the entire environment. The environment is a continuously dynamic system, and there are simply too many variables and inter-relationships that we are currently not aware of, to accurately predict environmental changes. Even after synthesis of this data, there are still high discrepancies, variation and outliers, which results in high levels of uncertainty. This uncertainty is the primary reasoning behind poor, and slow political decisions making. The only feasible method of prediction is through long term analysis of primary data, which is exactly what the TEFN was conducting.

The primary funding entity behind the EPS is the Australian Government. In my personal opinion, I don’t believe the government is a reliable institution to rely on for accurate, and dependable environmental results. Results can be easily manipulated, misread, misinterpreted or discredited, depending on the results of predictions/analysis. If results are in any way presented as certain that will create doubt in the minds of the uneducated, and media manipulated public.

This project in itself is a type of investment. We are already forced to invest in a governing body that utilises tax payer’s funds for obsolete methods of decision making and the unnecessary debate. For example, the current raging debate on the energy and energy prices, in which the government clearly does not take into account the scientific opinion, it has paid for. So how can we then rely on the government to provide the public with accurate environment results, that have allegedly come from this government run and funded EPS? The simple answer, is we cannot with the current level of governance and the political climate where lobbyists interest overrides common and scientific sense.

Australia’s ecological health is fundamental in identifying how Australia’s flora and fauna will adapt to the changing climate. With already 75 years of data, it is devastating to see that the research will be abandoned. This funding cut is one of hundreds that have quietly occurred across the country in the environmental sector. Currently, the public may not realise the severity of this decision. As in the short term, there is no direct repercussion for most people. However, in 50 years when it is too late, will we realise how much we should have done something 50 years ago. Unfortunately, this is one of the virtues of the anthropogenic species.

Funding of a body such as EPS, crucial for the future of Australia, needs to be independent and run by scientists who have been educated in this subject, and are familiar with the decades of research and know exactly the necessary methodologies and techniques to identify the gradual changes in the environment.

Ultimately, what is needed is an environmental committee on a federal level that debates and questions all changes in legislation and funding that is concerned with the environment. This committee should contain scientists, researchers and environmental officers within the industry with multiple years of experience. So that in cases such as these, the aim and justification behind the alterations in budget could be discussed, to compare the positives and negatives repercussion of the decision. Following this, a vote should be casted based on this comparison. This would allow budget allocation to be correctly distributed to different scientific groups depending on the priority of the topic.

The environment is not a side issue that can be dealt with the implementation of tokenistic half measures. It is increasingly becoming a crucial issue and as such requires a serious and stringent scientific approach. Only this will ensure the dissemination of accurate information and return the trust into the environment related decision by any government.

View article on Nature » View/download Review »

24/11 2017

International Volunteer Day

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: www.hopeaustralia.org.au
Facebook: facebook.com/Householders.Options.to.Protect.the.Environment
ABN 48 036 173 161
Think Globally. Act Locally!

International Volunteer dayInternational Volunteer Day:
5th December 2017

Volunteers – where would we be without that unsung army of people who regularly give of their time, energy and expertise to help others in so many different ways, many of which go unnoticed? If you’ve ever been a volunteer, you’ll know how good it can make you feel to give back and help others. In fact, altruism and volunteering have been proven to be a major way to increase the happiness of a person’s life – there is something about freely giving to others which gives a deeper sense of purpose and meaning to our lives, thereby increasing our happiness and level of satisfaction. And if you’ve never been a volunteer, than now might be the time to start! International Volunteer Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985 and is celebrated each year on 5th December as a way to bring focus to the work of volunteers and to encourage everyone to give it a try.

There is a hugely diverse range of ways to volunteer, and you can find an opportunity to volunteer in almost any field or interest area. Householder’s Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) is always seeking people with an interest in environmental issues to help with their mission of educating people in environmental awareness and action, so if you’ve been thinking that you’d like to do more to help the environment then now, with International Volunteer Day just around the corner, is a great time to start.

To connect with HOPE go to www.hopeaustralia.org.au; or to find another opportunity to volunteer your time, go to www.volunteeringaustralia.org, to find a way to improve both your own and someone else’s life. Who wouldn’t want to do that? Happy volunteering!


20/11 2017

Help put the spotlight on Queensland's land clearing crisis

Help Protect our Woods and Wildlife

As you know, Queensland has a state election in one week's time, and you can help get us the message out further about land clearing.

Land clearing of Queensland’s woodlands and forests is out of control again. An area the size of 550,000 soccer pitches was cleared in just one year in Queensland. Every second in Queensland, a tree is bulldozed and a native animal dies as a consequence of land clearing. This has to stop. But we need your help to make this happen.

One thing we can do right now is put the spotlight on this land clearing crisis: greater community awareness of the problem will create more pressure on political parties to commit to stronger laws.

We have had a video advertisement made about it being time for action. But now we need to place the video ad onto digital sites. And the election is only a week away, so we need to move quickly.

Will you help us get this out as far and wide as possible into the community?

You can support our new crowdfunding effort to get the ad onto online news sites. Please make a donation today towards an ad buy.

You can also help share the video ad on Facebook or on YouTube to your friends, family, colleagues and networks.

With your help, we can make sure Queenslanders understand the need for stronger land clearing laws, and have their voices heard.

Thank you for all you do to protect nature.

Tim

Tim Seelig, Coordinator
Queensland Conservation Council


HOPE Greeting & Invitation

Merry Christmas

May this greeting find you and yours in good spirits, ready to celebrate the gifts of peace and joy with friends and loved ones.

The 2017-2018 HOPE team

invites you to
join us at Toowoomba City Golf Club
254 South Street, Toowoomba
on

Monday, 11 December at 6.30pm

for a meal and social gathering.

RSVP by 8 December to:
HOPE office by email office@hopeaustralia.org.au

Brief reminder:

The office will be closed over the Christmas – New Year period
from 5pm Friday 22 December 2017;
and will reopen at 9am on Monday 8 January 2018.

View/download invitation »

20/11 2017

CSIRO PUBLISHING | New Environment Titles

Welcome to the latest Environment catalogue featuring a range of key books on various environmental topics, including recent releases, Environmental History and Ecology of Moreton Bay, Social Science and Sustainability, and forthcoming release, Lake Eyre Basin Rivers.

View the Environment catalogue here.

Have you seen our Gift Ideas catalogue? With the holidays just around the corner, we've put together a selection of some our favourite new titles, including children's books, field guides, gardening titles and more. View the Gift Ideas catalogue here.

We'll also be at Systematics 2017 in Adelaide and EcoTAS in the Hunter Valley in late November, so if you're planning to attend these conferences, pop by to talk to us about any of our titles and journals.

For more titles, browse or search our online catalogue.


20/11 2017

Nation Parks Association Queensland (NAPQ) News

Items from - Issue 67: Week beginning November 13, 2017

Queensland election commitments

The upcoming election outcome could be significant for Queensland's national parks and the state's biodiversity. Below is a summary of our understanding of commitments made by the parties to date, in no particular order, that we have gleaned from the party websites.

In collating these we have been very specific in our search and we have not noted where parties are silent on an issue.

The following are NPAQ's election requests:

  • Merge QPWS with EHP for alignment of values.
  • Additional $20 million/year for national park managem
  • $59 million/year for 5 years for additional strategic national parks for expansion of the estate to address the vast and pressing gaps in ecosystem and species protection.
  • Explore potential “easy wins” for additional national park estate such the transition of State Forests to NP in the Sandstone belt.

We encourage members and supporters to follow party announcements as voting day draws near and express your views to your Member of Parliament.

Daintree National Park Draft Management Plan

As mentioned previously, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) recently released a Draft Management Plan for Daintree National Park.

Submissions closed on Friday 10 November.

NPAQ has made a submission, and we will keep you informed of any updates.

Read the Daintree National Park Draft Management Plan here »

Management plans for marine parks - update

An incredible 80,000 submissions were made to the Federal Government, in response to the draft plans for our suspended National Network of Marine Parks around Australia! The plans had proposed to strip back 50% of Australia’s marine sanctuary coverage around the nation.

It’s worth noting that the 80,000 submissions in support of marine sanctuaries included at least 10,000 submissions from recreational fishers.

The Director of National Parks and Parks Australia are now considering the results of the consultation and will use them to help prepare final management plans. The final plans will then be handed to the Minister for the Environment and Energy for consideration and approval.

Around the same time, the Director of National Parks also sought public consultation for a proposal to rename 58 marine reserves to marine parks.

Australia is one of seven countries responsible for more than half of global biodiversity loss

According to a study published in Nature science journal on 25th October 2017, Australia is one of seven countries responsible for more than half of global biodiversity loss.

Scientists investigated the changes in conservation status of species listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list, between 1996 and 2008. The IUCN red list determines the conservation status according to how close a species is to becoming extinct.

They calculated a reduction in biodiversity, where a species had their IUCN red list status upgraded during that period. That may mean a change from "least concern" to "threatened", or "vulnerable" to "endangered".

Once you actually work out [which country] might have been responsible for the loss of diversity, Australia is standing there at number two, lead author Dr Anthony Waldron said.

I knew there were a lot of threatened species in Australia, but I didn't realise things were getting worse so quickly.

Endangered seabird discovery on Raine Island breaks 30 year record

For the first time in 30 years, researchers can confirm one of the country’s rarest seabirds has bred in Australia.

Environment Minister Steven Miles announced the discovery of a Herald petrel (Pterodroma heraldica) chick during the latest Raine Island Recovery Project research field trip.

In June, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) staff found an adult Herald petrel taking care of a single egg in a nest, Mr Miles said.

When the project team returned to the island in August, they were thrilled to discover a healthy-looking chick had hatched

Raine Island is the only known Herald petrel breeding site in Australia.

The seabird is listed as endangered in Queensland under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and critically endangered in Australia under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Read the Minister's Statement »

Bunya Mountains’ popular picnic site gets makeover

A $330,000 upgrade of visitor facilities at Bunya Mountains’ popular Dandabah picnic site has been completed ahead of the school summer holidays. This is the first major upgrade to the park since 1991.

The upgrades include better BBQs and picnic tables, resurfaced paths, and a newly-refurbished pedestrian bridge.

The park information centre has also been revamped, with panels about Indigenous history and culture, fauna and flora, and geology.

Bunya Mountains National Park is the state’s first park of substantial size. It was declared in 1908, immediately after the declaration of Witches Falls at Mt Tamborine, Queensland’s first national park.

Read more »
Loads more on Neck of the Woods »

13/11 2017

How To Make Your Business Green

The Complete Guide On How To Make Your Business Green

From short term quick wins to long term strategies, improving your business's green credentials should definitely be on the agenda.

UK resource The Complete Guide On How To Make Your Business Green

This complete and comprehensive guide gives you an introduction to sustainable living as well as green measures, initiatives and schemes, offering useful tips on what you can do to do make your business more eco friendly.

  1. Introduction to Green & Sustainable Living
  2. Introducing Green Measures into your Business
  3. Long Term Green Measures for your Business to Adopt
  4. Green Services & Promoting an Eco-Conscious Companywide
  5. Green Initiatives & Schemes for your Business

18/11 2017

Putting NRM on the agenda for the QLD election

Queensland Murray Darling Committee (QMDC) News - November 2017


Putting NRM on the agenda for the QLD election

As we pause to consider who gets our vote to run the State, one question worth asking of candidates is, 'What's your position on the funding of natural resource management?'

Conversation in woodlands

The 14 NRM groups in Queensland (of which we are one) rely on state and federal funding to support landholders in their sustainability efforts. Much is at stake at the ballot box. In the lead up to the State election, QMDC is urging all political parties to endorse a blueprint for securing rural and regional jobs and the viability of communities.

The blueprint was developed by Natural Resource Management Regions Queensland, the body representing Queensland's NRM groups, and is a simple, five step plan to arrest decline of rural industries, strengthen rural and regional jobs, and ensure our communities are secure.

Enhancing Living Landscapes, Delivering Local Livelihoods advocates:

  • a detailed set of guiding principles
  • a five-year action plan targeting priority threats to viability and sustainability
  • a State-wide NRM Council to ensure efforts are coordinated, effective, and focussed
  • funding that recognises the ones who make a difference on the ground (landholders, communities, local NRM groups); and
  • increasing the ability of these key groups to deliver change.

To read more about this as an election issue visit the NRMQ website.

Funding to fix environmental damage from Tropical Cyclone Debbie

Cast your mind back to March/April this year when Tropical Cyclone Debbie sent heavy rain and flooding to parts of our region. Are you one of those landholders now living with eroded creek or river banks, or washed out trees as a result? Perhaps you had existing soil conservation work or contours that got damaged or you need help with fencing to protect sensitive areas against future impacts?

Downs map with priority areas marked

QMDC is offering funding to producers in the areas identified on the map above- a bigger version can be seen on our website page - for environmental damage suffered as a result of Cyclone Debbie (between 28 March to 6 April, 2017).

What projects are eligible? Potential activities could include projects that:

  • prevent further damage or erosion of land and river/creek areas
  • improve water quality, waterway and ecosystem health and/or reduce the impact on community infrastructure
  • enhance landscape, waterway and ecosystem resilience to the impacts of future events
  • weed control to promote recovery of waterways impacted by flood and aquatic weeds, and
  • gully restoration and soil conservation repairs

How to apply: Visit our web page, email info@qmdc.org.au or call 074637 6200.

Closing date: 27 November 2017

Climate risk workshop - Dirran and St George

Do you want to be better prepared for variable rainfall and temperatures? In just a few hours, you can learn the basics of assessing climate risk for the coming season.

With support from GrazingFutures* and the University of Southern Queensland we have invited:

  • Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Climate Scientist David McRae, and
  • Queensland Farmers’ Federation Project Manager Ross Henry

To speak at two workshops in Dirranbandi and St George on the same day - 29 November, 2017. They will teach you about:

  • variability of the Australian climate
  • local examples of rainfall and temperature variability
  • how to interpret forecasting products
  • how to use forecasting as part of your property management planning, and
  • agricultural insurance - its use as a risk management tool

Cost: Free! RSVP essential for catering purposes.
A complimentary lunch (at Dirranbandi) and dinner (at St George) follow each workshop.

Dirranbandi Civic Centre, Kirby St
Wednesday, 29 November, 9:00am to 12:30pm (lunch incl.)

St George Merino Motel, 78 Victoria St
Wednesday, 29 November 5:30pm to 8:30pm (dinner incl.)

RSVP by 27 November to: QMDC NRM Technical Officer Lachlan Marshall: M: 0427 056 443 E: lachlanm@qmdc.org.au

Tyre studies set to benefit local trucking industry

An innovative trial of fuel-saving tyres that aims to help the heavy vehicle industry cut costs and its environmental impact was the highlight at a series of workshops for the industry in Southern Queensland.

Nolan’s Interstate Transport Workshop Manager Jim Gleeson shared details of the trial the company is doing in partnership with Goodyear as a guest speaker at our Tyre Use Efficiency Workshop series.

Mr Gleeson said Nolan’s had been testing tyres with Goodyear more than 30 years in a bid to improve the efficiency of commercial tyres for the greater good of the industry.

For the past three months, two of Nolan’s trucks have been wired up with 20 sensors to measure temperature, loads, fuel burn, tyre temperature, lateral forces, braking and acceleration forces.

The data is sent live via satellite to Goodyear’s national headquarters before being exported to Germany where an engineering firm works out how to calculate savings.

QMDC CEO Geoff Penton said the feedback to the workshop series was extremely positive with guests appreciating the chance to talk with others in the industry about ways to reduce diesel consumption and tyre waste, as waste tyres are an environmental and tourism issue for the region.

We’re interested in working with individual companies as part of a longer term monitoring exercise to see whether any of the measures discussed can be applied in their day to day operations, Mr Penton said.

Transport operators are encouraged to contact QMDC to discuss taking part in the trial.

The QMDC tyre use efficiency workshop series was supported by the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP), the Queensland Trucking Association, Lowes Petroleum Service, Total Tools, Findlay Import and Trade and Don Brosnan Tyres (the Roma event).

Save the date! 13 December 2017 Weed and Rabbit Management Workshop- Warwick

Join the Southern Downs Regional Council and QMDC to talk rabbit control and weed management in the Warwick district. We've invited:

Rabbit
  • Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board Inspector Mark Ridge
  • USQ Research Fellow Dr David Berman, and
  • JB Weed Consulting and Training weed control expert John Barker

To talk to you about:

  • the risk of rabbits to your property
  • how to identify where rabbits are breeding
  • control techniques
  • legal obligations for landholders, and
  • how to best control local weed species such as boxthorn, lantana, tree pear & chilean needle grass including chemicals and most effective control techniques

Venue: To be advised

When: 9:30am – 1:00pm, Wednesday, 13 December, followed by a BBQ lunch.

RSVP to NRM Technical Officer Lachlan Marshall on mobile: 0427 056 443 or email: lachlanm@qmdc.org.au



15/11 2017

Invitation to sign a petition in support of the Earth

Queensland Politicians: Remember The Earth

The Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea invite you to join us in petitioning the Queensland Premier, the Deputy Premier, the Minister for the Environment, the Leader of the Opposition, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and State Leader of One Nation in the lead up to the forthcoming Queensland election.

Out of nearly 800 Sisters of Mercy who are members of the Institute, 125 live in Queensland electorates. We are deeply disturbed by a growing lack of reverence for all creation and the continual degradation of the Earth.

We urge all politicians to develop policies and plans that address the concerns raised recently by the Bishops of Townsville.

In particular we are concerned about:

  • the impending loss of the Great Barrier Reef with back-to-back yearly coral bleaching across two thirds of its length
  • the future of the Artesian Basin and its age-old water resources which are threatened by extraction by mega-mining developments across Queensland, and especially in the Galilee Basin
  • the impact of proposed mines in Queensland on the global climate
  • the significant increase in lung disease in local coal mine employees
  • the one-third increase in land-clearing across Queensland
  • a need for urgent dialogue critiquing cultural factors such as individualism, self-centredness, unlimited progress, the unregulated market, and consumerism.

We invite you to show your support for the Earth by signing this petition which calls on the major parties to provide strong indications that these concerns are also their concerns and that they have policies and plans in place to address them.

To view and sign the petition visit: www.change.org/p/queensland-politicians-remember-the-earth.

By signing the petition you will auto-generate an email to the offices of the Queensland Premier, Deputy Premier, Environment Minister and their LNP and One Nation counterparts.


15/11 2017

Environmental Defenders Office Event

Donations & other Dangers to our Democracy

Do you worry decisions that affect your community or environment are swayed by political donations or conflicts of interest?

How can we avoid conflicts of interest in decision making and increase transparency & accountability of politicians & government?

Join a panel of experts & political candidates at QUT Brisbane, Tuesday Nov 21st to discuss: Donations & other Dangers to our Democracy
RSVP for this free event today!

Speakers include

  • Professor Graeme Orr, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland;
  • Mr Alex McKean, Barrister and academic with University of Sunshine Coast;
  • Ms Lois Levy, Campaign Coordinator at Gecko – Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council;
  • Representatives from political parties to be announced – stay tuned!

Chaired by Ms Jo Bragg, CEO of EDO Qld.

Representatives from each political party have been invited to attend to share their thoughts & answer your questions on their policies on the topic.

Secure your seat today and don't forget to spread the word.

Between Operation Belcarra showing serious failings in transparency and accountability in local governments & elections; the 4 Corners investigation ‘All that Glitters’ uncovering serious allegations of developer donations influencing Gold Coast decision makers; & the notable influence of the resource industry on politics & decision making – democratic, accountable governance is under serious threat in Queensland.
Come and join us for this timely and important community discussion!


15/11 2017

Engaging Citizens in Transitions to Low-Carbon Living

Date:
Friday 24 November 2017
Time:
9:00am – 4:30pm
Location:
Engineers Australia, Level 31, 600 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Register »

As Chair of the CRC for Low Carbon Living I am pleased to invite you to the next event in our comprehensive National Forum series in which we turn our focus to the important issue of engaging citizens in transitions to low-carbon living.

We have the technology & expertise available to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment. However, issues such as perceived lack of demand for low carbon solutions, lack of public and business awareness of potential benefits, and a disorganized evidence-base are impeding the implementation of low-carbon solutions. How can policy makers overcome such barriers and more effectively engage citizens in transitions to low-carbon and sustainable urban living?

Facilitated by award-winning Australian environmentalist, Tania Ha, this forum will present the latest research and tools from the CRC-LCL, partners and collaborators that address these issues. It will provide an interactive discussion about new opportunities for businesses, communities and individuals to be engaged and empowered to transition to low-carbon behaviours and practices. It will offer policy makers insights into goals and governance, community engagement, media and technology, and the evidence, education and innovation opportunities for supporting the urban transitions necessary to achieve our climate and sustainable development goals.

Esteemed panelists include:

  • Professor Jane Farmer, Director Swinburne Institute for Social Innovation
  • Professor Peter Newton, Swinburne Centre for Urban Transitions
  • Dr Leonie Walsh, Former Victorian Chief Scientist
  • Professor Mark Burry, Director Swinburne Smart Cities Research Institute

The insights and ideas shared and generated at this forum will be documented and developed into a discussion paper for policy makers on recommendations for better engaging citizens in transitions to low carbon living.

We would be delighted if you could join us. Coffee and tea on arrival. Lunch provided.

I look forward to seeing you there.

The Hon Robert Hill AC
Chair, CRC for Low Carbon Living

Download the Agenda »

14/11 2017

Will will we heed the warning?

15,000 Scientists in 184 Countries Warn About Negative Global Environmental Trends

Image: Planet Earth, photographed Dec. 7, 1972, during the Apollo 17 mission. (Credit: NASA)

Human well-being will be severely jeopardized by negative trends in some types of environmental harm, such as a changing climate, deforestation, loss of access to fresh water, species extinctions and human population growth, scientists warn in today’s issue of BioScience, an international journal.

The viewpoint article — World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice — was signed by more than 15,000 scientists in 184 countries.

The warning came with steps that can be taken to reverse negative trends, but the authors suggested that it may take a groundswell of public pressure to convince political leaders to take the right corrective actions. Such activities could include establishing more terrestrial and marine reserves, strengthening enforcement of anti-poaching laws and restraints on wildlife trade, expanding family planning and educational programs for women, promoting a dietary shift toward plant-based foods and massively adopting renewable energy and other “green” technologies.

Global trends have worsened since 1992, the authors wrote, when more than 1,700 scientists — including a majority of the living Nobel laureates in the sciences at the time — signed a World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity published by the Union of Concerned Scientists. In the last 25 years, trends in nine environmental issues suggest that humanity is continuing to risk its future. However, the article also reports that progress has been made in addressing some trends during this time.

Article on ENN » Warning on BioScience »

13/11 2017

Expressions of interest sought

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: www.hopeaustralia.org.au
Facebook: facebook.com/Householders.Options.to.Protect.the.Environment
ABN 48 036 173 161
Think Globally. Act Locally!

Expressions of interest sought in FREE Information Forums on “Going Solar – On/Off Grid with Battery Storage”

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc., with the technical expertise provided by ACDC Energy, is offering your organisation the opportunity to host a free information forum on “Going Solar – On/Off Grid with Battery Storage”.

ACDC Energy will outline the benefits of ‘going solar’, and of the options available for the purchase and installation of solar PV and battery storage systems. ACDC Energy will provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions such as “solar power; battery storage; on/off grid … how does it all work?” They will also offer expert advice for those looking for basic energy management, through to people considering going completely off the grid.

Solar systems are not just for domestic premises. Business owners, school representatives and community groups would be encouraged to come along to learn about how solar might benefit their organisations said Mr Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc.

Some advantages of solar include savings on electricity bills. Once a system is installed it costs virtually nothing to operate, saving you money on your power bills. Solar also benefits the environment by providing clean energy - for every 1kw of solar installed a tonne of C02 is saved every year, added Mr Ondrus.

If your organisation is keen to host such a forum, please forward your ‘expression of interest’ to HOPE at office@hopeaustralia.org.au - noting potential dates, times and venue for the forum.

Frank Ondrus, President - HOPE Inc.

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

flyerHOPE promotional flyer - FREE Going Solar Information Seminars (jpg)



11/11 2017

EDO LawAlert

LTG files for info on Blair Athol mine transfer

MinesiteOn behalf of client Lock the Gate, EDO Qld has today filed an application in Qld’s Supreme Court for the Queensland Government to release reasons for setting the financial assurance amount required of smaller miner Orion after it bought Blair Athol coal mine from Rio Tinto for $1.
Keep reading »

5 ways to stand-up at election time

Great Barrier ReefThere are many ways to ask for better protection for Queensland’s environment as well as stronger environmental laws ahead of the election on Saturday 25 November.
Stand-up at election time »

What parties are promising on land clearing

KoalaQueensland urgently needs strong laws on excessive tree clearing for wildlife, the Reef and to reduce climate change – what are the parties promising in the lead-up to the state election later this month?
Keep reading »

NQ communities empowered in fight for justice

Community membersFrom Mission Beach to Mackay, we hit the road with our counterparts EDO NQ last month to meet with regional partners and community members to empower action on environmental issues that matter. Solicitor Revel Pointon summarises the big issues.
Community matters in NQ »

Registrations open for Swim for the Reef 2018

Swim for the ReefRegistrations are now open for Swim for the Reef 2018. To be held on 20 January 2018 at pools and in the sea across the state, can we count on you to help make our third annual national fundraising event the biggest and best yet?
Register now »

Speak up to stand-up for Nature & The Reef

Surf beachThis factsheet outlines public comment opportunities and possible legal actions arising where a project is referred for federal assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act).
EBPC Act referrals: comments and legal action »


11/11 2017

BREAKING: Explosive footage from inside Manus

Friends,

For years, successive Australian Governments have desperately tried to hide the truth about Manus. But no more.

Smuggled in under cover of darkness, we just recorded explosive new footage from inside the Manus detention centre..

Six hundred men are sick, starving and thirsty. Just to sleep, they drag their mattresses out of crammed steel sheds to escape the searing heat. They're living without power, water or medicine. And for all that, they fear even more where they could be taken next.

Our Government's fences and walls, their gag rules and media blackouts, have all been designed to hide these appalling conditions from us — to prevent the tide of public outrage that could sweep down this abusive regime.

That's why the most important thing to do now is to see what we have seen — and share it with everyone you know.

Watch and share this explosive footage from inside the Manus Island detention camp.

You can help protect our iconic Great Barrier Reef and oceans this state election by demanding political parties step up and make real commitments for our coasts, corals and sea life.

As human rights experts with refugee crisis experience in places like South Sudan — what we just witnessed was the worst we've ever seen.

We observed months, if not years of neglect — men crowded into steel containers, forced to use toilets and showers so riddled with mould the men suffer ongoing skin and gastro infections.

Yet their resilience in the face of utter deprivation is miraculous: collecting rainwater in bins and building wells, spiriting in food for the hungry and caring for the sick.

They are truly the heroes of their own story. And once Australians see that story for themselves, the demand to evacuate them to safety will be impossible to ignore.

This heart-wrenching footage has the power to shame the government into action — The Daily Telegraph and other News Corp tabloids are running these images as front page stories calling the conditions horrific.

Help shame our Parliament into action by sharing this explosive footage from inside the Manus Island detention camp.

Yesterday, PNG Immigration levelled an ultimatum to the men of Manus – leave by Saturday or face a potentially violent removal. But photographs in The Australian show the transit centres they would force the men to are not ready, and the local community has protested their arrival.1

Organisations from Amnesty International to the United Nations have called out the crisis. But instead of evacuating the men to safety, our Government is trying to pass the buck to PNG for men we have imprisoned there for the last 4 years.2, 3

There is one inviolable obligation in a humanitarian crisis - and that is to preserve life. Only the Australian Government can evacuate the camps quickly enough to save lives. These men don't have months to wait for a resettlement process to the US or New Zealand — these men need safety now.

The proof of that is written in the words, eyes and deeds of the men in this footage, which finally rips the veil off our Government's brutal regime.

Can you urgently share this video with your family and friends and blow the lid off our Government's coverup?

In determination,

Shen and Matt for the GetUp! team

References
[1] 'Photos cast doubt on new Manus housing', The Australian, 8 November, 2017.
[2] 'Dutton dismisses UN claim that new Manus facilities aren't ready', SBS, 9 November 2017.
[3] 'Manus Island: UN says new accommodation 'not ready' for refugees', The Guardian, 1 November 2017.

10/11 2017

How Queenslanders can save our oceans at this election.

Friend of the Environment,

As Director of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, I wanted to write to you to tell you how powerful you are at this election.

But there is still time to make change and create a better future. This has been a significant year. We have seen action on plastic pollution, commitments to improve unsustainable fisheries, and a community of ocean-lovers who are standing between our Reef and those who would threaten it.

This Queensland election is a critical opportunity for all political leaders to commit to act in the next term of government. But they won’t commit to protecting our oceans if we don’t ask them to act now - while they’re seeking our vote.

For two more weeks you hold the power. Will you use it - to get our political parties to act?

Use Your Voice »

Our amazing ocean backyard is central to our identity and our lifestyle. We have a lot to lose if the next Queensland government doesn’t act at this pivotal moment in human history.

And there are plenty of reasons for hope - provided our political parties are bold enough to do the right thing.

You can help protect our iconic Great Barrier Reef and oceans this state election by demanding political parties step up and make real commitments for our coasts, corals and sea life.

Tackle plastic pollution of our oceans, delivering the plastic bag ban and drinks container refund scheme.

  • Rule out any public money for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.
  • Commit to a renewable energy target of at least 50% by 2030
  • Rule out any new coal mines or coal fired power stations in Queensland.
  • Improve Reef water quality by introducing stronger tree clearing laws.
  • Cut agricultural pollution of the Reef’s waters and invest more to restore a healthy Reef catchment.
  • Commit to urgently reforming Queensland fisheries.
  • Protect threatened marine species such as dolphins, dugongs and turtles by closing key areas to gillnetting.
  • Tackle plastic pollution of our oceans, delivering the plastic bag ban and drinks container refund scheme.

These commitments would allow our children and grandchildren to enjoy our incredible underwater world as much as we do. This is about a brighter future for our Sunshine State. It’s about a world in which we look after our natural assets and create jobs that are local, long-term and sustainable.

I encourage you to take every opportunity to speak out this election. Ask your local candidates to take strong action to protect our Reef, invest in fisheries management, and fight the plastic pollution that is threatening our marine life.

Send your message now - while they’re listening.

Thank you for all that you do.

P.S. This election is pivotal for our Queensland coasts and oceans, and the fish, corals and animals that call them home. Please send an email to all the Queensland party leaders and ask them to stand up for our oceans this election


10/11 2017

Conference Report

All Energy Conference, 11-12 Oct 2017, Melbourne VIC

The All Energy Conference was held in Melbourne’s Convention and Exhibition Centre on 11th and 12th of October of 2017. Speakers from all over the world congregated to discuss the current and future proposals of renewable energy technologies in the market. The diversity of technology was high, with a range of devices on the brink of entering the market or theorised to revolutionise the energy sector. These innovative technologies were focused on everyday life energy alternatives and covered a broad range of applications - from transport alternatives to the complete decentralisation from the grid through the introduction of micro grids within communities. The good news is that the future looks promising.

We are all on the brink of what is called a Renewable Revolution. It slides off the tongue quite nicely, doesn’t it? The Renewable Revolution has small businesses, entrepreneurs, tech geeks, and academics very excited. In my opinion, the public isn’t so excited. Part of it is that the public does not yet know a lot about it. However, another part of such reaction is that all potential consumers want to know answers to questions such as “How much is it going to cost me?”, “When will I be getting a return to my investment?” and “How will it affect me?”. For the public, what it means is, that each individual household that installs renewable energy, will have the ability to generate their own energy and store it in the latest battery systems, to use when needed. Like any technology, it is developed and refined in stages. For example, an I-phone 3 didn’t just jump to the I-phone 7. There were stages and updates as well as upgrades of software and hardware that improved the model gradually to the product it is today. The same concept applies here. Energy alternatives such as Solar and Batteries have become substantially more efficient and economically viable. This will continue as the market adjusts to the influx of alternative energies. With an increase in variations of product technology, second hand options and competition, the prices will continue to fall. Currently, we are on the brink of this major energy transition. Within the decade, we will witness major restructuring of the energy systems, transport industry and variety in renewable energies. The existing major energy retailers seems to be on edge with this transition, with the potential of losing many customers to a more environmentally, friendly source of energy generation, which will also be more affordable and have long lasting financial benefits to those customers.

Currently we rely on large energy retailers to provide us with consistent, reliable and “cheap” energy within a centralised system. These large retailers have the monopoly of the energy business, and basically own the energy market. However, the issue for them is if me and you decide to invest in renewable energy, generate and store energy in efficient batteries, we no longer rely on retailers as we completely become decentralised from the system, meaning they will lose customers at an exponential rate as soon as the renewable energy market takes off.

Also, if you and I have the ability to generate and store energy, what is stopping us from selling it to our neighbours at a cheaper rate? Nothing! Currently, we do have the option of selling energy back to retailers, however the exchange rate is a joke. We are buying energy at a rate of approximately 27c/watt (depending on the time of day), however to sell back energy from our renewable technology, it would sell at a rate of approximately 4-6c/watt. Yes, this does seem unfair, but currently, that is the way it is.

In terms of technology, we’re not all there yet. There are still some fundamental issues that are restriction of progress. These include:

Current regulations:
The solar hardware itself only takes a few days to be imported into the country, whilst batteries can take months to clear the administrative requirements. A couple of months can cause a lot issues to business, if they are unable to import their product into the country efficiently, especially with the growing demand. Therefore, the regulations must change, to keep up with the demand and a changing industry.
Rate of return of investment:
When renewable energy first came into the market, this was one of the factors that deterred most people from purchasing solar technology. It was a large investment with a very long return in investment. However, in the last decade the return in investment has dramatically shortened to approximately 5-10 years, depending on the product. Importantly, the cheaper product doesn’t always mean you’ll receive your return of investment any faster. If you invest in an efficient solar system, with an advanced battery system, will cost more up front, however you will likely get a faster return of investment as the technology is faster, adaptable and more effective. This is one of the communication barriers between the public and the renewable energy industry. As trying to convince someone to spend more now, to save more later, is usually the opening line to a scam. However, in this case spending more now, may indeed mean you will save a lot more later.
Lack of critical decision making:
This energy transition will be slow, mainly because the federal government is dragging its feet and seems to daily produce new obstacles for renewable energy. Not surprising, as the coal companies, energy retailers and coal lobbyists are the ones that will lose the most to this revolution.

There are limitations and challenges that are currently inhibiting the progression of the Renewable Revolution. Disappointingly, only a few days after the All- Energy Conference concluded, the Government announced a new energy plan. It seems that, according to this plan, the renewable energy's share of the electricity sector will plateau from 2020, which, can make it harder for Australia to meet its climate goals and will have a negative impact on the currently booming industry. Fairfax media predicted that the share of renewable energy would be 28-36 per cent, including hydro and solar photovoltaics, by 2030.The decision is effectively dumping the clean energy target, and scrapping millions of dollars of fund money (which was already allocated for renewable energy) to potentially save $100/year per household on energy bills.

Many members of the public have reacted with comments, which in summary, express their views that $100 does not represent a significant saving. It is clear that powerful coal lobbyist groups are not willing to go down without a fight. Their influence is present in so many segments of the community. This is particularly visible in our media space, which is still keeping us in the dark about hundreds of innovative companies all over the world stepping into the market with the latest technology in renewable energy.

In plain language, it is the giant businesses trying to delay the transition for as long as possible, to maximise profits. What is clear is, it is not only that the technology experts, businesses and entrepreneurs that want this revolution to occur - more importantly the public demand is increasing, which is the key to the transition. This will likely trigger the snowball effect, and when that occurs, not even the largest coal mining companies in Australia will be able to stop the revolution. It will be interesting to observe what is happening across the Tasman where the new government just announced that New Zealand will be 100% reliant on renewables by 2035.


10/11 2017

Cherish our communities

Keep Australia great again

Australia is a great place to live, and to keep on living. Our life expectancy, for example, has gone up by about three months a year since 1890, and is now among the highest in the world. That’s wonderful, and we probably don’t appreciate it enough. We certainly don’t realise how fragile that achievement is, and how much vigilance is needed to protect it.

There’s nothing inevitable about living longer. In the US, where improvements in the treatment of heart disease and cancer have increased life expectancy overall, deaths caused by overdoses of prescription and illegal drugs, particularly opioids, are so prevalent that they actually reduced the average life expectancy by about three months between 2000 and 2015, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. And this in a place that already ranks low among developed countries on the life-expectancy tables.

One of the underlying causes, surely, is the loss of community.

Healthy societies trust each other and help each other. Unhealthy, divided societies lash out at each other like rabid ferrets in a sack. And in the US at the moment, the ferrets would probably do a better job of promoting unity and harmony.

America is not a model for Australia to follow; it’s a horrible warning. We have to back away from the precipice. We have to embrace diversity, rather than tolerate it. We have to counter the politics of hate with the discourse of community engagement. We must treat the symptoms of societal weakness with such direct interventions as injection rooms for addicts, housing for the homeless, and services for refugees, and, at the same time, combat those who hope to rouse our resentment towards addicts, street people, and immigrants.

Joining one of Australia’s community groups is an opportunity to join those who are working to make life better. It’s good for you as an individual. It’s also the only way I know to inoculate the Australian polity against the plague of viciousness that’s costing so many lives across Trump’s America.

We’re not doing that badly in Australia now. The polls on marriage equality, for example, show that we’re not being conned by the forces of division

But nothing can be taken for granted. The challenges are increasing day by day. Ideologues still manage to profit from our prejudices. If we don’t lift our game to meet them, it’s a long way down.


Ten reasons to join a community group

  1. It’s good for your health - Studies show that having a good social network extends your life, keeps you healthy, and staves off mental deterioration.
  2. You meet new friends - Get to know new people and work with them on things you all care about. How many people have met their future partners at the club?
  3. You make new contacts - Keeping your networks in good repair helps you to see opportunities when they come up and gives you people to call when you want help.
  4. You learn new skills - You can learn workplace skills from being a volunteer. You can learn governance skills – committee management, business planning – from joining a committee.
  5. It’s good for the community - The more people work together and get to be familiar with the way things work around the area, the more people support each other through the tough times.
  6. You can follow your interests - Whatever you like to do, there are other people out there who like it too. Join a group and you can learn from them.
  7. You can build up your CV - If you’re applying for a tertiary place, or a new job, or a new relationship, it helps to be able to point to the unselfish efforts you’re putting in for the community.
  8. You can learn how to win your battles - Experience in operating a community group gives you the tools you need to get your voice heard in the centres of power.
  9. You can make a contribution - We all want to make the world a better place, even if it’s only by having our team take the flag.
  10. It’s good for the country - Australia needs a strong civil society, where the government and business don’t run everything and people manage their own organisations for community goals.

10/11 2017

Letter to the Editor

Dear HOPE,

Koala Action Inc. is extremely concerned as are many other wildlife and/or environmental groups about the rate of land clearing and fragmentation of bush land which has more than tripled following the weakening of regulations and enforcement by the Newman Government in 2012. TWS and ACF statistics confirm that an area the size of the MCG is cleared every three minutes in Queensland alone—surely, we can all see that this is an environmental crisis. New land clearing data for Queensland has just been released, and the outcome is devastating as this state has had a 33% rise in clearing since the previous year’s data; Queensland saw almost 400,000 hectares cleared in 2015/16. This is totally unacceptable, unfortunately 40% of this was in the Great Barrier Reef catchments (a 45% jump).

Deforestation and land clearing is a major threat to biodiversity and that holds true for Queensland’s faunal emblem the koala now on the brink of extinction in many areas of the Moreton Bay region. In fact, all wildlife living within those ecosystems are at risk as is the health of the Great Barrier Reef. Land clearing also impacts on the health of our river systems and the productivity of our landscapes. In addition, when millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere as a consequence of trees being bulldozed climate change is exacerbated.

All of us can chose to be part of the problem or be part of the solution. For a start, stopping the bulldozers would immediately protect the homes of native wildlife and save millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Restoring Australia's previously cleared land and rehabilitating secondary bushland habitat will increase its carrying capacity and help that land better support native wildlife. The bonus being a major opportunity to sequester carbon and bring down Australia’s net emissions. The list of benefits when clearing is stopped include biodiversity restoration, landscape health (including in reef catchments) and regional economic opportunity. Queensland, of all of the states, stands to gain the most from a booming land carbon sector.

This is wonderful opportunity for the residents and businesses of Queensland as well as local, state and federal governments to put together a range of forward-looking solutions to wildlife conservation, land protection and regional development. All that is required is for each and every one of us to write to, email or telephone our local councillors as well as our state and federal government representatives and ask them to do the following:-

  • Use whatever existing powers that are available to stop the worst land clearing;
  • Bring in new laws as soon as possible to end deforestation and excessive land clearing;
  • Develop a binding national climate plan, including all state and territory governments, that ensures measurable reductions in land clearing; and
  • Invest in nationally consistent monitoring programme and reporting of land clearing across the country.

This makes sense to me and I am sure will make sense to those of us on the ground volunteering to ensure that our native fauna and flora continue gracing us with their presence.

Thanks Vanda (aka Wanda) Grabowski
President/Secretary - Koala Action Inc.


09/11 2017

International Volunteer Day | 5 December 2017

Volunteers act first. Here. Everywhere.

International Volunteer Day is celebrated worldwide on 5 December , in recognition of the positive solidarity of volunteers around the world who answer calls in times of crisis, helping save lives today and supporting those who want to continue living their lives with dignity tomorrow. #VolunteersActFirst #IVD2017

Resources

For a full suite of resources, including the IVD logo, posters, banners, web graphics and examples for social media, in the six UN official languages, click here.

Background

Instability is frequent and intense for hundreds of millions of people around the world. In both developing and industrialised countries, political and armed conflicts, poverty, hunger, health crises, natural disasters and now climate change, all contribute to an increasing number of people living in unstable environments. Throughout history, collective action was needed to answer the urgent call of such tragedies—saving lives today and supporting those who want to continue living their lives with dignity tomorrow.

Volunteers are often the first to offer support in times of natural disasters, economic instability, forced migration or humanitarian emergencies. Everywhere in the world, volunteers provide assistance to people and whole communities being pushed to the brink. Volunteers, often members of affected communities, help people to rebuild their lives in the immediate aftershock of a tragic event. Through their ongoing support, volunteers also help people and communities be better prepared to face uncertainty in the future.

Estimates suggest that there are a billion people in the world who volunteer each year. Those numbers always go up when tragedy strikes. Despite their contributions, the vital role of volunteers is not always sufficiently recognised or acknowledged. As clearly stated at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, Volunteers are a practical example of the solidarity that binds the world together. There is scope for scaling up volunteering programmes through, for example, supportive national legislation and work place policies, and increased investment. This year, we give recognition to the role of volunteers as first responders so that we may demonstrate the value of this stated scope


08/11 2017

Tell Tim Nicholls & the LNP to Say No to Adani!

We are so close to delivering a knockout blow to Adani’s Reef-wrecking mine. But Labor’s decision is not enough.

Tim Nicholls and the LNP must also commit to vetoing the taxpayer loan. Email him now.

What a moment! On Friday the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced she would use the Queensland Government’s veto power to stop the Federal government giving a $1 billion loan of our taxes to Adani, through the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

This is a game changer and it’s thanks to you, and the power of the people. The Premier wouldn’t have acted without sustained pressure from the community. You showed her that Queenslanders won’t stand for our taxes being given to Adani, and that we hold our governments to the promises they make.

But the loan cannot be vetoed yet. The Queensland Labor Government is in caretaker mode while the election plays out. This means that they cannot veto the loan before election day, unless they get bipartisan support from the Liberal National Party (LNP).

We now have a critical chance to stop the loan once and for all, if we can get the LNP to commit to veto the loan as well. Can you email LNP party leader Tim Nicholls and ask him to veto the loan?

Email Tim Nicholls now!

Why is the $1 billion loan so important to Adani?

Adani hasn’t got the money to pay for their dirty coal mine and rail line. Adani Group has a $2 billion debt to repay on the Abbot Point Coal terminal, and they need this loan to convince foreign investors to help them pay it off. Losing this loan will jeopardise Adani’s chances of ever getting the money they need.

Stopping this loan could be the pivotal move that topples the coal mine and saves our precious Great Barrier Reef.

The Premier’s decision is a monumental shift - the first sign of change from Labor. It proves that it IS possible to get the parties to change their position on Adani. If Tim Nicholls and the LNP commit to a veto as well, it could be the end of this coal mine.

The Queensland government has the power to stop the loan. The law requires that the money from NAIF must be facilitated by state governments, who have full veto power to stop the loan. Without the support of Queensland, the Australian government cannot give $1 billion to Adani.

LNP party leader Tim Nicholls can stop the loan for good. Ask him to veto the loan.

Ask Tim Nicholls to Stop The Loan

We are so close to scoring a massive blow to Adani. Let’s keep it up.

Yours for the Reef,

Imogen Zethovan email signature

P.S. Reef scientists say the next five years are critical for our Reef. The next Queensland government must fight for its future. All political parties must commit to Stop Adani getting their hands on our taxes and our Reef. Ask Tim Nicholls to veto the NAIF loan.


06/11 2017

Coming clean on energy, costs and renewable power

Concern about LNP Leader Tim Nicholls’ announcement that he will scrap Queensland’s 50% renewable energy target

Peak environment group the Queensland Conservation Council has expressed concern about LNP Leader Tim Nicholls’ announcement today that he will scrap Queensland’s 50% renewable energy target. Instead, the LNP will continue to back a new coal power station in North Queensland, because they claim it will be cheaper.

Tim Nicholls’ comments on renewable energy and coal fired power make no sense financially or policy-wise, said Queensland Conservation Council head Dr Tim Seelig.

Renewable energy is the cheapest, best energy option for the future. A brand new coal-fired power station would be extraordinarily expensive, and would undoubtedly require huge public subsidies for something destined to become a stranded asset.

Let’s have an honest analysis of energy production costs into the future, and how to manage power pricing along the way.

The best way to reduce power prices long-term is to rapidly transition our energy system to something that runs on freely available resources such as the sun, wind and water, and where energy can be stored and distributed locally.

Queensland is a leader in take up of household level rooftop solar, but we need to support largescale renewables investment, and in largescale battery technology and local network systems.

The best way of doing that is by having ambitious but achievable targets for renewables, set in law, to send a strong signal to industry and the community that Queensland is very serious about a renewables future.

Queensland’s current ‘50% renewable energy by 2030’ target is a great start, and should be endorsed across the political spectrum to provide certainty and stability to investors.

We also need a strong emphasis on energy efficiency and demand reduction through smart technologies, and renewed focus on better household and business energy consumption and management. This will help with costs.

Renewable energy is one critical pathway to cutting carbon emissions. Let’s get away from dirty power generation, and embrace the energy future that does not cost the earth.

QCC’s policy for renewables and climate can be seen at:
http://www.queenslandconservation.org.au/state_election_2017

Dr Tim Seelig
Coordinator

Queensland Conservation

Queensland Conservation Council

Read online »

06/11 2017

Billion dollar Adani loan in tatters!

Friend of the Environment,

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced she will veto the billion-dollar NAIF loan to Adani!

Without the enormous government bailout, Adani's quest to fund its monstrous Carmichael coal mine will be left in tatters.

But it's not over yet. The Queensland Government is in caretaker mode, so the veto can't go through before the state's November 25 election unless it gets bipartisan support

If Leader Tim Nicholls refuses to help veto the loan now, its fate will rely on the outcome of the state election.

Either way, Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls has just become a key player in stopping Adani's catastrophic coal mine.

We're on the edge of something incredible. Can you contact Tim Nicholls right now and ask him to back a veto of the handout too?

NAIF is a government slush fund created by Adani's backers to fund their disastrous coal project when nobody else would. But the law dictates the money must go via state governments, who have full veto power over any loan.

If we can make sure this loan gets blocked by the Queensland Government, Adani will be back to square one with funding. We already know 23 banks have refused to touch the project, and losing this loan will jeopardise Adani's chances of ever finding the money it needs to proceed.

And right now, we have a chance to stop it in its tracks.

Contact Tim Nicholls now and ask him to oppose the NAIF loan.

Premier Palaszczuk's announcement is a seismic shift from Queensland Labor, who have until now shown unflinching support for the multi-billion-dollar corruption machine.

The change is a testament to you, and to the incredible movement that has grown and grown over this historic campaign. To everyone who has made phone calls, written to your MP, attended a rally, chipped in to fund ads or helped spell out STOP ADANI at iconic events across the country, thank you.

It's not over yet, but together we've just made one almighty breakthrough.

Sam R, for the GetUp team


06/11 2017

Communique from Solar Citizens

Political poppycock

Friend of the Environment,

“Crazy”, “reckless”, “absolute nonsense” – this is how the Liberal National Party (LNP) is describing Queensland’s shift towards sensible, clean energy.

The LNP and One Nation are biting at the bit to build a new, dirty coal-fired power plant in North Queensland, and are pledging to scrap Queensland’s plan for 50% renewable electricity by 2030.

And it gets worse: to gather support before the election both the LNP and One Nation are spreading misinformation about the viability of new coal over renewables – and the media is eating it up [1].

We’re not going to let this fly. The solar-boom is boosting investment in our sunny state, pumping out clean energy and creating thousands of jobs – click here to share the truth on Facebook.

The fact is, a report commissioned by the Department of Energy and Water Supply found that a new 750 megawatt coal plant in North Queensland would pose a “serious risk” of becoming a $1.6 billion stranded asset because the demand for out-of-date coal is dropping [2].

Share the Sun-Powered Queensland ad on Facebook to amplify the voices of real Queenslanders who are benefiting from the big solar boom that’s underway in our state.

Together, let’s stop misinformation from casting a shadow on our renewable future.

Louise
Queensland Solar Campaigner
Solar Citizens Louise, Queensland Solar Campaigner profice picture

[1] Queensland election: Labor’s report backs LNP’s coal power plan, 1 November 2017; Voters prefer price cut to Paris accord, 31 October 2017.
[2] North Queensland coal plant: What the report really says about prices, 1 November 2017.


05/11 2017

Conservation Priorities for Queensland | QCC

Protecting Queensland’s future should come naturally

Under the headline of ‘Protecting Queensland’s future should come naturally’, QCC is seeking responses on twelve key policy priorities for nature from Queensland’s main political parties.

These involve policies on: Land clearing, Renewable energy, Climate change mitigation, Economic and social transitions, Protection of the Great Barrier Reef, Adani and NAIF, Protected Areas, Cape York Peninsula, Biodiversity protection, Rivers protection and water legislation, Queensland environmental protection legislation and Environment Department, and Funding for QCC and regional conservation.

These have been sent to political parties, with a request for responses and commitments. We will let you know how we go!

Keep a check on our special Queensland Election webpage for updates and other news and events: http://www.queenslandconservation.org.au/state_election_2017

Policy Summary Document » Policy Document »

Tim Seelig, QCC Coordinator

Conservation Queensland logo

04/11 2017

Invitation

Webinar: Beyond COP23

Findings from the 2017 GlobeScan-SustainAbility Survey on Climate Change

We are delighted to invite you to one of two webinars to discuss the results from our latest survey focused on climate change and progress made on the Paris Agreement.

The GlobeScan-SustainAbility Survey is one the longest-running expert surveys on sustainability-related topics of its kind. In our latest report we analyze the viewpoints of over 400 global sustainability experts on a range of questions including:

  • Almost two years after the Paris Agreement was signed, how much progress has been made against its goals and what barriers may pose the greatest risk to its successful implementation?
  • Which institutions have made the largest contribution to advance the Paris Agreement goals?
  • Which companies have gained the widest recognition for their leadership on climate change?What are the factors and corporate strategies driving their perceived leadership and what are the most effective instruments for companies to address climate change?

To best serve a global audience, we are hosting two versions of this webinar. Space is limited, so please register today via the links below.

Americas / EMEA

On November 9 at 8am San Francisco / 11am New York / 4pm London, the discussion will be led by Mark Lee (Executive Director, SustainAbility), Eric Whan (Director, GlobeScan), Jenny Chu (Head of Energy Productivity Initiatives, The Climate Group).and Val Smith (Vice President of Sustainability, Citi).

Register »

Asia / Pacific

On November 22 at 11am Hong Kong / 8:30am Mumbai / 2pm Sydney, the discussion will be led by Wander Meijer (Asia Pacific Director, GlobeScan), Andrew Petersen (Chief Executive Officer, Sustainable Business Australia), Rebecca Mikula-Wright, Climate Change & ESG Investment Consultant at the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), and Jeanne Ng, Director, Group Sustainability at CLP Power Hong Kong, who will have just attended COP23 in Bonn and will provide the latest insights from the conference.

Register »

03/11 2017

The Chook Book

The keeping of backyard chooks is not a new thing, it dates back over 5,000 years. Today, people do it for many reasons, a regular supply of freshly laid eggs, for showing and selling or even as family pets. Keeping chooks can be a rewarding experience for the whole family. At Barastoc, we’ve been supplying proven and trusted quality feeds to the poultry market for over 30 years. We continue to cater for the changing needs of poultry enthusiasts, developing feeds that are ideally suited to them. As the country’s leading supplier of poultry feed, we know how important the correct rearing and keeping of poultry is for their welfare, their health and the production of fresh eggs. Hence The Barastoc Chook Book. It has been developed as a guide for the correct rearing and feeding of laying hens. It also includes a section on the Barastoc layer range of feeds and their use. If there is anything else you would like to know please call Ridley Sales & Support on 1300 666 657.

The Chook Book which is now in its 9th edition may be located at Barastoc Poultry website (http://barastocpoultry.com.au/chook-book/).


01/11 2017

National Recycling Week: 13th – 19th November 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!

Recycling – it’s a topic that’s generally at the back of our minds and something we often do without too much thought, but from 13th – 19th November it comes to the forefront of our minds during Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week. This is the 22nd year this week of bringing focus to the environmental benefits of recycling has been held, and it’s never been timelier.

With concern about environmental issues at an all-time high, many people find themselves in a state of uncertainty about what they can actually do about the many pressing environmental problems which we are confronted with daily –it’s easy to be overwhelmed and not know where to start.

National Recycling Week provides us with a practical and achievable way to begin or increase our environmental presence – and we can all feel good about that.

The purpose of the week is to enable people to get further involved with recycling and to increase their knowledge of just how they can do that. There are a number of ways you can participate – at home, school, work or the community. You can register your workplace or school or participate in a huge number of recycling activities right where you are at home. The extent of your participation is up to you – but the important thing is that you do participate in some way, because everyone is able to do something; some small individual action which together with the actions of others will add up to make a big environmental difference.

Go to http://recyclingweek.planetark.org/about/ for more information and to find a way to get involved.

Frank Ondrus, President - HOPE Inc.

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


29/10 2017

Ethical Consumer Group - News

October 2017

Progress on plastic

Progress on plasticVic, Vic, Victory! Single-use, lightweight plastic bags will be banned in Victoria, bringing it in line with most other states (only NSW to go!). Have your say in the public consultation to determine what the ban covers and other actions needed on plastic pollution. Plastic bags are just the beginning. Call for urgent action on plastic microbeads (sign the "ban the bead" petition) and single-use plastic bottles (tell Coca-Cola to find other alternatives).

Too much stuff

Too much stuff“More is better” remains the narrative of modern society, but for the most part it's actually happiness that we're after. Given that we're currently in Buy Nothing New Month, we wanted to share this great little video about all the excess stuff we own and why. Feeling inspired? Check out this article on buying less, our page on create, repair, reuse and this introduction to minimalism.

Be Inspired - beyond fossil fuel

Be Inspired - beyond fossil fuelThe best way to predict the future is to create it. (Alan Kay)
Oil, coal and gas currently provide the greater part of our electricity generation and transportation fuels. In this month's Be Inspired section however we focus on people and communities showing leadership in shaping a future beyond these finite and polluting fossil fuels. (Beyond Adani coal, beyond cheap gas, and beyond current energy policy).

Free-range farming under threat

Free-range farming under threatThe Victorian Government has proposed planning provisions that will place small-scale pig and poultry farmers in the same group as large-scale intensive farming operations. The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance suggest that this will render meat production prohibitive for farmers, and destroy local, small-scale agriculture. Sign the petition to Ministers and provide feedback on the reforms directly to government.


Ethical Consumer Group » October update on-line »

New review asks an important question

Renewable energy — from solar, wind, and hydro power — is rapidly becoming a major pillar of global energy production while attracting enormous worldwide investment.

But how ‘green’ are these different energy sources?  Are they environmentally benign, or are some dangerous in certain contexts?

A paper, led by Luke Gibson, just published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, contrasts the environmental risks and impacts of our largest ‘green’ energy sources.

How Green is ‘Green’ Energy?

Summary

Renewable energy is an important piece of the puzzle in meeting growing energy demands and mitigating climate change, but the potentially adverse effects of such technologies are often overlooked. Given that climate and ecology are inextricably linked, assessing the effects of energy technologies requires one to consider their full suite of global environmental concerns. We review here the ecological impacts of three major types of renewable energy – hydro, solar, and wind energy – and highlight some strategies for mitigating their negative effects. All three types can have significant environmental consequences in certain contexts. Wind power has the fewest and most easily mitigated impacts; solar energy is comparably benign if designed and managed carefully. Hydropower clearly has the greatest risks, particularly in certain ecological and geographical settings. More research is needed to assess the environmental impacts of these ‘green’ energy technologies, given that all are rapidly expanding globally.

Trends

Renewable energy is expanding rapidly. Growth is greatest in China, which now constitutes 28%, 26%, and 35% of the global capacity of hydro, solar, and wind power, respectively.

Hydropower has the largest environmental impacts, mostly because of habitat loss and fragmentation caused by impoundment reservoirs and roads needed for dam construction and maintenance. Dams block animal migration and disrupt river flows, creating homogenized conditions favoring non-native species. Hydropower also generates greenhouse gases, especially methane, particularly in the tropics.

Wind power kills 100 000 s of birds and bats every year. Wind farms can affect bird migrations and trigger population declines. Wind turbines increase ambient temperature and noise, harming some native species.

Solar energy is the fastest growing renewable, but its impacts are poorly known. More research is needed in this area.

More on Trends in Ecology & Evolution »

25/10 2017

Our Darling Downs food bowl at risk

Friend of the Environment,

For too long, farmers from the Acland region have been waiting. With lives on hold, they are waiting for the state government to stand up for their region, their health and Queensland’s best farmland.

Will you watch and share this story from the Darling Downs?

After a gruelling and historic case, the QLD Land Court recommended the rejection of Acland Stage 3 coal expansion. This was a historic win for communities.

But now the coal mining company is smashing the airwaves with ads pushing the mine at all costs.

The final decision is in the hands of our state government. They need to uphold the Land Court's findings that the impacts are too great. They must reject the Acland coal expansion.

You can help our farmers. Watch and share their latest video to make sure farming voices of the Darling Downs are heard.

Acland coal mine expansion from Lock the Gate Alliance on Vimeo.
Share on Facebook »

Yours for the love of QLD,

Hayley Troupe
Lock the Gate Queensland


25/10 2017

Eco-Business - News & Views

Editor's Choice

The SDGs turn 2: The journey so far

Participants at an event promoting SDG 14, life below water. What have we achieved two years after the birth of the SDGs? Image: © UNDP / Freya Morales, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0Happy birthday SDGs! It's been two years since the world pledged to work together to eliminate poverty and protect the environment. How far have we come?
Read now »

Is nudging or policy the better way to a more sustainable society?

Vegetarian pizza. People can be 'nudged' towards more climate-friendly diets by making the vegetarian food the default option. Image: Sharada Prasad CS, CC BY 2.0Rather than forcing citizens to be more environmentally responsible with rules and regulations, is it better to persuade them by tapping into their subconscious?
Read now »

Green building certification: The sustainability movement’s secret weapon

In Hong Kong, buildings account for about 90 per cent of electricity use and more than 60 per cent of energy-related carbon emissions. Image: PixabayHong Kong Green Building Council head Sr Wong Bay explains how green building rating systems are an essential tool in the fight to achieve a net zero emissions built environment.
Read now »

News

All News

How 73 cities are using innovative climate action to ‘future-proof’ themselves

Jakarta’s main avenue during the monthly car-free day. Nearly 80 per cent of public green space in the Indonesian capital has been lost to development in the past 40 years. Image: Gunawan Kartapranata, CC BY 3.0, via Wikipedia CommonsA new report by think tank Sustainia suggests that climate action can achieve a twofold function: improve the quality of life in urban neighbourhoods most vulnerable to catastrophes, and help cities save money by reducing clean-up costs.
Read now »

Opinion

All Opinion

Preparing to live sustainably alongside increasing natural risks

The rooftops of cars peek through the flooded streets of Mumbai. Image: A Kap, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0The recent string of natural disasters has been a costly but critical lesson—that we need to prepare for more extreme weather, and protect the vulnerable who disproportionately bear the brunt of these, writes UNESCAP’s Shamshad Akhtar.
Read now »


Eco-Business » Newsletter »

25/10 2017

Record loss in global tree cover in 2016

Forest fires stoke record loss in world tree cover: monitor

OSLO (Reuters) - Forest fires in Brazil and Indonesia contributed to a record loss in global tree cover in 2016, equivalent to the size of New Zealand, that could accelerate deforestation blamed for climate change, an independent forest monitoring network said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Police and a fire fighter from a local forestry company try to extinguish a forest fire in the village in Rokan Hulu regency, Riau province, Sumatra, Indonesia August 28, 2016 in this photo taken by Antara Foto.
Picture taken August 28, 2016. Antara Foto/Rony Muharrman/via REUTERS

Man-made global warming increased the risks of wildfires by adding to extreme heat and droughts in some regions, according to Global Forest Watch (GFW). This year, California and Portugal have been among places suffering deadly blazes.

The combination of forest fires with land use change and climate change could speed destruction in areas like the Amazon and contribute to emissions of carbon dioxide, one of the gases that contribute to global warming, the report said.

Worldwide, global tree cover losses rose 51 percent in 2016 from the previous year to 297,000 square kilometers (114,672 square miles), according to data from the University of Maryland compiled by Global Forest Watch (GFW).

That was a record high for GFW records stretching back to 2000, and contrasted with some other satellite measurements that indicated a slowdown in the pace of forest clearances to make way for farms, cities and roads.

We saw quite a dramatic spike in 2016, said Mikaela Weisse, research analyst at the U.S. think-tank World Resources Institute which oversees GFW. That seems to be related to forest fires in countries including Brazil, Indonesia and Portugal.

GFW measures loss of tree cover and does not estimate net changes in forests to take account of re-growth and new plantings.

By contrast, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, using different methods, says the net global rate of deforestation has slowed by more than 50 percent in the last 25 years.

GFW said Brazil’s Amazon region lost 37,000 square kilometers of tree cover in calendar 2016, almost three times more than in 2015.

That contrasts with official Brazilian data showing that deforestation in the Amazon fell 16 percent in August 2016 to July 2017 compared with the same period a year earlier. Brazil said it was the first decline in three years.

Brazil’s environmental agency Ibama said 2016 was the ninth-worst year for forest fires since monitoring began in 1998.

The dry climate and low humidity made man-made fires gain larger dimension, Ibama said in an email.

Weisse said GFW data often detected smaller-scale losses in tree cover, including in layers beneath the forest canopy, while the Brazilian data was better at recording clearances of large blocks of forest.

GFW said Indonesia lost almost 1 million hectares of tree cover in 2016, probably the delayed result of a severe fire season in 2015.

Read on REUTERS »

23/10 2017

ALERT | New Danger

New Danger: Invading Poachers Kill With Mega-Fires

In Africa, wildlife poachers invading into remote areas are using a deadly new weapon to kill animals: giant fires.

Hunters have traditionally used small fires to flush out game animals. But modern poachers—armed with automatic rifles and lethal wire snares—are using much bigger fires to kill or flush out wildlife.

Unfortunately, beyond devastating native ecosystems, the mega-fires are destroying the villages, farming plots, and livestock of traditional local peoples. Local rage against the invaders has peaked as several village residents were killed by the intense, unexpected fires.

Studies in Zimbabwe, Africa show that mega-fires are being lit by gangs of lawless young men, who do not live locally.

In Southeast Asia, many poachers hail from large cities or even foreign nations, with aggressive Vietnamese poachers being especially notorious.

ROADS TO RUIN

Globally, the crisis of forest invasion gets far worse when one adds in hundreds of thousands of kilometers of new roads cutting into the world’s last frontier areas.

Many of these roads are being made by loggers and miners, operativing legally or illegally.

In the rainforests of the Brazilian Amazon, a study by ALERT researchers found alarmingly high numbers of illegal roads. Across the region, there were about three kilometers of illegal roads for every one kilometer of legal road.

And just this week, an important new study revealed that Amazonian roads built for industrial mines are indirectly causing remarkably extensive deforestation, by allowing colonists to invade and destroy remote forests.

FATAL INFERNO

As the global footprint of roads rapidly expands, so does the prospect of destructive wildfires.

Rainforests that have been fragmented, logged, or scorched by surface fires are drier than intact forests, because their dense, insulating forest canopy—which keeps the rainforest humid and dark—has been disrupted or destroyed.

And when such a degraded forest is crisscrossed by new roads, it’s dead-easy for invaders to start mega-fires. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, mega-fires consumed millions of hectares of native rainforest and farmland in Roraima, Brazil.

But without the roads, it is far harder for invaders to colonize remote areas, making the conservation of forests and wildlife much easier.

And in addition to the environmental advantages, there can also be important social benefits of keeping forests road-free.

Without new roads, local peoples have a fighting chance to maintain their traditional livelihoods, with far less pressure from opportunistic, aggressive outsiders.

Without new roads, local peoples have a fighting chance to maintain their traditional livelihoods, with far less pressure from opportunistic, aggressive outsiders.

It comes down to this: stop the roads, stop the invaders, stop the poaching, stop the mega-fires, stop the devastation of traditional village lands.

It all starts with stopping the roads.

Read online »

23/10 2017

Logan Eco Forum

Photographer Steve Parish to visit Logan.

Photographer Steve Parish to help launch Logan’s first eco forum

AUSTRALIA’S premier wildlife photographer Steve Parish will be helping Logan continue its focus on the environment when he takes part in the city’s inaugural Eco Forum this week.

The award-winning nature photographer will join a highly credentialed list of conservation experts and hundreds of community members at the forum.

The theme of the first Eco Forum is Connect to Nature and high-profile presenters will cover a diverse variety of environmental topics – from tips to encourage children to play outdoors to nature and links to mental health.

Australian Conservation Foundation president Professor Ian Lowe, who has also been appointed to the Australian National Commission for UNESCO, will lead the discussion on biodiversity. Discovery Channel’s Snake Boss Julia Baker will shed light on her love of reptiles and reveal how connecting with nature has enriched her life.

A performance will keep the eco-at-heart entertained by bringing to life the tale of comedy and strife unfolding among birds as a lesson in nature, indigenous religion and morals. There will also be advice, practical demonstrations and innovative workshops to inspire sustainable living.

Logan Mayor Luke Smith said hundreds of eco-enthusiasts were expected to attend the free forum, cementing the city as a leader in environmental conservation.

It’s about promoting discussion, motivating action and raising awareness about the environment and conservation, he said. The forum, at Beenleigh on October 27, is free but participants must register.

Read online » Information & Registration » Program »

23/10 2017

Conservation Volunteers Australia - You're Invited!


23/10 2017

Species are threatened by major projects, not the other way around


23/10 2017

Research report | Creating liveable cities in Australia

Description

The co-benefits of urban liveability for the economy, social inclusion, environmental and social sustainability, and public health are now well recognised by all levels of government in Australia and internationally. Liveable communities are safe, socially cohesive and inclusive, and environmentally sustainable. They have affordable housing that is linked (via public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure) to employment; education; shops and services; public open space; and social, cultural and recreational opportunities.This report assesses the availability and implementation of policies governing seven characteristics of cities that can contribute to creating liveable communities, in Australian capital cities:

  • Walkability;
  • Public transport;
  • Public open space;
  • Housing affordability;
  • Employment;
  • Food environments; and
  • Alcohol environments

The research reported here received federal grant funding from multiple sources. The aims were to:

  • Identify state government urban planning policies and legislation and their targets that relate to key urban liveability policy domains;
  • Create and map indicators of urban liveability, based on state government policy documents, to assess the degree of policy implementation and spatial inequities in liveability across Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane; and to
  • Map a set of evidence-based national liveability indicators from the Australian National Liveability Study found to be associated with chronic disease risk behaviours and/or health outcomes (for all Australian capital cities where data were available)

Two types of indicators were developed:

  • In four cities (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney) we reviewed state government urban planning, transport and infrastructure policies and legislation, to identify measurable spatial policy standards or targets that could be developed and mapped to benchmark and monitor the level of implementation of urban policies aimed at creating liveable communities;
  • In all Australian state and territory capital cities where comparable data were available, we developed and mapped national liveability indicators shown to be associated with the health and wellbeing of Australians.

This allowed us to make comparisons between cities.

Report details & download on Analysis & Policy Observatory (APO) » Centre for Urban Research (RMIT) »

22/10 2017

Environment groups berate energy plan

Climate groups have poured scorn on the Turnbull government's national energy guarantee, saying it will be disastrous for the environment.

Conservation and advocacy groups have come out swinging against a "disastrous" energy and climate policy announced by the federal government.

Kelly O'Shanassy, from the Australian Conservation Foundation, said the prime minister's national energy guarantee released on Tuesday proved he had given up on climate change.

We know we have to make the shift to clean energy - not delay that shift - which is what the policy does, she told AAP in Canberra on Tuesday.

Elongating the life of coal is dangerous, and our government right now has made an incredibly dangerous decision.

The plan includes a reliability guarantee to ensure the power each state needs is delivered from sources such as coal, gas, pumped hydro and batteries.

Renewable energies including wind and solar would no longer be subsidised.

Ms O'Shannassy is urging state governments, businesses and everyday Australians to reject the plan.

An emissions guarantee would be set up to meet Australia's Paris reduction target, requiring legislation and enforced by the Australian Energy Regulator.

Retailers who persistently failed to meet their emissions guarantee would be kicked out of the market.

The pledge does not fill GetUp national director Paul Oosting with any hope.

What we've seen today is a clear policy announcement that stymies and stops the development of renewables and doesn't do anything do address climate change, he told AAP.

It is locking Australians into old technology - polluting technology like coal - burning for decades to come.

Mr Oosting said the plan did nothing to address the failing energy market or curb climate change.

He argued it instead showed the prime minister was trying to cling to power at the expense of the majority of Australians who wanted to see a rapid transition to renewables.


22/10 2017

We've got a fight ahead of us!

Friend of the Environment,

It’s worse than we imagined. The Turnbull Government’s latest attempt at energy policy looks like it will prop up electricity from dirty, out-of-date coal and gas. What utter nonsense!

They’re fumbling around in the dark with no plan for a transition to a brighter future powered by 100% clean, renewable power.

I’m tired of the Turnbull Government’s blatant pandering to the big polluters and their ceaseless anti-renewable attacks that are wreaking havoc on the clean energy industry.

Now more than ever, we need Queensland to lead the way with strong renewable energy policy and make sure we don’t have to wait around for the Federal Government to see the light. If we work together, we can stop the Federal Government’s outdated energy policy from casting a shadow on the progress of our sunny state.

With the state election looming, will you help build a chorus of community support for renewables that can’t be ignored? Sign the pledge for a sun-powered Queensland.

You and I know Queenslanders love solar with more than one in four houses powered by the sun. Add to that a large scale renewable energy boom with over 20 projects underway and it’s clear that the sun and the wind can power our state.

While the Turnbull Government dithers, it’s up to us to make sure that this new federal policy does not give state politicians the opportunity to undo our hard fought progress towards a brighter future.

As we gear up towards a state election, we need politicians of all stripes to know that there is a groundswell of community support for clean, renewable energy.

Will you add your name to the Sun Powered Queensland pledge today?

In sunny determination,

Louise Matthiesson
Queensland Campaigner
Solar Citizens

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.


18/10 2017

10 Years of Earth Hour


18/10 2017

Help Protect The Aussie Places We Love


15/10 2017

News from #breakfreefromplastic!

Plastic-Spitting Dragon Protests at Our Oceans Conference in Malta | © Bente Stachowske / Greenpeace

Our Ocean conference

On October 5th and 6th, the Our Ocean conference in Malta brought together royalty, governments and businesses to make bold commitments on ocean protection. Key #breakfreefromplastic movement members like Zero Waste Europe, Seas at Risk, Plastic Change International, and Greenpeace International made sure the conference was more than just talk and demanded binding action to address plastic pollution.

The iconic dragon spitting plastic waste from our recent Cleanup activities in Freedom Island, Europe, and around the world, called widespread attention to the need for rapid and ambitious policy and corporate accountability.

Global Coordinator, Von Hernandez discusses why we were in Malta, SHARE now!

Inside the conference, Nicky Davies, Program Director of the Plastic Solutions Fund, delivered a compelling presentation as part of a panel on marine pollution. Nicky’s speech was an effective counterweight to corporate commitments, none of which focused on the need for reduction and implementation of REAL zero-waste solutions!

other #breakfreefromplastic news...

Ban the Bead

ToothbrushThe Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO) gathered key stakeholders from the health, environmental, and personal care sectors in Bangladesh to discuss the imminent threat of microplastic pollution. ESDO is set to pilot a project which aims to reduce or eliminate the use of microplastics to protect the Bay of Bengal.
Like & Share »

New Policy to Combat Waste

SMS staff led by Pratibha Sharma teaches residents in Mumbai on how to adopt a zero-waste model. Go Pratibha!
The city of Mumbai, India, which generates over 9,000 metric tons of garbage daily has a brand new policy to combat waste! Stree Mukti Sangathana, a women’s liberation group led by movement changemaker Pratibha Sharma (pictured above), teaches residents in Mumbai how to adopt zero-waste into their daily lives. Go Pratibha!
Tweet »



11/10 2017

Eco-Business - News & Views

Editor's Choice

Around the world in an electric car

Wiebe Wakker—pictured here in Penang, Malaysia—is traveling from the Netherlands to Australia in an electric car, without any money. Image: Wiebe WakkerWhat's it like to travel the world in an electric car, relying on donations of food, lodging and electricity? Eco-Business spoke to 30 year-old Dutchman Wiebe Wakker about his 51,000km journey from the Netherlands to Australia.
Read now »

Does technology a smarter city make?

Will the fourth industrial revolution bring about a more sustainable world? From left: Eco-Business's Jessica Cheam, Surbana Jurong Consultants' Tan Szue Hann, Government Technology Agency's Vivien Chow, and Energy Research Institute at Nanyang Technological University's Subodh Mhaisalkar.Cost and culture have been big barriers to the adoption of more smart and sustainable solutions in cities. But is technology the cure-all we think it is anyway? Experts debated this at a forum held by Eco-Business and BMW.
Read now »

Australia's energy must be two-thirds renewable to meet 2030 climate target

Wind turbines in Victoria, Australia. Renewable energy made up 13 per cent of Australia's energy mix in 2016. Image: Rodney Campbell, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0Australia has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions significantly by 2030. A five-fold increase in the share of renewables in its energy mix by then is the cheapest way to meet this goal, new research has found.
Read now »

News

All News

World can meet growing food demands and limit warming to 1.5C

Farmer dries rice in front of her home in Kampung Thum, Cambodia. Image: De kleine rode kater, CC BY 2.0Carbon emissions from agriculture can be significantly cut while still meeting the food demands of the world’s growing population, a new study says.
Read now »

Opinion

All Opinion

Solar power alone won't solve energy or climate needs

A portable solar panel system is set up next to a building in Mongolia. Solar energy systems on average deliver between 10 to 12 per cent of installed capacity. Image: Dave Lawrence/World Bank, CC BY-NC-NDThe tumbling prices of solar technology has helped to kick-start the clean energy revolution, but it’s not the silver bullet to solving climate change. Jatin Nathwani from the University of Waterloo explains why.
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11/10 2017

Land Clearing Alliance message to HOPE

Getting involved in the Queensland Land Clearing Alliance

Dear Friends of the Environment,

As you may have seen, land clearing in Queensland just got a whole load worse, and it was already really bad. Official data released last week showed a 33% increase in clearing in2015/16. This included a 45% increase in GBR catchment clearing, and the further decimation of regional ecosystems such as the Brigalow Belt. Peri urban clearing is also a major ongoing problem for wildlife and critical habitat. Right now, every second we have a tree destroyed and an animal killed in Queensland from clearing.

Thanks to all of you who have already helped get this message out. The campaign to raise and re-awaken community awareness about land clearing is swinging into action...but we need to make sure Queenslanders are reminded of the scale of the problem and the need for stronger laws complemented by initiatives for forest and woodland retention and carbon farming.

The Queensland Land Clearing Alliance, which makes up a number of conservation and wildlife carer groups has produced a 10 Point Plan to Reduce Tree Clearing:

  1. Use all available means to immediately protect forests and woodlands currently under threat from tree clearing, including declarations prohibiting clearing in sensitive Queensland areas;
  2. Permanently protect remnant/old-growth forests and woodlands from being cleared;
  3. Permanently protect high conservation value forests and woodlands from tree clearing;
  4. Apply a consistent approach to protection of forests and woodlands across all sectors responsible for excessive tree clearing (including agriculture, urban development and mining);
  5. Ensure strong monitoring, enforcement and resourcing of tree clearing laws;
  6. Remove high risk self-assessable clearing codes, particularly for ‘thinning’;
  7. Continue to improve mapping for vegetation and halt exemptions via property maps;
  8. Establish a land carbon fund and resource relevant state departments to research land carbon opportunities for Queensland land holders;
  9. Ensure all clearing is referred to the Australian Government for approval, if it is likely to impact on protected matters under Federal environmental law;
  10. Commit to regular (minimum annual) full reporting of clearing data and impacts.

Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) is a lead coordinating organisation in the Alliance, and our aim is to provide information and advice about the issues and solutions, assist with things like photos of clearing and impacted wildlife, and support for media and comms. If your organisation would like to be part of the Queensland Land Clearing Alliance, please let me know asap.

Even if you don’t wish to be part of the Alliance, you can still play an important role in helping to get the message out there on social and news media, and by talking about the issues in your organisations and communities.

Thanks for all you do for nature protection and climate action.

Tim

Dr Tim Seelig, QCC Coordinator
Queensland Conservation Council
9/10 Thomas Street, West End, QLD 4101
Email: tim.seelig@qldconservation.org.au


10/10 2017

Invitation to proposed 2018 FREE Going Solar Forums

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!

Invitation to proposed 2018 FREE Information Forums on "Going Solar - On/Off Grid with Battery Storage"

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc., with the technical expertise provided by ACDC Energy, is proposing to stage a series of free information forums on “Going Solar – On/Off Grid with Battery Storage” in 2018.

ACDC Energy will outline the benefits of ‘going solar and/or upgrading your existing system’, and of the options available for the purchase and installation of solar PV and battery storage systems. ACDC Energy will provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions such as “solar power; battery storage; on/off grid … how does it all work?”

They will also offer expert advice for those looking for basic energy management, through to people considering going completely off the grid.

Solar systems are not just for domestic premises. Business owners, school representatives and community groups would be encouraged to come along to learn about how solar might benefit their organisations said Mr Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc.

Some advantages of solar include savings on electricity bills. Once a system is installed it costs virtually nothing to operate, saving you money on your power bills. Solar also benefits the environment by providing clean energy - for every 1kw of solar installed a tonne of C02 is saved every year, added Mr Ondrus.

Expressions of interest are now being sought from anyone interested in attending one of the proposed information forums.

Please register your interest by contacting HOPE at office@hopeaustralia.org.au

Frank Ondrus, President - HOPE Inc.

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


10/10 2017

National Recycling Week : 13 - 19 November 2017

All you need to know for National Recycling Week plus carbon neutral workplaces and living sustainably tips

5 ways to start your environmental sustainability journey today

Coffee Cup_Keep Cup © Keep CupAre you finding that you're becoming more and more aware of environmental issues, want to do your part but feeling overwhelmed about where to start? We've got you sorted.
Find our more …

Fight waste and get a bargain at the Big Aussie Swap

Big Ausssie SwapPlanet Ark is calling on Australians to join the War on Waste and take part in the Big Aussie Swap during National Recycling Week from 13th - 19th November, as councils, community groups and individuals around the country get on board.
Find our more …

Have a fun fling!

Friday File FlingThe Friday File Fling, supported by Planet Ark 100% Australian Recycled Paper is a fun, easy and a great way to de-clutter your office. And a perfect fit for an office team engagement activity, just add drinks and nibbles!
Find our more …

Celebrating more than 10 years being Carbon Neutral

Wind turbineBusinesses have the opportunity to set themselves apart by showing true leadership in sustainability. Printing and marketing firm, Finsbury Green, is one who has certainly taken the lead. With a robust environmental strategy that has been developed over 15 years, they have some impressive environmental achievements.
Find our more …

Planet Ark » National Recycling Week »

Land Clearing Alliance Statement

New dramatic escalation in tree clearing in Queensland shows why stronger laws must be passed

  • New data shows disastrous increase in deforestation / tree clearing rates, resulting in millions of native animals including our iconic koala being killed and injured
  • Newman LNP Government’s gutting of tree laws 4 years ago a critical factor
  • Campaign for stronger laws against tree clearing to be feature of the state election

The latest Queensland Statewide Landcover and Tree Survey (SLATS) has just been released by the State government, indicating that 395,000 hectares of land was cleared in Queensland in the last twelve months for which we have data. This report shows a further dramatic rise in clearing of forests, woodlands and trees in Queensland between 2015-2016.

Clearing has risen by another 33% over the previous year, and the published data are still at least one year behind real time suggesting things could be far worse still today.

Organisations including WWF-Australia, the Wilderness Society and the Queensland Conservation Council have responded with a renewed call for stronger laws to save Queensland’s unique wildlife - before it’s too late.

Queensland is in the midst of a hidden environmental crisis from deforestation, said Wilderness Society Queensland Campaign Manager Gemma Plesman.
These new figures are shocking, putting Queensland up there with the world’s worst offenders for forest destruction. More than 1 million hectares of bush, forest and trees have been razed since our laws were weakened: that’s an area the size of the Gabba bulldozed every three minutes for the last 4 years.

Queensland Conservation Council head Dr Tim Seelig said: Queensland’s tree clearing crisis just got a whole load worse. This is yet another reminder of the scale of the problem we have with land clearing in this state, and why we must make our land clearing laws much better and more effective in protecting native wildlife.

The current Parliament has frustrated attempts to do this, and in the meantime ever larger areas of Queensland are being destroyed by the bulldozers.

The next Queensland Government needs to commit to strengthening laws on tree-clearing, protect wildlife and bushland and ensure a future for species such as the endangered koala. We will be looking closely at the environmental policies of the parties and candidates contesting the next election and assessing those policies in terms of capacity to practically reduce the level of land clearing in Queensland, and otherwise protect natural habitats and wildlife.

WWF-Australia Protected Areas and Conservation Science Manager Dr Martin Taylor said: Excessive tree clearing destroys our forests and bushland, kills and injures millions of native animals, including the endangered koala, and threatens the Great Barrier Reef through muddy runoff. We need stronger laws to protect our landscapes and forests, our food and water supplies, our soils and climate. If we lose these animals, we can’t get them back. They’re gone forever.

We already know that at least 84,000 ha of critical Queensland habitat for koalas was cleared in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 years. With the total area bulldozed leaping up by 33% statewide we expect even more koala habitat has been destroyed in the period of this new report. That means hundreds of koalas killed, injured and homeless. Losing Queensland's faunal emblem would be a tragedy.

Vanda Grabowski from Koala Action Inc said: We see the horrible consequences of clearing. I’ve raised over 50 rescued koalas personally, many of whom come back to me dead, sometimes within months, because they don’t have enough habitat left in which to survive after the area has been cleared. I see the direct results of deforestation and it breaks my heart. All the time I put in is wiped out by human interference. It’s heartbreaking especially when you know the government could easily stop this happening.

Environmental Defenders Office Qld law reform solicitor Revel Pointon said: In the meantime, we need the government to act right now to protect our wildlife, avoid dangerous climate change and meet our Reef 2050 commitments.

Firstly, the government needs to get rid of the worst of the previous government’s unsustainable self-assessable codes, such as the thinning code, which allows the majority of broadscale clearing now allowed in Queensland without assessment. Secondly, the government could be declaring restrictions on clearing over particularly sensitive areas, like reef catchments, that require immediate protection from their current exposure under the significantly weakened clearing laws.

The alliance comprises the Queensland Conservation Council, WWF-Australia, the Wilderness Society, the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) Queensland, the Sunshine Coast Environment Council, Gecko Environment Council, Mackay Conservation Group, Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), the Queensland Koala Crusaders, and Koala Action Inc. Together these groups represent tens of thousands of Queenslanders.

The alliance is calling on all political parties to back the push for stronger tree-clearing laws to better protect remnant and other high conservation value woodlands and habitats, and to use a range of means to strengthen legal protections, remove risky self-assessments, support better enforcement, clearing monitoring and reporting.

Tim Seelig, Coordinator
Queensland Conservation Council

Check out this infographic highlighting the scale of the issues:

QCC landclearing infographic
View | Download

08/10 2017

The truth about gas

The Australia Institute has been hard at work debunking the gas lies and econobabble.

Because the simple the truth is, we have enough cheap easy-to-extract gas in Australia to last 100 years. As Australia Institute advisor, Mark Ogge, wrote in Crikey -- there's just one problem: private corporations are selling it all overseas.

Hard to believe, isn’t it? But it’s true. In the last decade, tens of thousands of square kms of Queensland farmland has been covered in gas fields.

The export gas rush in Australia is one of the largest and fastest expansions of a gas industry ever seen, anywhere in the world. We are awash with gas. The problem is we are allowing almost all of the cheap and 'easy-to-get-at' gas to be sent overseas.

When Gov strikes deal with gas exporters for domestic supply is a headline trumpeted by the media as a Coalition win, you know there's a problem somewhere.

Are we as a community really expected to believe that it's generous of gas exporters to let Australians use their own gas?

And as Prime Minister Turnbull and Minister Frydenberg turn up the heat on the Northern Territory Government, our Director of Research, Rod Campbell hit back on ABC's PM , saying the Federal Government's arguments are pure politics, and not based on economics.

And as Executive Director Ben Oquist said on SkyNews, it is a total, deliberate distraction to be beating up on communities who want to protect their groundwater and farmland, like those in Narrabri, to suggest they are responsible for the gas shortage.

Three important points to remember about the so-called gas crisis:

  1. The 'gas crisis' is not about abundance of gas, it's about price of gas. It's a gas price crisis.
  2. We have tripled the amount of gas supply in eastern Australia. As a nation we've seen one of the biggest gas booms in the history of the planet, and yet we're being told we're running out.
  3. This is all about the politics of: who allowed gas exports in the first place, who should have done something since, and what can be done in the coming months.

The thing is, despite the outrageous gas prices Australian households are paying, our research shows voters back state fracking bans.

In fact, as reported in The Guardian Australia Institute research shows twice as many Australians support a moratorium on fracking in their respective states than oppose.

So the good news is despite the Turnbull Government continuing to use states and state-based fracking restrictions as a scapegoat for gas prices, our research shows voters aren't buying it.

~ The Australia Institute Team

P.S. This isn't new, Richard Denniss has written numerous pieces about the gas price crisis and how we got here. Back in March he wrote this blistering op-ed in the Fairfax media, Where Did All the Gas Go? likening the current gas price crisis to the Irish potato famine:

"Just as the Irish exported huge quantities of food during the famine that cost nearly one million lives, Australia is exporting record amounts of gas in the middle of an alleged 'energy crisis'."
"You can see why Mr Turnbull would rather blame the states and environmentalists than explain clearly that so-called 'free trade' has losers as well as winners. But such blame shifting will do nothing to lower gas prices, or help avoid blackouts next summer."

And in his essay in The Monthly, Feeding the Beast, Richard explores the cosy relationship between gas lobbyists and our energy policy, writing:

"Politics will decide how much harm the gas industry can do to our farms, our environment and our other industries. That’s why ex-politicians are so important to it."

P.S.S. Sadly, our report Cooking up a Price Rise published four years ago in July 2013 also predicted a gas price crisis, saying at the time:

"Gas prices in eastern Australia are going to rise substantially. These price rises are not driven by a lack of supply but rather by an increase in demand. Once the eastern Australian gas market is connected to the world gas market, domestic gas producers will be able to sell at the world netback price – also known as the export parity price – which is substantially higher than current gas prices."
The Australia Institute » Read on Medium »

08/10 2017

RenewEconomy | A very important question

Why are we still pursuing the Adani Carmichael mine?

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Gautam Adani are still resolved to press ahead with the Carmichael mine, with taxpayers’ help. AAP Image/Cameron Laird

Why, if Adani’s gigantic Carmichael coal project is so on-the-nose for the banks and so environmentally destructive, are the federal and Queensland governments so avid in their support of it?

Once again the absurdity of building the world’s biggest new thermal coal mine was put in stark relief on Monday evening via an ABC Four Corners investigation, Digging into Adani.

Where the ABC broke new ground was in exposing the sheer breadth of corruption by this Indian energy conglomerate. And its power too. The TV crew was detained and questioned in an Indian hotel for five hours by police.

It has long been the subject of high controversy that the Australian government, via the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) that is still contemplating a A$1 billion subsidy for Adani’s rail line, a proposal to freight the coal from the Galilee Basin to Adani’s port at Abbot Point on the Great Barrier Reef.

But more alarming still, and Four Corners touched on this, is that the federal government is also considering using taxpayer money to finance the mine itself, not just the railway.

No investors in sight

As private banks have walked away from the project, the only way Carmichael can get finance is with the government providing guarantees to a private banking syndicate, effectively putting taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars in project finance.

The prospect is met with the same incredulity in India as it is here in Australia:

FOUR CORNERS:
Watching on from Delhi, India’s former Environment Minister can’t believe what he is seeing
JAIRAM RAMESH:
Ultimately, it’s the sovereign decision of the Australian Government, the federal government and the state government
FOUR CORNERS:
But public money is involved, and more than public money, natural resources are involved
JAIRAM RAMESH:
I’m very, very surprised that the Australian government, uh, for whatever reason, uh, has uh, seen it fit, uh, to all along handhold Mr Adani.

Here we have a project that does not stack up financially, and whose profits – should it make any – are destined for tax haven entities controlled privately by Adani family interests. Yet the Queensland government has shocked local farmers and environmentalists by gifting Adani extremely generous water rights, and royalties concessions to boot.

Why are Australian governments still in support?

The most plausible explanation is simply politics and political donations. There is no real-time disclosure of donations and it is relatively easy to disguise them, as there is no disclosure of the financial accounts of state and federal political parties either. Payments can be routed through opaque foundations, the various state organisations, and other vehicles.

Many Adani observers believe there must be money involved, so strident is the support for so unfeasible a project. The rich track record of Adani bribing officials in India, as detailed by Four Corners, certainly points that way. But there is little evidence of it.

In the absence of proof of any significant financial incentives however, the most compelling explanation is that neither of the major parties is prepared to be wedged on jobs, accused of being anti-business or anti-Queensand.

There are votes in Queensland’s north at stake. Furthermore, the fingerprints of Adani’s lobbyists are everywhere.

Adani lobbyist and Bill Shorten’s former chief of staff Cameron Milner helped run the re-election campaign of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. This support, according to The Australian, has been given free of charge:

Mr Milner is volunteering with the ALP while keeping his day job as director and registered lobbyist at Next Level Strategic Services, which counts among its clients Indian miner Adani…
The former ALP state secretary held meetings in April and May with Ms Palaszczuk and her chief of staff David Barbagallo to negotiate a government royalties deal for Adani, after a cabinet factional revolt threatened the state’s largest mining project.

Adani therefore enjoys support and influence on both sides of politics. Next Level Strategic Services co-director David Moore — an LNP stalwart who was Mr Newman’s chief of staff during his successful 2012 election campaign — is also expected to volunteer with the LNP campaign.

So it is that Premier Palaszczuk persists with discredited claims that Carmichael will produce 10,000 jobs when Adani itself conceded in a court case two years ago the real jobs number would be but a fraction of that.

If the economics don’t stack up, why is Adani still pursuing the project?

The Adani group totes an enormous debt load, the seaborne thermal coal market is in structural decline as new solar capacity is now cheaper to build than new coal-fired power plants and the the government of India is committed to phasing out coal imports in the next three years.

Why flood the market with 60 million tonnes a year in new supply and further depress the price of one of this country’s key export commodities?

The answer to this question lies in the byzantine structure of the Adani companies themselves. Adani already owns the terminal at Abbot Point and it needs throughput to make it financially viable.

Both the financial structures behind the port and the proposed railway are ultimately controlled in tax havens: the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Singapore. Even if Adani Mining and its related Indian entities upstream, Adani Enterprises and Adani Power, lose money on Carmichael, the Adani family would still benefit.

The port and rail facilities merely clip the ticket on the volume of coal which goes through them. The Adani family then still profits from the privately-controlled infrastructure, via tax havens, while shareholders on the Indian share market shoulder the likely losses from the project.

As the man who used to be India’s most powerful energy bureaucrat, E.A.S. Sharma, told the ABC: My assessment is that by the time the Adani coal leaves the Australian coast the cost of it will be roughly about A$90 per tonne.

We cannot afford that, it is so expensive.

More questions than answers remain

This renders the whole project even more bizarre. Why would the government put Australian taxpayers on the hook for a project likely to lose billions of dollars when the only clear beneficiaries are the family of Indian billionaire Gautam Adani and his Caribbean tax havens.

My view is that this project is a white elephant and will not proceed. Given the commitment by our elected leaders however, it may be that some huge holes in the earth may still be dug before it falls apart.

RebnewEconomy » The Conversation »

07/10 2017

HOPE congratulates iCANw on their Nobel Peace Prize

iCANw (International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons) wins Nobel Peace Prize 2017

Nobel Peace Prize 2017

It is a great honour to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 in recognition of our role in achieving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This historic agreement, adopted on 7 July with the backing of 122 nations, offers a powerful, much-needed alternative to a world in which threats of mass destruction are allowed to prevail and, indeed, are escalating.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of non-governmental organizations in one hundred countries. By harnessing the power of the people, we have worked to bring an end to the most destructive weapon ever created – the only weapon that poses an existential threat to all humanity.

This prize is a tribute to the tireless efforts of many millions of campaigners and concerned citizens worldwide who, ever since the dawn of the atomic age, have loudly protested nuclear weapons, insisting that they can serve no legitimate purpose and must be forever banished from the face of our earth.

It is a tribute also to the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – the hibakusha – and victims of nuclear test explosions around the world, whose searing testimonies and unstinting advocacy were instrumental in securing this landmark agreement.

The treaty categorically outlaws the worst weapons of mass destruction and establishes a clear pathway to their total elimination. It is a response to the ever-deepening concern of the international community that any use of nuclear weapons would inflict catastrophic, widespread and long-lasting harm on people and our living planet.

We are proud to have played a major role its creation, including through advocacy and participation in diplomatic conferences, and we will work assiduously in coming years to ensure its full implementation. Any nation that seeks a more peaceful world, free from the nuclear menace, will sign and ratify this crucial accord without delay.

The belief of some governments that nuclear weapons are a legitimate and essential source of security is not only misguided, but also dangerous, for it incites proliferation and undermines disarmament. All nations should reject these weapons completely – before they are ever used again.

This is a time of great global tension, when fiery rhetoric could all too easily lead us, inexorably, to unspeakable horror. The spectre of nuclear conflict looms large once more. If ever there were a moment for nations to declare their unequivocal opposition to nuclear weapons, that moment is now.

We applaud those nations that have already signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and we urge all others to follow their lead. It offers a pathway forward at a time of alarming crisis. Disarmament is not a pipe dream, but an urgent humanitarian necessity.

We most humbly thank the Norwegian Nobel Committee. This award shines a needed light on the path the ban treaty provides towards a world free of nuclear weapons. Before it is too late, we must take that path.


07/10 2017

Homeless and Helpless - Native Wildlife Need Our Help

Hi Friend of the Environment

This week, the Queensland Government released the latest figures from the State Land-cover And Trees Survey . The results are horrifying - but not unexpected. In just one year, nearly 400,000 hectares of native Australian wildlife habitat has been bulldozed in Queensland. That is one tree ripped up every second, one animal killed every second.

The rate of land clearing has gone up 33% compared to the previous year. Enough is enough… We need stronger land clearing laws in Queensland! With the state election looming, there has never been a more important time to come together and make sure our politicians stick to their promises and strengthen land clearing legislation.

This time around, we need to make sure that tree clearing and wildlife protection are high on the election agenda. Help us out by donating today. Your donation of $50 will get this important message out to another 8,000 people! With your help, we can build a state-wide movement to demand strong action on land clearing and save our native wildlife.

The time is now to take action on land clearing. Every donation, petition signature, and offer to volunteer makes a huge difference. We can't win this without you!

Yours for the environment,

Tim Seelig, QCC Coordinator
Queensland Conservation Council


06/10 2017

Ecosystem Services review paper from Costanza et al

Twenty years of ecosystem services: How far have we come and how far do we still need to go?

Abstract

It has been 20 years since two seminal publications about ecosystem services came out: an edited book by Gretchen Daily and an article in Nature by a group of ecologists and economists on the value of the world’s ecosystem services. Both of these have been very highly cited and kicked off an explosion of research, policy, and applications of the idea, including the establishment of this journal. This article traces the history leading up to these publications and the subsequent debates, research, institutions, policies, on-the-ground actions, and controversies they triggered. It also explores what we have learned during this period about the key issues: from definitions to classification to valuation, from integrated modelling to public participation and communication, and the evolution of institutions and governance innovation. Finally, it provides recommendations for the future. In particular, it points to the weakness of the mainstream economic approaches to valuation, growth, and development. It concludes that the substantial contributions of ecosystem services to the sustainable wellbeing of humans and the rest of nature should be at the core of the fundamental change needed in economic theory and practice if we are to achieve a societal transformation to a sustainable and desirable future.

View/download paper »

Prof. Robert Costanza | VC's Chair in Public Policy | The Australian National University | Crawford School of Public Policy | Website: www.robertcostanza.com, Google Scholar, Research Gate, Scopus

Co-Editor in Chief, Solutions (www.thesolutionsjournal.com) | Fellow, Royal Society of Arts (RSA) | Fellow, Asia and the Pacific Policy Society | Senior Research Fellow, Stockholm Resilience Center, Stockholm, Sweden | Senior Fellow, National Council on Science and the Environment, Washington, DC. | Affiliate Fellow, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, University of Vermont | Co-chair, Ecosystem Services Partnership (es-partnership.org) | deTao Master of Ecological Economics, deTao Masters Academy, Shanghai, China


03/10 2017

Save Australia's ecological research

Ecologists protest Australia’s plans to cut funding for environment-monitoring network

Scientists say the move will reduce the country’s capacity to predict future ecosystem changes.

Theo Allofs/Getty Images
Field sites in the Simpson Desert are part of Australia's Long Term Ecological Research Network.

Every year since 1990, ecologist Glenda Wardle of the University of Sydney has ventured to the same ex>panse of desert in central Australia to take stock of its flora and fauna. But this year may be the last time Wardle can collect data from the 8,000-square-kilometre site in the Simpson Desert. The consortium that operates her research area and 11 other long-term sites, comprising more than 1,100 individual field plots, will stop funding this network by the end of the year because of budget cuts and shifting priorities, say its leaders.

Without this money, which covers a large portion of the operating costs at these sites, 6 of the 12 will probably close, says ecologist David Lindenmayer, who is the science director of the network and is based at the Australian National University in Canberra. This would break time-series data that scientists have collected over decades, he says.

It’s a foolish decision given the environmental effects that are occurring throughout the world, and especially in Australia, says Gene Likens, an ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York. Without the information collected at these long-term sites, he says, it will be impossible to know how to manage these landscapes effectively under climate change.

Other researchers, however, concede that tight budgets mean that not all facilities can be funded.

As Australia plans to cut its ecosystem-surveillance network, other countries are expanding theirs. The US National Science Foundation, for example, announced in March that it would expand its own network of 25 long-term ecological research (LTER) sites by adding 3 new ones. Terminating Australia’s LTER network is totally out of step with international trends and national imperatives, wrote Lindenmayer and 68 authors in a letter published in Science1 on 11 August. They say urgent and direct investment by the Australian government is crucial.

Budget cuts

The cuts in Australia follow years of piecemeal support for ecological research infrastructure. Only five years ago, the government tasked a consortium known as the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) with bringing together the country’s existing LTER sites. The dozen sites in the resulting Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTERN) cover deserts, rainforest, savannahs and alpine regions and collect data to answer questions specific to each ecosystem. The oldest field locations have been running continuously for 73 years.

In June, TERN director Beryl Morris and chair of the advisory board Lyn Beazley sent a letter to LTERN’s executive director, Emma Burns, stating that the network would not be funded beyond 2017. I was completely blindsided, says Burns, an ecologist at the Australian National University.

Burns says the reason given for cutting LTERN's funding, along with support for a complementary ecosystem-modelling facility known as eMAST, was so that TERN could meet the needs of the government’s planned environmental prediction system while staying within its budget, which is Aus$6 million (US$4.7 million) for 2016–17, a decrease of more than 50% since 2010–11. The government did not respond to questions from Nature about the future of LTERN.

Morris, who is based at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, where TERN is administered, says that TERN is funded as research infrastructure and must now develop an environmental prediction system open to all researchers. To do that, she says, it must collect data on a continental scale that is generalized, not bespoke, so you can predict from it.

But Burns says the local and international scientific communities do not agree that TERN can deliver an environmental prediction system without LTERN. Time-series data and modelling are essential to a prediction system, says Wardle.

Michael Mirtl, who chairs the International LTER Network and is based at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany, says the network’s closure will be a loss for groups in other countries that looked to Australia for guidance on how to integrate an LTER network and other surveillance systems with data processing and modelling systems. I think many people in Australia making decisions were simply not aware of how excellent the Australian achievement was in the field, says Mirtl.

Experimental design

Plans to withdraw funding from LTERN resurrect an ongoing debate in ecology about whether it is better to invest limited resources for environmental forecasting in broad-scale surveillance — generating lots of data by taking the same measurements in the same way at sites across the landscape — or in targeted ecological monitoring, which looks for drivers of change in specific ecosystems.

Likens says that standardized surveillance and instruments are useful, but he and others, such as Lindenmayer, believe that monitoring should be driven by researchers asking questions that answer problems. In the tropics of northern Queensland, for example, cyclones are the main driver of environmental change, whereas in parts of inland Australia, cattle grazing is the biggest factor. That means you can’t just measure the same things in different environments, says Lindenmayer.

Ecologist Ben Sparrow of the University of Adelaide and environmental chemist Mike Liddell of James Cook University in Cairns, both of whom direct other TERN facilities, say TERN doesn’t have the money to keep all its facilities running. Sparrow says that arguing over the merits of broad-scale surveillance and targeted monitoring is not constructive: both systems are necessary for understanding the environment, as is remote sensing using satellites. The fundamental point is the lack of resourcing from the government, says Sparrow.

Reference

  1. Lindenmayer, D. et al. Science 357, 557 (2017).
View article on Nature

02/10 2017

Sustainable Gardening in our Continually Surprising Climate

Jerry Coleby-Williams

Jerry Coleby-Williams profile photoBorn in London to a family of gardeners and farmers, Jerry Coleby-Williams has been passionate about plants since he was four years old.

Coleby-Williams fell in love with Australia after being awarded a scholarship to study West Australian flora in 1982. Captivated by the native plant life, 'unspoiled' landscapes and Australian people, he decided to emigrate in 1992.

Since then, Coleby-Williams has become one of the nation's foremost authorities on conservation and horticultural matters – serving as horticultural consultant for Queensland Conservation's first official policies on food and grey water use, as well as drafting the proposed management of weeds on Lord Howe Island, consulting for the renovation of several of Sydney's parks and gardens, managing the estate of Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens, and much more.

Since 1999, Coleby-Williams has also been a regular presenter on ABC TV's Gardening Australia, and is highly involved in horticultural publishing, being a writer and consultant for Gardening Australia Magazine.

Check out his superb site & blog: Jerry Coleby-Williams | Sustainable Gardening in our Continually Surprising Climate

(And we gratefully acknowledge that Jerry is Patron of HOPE.)


01/10 2017

Why Won't Australia Stop Illegal Timber Imports?

Why make laws without the political will to enforce them?

Five years ago, Australia passed a national law requiring its wood-products importers to take reasonable precautions not to import stolen, illegally harvested or bribery-bought timber into the country.

This crucial law, paralleling similar legislation in the US and Europe, is designed to help save rare ecosystems and wildlife species in timber-producing nations, such as Papua New Guinea or Indonesia, while making it harder for ruthless timber thieves to undercut honest timber producers.

Remarkably, although the law was passed five years ago, to date there’s been absolutely no enforcement in Australia. The conservative political leaders in power know that enormous quantities of illegal timber are being imported, but they haven’t levied a single fine, arrest or infraction.

This brief story from SBS, the national Australian news show, is definitely worth watching.

Please share the message with others interested in the battle to stop illegal logging.

All best,

Bill

William F. Laurance, PhD, FAA, FAAAS, FRSQ
Distinguished Research Professor
Australian Laureate & Prince Bernhard Chair in International Nature Conservation (Emeritus)

Director of the Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science (TESS)

Director of ALERT (ALERT-conservation.org)


29/09 2017

QCOSS | Energy Forums

Switch On ... in your community

In the dark about your electricity bills?

Join us to find out how to save money on your power bills

  • Are you receiving all the government energy rebates you are entitled to?
  • Would you like to understand what you can do to manage your energy use and costs?
  • Do you have your own energy saving tips to share with others in your community?

Bring your bill along to this free event to learn more about how you can save energy and money.

There will be two short information sessions at 3:30pm and 5.30pm, followed by opportunities to have a conversation about your energy bills, learn how to read your bill, how to work out the cost of using appliances and share tips for saving energy.

Afternoon tea will be provided from 3pm with some hot food from 5pm.

These are free public event and everyone is welcome.

Make sure you bring your own bill along too for a chance to win some great prizes.

Switch On events will run in the following locations, please register by clicking on your location below:

Toowoomba
City Golf Club, 254 South St, 12 October - 3pm to 7pm
Rockhampton
Rockhampton Leagues Club, Cnr George & Cambridge St, 19 October - 3pm to 7pm
Logan
RSL Diggers Club, 42 Blackwood Rd, 13 November - 3pm to 7pm
Maryborough
Town Hall, Kent Street, 2 November - 3pm to 7pm
Cairns
Show Grounds(TBC), 9 November - 3pm to 7pm
Sunshine Coast
Caloundra RSL Services Club, 19 West Terrace, 21 November 3pm to 7pm
Townsville
Northreach Baptist Church, 23 November, 3pm to 7pm
Gold Coast
Currumbin RSL, 165 Durington Street, 27 November 3pm to 7pm

29/09 2017

Report on coal-fired power stations | EJA

Toxic and terminal

Toxic and terminal: How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities. is an important piece of research

Based on a study of a number of coal fired power stations across Australia, including Gladstone and Stanwell in Queensland, by EJA.

The report shows Australia’s power stations are allowed to emit far more pollution than those in the US and Europe, operators are failing to adopt available pollution reduction technologies and one even admitted to falsifying pollution reports.

Nearly 900,000 Australians in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria live dangerously close to coal-fired power stations that cause asthma and respiratory illnesses and increase the likelihood of stroke and heart attack, the report by Environmental Justice Australia has found.

And those 900,000 living in close proximity to the power stations are not the only ones affected – emissions from the five NSW power stations account for 87% of Sydney’s sulfur dioxide pollution.

Toxic and terminal: How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities. is the result of exhaustive research, Freedom of Information searches, surveillance of Australia’s major power stations and advice from health experts and industry whistleblowers. The report finds:

  • Coal-fired power stations emit more than 30 toxic substances and are Australia’s biggest source of fine particles (PM2.5), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
  • In most cases emissions limits in Australia are much more lax than those in the US, EU and China.
  • Mercury limits for some NSW power stations are 666 times higher than the US limits.
  • Pollution reduction technologies that have been available for many years and are used overseas could significantly reduce power station emissions but are not in use in Australia.
  • New coal-fired power stations, even those described as ‘ultra-super critical’ or ‘HELE’ (high efficiency, low emission) only marginally reduce toxic emissions
  • A representative of Yallourn power station admitted that at times of excessive pollution it ‘simplified’ its reporting by stating it was emitting at levels that correspond with its licence.
  • Despite much evidence of failure to comply with pollution licence conditions, no power station in Victoria, NSW or Queensland has been prosecuted for any offence in the past ten years (instead they have been issued with inadequate penalty notices).

The report recommends the Federal Government to commission an independent study into the health impacts of Australia’s coal-fired power stations, and calls on state governments to require all power stations to urgently reduce their toxic pollution in line with international best practice.

EJA » Media Release » Find out more »

28/09 2017

The Aussie Backyard Bird Count is back!

AUSSIE BACKYARD BIRD COUNT – 23-29 OCTOBER 2017

Spring has well and truly sprung, and birds are singing and nesting – ready to be counted for BirdLife Australia's fourth annual Aussie Backyard Bird Count.

The #AussieBirdCount is a great way to connect with the birds in your backyard, no matter where your backyard might be — a suburban backyard, a local park, a patch of forest, a farm, down by the beach, or the main street of town. Your backyard can be anywhere you find birds.

It only takes 20 minutes and the data collected helps BirdLife Australia to better understand the birds living where people live. And as a little extra incentive, there are some incredible prizes to be won!

It’s easy to get involved. You can:

  • Register your interest as a Counter now through the website
  • Download the free Aussie Bird Count app from Google Play or the iTunes app store
  • If you already have the Aussie Bird Count app from last year, there’s no need to delete it – an update is available on 1 October
  • You can also submit your counts through the website if you prefer not to use a smartphone or tablet to take part
  • And if you're a teacher, check out our Bird Count curriculum-based lesson plans to get your students (or the whole school!) involved

If you’ve taken part before and are registered for this year why not introduce someone to the wonderful world of birding through this easy, fun, all-ages event?

If you have questions about the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, please head to our FAQ page, where you’ll find more information about registering, participating, and troubleshooting.


28/09 2017

Tonight's Four Corners is about Adani!

WATCH the upcoming explosive 4Corners on Adani Mon 2 Oct

Adani is not a company we can trust to build one of the most environmentally destructive projects in Australian history. It cannot be trusted to care for workers, local communities, our precious water, the Great Barrier Reef or to pay back a $1 billion loan of taxpayers’ money.

Next Monday night (October 2nd), ABC’s investigative team from Four Corners will be exposing Adani’s shonky business dealings and reliance on tax havens as Adani pushes to build Australia's biggest coal mine. #StopAdani

Just what will the investigative team at make of the Adani coalmine saga? Tax havens, fraud, pollution, unsafe work sites. And just why is a billionaire being offered a $1 billion Australian taxpayer-funded loan? Must-see TV: ABC, Mon, Oct 2, 8:30pm. #StopAdani

Digging into Adani | Story background and trailer » October 7 | #StopAdani Big Day of Action »

28/09 2017

Australia's GM Regulations are under attack

Australia's GM Regulations are under attack

GM backers want to:

  • remove the state's GM-free powers;
  • end GM and GM-free food labels;
  • deregulate all GM products and new GM techniques.

Please support Gene Ethics comments to the National GM Regulatory Scheme Review 2017

Endorse our comments by email, by Monday Sept. 25, 2017 | Include your full name and all contacts | We'll send you our final comments for sign-off

Prefer to comment yourself?

Deadline is Midnight, Friday Sept. 29, 2017

Ideas below may assist you, but please rephrase in your own words.

  • Friends of the Earth notes may also help you, or email us for advice.
  • Submit your brief comments here with the required cover sheet.
  • If that fails, email comments to the Review, with all your details, here
The Review has 3 steps

Get Review email updates here

  1. written comments: 25 July – 29 Sept 2017: everyone raise key issues.
  2. draft policy options: 6 Nov – 14 Dec 2017: explore issues papers, workshops, forums, surveys, targeted meetings, market research, and written comments.
  3. validate draft findings: consultation (March 2018?), draft for public comment online.

Qs, email the Review or T: 02 6289 3204

Thanks to all who commented so far

Review Terms of Reference

  1. Investigate the:
  2. To ensure the Scheme:
    • protects the health and safety of people and the environment;
    • has laws that meet the needs of the Scheme, now and in future;
    • is improved and strengthened, to be more effective;
    • is agile, to relate to fast evolving scientific and commercial contexts;
    • accommodates further technological developments;
    • is sustainable, with funding and means needed to run the Scheme;
    • supports innovation.
  3. Consider published comments on:

28/09 2017

27/09 2017

#LoveQld campaign

Hello Friend of the Environment,

Do you #LoveQld? Do you think we should have a Queensland where long term protections are in place to ensure our food, water and air are safe and free from pollution?

The Queensland election could be called at any time and we need your help to put coal and gas on the agenda. It’s all on the line – our food and water, our health, our thriving agricultural and tourism industries.

Jorge Pujol, internationally renowned founder of Art for Earth, will be teaming up with Lock the Gate supporters to construct a public art installation in Brisbane as part of our #LoveQld campaign.

We’d love you to join us and be part of this creative action. Become an artist for a day or just a few hours!

Where:
Rocks Riverside Park, Seventeen Mile Rock
When:
Sunday October 8th, join us for the installation between 10am - 7pm or for a BBQ at 3pm.
RSVP HERE »

Jorge and friends will be creating a largescale, eye-catching artwork using candles to bring attention to the #LoveQLD campaign. The more people we have, the easier it will be to create!

Bring your family and a picnic and help raise awareness in the city for the voices of regional Queensland. .

If you have family and friends in Brisbane who might like to join us, please share this event on Facebook to let them know.

SHARE ON FACEBOOK »

I look forward to seeing you at this exciting event,
Yours, for the love of QLD,
Vicki
Lock the Gate Queensland

PS Check out Jorge’s amazing work »

25/09 2017

Volunteers sought to assist with research

Research project that is looking into the anti-fracking discourse and how it impacts decision-makers in Australia and the UK.

My name is Catriona Meyer-McLean and I am a PhD candidate at The University of Adelaide in the Geography, Environment, and Population department of the School of Social Sciences.

Under the supervision of Associate Professor Melissa Nursey-Bray, I am undertaking a research project that is looking into the anti-fracking discourse and how it impacts decision-makers in Australia and the UK, and I’m keen to find people who may be interested in participating in an interview with me.

It would be great to hear from people about fracking and unconventional gas development. Anyone who may be interested in participating and giving his or her side of the story, please contact me, your participation would be greatly appreciated.

I will be in Queensland in the second week of November. Interviews will be audio-recorded and only about an hour, and there will be no further participation required.

The research is independent and is not funded by any organisations.

Please don’t hesitate contacting me if you have any queries. I look forward to hearing from you.

Warm Regards
Catriona
E-mail: catriona.meyer-mclean@adelaide.edu.au


Landcare Forum | Saturday 14 October 2017 | Dalby, Qld

Dalby, 14 October
Dalby Senior Citizens Hall
9.30am-3.30pm
To register as a speaker or attendee, contact: MaryLou Gittins, lcows@bigpond.com


23/09 2017

Warning & plan | Queensland Conservation

QUEENSLAND IS IN THE MIDST OF AN ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS FROM LAND CLEARING.

Over the last five years, more than one million hectares of native forests and bushland has been cleared in Queensland. Queensland is the land clearing capital of Australia. Our current clearing levels lock in continued widespread devastation to wildlife and the habitats they depend on.

This clearing has destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of koala habitat, as well as the habitat of hundreds of other species. Clearing is the primary cause of significant declines in koala populations in several parts of Queensland. In addition, tree clearing and deforestation is a direct contributor to dangerous climate change as landscapes devoid of vegetation no longer store carbon from the atmosphere.

This clearing crisis has come about through changes to Queensland's land clearing legislation in 2012-2015 under the Newman LNP Government. These changes dramatically weakened the legislation protecting habitat across Queensland and has led to a unprecedented rise in clearing rates.

An area the size of the Gabba stadium is now bulldozed every three minutes in Queensland. QCC (Queensland Conservation Council), along with an alliance organisations, is calling on all political parties to end the destruction of habitats by strengthening our land clearing laws via a 10 Point Plan to Reduce Tree Clearing:

  1. Use all available means to immediately protect forests and woodlands currently under threat from tree clearing, including declarations prohibiting clearing in sensitive Queensland areas;
  2. Permanently protect remnant/old-growth forests and woodlands from being cleared;
  3. Permanently protect high conservation value forests and woodlands from tree clearing;
  4. Apply a consistent approach to protection of forests and woodlands across all sectors responsible for excessive tree clearing (including agriculture, urban development and mining);
  5. Ensure strong monitoring, enforcement and resourcing of tree clearing laws;
  6. Remove high risk self-assessable clearing codes, particularly for ‘thinning’;
  7. Continue to improve mapping for vegetation and halt exemptions via property maps;
  8. Establish a land carbon fund and resource relevant state departments to research land carbon opportunities for Queensland land holders;
  9. Ensure all clearing is referred to the Australian Government for approval, if it is likely to impact on protected matters under Federal environmental law;
  10. Commit to regular (minimum annual) full reporting of clearing data and impacts.

23/09 2017

Caley Valley Wetlands Report | Queensland Conservation

Adani Coal Port pollution report shows wetlands contamination, begs more questions than it answers

Peak environment body Queensland Conservation Council has expressed alarm at formal evidence of coal pollution in the ecologically significant Caley Valley Wetlands, and has suggested this raises a series of questions about monitoring, enforcement and responsibility.

A report released by the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection indicates there is coal contamination in the Caley Valley Wetlands, which lie next to the Adani Coal Terminal at Abbot Point. The report shows that at one section near to what’s known as the ‘W1’ release point, sediment in the wetlands contains 10% coal pollutant.

While the report appears to suggest that there has not been any environmental harm from this, Queensland Conservation Council believes it is far too early to make such statements given the toxic hydrocarbon substances in question.

Adani Coal Holdings which manages the Adani Abbot Point facility was recently fined a paltry $12,000 for an unauthorised release of water from the Abbot Point Coal Terminal, which was eight times over the additional limit that was temporarily granted to the company. Adani is now challenging that fine.

This Adani coal port pollution report clearly shows that the Caley Valley wetlands contain coal contamination, said Queensland Conservation Council head Dr Tim Seelig.

We still don’t know exactly why there were such huge water releases from the Adani Abbot facility, how much coal was in the water and where it all went.

But now we do know that sediment in sections of the wetlands contains 10% coal pollutant. That is vastly more than we would expect to occur naturally, and it confirms that there is coal contamination in the Caley Valley Wetlands. Adani should be held responsible and fined.

Whether this contamination is a result of water pollution, airborne pollution, or both is not obvious. The absence of baseline historical and periodic data makes it hard to be certain, but there is now strong if not irrefutable evidence that the coal terminal is responsible.

It is likely that we have a situation of long-term contamination of the wetlands, most likely made worse by water releases containing elevated levels of coal sediment. This raises key questions about the environmental safety and sustainability of this and similar facilities.

Regrettably, we simply don’t know what the long-term effects of coal in these environments may be on local wildlife, Coal is not a clean inert substance, it’s a hazardous hydrocarbon, and we may not fully know what it is doing ecologically for some time.

This case has also highlighted that there is a complete lack of baseline and periodic data collection, independent environmental monitoring, and real-time enforcement of standards.

Until we know what exactly is going on at Abbot Point, the government should seriously consider suspending Adani’s operating licences as well as commissioning further research.

Dr Tim Seelig
Coordinator
Queensland Conservation Council


21/09 2017

Queensland Climate Change Response

Community information events

What does climate change and a low-carbon world mean for you, your business and your community?

What is the Queensland Government doing to lead our shared response?

Here in Queensland we need to prepare ourselves to meet the risks and harness the opportunities that climate change will bring.

Around the world, and here in Queensland, changes are being made as regions transition to lower-emission economies.

This is your opportunity to find out more.

Come along to a community information session and hear about the Queensland Government’s Climate Change Transition Strategy and Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, and what they mean for you.

Dates and locations

To register simply click on the location links below.

Gold Coast
Wednesday 27 September
Toowoomba
Thursday 28 September
Gympie
Friday 29 September
Gladstone
Wednesday 4 October
Mackay
Thursday 5 October
Townsville
Tuesday 10 October
Cairns
Wednesday 11 October
Brisbane
Tuesday 17 October

For further information

Visit www.qld.gov.au/climatechange
Email climatechange@ehp.qld.gov.au


22/09 2017

CarbonBrief article | Limiting global warming

Limiting global warming to 1.5C could save two-thirds of Asia’s glacier ice

Keeping global temperature rise to no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels could ensure that two-thirds of the ice stored in Asia’s high-mountain glaciers is still around at the end of the century, a new study says.

These glaciers provide water to at least 800 million people living in Asia.

However, it could be too late to save all of Asia’s iconic snowy landscape, the lead author tells Carbon Brief. The research finds that, if global greenhouse gas emissions were stopped today, 14% of Asia’s glacier ice would still disappear by the end of the century.

And, if no efforts are made to curb global greenhouse gas emissions, two-thirds of the glacier ice in Asia’s high mountains could vanish by 2100, the study says.

The great melt

Glaciers are huge rivers of ice that ooze their way over land, powered by gravity and their own sheer weight. The thousands of glaciers that are strung across the high mountains of Asia contain the largest store of permanent ice and permafrost outside of the North and South poles.

Despite its snowy exterior, the mountainous region is expected to warm up at a faster pace than the surrounding low-lying land as global temperatures rise.

This is partly because snow has a high albedo, which means it reflects a high proportion of the sunlight back into the atmosphere, says Philip Kraaijenbrink, a PhD student at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and lead author of the new study published in Nature. He tells Carbon Brief:

Snow reflects a large part of the incoming radiation, up to 90%, which means it has a high albedo. And a high snowline consequently means that more energy stays at the Earth’s surface.

In other words, as the glaciers retreat, they expose more of the dark, rocky ground beneath. This means the land then absorbs more of the sun’s radiation and heats up more quickly, melting more ice.

The study is the first to use mathematical modelling to investigate how the ice stored by Asia’s glaciers will fare under a range of future global greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.

Whether a glacier retreats or advances each year largely depends on its “mass balance” – the difference between how much snow it receives and the amount of its ice that melts away. Glaciers that lose more mass through melting than they gain from snow will shrink and retreat back up the valley.

Using their glacier mass balance model, the researchers ran simulations of a world that was 1.5C warmer than pre-industrial levels. All of these simulations are based on the “RCP2.6” scenario, which assumes that greenhouse gas emissions peak between 2010 and 2020.

Under 1.5C of global warming, Asia could lose around one third of the ice stored in its glaciers by 2100, compared with levels of ice observed from 1996 to 2015, the researchers find.

And under a “stabilisation” scenario, which assumes that greenhouse gas emissions will level off around the middle of this century (RCP4.5), half of Asia’s glacier ice could disappear by the end of the century.

However, two-thirds of Asia’s glacier ice could be lost by 2100 if no efforts are made to prevent climate change (a scenario called RCP8.5), the researchers find.

The researchers also find that, if global greenhouse gas emissions were halted today, 14% the ice stored in of Asia’s glaciers would still vanish by 2100. This is because it takes several decades for the full effect of recent warming on the glaciers to play out, Kraaijenbrink says.

Asia’s changing snowscape

The map below shows how the impact of 1.5C of global temperature rise varies across Asia’s glaciers. On the map, colour is used to indicate the localised impact of 1.5C of global average warming, with white indicating warming of 1.9C and red showing warming of 2.3C.

Map showing the impact of 1.5C of warming on glaciers in the High Mountains of Asia (HMA). Colour indicates protected change in temperature from pre-industrial times to the end of the century, with white indicating warming of 1.9C and red showing warming of 2.3C. Grey circles indicate the projected amount of glacier that will remain under 1.5C of warming by 2040 (light grey), 2070 (medium grey) and 2100 (dark grey). Source: Kraaijenbrink et al. (2017)

The map also includes grey circles that indicate the projected amount of glacier ice that will remain under 1.5C of warming by 2040 (light grey), 2070 (medium grey) and 2100 (dark grey).

The difference in projected ice loss can be explained in part by differences in the amount of debris that sits on top of each glacier. Debris, such as large rocks and stones, are picked up by glaciers as they carve their way through mountain valleys.

Depending on its thickness, this debris can either suppress or enhance ice melt. Thin debris accelerates melt because it absorbs more heat than debris-free ice. However, thick debris can act as a blanket buffer, protecting the ice beneath from changes in temperature.

This explains why the Hissar Alay, a mountain range spanning the territory of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and the Qilian Mountains in China show the most extreme decline, with only 32% and 30% of their ice expected to remain, respectively, by 2100 under 1.5C of warming. The glaciers in both of these mountain ranges are scattered with only a thin layer of debris.

It could also explain why the Karakoram, a large mountain range spanning the borders of Pakistan, India, and China, could retain up to 80% of its ice by 2100, despite experiencing a high level of regional warming.

(Carbon Brief has previously reported on the shrinking and surging of the Karakoram’s glaciers.)

Glaciers in the Karakoram are covered in a thick layer of debris and so could be better able to cope with global warming, Kraaijenbrink says.

The large glaciers of the Karakoram lose the least mass, percentage wise. This is however the region with most ice, and although 80% of the ice remains there in a 1.5C scenario, this would still mean an absolute loss of about 325bn tonnes of ice. This is roughly equal to the entire glacier mass of the Tibetan Plateau and Qilian Shan combined.

Understanding the effects of debris has allowed the researchers to get a more detailed view at how ice loss could vary from region to region, says Dr Ben Marzeion, a climate scientist from the University of Bremen who was not involved in the study. He tells Carbon Brief:

The study shows that the insulation effect of debris will not save the glaciers of high mountain Asia from global warming because the overall mass losses it projects are similar to previous studies that did not consider the effect of debris cover. However, the spatial distribution of mass loss is different

A dry future?

The loss of glacier ice from the Asia’s high mountains could spell bad news for millions of people living in China, India, Nepal, Russia and Kazakhstan.

Currently, meltwater from the glaciers provides a relatively steady supply of water to the rivers during the annual melt season. This water is used for irrigation, drinking water and hydropower.

Climate change could increase the rate of ice melt and, as a result, lead to a sharp increase in the supply of meltwater in the coming decades, Kraaijenbrink explains.

However, as the glaciers lose ice, they retreat and their surface area becomes smaller. Less and less of the glacier’s surface becomes available for melt, resulting in a gradual drop of the glacier discharge [meltwater] at a certain point in time. This point is known as peak meltwater.

It is not yet known exactly when “peak meltwater” could occur, he says, but his projections suggest it could happen as early as 2030, under both RCP2.6 and RCP4.5.

However, simulating changes to local water resources requires an understanding of all of the complex factors that contribute to river flow, notes Dr Alex Gardner, a scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, who was not involved in the research. He tells Carbon Brief:

The study stops short of identifying the implications of the glacier loss on local water resources. To answer this question you need to understand how seasonal stream [river] flow would be modified under these different [emissions] scenarios.

Glaciers typically only supply a small fraction of the total yearly flow of water to a river, he says. However, glaciers can have have a large influence on the timing of water availability.

Glaciers store water in cold often wet times of the year and release it during warm summer months when other sources of streamflow may be in short supply. This augmented supply of water, through glacier storage and runoff, can be critical when other sources are absent
To fully understand the implications of the projected glacier loss on future stream flows will require understanding the resultant change in river input, relative to other sources, upstream of dependent populations

Protecting the ice

Another finding from the new research is the extent to which thick debris could protect glaciers from global warming.

Because of this, it is possible that dropping a thick layer of stone and rock on top of debris-free glaciers could help to protect them from future warming, Kraaijenbrink explains.

Covering debris-free glaciers with a thick layer of debris will indeed help to reduce ice melt and retain the glaciers in the landscape for a longer period. However, this would be a very large undertaking and our efforts may be better aimed at reducing the causes of climate change and glacier mass loss.

He adds that it may be too late to stop all of the ice from melting..

We have already considerably warmed the earth since the industrial era and we have caused an imbalance of the glaciers as a result. At the moment, we observe their retreat almost everywhere on the globe
Consequently, I do not think that we as mankind can do anything about an, at least considerable, loss of the world’s ‘Third Pole’.
Read entire article on CarbonBrief » Kraaijenbrink, P. D. A. et al. (2017) Impact of global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius on Asia’s glaciers »

19/09 2017

Release of APEEL final report

Blueprint for the Next Generation of Australian Environmental Law

The Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law (APEEL) has just released their final report, Blueprint for the Next Generation of Australian Environmental Law.

The blueprint is an accessible summary of a large body of work undertaken by APEEL over the past few years. The APEEL website also has the following detailed technical papers written by APEEL members:

  1. The foundations of environmental law
  2. Environmental governance
  3. Terrestrial natural resources management
  4. Marine and coastal issues
  5. Climate law
  6. Energy regulation
  7. The private sector, business law and environmental performance
  8. Democracy and the environment

APEEL is comprised of leading Australian experts in environmental law as well as some leading international experts. Details about Convenor, Adjunct Professor Rob Fowler, and other panel members can be found on the website. I encourage you to draw on their work in your submissions, strategy development and policy engagement.

The release of the Blueprint marks the culmination of secretariat support by the Places You Love alliance for APEEL. It’s likely that the Panel will continue in some form and a conference and book publication are under discussion.

Congratulations and thankyou to all of the environmental law experts involved in the APEEL project who have all contributed their time and expertise voluntarily. The great work that APEEL has performed in mapping out the intellectual foundations for substantial reform of environmental law in Australia has already provided much of the intellectual underpinning for proposals to be taken to the next federal election, and I’m sure their work will continue to inspire demands for reform across the environment movement.

Regards

Brendan Sydes & Samantha Vine on behalf of the Places You Love Management Committee


16/09 2017

Visit amazing green homes - Sustainable House Day

Sustainable House Day is this Sunday, September 17.

We at the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) hope that you can visit a few of the 202 sustainable homes across Australia that will be opening their doors to the public from 10am to 4pm.

nterest in Sustainable House Day has been very strong ahead of the event. Read some of the articles that have appeared so far: The Daily Telegraph, ABC News, Domain, The Weekly Times, 774 ABC Melbourne and the Hobart Mercury.

If you haven't already, please visit sustainablehouseday.com to register and see the addresses of open homes to start planning your day. If you registered last year, you simply need to login using your email address and password - no need to re-register.

You can spread the word by liking the Sustainable House Day page, sharing our event post and creating your own posts about houses you intend to visit to encourage your networks to attend.

This is partly because snow has a high albedo, which means it reflects a high proportion of the sunlight back into the atmosphere, says Philip Kraaijenbrink, a PhD student at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and lead author of the new study published in Nature. He tells Carbon Brief:

Twitter users, please tag us using #SHD2017 and encourage followers to register.

If you have any questions please contact us via shd@ata.org.au or call Katy or Jodi on 03 9631 5405.

The ATA is the proud organiser of Sustainable House Day.


11/09 2017

Invitation to the 3rd Large Scale Solar + Storage Conference

RenewEconomy and Informa Australia are delighted to announce the recently finalised agenda for the 3rd Large Scale Solar + Storage Conference.

The 25 speaker strong program features presentations from major players in both the solar and storage fields, and will cover the leading projects both planned and underway in Australia.

Being held on the 27-28 November 2017 at The Grace Hotel Sydney, the two day event is the perfectly timed with so much investment announced in the industry recently. With such a strong following within the series and the apt networking opportunities available, this is not one to miss.

Speaking companies include:

  • Advisian
  • ARENA
  • AEMO
  • Genex Power
  • EPC APAC
  • Conergy
  • AES Energy Storage
  • Downer Utilities
  • SERA
  • First Solar
  • Menlo Energy Economics (USA)
  • Origin Energy
  • Impact investment Group
  • Transgrid
  • Power Electronics (Spain)
  • Electranet
  • Energy Queensland
  • Windlab
  • ITP Thermal Pty Ltd
  • The Australian Solar Thermal Energy Association
  • Clean Energy Regulator
  • Clean Energy Finance Corporation
  • RES Australia
  • ITP Thermal Pty Ltd
  • Lyon Group
  • 5B
View Agenda »

SPONSORS

Supporting Sponsor

Sponsorship & Exhibition Opportunities

If you would like to find out about how to sponsor or exhibit at the 2017 Large Scale Solar + Storage Conference, please contact Megan Rogulski on +61 2 9080 4030 or Megan.Rogulski@informa.com.au.

EVENT PRICING

  • Early Bird Rate $2,695 Expires 30 September 2017
  • Standard Registration Rate $3,195 from 1 October 2017
Book Now »

WHEN AND WHERE

27 - 28 Nov 2017

The Grace Sydney
77 York Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Tel: +612 9272 6888 | Fax: +612 9299 8189
E: grace@gracehotel.com.au
www: http://gracehotel.com.au


11/09 2017

#StopAdani Summit says “No $1B loan”

Launch of Qld Big Day of Action on 7 Oct, with human signs in Brisbane and beyond

Brisbane, Australia, 10 September. Participants at a sold out Brisbane Summit of over 180 local volunteers, campaigning to stop the Adani coal mine, have called on the Federal and Queensland governments to say no a $1 billion loan of public money to the miner, and launched a National Day of Action on 7 October.

Sea Shepherd joins #StopAdani Alliance

Sea Shepherd is one of 29 organisations to have joined the Stop Adani Alliance since its launch in March 2017, with the Alliance now representing well over 2 million Australians. In just five months, more than 160 Stop Adani groups have sprung into action around the country, organising 662 local actions at MP’s offices, bank branches and community events.

Larissa Baldwin, National Co-director of the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network said: Our mob will not stand by and let the Queensland government or Adani determine our future.

We will be fighting hard to protect country from being devastated by Adani’s mine.

Young Indigenous people know that climate change is an enormous threat to our people and land. It’s time to draw a line in the sand and reject any proposal for new coal mines.

Amy Butler from Sea Shepherd Australia said: With Adani declaring that work may begin as soon as October, the stakes of this campaign have never been clearer. Sea Shepherd Australia is proud to join the Stop Adani Alliance.

The movement that is coming together to challenge Adani’s plans is growing by the week - here in Queensland, and right across the country.

Sea Shepherd was motivated to join this fight because of the terrifying havoc global warming is wreaking on our oceans and marine life. We need look no further than the devastation of the bleaching of our Great Barrier Reef. To protect the oceans, we must act on global warming - that means we must stop Adani

We are now gearing up for a big day of community action on October 7. We are going to spell it out to politicians - by forming massive Stop Adani human signs - right here in Brisbane, and from Bondi Beach to the Whitsundays: 'Stop Adani'.

Laura Harland, a volunteer on the campaign and local student from QUT, attending the Summit, said: As a young person, I’m here to make sure we act now to ensure the Great Barrier Reef has a healthy future. A business as usual approach - including building new coal mines - - just isn’t good enough if we’re serious about protecting the Reef.

It’s outrageous that state and federal governments are looking to bankroll this project with our money, via a $1 billion NAIF loan and special royalty deals.

The latest polling shows three quarters of Australians do not want the $1 billion public loan to go ahead, and instead believe that Adani should fund their own infrastructure

We are now gearing up for a big day of community action on October 7. We are going to spell it out to politicians - by forming massive Stop Adani human signs - right here in Brisbane, and from Bondi Beach to the Whitsundays: 'Stop Adani'.

BACKGROUND

The Stop Adani movement is now a powerful social movement. 160 local Stop Adani groups have formed, organising over 662 community actions including more than 300 screenings of the documentary ‘Guarding the Galilee’. 29 organisations have joined the Stop Adani Alliance since March, representing more than 2 million Australians.

Despite Adani pushing hard and winning unprecedented political support for their project, the Stop Adani movement has so far managed to hold them back. The mine is not yet built and Adani still do not have the consent of the Traditional Owners of the proposed mine site.

Adani is yet to secure the finance they need. 24 financial institutions across the world have ruled out funding the mine. The movement already has two major wins under its belt: both Westpac and CommBank have ruled out funding Adani due to community pressure, meaning that all big four banks have now said no to the mine.

Now the campaign is setting its sights on the Federal and Queensland governments - both back a very unpopular $1B loan from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility.


08/09 2017

World Scientists Warning to Humanity update

Message from Union of Concerned Scientists

Twenty five years ago, in 1992, the Union of Concerned Scientists and more than 1500 scientists published the famous declaration entitled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity”. They called on humanity to curb environmental destruction, warning “all humanity that a great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided.”

Now, on the 25th anniversary of their famous call, we looked back at their warning and evaluated the human response over the last quarter century. This 25-year update will soon be published by BioScience. To see the in press article “World scientists’ warning to humanity: a second notice”and add your name as a co-signatory, click: http://scientistswarnin g.forestry.oregonstate.edu/

This short article is only 1,000 words long and can be read in 6 minutes. If you are a scientist, we invite you to endorse this article by adding your name to the co-signatory list. In doing so, when the article is published by BioScience, you will be included in the full list of co-signatories in the article’s online supplemental material. We invite all types of scientists to sign (e.g. ecologists, economists, social scientists, medicine, etc.) including graduate students in the sciences.

Please forward this email to any other scientists in your contact list that may also be interested in signing. For example, you could simply forward this email to your working group. If you use Twitter, consider inviting your colleagues to add their signatures by including #ScientistsWarningToHumanity in a tweet.

As of, September 1, 2017, the article has been signed by nearly 7,000 scientists from 135 countries. The deadline for signing is September 19, 2017.

William J. Ripple
Distinguished Professor of Ecology
Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society
Oregon State University


07/09 2017

Threatened Species Day

Today is national Threatened Species Day...but no cause for celebration in Queensland

In Queensland, land clearing is the largest single threat to biodiversity, and many threatened species are impacted by clearing.

Alert from alliance of conservation groups and wildlife carers » QCC 10 point plan for action » Queensland Conservation Facebook »

07/09 2017

International Coastal Cleanup Day!

#breakfreefromplastic gears up for International Coastal Cleanup Day!

International Coastal Cleanup Day is right around the corner on September 16th! #breakfreefromplastic movement members are gearing up to create a huge splash around the globe, with our core cleanup event taking place on Freedom Island off of Manila Bay in the Philippines. The goal of the event is to conduct a physical beach clean-up where there’s a critical habitat for migratory birds, and to highlight the role of corporations responsible for single-use plastics ending up in our ocean, roads and waterways. Greenpeace Philippines has released a promotional video in Filipino for this 10-day activity starting on the 11th, check this out!

Take a sneak peek at the other Cleanup initiatives being planned all over the world throughout the month of September:

  1. The 5 Gyres Institute, Plastic Pollution Coalition, and Surfrider Foundation, three #breakfreefromplastic movement organizations, will collaborate to raise awareness about the problem of beach pollution from polystyrene and expanded polystyrene foam on Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California. Tweet this!
  2. Speaking of polystyrene, did you know McDonald’s continues to use this highly polluting form of plastic? YOU can help us track down where McDonald’s is selling it. Here’s how: Help spread the word by sharing our Facebook post and/or tweet. They are: Facebook | Twitter
  3. European groups in France, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Macedonia and more are organizing cleanup events! These actions will be feeding into the Our Ocean conference taking place in Malta, Italy on October 5th and 6th. Find a cleanup near you and join #breakfreefromplastic movement members in contributing to plastic pollution research and helping to influence legislation!
  4. #breakfreefromplastic makes its debut in the Russian Arctic! A clean up event organized by the Slava Foundation is taking place on September 27th in the Murmansk Sea. “We intend to demonstrate to people that even the most remote and pristine parts of the world are not immune to human activity and pollution,” indicates Sergey Rybakov, CEO of the Slava Foundation.

06/09 2017

NAPQ | Future of the Reef

The Great Barrier Reef needs a 'no regrets' management strategy

The Great Barrier Reef needs protection on several fronts – controlling greenhouse gas emissions, improving water quality and managing threats such as the crown-of-thorns starfish.

NPAQ welcomes the federal funding for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for operation of the three crown-of-thorns starfish control vessels until 2020. With the Reef experiencing its fourth recorded outbreak, it’s a much-needed boost.

Read about the Federal funding here »

However, three vessels can only patrol three very small areas of the Reef and human activities that degrade the Reef are still permitted.

A paper from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies states it is possible that general degradation of Reef ecosystems and corresponding declines in biodiversity and productivity may cause increased outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish. For example, commercial fishing may reduce the abundance and/or diversity of crown-of-thorns starfish predatory species. So is this akin to putting a Band-Aid on a patient with broken bones who needs support and rest to heal?

The ARC calls for a “no regrets” management strategy, but cutbacks to the Marine Park area is far from that.

Read the ARC Coral Reef Studies paper »

In the upcoming August-September edition of Protected, the “Battle of the Coral Sea” article discusses the recent Federal Government draft management plans for Australia’s network of 44 marine sanctuaries. The draft plan proposes that sanctuary protections for a large area of Queensland’s Coral Sea, as well as other regions, are abandoned to allow for an expansion of fishing, including long-line fishing and seafloor trawling. Rather than increasing protection for oceans and marine life, a drastic decrease is proposed.

Submissions on the draft management plan close on September 20, 2017.

The draft management plan for park can be found here » Provide your feedback here » Read an article from The Conservation » Read much, much more in Neck of the Woods »

05/09 2017

ATA News

Sustainable House Day on September 17

Come along on Sunday, September 17, learn and be inspired. Australia’s most innovative green homes will be open to the public, giving a rare view into exceptional homes designed, built or renovated with sustainability in mind and allowing you to speak to and learn from homeowners.

Make sure you register to attend to see sutainable homes near you.

The latest Sanctuary Magazine, the Sustainable House Day special, profiles some of the outstanding homes opening their doors on the day.

Lighting up Quelicai

One hundred and eight ATA solar-powered lighting systems were installed in homes between July 31 and August 7 at Quelicai in the district of Baucau, East Timor, by our partners CNEFP and Natiles. Find out more.

More stories from ATA August e-News » Alternative Technology Association (ATA) »

04/09 2017

Rockhampton Forum

Agriculture and Human Health Solutions 2017

Organised by: Healthy Soils Inc

Rockhampton 11th & 12th September

CQIRP Building, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton

$40.00 per person / day (meals incl)

Presenters:

  • Professor Don Huber - One of the worlds top plant pathologists and researchers with nearly 50 years experience solving cereal, horticultural and other crop diseases and biological solutions.
  • Dr Dana Stanley (CQU researcher) - Molecular microbiologist Stanley's research on intestinal microbiota in health and disease focuses on the role of microbiota in poultry and other agricultural animals, as well as rodent models of human disease.
  • Graeme Sait (Nutri-tech Solutions) - is a specialist in sustainable agriculture
  • Other Speakers: Dr Judy Carman, Kim Kruse, Anita Rossiter, Dr Sandrine Makiela.

Who should attend? - Farmers, gardeners, agronomists, families.

Bookings essential - please RSVP by 4/9/17 to Mick 0438 395 255 or Noela 07 4938 3919

More details »

05/09 2017

Innovation for food | Prof Andy Lowe

Innovation for food

Over the last few years, food production and processing have been embarking on the biggest change since the industrial revolution. Novel approaches that exploit robotics, machine learning, computer vision, epi-genetics and gene editing technologies are being used to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of food production.

A more co-ordinated approach will ensure that innovative research, linked with industry partners and supported by government, will help realise the benefits for all of us.

At the same time the global gap between demand and supply of food and resources, the impact of food production on the environment, the demand for higher quality and traceability of food in the global marketplace, and the relationship between food and human health and dietary disease, are all emerging megatrends of the 21st Century.

I've been fortunate enough to be appointed as Director of Food Innovation at the University of Adelaide to help grow the research and teaching across the food sector. The University has extraordinary breadth and depth of research and teaching capability, with over 250 academic staff working on food-related areas. Its been a real pleasure working with this group.

Food research isn't a new area for the University – the Waite campus has been undertaking leading research in plant science and breeding, landscape and soil science, wine and viticulture for decades, and more recently in food applications. And the Roseworthy campus is renowned for its research in dryland agriculture, natural resource management and animal health and production. We also have economists, engineers, health scientists and researchers in arts and social sciences working in food-related areas.

The new Food Innovation theme aims to help boost South Australia’s food production and profitability, support new jobs, and lift market value for Australia’s food products generally. There are also considerable potential benefits to community health with research being undertaken on healthier food options. A more co-ordinated approach will ensure that innovative research, linked with industry partners and supported by government, will help realise the benefits for all of us.

Read on andylowe.org »

01/09 2017

The Critical Atmosphere | CASANZ 2017

The Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand is hosting the 23rd Biennial International Clean Air and Environment Conference on the 15 - 18 October 2017 at Pullman Brisbane, King George Square. On Sunday, 15 October 2017 there will be specialist workshops followed by the main conference, 16 – 18 October 2017.

CASANZ 2017 will embrace the theme of The Critical Atmosphere. The widely accepted concern over the effects of climate change on human health and wellbeing demands that we understand more about the physical and chemical processes underlying air quality, their effects on human health and welfare, and our capacity to effectively control and regulate air pollution.

We hope to stimulate new ideas and tools that can be applied across the air quality and climate change fields by bringing together over 300 highly influential group of global industry experts, policy and decision makers and key equipment suppliers of the environmental sector, from Australia, New Zealand and around the world.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

View the biographies of the following keynote speakers:

  • Professor Michael Brauer , Canada
  • Dr Lisa Emberson, United Kingdom
  • Professor Jiming Hao, China
  • Dr Dorota Jarosinska, Germany
  • Dr Melita Keywood, Australia
  • Professor Guy Marks, Australia
  • Professor Xavier Querol, Spain
  • Professor Zissis Samaras, Greece

View the latest program to start planning your conference experience today!

Register Now!

INNOVATION AWARDS

The Innovation Awards are back for CASANZ 2017. Present your innovative concepts, products and services in front of over 300 global industry experts, policy and decision makers and key equipment suppliers of the air quality and environmental sector, from Australia, New Zealand and around the world. But you must be quick, hurry and register by 12PM Monday, 4 September 2017.

Register by clicking through to the link below:

CASANZ Innovation Award 2017 »

INDUSTRY DAY

The 23rd Biennial International Clean Air and Environment Conference will host their first Industry Day on Tuesday, 17 October 2017. We would like to invite the air quality community and kindred associations, organisations and individuals to see new products, technology and services, build and maintain professional contacts, meet with consulting organisations, suppliers and others and research solutions to their current business challenges.

Register by clicking through to the link below:

Industry Day »

01/09 2017

Food waste

Food waste is a big global issue: Australian households perform worse than the global average, 40% of food lost or wasted

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has estimated that a third of all food produced globally is wasted, that’s 1.3B tonnes.

To put that in context, the Great Pyramid at Giza weighs about 5 million tonnes. If that were food waste it would weigh about 1.4 million tonnes (because food is less dense than stone), so the amount of food waste produced globally is equivalent to just less than 1000 Great Pyramids of Giza.

That’s a lot of food.

Most of this food waste currently goes into land fill or is ploughed back into the ground where it emits huge amounts of green house gases, mostly methane. If food waste was a country it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, behind the US and China.:

…if we just reduced the amount of food loss, and food wasted, this would increase global food security in a much faster and more direct way…

We hear a lot about the need to improve agricultural methods to increase the amount of food we produce and to breed new varieties to cope with changing environmental conditions. But if we just reduced the amount of food loss, and food wasted, this would increase global food security in a much faster and more direct way, not to mention cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

It is for these reasons that one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (12.3, part of Responsible Consumption and Production) is to halve per capita global food waste by 2030.


30/08 2017

Wonders of the Wallum Spring Wildflower


28/08 2017

AMCS: Save Our Marine Sanctuaries

Australia’s precious dolphins are in the firing line, if government plans to butcher our marine sanctuaries go ahead. We have just three weeks left.

Send a Message: Save Our Sanctuaries.

More than 14 protected dolphin species call Australia their home. We all cherish our moments with these playful and intelligent creatures. Watching them riding on waves, or cruising in the wake of a boat.

The government would have to be particularly heartless to let these beautiful, protected creatures be treated as if they’re disposable. Unfortunately, by proposing to carve up our marine sanctuaries for oil, gas and lethal fishing practices, that’s what they will be doing.

The Turnbull Government’s proposal to revoke 40 million hectares of sanctuary zones would be devastating, opening them up for some of Australia’s most lethal fishing practices like gillnetting. 34 protected dolphins were killed by gillnets in 2016, and that’s just those which were reported. Many more will die if we allow our government to carve up their sanctuary homes for these lethal practices. We can stop this, if we act now.

Gillnet fishing is bad news for dolphins. Huge nets, like fences, are anchored to our ocean floor. Gillnets are designed to entangle marine life, and they work far too well - catching more than just fish. Last year 220 protected animals were killed by gillnet fishing in Commonwealth waters alone.¹

Marine sanctuaries should be safe havens, where marine life can thrive and humans can enjoy a pristine natural environment. Our network of marine sanctuaries provide dolphins with habitat critical to their survival - safe places to feed, breed, rest and socialise. We must protect them.

Add your name now »

Thanks for standing up for our dolphins.

Australian Marine Conservation Society (ACMS)

SOURCES

1. AFMA: Protected Species Interaction Reports


28/08 2017

Wildlife Matters: In a Climate of Change

Wildlife Queensland has the pleasure of inviting you to

Wildlife Matters: In a Climate of Change

as we bring together leading environmental activists and climate change experts for an afternoon symposium and our annual dinner event! Join us for the symposium, the dinner, or both, as Wildlife Queensland presents a cutting-edge program focussed on the future of the plants and animals faced with unprecedented change.

When:
Saturday, September 9
Where:
Riverside Receptions, 50 Oxlade Street, New Farm
Book Now »

The Symposium

1:00 - 6:00pm

Wildlife experts and activists speak on how the climate of change we currently face impacts our iconic plants, animals and ecosystems.

More info »

The Dinner

6:30pm start

Enjoy drinks and canapes with fellow wildlife advocates followed by Wildlife Queensland’s annual dinner featuring special guest speaker!

More info » Book Now »

28/08 2017

'Winds of Climate Change: Preparing for a Cyclone'

Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) Policy Director, Scott Slotterback will be delivering a keynote address entitled 'Winds of Climate Change: Preparing for a Cyclone' at the ACHSM/ACHS Asia-Pacific health leadership Congress in Sydney in September.

This Congress, delivered by the Australasian College of Health Service Management (ACHSM) and Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS), is the peak Australasian gathering of health leaders.

Keynote details

The WHO identified climate change as one of the major health issues of our time. In 2016, the Lancet Commission noted that tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century. Hospitals and health systems around the world are preparing for the impacts of climate change, mitigating their contribution of greenhouse gas emissions and using their influence to promote climate change policy to protect the health of their communities.

As the health sector pursues significant cost reductions, many are realizing that health care costs can be significantly reduced by promoting a healthy population and addressing the environmental conditions that affect health. GGHH is mobilizing its global network of health care leaders representing over 27,800 hospitals and health centers, around the world, to address climate change and a wide range of environmental sustainability issues.

Mr Slotterback will explain, using examples from Australian hospitals, and hospitals around the world; how the health sector is embracing the challenges of climate change, modeling solutions for their communities and saving money as well.

About the 2017 Congress

The 3-day congress includes plenary sessions, workshops, panel discussions, and site visits. See the current program here.

TScott joins an impressive line-up of health and media leaders from Australia, UK, and US as Congress speakers. See the list of speakers here.

When:
27-29 September 2017, Wednesday-Friday
Where:
Hilton Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

About Scott Slotterback

Policy Director GGHH, Health Care Without Harm

Scott Slotterback assures the smooth functioning of the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals network while helping lead its ongoing development.

He also plays a central role in building the technical capacity of the Network. Mr Slotterback comes to this role after working for over 30 years on complex building and land use planning projects, including a decade at Kaiser Permanente, where he led teams focused on improving the design and sustainability of over 60 major healthcare buildings.

He authored numerous sustainability focused case studies, design standards, white papers, and articles. He also presented climate change resiliency and environmental sustainability at numerous national and international conferences and served on the Steering Committee that wrote the Green Guide for Healthcare, which became the basis for LEED for Healthcare.

Visit event webpage »

23/08 2017

Help protect Lindeman Island National Park

Friends of National Parks

A proposal is currently before the Queensland Government regarding the redevelopment of the Lindeman Island derelict resort. The proposal includes revocation of part of the national park on Lindeman Island.

Chinese developers White Horse Australia Lindeman Pty Ltd propose the revocation of 36.9 ha of national park land as part of a multi luxury resort complex on Lindeman Island. The proposal also includes 9.473 ha of national park for private commercial use as a glamping facility. This development would significantly increase the land use intensity on the island within the Great Barrier Reef.

Within the complexity of tenure arrangements and questions over the conservation value of the land involved, it is clear the national park would be reduced by 31 ha.

Key aspects of the proposed revocation are:

  • 36.931 ha proposed to be revoked from national park and added to perpetual lease, with 5.919ha of this land to be subject to a Nature Refuge Agreement.
  • 9.406ha of national park currently subject to a term lease to be surrendered to national park – this lease expires soon and the conservation values are debateable.
  • 5.299ha of existing perpetual lease to be dedicated as national park, at a later date and following construction works.

The land proposed for revocation is currently nearing the end of its 30-year tourism lease on national park. The lease was granted by the Joh Bjelke-Petersen Government for the development of a golf course, following the failure of the State Government’s bid in 1986 to sell off 605 ha of national park to developers.

If this proposal goes ahead, it sets a precedent that national park land is up for sale; and that past poor decisions, can result in eventual removal from the national park estate. National parks do not exist to provide a land bank to other land uses and private profit.

Regardless of the expiring tourist lease over this section of national park, revoking national park land for private development and commercial gain is unacceptable!

Find out more here.

Selling pieces of national parks to investors for development, undermines the very essence of our national parks – the conservation of nature. National parks are too precious to lose!

Please take a few minutes to lend your support. You can help us: Sign the e-petition, Write or phone the Minister, Send a submission to the Coordinator-General (details below), or make a donation to NPAQ.

NPAQ has been the voice of national parks since 1930. Donate to NPAQ today to protect Queensland’s national parks for tomorrow.

Yours sincerely,

Michelle Prior
President
National Parks Association of Queensland

Help protect Lindeman Island – the fast and easy way:

Sign the e-petition to the Queensland Parliament, if you are Queensland resident.
Privatisation of Lindeman Island National Park (Petition No. 2788-17)
https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/e-petitions
Petition closes 4th September 2017.

Help protect Lindeman Island – take 10 minutes to:

Write, or phone the Minister regarding the proposed revocation of national park for the Lindeman Great Barrier Reef Resort Project.

The Honourable Dr Steven Miles
Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection; and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
Post: GPO Box 2454, Brisbane QLD 4001
Email: environment@ministerial.qld.gov.au
Phone: (07) 3719 7330

Help protect Lindeman Island – write a submission:

Send a submission to the Coordinator-General.
The Lindeman Great Barrier Reef Resort Project draft EIS can be found here.

Coordinator-General
c/‐ EIS project manager
Lindeman Great Barrier Reef Resort Project
PO Box 15517, City East  QLD  4002
lindeman@coordinatorgeneral.qld.gov.au
Be sure to follow the guidelines. Submissions must:

  • be in writing;
  • be received on or before the last day of the submission period;
  • be signed by each person who made the submission;
  • state the name and address of each person who made the submission;
  • state the grounds of the submission and the facts and circumstances relied on to support those grounds.
Submissions close 5pm, 4th September 2017.


23/08 2017

HOPE Volunteering Opportunities

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!

New skills + More networks = Volunteering

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.


15/08 2017

HOPE Fund-raising Raffle

Take the opportunity to support HOPE and enjoy the chance to win outstanding prizes. This multi-draw raffle is our major fundraising activity for the year. It is being held in conjunction with the HOPE information stall at the Toowoomba Languages and Cultures Festival, at Queen's Park on Sunday 20 August.

Purchase your tickets by contacting the HOPE office on 4639 2135 or by email office@hopeaustralia.org.au


15/08 2017

Community Forum - Saturday 19th August 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!

Our Regional Natural Resource Management Body - Condamine Alliance

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. would like to invite you to this month’s Community Forum featuring Condamine Alliance - our regional NRM (Natural Resource Management) Body.

The forum is being held at on Saturday 19 August, from 1pm to 4pm at the Toowoomba City Library (Level 3, Cnr of Herries and Victoria Streets). Entry is by gold coin donation.

Condamine Alliance was founded in 2002 as a not-for-profit organisation, who work alongside communities, councils, government and organisations like HOPE, to support over 29,000 square kilometres of land. Condamine Alliance work to protect and conserve water, land and wildlife for future generations.

Thumbnail of speaker - Jayne Thorpe
Jayne Thorpe

HOPE would like to invite anyone with an interest in conservation or environmental protection to attend the upcoming forum, in the hope that Condamine Alliance can shed some light on their organisation and hopefully engage some like-minded community members.

Ms Jayne Thorpe (pictured), General Manager - Growth from Condamine Alliance, will provide a more detailed overview of the organisation’s main objectives, current and proposed projects and events, and showcase some achievements awarded to Condamine Alliance for their outstanding work and accomplishments. Jayne will also be discussing the wide range of ways community members can get involved with implementing the new Natural Resource Management Plan, and providing input on how the job should be done.

From 2015-2016, Condamine Alliance managed to engage with 1,100 landholders and 50 different contractors, delivered and participated in more than 29 community events, and have partnered with 11 different landcare, community and Indigenous groups. Condamine Alliance are very focused on how to prioritise and measure their activities to ensure the funds entrusted to them provide the greatest benefit to the community.

HOPE and Condamine Alliance share similar ideologies and believe that a healthy environment translates into healthy communities, and encourage locals and people of the Condamine River Catchment Area to play an active role in managing their natural resources, now and for the future.

Condamine Alliance’s revised Natural Resource Management Plan encourages all stakeholders and community members across the catchment to work together to achieve a more sustainable future and to set a precedent for future generations to do the same.

The upcoming forum hosted by HOPE gives community members a chance to learn more about Condamine Alliance and how they can get involved.

Bookings are essential, contact HOPE via telephone on 4639 2135 or via email office@hopeaustralia.org.au to reserve your seat. The forum is being held at on Saturday 19 August, from 1pm to 4pm at the Toowoomba City Library (Level 3, Cnr of Herries and Victoria Streets). Entry is by gold coin donation.

Supported by:

Condamine Alliance logo

11/08 2017

International Riversymposium 2017

Help us create the Brisbane Declaration v2.0

A decade ago, the influential Brisbane Declaration and Global Action Agenda (2007) on environmental flows was developed as a product of the 10th International Riversymposium and Environmental Flows Conference.

A major focus of the 20th International Riversymposium and Environmental Flows Conference 2017 will be to revisit and update both the declaration and its accompanying action agenda.

You are invited to contribute to these updates by joining our LinkedIn group, commenting on our LinkedIn posts and becoming part of the discusson. The draft of the updated Brisbane Declaration will be discussed and endorsed at the 20th International Riversymposium, while the Action Agenda will be developed over the following months.

The closing date for comments is 31 August 2017.

Join the conversation » Register for the Symposium »

29/07 2017

DEFORESTATION, LAND USE & FOOD FUTURES FORUM

INVITE to 5th August FORUM, USQ Toowoomba Campus

On Saturday 5th August from 9am to 2 pm, a forum on Deforestation and Land Use in Queensland will be held at Artworx, University of Southern Queensland. To book a seat, ring the Box Office on 4631 1111 (General Admission and Refreshments $10) or mob: 0432 339 040.

A variety of guest speakers, will be presenting and sharing in conversation with the audience, scientific analysis of deforestation practices and sustainable food production choices, aboriginal care for land, case studies of community based conservation farming and education projects along with an investigation of legislative and community dynamics.

Guest presenter, Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop worked as a Principal Scientist with Queensland Government Natural Resources, monitoring broadscale deforestation. He co-authored the Beyond Zero Emissions’ Land Use Plan, a plan to take Australia’s land use and agriculture emissions beyond zero, and works with NGO World Preservation Foundation, focussing on deforestation, land degradation and biodiversity loss. Since 2015 he has been working with the land use team on the Zero Emissions Byron project and the forthcoming Zero Emissions Tweed project.

Joshua Waters, YCLC Community Engagement Officer talks about care for land with Judi from Land Trust and Wildlife Rescue and Janine from the Wilderness Society. Louise Noble, founder of the multicultural peri-urban share-farming The Mulberry Project, along with Colin from Organic Growers, reports on the practice of small-scale regional community food production. Cam Mackenzie, Principal of Amaroo Environmental Education centre, in conversation with Social Researcher, Andy Nicholson, discusses developments in learnings and attitudes. Paul King, chair of Darling Downs Environment Council, PROTECT and OCAA, in conversation with Joshua Waters, discusses legislation and community resilience.

A wide variety of the community is encouraged to contribute to the forum in the Q&A and workshop on positive outcomes.

Enquiries

Mob: 0432 339 040


12/07 2017

SpurTopia - Our Sustainable Living Story

SpurTopia - Our Sustainable Living Story

Dear friends.

Just a quick note about a presenter at this year’s Making Cities Liveable conference. Roman Spur captivated the audience with his energy, passion and sheer commitment to backyard gardening (vegetables, herbs, fruit) and the keeping of chooks and bees – as well as his inventiveness with solar cookers, etc.

Frank Ondrus, President - HOPE Inc.

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc.

SpurTopia blog » Facebook » YouTube »

12/07 2017

Help wanted! Threatened Bird Network

Volunteer needed for Birds in Backyards Program

Birds in Backyards (BIBY) is seeking a volunteer to help complete two small projects on their newly migrated citizen science surveys in BirdLife Australia’s data portal, Birdata:

  1. Creating step-by-step instructions for submitting surveys and viewing data for BIBY participants in Birdata. Estimated time: 2-3 days
  2. Writing a short report/summary on a survey of existing BIBY survey participants, and updating BIBY FAQs on their citizen science and general program with the BIBY manager using survey feedback. Estimated time: 4-5 days

Start date:

ASAP

Location:

work can be carried out from home

Anticipated hours:

approx. 6-8 days total, see breakdown above

Questions and expression of interest can be directed to Monica Awasthy, BIBY Program Manager.

About the Birds in Backyard Program

Birds in Backyards is a research, education and conservation program that is designed to address the loss of wild bird species, particularly small native birds, that live where people live. The program has three main objectives:

Research:

To find out what influences bird diversity in gardens and yards, urban bush lands, parks and public areas.

Education:

To develop and increase community understanding and involvement with the current status of birds; to encourage a 'hands on' culture of planting for birds and of monitoring their presence and absence; to help people to learn how to love, and live with, birds.

Conservation:

The culmination of research and education: by putting into practice the information learnt from research, open spaces, in places where people live, the urban environment will also become suitable for birds to inhabit. BIBY feed information from their research to land managers (including the general public) to create on the ground conservation. This will contribute to a greater diversity of birds living in these places.

For more information on the Threatened Bird Network click here, also see the Facebook page.


04/07 2017

Ecological change - have your say

CSIRO survey looks into ecological change

The CSIRO has extended an invitation to take part in a national survey for the Recent Ecological Change in Australia Project. Here’s the link.

The survey will help the CSIRO understand how Australia’s biodiversity has been changing in recent years, and whether the 1°C increase in surface temperature experienced over the past century may have contributed to these changes. It will collect first hand observations, insights and stories about changes across the landscape and provide a unique and important historical record for Australia. It will take about 30 minutes. If this has sparked your interest, additional information about the full project can be found here.


05/07 2017

Beyond Plastic Pollution | Pathways to Cleaner Oceans

Dear Boomerang Allies,

Firstly, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Jayne Paramor and I recently joined the Boomerang Alliance (BA) team, to lead the planning and delivery of BA’s Marine Plastic Pollution (MPP) conference later this year; as well as other duties to help make Boomerang a more sustainable organisation to achieve our common objectives. I am writing to update you on how the conference plans are coming together. One of the major objectives outlined in the Boomerang Alliance 2017 Action Plan following our Marine Plastic Pollution Threat Abatement Plan was the delivery of the Solutions Conference.

Knowledge, Inspiration and Action were identified as core themes for the conference. With these themes in mind, we want to…

  • equip people with the knowledge to make informed decisions and influence others
  • inspire and mobilise people to take action, across all levels of society
  • bring law makers and legislators up to date on international policy best practice for reducing MPP
  • showcase innovative solutions designed to reduce plastic consumption – particularly single-use – and to clean up our marine environments

In line with the recommendations of the Our Ocean Our Future: Call for Action, sanctioned by some 193 countries at the UN Ocean Conference in June, we are taking the ‘integrated, interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approach’ promoting the ‘enhanced cooperation, coordination and policy coherence’ required ‘at all levels’.

So, after months of planning, we are pleased to announce the launch of: Beyond Plastic Pollution | Pathways to Cleaner Oceans

Taking place between Monday, October 30th and Wednesday November 1st, at beautiful Darling Harbour in Sydney, the conference will bring together Government, Business, Academia, Scientific and Community organisations, to consider an end-to-end approach to addressing MPP. We are pleased to have some impressive national and international speakers (see www.beyondplasticpollutionconference.org.au) and there’ll be plenty of time for networking.

Some of you may already be aware of a soft launch that we did a couple of weeks ago, to test some preliminary messaging. This will continue to evolve in coming months, as we approach the event and confirm the finer details of the programme, but we are keen to get the message out as widely as possible, to encourage a large and diverse attendance at the conference.

And we hope that we can count on your support in achieving this objective…

To that end, we have crafted a set of draft emails that can be used to form the basis for promoting the conference to your own networks. The messaging varies slightly for the four key groups that we have identified – Community, Government, Academic/Scientific & Corporate - and we would encourage you to use the most suitable of these as the basis for communications to prospective attendees. Please click on the relevant link below, to access the appropriate communications template.

Community / Advocacy / Campaigning:Click Here
Local / State / Federal Government:Click Here
Corporate / Local Business:Click Here
Academic / Science:Click Here

We also have some resources for your use:

Beyond Plastic Pollution Email / Letterhead Banner:Click Here
Beyond Plastic Pollution Conference Logo:Click Here

We ask that you share the message with your stakeholder audience and encourage them to join us for this important and timely dialogue.

We will be continuing our marketing in coming weeks and will be utilising social media to keep awareness ticking over. We will be posting about speakers, sharing stories relevant to the conference and keeping people abreast of updates as we get closer to October 31st, so I would encourage you to keep an eye on Twitter (@BoomAlliance) and LinkedIn (Boomerang Alliance) and help us reach as many potential delegates as possible.

Kind regards,
Jayne


25/06 2017

ATA Toowoomba | Weds 12th July


02/07 2017

Micah Climate Petition

The world's poorest and most vulnerable communities – particularly in our region – are suffering the harmful impacts of climate change.

Yet Australia – one of the wealthiest nations – is not doing anywhere near enough to reduce our emissions. We are delaying the urgent action needed to shift our energy and transport systems to 100% renewable sources.

We are not providing enough support to help our vulnerable neighbours prepare for and adapt to increasingly severe climate change impacts.

It's clear what Australia needs to do. Our Federal and State Governments should help Australians manage the risks of a changing climate, seize the opportunities of the global energy revolution, and support our neighbours as they adapt to the harmful effects of climate change.

Raising a powerful voice

To call on Australia to act more urgently for climate justice, we are launching a Community Climate Petition which we aim to make the largest coordinated multi-electorate petitionin Australia's history.

In 2017 we will work with churches, schools, campus & community groups to raise 150 community climate petitions (one in every electorate across the country) and present them to politicians and in Parliament.

It will be presented at a time when the Government is reviewing its own climate change policies and also considering adopting stronger targets to take to the United Nations international climate conference in 2018.

But to do this, we need your help. Generating this powerful voice for change, will require the involvement and action of everyday advocates in churches, schools, community groups, workplaces and, well, everywhere to gather signatures and organise handover meetings so that our politicians hear our voices.

How do I get involved?

  1. Download the Community Climate Petition Guide & a sample petition (we'll send a version of the petition customised for your electorate after you register)
  2. Register to gather signatures in your electorate
  3. Got questions? Check out our FAQs
  4. Join our training webinars (every three weeks from Monday 27 March 8:30–9:30pm in the East). Register here.

04/07 2017

ALERT | Biodiversity In Queensland

Biodiversity In Queensland Is Being Bulldozed to Oblivion

Queensland has once again become a global land-clearing hotspot, after its vegetation laws were torn up by the previous state government.

Since then, the rate of forest, woodland, and regrowth destruction has more than doubled.

Land clearing in Queensland is the biggest driver of decline for many species -- including at least 95 species of threatened animals and 12 species of threatened plants.  These include koalas, black-throated finches, cassowaries, and many reptile species.

And this escalating loss of habitat is aggravating other threats such as invasive species and climate change.

No Permit Needed

Some of the vegetation clearing is being done with so-called "self-assessable codes".  This means that landholders can clear habitat without a permit from the state government.

This also results in little oversight by the federal government -- because nationally threatened species are losing their habitats but neither the federal nor state government is tracking it.

Large-scale clearing, such as for 'high-value agriculture’, is also racing ahead, though at least this requires a permit.

For example, on the remote Cape York Peninsula, one of Australia’s biggest land-clearing applications -- 58,000 hectares, an area larger than 100,000 football fields -- was approved for Strathmore Cattle Station.

Even with this massive clearing permit in hand, the land-owner was still found to have conducted illegal clearing, which damaged wetlands and threatened key habitat.

Bizarre Policies

Environmentally speaking, it's getting really strange Down Under. Australia is spending billions of dollars trying to achieve the carbon-storage benefits already provided by native vegetation, via programs such as the Emissions Reduction Fund, the 20 Million Trees program, and Reef Rescue.

Yet Queensland is undermining these expensive programs by allowing land clearing -- and the huge carbon emissions it generates -- to escalate.

Politically, economically, and ecologically, this defies all logic.

Queensland needs to cap the clearing of critical habitats for imperiled wildlife -- and it needs to do so now.

In Queensland, the government is letting big landowners run rampant. Just ask the koalas, birds, and other wildlife whose homes are being bulldozed to oblivion.


13/06 2017

National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being

The report on our final consultation with health stakeholders regarding our proposed National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-Being is now available.

This report details the outcomes from a consultation led by CAHA with professional health and hospital groups, senior health leaders, academics, scientists, parliamentarians and policymakers as well as doctors, nurses, midwives, public health practitioners and psychologists throughout 2016. Consultation revealed deep concerns about the effects of climate change within the health community and the desire for urgent federal leadership and action. As the world watches climate disruption unfolding, health protective climate policies are now crucial.

This report bring together the following key elements of the consultation process:

Responses demonstrate the firm view among health groups that without a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being, Australia will fail to meet its obligations to the health of its citizens under the global climate covenant, the Paris Agreement. The consultation reveals a strong commitment from health groups to work together with governments and political parties across the political spectrum to make the strategy happen.

Access the Final Consultation Report » View/download Media Release accompanying the release »

12/06 2017

PUT IT IN YOUR CALENDAR

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!

Community Forum: Going Solar – On/Off Grid with Battery Storage - Saturday, 17 June 2017

Solar power; battery storage; on/off grid … how does it all work?

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. invites anyone who wants to learn more about the benefits of owning a solar PV system and about battery storage options, to attend a community forum on Saturday 17th June from 1-4pm at the Toowoomba City Library (Level 3, Cnr Herries and Victoria Streets). Entry to forum is by gold coin donation.

President of HOPE, Mr Ondrus says it’s an opportunity for residents to learn more about renewable energy in the current ecological and economic environment.

Solar systems are not just for domestic premises - business owners, school representatives and community groups are encouraged to come along to learn about how solar might benefit their organisations.

Some advantages of solar include savings on electricity bills. Once a system is installed it costs virtually nothing to operate, saving you money on your power bills. Solar also benefits the environment by providing clean energy - for every 1kw of solar installed a tonne of C02 is saved every year.

ACDC Energy will outline the benefits of ‘going solar’, and of the options available for the purchase and installation of solar PV and battery storage systems. ACDC Energy will provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. They will also offer expert advice for those looking for basic energy management through to people considering going completely off the grid.

Bookings are essential for this Going Solar forum on Saturday 17 June. To reserve your seat, contact HOPE by phone on 4639 2135 or email at office@hopeaustralia.org.au. Entry by gold coin donation.


10/06 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
Website: http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au
Facebook: http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au
ABN 48 036 173 161
Think Globally. Act Locally!

Help HOPE help the environment

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.

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

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


11/06 2017

ATA's leadership on climate change acknowledged

ATA winner of two climate action awards

Yay! We won!

This week the Alternative Technology Association took out two awards for Climate Change Leadership and Climate Education and Engagement at the United Nations Association of Australia's Climate Action Awards in Melbourne.

Award judges lauded the ATA's record of informing and encouraging change on sustainability over 37 years and commended us for the success of Sustainable House Day across Australia.

Climate Change Leadership Award judges commended the ATA’s use of a wide range of channels and activities (from magazines to advisory services and public events) to deliver tangible support and value to households, community and business.

It's great to have our work acknowledged in this way. Many thanks to all our members, partners and supporters, without whom we would not have achieved what we have.

Particular plaudits to our founding members for their foresight on taking practical action to create healthier, more sustainable homes and communities.

The ATA can't solve climate change - no organisation can on its own. But we can continue to empower people like you to take responsible and effective action to reduce Australia’s (and the world’s) carbon footprint.

With the End of Financial Year approaching, we ask you to make a tax-deductible donation to the ATA.

Your generous support will enable as to continue to support households and communities with independent advice on sustainable living and to make our voices heard by policymakers and governments through our advocacy work.


07/06 2017

ABC War on Waste podcast

The ABC has produced a War on Waste podcast. The podcast is hosted by Craig Reucassel and Wendy Harmer, and will continue to cover many of the issues raised by the TV show.

The team are very keen for people to share their stories and tips. This can be done by writing to WarOnWaste@abc.net.au. The hashtag we’re using for the podcast is the same as the TV show- #WarOnWasteAu.

Podcast iTunes » Stream TV episodes on iview »

05/06 2017

NEW GM-FREE SHOPPING LIST OUT NOW!

The 2017 edition of the GM-Free Shopping List is now availabe and includes many brands not listed in earlier editions.

The GM-Free Australia Alliance (GMFAA) has further reported increasing interest from food producers this year to the demand for groceries free of genetically manipulated organisms (GMOs). 

GMFAA spokesperson Jessica Harrison stated that the Shopping List acknowledges and promotes a growing list of brands whose GM-free status caters to consumers' right to choose non-GM foods. Australians passionate about the right to choose have been voting with their wallets. Growing consumer awareness about genetic manipulation is increasing demand for both conventional and organic foods, supporting their producers and adding to market pressure on food producers to choose non-GMO suppliers.

More than 50,000 Australians, New Zealanders, and Pacific Islanders have joined local and national consumer groups that explicitly seek products free of GMOs, Ms Harrison said, and these groups represent a small fraction of the market demand for GM-free products.  The GM-Free Shopping List helps consumers make that informed choice.

GMFAA, a not-for-profit organisation, distributes the GM-Free Shopping List free of charge, both on line and at local, regional, and national events.

View/download the GM-Free Shopping List »

02/06 2017

HOPE Community Forum | Going Solar

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!

Community Forum: Saturday, 17 June 2017
Going Solar – On/Off Grid with Battery Storage

The theme of this month’s community forum hosted by Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. is 'Going Solar – On/Off the Grid with Battery Storage'. The forum will be held on Saturday 17th June from 1-4pm at the Toowoomba City library (Level 3, Cnr Herries and Victoria Streets).

HOPE invites anyone who wants to learn more about the benefits of owning a solar PV system and about battery storage options. Mr Ondrus, President of HOPE Inc. said it's an opportunity for residents to learn more about renewable energy in the current ecological and economic environment.

Solar systems are not just for domestic premises - business owners, school representatives and community groups are encouraged to come along to learn about how solar might benefit their organisations.

Some advantages of solar include savings on electricity bills. Once a system is installed it costs virtually nothing to operate, saving you money on your power bills. Solar also benefits the environment by providing clean energy - for every 1kw of solar installed a tonne of C02 is saved every year.

ACDC Energy will outline the benefits of ‘going solar’, and of the options available for the purchase and installation of solar PV and battery storage systems. ACDC Energy will provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. They will also offer expert advice for those looking for basic energy management through to people considering going completely off the grid.

Bookings are essential. To reserve your seat, please contact HOPE to reserve your seat. Call the HOPE office on 4639 2135 or email at office@hopeaustralia.org.au. Entry by gold coin donation.