What's New?


COVID-19

Please bear with us over the coming months as the country deals with the COVID-19 crisis. We do not have access to our network of volunteers and like-minded people/organisations as many are either not working or do not have access to the Internet/computers. But we will bring you as much up-to-date information as we are able to.

HOPE Public Fund bank account now active and taking donations

I’m pleased to announced that the HOPE Public Fund bank account has been activated and is now taking donations.

We invite members and supporters to consider making an annual financial contribution to help cover our operating costs of approximately $20,500 p.a.

Currently, our income is derived from project grants, fund-raising, corporate sponsorship and donations, but falls well short of our requirements.

Your financial support, by donation, will considerably help us to achieve better financial viability.

MAY 2020 — WE NOW HAVE DEDUCTIBLE GIFT RECIPIENT (DGR) STATUS, SO ALL DONATIONS OVER $2 ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

Please visit our website at http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au/donations/ to make your financial donation to the financial well-being of our organsiation.



08/11 2021

World Fisheries Day, 21st November 2021

world fisheries day

The World Fisheries Day has been held annually on 21st November since 2015, and is celebrated by fisherfolk across the world.

Humans consume in excess of 100 million tons of fish annually and accounts for over 25% of the world’s dietary protein.

The vast majority of fisheries (both marine and inland) are small-scale, and employ tens of millions of people across low-income countries.

Overfishing has severely depleted fish stocks of many important fish (cod; haddock; sardines; tuna for example), resulting in many ecological and socio-economic changes: livelihoods are disrupted if fish stocks are depleted as well as far-reaching ecological changes to aquatic environments.

Aquatic pollution can severely affect the ability of fish to survive and breed, and has long-lasting impacts throughout the ecosystem. Humans who eat contaminated fish can become very ill or die – as, for example, during the Minamata mercury poisoning disaster in 1953. Discarded fishing equipment causes the deaths of untold numbers of animals.

Recently, concern has been raised about the presence of microplastics in aquatic environments and the accumulation of such particles in the bodies of aquatic organisms.

Destruction to mangroves and other coastal and inland habitats for development purposes both adversely affects fish stocks and leads to damage to shoreline areas from waves and tides

It is also important to note that it is not only fish that are ‘fished’: vast numbers of invertebrates (mussels; clams; crayfish; lobster; prawns; squid and octopi) are also caught for human consumption.

What can be done to reduce the impacts on fisheries? There are many actions that can be taken, including:

  1. Look for those food supplies that have been caught from sustainable fisheries. These will often be certified (for example, the Marine Stewardship Council certified foods).
  2. When purchasing items from farmed sources (e.g., farmed salmon; mussels; prawns), ensure these are from reputable companies (increasingly certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council).
  3. Encourage governments and fisherfolk to use sustainable fishing techniques.
  4. Choose items from local producers where possible.
  5. Lobby to restrict or ban developments in areas important for rearing young aquatic organisms (e.g., clearing mangrove areas).
  6. If fishing / collecting aquatic animals for consumption, only take what you can sensibly make use of.
  7. Obey any legal limits relating to size, quantity and time of collecting / fishing.
  8. Take all fishing gear with you when completing your fishing trips.
  9. When visiting aquatic habitats, take all your rubbish with you, and if you see rubbish lying around, pick it up and dispose of it responsibly.
  10. When swimming near aquatic animals, behave with care and avoid deliberate contact with them.
  11. Avoid using consumer products with microplastics inherent in them (sunscreens and skin-care products for instance).
  12. Choose better quality, longer lasting clothes that don’t pollute watercourses (and, thus, entering the food chain) with fibre fragments when washing.
  13. Where possible, talk to the fisherfolk about their work and livelihoods. This will lead to deeper understandings between the parties.
  14. Avoid disposing of harmful chemicals into drains and watercourses.
  15. Improved soil conservation techniques to reduce soil erosion and run-off into water systems.
  16. Report and help clean-up polluted urban waterways and river systems.

For further information about World Fisheries Day visit World Fisheries Day.

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph. 07 4639 2135
Written by Jason Dingley, HOPE Media Officer (Vic)

** Looking for other media releases? Visit our Media Activities page.


08/11 2021

That’s not a Plan. THIS is a PLAN!

How does the Federal LNP’s “Australia’s Long Term Emissions Reduction Plan” (1) to reach net zero CO2e emissions by 2050, which, by all appearances, was concocted in a weekend workshop and released five days before the COP 26 meeting (2), compare with a Plan which was years in the making? Which of these two Plans contains costed action items down to Council Area detail?

Rather than be expected to rely on a Plan produced by an incumbent, hitherto climate-denialist Government, could we find an independent, university-level analysis of exactly the steps and costs needed to reach net zero CO2e emissions by 2050?

Answers to these three questions can be found in Princeton University’s Final report “Net-Zero America” (3). We’ll call it “NZA”.

We also need to answer one other vital and wide-ranging question: “How will we apply the lessons learned from NZA to our local community, say Toowoomba?” Answers to this question will be also be provided in this article and in follow-up analyses.

(Researched and written by Rod Duncan, HOPE researcher QLD)

** Read more and get a PDF copy of this article HERE

** Check out our other feature articles HERE


01/11 2021

Check out our November Bulletin!

Welcome to November! This month we observe National Recycling Week (8-14) and its also time for the UN Climate Change Conference COP 26 (1-12). Our volunteer researchers present insightful articles on the global political challenges holding back political action on Climate Change, as well as current projects which envision a healthier, greener future that you can support.

What are you waiting for? Grab a copy of our November Bulletin at the e-News Bulletins page .

november 2021 bulletin

29/10 2021

State of Climate Action 2021 Report

Dear Colleague,

Combatting the climate crisis requires us to rapidly transform the systems that propel our economy, including power generation, buildings, industry, transport, land use, and agriculture—as well as scaling up carbon removal technologies. But by how much? And how can decision-makers unlock the transformational change that is required?

The State of Climate Action 2021 report, published today as part of the Systems Change Lab, answers these fundamental questions. The report – a joint effort among the High-Level Climate Champions, Climate Action Tracker, ClimateWorks Foundation, the Bezos Earth Fund, and World Resources Institute – identifies 40 indicators across key sectors that must rapidly transform to address the climate crisis and assesses how current trends align with what is needed by 2030 and 2050. It also outlines the required shifts in supportive policies, innovations, strong institutions, leadership and social norms to unlock change.

Download State of Climate Action 2021 here and watch our launch event at 9:00am ET today if you can.

The report highlights a number of very encouraging examples of progress. For example, wind and solar power have experienced exponential growth over the past two decades, and sales of electric vehicles have increased rapidly since 2015. Time and time again, the exponential growth of such innovations have outpaced analysts’ projections.

Yet the hard truth is that despite these bright spots, none of the 40 indicators we assessed are making enough progress for the world to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and fully decarbonize by mid-century, which are both necessary to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. For example, to get on track for the emission cuts and carbon removal required by 2030 the world needs to:

  • Phase out unabated coal in electricity generation 5 times faster;
  • Accelerate the increase in annual gross tree cover gain 3 times faster;
  • ​Increase the share of low-emission fuels 12 times faster; and
  • Restore coastal wetlands nearly 3 times faster.

Such rapid transformations will require significant financial investments, technology transfer and capacity-building, especially for developing countries. While climate finance continues to increase, it too has been far from sufficient: the report finds that climate finance needs to increase thirteen times faster to meet the estimated $5 trillion needed annually by 2030. The good news is that the economic and social dividends from taking bold climate action are enormous.

As we head into COP26, the State of Climate Action 2021 arms countries, businesses, philanthropy and others with a clear-eyed view on the state of systems transformation for climate action and what supportive measures leaders can adopt to get us there. Knowledge is power, even when it is a rude awakening. Leaders should use these insights to propel us toward a safer, prosperous and more equitable future.

We would be grateful if you would share this important analysis with your networks and on social media. Additionally, please reach out to the lead author Sophie Boehm if you have thoughts on the analysis and how we can use it to bring about the systemic changes needed to avert climate catastrophe.

Best regards,

Ani Dasgupta
President & CEO
World Resources Institute


25/10 2021

The COP26 Briefing Article

This article is a follow up piece to one produced by HOPE on IPCC climate reporting, in August 2021.It will be followed by other occasional articles on Australia’s national response to issues concerned with climate disruption, the renewable energy transition here and the need for greater support of various environmental and social justice outcomes.

The forthcoming COP 26 conference (a UN Conference of the Parties) to be held in Glasgow, Scotland at the end of this month is much in the news, and rightly so. These crucial international climate disruption negotiations, incorporating the views of 197 countries, build on the outcomes of earlier COP events, primarily the 2015 COP meeting in Paris. The present conference in 2021 is aimed at accelerating collective international response to climate risks over the next 10 years. A key desired outcome is to agree strategies which can keep global heating trends to under 1.5°C for the long term future, in part by greatly reducing global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

Another required outcome of the conference is to refine strategies which can help poorer countries better adapt to increasing climate disruption impacts. The current trend of these impacts pose existential threats to the stable functioning of all of global society. It follows that the collective decisions made at COP 26 will be of immense consequence to future human health and wellbeing, and that of the natural world. In the run up to this important conference, HOPE is producing this simple overview.

Click here to read more and download a copy of this article.

** Check out our other feature articles HERE


20/10 2021

Calculating Your Eco-Footprint

Like many Australians, we have watched horrific bushfire events, floods and droughts harm our environment and wildlife (WWF, 2021). Making a start to reduce our individual impact on the environment can be overwhelming, as everything we do has an impact on the environment. From the metal parts in our mobile phone to the cup of coffees we drink every morning, everything we can see, touch and taste comes from a natural resource. Right now, humans consume about 1.6 Earth’s worth of natural resources (Dasgupta, 2021). That means humans are using natural resources at a rate that is not sustainable – we are using too many resources than what is available.

question from eco-footprint calculator
Figure 1: Question from the ecological footprint
calculator (Global Footprint Network, 2021).

If you want to reduce how many resources you are consuming, you need to know how much you are consuming. The ecological footprint is a calculation of how many natural resources are needed to sustain your lifestyle, or how many Earth’s are needed to support your lifestyle if everyone else lived the same way. The ecological footprint looks at four main categories to determine your resource consumption: Travel, energy usage, retail consumption, diet.

Everyone can reduce their eco-footprint. Calculating your eco-footprint can help highlight areas in your life that you can reduce consumption. Even if you have calculated your eco-footprint in the past, COVID-19 may have impacted your daily lifestyle and consequently your eco-footprint. Maybe you are not travelling internationally but driving your car more and not using public transport. Finding out how your consumption patterns have changed can help you live a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle.

global footprint network

Calculate your eco-footprint here to see how many Earth’s it would take to support your lifestyle: https://www.footprintcalculator.org/
To find out ways to reduce your eco-footprint and live more sustainably, visit www.hopeaustralia.org.au/resources.

Resources

Dasgupta, P. (2021), The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review. Abridged Version. London: HM Treasury.
Global Footprint Network, 2021. Accessed 25 April 2021, <https://www.footprintnetwork.org>.
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), 2021. Accessed 25 April 2021, <https://www.wwf.org.au/get-involved/change-the-way-you-live#gs.z4yvrf>.

(Written by Regina Kimble, HOPE researcher Qld)

** Get a PDF copy of this article HERE

** Check out our other feature articles HERE


18/10 2021

Review of Australian Emission Policies

This article provides a summary of the current climate commitments at different levels of governments in Australia. It also includes a brief analysis of these commitments in relation to the Paris agreement.

Federal government

Although the Australian Federal Government is committed to the Paris Agreement in 2015, but it has not committed to net zero carbon emissions by a specific date.

The Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by:

  • limiting global temperature rise this century to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels
  • pursuing efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C

Under the Paris Agreement, Australia must submit emissions reduction commitments known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) Australia first communicated its NDC in 2015, then recommunicated in 2020 with the same level of commitments as shown in Table 1 below.

Base year 2005
Target period Emissions target for the period 2021-2030
Target The current indicative value of the emissions budget is 4832 – 4764 mt
C02-e, corresponding to 26%-28% reduction
Scope Economy-wide
Gases covered Carbon dioxide (CO2); Methane (CH4); Nitrous oxide (N2O); Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs); Perfluorocarbons (PFCs); Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6); Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)

Table 1. Australia’s NDC 2020, sourced from UNFCC 2020 communications

State and territories

In Oct 2021 ClimateWorks Australia released a report researching state and territorial governments’ climate action. As shown in the figure below, all Australian state and territory governments are now committed to net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier.

image001

Figure 1. Subnational governments’ commitment, source SBS news

ClimateWorks modelled pathways for Australia to reach net zero emissions in order to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. The modelling shows that this decade needs to be one of transformational action if these goals are to be achieved. Emissions need to be reduced rapidly, and net zero emissions achieved well before 2050.

image002

Figure 2. Key findings of the report, source ClimateWorks report

Despite the progress in state and territory climate action, this report highlights much more needs to be done in this decade to meet the goals of the Paris agreement. The figure below shows ClimateWorks modelled 2030 targets aligned to 2°C and 1.5°C of warming, respectively. By 2030 the Australian annual emissions need to reduce by 48%-53% in the 2°C scenario and reduce by 74% in 1.5°C scenario. However as shown in Figure 2, current state and territory 2030 emissions reduction commitments only translate to 37% to 42% below 2005 levels Australia-wide.

image003

Figure 3. Requirements under 1.5°C and 2°C scenarios, source ClimateWorks report

The adoption of renewable electricity generation and electric vehicles also need to accelerate. To limit the warming to 1.5°C, 79% of the electricity should be generated from renewable sources in 2030. This is compared to 55% renewable energy target set by all the subnational governments.

In summary, our current climate commitments fall short of what is required in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Subnational governments cannot tackle the challenge and threats of climate change alone. The window to address these threats is narrowing, and an economy-wide commitment and transformation in this decade is of the utmost importance.

** Check out our other feature articles HERE


08/10 2021

[DATE CLAIMER] Join the Global Race to Zero Virtual Summit, 20-21 Oct 2021

The Global Race to Zero Summit will be one of the biggest virtual climate events the world has ever seen...

The race is on but we need to sprint… With global climate talks fast approaching and time running out to prevent the most disastrous impacts of climate change, now is the time to act.

The Summit will explore the opportunities that emerge from taking action on climate change and provide a clear pathway forward for governments, citizens and companies.

This event will be delivered in partnership with the UN’s Race to Zero Campaign and will be supported by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

The event will be held just 10 days before the G20 meeting in Rome on 30-31 of October and in the lead up to the critical COP26 meeting in Glasgow from 31 October–12 November.

You can visit the event page to see all speakers and download the latest program.


02/10 2021

GlobeScan Insight of the Week: Consumers Rate Governments and Food & Beverage Companies as Key to a Sustainable Food System

Around the world, nearly half of consumers say that national governments have the greatest influence to build a more healthy and sustainable food system.

More than one-third of consumers believe that food & beverage companies are best placed to achieve positive change, but just one in five feel that “people like me” can play a role in building a more healthy and sustainable food system.

This suggests that consumers are feeling unempowered and are looking to governments and companies to help them adopt healthier and more sustainable eating habits.

Data source: Grains of Truth: EAT-GlobeScan Global Consumer Research on Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems, 2021

Download this insight

View all insights


01/10 2021

Check out our October Bulletin!

Happy October, everyone! In this month's newsletter we want to encourage the preservation of the natural habitats home to our unique Aussie species by reducing pollution, practicing sustainable agriculture, and becoming community conservationists.

Grab your copy of the October bulletin from our e-News Bulletins page and read the insightful articles on how to conserve our natural environment, presented to you by our volunteers.


28/09 2021

United Nations World Habitat Day, Monday 4th October 2021

The United Nations (UN) has designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day to reflect on the state of our habitats, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. The Day is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our towns and cities. The theme for 2021 is Accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world.

Urban environments have been developing rapidly over the last few decades, and are responsible for over 70 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, together with a range of other atmospheric pollutants that have even greater global warming potential as well as causing various adverse health effects to urban dwellers and damage to infrastructure.

A very recent paper in Nature has stated that 90% of coal and 60% of oil and fossil methane gas must remain underground to have even a 50% chance of keeping global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Therefore, reducing our energy consumption, using it more efficiently and producing it more sustainably are essential to continue to live with the creature comforts we currently take for granted.

The Coronavirus pandemic saw an immediate drop in urban pollution as a result of lockdowns and people working from home. As the world opens up again, atmospheric pollution is expected to increase very rapidly. The opportunity afforded by the pandemic to reevaluate urban living should be grasped: Melbourne and Sydney have seen large numbers of people ‘escape’ from the crowded (and expensive) inner suburbs to outer suburbs and regional areas (hoping for a sea- or tree-change of lifestyle).

The rise of remote working – if continued long-term – could have dramatic implications for our major cities. People who can work remotely are reconsidering what type of home environment they require, and are valuing having access to a garden or nearby park for exercise.

During the pandemic, to be able to provide sufficient social distancing in city centres, entire roads were closed off to traffic and used as outdoor dining areas. Could such roads and laneways be repurposed in the post-pandemic world as a sort of ‘green avenue’ whilst still encouraging people to visit the shops and cafes?

Longer-term and more radical land use planning decisions will need to be considered to keep our cities livable in the future. Taking Sydney as an example; it is well-known by those who live there that Greater Western Sydney can be up to ten degrees Celsius higher than eastern Sydney. To ensure Greater Western Sydney remains habitable in the future, changes to planning and land use need to occur to ensure that increased green space and natural shade are provided.

At the same time, eastern Sydney is going to feel the effects of any sea-level rise and any increased storm activity from the Pacific that will result from temperature-induced sea changes. The worst scenario would be a drowned eastern Sydney and an oven-like Greater Western Sydney.

Some may argue that the answer would be to dig a large lake in Greater Western Sydney and allow the rising sea to flood it. Whilst technically, it could be done, is it ethically and economically justified to do so? Almost certainly not! Therefore, a more holistic and realistic approach would be needed.

The following are some of the ways which urban energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions can be minimized:

  • Turn-off electrical devices when not in use.
  • Install solar panels to make use of solar energy. Various grants are available to assist with the cost.
  • Retain natural vegetation in urban landscapes. Plants act to absorb carbon dioxide; provide shade (thereby keeping the environment cooler); provide habitats for wildlife and act to beautify the landscape.
  • Where possible, walk, cycle or take public transport. Do you need to get the car out to get your morning coffee and cake?
  • When undertaking refurbishments, consider the long-term impacts of the works. Choose materials that are resilient and low energy.
  • Improve the recovery of materials and energy from the waste stream where possible and dispose of in the most environmentally-sustainable manner.
  • Improve building thermal efficiency to prevent excessive heat loss or heat gain (and, therefore, requiring heating or cooling)
  • Ensure heating and cooling systems (and, indeed, all appliances) are maintained in good condition; this enables them to work more efficiently.
  • Consider having a rooftop garden or ‘living wall’ on city centre buildings. There are a number of suppliers of living wall systems: for example, www.sminational.com.au and www.citygreen.com. Such systems help with thermal regulation of buildings, as well as providing noise barriers; wildlife habitats, pollution filters and a doorstep food source.
  • Set-up or join a community garden project.

Obviously, there are many, many more ways to live sustainably in urban habitats and every positive action undertaken can bring about a range of benefits that spans many aspects of modern life.

HOPE Inc. has produced an information brochure called ‘Transition Towns Initiative’. The Transition Towns Initiative is a global project which aims to help communities meet the challenges of climate change and peak oil (the point at which maximal oil production is reached). The brochure can be downloaded HERE.

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph. 07 4639 2135
Written by Jason Dingley, HOPE Media Officer (Vic)

** Looking for other media releases? Visit our Media Activities page.


26/09 2021

Notable events leading to the creation of the Earth Charter

The 1950s saw a rising interest in the topic of climate change and the effects of greenhouse gases on our planet. In 1957 oceanographer Roger Revelle warned of humanity conducting a “large-scale geophysical experiment” by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. His colleague David Keeling then set up the first continuous monitoring of CO2 levels in the atmosphere, which found a regular year-on-year rise.

In 1979 the First World Climate Conference highlighted climate change as a major issue and called on governments “to foresee and prevent potential man-made changes in climate.”

In 1985 a major international conference on the greenhouse effect took place in Austria and warned that greenhouse gases will “cause a rise of global mean temperature which is greater than any in man’s history.” Researchers predicted that this could cause sea levels to rise by up to one metre.

In 1987 the World Commission on Environment and Development launched the ‘Our Common Future’ Report which called for a charter to focus on more sustainable development internationally. Subsequently in 1994, Maurice Strong, Secretary-General of the Rio Earth Summit and Mikhail Gorbachev, former leader of the Soviet Union and founder of Green Cross International sought to develop an Earth Charter, beginning the lengthy drafting and consultation process. In 1997 an independent Earth Charter Commission was formed to oversee the development of the text, analyse international consultation outcomes and to come to an agreement on a global consensus document. In 2000 the final version of The Earth Charter (the Charter) was approved at the Hague.

The Earth Charter principles

Thirteen years in draft produced a well-crafted document urging people to unite for a more sustainable global society. The Charter highlights the importance of “preserving a healthy biosphere with all its ecological systems… fertile soils, pure waters, and clean air” to maintain the resilience and well-being of humanity. The Charter highlighted major environmental issues including:

  • environmental devastation, depletion of resources, and mass extinction of species caused by over-production and consumption;
  • human suffering created by the widening gap between rich and poor, injustice, poverty, ignorance, and violent conflict; and
  • the burden on ecological and social systems caused by the rapid rise in the human population.

The Charter speaks of universal responsibility and the need for a common set of principles to guide individuals, organisations, businesses, and governments to a more sustainable future. This was Intended as an educational tool, a guide to sustainable living, an ethical and values framework and a ‘soft law’ instrument. To date the Charter has not been accepted by the United Nations due to conflicting ideologies with the Charter being environmentalist at its core and the UN anthropocentric and economic in its values. The Charter’s principles observe both humanitarian and environmentalist values, encouraging leaders to improve the living conditions for all - humans, wildlife and the environment equally. The four principles are discussed below.

Principle 1: Respect and care for the community of life

The word community is used to describe both nature, wildlife, flora, fauna and humans who are interdependent and deserving of respect. This principle speaks of respecting earth and life in all its diversity to care with understanding and compassion.

This principle promotes the idea of building democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable and peaceful. Such societies are seen to ensure human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as social and economic justice.

Lastly the principle acknowledges the need to protect the earth and its ecology for future generations. While extinction of species continues at an exponential rate, the last five years has seen a decrease in deforestation rates by about 5 million ha per year compared to previous years (Ecosystem Marketplace, 2021). The decrease has been a result of international initiatives and increased corporate commitments to reduce deforestation, as well as improved forest monitoring tools and changes in consumer behaviour with a reduction in meat consumption.

Principle 2: Ecological integrity

This principle is more assertive directing businesses, organisations and governments to protect and restore ecological systems, prevent harm and adapt production chains that safeguard earth’s resources, ecology and human rights. The principle encourages scientists and businesses to study ecological sustainability and support open information sharing - pertinent to research on human health, environmental protection and sustainability.

Preserving traditional knowledge and spiritual wisdom that protects the environment and its people is also seen as being a part of ecological integrity. This is seen in the slower deterioration of land belonging to indigenous people which is 35% of global land area currently (IPBES report, 2021).

Principle 3: Social and economic justice

The third principle target governments, employers and human rights activists to eradicate poverty, promote equal and sustainable human development, ensure gender equality and access to education and healthcare. Here achieving gender equality is synonymous to ending violence against women and promoting active participation in decision making in all aspects of societal living. These principles aim to ensure that the most basic human needs are met, such as clean drinking water and air, secure food sources, shelter, education and sanitation. However, some basic needs are still inaccessible to 107 developing countries (World Vision, Global Poverty: Facts, FAQs, and how to help, 2021).

The principle also points to the importance of dignity and the support of bodily health, spiritual wellbeing and the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities. Specifically eliminating discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, social and ethnic background. The principle affirms the rights of indigenous people to their practices of spirituality, lands and resources.

Principle 4: Democracy, nonviolence and peace

While the word ‘democracy’ appears first and foremost the emphasis of this principle is on access to information, education, participation and informed decision making. The Charter suggests that environmental education should begin early in life and should be taught through art, science, humanities, spirituality and be promoted in social media.

The Charter tells governments to take non-provocative defense postures, eliminate nuclear, biological and toxic weapons to avoid mass destruction and resolve environmental conflict peacefully.

The last principle demands all beings to be treated with respect by preventing animal cruelty domestically and through inhumane methods of hunting and fishing and catching nontarget species. Unfortunately, as the human population has increased in the last twenty years so has over-fishing, an issue being tackled by more regulated sustainable fishing practices worldwide (MSC insights, 2021).

The Charter is a passionate and compelling document - the values of which are hard to dispute. I hope that we continue to see the practice of these four principles spreading with changes in consumer behaviour forcing businesses and production chains to put the environment first, and pressure on governments to adhere to the UNFCCC Paris Agreement.

(Written by Anna Kula, HOPE researcher Qld)

** Check out our other feature articles HERE


26/09 2021

[DATE CLAIMER] World Biodiversity Summit - Part 3

What is it World Biodiversity Summit – Part 3
When 10th November 2021
Where Glasgow, UK – in-person and digital

“Evidence of biodiversity loss is everywhere and climate change is contributing to this loss. But biodiversity loss does not only refer to the loss of plants and animals, it threatens all life on our planet. The state of the natural environment is directly linked to our ability to adapt, mitigate and solve the challenges that our planet is facing nowadays. As we aim to bring economic growth within safe planetary boundaries, achieve the Paris Agreement goals and support the Post-2020 Global Framework, cross-sector synergy is crucial.

The goal of the World Biodiversity Summit is to bridge biodiversity and climate and to accelerate investment-driven solutions to the biodiversity crisis. The Summit will serve as a convening for leaders from across public and private sectors, to set the world on a path to achieve the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity through actionable leadership and supporting the facilitation of a task force on nature-related financial disclosures.

Measurable targets and commitments will be established, determining best practices for innovation and collaboration and creating public-private partnerships that will strengthen initiatives to prevent the ongoing destruction of biodiversity, therefore contributing to a healthy planet.”

Schedule of Events

Time Topic
09:00-09:15 Welcome Remarks. Biodiversity and Climate Change – the Necessary Link
09:15-10:00 Opening Session: Rebuilding Better – Raising Ambitions & Mobilising Finance for Nature
10:00-11:00 Session 1 – Sustainable and Regenerative Agriculture at the Center of Development Strategies – Challenges and Opportunities
11:00-12:30 Networking Break
12:30-13:30 Session 2 - Policy, Technology & Finance - Creating Partnerships for Resilient Food Systems
13:30-14:30 Session 3 - Overcoming Barriers & Growing Investment Opportunities in Restorative Land & Forestry Management
14:20-15:30 Session 4 - Life Below Water - Harnessing The Blue Economy through Investment & Innovation
15:30-16:00 Closing Remarks by Partners - Natural Capital as an Asset Class - Mitigating Climate Change by Protecting Nature
16:00-19:00 Cocktail Reception & Networking


Register online HERE


23/09 2021

Volunteering for the Environment

People are concerned for the environment; and have been for many years. Even during the years of the Industrial Revolution, there were concerns over the impacts resulting from industrialization and urbanization. With the use of atomic weapons that brought about the end of World War II, it was made evident to all that man had developed the ability to destroy the world. J. Robert Oppenheimer, one of the physicists involved in the development of the atomic bomb quoted a Hindu scripture ‘I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.’

During the post-war period, as people looked towards the future, increasing attention was turned to environmental issues. Environmental disasters and the publication of environmental works brought about an increased focus on impacts to the environment. People desired to take action to bring attention to perceived failings and lack of attention afforded by Government and business.

During the 1980s, Europe saw the development of mainstream ‘Green’ parties and lobby groups. The 1980s also saw the first ‘fruits’ of environmental and conservation awareness being picked: the ban on whaling in 1986; the Montreal Protocol on banning of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons; efforts to reduce the effects of ‘acid rain’ on the forests of Central and Eastern Europe and the North-East USA and Canada are just some examples.

The Rio Summit of 1992 was a pivotal moment for the environment and seemed to give hope to many ideas for sustainable development. Unfortunately, progress has been slower than many would like, and we are still talking about human-induced climate change three decades later without having progressed very far down the road to slowing it down, never mind reversing it.

What this means is that there is still much to do with regard to environmental management and sustainable development.

Volunteering is important to the economy and to the social fabric of the country. Volunteering Victoria has published its 2020 report on volunteering in Victoria. A few key figures on the state of volunteering in Victoria from the above report:

  • 2.3 million Victorians over the age of 15 volunteer. That is 42.1% of the population! The combined total hours volunteers contributed in 2019 was 507.7 million. From a monetary perspective (although many would say their time is priceless and they gain enjoyment from just helping out), the value of this volunteering was $58.1 billion in 2019.

So, from this very brief snapshot, it can be seen that volunteering a major contributor to the Victorian economy. Such figures are replicated across the country.

How can you volunteer for the environment?

Firstly, think about something that you are strongly interested in. It could be something as simple as bird watching. Birdlife Australia are running a Backyard Bird Count from the 18-24 October 2021. This is an example of Citizen Science, where the general public takes part in research and recording the data that is used to determine the health or otherwise of particular species or area. By conducting annual counts, Birdlife Australia can build up information of the numbers of different bird species in different areas, and how those numbers change, and how the numbers of individuals of a species fluctuate. Citizen Science projects such as this are low-cost and can be done from the comfort of a favourite chair with a favourite drink to hand.

There are many environmental observance days – such as the aforementioned Backyard Bird Count – where a particular date or dates is used to focus attention on a particular topic.

Alternatively, you may wish to pick up litter from the street. This, too, is a positive step for the environment, as litter can block drains, trap inquisitive animals or be eaten by them. Or, you may decide not to take the car to the shops. Both are positive environmental actions. You might want to consider using the focus of one particular environmental observance day to kick-start something positive about environmental volunteering: for example, the 20th October is National Ride2Work Day.

Secondly, join one of the myriad of environmental groups and organisations that exist. With so many, how do you choose? Again, this comes down to what you are interested in, as well as other factors: where they are located; what activities do they do? do they charge a membership fee? How ‘radical’ they are.

There may be clubs or groups within your place of work or study that want to get involved in environmental matters. Here, you can join with people you may know, which may make it easier.

Alternatively, you may wish to divorce yourself from work and do something different and meet a new group of people whom you wouldn’t normally get to know. Joining an environmental group may give that opportunity. This is especially important if you are new to an area and don’t know many people, or if you have experienced a ‘life-changing’ event and need an opportunity to re-emerge into society.

Social media and the internet are very easy ways to find out about environmental groups, as well as all manner of issues, although the adage of ‘buyer beware’ needs to be considered, as not all information is of equal worth.

Increasingly, with the need to produce a more ‘rounded’ workforce, volunteering is considered an excellent skill to put on your resume and applications for college or university entry. Unemployed people are looking toward volunteering to gain experience that makes them more employable and, perhaps, find out about skills and abilities they didn’t realise they had.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a number of effects on volunteering: a lot of face-to-face volunteering has been cancelled or restricted. This is understandable, as many people are worried about the risks to health as well as various restrictions that have been imposed by both government and other agencies.

However, the pandemic has given people time to think about what they want to achieve in their lives, and whether they can do things differently. Many volunteer organisations should use this ‘downtime’ to refocus on what they want to achieve. The use of Zoom and other platforms has been essential in keeping volunteer organisations going. Moving forward, once the population is free to undertake the activities it usual does, there needs to be a mix between face-to-face and online / remote volunteering.

On a personal note, my reason for joining HOPE Inc. was to utilise my interest in, and knowledge of, environmental issues, both for making a societal contribution and self-development. Besides being a member of HOPE Inc., I am also the President of the Lions Club of Pakenham; another volunteer, service-based organisation. A major project which has a very important role to play in disaster relief and community assistance is Need for Feed, which was begun by a member of the club during the drought years of 2006/07. This project has been enormously successful, to the extent that, earlier this year, the Lions Club of Pakenham had the honour of chartering a dedicated club for this worthwhile endeavour: the Lions Club of Victoria Need for Feed.

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph. 4639 2135
Written by Jason Dingley, HOPE Media Officer (Vic)

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22/09 2021

[ICAN Australia] IPPNW statement on nuclear submarine plans

Dear colleagues,

Australia, UK and US plans for deeper nuclear alliance entanglement by Australia, spearheaded by proposed nuclear powered submarines armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, is arousing deep concern and would set our country on a hazardous course of exacerbating proliferation risks, raising tensions and risk of armed conflict with China, with alarming dangers of nuclear escalation.

Please find documents issued overnight by IPPNW together with its affiliates in Australia, UK and US – MAPW, Medact and Physicians for Social Responsibility:

  • A longer statement from IPPNW and its affiliates in Australia, UK and US (Full Statement)
  • A shorter summary with quotes from affiliate leaders (Summary)
  • Collated quotes including an additional longer one from Sue Wareham president of MAPW (Australia) (Quotes)

We hope they are useful in your work.

Best,

Tilman Ruff
IPPNW Co-president and ICAN Australia board member


22/09 2021

ICAN – International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

The International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) (www.icanw.org) is a coalition of non-governmental organisatons (NGOs) promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty. It is headquartered in Switzerland. It has 601 partner organisations spread across 106 countries.

On the 7th July 2017 – after a decade of advocacy by ICAN and its partners – the UN adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The treaty entered into force on the 22 January 2021. For its advocacy and campaigning, ICAN was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

To date, 86 countries are State Signatories; 55 of which have ratified it. This means that these countries are prohibited from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in these activities.

If a nation possesses nuclear weapons, it may join the treaty, so long as it agrees to destroy them in a legally-binding, timely manner. Similarly, a nation that hosts another’s nuclear weapons may join, so long as a process is agreed for those weapons to be removed.

In addition, signatories must also provide assistance to all the victims of the use and testing of nuclear weapons and to take measures for the remediation of contaminated environments; especially women, children and indigenous peoples.

ICAN was founded in Australia in 2007. Australia is not one of the signatories – despite not having nuclear weapons of its own – and has caused much controversy with its decision to join the US and UK in an alliance to purchase a new generation of nuclear submarines.

Currently, there are 13,080 nuclear warheads spread across the world. The following are countries that still hold nuclear weapons (listed in number of warheads):

Russia – 6,255; USA – 5,550; China – 350; France – 290; UK – 225; Pakistan – 165; India – 156; Israel – 90; and North Korea – 40-50.

The following countries host U.S. nuclear weapons:

Turkey – 50; Italy – 40; Belgium – 20; Germany – 20; and the Netherlands – 20.

None of the above countries have joined the TPNW.

The rationale of holding a nuclear arsenal is that of Mutually-Assured Destruction (MAD). Having a nuclear arsenal and knowing that your enemies also have such an arsenal means that no-one is stupid enough to actually give the order to launch nuclear weapons because they would know that a nuclear retaliation would occur.

Whilst the threat of an actual nuclear confrontation between the major holders of nuclear weapons in Europe seems to have diminished for the present, it is possible that a war between China and /or North Korea and the USA, Australia, UK and others might occur, which could turn nuclear. A number of flashpoints in Asia and the Middle East could potentially turn nuclear as several of the key stakeholders are nuclear-armed:

  • India and Pakistan along their disputed border regions
  • India and China along their disputed border regions
  • North Korea and its relations with South Korea and Japan
  • China and its relationship with Taiwan
  • China and its expansion into the South China Sea and Philippine region
  • Israel being surrounded by Islamic countries who have an inherent distrust of the Jewish state.
  • Russia and its relationship with some of the former Soviet states in Asia.

In addition, there is a concern that ‘ROGUE’ or terrorist elements will obtain nuclear material and use it for their own warped agenda. The fear is that such a group could carry out a Twin Towers-style attack in the future, but with nuclear (or, indeed, chemical or biological) material.

The other problem is that not all countries are particularly open with their various energy and weapons programmes, and what they hold. Iran’s nuclear energy programme is causing particular concern over its alleged research into manufacturing nuclear weapons due to its uranium enrichment and plutonium production. The International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) monitors these activities but has been not always been provided with full and unrestricted access to facilities and documentation.

The problems that the IAEA have had with Iran bring into the spotlight another issue: how open and trustworthy will particular countries be with their civilian nuclear and other programmes? The invasion of Iraq due to Saddam Hussein’s supposed refusal to be open about Iraq’s nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and that the ‘intelligence’ agencies stated that there ‘must’ have been such materials left in Iraq as the figures that they had didn’t correlate. The invasion and subsequent search uncovered very little in the way of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

The above digression shows that the work of ICAN is by no means over, and that ICAN and its partners need to work to convince countries that currently have nuclear weapons that they are no longer needed. This requires a truly significant change in mindset of leaders of the ‘Nuclear Club’. This is especially difficult due to the dichotomy between the major capitalist nuclear members (USA; France and UK) and the three main communist regimes (Russia, China and North Korea). Unfortunately, leaders of all three communist regimes play hardline politics and, as such, cause concern in the major capitalist countries, who continue to modernize their own offensive and defensive capabilities to ‘counter’ these threats.

The challenge of ICAN and its partners is to encourage dialogue and openness between the members of the ‘Nuclear Club’.

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph. 4639 2135
Written by Jason Dingley, HOPE Media Officer (Vic)

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18/09 2021

International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, Wednesday 29th September 2021

The amount of food wasted each year is staggering - in Australia alone it is over seven million tonnes, with an estimated cost of $20 million! Despite this, a worrying percentage of the population experiences some form of food insecurity (approximately 20% in Australia). To raise awareness of food loss, the United Nations (UN) has inaugurated Wednesday 29th September 2021 as the first International Day of Food Loss and Waste Reduction (www.un.org/en/observances/end-food-waste-day).

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN define food loss and waste as the decrease in quantity or quality of food along the food supply chain. Food loss itself is the result of decisions and actions taken (or not taken) by suppliers, but excluding the final interactions with consumers (retailers; food service providers and the actual consumer of the food), Food waste is the result of purchasing decisions by consumers, or decisions by retailers and food service providers that influence consumer behaviour. The FAO State of Food and Agriculture 2019 report discusses these concepts in greater detail.

When food is lost or wasted, all the resources that have gone to produce that food (water, land, energy, labour and capital) are wasted, and the further along the chain that the loss occurs, the greater the amount of resources that have been invested to reach that point that are lost. In addition, disposal of this food creates large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

Some unused food can be composted and reused as fertilizer. Too much, however, still finds its way into landfill.

For many years, the European Union set production quotas for the agricultural sector which resulted in food ‘mountains’ and ‘lakes’ that were either disposed of, or dumped on the world market at greatly reduced prices, causing economic hardship to other producers.

The Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the food loss and waste - with Australia in continued lockdowns and shut-off from the rest of the world, many producers are struggling to find the labour to harvest fruit and vegetables. This work has traditionally been undertaken by ‘backpacker’ tourists and students who come on seasonal working visas.

To avoid letting this food rot, some farmers have been able to turn the products into more processed forms: strawberries into strawberry jam, for example. This is an added cost for them, and it results in a glut of these products on the market which are then sold very cheaply at the supermarkets, which leads to consumers over-buying products and not using them, and thence, having to dispose of them once spoiled.

In addition, ‘panic buying’ by consumers of items in large quantities from supermarkets means that, not only is there the potential for large scale household food wastage but, also, the feedback effects throughout the food supply chain.

For the consumer, there are a number of ways to reduce food waste:

Firstly, take time to plan your meals, so you buy what you need in the quantities you can adequately store and use.

Secondly, avoid the temptation to bulk buy on special offers – how many tins of baked beans do you really need?

Thirdly, if you find you have more food than you can use, consider donating it to a food bank or community pantry. There are many people who rely on these services, and would gladly take the food you will throw away.

Consider buying direct from the farmer / producer. That way, you know that the person who is actually producing the food is going to get the money. In addition, you can choose food that is fresher than that from a supermarket.

Utilise leftovers (when stored correctly, of course) so that they can form the basis of a second meal, rather than throwing them away.

Not only will you save food waste, but also, save money!

Food and Drink magazine has an article entitled ‘Wasted Opportunities’, which can be accessed from HOPE inc. website: www.hopeaustralia.org.au/uploads/media/Waste-Opportunities.PDF.

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph. 4639 2135
Written by Jason Dingley, HOPE Media Officer (Vic)

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14/09 2021

National Organic Week, 20th-26th September 2021

Since 2008, the Centre for Organic Research & Education (CORE) has been organizing the National Organic Week (NOW), which is a week of targeted media and locally-staged activities designed to increase awareness of the benefits of organic products and farming production systems and to accelerate the uptake of these in the wider Australian community and environment (www.organicweek.net.au/core/about-now).

NOW has a number of goals:

  • Increase consumer demand for, confidence in and appreciation for organically-grown produce and goods
  • Raising the public’s awareness of the connection between organic farming and environmental sustainability, with particular focus on climate change abatement, organic farming practices, food waste avoidance and composting;
  • Increase knowledge among the public and businesses about the stringent standards for organic and biodynamic products;
  • Engage and build capacity for farmers to convert to organic and biological farming methods;
  • Raise political awareness at all levels of how organic and biological farming methods and products directly meet the agricultural and environmental challenges of the 21st century;
  • Raise the profile of NOW and support stakeholders and sponsors in promoting themselves and their products to the public.

Organic produce has increased in popularity (and, consequently, in the revenue generated). In 2000, the global market for organic product was US$18 billion; by 2019, this had increased to US$106 billion.

What is organic farming or organic agriculture?

Lampkin (1994) defined organic farming as: an “approach to agriculture where the aim is to create integrated, humane environmentally and economically sustainable agricultural production systems, which maximize reliance on farm-derived renewable resources and the management of ecological and biological processes and interactions, so as to provide acceptable levels of crop, livestock and human nutrition, protection from pests and diseases, and an appropriate return to the human and other resources employed” (taken from N. H. Lampkin and S. Padel Eds. 1994. The Economics of Organic Farming: an international perspective. CABI: Wallingford.

What a mouthful! What this means in practice is, to farm organically, the following methods are used:

  • Crop rotation; whereby a sequence of different crops is used to maintain the nutrient and water balance of the soil, whilst keeping pests to a minimum. Rotational grazing with livestock works the same way;
  • Use of fallow periods on particular plots to allow natural recovery;
  • Mixed cropping, so that a variety of plant species are grown together, rather than vast field of monocrops;
  • Ecological or biological pest control: using natural predators of pest species rather than herbicides and pesticides;
  • Reduced soil disturbance and better soil chemistry through improved land management practices;
  • Improving water quantity and quality through the use of mulches and different soil preparation techniques;
  • Use of natural windbreaks;
  • Increased biodiversity; allowing nature to do the work through not only pest control, but also pollination, and creating habitats for different species to nest;
  • Reduced run-off into watercourses of chemicals and top-soil; and
  • Use of composting and organic manures as nutrient sources, rather than expensive fertilizers

NOW will enable people to learn about these and other strategies for producing organic agricultural produce.

Should you wish to register an event, the following link can be used to submit the details of the event: https://www.organicweek.net.au/core/events/register-an-event/

HOPE Inc. has a number of resources that introduce different aspects of sustainable living and organic farming available to download from its website. For example, here is a fact sheet on composting: Info Sheet: Composting - Is it for me?, If you want a small vegetable patch, but have little space, have a look at Square Foot Gardening: How to Square Foot Garden. Should you wish to keep chickens, and have free range eggs for breakfast, here is an informative leaflet: Beginner's Guide to Chook-Keeping.

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph. 4639 2135
Written by Jason Dingley, HOPE Media Officer (Vic)

** Looking for more media releases? Visit our Media Activities page.


12/09 2021

Check out our September Bulletin!

Welcome to September! Our September Bulletin is here and this month, we have focused on bringing to your attention pertinent environmental issues from the national and international sphere.

Visit our e-News Bulletins page to download your copy.

September Bulletin Editorial


03/09 2021

Transform your city’s streets for World Car Free Day, 22 September 2021

Every year on 22 September, the world gets together to take the heat off the planet for just one day. By encouraging people to be less dependent on cars and use more environmentally friendly alternatives, we can all reduce dangerous carbon emissions and help protect our environment.

Today, there are over one billion cars on the roads adding a dangerous amount of pollution, which can damage our lungs, contribute to atmospheric haze and an increased amount of carbon monoxide. For one day, we urge you to try to avoid using your car and instead why not try cycling, walking, using public transport or carpooling with your colleagues.

As the climate heats up, World Car Free Day is also a great time to put pressure on city planners and politicians to give priority to cycling, walking and public transport. Let World Car Free Day be a showcase for just how our cities might look like, feel like, and sound like without cars 365 days a year.

Check out World Car Free Network’s resources and find inspiration there, find potential allies in your area and become an activist for car free day today. If you have any questions or want to organise your own event, simply send info about your local event to infocarfreeday@gmail.com

See you on the streets! #CarFreeDay .


Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph. 4639 2135
Media officer: Danielle Eyre, mob: 0456 610 307