What's New?

National Geographic: How many West African lions remain on Earth?

Monday, 5 August 2019

(From National Geographic)

Two hundred and fifty. That's it. That's the estimated number of West African lions left on Earth today.

With their habitat nearly gone, they've become the most endangered lions in the world. And without help from big cat defenders like you, we might lose them forever.

For the next five days only, when you make a gift to the National Geographic Society, it will be matched 3x, up to $200,000. National Geographic Explorers have already helped protect big cat populations in 30 countries. Join our community of big cat defenders to help protect even more big cats and other threatened wildlife while we still have time to save them.

Donate $10 or more today, and you'll receive a limited-edition big cat poster as a sign of our thanks!

National Geographic

Locals flock to join the campaign!

Saturday, 3 August 2019

(From BirdLife Australia's update on Toondah Harbour)

Thanks to everyone who was able to join us last Friday night at the Toondah Harbour community forum!

It was wonderful to see so many passionate bird and nature lovers come together to learn more about the campaign and hear how we can work together to protect the precious wetlands of Toondah Harbour.

We understand not everyone could make it, so we wanted to give a quick update on how the night went.

The BirdLife Campaigns team briefed the room on the status of the current development proposal, the precedence of the Toondah Harbour development and why we must campaign, the critical pathways to success, and most importantly, demonstrated that by working together we can and WILL win this campaign!

Local legends Judith Hoyle and Dr. Rob Clemens, fresh off of their 4 Corners “Extinction Nation” appearance, continued their heartfelt stories of why they love the migratory shorebirds that Toondah Harbour supports, and why they aren’t going to stop speaking up for our birds.

Finally, we asked folks in the room to work together and share their ideas to make the next key moment, Welcome Back Shorebirds on the 21st September, a success that will further amplify the campaign and put Toondah on the map nationally.

It was a great night filled with inspiring conversations between friends, some old and some new.

Today, you can support the campaign to save the wetlands of Toondah Harbour by taking these three simple actions:

  1. Sign the petition and ask 5 friends to join you..
  2. Sign up to the campaign and pledge to meet your local MP, we will help you to get to know your local candidates, form a local action group of friends, set up meetings, get your point across, and be heard!
  3. Add 21st September to your calendars for Welcome Back Shorebirds, an event at Toondah Harbour to celebrate these special birds and their incredible journey home.

We can’t wait to take the enthusiasm from the forum forward with us as we continue our campaign to save this precious wetland at Toondah Harbour.

With over 70 people in the room keen to get working and join the campaign, and thousands across the country, we will win this!

We look forward to seeing you again,

Fiona Blandford
Community Organiser
BirdLife Australia

Planning 101: Dr Chris McGrath lectures and EDO Qld materials

Thursday, 1 August 2019

(From Environmental Defenders Office Queensland - EDO Qld)

For those who weren’t able to make Dr Chris McGrath’s fantastic workshop on the Qld Planning Framework last month, hosted by EDO Qld, the recordings of his lectures provided at the workshop are available on Chris’s website here: http://envlaw.com.au/edo_workshop/

His website above also has great summaries of environmental cases (most of which Chris was involved in!) and a Synopsis of our Environmental Laws which is currently being updated – due for release in 2020.

You can also find EDO Qld’s Factsheets here. I’ve pulled out some of the factsheets most relevant to planning law here:

Of course, there is also the Community Litigants Handbook which has just been updated and provides helpful advice on self-representing in the Planning and Environment Court, should you find yourself in that position.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if we can be of assistance on planning and environmental law matters that would help your work. That’s what we are here for!

Keep up the great work everyone! You’re all environmental heroes.

Warm regards

Revel Pointon
Senior Solicitor

Ozone uptake in oceans lower than expected

Thursday, 1 August 2019

(From CSIRO's latest ECOS e-news)

CSIRO scientists have developed a new way to account for ozone in computer simulations of the climate. This latest modelling shows that oceans take much less ozone out of the atmosphere than previously thought. This has implications not only for our understanding of future global warming, but also on human health, plant productivity and the economy.

Read more.

Unearthing the toxic legacy of toxic coal ash, We're taking the NSW government to court

Thursday, 1 August 2019

(From Environmental Justice Australia's latest e-bulletin)

On 2 July, we released groundbreaking new research on coal ash -- the toxic by-product of coal-fired power. The research made headlines around the country and has sparked a public call for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the impacts on human and environmental health.

Read more and join the call for an Inquiry.

We’re headed to Court as lawyers for the Nature Conservation Council NSW to challenge the state Environment Protection Authority (EPA). NCC is arguing that when carrying out five yearly pollution licence reviews for three of the state's coal-fired power stations, the NSW EPA did not properly consider the pollution they cause or the measures which could be taken to prevent or control that pollution.

Read more.

Environmental Justice Australia

Melbourne's green spaces are being lost in rush to build more housing

Thursday, 1 August 2019

(From the Australian Network for Plant Conservation's latest plant conservation news updates)

Melbourne has lost almost 2000 hectares of tree cover in the past five years as suburban backyards are cleared for new housing. The amount of urban forest that was removed between 2014 and 2018 is roughly equal in size to Reservoir, Melbourne’s largest suburb by area. The eastern suburbs, long celebrated for their leafiness, experienced the greatest loss of greenery in that time, accounting for more than two-thirds of Melbourne's total tree canopy loss, researchers at RMIT University found. By contrast, the western suburbs have enjoyed a small recent recovery in green growth, although this has been from a much lower base and has mostly occurred on public land.

Read full article here.

Having our cake (and eating it too)

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

(From Prof Andy Lowe's new post)

Let us be in no doubt, food production and processing is in the midst of the biggest change since the industrial revolution.

And not too soon, society is facing some mega challenges and changes, many of which relate to food and the way we produce it. These include:

  • The world is getting hungrier— with global population predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050, food demand will increase by 60-70%
  • The world is getting wealthier world — emergence of a new middle class increasing premium food and beverage consumption
  • Customers are becoming choosier— information empowered consumers demand particular ethics, provenance, sustainability or health attributes
  • Technologies are becoming transformative— advances in production and transport, machine learning, computer vision, robotics
  • Our political, financial and environmental systems are more unstable— changes resulting from globalisation, a changing climate and the political forces of anti-globalisation.
  • We are becoming unhealthier – for the first time in history the life expectancy of children is lower than their parent generation and decreasing, mainly due to poor diet. In Australia 60% of adults overweight or obese, and 1.7m people have diabetes (7%); which is projected to be 3m by 2025. Total health care costs set to increase as a proportion of government budgets
  • Finally food production is the leading cause of the some of the earths major environmental problems. For example in Australia, 60% of land use, 70% of water use and 16% of greenhouse gases are due to agricultural production. This land use is also contributing to soil erosion, dryland and irrigated salinity and a decline in the provision of ecosystem services, such as pollination.

Recognising these issues the United Nations has developed the Global Sustainable Development Goals as a rallying call for sustainable development (you can find a progress report published in May 2019here).

Many of these goals are directly relevant to food production and distribution, including:

  • zero hunger - food production and distribution,
  • good health and well-being - diet and nutrition,
  • industry innovation and infrastructure - ag and food tech and transformation,
  • sustainable cities and communities - sustainable food production,
  • responsible consumption and production - reducing food waste and transforming into new products,
  • climate action - mitigation and adaptation in food sector, and carbon sequestration,
  • life below water - management of fisheries and pollution/run off,
  • life on land - integrated landscapes that support food production and biodiversity

But as we know the delivery of these goals doesn't just happen. It needs business and communities to adopt more sustainable practices to actively reduce or at least start to manage these problems. In many cases this is not easy, and its difficult to know where to start.

So what are the options and potential for change in the agrifood and beverage sectors? Keep a look out for my next blog post in which I outline the top 10 predictions for trending food changes.

Prof Andy Lowe

Recycling won't solve the plastic crisis, so what can you do?

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

(From Center for International Environmental Law - CIEL)

We use plastic every day. Our food is wrapped in it, our clothes are made from it, and everything we buy seems to be sealed in it. We’ve been told that as long as we recycle that plastic, it's sustainable.

Unfortunately, that is just not true. Plastic recycling is a myth.

Recycling isn’t the endless sustainable loop we’ve been told it is. Every time a piece of plastic is recycled, it degrades in quality. Plastic can only be recycled a certain number of times before it ends up in the landfill or the incinerator. So what we call recycling is nothing but postponing the final disposal.

This is because the global plastic economy is broken. We are producing plastic waste far faster than we can recycle it, and the system is overwhelmed and under-equipped. To make matters worse, it’s cheaper to produce new plastic from fossil fuels than to recycle old plastic because of heavy subsidies for the fossil fuel sector (which makes 99% of our plastic) and the technical challenges of dealing with toxic additives that make up a large portion of all plastic. So many countries simply don’t want to make the investment.

To deal with this problem, many developed countries export their plastic waste to be “recycled” (or actually dumped) elsewhere, primarily to southeast Asia. (Talk about a carbon footprint shipping all that recycling waste across the planet!) But the countries receiving all that waste can’t keep up, and until recently, a lack of international protections made it almost impossible for them to refuse all that plastic arriving on their shores.

Unable to recycle the huge amounts of mixed and contaminated plastics, receiving nations have been inundated with the world’s waste, sometimes piling higher than houses. Open burning, toxic incineration (in dangerous incinerators, cement kilns, or tofu factories, for example), or uncontrolled landfilling are more often than not the only options for populations drowning in our “recyclables."

Thanks to recent amendments to the Basel Convention, a global treaty regulating toxic waste flows, exporting countries will now have to get consent from the countries where they want to send their plastic — before they can send their waste abroad.

This is good news, but it doesn’t answer the bigger question. You know recycling does not and cannot solve our plastic pollution problem. Now what?

If we want less plastic waste, we have to produce and use less plastic. One of the most effective ways to do this is through policy and legislation.

Now is the time to contact your local decision makers: your mayor, council members, and representatives. Ask them what they plan to do about the plastic crisis, and express your support for single-use plastic bans and other legislation to help reduce plastic consumption.

Not sure what to say? You can use this script:

    Hi my name is [name]. I’m a constituent from [place], and I’m concerned about the global plastic crisis. Most of our plastic waste is exported abroad and only 9% is recycled. Instead, most ends up in landfills, burned, or polluting our oceans, waterways, farmlands, and environment. I want to know what [decision maker’s name] plans to do to address this growing health, environment, and climate catastrophe. Recycling won’t solve the problem. I strongly encourage [decision maker] to support legislation and implementation of initiatives to slow and limit the production and use of single-use plastic, such as through single-use plastic bans. Thank you for sharing my message.

You can call, send a letter, and even tweet at your local decision makers to call for action against this growing crisis.

Together we have the power to break free from plastic. Join us and spread the message today, using the hashtag #YouKnowNowWhat.

Thank you for all that you do to protect our planet from the plastic threat. We truly value your support.

Giulia Carlini
Staff Attorney, Environmental Health program
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

We did it! - Food Connect Shed Community Owned Solar is fully funded!

Saturday, 27 July 2019

(From the Energetic Communities Association)

We did it! Community Energy is happening in Queensland - we've successfully raised the full $60,792 community investment for the first community energy project by a Queensland community energy group. This is obviously great news and a long time coming. We thank those who have invested in this exciting project.

We'd like to thank everyone who supported us and patiently waited as we developed this project. In particular, we would like to thank our friends at Repower Shoalhaven and Sian Thomas from Sian Thomas Lawyers, community energy legal extraordinaire!

Energetic Communities Association would also like to thank our diverse range of volunteers. You have probably read profiles of some of them from time to time in our newsletters. We could not be where we are today without their efforts and a common vision to bring community energy to life in Queensland. This is a very interesting time to be a part of Energetic Communities.

The community solar power system and battery are powering the Food Connect ShedM (Local Food Hub) site (itself a community-driven project) using the community financing through Energetic Communities One Pty Ltd. As the Food Connect Shed pays for their power via a community Solar Power Purchase Agreement, they access cheaper electricity bills and the community investors get a return on investment. This means that Food Connect Shed is not wasting money, reducing GHG emissions, while also adding a community benefit. After 10 years, Food Connect Shed will then own the solar system and access free electricity.

The Energetic Communities One Food Connect Shed Solar Power System includes:

  • Unit 1: 19.47 kW Solar PV system
  • Unit 2: 25.96 kW Solar PV system
  • Battery: Unit 1: 2 x 9.8 kWh batteries and 1 x battery inverter
  • Unit 2: 2 x 9.8 kWh batteries and 1 x battery inverter

Some of the amazing social enterprises and businesses who will benefit from this and can now say they're powered by community solar!:

  • The Food Connect Foundation
  • OzHarvest
  • Ballistic Beer
  • Share Shed Inc.
  • Stellas Pastry
  • Bimby Love / Humanize Media
  • Regina's Wellness
  • Tony's Mowing
  • Home Cube
  • Geoffs Kitchen
  • Sunshine Organic Miso
  • Balls with More
  • Mountain River Patisserie (Sing)
  • Ceylon Catering
  • Kerala Cuisine
  • Good Beer Co.
  • Training Direct Australia Pty Ltd
  • Our Food System (Kylie Newberry)
  • Bib&Spoon
  • Myk’s Kefir (Maya)
  • Monkey Face Coconut Products
  • Yamamochi
  • The Ja Joint
  • Innerspace
  • Melindas Gluten Free Goodies

Luke Reade
Energetic Communities Association

Our best farmland, jobs and communities at risk! (petition)

Thursday, 25 July 2019

(From Lock the Gate QLD)

Remember Acland? A few years ago we were celebrating the biggest win a community has ever achieved in the Land Court: the recommendation to refuse the expansion of the New Acland coal mine.

Unfortunately, that recommendation was challenged and now the community is awaiting a decision in the appeals court. That decision could come in any day now.

In the meantime, New Hope is putting extreme political pressure on to have their mine expansion approved despite the ongoing court proceedings.

Farmers from the region have asked everyone to take one minute to sign the e-petition they’ve got up on the Qld Parliament website. Can you please sign and share to support farms over coal?

More info:

Did you know the Oakey region produces 10 million litres of milk per year and is classified in the best 1.5% of agricultural land in Queensland?

If New Acland Stage 3 expansion goes ahead farms that have been held by families for generations will be destroyed.

If not directly by the mine, it will be by the loss of groundwater and the noise and dust that will drive landholders out - as the existing operations already have.

The closing date is the 16th of August and the petition will be tabled in parliament by the speaker after that.

Lock the Gate QLD

A monumental achievement that all Australians should be proud of (petition)

Thursday, 25 July 2019

(From Save Our Marine Life)

Thirty years ago, Australia and France led the world to ban mining in the Antarctic – a monumental achievement that should make every Australian immensely proud.

Now Antarctica and its incredible marine life desperately need Australia’s leadership again, and we have an extraordinary short window of opportunity to help.

Australia, France and the European Union have been leading the charge for the creation of a marine park for the Antarctic, and it will either succeed or fail over the next few months. Australia’s leadership will be critically important now to ensure it succeeds.

Sign the petition to show your support for a Marine Park for the Antarctic

More info:

We, as Australians, are responsible for looking after the largest part of Antarctica: the East Antarctic – a haven for Adelie penguins and one of the most untouched, important places on Earth.

But this incredible natural wonder is under threat from industrial fishing by distant nations, and the ever-advancing menace of climate change. Adelie penguins are no longer thriving in the East Antarctic – instead suffering horrific recent die-offs, with only two chicks surviving in one colony!

Adelies are deeply affected by changes to their polar wilderness home. A marine park would protect their most important food source – the tiny krill on which everything else depends.

Australia changed the fate of the Antarctic once before – from potential mega-mine to a ‘natural reserve, devoted to peace and science.’ Now together we have a chance to choose its future once again.

Save Our Marine Life

Two months to go until the Global Climate Strike!

Thursday, 25 July 2019

(From 350.org Australia)

Momentum is swelling for the September 20 actions, which are already looking to be huge. Students, seniors, parents, teachers, union members, office workers – everyone, from every walk of life, is coming together to strike for climate action.

Watch and share this Global Climate Strike video, sharing the voices of community leaders from around the world.

The climate crisis is an emergency. We have to act like it and show politicians how many people worldwide are stepping up and refusing to sit on the sidelines.

That’s why on September 20, three days out from the UN’s Emergency Climate Summit, millions of us will walk out of our homes and workplaces to join young people in the streets for #ClimateStrike. Together, we will demand an end to the age of fossil fuels and urgent action to avoid climate breakdown.

Time to take the next steps:

Have a look at some of the upcoming events in September on our Upcoming Events, including the Global Climate Strike!

350 Australia

Celebrating 30 Years of Landcare

Thursday, 25 July 2019

(From Landcare Australia)

Celebrating 30 Years of Landcare: Bob Hawke’s granddaughter Sophie Taylor-Price continues late Prime Minister’s Landcare legacy

Marking the thirty-year anniversary, Senator the Hon. Bridget McKenzie, Minister for Agriculture launched the national Landcare 30-year anniversary in Melbourne last week. Together with newly appointed Landcare 30-year anniversary ambassador, Sophie Taylor-Price, they paid tribute to her grandfather, late former Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s vision for the future by calling on all Australians to work together to enhance environmental conservation.

[Read more here]

Start Volunteering for the Environment today

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Volunteering is of great benefit to the community and it also benefits you personally in a range of ways:

  • Gain work experience and develop new skills – Boost your career prospects. Update your resume with a whole new skill set.
  • Make new friendships and connections – Meet like-minded people. Create professional networks.
  • Enjoy new social & cultural experiences – be immersed in all kinds of environments, people and causes.
  • Be a part of your community – Discover, connect, make an impact and have fun.
  • Enjoy better physical and mental health – Studies show volunteering makes us healthier and happier.
  • Develop personally and build confidence – Expand yourself. Enjoy a sense of achievement and fulfilment.
  • Act on your values – Try something new. Follow your passions and interests.
  • Step out of your comfort zone – Challenge yourself in a supportive environment.
  • Stand up for what matters – Be inspired and be an inspiration.
  • Make a difference – The feel good factor of supporting Queensland communities.

[View the Benefits of Volunteering here]

We encourage you to have a read of HOPE's latest media release, "Volunteering for the Environment" by visiting our Media Activities page.

We would also like to bring your attention to a new page under our Resources section named "envNGOs", which contains links to various environmental, non-profit organisations around Australia.

Protecting Our Protected Areas From 'The Big Squeeze'

Monday, 22 July 2019

(From the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers and Thinkers)

Squeeze anything hard enough and something has to give—even to the point of collapse. Protected areas, which are a cornerstone of our efforts to conserve nature, are no different.

All around the world, protected areas are under tremendous pressure—not just from poachers and encroachers inside the reserves, but also by destructive forces immediately outside them.

For example, the iconic Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in East Africa, a protected area the size of Switzerland, sustains the world’s largest migration of land animals. But new research shows that the margins of the Serengeti-Mara are being squeezed by overgrazing of livestock, soaring human populations, and cropping.

[Read more about the Serengeti-Mara here.]

We know what to do

The management of protected areas and their critical surrounding habitats is a massive challenge.

A recent paper shows that biodiversity loss can be predicted from conservation spending. Sixty per cent of global biodiversity declines occurred in only seven countries. Beginning with the worst, they are Indonesia, Australia, USA (mainly Hawaii), Malaysia, China, Papua New Guinea, and India.

Australia’s place near the top of the list of shame reflects its appalling record of habitat loss and a shocking plunge in recent environment funding.

The good news is that we know how to save nature. Regional- and landscape-scale approaches to protect ecosystems are well established. And there’s no need to delay—these principles can be put in place right now.

But to ensure the survival of nature, we must reduce the pressures that plague so many of our reserves. It’s not just about protecting protected areas, but also sparing the lands immediately around them from “the big squeeze.”

Read the full article from ALERT here.

ICAN story: How my town decided to get behind the nuclear weapon ban treaty!

Monday, 22 July 2019

(From Rhona Rose, ICAN supporter)

My name is Rhona Rose, I live near Benalla, a small, rural town in Victoria.

Earlier this year I took on the task to encourage my conservative local council to endorse the ICAN Cities Appeal. I wanted my community to join the growing number of councils that have called on Australia to sign and ratify the nuclear weapons ban treaty.

It all started with the ICAN Nobel Peace Ride visiting my town last year. After hearing of the huge importance of the issue, I decided to do my best to gain Benalla’s support.

It took some work, but Benalla is now one of 18 Australian cities and councils that have endorsed the appeal!

Here's how I did it!

  • I emailed all councillors, explaining the purpose of the Cities Appeal and ICAN's goals and achievements.
  • I asked friends to also contact our local councillors with a similar message.
  • Then I organised a petition (knowing that council was required to address every petition with 12 signatures or more).
  • I approached local businesses and explained the importance of Australia signing the ban treaty. Many were receptive to leaving a petition in a prominent position.
  • For the next month, I carried the petition with me wherever I went. Whenever I met anyone I knew, I asked for a signature!
  • Once I reached 250 signatures, I submitted the petition to council.
  • Direct personal contact was key. After meetings and phone calls with councillors I learnt that they were very open to learning about the issues and supporting a motion!

The Cities Appeal was endorsed by Benalla Rural City Council on 22 May, 2019.

We want your local community to be next! Can you send a quick email to your local council about the Cities Appeal, and ask them to get on board?

The ICAN action tool enables you to email your local council in a couple of simple steps.

AELA's Earth Ethics Conference: Call for Proposals till July 31

Monday, 22 July 2019

The Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA)'s mission is to promote the understanding and practical implementation of Earth centred governance, with a focus on law, economics, ethics, eco-spirituality, education and the arts.

AELA is calling for proposals until 31 July for their upcoming 'Earth Ethics Conference' to be held in Melbourne on 28-29 November 2019 (more details about the event in our Upcoming Events page).

"The Conference aims to help people learn and share information about how Earth-centred ethics can be nurtured and built in a time of global ecological crisis and how human societies can continue to build hope and resilience as we face ever increasing environmental, psychological and spiritual challenges."

We invite all prospective participants to be creative with your proposals and we welcome academic papers, interactive workshops, discussion groups, experiential activities and other forms of expression or ritual. Although we have invited some speakers in advance, the final program will depend upon what you submit.

The nine focus areas of the conference will inform the structure of the plenary and breakout sessions. The focus areas are:

  • Perspectives and approaches from First Nations Peoples
  • Earth-centred ethics - with a focus on applied ethics in our daily personal and professional lives
  • Environmental education
  • Environmental psychology
  • Faith, eco-spirituality and eco-theology
  • Environmental rights and Earth laws
  • Earth centred economies and sustainable business practices
  • Science, conservation and climate change
  • Arts and creative imagining

Participation options:

  • Academic papers - 15 minutes for presentations, followed by time for questions and discussion (Panel proposals are also welcome - 50 minutes in total will be allocated to panels)
  • Discussion groups - 50 minutes in total
  • Short performances or interventions - 25 minutes in total
  • Mini-workshops or facilitated practices - 25 minutes
  • 'Side' events that could be run on the day/evening before or after the conference
  • Other creative ideas welcome

Visit this page to submit a proposal.

A Fruitful and Successful 10th WCS Mayors Forum

Friday, 19 July 2019

(From the World Cities Summit)

54 mayors and city leaders from 53 cities gathered in Medellín, Colombia, for the 10th WCS Mayors Forum. Discussion topics ranged from innovations and good practices in city governance to help build confidence in cities’ societies and institutions, to how cities should plan for economic and environmental security in an age of unpredictable economic fluctuations and extreme weather events.

[View photos here]

Mayors and city leaders declared to work towards the shared vision of building a high trust city through empowering communities, building social capital and leveraging on adversity. The declaration was made in support of the universal Agenda 2030: Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 11: Making cities and human settlements safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable and is aligned to the goals outlined in the New Urban Agenda.

[Read the full press release here]

Book Launches

At the WCS Mayors Forum 2019, five publications by the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) were launched. Click on the individual images for full details.

Koalas in Crisis, Local Artists help Save Yaroomba, Noosa first from QLD to declare Climate Emergency

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

(From Sunshine Coast Environmental Council)

Koala habitat is still being cleared at an alarming rate, despite a QLD goverment commissioned Koala Expert Panel Report which singled out habitat destruction as "the threat having the greatest impact on koalas.

Join the Queensland Conservation Council and The Wilderness Society at a workshop where you will hear speakers on Koala conservation, and importantly learn how to petition your MP to take real action to protect our iconic koalas. Full details on the KOALA MEET YOUR MP WORKSHOP are HERE.

The fabulous Friends of Yaroomba Silent Art Auction last Saturday night was a great success with over 72 pieces of art sold raising further much needed funds. We're going well but the fight for Yaroomba is far from over!

And while Sunshine Coast Council contemplates further irresponsible development on the floodplain and increased climate risk, Noosa Council has become the first Queensland local government to declare a climate emergency. “This declaration sends a strong message to all levels of government that the time to take urgent action on climate change is right now,” Mayor Tony Wellington said.

Read Council's release here and comment from Zero Emissions Noosa.

Sunshine Coast Environmental Council

Go on – eat an alien

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

(From Prof Andy Lowe's latest post)

Kirsha Kaechele, an American artist and curator, has bought us an interesting concept in 'Eat the problem'.

So what is it?

Well it's that we should do something with our problems instead of just complaining about them. In this case, the problem is invasive (otherwise known as alien) species, and the solution is - eating them.

Read the full article by Prof Andy Lowe here.

PETITION of Toowoomba For Climate Action (Toowoomba region)

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

(From Toowoomba For Climate Action's latest media release)

Toowoomba Regional Council will soon have to respond to a petition from a local grassroots organisation that’s calling for the creation of a Climate Change Advisory Committee.

Toowoomba for Climate Action (T4CA) spokesperson Linda Harper said “we recently asked our members to start collecting signatures in support of establishing an Advisory Committee to build on the work council is already doing to move to a clean energy future and respond to increasingly unstable weather patterns.”

“T4CA now has more than 200 locals involved, including parents, teachers, farmers, health professionals, aged pensioners, business owners and school students. While some might say our region is only a small contributor to global emissions, we believe responding to this challenge provides a huge opportunity for Toowoomba to show leadership and create region wide economic, social and environmental benefits,” Ms Harper said.

“For example, Council’s current Landfill Gas Utilisation Project aims to use gas produced by our rubbish to generate electricity, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and hopefully providing income that reduces costs for ratepayers.”

“These kinds of win-win projects and other council activities impacted by climate across all of TRC's branches including risk and insurance, water security, transport, housing, environmental protection and more are the types of things the committee could provide information about,” she said.

Farmers for Climate Action spokesperson Sid Plant is a fifth generation Darling Downs cattleman and says forming an Advisory Committee would be a way for Council to realise the economic potential of clean energy while also responding to increasingly unstable weather patterns.

“Farming is a key industry locally and it is being hit hard by climate change. The flood of 2010/11 followed years of drought and caused major damage to our property’s fences. Since then we’ve had way below normal rainfall, and been drought declared for years.”

“TRC’s 2019 Planning Scheme Review states that due to climate change our region can expect “higher temperatures, hotter and more frequent hot days, harsher fire weather, more intense downpours and less annual rainfall,” and council asked the community to provide feedback on how we can prepare for this.”

“A Climate Change Advisory Council would be a positive next step from identifying the problem to implementing budgeted council wide responses that suit our local community.”

Toowoomba for Climate Action (T4CA) spokesperson Linda Harper adds “the United Nations Development program estimates more than 70% of emissions reduction measures and up to 90% of climate change adaptation measures are undertaken by local governments. This demonstrates how important TRC will be in preparing our region for the changes ahead as well as doing our part in the global effort to reduce emissions.”

Toowoomba For Climate Action

To view the petition description and the signature page, click the links below and read the notes from Toowoomba For Climate Action listed below.

Petition (full)

Petition Signature page

  • If you don't have a printer, email us and we will post you some hard copies
  • Who can sign - anyone! under 18s who can understand what they are signing, people from other areas from Australia and people from overseas can all sign.
  • How to fill out - please make sure people fill out their full street address.
  • While we are mainly doing a written version we also have an online version here that you can share around Australia and the world - http://chng.it/L6Nqgd5m
  • Conversation starter - while they are signing you can ask how concerned they are about climate change and this is a great way to get conversations happening. Take the time to listen to what they have to say with empathy and thank them for sharing with you. Take 4 mins to watch this great video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkklaXhbTuA
  • Deadline - please complete your signatures by the end of August. Email us and we can pick it up from you or post it to: T4CA, c/o - Darling Downs Environment Council, PO Box 6323 Clifford Gardens, Toowoomba 4350

Have your say on national air pollution standards

Friday, 12 July 2019

(From Environmental Justice Australia)

We have a rare opportunity to strengthen air pollution standards in Australia.

This year, state and territory environment ministers are reviewing outdated national standards for some of the worst air pollutants, including toxic pollutants from coal-fired power stations.

Health experts recommend stricter air pollution standards to protect communities.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a standard for sulfur dioxide that is 11 times stricter than the current Australian standard.

Exposure to sulfur dioxide can cause acute respiratory illness, lung and organ damage, and serious birth defects during pregnancy.

A number of Australian communities are exposed daily to harmful levels of pollutants that exceed the WHO standards, especially in communities closest to power stations and major roadways.

The good news is the review provides us with an opportunity to fix this by advocating for stricter national air pollution standards.

Write your submission now. You can use our basic submission guide or our more detailed submission guide to help you.

Max and the Clean Air Team

Read more about national air pollution standards.

Energetic Communities Association is inviting Queenslanders for expressions of interest in community-owned renewable energy

Friday, 12 July 2019

(From Energetic Communities Association Inc.)

We have some exciting news. Queenslanders now have the opportunity to invest in the first Community Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) project developed by a Queensland community energy group.

We are raising capital for our first project, but under Australian corporate law, the private company limited by shares (Pty Ltd.) we are establishing cannot publicly seek investors, meaning the company cannot issue a public share offer document.

Note: This first community solar investment is open to all Queensland investors.

If you're serious about investing, we invite you to express your interest in investing in our first project with Energetic Communities Association.

Once you have expressed your interest, we will share with you an Offer Document setting out the details of the first community solar project at the Food Connect Shed (Local Food Hub) site (itself an exciting community-driven project) and what to expect as an investor in our first community energy project, and the constitution of a new company established to make that investment.

Energetic Communities Association would also like to thank our diverse range of volunteers. You have probably read profiles of some of them from time to time in our newsletters. We could not be where we are today without their efforts and common vision to bring community energy to life in Queensland. This is a very interesting time to be a part of Energetic Communities.

If you would like to make an expression of interest, please email us at ec1@energeticcommunities.org.au. Note that this does not commit you to making any investment. We will let you know when we reach our target.

Luke Reade
Energetic Communities Association

HOPE Website Maintenance Update

By Marie Yandog, HOPE Website Administrator

HOPE aims to always keep you updated with the latest environmental news and events at the local, state, national and international level – and the HOPE website is one way of achieving this. Over the past few months, we have updated some of our frequently visited pages like the What’s New page, Upcoming Events page, Resources page and our Interesting Websites page.HOPE’s What’s New page features latest news posts and media releases from reputable environmental organisations in Australia and around the world. The main goal of this page is to raise awareness in the most recent and relevant environmental issues and inform our readers how they can support the organisations working tirelessly to combat these issues.

The Upcoming Events page consists of environment-related events happening particularly in Australia that may be of interest to you. In this page, we also include dates for meetings and events hosted by HOPE, so keep an eye out if you are interested in coming along and sharing your ideas with us!

Our Resources page contains several subpages, namely – eNews Bulletins, Sundry – HOPE, Sundry – External, Media Activities and Reference Library. In our eNews Bulletins page, all of our monthly publications since 2007 are available for download, which are made up of feature and news articles written by HOPE volunteers. Our Sundry – HOPE page consists of information contributed by HOPE volunteers in different forms – booklets, information sheets, brochures, etc. – and has recently been updated with new feature articles. The Sundry – External page likewise consists of publications from external sources, which has also been updated with new and useful resources. All of our media releases since 2015 are also available for download in the Media Activities page, and the Reference Library page lists all resources available for the public at the HOPE Office.

New links to environment-related websites are continually being added to our Interesting Websites page, which is further divided into subpages: the NGOs, Government and Businesses. While these subpages are still ‘under construction’, the main Interesting Websites page can freely be accessed. If you know of any websites that should be included in our collection of Interesting Websites, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 07 4639 2135 or office@hopeaustralia.org.au.

Bio of Marie Yandog

Hello everyone! My name is Marie and I will be looking after the maintenance of HOPE’s website content this year. I gained interest in volunteering for environmental groups in high school, where I was a member of the Eco Action Committee. As this is my first volunteering position outside of high school, it is a very exciting opportunity for me.

I am currently studying Computing at University, and I hope to utilise my knowledge in websites to fulfil my duties in this volunteer position and to overall, help in the much-needed dissemination of relevant environmental issues.

I hope you find all the information on HOPE’s website as useful and eye-opening as I do whenever I update our content. If you have any suggestions to improve our website pages in any way or if you have any relevant content that you wish to be added to one of our pages, please do not hesitate to let us know through our office phone 4639 2135, or by emailing us at office@hopeaustralia.org.au. We would love to hear from you!

'The greatest threat' to the oil industry?

Friday, 12 July 2019

(Latest update from the Fossil Free)

The September 20 global climate strike is now just over two months away. And guess what? The fossil fuel industry is scared.

At the OPEC annual meeting of oil-producing countries in Vienna, its leader publicly admitted that our movement is the biggest threat to the oil sector, period. Fossil fuel executives’ kids are coming to them asking why they’re still killing the planet. That’s powerful.

Our work is still cut out for us though. Politicians failed to act at the G20. The hosts Japan failed to bring any decisive action against coal. And as you’ll read below in this issue of Fossil Free News, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO failed the people of Bangladesh too.

We cannot afford many more failures. That’s why millions of us are striking together for the climate on September 20. But we have to inspire millions more who’ve never before taken action to join if we want to tip the scales.

Can you help? I’ve got a special request this week: share a photo or a quick video of yourself holding a sign or explaining why you support the strikes. We've got a pack full of suggestions and templates if you need help.

Share it on social media with #ClimateStrike, with your friends and family, or email it to us at socialmedia@350.org so we can share. Your reasons for joining might resonate with someone unexpected and encourage them to join, too.


Nicole of Fossil Free

Survey: Natural Gas Research

Friday, 12 July 2019

(From McGregor Tan)

We are conducting a very short survey in relation to Natural Gas as an energy source and would very much appreciate your help with our research. I have included the link for you to complete online to make it easier for you to do at your convenience.

Link to survey

If you’d like to complete this survey over the phone, the contact number is 0488048814.

Here is a recap for you regarding our research below;

McGregor Tan, as an independent social and market research company, is conducting a survey about natural gas and would appreciate your opinion. Your answers should be reflective of your organisation as much as possible, rather than your personal opinion.

We understand that the answers you provide are subjective, but we are looking for the best representation of your organisation’s view or position on the use of natural gas, both within your company, and the greater community.
As we repeat this survey and track the results, the change in position over time becomes just as important as the baseline position you provide to us now. We are looking for an indication of the general sentiment of your company and the people whom are involved with the company, and your understanding of them is invaluable to us. We are also surveying consumers, many of whom would be your stakeholders, so for this part of our study we really appreciate your broader view of the market.

Participation in the survey is voluntary, we do not sell, promote or endorse any product or service. There are no right or wrong answers, it is just your opinion that we are after. McGregor Tan complies with the Privacy Act and we can assure you that all information given will remain confidential. Your details will only be used for research purposes and will not be sold to any third party.

Thank you for your assistance in our research, it is much appreciated.

McGregor Tan

Smart Approved Watermark

Thursday, 11 July 2019

(From Dr Bernie Omodei of Measured Irrigation)

Two of Dr Omodei's measured irrigation products have been accepted for the Smart Approved WaterMark:

  • UMIC Unpowered Measured Irrigation Controller
  • HUMIC Hi-flow Unpowered Measured Irrigation Controller
  • One of the requirements for the Smart Approved WaterMark is to organise third part independent testing of the products to prove that they save water. In the case of smart irrigation controllers, it is required that the dripper volumes are strongly correlated with the prevailing evapotranspiration. Dr Omodei organised daily trials over 40 days at the Adelaide Airport weather station of the Bureau of Mateorology. The method and results for these trials are available here (“Evapotranspiration and Measured Irrigation”).

    Watch Dr Omodei's video here for a closer look at the products.

    If you would like more information about unpowered measured irrigation, please refer to this information sheet (“Unpowered Measured Irrigation Training Manual for Smallholders”).

    Some key features of UMIC are listed below:

    • UMIC is completely automatic
    • No electricity is needed (no batteries, no solar panels, no computers, and no electronics)
    • UMIC is a smart irrigation controller – the irrigation is controlled by the prevailing weather conditions
    • You can adjust the water usage by adjusting the control dripper
    • You can adjust the irrigation frequency by adjusting the slides on the float
    • UMIC can be used for both gravity feed and pressurised irrigation
    • The irrigation frequency and the water usage are directly proportional to the net evaporation rate from the evaporator
    • Responds appropriately when there is an unexpected heat wave
    • When it rains, water enters the evaporator and delays the start of the next irrigation
    • The water usage is independent of the water supply pressure
    • UMIC uses much less water without affecting the yield
    • UMIC is incredibly simple and low tech and so there are fewer things to go wrong
    • Provided you have a continuous water supply, you can leave your irrigation application unattended for weeks on end
    • UMIC is low cost with free delivery to any postal address in the world (go to the Online Shop at the Measured Irrigation website)

    To learn more about measured irrigation, visit their website here.

    Global plastic waste agreement signed by 187 countries

    Thursday, 11 July 2019

    (Articles from Inside Waste's latest magazine)

    Inside Waste has recently published the June/July 2019 edition of their bimonthly magazine and in this resource are two articles that may be of interest to you:

    Liked the articles? You can subscribe to Inside Waste's bimonthly magazine by looking at the subscription options available here.

    NEW: External Sundry Resources

    Wednesday, 10 July 2019

    We have recently added a resource from World Cities Summit, a biennial, exclusive platform for government leaders and industry experts to address liveable and sustainable city challenges, share integrated urban solutions and forge new partnerships.

    The resource comes in the form of a commemorative book, titled "Reflections: World Cities Summit 2018", which shares highlights and insights gleaned from the fulfilling discussions with key delegates, speakers, and partners during the Summit.

    We invite you all to have a read by clicking this link or by going to our Sundry - External page (under Resources in main menu).

    Nuclear weapons for Australia? Ban them instead

    Wednesday, 10 July 2019

    (From ICAN)

    Did you see Q&A last night? Professor Hugh White is promoting a debate on Australia acquiring its own nuclear arsenal, despite our 45-year commitment to nuclear disarmament under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone.

    White proposed that Australian nuclear weapons "would be aimed at cities, they would be aimed to impose massive damage on an adversary to deter them from using nuclear weapons against us." In response, human rights lawyer Diana Sayed drew attention to the devastating humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons, noting that such a course of action "would trigger a nuclear arms race in our region… The fact that Australia would be entertaining this thought is unfathomable and unconscionable to me and it goes against everything in international law”.

    This debate is a dangerous distraction from the difficult yet crucial task of eliminating nuclear weapons. The next step Australia must take is to reject the flawed notion of nuclear deterrence and join the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Nuclear weapons are never a legitimate means of defence.

    READ: Our own nuclear weapons? That's the exact opposite of what we should do, Dr Sue Wareham, ICAN board member, in the Canberra Times.

    South East Queenslanders: How much do you value your waterways?

    Wednesday, 10 July 2019

    (From Healthy Land and Water)

    Your creek, your river, your voice

    Calling all South East Queensland residents!

    We'd love to know how much you value and use your local waterways. Take part in our anonymous 10-minute survey and you'll be in the running to win an iPad! Plus your answers will help to inform the 2019 Healthy Land and Water Report Card.

    The competition will be drawn on 20th August 2019.

    Please share this email with a neighbour or a friend! We need to hear from everyone.


    Focus on Farms photo competition

    Friday, 17 May 2019

    (From the Gomaren & Doctors Creek Catchment Landcare Group Inc.)

    Competition is open to all residents, schools and Landcare groups within the Toowoomba Regional Council area. Winners will be announced 20 September at Kingsthorpe Presentation Evening. Entry is $1.00 (open-age) or 50c (U18) per photo.

    For full details, download the flyer here.