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Microplastic releases from Recycling Facilities

A recent article in the Journal of Hazardous Materials Advances (Brown, MacDonald, Allen and Allen, 2023) found that plastic recycling facilities can be a major source of microplastics getting into the environment.

Whilst there is increasing understanding of the negative impacts of plastic pollution on the environment – and many people try to do their bit to recycle what they can – the recovery and reprocessing of plastics is not, for many people, given much consideration.

Microplastics – those fragments of plastics between 1 μm (10-6 m) and 5mm in diameter - are increasingly being found throughout the environment; including in humans. Much focus has been given to marine microplastics and their impacts on a range of marine organisms including fish, seabirds, mammals, turtles, and bivalve molluscs.

However, little attention has been paid to the introduction of microplastics into the environment from plastic recycling facilities.

At plastic recycling facilities, the recyclable plastics are separated, broken down, granulated and then pelletised for reprocessing. Mechanical friction processes can result in increased microplastics in wastewater streams discharged from these facilities.

Click to read and download the document 20230510 - MR - Microplastics releases from Recycling Faciities, by Jason Dingley.pdf.

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

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Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment: Three decades of environmentalism

Written by Anna Kula, HOPE researcher Qld

Bedrock: inspired beginnings

The World Environment Day held on Sunday 5 June 1988 celebrated the theme “When People Put Environment First, Development Will Last”, what we now have come to refer to as sustainable practice. On this day Janet MacKenzie, editor and avid environmentalist, gave an informal speech in Mansfield Victoria about how ‘ordinary people can make a difference by raising awareness and initiating actions to solve local environmental problems’.

MacKenzie’s speech inspired Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) with the slogan ‘Think Globally – Act Locally’, which went on to establish 80 branches across Victoria alone. MacKenzie established the organisation’s charter the “HOPE Generator” which Figure 1 Janet MacKenzie, environmentalist supplies everyday people with information, contacts, and resources to help lessen their impact on the environment. The HOPE Generator states that “... everyone can do something, no matter how small. Maybe tomorrow they’ll do more.”

Subsoil: work throughout the years

One of the first things implemented by Frank and his fellow volunteers at the HOPE Toowoomba branch was a weekly column in the Downs Star newspaper. The weekly column was published for eight years, offering helpful hints for households to reduce their environmental impact, which Frank believes “paved the way for HOPE’s acceptance in the community” and attracted regular volunteers. Later the article turned into a bi-monthly newsletter reaching more households across Queensland and was instrumental in helping form partnerships and promoting HOPE’s mission. Nowadays, HOPE releases its own monthly e-newsletter that is shared digitally with its members and partners across Australia.

In 2000, HOPE Victoria approached HOPE Toowoomba, which now had a website and recurring newsletter, to run HOPE nationwide. “We choose to run the national version of HOPE on a members and supporters bases, rather than branch-based,” explains Frank, as HOPE Victoria became fragmented and sought a more cohesive approach. However, it wasn’t until 2007 that Frank took over running HOPE on a national level, becoming President of HOPE Australia.

When asked about some of the major achievements of the last three decades Frank lists the various publications produced by HOPE. Over the years HOPE has been awarded funding to publish several information booklets, which were disseminated and made available to the public. The Ecology Audit booklet, funded by the Gambling Community Benefit Fund, was a questionnaire about sustainable living for primary school students published in 1999 with a second edition released in 2005.

HOPE published three editions of the “Householder’s guide to sustainable living: Helpful hints to reduce your carbon footprint” between 2007 and 2014. The 74-page comprehensive guide provides tips on ways to be ‘water wise’, how to create non-toxic cleaning products, ethical eating, more eco-friendly means of transport, recycling, energy, building and renovation and gardening. The “Low Carbon Living” booklet of 2014 was granted funding by the Queensland Government. Like the “Householder’s guide to sustainable living” this slightly shorter guide looks at reducing household impact in the home focusing on power, food, transport, water and waste. In 2022 “How to live sustainably and chemical-free” booklet was developed by HOPE looking at the chemicals used in our household, food and gardening as well as ways to reduce waste in our home. In 2009 HOPE has also received funding from the Queensland state government to promote energy efficiency practices in households and to start the Darling Downs Solar Neighbourhood project.

Click to read and download the document Feature article -- HOPE - Three decades of environmentalism.pdf.

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

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


Legal Rights of Nature

By Julie Mammitzsch, HOPE researcher NSW

Our busy, modern life makes it quite easy to overlook the deep interconnectedness that humans and the environment share. Living in cities, between concrete and highways, lots of us have forgotten that we, also, are just part of nature. Overpopulation, as well as the lack of awareness and knowledge on how to protect our environment, has led to deterioration of ecological systems, resulting in a change of climate and drastic decline in biodiversity. It is now our choice on how we are going to continue.

This article will shed light on the connection between nature conservation and population health, and the further need of developing tools that help countries, as well as individuals, to lawfully protect our planet.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948, ensuring the best possible protection and recognition of each person. Some say that we need similar rights for nature, laws that allow us to preserve sacred natural spaces. Our environment does not have the ability to speak up for itself and this is why we need laws that enable responsible individuals to claim nature’s rights. A comprehensive documentary, called The Rights of Nature - a Global Movement, was published in 2020 by Issac Goeckeritz, H. Crimmel and M. V. Berros. It brings up how absurd the idea of slavery seems to us now; and how we might one day look back and feel the same way about the absence of set rights for nature.

One major barrier is that most parts of land are claimed as private property and can therefore be treated as such without legal consequences. Nature is utilized by humans to source energy, materials, as well as food. Processes such as oil drilling or tourism can completely change or destroy an ecosystem and many places need active protection. A switch to more sustainable alternatives is happening but the process is slow. For decades, waste was discarded without further consideration of consequences for our surroundings. Many countries and communities have difficulty giving rights to their eco systems, even if they are willing to do so.

The above-mentioned documentary also displays content that emphasizes the strong connection between Public Health - human health – and the health and protection of our environment. Human rights and nature rights are described as ‘one unit’, giving us full responsibility for the impact we are creating on our environment. Indigenous cultures are portrayed as a major inspiration, always having understood the importance of interconnectedness of one another.

The Rights of Nature is a global movement that originated in Ecuador -the first country to assign nature legal rights. New Zealand, a country blessed with many beautiful natural spaces, closely followed Ecuador’s example. The Māori, the tangata whenua - Aotearoas indigenous population, see their rivers, mountains and Maraes as part of their identity. Māori are perceived, and more and more accepted as guardians and caretakers of the land. In 2007 the Whanganui River, situated on New Zealand’s North Island, was given equal rights to those of a person. The region had previously suffered strong imbalances and flooding as a result of logging and agriculture. The local Iwi, as well as the government, had chosen one guardian each, to protect and speak up for the Whanganui River and prevent future damage. This was a ground-breaking decision that has set a strong example for other areas in New Zealand and the world.

Mount Taranaki is another geographic feature within New Zealand that was assigned legal personhood. A memorandum of understanding was signed in 2017, as a response of the strong history the Mountain has gone through. It was taken away from the local Iwi in 1895 who are to date seeing the mountain as their ancestor.

While up to now different forms of legal rights for nature have been acknowledged by over 100 nations, there is still a strong need to extend existing lawful instruments.

We can only, again, emphasize the strong interdependence of our health, and balanced ecological system. Every action and example serves as a guide and an inspiration for others. A reconnection with nature is essential to build a sustainable future.

Click to read and download the document Feature Article - Legal Rights of Nature, by Julie Mammitzsch - HOPE researcher NSW.pdf.

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

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


Historic Treaty to Protect the High Seas

After a long 15 years of discussions and disagreements, over 100 countries signed a landmark agreement will ultimately aim to bring 30 per cent of the world’s ocean under protection by 2030.

Currently, only 1 per cent of the ‘High Seas’ – that is, waters that are outside of national jurisdiction – is protected.

These international waters account for over 60 per cent of the world’s oceans and nearly 50 per cent of the total planet’s surface.

Oceans are vital as part of the biological-geological-and-chemical cycling of nutrients and gases; they produce through the actions of phytoplankton and algae half of the oxygen humans need to breathe, and help buffer the effects of human-induced climate change by absorbing much of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities.

In addition, the organisms in oceans are under threat from overfishing, pollution and habitat loss. Sharks, for example, have a bad reputation due to films like Jaws and the adverse publicity due to a small number of shark attacks. Yet, sharks are killed in vast numbers by humans. Without them, the entire global system will be under threat.

Once Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are established, limits or prohibitions on fishing, oil and mining exploration, and shipping access are imposed to protect these waters. It is well known that noise pollution, for instance, causes serious issues for whales and dolphins.

Individual countries will be able to propose areas for protection, which will then be voted upon by the treaty signatories.

Click to read and download the document 20230401 - MR - - Historic Treaty to Protect the High Seas.pdf.

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

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


Potential vegetable gardening opportunities for the socially disadvantaged

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. is founded on the vision of a society which is sustainable ecologically, economically and socially. H.O.P.E has long supported organic and sustainable gardening.

In recent years, HOPE has been investigating opportunities for people to access under-utilised suburban backyards, especially for those who are unable to garden in rental properties. There are many people who own their own homes but who do not or cannot use the space they have for gardening. It is our hope that with your support we will be able to offer space to people who wish to produce food for their own tables.

There is a history of such use of spaces. For example, the Mulberry Project where refugees were given access to some farming land to grow their traditional food crops - mainly vegetables. Louise Noble (mob: 0415 974 313 (from Nobby)), the instigator of this project, is now looking for residents with backyard citrus trees that need some nurturing and care – on the proviso that the harvested produce can be utilised by the refugees.

HOPE’s first thought was to establish a series of ‘community gardens’ on vacant land owned by Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC). These new community gardens would need to be managed by community groups. However, environment colleagues that we consulted thought that it might be easier to work through churches and their congregations/parishioners.

Asking parishioners to make available their backyard spaces raises issues of trust, and care for the space made available. Issues of insurance, access times, use of facilities like the toilet and kitchen for smokos and/or lunch, as well as water would certainly need to be considered.

Householders would not be expected to provide seed or seedlings. The gardening would be totally the responsibility of the gardeners involved. But if the space were made available to refugees and migrants, who may be strapped for cash to buy, then grants could be available to purchase equipment and seed/seedlings.

HOPE’s (Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment – www.hopeaustralia.org.au ) proposal is very basic in concept, but we acknowledge it could be quite involved to implement on a house-by-house basis. However, the simpler we can make it, the easier it will be to sustain.

That’s why I would like to meet with church people to discuss the draft proposal and endeavour to “flesh out” the details.

If you are interested in following through with this idea then please contact me so that we can discuss it further.

Click to read and download the document Open Letter - Potential vegetable gardening opportunities for the socially disadvantaged.pdf.

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

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


HOPE receives funding for Nesting Boxes Project

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. is thrilled to announce that it has received funding from the Queensland Gambling Community Benefit Fund (GCBF) to build 150 nesting boxes for birds and other tree-dwelling animals.

“Given that recent land-clearing and deforestation in the Darling Downs region for agricultural, mining, commercial and residential purposes have led to the fragmentation of landscapes and the removal of established trees which provided nesting hollows for birds and other wildlife such as possums, HOPE is pleased to be able to donate lots of 5 nesting boxes to environment, conservation, landcare and wildlife rescue groups in the Toowoomba region”, said Mr Frank Ondrus, President of HOPE Inc.

The Toowoomba West Men’s Shed (TWMS) has been engaged to construct these nesting boxes over an 18-month period.

HOPE is now seeking support from the wider community, through donations of unwanted un-treated hardwood fence palings for the construction of these nesting boxes.

So, if you have any unwanted hardwood fence palings (un-treated and un-painted), please give Frank Ondrus, President of HOPE, a call on 4639 2135 or email [email protected] to arrange collection or delivery.

Click to read and download the document 20230322 - MR - HOPE receives funding to build Nesting Boxes.pdf.

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

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


Refugees welcome

Everyday Australians across the country are forming groups to welcome refugees into their communities under a new federal government program.

On a Friday night last August, two groups of people wait with anticipation at the arrivals gate of Sydney Airport. They are there to welcome refugees to Australia with open arms, under a new federal government program.

Among them is Shayne Davy, who has signed up as part of the Gosford Anglican Support Group to help the Al Daoud family find its feet within her community. “We’ll be there really to help navigate all the various services,” she said. “Help them with enrolling the children into the local school, helping them find some long-term accommodation. But the essence of all of this really is about us helping, supporting, welcoming, embracing and allowing them to have a feeling and a sense of belonging.”

For Ms Davey, taking action at a local level has helped combat feelings of helplessness when confronted with the bigger picture. “Sometimes it can feel quite overwhelming when we see what’s happening worldwide,” she says. “But at this level it’s just something tangible. As a community group, just a group of ordinary Australians, we can make a difference.”

“I think we are as ready as we can be,” she says nervously. “We work well together as a group, and we are passionate about this. We are ready to welcome this family into our community. We can’t solve the problems of the world, but we can reach out to help a single refugee family where we can – and already it is bringing our local community even closer together.”

Current worldwide refugee statistics make for grim reading, with around 100 million people currently forcibly displaced and fewer than 100,000 a year resettled worldwide. “That’s grossly inadequate,” says Lisa Button, CEO of Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia (CRSA).

For the past five years, CRSA has been spearheading efforts to see Australia follow in the footsteps of Canada by introducing a community sponsorship program. Established 40 years ago, the Canadian program has seen 325,000 refugees settled into local communities with support from volunteers.

Earlier this year, the Australian government introduced a new program, based on the ‘community sponsorship’ model made famous by Canada, called the Community Refugee Integration & Settlement Pilot (CRISP). Over four years the program, introduced by the Coalition government, will see 1500 refugees settled into Australia with community support. The Albanese government has voiced its plan to increase these numbers significantly, as well as making these numbers additional to existing visa quotas. The program truly enjoys bipartisan support, with many others expressing their support, including a range of independents and even Pauline Hanson.


Click to read and download the document Article - Refugee Sponsorship, by Rebecca Payne.pdf.

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

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


“Advice to Help You Minimise Waste and Conserve Resources” brochure

As part of its continuing efforts to educate and inform the public on living more sustainably, Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc., has produced a brochure entitled “Advice to Help You Minimise Waste and Conserve Resources.”

Humans are immensely wasteful creatures; from the brochure, you will read that Australia generated 75.8 million tonnes of solid waste in 2018-19. Considering that Australia’s population is approximately 26 million people, that means that each of us Australians generate approximately 2.9 tonnes of waste a year!

We need to reduce the amount of waste we generate. Recycling has become part of the waste management process for Australians; of the 75.8 million tonnes of generated waste, 38.5 million tonnes was recycled. However - 20.5 million tonnes went to landfill! Households generated 12.4 million tonnes.

Beside recycling, reusing items and so-called waste has become popular, together with repairing or reconditioning worn-out or broken items for further use.

This brochure is dedicated to all those businesses engaged in repair activities — extending the life of a variety of goods and appliances.

HOPE’s brochure includes a Waste Hierarchy diagram showing the most and least preferred ways of dealing with waste. Indeed, in these stricter economic times, looking for ways to save money is important for all of us and the Waste Hierarchy can give useful insights into how you can save the environment and safe money, too.

The “Advice to Help You Minimise Waste and Conserve Resources” brochure may be found on HOPE’s website at HOPE Australia Protect the Environment: Sundry – HOPE - Brochures section.

Click to read and download the document 20230308 - MR - Launch of Waste Minimisation brochure.pdf.

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

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


Request for Environmental Poems

Calling all wordsmiths! Here’s your opportunity to pen a poem or two on an environmental issue of interest or concern to you.

Mr Frank Ondrus, President of Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. invites members of the community to contribute poems with an environmental theme for a special edition of the HOPE E: newsletter to be published in late 2023.

“In addition, if you can provide a picture or graphic to accompany your poem, it would be used to enhance the message in the newsletter,” said Mr Ondrus.

Please forward your poem(s) to us at [email protected] by 30 June 2023.

Click to read and download the document 20230306 - MR - Request for Environmental Poems.pdf.

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

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


Expanded 3Rs Statements

The original ‘3R’s of sustainability and environmentalism (reduce, reuse, recycle) has become an integral part of not just environmentalism but the general lexicon. A few examples of these and other R words and statements are given below:

Reduce your consumption.

Reuse whatever you can.

Recycle what you can’t reuse.

To this can be added Repair items so they can be Reused. Indeed, there was a book published by Jan McHarry in 1993 called Reuse, Repair, Recycle A Mine of Creative Ideas for Thrifty Living.

Re-think your practices in regard to “waste” – can you implement some of the suggested “R” words listed above?

Click to read and download the document 20230221 - MR - Expanded 3 Rs.pdf.

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

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


Government Inaction on Climate Change

With the recent widespread floods in parts of Australia, attention has been again focused on human-induced climate change, and the initiatives – or lack thereof – to mitigate against it.

The following could be considered a (partial) list of key climate change issues (adapted and expanded from Hughes, 2014):

  • Commit to deep and rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions
  • Embed climate adaptation planning into all levels of landscape and resource management
  • Focus on conservation not preservation
  • Expand, protect and adequately resource the national reserve system
  • Stop clearing native vegetation
  • Ensure revegetation schemes utilise more appropriate species mix for the environment
  • Take a long-term approach to land use planning around urban environments
  • Restore degraded landscapes to increase connectivity
  • Increase resources allocated to reducing other environmental threats
  • Recognise the carbon-storing potential of landscapes, but not at the expense of biodiversity conservation
  • Promote ecosystem-based adaptation strategies to reduce risk to human sectors from climate change
  • Do not rely solely on carbon offset credit schemes

Successive Australian governments have, sadly, lacked the drive to implement policies and initiatives to address these and other issues.

As Australia has multiple layers of democratic government – Federal, State and Local – this gives the population an opportunity to press for change.

The Federal government is also responsible for signing and abiding by various international agreements; including many environmental ones.

Therefore, when considering issues such as climate change, all three levels of government can – and should - be involved in policies and strategies that are within their control and, can be lobbied and pressured into taking long-term solutions to the problems we face.

For example, only 2% of goods transported between Sydney and Melbourne are done so by rail. This needs to be addressed and lobbying of State and Federal government to enact initiatives to encourage more freight between Australia’s two largest to be carried by rail.

The opportunities for engagement and action across the three levels of government are almost limitless. Unfortunately, it could be that people just don’t care enough about environmental matters when faced with rising costs of living. Indeed, certain influential political figures – who hold anti-environmental views – play on fears that environmental policies (such as enhanced emissions controls; transition to cleaner energy and so on) will lead to job losses and higher costs.

It is time to put appropriate pressure on the various levels of government to take a long-term and sustainable approach to mitigating climate change.

Click to read and download the document 20230210 - MR - Call to Lobby for Action.pdf.

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

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


United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024)

2023 marks the last two years of the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (www.seforall.org); which directly aligns with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 Affordable and Clean Energy, which comprises four target areas:

  • -Universal Electricity Access
  • -Clean Cooking Access
  • -Renewable Energy
  • -Energy Efficiency

Let us look at whether these four target areas will be reached.

Universal Electricity Access: : in 2010, 1157 million people were without access. The 2030 target of universal electricity access will, unless significant improvements are made, be missed, as in 2020, 733 million people were still without electricity access. At current rates of access provision, by 2030, there will still be an estimated 670-764 million people without access.

Universal Access to Clean Fuels and Technology:a similar sad situation exists for access to clean cooking technology: in 2010, 2976 million people with without access. By 2020, the figure was 2,407 million. Clearly, the target of universal access is going to be missed. The best estimate at this stage is 1890 -2,100 million people will still be without access.

Increased Share of Renewable Energy:this is one area where the current situation is improving. In 2010, 16.1% of energy consumption came from renewables; by 2019, this had increased to 17.7%. At current rates, it is estimated that by 2030, 18-22% of energy consumption will be from renewable sources.

Increased Share of Modern Renewable Energy:a similar situation exists here; in 2010, 8.7 % of energy consumption came from modern renewables. By 2019, this had risen to 11.5%, with estimates by 2030 of 18%.

Taken together, the various drivers towards renewables seem to be making these an example of ‘low hanging fruit’ that can be picked. However, efforts here need to be maintained and, indeed, expanded to develop the next generation of enhanced renewable technologies.

Double Rate of Energy Efficiency Improvement: Unfortunately, this looks set to miss the target of 3.2 % improvement by 2030. Between 2010 and 2019, the improvement figures changed from 1.3% to 1.5%. The current 2030 scenario is estimated at 2.3%.

For every US$1 of economic activity generated, 4.7MJ (megajoules) of energy are consumed. Whilst this has improved from 5.6MJ/$ in 2010, there is still a long way to go.

From the brief snapshot above, it is clear that some progress has been made but much more needs to be done to reach the goals for SDG 7 by 2030.

Click to read and download the document 20230201 - MR - UN Decade Sustainable Energy.docx.

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

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


Special Report -- Water Security issues, trends and solutions – Internationally and in Australia (January 2023)

I have the pleasure of sharing HOPE’s latest special report entitled “Water Security issues, trends and solutions - Internationally and in Australia”.

A huge thanks to Charmaine Turnbull, one of our long-term members, for researching and compiling this important report.

Our office welcomes your feedback on this report and any suggestions to further enhance the content contained therein.

Click to read and download the document Special Report -- Water Security issues, trends and solutions – Internationally and in Australia.pdf.

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

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


Annual request for Used Postage Stamps

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

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

Mr Frank Ondrus, President of HOPE said “we also welcome no-longer-wanted stamp album collections; and collections of stamps.”

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

Click to read and download the document 20230111 - MR - Wanted - Used Postage Stamps.pdf.

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

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


2023 - United Nations International Year of Millets (IYM)

Since 1959, the United Nations has designated specific years as occasions to mark particular events or topics in order to promote, through awareness, the objectives of the Organization. The current list can be found on the United Nations website: www.un.org/en/observances/international-years.

2023 has been declared the International Year of Millets - www.fao.org/millets-2023/en.

What are millets?

Millets are grasses with small seeds. They are originally cultivated by the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans, and are still an important part of the diet throughout Africa, China, Japan and India.

The IYM year is intended to increase public awareness of the health benefits of millets and their suitability for cultivation under tougher and changing conditions.

Millets are climate-resilient and suitable for dryland farming. Indeed, with increasing aridity in parts of the world, and increased carbon dioxide concentrations, millets may become a major staple replacing more traditional grass cereals.

They have high nutrition value; three to five times nutritionally superior to rice and wheat in terms of proteins, vitamins and minerals. Gluten-free millets are available for those with wheat allergies and there are a range of other health benefits as well.

Cultivation of millets

Millets require a mean temperature range of 26-29 degrees C and rainfall of around 500 mm per annum. Millets have a wide adaptability to soil types; and can be grown on alkaline soils.

Globally, 30.5 million tons were produced in 2020. To put this into perspective, in that same year, it is estimated that 756 million tons of rice and 760 million tons of wheat were produced.

IYM 2023 aligns with the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  • SDG 2 – Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-Being
  • SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 – Climate Action
  • SDG 15 – Life on Land

As well as the following parts of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) (FAO) Strategic Framework 2022-31:

  • BP1 – Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture Production
  • BN1 – Healthy Diets for All
  • BN2 – Nutrition for the most vulnerable
  • BN5 – Transparent Markets and Trade
  • BE1 – Climate Change Mitigating and Adapted Agrifood Systems
  • BL2 – Inclusive Rural Transformation

As can be seen from the above, millets are a very important crop that have a range of health, environmental and socio-economic benefits. The International Year of Millets is an excellent opportunity to improve the ‘street-cred’ of this overlooked cereal.

Click here to read and download the document 20230109_-_MR_-_2023_International_Year_of_Millets.docx.

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

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


Local “Clean-up” Crews!

It is a tradition to mark each new calendar year, with a “New Year Resolution”./p>

From those whose focus is on caring for the environment, you are asked to include a New Year resolution to help clean up your local area of litter – by starting up an informal “Clean Up Crew” of family and neighbours.

Litter is a perpetual eye-sore on roadsides, in parks and sporting fields. Simple actions from individuals and groups of like-minded people can reduce the litter problem for the benefit of many. There sems to be a mindset that picking up rubbish is someone else’s responsibility … and this needs to be changed! Ensure that you dispose of litter/rubbish correctly, to demonstrate to those around you, good and proper practices; AND, help clean up the litter/rubbish in your locale too.

Should you decide to take a more structured approach to your Clean-Up Crew activities, check out Keep Queensland Beautiful’s Adopt-a-Spot Program [https://adoptaspot.org.au/] and Clean Up Australia’s Get Fitter with Litter – Adopt a Street Program [https://www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au/event/gfwl].

Also, check your local council for their involvement in waste collection for community group activities.

When “Clean Up Australia Day” comes around in March, will you be able to see how you have contributed to cleaning up your area already; and a BIG clean-up effort may not be necessary!

Click here to read and download the document 20230103_-_MR_-_Local__Clean-up_Crews_.docx.

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

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


Summary of HOPE’s current activities and plans for 2023

Here is a summary of HOPE’s current activities and plans for 2023:

  • Projects – current and proposed
    • 2023 Qld Women’s Week project – Acknowledging and Celebrating the contribution that women of the Darling Downs have made and are making to the Protection and Conservation of our Environment -> Grant application successful. Project officially kicks off on 1 January 2023
    • Nest boxes – for birds and other animals such possums (grant application submitted to Qld GCBF). -> If grant is successful, the Toowoomba West Men’s Shed will be contracted to build 150 nest boxes which HOPE will distribute free-of-charge to landcare groups and others throughout the Toowoomba region
    • Update on “Special Reports” program
      • Charmaine’s report on Water Security to be released shortly
      • Food Security report is now being handled by Georgia Eastment; and the Circular Economy report is now being handled by Mert Kul
  • Provision of free drone fly-overs: Friends of the Escarpment Parks (FEP)Toowoomba – Park Care groups and Redwood Park re Cats Claw Creeper infestation; Dingo Mountain Reserve (Crows Nest); and Coalbank Road Reserve (Coalbank) -> probably in January 2023
  • Proposed “Weeds” Forum at USQ Toowoomba Campus in March 2023
  • Proposed special edition of newsletter showcasing State & Territory Conservation Councils

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

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

19/12 2022

New Year’s Green Positive Actions for 2023

A new year, a new set of positive actions!

A primary aim of Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc.’s aims is to promote waste minimisation and the conservation of energy and resources.

With this in mind, HOPE suggests implementing the following simple, but effective, actions or resolutions in 2023 to help the environment:

  1. Exchange goods and services, rather than buy, with Community Exchange System (CES) Australia (https://www.communityexchange.net.au/) , which enables users to locally or remotely exchange through its trading network
  2. Participate in The Garage Sale Trail, so your second-hand possessions can be reused by others, rather than ending up as waste.
  3. Recycle paper, cardboard, cans, bottles, plastic containers, and hazardous items at a facility near you.
  4. Reuse green waste from your garden in mulching, composting, or worm-farming (https://www.foodwise.com.au/category/composting-toolkit/).
  5. Consider installing solar power to conserve your energy.
  6. Add a rainwater tank to collect water from your roof top.
  7. Take-up “chemical free” organic gardening (https://greenharvest.com.au/).
  8. Walk, ride, or take public transport once a week, on a journey that you would normally drive.
  9. Reduce electricity usage by turning off unnecessary items when not in use.
  10. Received a new mobile phone this Christmas? Recycle your old mobile phone, including battery and accessories, with Battery World’s Mobile Muster.

More information on sustainable living can be found on HOPE’s website at http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au/.

Click here to read and download the document 20221219 - MR - New Year's Green Positive Actions.docx.

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

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

05/12 2022

The value of personal agency and collective action in dealing with bad environmental news, 5 December 2022

During the last HOPE meeting on Saturday,12 November 2022, some discussion was given over to how ‘bad’ news on climate change and other environmental problems might be best communicated to the public.

There was a diversity of views on this topic. By way of follow-up, I should like to make a few points regarding our social media monitoring process, and a suggestion for possible future actions in that area. In making these comments I admit to a degree of ignorance about the nature of current social media member engagement by HOPE. So, advance apologies if my comments are in fact irrelevant to the existing situation on the social media front!

But coming back to an idea put forward at the HOPE meeting; that public audiences need to be, perhaps, shielded from demoralising levels of ‘bad’ news on environmental decline. In arguing against that proposition, we can draw on a body of psychological research pointing to the various mechanisms individuals use to deflect the risk of mental distress experienced as a result of encountering unpleasant, inconvenient, or discomfiting information sources.

Such research confirms that the total volume of bad or negative news can have a cumulative effect on mental stress levels. It is, however, also a long-established psychological principal that people’s response to bad news and potentially threatening scenarios can be mediated in terms of how much control or influence they believe they have over those negative, challenging or threatening situations.

To put this another way, the perceived degree of personal influence or ‘agency’ which people have, or believe they may have over events, is a crucial variable in terms of dealing with distressing news in a pro-active way – rather than the volume of bad news, per se.

Another important, intuitive, support factor, borne out by research, is the benefit of joining forces with a group of like-minded individuals, for the purposes of progressing a ‘greater good.’ Finding such common cause with others is also known to be able to mediate stress generated, for example, by engaging in environmentally supportive behaviour – perhaps up to the level of political advocacy and activism. And without wanting to sound dramatic, one interpretation of the greater good on the environmental front is the future viability of the human race on planet Earth!

And on the other side of the coin, shielding people from bad news can have its own negative consequences; for example, in fostering false hope that the environmental crises we face might just go away or are less serious than the science predicts, or that current, inadequate, government or institutional response is actually up to the task of dealing with such crises. Both of the latter premises being patently untrue at the present moment.

If you follow the logic of such psychological insights – then in a culture of growing disinformation, false news, greenwashing and propagandizing about various environmental and interrelated social crises, we need, surely, to be ensuring that the membership of HOPE, and where possible the wider public, hear the unfiltered/unvarnished truth about those crises, and that, additionally, and most importantly, they are provided with advice on how they can best maximise their agency, for example, through their collective advocacy influence onto governments and institutions - to help bring about the urgent, reformative actions needed to match the current scale of our environmental and social justice linked crises.

And, if amongst the cacophony of disinformation, we may encounter, there is genuine and verifiable ‘good’ news about real world innovations, strategies and new approaches which can or are making a difference to the problems we face – by all means let us promote those and hear more about them. So long as they do not serve as a cover to generate false optimism or provide a false narrative, to cover the tracks of corporate or governmental environmental vandalism masquerading as effective action. Perhaps we need to look quite a few times in order to determine whether the ‘Emperor’s Clothes’ are real or not.

As already discussed, finding ways to promote a sense of member agency in the face of distressing environmental news, such as climate disruption impacts or the growing loss of nature - could be a useful approach to help maintain their mental wellbeing as they go about environmentally supportive behaviour – probably more useful than simply filtering out such news in the first place. So, how to promote such an approach?

If we lived in a truly democratic society, one answer to that question might be to encourage HOPE members to engage in regular public protest against the myriad failed, unfit for purpose, business as usual, so-called, environmental strategies and plans foisted upon us by the, frankly, undemocratic systems of governance under which we currently live. The same systems, incidentally, which seem adept at finding ever new ways to restrict or criminalise public street protest.

Given this increasing Orwellian state of affairs, seeking to encourage digital online advocacy or ‘cyber activism’ might be a preferable choice. By which I mean finding ways to increase the level of digital support HOPE members give to a variety of online campaigns, petitions or other forms of digital advocacy, aimed at influencing government and other institutions toward adopting more genuine environmentally supportive policies, legislation and action on the ground.

Click here to read and download the document Andrew's thought on using social media -5 Dec 2022, by Andrew Nicholson.pdf.

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

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


World Soil Day, 5 December, 3 December 2022

Soil. Dirt. Muck. Hardly the most glamours substances, but essential to life! World Soil Day is observed annually on the 5th December as a means of focusing attention on the importance of healthy soil and advocating for the sustainable management of soil resources.

The 5th December was chosen because it corresponds with the official birthday of H. M. King Bhumibol Abdulyadej, the King of Thailand, who officially sanctioned the event.

For this year, the official poster has the slogan ‘Soils, Where Food Begins’. This is very apt, as the majority of food we eat (other than that from aquatic environments) comes either directly or indirectly from the soil.

To support initiatives and to encourage innovation, there are prizes available – the WSD Award and the Glinka Prize. The WSD Award is to recognise individuals and/or institutions that have made an effort to organize successful celebrations in the framework of the World Soil Day campaign of the previous year, whilst the Glinka Prize is for those who have made outstanding achievements in implementing the principles and recommended actions of the revised World Soil charter. The achievement(s) should contribute to one or more of the 5 pillars of the Global Soil Partnership, which are:

  1. Soil Management
  2. Awareness raising
  3. Research
  4. Information and Data
  5. Harmonization

So, what is soil and why should we look after it?

Soil is a combination of weathered rock and decaying organic matter that is able to support plant growth. The processes involved in soil formation are complex; a result from the combined actions of physical impacts (for example, heating, cooling and freezing); chemical (dissolving the various constituents of the soil for instance) and biological (the influence of earthworms; micro-organisms; plants and so on) and take many years: 3 cm of soil can take 1000 years to form and 10 000 years is needed for a soil to reach ‘maturity’. Conversely, when vegetation is removed, soil can be eroded within 50 years.

Estimates of soil loss vary widely. A figure given some years ago was 75 billion metric tons of soil lost per year. This has been called into question but, even the revised figures are still astounding (35 billion metric tons has been recently put forward).

With an increasing global population, food needs to come from somewhere, and, together with the worries of high levels of artificial fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide use, the need to conserve soil is paramount.

So, how to maintain healthy soil?

There are a number of steps that need to be taken to maintain healthy soil and, thereby, ensuring food supplies are maintained. These include:

- Retain vegetation coverings

- Mulch

- Avoid overwatering

- Avoid salinization

- Monitor the acidity / alkalinity

- Avoid overuse of artificial fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides

- Avoid over compaction of the soil

- Rotate crops

- Use organic manures and fertilizers

- Undertake proper waste disposal and reclamation to avoid contaminating the soil

- Cultivate plants that are best suited to the local soil conditions

If World Soil Day encourages you to think a little about the soil and the food that grows in it, then it has succeeded in one of its aims.

To find out more, check out the following websites:

Click here to download the document 0221120 - MR - World Soil Day, 5 Dec 2022 - by Jason Dingley.docx.

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

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

22/10 2022

World Tsunami Awareness Day, 5 November 2022

Tsunami is a Japanese word meaning harbour wave. A tsunami is a series of enormous waves created by underwater disturbance usually associated with earthquakes occurring below or near the ocean. In addition, volcanic eruptions, submarine landslides, coastal rock falls and asteroid impacts into the ocean can also generate tsunamis. The sea floor moves vertically with a consequent displacement (movement) of water.

There are usually a serious of such waves; gradually building in intensity, and these can last for many hours; even days. The distance between each wave (the wavelength) can be in excess of 200 km.

It should be noted that the old term ‘tidal wave’ should not be used as tsunamis have nothing to do with tides.

In deep, oceanic water, tsunami will not be felt; their height is only of the order of 0.5 m. But they travel extremely fast; well in excess of 700 km/h. Once the wave approaches shallow water, however, its speed drops and the height increases rapidly to over 30 m.

Due to the backwash of water that occurs during tsunamis, large areas of previously submerged seafloor are exposed. This often encourages people to wander about on the newly exposed ‘beach’; but this is dangerous. Due to the long period between each wave, people might think the danger is over and become caught when the next wave arrives suddenly as a towering monster moving far faster than you can run. If you see a sudden, large-scale exposure of beach, move to high ground immediately.

The Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 caused an estimated 227 000 fatalities across 14 countries.

To raise awareness of tsunamis, the United Nations has declared the 5th November World Tsunami Awareness Day.

For further information, check of the United Nations’ website for World Tsunami Awareness Day and the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064650797927 .

Click here to download the document 20221022 MR - World Tsunami Awareness Day -5 Nov 2022, by Jason Dingley.docx.

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

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

Support our initiatives by making a donation today

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.


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

13/10 2022

International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, 13 October 2022

The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR) is an opportunity to acknowledge the progress being made toward reducing disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health.

In 2022, IDDRR will focus on Target G of the Sendai Framework: Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people by 2030.

Early warning saves lives; early warning by 24 hours can cut the ensuing damage by 30 per cent. One only has to think of the effectiveness of early warning of hazards such as bushfires and floods in Australia. People reading this may well have experienced a major disaster and will have their own ideas on how effective (or otherwise) warnings, information and assistance was.

There are three major events related to IDDRR during October 2022; two of which are in Brisbane - the Disaster Challenge Final on the 13th October and the Natural Hazards Research Forum from the 12th – 14th October.

If you would like to find out more, check out the IDDRR website: www.iddrr.undrr.org.

Do you have an idea for an event that could assist in Early Warning and Disaster Reduction? If so, you can submit is through the website: www.iddrr.undrr.org/act.

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

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

30/08 2022

Wanted: Donation of old hardwood unpainted fence palings

fence palings

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. is seeking the donation of old hardwood fence palings for the purpose of building bird nest boxes which will be utilised in the Toowoomba region.

So, if you have any unwanted hardwood fence palings (un-treated and un -painted), please give Frank Ondrus, President of HOPE a call on 4639 2135 or email [email protected] to arrange collection or delivery.

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

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

01/08 2022

Check out our August eBulletin!

As we are ushered into August we are greeted with cooler weather and a fresh newsletter with a range of insightful articles from our volunteer researchers.

Grab a copy of our August Bulletin at the e-News Bulletins page .

july 20222 editorial

23/07 2022

Acknowledging Female Champions for the Environment

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. is pleased to announce the launch of its project for 2023 Queensland Women’s Week to be held during May.

“Acknowledging and celebrating the contribution that women of the Darling Downs have made and are making to protect and conserve our environment is the thrust of our project” said Mr Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc. 

We now seek the community’s input as to which women should be included in this worthwhile project. Please give some thought to individuals whose names you would like to put forward. “Once the list of suitable nominees is finalised, we will proceed with the next phase of the project”, said Mr Ondrus.

We ask you to submit your nominees’ names and contact details to the HOPE office at [email protected] by 30 September 2022.


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

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

17/07 2022

National Science Week, 13-21 August 2022

july 20222 editorial

National Science Week is Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology, and is designed for everyone with events, activities, talks and shows for every age group.

It provides an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of Australian scientists to the world of knowledge and aims to encourage an interest in science among the general public.

There are a range of events across Australia and include important and exciting contributions from the indigenous peoples of Australia, for example:

  • The First Astronomers: How Indigenous Elders read the stars at the Altona Library, 123 Queen Street, Altona, VIC 3018. Find out about how the indigenous community leant to survive by reading the world around them.

On the 13th August, there is a Food Science event aimed for 4-11 year olds at 4850 Training Café & Restaurant, 73 Mcllwraith Street, Ingham, QLD 4850. You can eat what you make!

Fancy about learning to clean without the toxic chemicals and plastic waste? Well pop along to the Willetton Library on the 11th August between 10:00 am and 11:30am to find out!

And so many more!

Check out the website and Facebook for more details - www.scienceweek.net.au | www.facebook.com/nationalscienceweek

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

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

01/07 2022

Happy July, everyone!

With winter well underway now, we have prepared some insightful reading material for you as you get warm and cozy for hibernation mode! This month we discuss sustainability of our finite resources and preservation of our natural environment through lifestyle changes, community efforts and national programmes.

Grab a copy of your July Bulletin at the e-News Bulletins page .

july 20222 editorial

28/06 2022

National Tree Planting Days, 29 & 31 July 2022

Planet Ark (www.treeday.planetark.org  | www.facebook.com/NationalTreeDay) began what has become Australia’s largest community-based tree planting and nature care event – National Tree Day - in 1996.

Since then, 5 million volunteers have planted 26 million trees. 

This year, the aim is to plant a million native trees, shrubs and grasses to support Australia’s environment and communities.

There are two ‘elements’ to the National Tree Day:

  • A School’s Tree Day on 29th July 2022
  • The National Tree Day on 31st July 2022

You can Host a Planting; Join a Planting or Donate via the website.

Although there are specific ‘days’ as listed above, events can be registered at any time that is more suitable to you or your group.

For schools, there are lesson plans, activity sheets and a competition. The activity sheets can also be used by anyone interested in planting trees. Over 3,000 early learning centres, primary and high schools across Australia are part of the Schools Tree Day.

Another important resource is The Seedling Bank. This was started in 2019 and provides financial grants to successful applicants to obtain seedlings and plant them. The 2022 grant round is currently closed, but will reopen in December. For further information on the Seedling Bank, check out the webpage: www.treeday.planetark.org/seedlingbank/#what

You may ask, why plant trees? Here are a few excellent reasons:

  • To help with human-induced climate change through the removal of carbon dioxide and storing it as carbon;
  • To help clean the air by absorbing pollutants;
  • To prevent soil erosion and improve water quality by helping to bind the soil together via the root systems. Water can percolate deeper into the soil, and be available for longer periods, rather than running off and carrying pollutants and valuable nutrients with it, which can have negative effects in aquatic ecosystems.
  • To create and restore habitats for hundreds of species of organisms.
  • To improve your mental and physical health; being outdoors in natural environments reduces stress and anxiety, as well as general health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and improving circulation.
  • To provide a resource and cultural identity to communities, especially indigenous peoples.

Thus, you can see that trees are vital to humanity. So, what are you waiting for? Go and plant a (native) tree!

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.

12/06 2022

Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July® (www.plasticfreejuly.org) is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – cleaner streets; oceans and communities.

Plastic Free July is part of the Plastic Free Foundation, which was started by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and a small team in Western Australia in 2011. Today, it is global in reach.

Plastics have, for many decades, been the epitome of a modern, convenience society. Their use is everywhere. However, increasingly, attention has been turning to the problem of plastic pollution. .

The first commercially successful man-made polymer (many parts) was Celluloid, which was patented in the USA in 1869. The first truly synthetic (man-made) polymer was Bakelite; patented in 1907 in the USA.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was developed accidentally in 1872. Since then, a wide range of plastics have been developed.

Production of plastics before World War Two was very limited. Prior to 1950, the cumulative global production was somewhere between 4 and 8 million metric tons; most of which occurred during the Second Word War.

In 2017, annual global primary plastic production had reached 438 Million metric tons, whilst the global plastic waste generation in 2017 was estimated at 380 Million metric tons; of this, only 70 Million metric tons was recycled. The remainder was either discarded or incinerated. That means 310 Million metric tons entered the environment in some form in 2017.

To give some idea of the amount (in weight) of plastics produced and disposed of, consider that the maximum weight of a blue whale has been calculated at 199 metric tons, whilst at Nimitz-class aircraft carrier weighs between 90 000 and 100 000 metric tons.

Part of the attraction of plastic, of course, is its durability. As such, most plastics are very difficult to breakdown under natural conditions. Estimates range from 20 years to over 1000 years, and whilst a number of microorganisms have been found to breakdown plastic, this research is still in its early stages. So, the vast majority of plastics are still lying around somewhere.

Therefore, reducing plastic consumption is imperative. There are many actions besides recycling of plastics that can be taken. Some of which include:

  • Drink from reusable coffee cups or dine-in.
  • Clean your teeth with plastic-free toothbrushes (although the bristles are usually still plastic)
  • Replace single-use sanitary items with reusable menstrual cups and specific ‘period’ underwear
  • Plastic-free party decorations – consider making reusable decorations rather than using balloons and party poppers.
  • Change from liquid soap to bar soap. If using liquid soap, buy refillable soap to replenish them. Or, if you wish, make your own soaps, shampoos, and cosmetics.
  • And many more….

There are so many ways to reduce and eliminate plastic from everyday life; whether that be at home; at work or business; or whilst at leisure. Afterall, most of these everyday issues existed before plastics became widely available.

More broadly, encourage your supply chains to reduce or eliminate plastic wherever possible. If planning an event, look for reusable materials and vendors who promote sustainable environmental practices. For example, request that vendors provide reusable cups; look for alternatives to plastic wrapping and limit the amount of ‘throwaway’ freebies.

Put pressure on suppliers to make ‘quick-win’ changes: for example, encourage bakeries to use cardboard bread bag ties instead of plastic, and ask them if they can put the bread in paper wrapping rather than plastic.

Check out the Facebook page for further information: www.facebook.com/PlasticFreeJuly

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.

07/06 2022

Re: Join HOPE and start living sustainably today!

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) is recruiting new members, supporters and volunteers to help foster a brighter, more sustainable tomorrow.


What does it mean to live sustainably?

Environmental sustainability is defined as ‘the responsibility to conserve natural resources and protect global ecosystems to support health and wellbeing, now and in the future.’

This is a team effort, and the more people we can empower to live sustainably, the more chance we have of reversing the ecological damage humans have wreaked upon the natural world and restoring its viability for future generations.


How HOPE helps you live sustainably?

As so many of the environmentally damaging decisions we make are not felt by us immediately, a key element of sustainability is ensuring people are conscious of the role they play in shaping environmental outcomes.

HOPE supports this through:

  • Investigating global environmental issues and trends – as well as any ‘good works’ being advocated and/or undertaken.
  • Translating these matters into a local context through practical workshops, meetings, and brochures - explaining how individuals, families and communities can contribute at a local level.
  • Providing members with a practical roadmap to consciously conserve their resource use, using ‘best practice’ consumption and natural resource management.
  • Connecting members to a wider network of passionate, environmentally conscious individuals, allowing them to follow positive examples of local action.


How do you join HOPE?

HOPE is free to join for individuals, families, businesses, and community organisations and has branches all across Australia.

To become a member, fill out our membership form here or contact us on (07) 4639 2135 or email [email protected].

As a volunteer-led charitable organisation, we welcome any financial donations our members are able to make to help us continue our vital work. Donations can be sent through the designated page on our website.

For more information, subscribe to our newsletter or check out our Facebook and Twitter pages to see some of our work.


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

Written by Mert Kul, Researcher at HOPE Qld


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

06/06 2022

Date Claimer: Meeting Notice, Saturday 11 June 2022

Householder’s Options to Protect the Environment’s meeting is being held on Saturday 11 June 2022, commencing at 10am, at 22 Vacy Street, Newtown – Toowoomba. The meeting will be both a physical and ZOOM event.

Major items to be discussed include funding options for proposed projects; and reviewing environmental issues to pursue in coming months.

As seating is limited, anyone wishing to attend in person is asked to register by phoning 4639 2135 or emailing [email protected] .

For those interested in attending the ZOOM session, please email [email protected] for the link.


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


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


01/06 2022

Our June 2022 Bulletin is here!

This month, we officially welcome in winter and as you get warm and cozy for hibernation mode, we have prepared some insightful reading material for you!

Environment Day (5th) is this month, and we are considering the impacts of environmental pollution on human existence and animal life.

Grab a copy of our June Bulletin at the e-News Bulletins page .

29/05 2022

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, 17 June 2022

The global observance of actions to combat desertification and drought will be held on 17th June 2022 – with main activities being held in Madrid, Spain.

To give some idea of the scale of drought, consider the following:

  • Between 1900 and 2019, droughts have impacted 2.7 billion people and caused 11.7 million deaths. It is forecasted that, by 2050, droughts may affect over three-quarters of the world’s population.

By way of explanation of terminology:

  • Desertification – this is the process of desert formation, which can be natural in origin due to climatic shifts, but is exacerbated by practices such as overgrazing and tree removal along the margins of an existing desert.
  • Desert – this is any area where one or more factors necessary for living organisms, is in critically short supply. On land, a desert will develop if evaporation exceeds precipitation. An interesting point is that Antarctica is classified as a desert, due to the fact that it receives very little precipitation.
  • Drought – a long period of unusually low rainfall that leads to the parching of ground and the withering of vegetation.

The annual Desertification and Drought Day has three objectives:

  1. To promote public awareness about desertification and drought
  2. To let people, know that desertification and drought can be effectively tackled; that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lie in strengthening community participation and cooperation at all levels.
  3. To strengthen implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification.

Globally, 23% of the land is no longer productive. 75% has been transformed from its natural state, mostly for agriculture. With,

  • 99% of calories that a human requires still come from land; thus, any loss of land reduces the available land for human food production as well as increasing the competition between humans and all other land-based life.
  • Land that is healthy and resilient is better able to withstand wildfires, droughts and flash-floods
  • Over 2 billion hectares of land has been degraded and needs to be restored for future ecosystem viability.
  • Degraded land causes impacts across many ecosystems; exposed topsoil can be removed by wind and water and deposited in the sea, where it can affect sensitive ecosystems, such as coral reefs and seagrass beds.

For further information check out the official webpage www.unccd.int/events/ddd/2022-desertification-and-drought-day or Facebook www.facebook.com/UNCCD/ .

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.

20/05 2022

Voting for Disaster Resilient Regions at the Federal Election

With polling day tomorrow, HOPE President Frank Ondrus is appealing to all voters to put our natural environment first by officially endorsing Healthy Land and Water’s pre-election pamphlet, outlining a ‘four pillar plan to create disaster resilient, highly liveable regions.’

Australia has become more vulnerable to extreme climate events such as bushfires and flooding in recent years, with this trend expected to continue into the coming decades. Along with the ruinous social and financial damage of the events themselves, communities are now facing a growing insurability crisis which further weakens their protection against inevitable future events.

On average, consumers paid almost four times more for home insurance premiums in 2021 than in 2004. Many households are therefore being forced to either underinsure their home or not insure themselves at all, effectively leaving their most important asset at the mercy of an ever more merciless climate.

Nowhere is the risk more acute than in Queensland. According to a report by the Climate Council, of the 40 federal electorates that are projected by 2030 to have 4% of properties classified ‘high risk’ and thus ‘uninsurable’ due to excessive financial cost, 18 are found in Queensland. By then, 6.5% of properties in Queensland will be uninsurable which is almost double the rate of New South Wales, the next highest state.

South East Queensland (SEQ) is home to 71% of Queensland’s population and 40% of its Indigenous population, and is expected to grow by almost 2 million people over the next 25 years. This will further increase the vulnerability of the region to extreme weather. It is, therefore, all the more important to invest in building communities which are resilient to the challenges ahead. As an independent organisation which uses expert monitoring and evidence-based research to protect the natural environment in SEQ, Healthy Land and Water are well placed to provide solutions to these challenges.

They emphasise the ecological impact of extreme weather events, causing permanent damage to soil and infrastructure which further exacerbate vulnerability to future events as well as threatening ecosystems and liveability.

Their four-pillar plan argues for $27.3 million of annual investment in catchment resilience solutions and local capacity building, arguing that while communities are often keen to have a positive impact on their local environments, they often don’t have the resources and support to do so. They argue that it is 3-5 times more cost effective to invest in proactive measures than responding after event, with the initial investment tapering off as communities become more self-sufficient. Their plan allocates the money across four key recommendations.

It advocates for the creation of smart capacity building tools for local people to enable them to access best practice and high-grade expert advice to manage their own resilience, arguing that while good information is out there now, it is difficult to gather and implement.

Tackling high problem areas is another key focus, with particular spots contributing significant negative impacts through sediment loss and pollution. The pamphlet argues for investment in soft engineering solutions such as large catchment earthwork projects to build resilience in an environmentally friendly way. 

Empowering First Nations and the wider community are also seen to be crucial to supporting the effort. Despite their expert knowledge and proud tradition of conservation, the pamphlet states that the indigenous community remain disenfranchised and underutilised. Moreover, it identifies a mismatch between the desire of people to protect the environment and their lack of knowledge. To address this, the plan proposes investment to improve indigenous involvement in local decision making and education programs for locals to allow them to see how their behaviours can impact the environment.

Finally, the plan identifies lack of start-up finance as a key roadblock to the implementation of projects which could be effective but are prohibitively expensive for local communities. It argues that co-funding targeted local works for public benefit, through training adoption officers and a grants program for landowners, would enable community stakeholders to move ahead with their own projects faster.

This election is pivotal to the direction of federal policy-making on protecting the natural environment and wider action to limit climate change this decade, critical to mitigating its worst impacts. Frank Ondrus is therefore calling for all voters to stand up for candidates which recognise the need for urgent action to proactively support communities at the precipice of further harm, helping to protect both them and the natural environment we rely upon.

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph. 07 4639 2135
Written by Mert Kul, Researcher at HOPE Qld

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

13/05 2022

Overview and Critique of “A New Generation of National Environmental Laws”

This document aims to provide a detailed overview and critique of “A New Generation of National Environmental Laws” by authors writing for the Places You Love Alliance. This will include a detailed breakdown of the areas where the authors believe national environmental strategy to be failing, the reforms suggested by the authors to rectify these failings, and a critique of the efficacy of such reforms.

The article makes the case that factors including a combination of poor policy, lack of enforcement of existing environmental law, and the lack of a sufficient environmental protection strategy has led to an unsustainable amount of land clearing, habitat and biodiversity loss, and pollution. The authors postulate a series of solutions to these issues while utilising case studies to make suggestions regarding environmental reform and to highlight how faults with current approaches to environmental protection have led to undesirable outcomes.

You can read the Overview and Critique of “A New Generation of National Environmental Laws” by Stephen Law here.

** Check out our other feature articles HERE

12/05 2022

Voting for a Net Zero future at the Federal Election

With the Federal Election almost upon us, Frank Ondrus, President of Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. is officially endorsing the latest report from The Next Economy, titled ‘What Regions Need on the Path to Net Zero Emissions.’ He is asking all candidates seeking elected office to support its findings and recommendations to ensure the effective decarbonisation of the Australian economy.

For decades, HOPE has been advocating for the need to transition Australia’s domestic energy system away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy sources, mitigating the worst impacts of climate change which have already begun impacting local communities in recent years.

Using production-based accounting, where emissions from imported goods for consumption are not counted, Australia was the 12th largest per capita emitter of carbon dioxide in 2018, closely following the US. In the same year, Australia was the only developed country to feature in the annual WWF list of deforestation hotspots, with rates of land-clearing some of the highest in the world. Consequently, even when Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) are included, Australia does not fare well either, ranking 2nd only behind Iceland for net greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.

The Australian Government’s plan to reach Net Zero emissions by 2050 relies extensively on technological innovation within the private sector, such as the predicted widespread implementation of carbon capture and storage technology - a practice criticised as unreliable and inefficient which has allowed fossil fuel companies to ‘greenwash’ carbon intensive activities.

The report argues that a significant shift in opinion has already taken place among local stakeholders across regional Australia towards accepting that Australia is transitioning away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, accepting that this would mean a significant reduction in the role of coal within the domestic energy system.

However, it states that a lack of federal government leadership and policy certainty at a national level is hindering investment into new industries and stifling their development. Mixed messages are still common within Australia’s domestic politics, with both major parties emphasising the importance of maintaining coal in the domestic energy mix and announcements of approvals for new coal fired power stations while many existing ones are beginning to close early due to becoming commercially unviable.

Supported by industry leaders, the report calls on the federal government to ‘de-risk’ investment in renewable energy by developing clear targets for drawing down coal power, signalling federal government support for new industries, standardising processes and regulations across different jurisdictions and ensuring all companies are held to the same ESG (Environmental, Social, and (Corporate) Governance) requirements.

It also calls for the end of top-down planning models, recognising that ‘all places are different’ and extensive community knowledge and continuous input is needed to tackle particular local challenges and maintain trust. Specifically, it highlights the importance of more inclusive and participatory planning approaches, expanding on standard consultation processes to include more informal discussions, mapping techniques, art and citizens juries to reach a wider array of stakeholders, understanding that holistic approaches which take into account community desires to improve local wellbeing have the best chance of being both successful and equitable.

The report further stresses the need for the establishment of a National Transition Authority, modelled on Germany, Spain and Canada, to support existing transition authorities by coordinating national policy changes and commanding extra resources to direct them where needed. It argues that such a body must have a clear mandate, setting key responsibilities and enshrining independence from political interference, have genuine authority preferably through statutory backing, be durable and backed by long term funding which takes it out of short-term electoral cycles.

The report also exposes the fear among local industry leaders, energy providers, public servants and advocacy groups of taking sides in toxic political mood around the green transition, citing the violence provoked by Conservative politicians and local coalminers during protest in Queensland in the run up to the 2019 Federal Election.

This speaks of a wider need by elected officials to explain and promote the economic opportunities available to all by reaching net zero. The report explains that the transition represents an ‘historic opportunity’ for the Australian economy to develop a range of industries and high-skilled jobs in renewable energy, storage and transmission, component manufacturing, batteries and food and fibre processing, all of which are well suited to regional areas.

Importantly, it adds that transitioning to Net Zero also allows Australia to address its more immediate economic challenges. Alongside technological advances, renewable energy is creating new possibilities for the regional manufacturing of food, fibre and chemicals, de-coupling the economy from stretched global supply chains which are largely to blame for the cost-of-living crisis. Moreover, diversifying the mining sector into providing the exploration, extraction and processing of the minerals needed for renewable industries, such as copper, zinc, lithium and cobalt, generates additional revenue and job opportunities to help replace declining demand for coal and gas exports.

For example, various Liberal-National Party MPs, have consistently opposed measures to enable a fast transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy as well as to increase investment in renewable energy sources.

This is indefensible given the in-built advantages Australia has in its favour, possessing an abundance of renewable natural energy sources, technical expertise, infrastructure and a proximity to Asian markets which all enhance its potential to become a new renewable energy superpower.

With Australia being one of the leaders in global greenhouse gas emissions, Frank Ondrus is calling for voters to truly ‘think globally, act locally.’ It is not just Australia’s future they are voting for, but that of the wider world which depends on decisive action by leading industrial nations.


Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph. 07 4639 2135
Written by Mert Kul, Researcher at HOPE Qld

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

11/05 2022

United Nations (UN) World Food Safety Day, 7 June 2022

The United Nations has designated the 7th June as World Food Safety Day - www.un.org/en/observances/food-safety-day.

It is estimated that there are 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses every year, and 420 000 people die annually from eating contaminated food; with children under 5 accounting for 40% of those deaths.

World Food Safety Day on 7 June aims to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risk, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development.

These align with several of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); notifiable SDG 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture) and SDG 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages).

More than 200 diseases are caused by food contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances.

The impact of unsafe food costs low- and middle-income economies around US$ 95 billion in lost productivity each year.

Good hygiene helps prevent the emergence and spread of foodborne diseases.

With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, many people may be concerned about catching the SARS-CoV2 virus from contaminated food. The SARS-CoV2 virus cannot grow on food; viruses need a living host to multiply. Bacteria – such as Salmonella – can survive and grow in food under the right conditions; and give rise to very nasty illnesses when the food is consumed.

The hygiene practices that have been repeatedly stressed to reduce the spread of Covid-19 (sanitizing hands; thorough hand washing and drying; surface cleaning and sanitizing) are applicable to general food safety and, indeed, hand washing before handling food; after using the toilet; after shopping, handling animals and being in contact with ‘dirty’ areas will be beneficial to general health and wellbeing.

There are a number of publications and other resources which may be of use and interest in help with food safety:

Check out the World food Safety Facebook page for additional information:

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.

01/05 2022

Check out our May 2022 eBulletin!

This special month, we observe International Day for Biological Diversity (22nd) and the magnificent creatures of our planet including Hairy-nose Wombat Day (11th), World Bee Day (20th), and World Turtle Day (23rd).

In this month's issue we focus on conserving our native wildlife and the impact of human activities on our wildlife diversity.

Grab a copy of our May Bulletin at the e-News Bulletins page .

18/04 2022

International Compost Awareness Week, 1st - 7th May 2022

Founded by the Compost Research and Education Foundation, the International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) is the largest and most comprehensive education initiative of the compost industry.

The goal of ICAW is to work together to raise public awareness of why we all should be composting our organics recycling and using compost.

The theme for 2022 is Recipe for Regeneration: Compost



The 2022 theme highlights the regenerative agriculture movement and how compost and organics recycling fit into that process.

What is regenerative agriculture?

This is a system that focuses on improving soil health using agricultural practices with the idea that healthier soil will lead to healthier, more nutrient-rich crops and, ultimately, less carbon in the atmosphere through increased carbon sequestration.

Compost helps create healthier soils and crops by providing food for a diverse range of soil organisms. These organisms enrich the quality of the soil through nutrient cycling, and, in the case of photosynthetic organisms (algae and photosynthetic bacteria) sequester (to lock away) carbon.

Some benefits of using compost:

  1. The use of landfill space and incineration can be reduce be at least one-third when organics are recycled.
  2. Methane, which is twenty-five times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, can be significantly reduced through organics recycling.
  3. Soil health and productivity is dependent on organic matter; compost helps nutrient cycling and soil aeration. Pesticide use can be reduced.
  4. Compost can act as a ‘carbon bank’ to help store carbon to reduce the amount released to the atmosphere as greenhouse gases.
  5. Compost helps with water conservation and in improving water quality. Compost helps reduce evaporation losses of water from the soil. Natural chemicals in compost help bind pollutants, so as to limit their entry into watercourses. Compost helps reduce soil erosion through limiting the impact of heavy rainfall on the soil, and by general improvements to soil structure.

If you are interested in holding a composting event in Australia, email [email protected] to let them know about your event and discuss what resources are available.

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.

10/04 2022

Call for a National Policy on Climate

With the Federal Election being announced, Frank Ondrus, President of Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. is asking all prospective candidates to support the community’s widespread call for a National Policy on Climate.

According to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), an independent scientific analysis that measures government climate action and its impact on global temperature goals, Australia's climate targets, policies, and finance are highly incompatible with the Paris Agreement, the aim of which is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

In fact, the CAT estimates that, under Australia's current policies, "[carbon dioxide] emissions will continue to rise and are consistent with more than 3 [degrees Celsius] warming". In light of the CAT's estimates, HOPE President Frank Ondrus urges all candidates for the upcoming Federal Election to support the development of a strong, robust climate policy that will facilitate the just transition from fossil fuels to renewables, such as solar and wind energy.

As the CAT has pointed to, Australia is complicit in ongoing and regressive efforts to replace fossil fuels with fossil fuels. For instance, the Australian government is investing in carbon capture and storage (CCS), which involves pumping captured greenhouse gases from fossil fuel projects back into the ground, ostensibly to reduce the impact of emissions-intensive industries. In reality, CCS is merely a license to “ramp up emissions”, according to the Climate Council.

As such, Australia is complicit in humanity’s ongoing and devastating impact on the planet.

In fact, humanity's impact on the planet is so extensive that many people believe we are now living in a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene. In the Anthropocene, our actions, rather than any natural progress, are significantly dominating and altering the biological, chemical, and geological systems of the planet.

Carbon dioxide emissions are just one example of how we humans have modified the planet. Enormous amounts of carbon dioxide are released into the air when we burn fossil fuels (see ClientEarth). As a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere, thereby causing accelerated global warming and its side effects (see Climate.gov). One such side effect is ocean acidification, the process whereby excess carbon dioxide dissolves into the ocean, lowers the pH, and dissolves the calcium carbonate on which marine life depends to form its shells.

In years past, ecosystems acted as “carbon sinks” and absorbed almost 30% of the carbon dioxide that was released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity. However, climate-induced weather anomalies like floods, droughts, and heatwaves are diminishing the resilience of these carbon sinks (see The Conversation).

In 2014, the Places You Love (PYL) Alliance convened the Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law (APEEL) to consider and propose a major overhaul of our existing national environmental laws. “We wish to put forward APEEL's recommendations as the blueprint for a national climate policy,” says HOPE’s President.

Our government is yet to establish a formal emissions target. APEEL, on the other hand, is committed to fostering a system of environmental laws that “makes their implementation as transparent, efficient, effective, and participatory as possible”.

Taking on board the statements and actions of APEEL, HOPE President Frank Ondrus calls on all our federal candidates, to present their environmental stand on implementing a coordinated, best practice approach to safeguarding our planet for future generations.

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph. 07 4639 2135
Written by Olivia Ustariz, HOPE media officer Qld

PS.The latest IPCC report is available at AR6 Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change — IPCC


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

10/04 2022

Pharmaceutical Pollution of Rivers

In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a recent research paper has identified that pharmaceutical pollution in aquatic ecosystems poses a global threat to environmental and human health. (PNAS 2022 Vol. 119 No. 8 -  https://www.pnas.org)

Environmental exposure to Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) can have negative effects on the health of ecosystems and humans.

APIs are released to the natural environment during their manufacture, use and disposal. There is increasing evidence that environmental exposure to APIs can have deleterious effects on the health of ecosystems and humans. These adverse effects include:

  • selecting for antibiotic resistant bacteria
  • feminizing fish
  • increasing susceptibility of fish to predation

Lowest API concentrations were found in areas with:

  • limited human influence
  • limited use of modern medicines
  • sophisticated wastewater treatment infrastructure
  • high riverine flows with large dilution capacities

Amongst the most commonly detected APIs were: caffeine; metformin; nicotine; and carbamazepine.

The highest concentrations of APIs were found in sub-Saharan Africa; South Asia and South America; and the most contaminated sites were in low- and middle-income countries; associated with poor wastewater and waste management infrastructure and pharmaceutical manufacturing. It is speculated that lower middle-income counties are particularly susceptible to high environmental concentrations of APIs because of the increased availability of medicines, coupled with relatively poor wastewater treatment infrastructure.

The ecological impact of APIs in riverine systems is difficult to identify because many of these chemicals have complex biochemical pathways and can be broken down into a wide variety of different chemicals, that can interact in many different ways; which can result in extremely toxic by-products being released into the environment.

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.

06/04 2022

Our April 2022 Bulletin is here!

This month we observe Business Clean Up Day (1st-31st May) and Earth Day (18th). You can get involved by organising a business clean-up or even a solo clean-up to help conserve the wonderful environment in which we live!

Grab a copy of our April Bulletin at the e-News Bulletins page .

26/03 2022

Conflict, Climate Change, Natural Disasters, and their Impacts on Food Security

Food security has had, and continues to have, numerous definitions. This is because the factors influencing food security continue to change over time and across different geographical regions. One of the most enduring definitions of food security was coined by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) at the first World Food Summit in 1996, and it reads like so:


When all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.


This definition is widely accepted, as it points to the multidimensional nature of food security, which FAO identifies as comprising four key pillars: food availability, food access, utilisation, and stability.

On the other side of the spectrum is food insecurity, which can be broadly understood as the limited availability of, or access to, food that is safe and nutritionally sound (United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)). Food insecurity was a concern in pre-industrial societies. For instance, during the First Intermediate Period (2181-2055 BC) in Ancient Egypt, there were food shortages following the collapse of the central government.

However, according to The World Bank, levels of food insecurity are increasing across the globe due to various factors, including natural disasters, climate change, and conflict. In this instance, natural disasters and climate change can be considered together; according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and FAO, climate change increases temperatures, changes precipitation patterns, and so contributes to the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like floods, droughts, and megafires.

The impacts of climate-induced weather anomalies on food security are seemingly endless. Per a special report from the IPCC, heat stress alone may reduce fruit set and speed up the development of annual vegetables, thereby resulting in "yield losses, impaired product quality, and increasing food loss and waste". Conflicts, likewise, can directly and indirectly impact food security by displacing people and forcing additional stress on the markets of recipient communities.

Many international agreements and mechanisms have been established to redress food insecurity concerns. One such mechanism is the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which call on all countries to proactively protect people and planet, and thereby ensure peace and prosperity for all. In particular, Goal Two seeks to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”. To safeguard the effectiveness of the SDGs, the UN established a division to  provide secretariat support, including stakeholder engagement and coordination.

You too can help foster peace and prosperity for people and planet alike by taking part in World Environment Day. Scheduled for 5 June 2022, World Environment Day is a UN initiative designed to advocate for collective environmental action while simultaneously encouraging sustainable living on an individual level.

In our everyday lives, from the food we eat to the businesses and governments we support, we can drive change. Together, we can safeguard the universal Right to Food.


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

Written by Olivia Ustariz, HOPE media officer Qld

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

25/03 2022

Help Support our Project: Development and Publication of Waste Minimization Brochure

We are creating a brochure that will provide sufficient information and encouragement for residents to ‘divert’ more items from waste collection services.

To learn more about our project and how you can support us, visit our grant application page posted by the Australian Communities Foundation.

19/03 2022

Summary of the International Offsets Review Consultation

Hon Angus Taylor Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction has commissioned the Climate Change Authority (CCA) to review the principles and criteria for assessing the use of carbon reduction offsets. This will review principles and criteria is used in the Climate Active program and will help inform the redesign of the Indo-Pacific Carbon Offsets Scheme (IPOCS), in effort to meet carbon reduction targets as per the Paris Agreement. The review is now up for public consultation on the CCA website until 4 April 2022. Responses to the consultation will inform the final review due 30 June 2022.

You can read a summary of the International Offsets Review prepared by Anna Kula here. Important information such as "What are international offsets?" and "What will be reviewed?" are also presented in the summary.

** Check out our other feature articles HERE

10/03 2022

Partner with HOPE to empower sustainable living today!

As an Environmental NGO dedicated to empowering everyday people with the ‘know how’ to live sustainably, Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) is always looking for new ways to increase our understanding of key environmental issues.

One way we do this is by forming mutually beneficial alliances and partnerships with other environmental NGOs, so we can support their charters while simultaneously tapping into their wealth of expertise and resources.

Below is a snapshot of some of the state, national, and international NGOs we are proud to be affiliated with:

HOPE's Queensland Affiliations

Queensland Conservation Council (QCC): - QCC is the peak body for Queensland’s Environmental movement, and it campaigns for more public and private land reserves, among other initiatives, to foster harmony with the environment.

Queensland Water and Land Carers (QWaLC): - QWaLC is the peak body for Natural Resources Management (NRM) volunteers in Queensland, and it facilitates initiatives like the State Landcare Awards to promote and protect their efforts.

QLD Protect the Bush Alliance (PTBA): - PTBA examines proposed changes to conservation legislation, among other initiatives, to protect areas of high biodiversity and conservation value.

Darling Downs Environment Council (DDEC): - DDEC preserves and protects the environment and reinforces values which promote sustainability, especially in relation to the Darling Downs’s diminishing land and water resources.

HOPE's National Affiliations

Boomerang Alliance: - Boomerang Alliance facilitates the Cash for Containers campaign, among others, to motivate the behavioural and systematic changes necessary for a zero-waste society.

Lock the Gate Alliance (LtGA): – LtGA empowers Australians to demand sustainable food and energy production to diminish the negative impacts of fracking, coal mining, and coal seam gas.

Protect the Places You Love (PYL): - PYL protects Australia's national parks and the precious wildlife and natural beauty therein by facilitating new, more robust national environment laws.

GM Free Australia Alliance (GMFAA): - GMFAA acts against the threat of Genetic Manipulation (GM) on the safety, biodiversity, and sustainability of Australian crops and foods.

Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA): - AELA uses academic research, community-based projects, and advocacy to move our governance and culture towards an Earth centred world view.

HOPE’s International Affiliations

Earth Charter International (ECI): - ECI promotes awareness and use of the Earth Charter, which articulates the actions and mindset necessary to build a more just and sustainable global society.

International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN): - ICAN draws attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weaponry to advocate for the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty.

International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN): - IPEN contributes to policies and research on chemical production and waste to negate the harmful effects of toxic chemicals on the environment.

We are always on the look-out for prospective alliances and partnerships with other environmental NGOs to further our collective ideal of a brighter, more sustainable tomorrow.

If you are interested in partnering with HOPE, please contact us on (07) 4639 2135 or [email protected]. And for more information on our sustainability efforts, please head to our website, Facebook or Twitter.

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph. 07 4639 2135
Written by Olivia Ustariz, HOPE media officer QLD

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

08/03 2022

Australian Heritage Festival, 1 April – 31 May 2022

For more than 40 years, the National Trust has help connect the nation through the Australian Heritage Festival celebration: www.nationaltrust.org.au/ahf | www.facebook.com/AustralianHeritageFestival

For 2022, the theme is Curiosity, and is aimed at encouraging the community to actively wonder, investigate and learn about natural, cultural, indigenous, living and built heritage around the nation.

Some of the events that are available for you to learn about Australia’s heritage include:

  • The Murtoa Stick Shed Open Day, 24th April 2022, 1465 Wimmera Highway, Murtoa, VIC
  • Built in World War II as the No 1 Emergency Grain Store and could hold 92,000 tonnes of wheat
  • Walking on Country along the Paramatta River, 2nd April, George Street Gatehouse, George Street, Paramatta, NSW
    Discover how scientific understanding has affected the management of the river and its surrounding lands in the past, the present and into the future.
  • Brislington – 200 Years of history and Care, every Tuesday and Thursday in April and May 2022, Cnr George and Marsden Streets, Paramatta, NSW.

The above are only a small flavour of the diverse history and heritage of Australia that is waiting to be explored.

Exploring our country doesn’t, of course, need to happen just in the months of April and May! The Coronavirus pandemic has given people the opportunity to re-evaluate their lives and, perhaps, think more about where they live and what happens there. With the freedom to travel around the country, now is the time to see for yourself what made Australia what it is today.

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.

07/03 2022

Join HOPE and start living sustainably today!

Are you an environmentally conscious individual looking to live more sustainably but are not sure where to start?

Fear not, as Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) is on the hunt for new members, supporters, and volunteers to help realise our collective goal of fostering a brighter, more sustainable tomorrow. HOPE can provide the information, resources, and network to ‘think globally, act locally’; that is, to help you protect and enhance the environment in your everyday life, and to promote this philosophy in your local community.

Environmental sustainability is a team effort, and the more people we can empower to live sustainably, the more likely we are to leave behind a more beautiful and fruitful world for future generations of people and wildlife.

What does it mean to live sustainably?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to live sustainably is to ‘create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations’.

How can HOPE help you live sustainably?

Though it is very easy to become distressed about the current state of the environment, especially considering recent climate catastrophes like bushfires and flooding, HOPE provides its members, supporters, and volunteers with a practical roadmap to conserve their use of energy and resources, to minimise their production of waste and pollution, and to preference ‘best practice’ consumption and natural resource management.

The association between the Plastics Hub and CSIRO does not end with the latter's support of the former; in fact, the Plastics Hub aligns with the objectives of CSIRO's Ending Plastic Waste Mission (EPW) in development, the aim of which is to reduce plastic waste entering the environment by 80% by 2030.

In particular, our aim is to provide:

  • Information about current environmental issues;
  • Educational resources like practical workshops, meetings, and brochures so you can learn how to tackle current environmental issues on an individual and local level; and
  • ‘Showing’ - that is, a passionate network of other environmentally conscious individuals to help you lead by example.

But above all else, HOPE wants to provide the reassurance that you CAN make a difference.

How do you join HOPE?

HOPE is free to join, and membership is available to individuals, families, businesses, and community organisations. And even though we are based in Toowoomba, we welcome supporters from all over Australia.

For more information, to subscribe to our newsletter, or to become a part of the HOPE community, head to our website, or contact us on (07) 4639 2135 or [email protected].

We also have great content available on our Facebook and Twitter.

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph. 07 4639 2135
Written by Olivia Ustariz, HOPE Media Officer Qld

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

06/03 2022

Australian Living Labs Innovation Network

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. (Australia) wishes to note its support and endorsement of the work of the Australian Living Labs Innovation Network (ALLiN).

ALLiN was originally co-founded in 2016 by Gareth Pridy, Amanda Third, and Phil Donaldson, who currently serve as co-directors. ALLiN's key aim is to support Living Labs in Australia, and to link these Living Labs with their global counterparts, such as ENoLL (the European Network of Living Labs), and foster collaboration opportunities.

Living Labs constitute a relatively new type of research methodology. They are difficult to define, as their purpose, scope, and context shift from one Living Lab to the next. In saying that, FISSAC (Fostering Industrial Symbiosis for a Sustainable Resource Intensive Industry across the extended Construction Value Chain), offers that Living Labs tend to be characterised by experimental approaches in real-life context; participation and user involvement; and, collaboration and co-production of knowledge.

One example of a Living Lab in action is the Plastics Innovation Hub Indonesia (the Plastics Hub). The origins of the Plastics Hub can be traced back to February 2020, when the President of Indonesia and the Prime Minister of Australia formally recognised marine plastics as a key bilateral issue in need of addressing.

With the support of CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), the Plastics Hub became a reality in March 2022. Just as FISSAC described, the Plastics Hub uses the current ecosystem and collaborative efforts between Australian, Indonesian, and global partners to disrupt thinking, brainstorm challenges that necessitate comprehensive and scalable solutions, and increase the capacity for innovation. For instance, one of their initial targets is to consider sustainable alternatives that outperform existing plastics.

The association between the Plastics Hub and CSIRO does not end with the latter's support of the former; in fact, the Plastics Hub aligns with the objectives of CSIRO's Ending Plastic Waste Mission (EPW) in development, the aim of which is to reduce plastic waste entering the environment by 80% by 2030.

Never has there been a more pressing time to end plastic waste, as the rates at which we are producing plastic and releasing it into the environment is intensifying, with devastating results for humans and wildlife alike. For instance, marine debris smothers coral reefs, transports invasive species and chemical contaminants, and mortally injures wildlife via entanglement and ingestion, all of which can negatively impact navigation, tourism, and human health.

But now is not the time to give up HOPE. The Plastics Hub and CSIRO are working to prove that 'many hands make light work', and we can foster a brighter, more sustainable tomorrow if we put our heads together.

Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph. 07 4639 2135
Written by Olivia Ustariz, HOPE Media Officer Qld

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

01/03 2022

March 2022 Editorial

Happy March Movement, everyone!

But put those sneakers away, it’s not that kind of movement! We need you to join us in moving towards a cleaner Australia by participating in this month’s Business Clean Up Day(1st), School Clean Up Day(4th), and Clean Up Australia Day(6th). Search for a Clean Up event near you at cleanupaustraliaday.org.au or, if that’s not your thing, something small like, placing your own litter in the bin, or picking up litter on your morning walk are significant contributions you can make to creating a cleaner community.

In this month’s edition of the HOPE Newsletter, we look at what individuals, private organisations, and even international organisations are doing to address sustainability through recycling and waste minimisation. Our volunteer researchers provide many helpful links to how you too can get involved.

This month is also the world-renowned Earth Hour so join in by switching off at 8:30pm on Saturday, 26th of March!

Daniela Dal’Castel, Newsletter Editor – HOPE Inc.

Grab a copy of our January Bulletin at the e-News Bulletins page .

18/02 2022

Clean Up Australia events 2022

Clean Up Australia (CUA) is organising a number of clean-up days during March - for business, school or community-wide.

It is a sad reality that these “clean-up” days are required in the 21st century

Business Clean Up Day is on Tuesday 1st March - www.cleanup.org.au/business
Businesses can use the designated day to help foster team building and as a stepping-stone towards new opportunities and new ways of working, to reduce waste generated from the workplace

Schools Clean Up Day is on Friday 4th March - www.cleanup.org.au/schools
The Schools Clean Up Day is ideal to enthuse the next generation into waste management and minimisation strategies, by combining elements of the curriculum with fun activities that can be used as ‘hose’ challenges.

Clean Up Australia Day is on Sunday 6th March - www.cleanup.org.au/community
For the broader community, the Clean Up Australia Day is the avenue by which longer-term, societal changes can occur, by enabling communities to come together to help with environmental clean ups.

Whilst there are designated days for these clean ups, the production of waste and the problem of littering doesn’t just happen on one day. Therefore, these days could be done on any day; or, indeed, a business, school or community group may wish to have an ongoing clean-up programme.

To give some idea of the waste problem and the opportunities to improve the environment through improved waste management, consider these facts on plastics:

  • Australians use around 70 billion pieces of soft plastics (such as food wrappers) each year.
  • 84% of plastic used is sent to landfill and only 13% recycled

So, the challenge is on. Are you up to it?

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.

01/02 2022

February 2022 Editorial

Welcome to February 2022,

As we gear up for the year ahead, we turn our focus to some significant environmental issues of 2022 and take a look at what some key organisations are doing to address these issues. This month’s issue is packed with brilliant and insightful articles from our volunteer researchers, covering a variety of topics including marine life conservation, food security, achieving sustainability goals through education, and advocating for strong national policy on pollution. As always, we welcome your thoughts on these articles or on any issues you would like to raise.

Daniela Dal’Castel, Newsletter Editor – HOPE Inc.

Grab a copy of our January Bulletin at the e-News Bulletins page .

february 2022 bulletin