MEDIA RELEASE
28 June 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

Re: 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, Media Officer (Vic)

22020628 - MR - National Tree Planting Days


MEDIA RELEASE
12 June 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

Re: 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, Media Officer (Vic)

22020612_-_MR_-_Plastic_Free_July.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
07 June 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

MR - Membership Drive v2.1 (MK, 7 June 2022)


MEDIA RELEASE
06 June 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

22020606 - Date Claimer -- Meeting on 11 June  2022

 


MEDIA RELEASE
29 May 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

 


MEDIA RELEASE
20 May 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

20220520_-_MR_-_Supporting_Healthy_Land_and_Water_report.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
12 May 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

20220512 - MR -- Supporting The Next Economy's Report (updated)


MEDIA RELEASE
11 May 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

22020511 - MR - World Food Safety Day - 7 June 2022, by Jason Dingley

 


MEDIA RELEASE
18 April 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

www.compostfoundation.org/ICAW/ICAW-Home

www.facebook.com/InternationalCompostAwarenessWeek

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


MEDIA RELEASE
10 April 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

 


MEDIA RELEASE
10 April 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

20220410  MR - Pharmaceutical Pollution of Rivers, by Jason Dingley


MEDIA RELEASE
26 March 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

20220326 - MR - Food Security


MEDIA RELEASE
10 March 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

20220310_-_MR_-_Alliances_and_Partnerships.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
8 March 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

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 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

20220308_-_MR_-_Australian_Heritage_Festival__1_Apr_-_31_May.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
7 March 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

MR_2022_03_07_-_Membership-Volunteer_Drive.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
6 March 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

MR_2022_03_06_-_Australian_Living_Labs_Innovation_Networks.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
18 February 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

MR_2022_02_18_-_Clean_Up_Australia_events_2022.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
31 January 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

World Wetlands Day, 2nd February 2022

World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally each year on 2nd February. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran on the 2nd February 1971.

www.awe.gov.au/water/wetlands/world-wetlands-day
www.worldwetlandsday.org/home

Since 1997, World

  • raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits
  • promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands

Australia was one of the five founding nations to sign the convention, and designated the world’s first wetland of international importance (Ramsar wetland) under the convention. This was the Cobourg Peninsula, Northern Territory, in 1974.

Today, Australia has 66 Ramsar wetlands, covering every State and Territory and extends over 8.3 million hecta

  • Kakadu National Park (NT)
  • Gippsland Lakes (Vic)
  • Moreton Bay (Qld)

For 2022, the theme is ‘Wetlands Action for People and Nature’; with the challenge to Value, Manage, Restore and love Wetlands. To do this, a combination of financial, human and political capital is needed to save the world’s wetlands from disappearing and to restore those already degraded.

What is a wetland?

This is an area of low-lying land where the water table is at or near the surface for most of the time, resulting in open-water habitats and waterlogged land areas.

Why are wetlands important?

Wetlands are biodiversity hotspots; often with unique and endangered species that reside nowhere else. In addition, they act as fresh water stores and a buffer against salt-water intrusion from the ocean.

Wetlands can be highly productive and act as carbon sinks (mangroves sequester carbon up to 55 times greater than tropical rainforests), which is an essential component in mitigating human-induced climate change, as well as acting as traps and detoxifying areas for pollutants, such as heavy metals. In addition, they are important nursery grounds for many animals, such as fish and shellfish.

They can act as storm barriers to reduce the impact of extreme weather events in coastal areas.

They are also sources of livelihoods for millions of people around the world, and are important tourism and recreation areas.

How to Help Wetlands?

There are several downloads available to support World Wetlands Day:

www.worldwetlandsday.org/material

Some of the Australian events in support

  • • The Tootgarook Swamp at the Boneo Park Equestrian Centre, Vic on 30th January. www.boneopark.com.au/wetlands/
  • • Goulburn Wetlands, NSW and Wednesday 2nd February. Including guided walks looking at birds, plants and the history of the wetlands. Email [email protected]
  • • World Wetlands Day at Coochiemudlo Island, Qld on Saturday 5th February. This is an opportunity to become engaged with blue carbon ecosystems and encouraging active stewardship to ensure they function as best they can for the future. Contact [email protected]

Keep note of any planned developments in wetlands, and take action to prevent such developments.

Wetlands are vital for the long-term viability of our planet, and must be conserved!

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

MR_2022_01_31_-_World_Wetlands_Day__2_Feb_2022.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
14 January 2022

Think Globally, Act Locally

Wanted – Used Postage Stamps or Unwanted Stamp Album Collections

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

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

Mr Frank Ondrus, President of HOPE said “we also welcome unwanted stamp album collections; and collections of stamps from Esperanto club members.”

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.

Activities like these are in the direct interest of the HOPE organisation, as not only do the funds raised provide aid to those in need, but it also encourages home recycling and re-using.

If any individuals are involved in or have ideas of any other projects or activities of a similar ilk, HOPE would love to know about it and seek ways to promote such activities.

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

MR_2022_01_13_Wanted_-_Used_Postage_Stamps.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
28 December 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

A Greener New Year

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) invites you and your family to think about building a greener future for all, by making a conscious decision to support the good works of environment, conservation, landcare and animal welfare groups in the region. This is an exciting opportunity for you and your family to build the future you want and a world that is still rich with life and beauty for future generations.

There are three levels in which your family can get involved - you can par

  • personal – at home, at work, at school, at recreation;
  • in a group – contribute time and energy; and
  • supporting environmental events.

Where to start?
Check out HOPE’s website at www.hopeaustralia.org.au for resources such as Interesting Websites, Information Sheets, Helpful Hints and Feature Articles (from both internal and external sources).

Have a look at the Planet Ark website, as it offers specific local solutions for almost every item that you may need to recycle or safely dispose of. Either enter a location or choose a product from the drop-down box to be taken straight to information about local sites. There are contact details of charities and ‘reuse’ centres, drop-off recycling facilities for items such as paper and cardboard, aluminium and steel cans, glass bottles and plastic containers. Collection points for hazardous items such as gas bottles, paints, asbestos, tyres, vehicle and appliance batteries and contaminated fuels are also listed. The Planet Ark website also has details about local council services and contacts, along with links to educational resources and publications. With this wealth of knowledge, you can begin your greener year by discovering what positive steps you can readily undertake.

Brush up on the responsibilities of pet owners. For example, by fitting a cat collar with two working bells and keeping your cat inside at night, pet owners help protect our native wildlife (many are only active at night). Why not go to this wonderful website: Responsible Pet Ownership | RSPCA Australia and see what else you can do around the home to promote and protect wildlife?

Mr Frank Ondrus, President of HOPE, asks “Why not join a local group and help them with some of their planned projects? For instance, the Friends of the Escarpment Parks have regular working bees at several sites along the Toowoomba escarpment and volunteers are always welcome.”

“Residents are also invited to support/promote/contribute to important environmental observances such as Clean Up Australia Day, World Environment Day, Landcare Week and National Recycling Week,” said Mr Ondrus. These events provide an excellent opportunity to gain extra knowledge on your special interests, meet like-minded people, make friends for life and of course, make a real contribution to protecting and maintaining our unique Australian backyard.

An Environmental Events calendar, listing international and Australian national events is available on request from HOPE by emailing [email protected] or phoning 07 4639 2135.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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

MR_2021_12_28_-_A_Greener_New_Year.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
01 December 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

International Volunteer Day, 5 December 2021

In recognition of the United Nations International Volunteer Day, 5 December 2021, Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. wishes to acknowledge the valuable contribution that volunteers make to organisations and communities throughout Australia – starting with those who volunteer for HOPE.

Indeed, volunteers are an integral and essential part of thousands of organisations and communities throughout Australia. For instance, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) in Victoria is almost totally reliant on volunteers – nearly 54,000 of them – to respond to emergencies in often extremely hazardous situations.

Of course, not all volunteers place their lives on the line, but that does not mean their contributions are any less worthy. Everyone has a part to play in helping their communities - be this by cooking sausages; undertaking a litter pick-up; being a volunteer driver to help someone get around; admin tasks … the list is endless.

In 2019, for example, Victorian volunteers donated over 500 million hours, with a value of $58.1 billion to the economy. These figures are replicated across Australia. Without this amazing contribution of ‘free’ time and effort, the cost to State economies would be enormous, and most of the services provided could not be done. Hence, the level of appreciation for the work done by volunteers!

Volunteers ask for nothing – but, a thank you is always welcome. Increasingly, the efforts of volunteers are rewarded by communities and various Government bodies; however, most volunteers don’t do it for recognition by receiving a medal or certificate. They do it because they want to!

So, on behalf of HOPE Inc., we would like to say a massive THANK YOU to all those in Australia and overseas who share their time and talents help others in their communities.

 

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

20211201_MR_-__Nat__-_Volunteer_Thank_You__by_Jason_Dingley.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
08 November 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

World Fisheries Day, 21st November 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

MR_2021_11_21_-_World_Fisheries_Day__21_Nov_2021.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
28 September 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

United Nations World Habitat Day, Monday 4th October 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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


MEDIA RELEASE
23 September 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

Volunteering for the Environment

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

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

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

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

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

Volunteering is important to the economy and to the social fabric of the country. Volunteering Victoria has published its 2020 report on volunteering in Victoria

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

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

How can you volunteer for the environment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MR_2021_09_23_-_Volunteering_for_the_Environment.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
22 September 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

ICAN – International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following countries host U.S. nuclear weapons:

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

None of the above countries have joined the TPNW.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MR_2021_09_22_-_ICAN_Overview.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
18 September 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MR_2021_09_18_-_International_Day_of_Awareness_on_Food_Loss_...___29_Sept_2021.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
14 September 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

National Organic Week, 20th-26th September 2021

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

NOW has a number of goals:

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

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

What is organic farming or organic agriculture?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MR_2021_09_14_-_National_Organic_Week__20-26_September_2021.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
3 September 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

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

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

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

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

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

See you on the streets! #CarFreeDay .

 

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

Media officer: Danielle Eyre, mob: 0456 610 307

 

MR_2021_09_03_-_World_Car_Free_Day__22_Sept_2021.pdf


 

MEDIA RELEASE
4 July 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

Support Offer to Secondary School “On-campus Student-led Environment Clubs”

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. is pleased to offer its support to an existing secondary school on-campus student-led environment club or to help with the establishment of such as group.

“Environment clubs are often at the heart of a school’s sustainability activities and help achieve meaningful change within school communities. They inspire, motivate and give students opportunities to build leadership skills”

HOPE has an extensive list of environmental contacts, and a good library of resources which we are willing to share with students to help them with their efforts in promoting “sustainable living practices” to fellow students.

Interested students are asked to contact HOPE by phoning 4639 2135 or email [email protected].

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


MR_re_HOPE_s_offer_of_support_to_On-campus_Environment_Clubs.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
11 June 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

Re: Introductory article on HOPE’s “Eco-Social Work in Australia” (ESWA) Podcast series

The climate emergency, destruction of natural places and wildlife, and other, serious sustainability challenges continue to unfold around us. We are, however, seeing a heartening and positive response from vanguard professions and organisations as they start to make their own, significant contribution to addressing these problems, whilst also adapting to their consequences.

Social work practice in Australia offers an example of such a professional transition, as physical environmental concerns over climate disruption and environmental justice start to be incorporated into work with clients in an approach being termed ‘eco-social work.’ A new found physical environmental focus is also growing within the allied psychology and health care professions.

One of HOPE Australia’s members, Andrew Nicholson, a retired social worker, has produced a podcast series for HOPE Australia entitled Eco Social Work in Australia. The launch of this new series follows hard on the heels of a previous podcast series kindly auspiced by HOPE: After the Virus in S.E. Queensland which has received over 300 downloads since launch in late 2020.

The Eco Social Work in Australia series contains interviews with a range of Australian social work practitioners who give their personal perspectives on topics such as: training institution approaches to supporting eco-social work practice, and social work student experience of eco-social work-oriented placement. There is also discussion of how ecological economics and circular economy ideas might inform future social work practice, and the concept of grief response as a social work framing, to help understand and work with climate change denial and resistance.

As with the After the Virus series, a key objective of this podcast project is to help grow a conversation on eco-social work practice amongst listeners. The hope is that the series can make a small contribution to increasing the adoption of eco-social work approaches amongst social work colleagues, in their workplaces, professional groupings, and in networking with other allied professionals.

The Eco Social Work in Australia series is available now on: SPOTIFY PODBEAN and GOOGLE PODCASTS .

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

Media enquiries: Andrew Nicholson, mob: 0413 979 414 | email: [email protected]


MR_2021_06_11-Eco-Social-Work-in-Australia-Podcast-Series.pdf


MEDIA release
10 June 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

Report on HOPE’s ‘After the Virus’ Podcast series

This is the final report on the HOPE Inc. (Australia) podcast series: After the Virus - talking about an innovative recovery from COVID-19 in South-East Queensland. The thirteenth and final episode has just been added – and the series has attracted over 300 downloads to date. The episodes will remain online until October 2021 after which they will be archived

The series was produced between October 2020 and May 2021 in the context of the differential responses being made to the death, disruption and chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as it continued to unfold around the world. We wanted to help showcase a range of ideas held by regional, South-East Queensland citizens which are supportive of the transition towards a more climate stable, environmentally sustainable, socially fair, and prosperous, low carbon economy in this part of the World.

We also wanted to frame such progressive regional ideas in the context of the best, pro-active responses to the pandemic internationally. Those responses are using lessons learned from dealing with the SARS-CoV-2 virus to tackle, simultaneously, public protection from the pandemic threat, as well as the bigger, longer term threats posed by climate breakdown, loss of natural places and wildlife, and other related sustainability risks. These pandemic lessons include the crucial roles of science informed risk assessment, strong government leadership and high-level financial support to ensure effective strategic responses to high level risks and threat of all kinds.

What was revealed in our podcast guest conversations is that we do not lack for innovative, forward-looking ideas for achieving a truly sustainable future in this part of Australia. Amongst many topics, guests talked about community owned renewable energy, waste control within a circular economy, more effective land manager engagement with climate change issues, climate smart agriculture, urban bushland restoration, social systems level reform, environmental law protections, and the use of art to help us process our reactions to disruptive events. Our guests provided their mini-visions and suggested paths forward to reach a preferred, sustainable future in this region.

The innovative ideas of our guests in the After the Virus series suggests we CAN create a preferred, prosperous, low carbon economy, which is climate safe, water secure, socially fair, and genuinely protective of our wildlife and natural places. Firstly though, we need to expand the conversation so that all of our regional citizens can contribute to developing a strong public vision of how they want to evolve as a sustainable regional community. This may help generate the community confidence to leave behind unsustainable, business as usual forms of development which are no longer fit for purpose. And we need to develop models of invigorated, truly participative democracy, to ensure that the collective public will and desire for a preferred future is fully implemented by governments.

We hope that this series has made a small contribution to achieving these important objectives and that listeners will follow the example of our guests to begin their own conversations about a preferred, sustainable, future, after the virus!

Visit Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. website to listen to all podcasts -  www.hopeaustralia.org.au/resources/podcasts/ .

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

(Written by Andrew Nicholson, Senior Researcher – HOPE Qld)


MR_2021_06_10-After-the-Virus-Podcast-Series.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
19 April 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

National "Citizen Science"style PhotoVoice Project

Can you take a picture “worth a thousand words”?

If yes, then you are invited to participate in an exciting citizen science style PhotoVoice project.

“Photovoice is a long-established method in community capacity building. As the name implies, the process uses self-generated images and captions to help participants have a ‘voice’ and articulate their interests and concerns around some problematic situation. For example, the community impacts of environmental pollution or uncontrolled climate change.”

Years 9, 10, 11 and 12 students and their home-schooled equivalents throughout Australia are invited to get snap happy and find their voice in addressing current topical issues relating to the environment; social justice; animal welfare/conservation; and heritage conservation and protection.

This project is an initiative of Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. (Australia) – www.hopeaustralia.org.au .

“We are keen to gauge the level of interest and/or concern on issues across the 4 areas noted above. Once we’ve reviewed the submissions, we will undertake some extra research to further develop our A-Z List of Useful Resources to help guide youth in dealing with these matters”, said Mr Frank Ondrus, President of HOPE Inc.

The PhotoVoice “citizen’s science” project welcomes youth to submit a photo, short video or drawing/sketch of an issue that they find concerning, type up a short caption to match, and submit to HOPE by the 30th June 2021. This caption should aim to be about 30 words long and explain why the picture was taken, what it means to the student, why it is important, what issue it highlights and why it does so effectively, and what we as a community can do to improve the issue.

Youth are urged to be respectful of the people’s personal space and privacy – always ask permission first! Try not to take close-up portraits, and instead try to take images of things rather than people. Make sure to stay safe, check-in with teachers and parents, don’t go adventuring alone, and avoid hazardous situations. Some jumping off points are shown below but students are encouraged to get creative and inspired and choose whichever topic sparks their interest.

Submissions for the PhotoVoice Project are due by 30th June 2021 and are to be submitted to HOPE via email, Google Drive or any other easily accessible platform. For photos and drawings, please submit a scanned A4 PhotoVoice submission and for videos, please attach a link to your email. Youth are asked to include their name, year level and school in their submission.

For more detailed information on the PhotoVoice project, email HOPE at [email protected].

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


MR-2021-04-19-National-Citizen-Science-Style-PhotoVoice-Project.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
30 March 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

Re: HOPE's 2021 Youth Summit to Inspire Youth to Participate in Community Action

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc., alongside St. Ursula’s College, is proud to announce the Youth Summit for 2021, created to inspire young Australians to participate in sustainable action in their own communities.

Students from years 9 to 12, whether enrolled in high school or home-schooled, are invited to attend this free, virtual event where they will gain a greater understanding of the environmental and societal issues impacting their region, as well as the resources and skills to combat them.

The Youth Summit will be held on Zoom from April 19th to 22nd, with daily sessions running from 4 to 5pm.

Students will be given the opportunity to hear from government, industry, academia and community group representatives on matters of environment, social justice, heritage and animal welfare. Each presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. 

Mr Frank Ondrus, President of HOPE Inc., said: “With today’s youth being our leaders of tomorrow, it is vitally important to arm them with information and contacts that will help them better understand issues and provide opportunities to deal with them.”

The event aims to inspire students to become more aware and active in any way they can. Whether it is volunteering in their communities, joining or starting their school issues-based club or junior landcare group, or becoming a member of HOPE Inc. and/or other community organisations, every action makes a difference.

Early expressions of interest from youth of the region are sought.

Students are asked to register their attendance to one or more Zoom sessions by directly emailing their name, school and year level to [email protected]

And, once the speakers’ program is finalised, a copy will be forwarded to registrants.

The Youth Summit will run alongside the Citizen Science PhotoVoice project where students are encouraged to take a photo, create a video or draw a picture of an environmental issue that is important to them. They are then asked to give their creative medium a voice by writing a title, a sentence or a short paragraph. 

The PhotoVoice project will give students the opportunity to discuss their most pressing environmental concerns at the Youth Summit and find ways to navigate these issues in their own lives and communities.

Submissions for the PhotoVoice competition are due by 31st March 2021 and are to be submitted to HOPE via email, Google Drive or any other easily accessible platform. Students are asked to include their name, year level and school in their entry.

For more information on the Youth Summit visit http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au  or email [email protected] .

 

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

Written by Meg Bowyer – HOPE Media Officer NSW


MEDIA RELEASE
26 March 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

Re: "Citizen Science" style PhotoVoice Project

Can you take a picture “worth a thousand words”?

If yes, then you are invited to participate in an exciting citizen science style PhotoVoice project.

“Photovoice is a long-established method in community capacity building. As the name implies, the process uses self-generated images and captions to help participants have a ‘voice’ and articulate their interests and concerns around some problematic situation. For example, the community impacts of environmental pollution or uncontrolled climate change.”

Years 9, 10, 11 and 12 students and their home-schooled equivalents across the Toowoomba region are invited to get snap happy and find their voice in the lead up to the 2021 Youth Summit. Proudly hosted by Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. and St Ursula’s College, the free virtual Youth Summit is being held from the 19th to the 22nd of April and will address current topical issues relating to the environment, social justice, animal welfare/conservation and heritage conservation and protection.

The PhotoVoice “citizen’s science” project welcomes youth to submit a photo, short video or drawing/sketch of an issue that they find concerning, type up a short caption to match, and submit to HOPE by the 16th of April. This caption should aim to be about 30 words long and explain why the picture was taken, what it means to the student, why it is important, what issue it highlights and why it does so effectively, and what we as a community can do to improve the issue. 

Youth are urged to be respectful of the people’s personal space and privacy – always ask permission first! Try not to take close-up portraits, and instead try to take images of things rather than people. Make sure to stay safe, check-in with teachers and parents, don’t go adventuring alone, and avoid hazardous situations. Some jumping off points are shown below but students are encouraged to get creative and inspired and choose whichever topic sparks their interest. 

Submissions for the PhotoVoice Project are due by 16 April 2021 and are to be submitted to HOPE via email, Google Drive or any other easily accessible platform. For photos and drawings, please submit a scanned A4 PhotoVoice submission and for videos, please attach a link to your email. Youth are asked to include their name, year level and school in their submission.

For more detailed information on the PhotoVoice project, email HOPE at [email protected].

See the attached flyer.

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


26/03 2021

Media Release: Citizen Science style PhotoVoice Project

MR-2021-03-26-Citizen-Science-Style-PhotoVoice-Project.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
22 February 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

Re: Fund-raising Appeal

National environment group Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc., which has its head-quarters in Toowoomba, is appealing for financial support from businesses and individuals to help continue its sustainability programs for the coming year.

Established in 1988, HOPE encourages citizens to embrace sustainable living practices at home, in the workplace, at school and on recreation. HOPE also looks at broader environmental issues that impact adversely on communities locally, state-wide and nationally.

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

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

President Frank Ondrus said there are lots of projects we wish to undertake – as well as covering our operating expenses. “All up we’re trying to raise $15,000 – funds which HOPE currently does not have!” Mr Ondrus said.

“We're inviting community members and businesses to help us run these programs by making a financial donation to HOPE.” Your donation will have a “double effect” – helping to run these programs, and helping the environment in a bigger way.”

Donations can be made online at HOPE Australia Protect the Environment: Donations or sent to HOPE Inc., PO Box 6118 – Clifford Gardens, Toowoomba QLD 4350.

Your generosity in donating funds to HOPE, a not-for-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers, is greatly appreciated.

Regards,

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


MEDIA RELEASE
20 January 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

Re: New Heritage Brochure launched on Australia Day at Highfields Pioneer Village

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. is pleased to announce that its new “Directory of Heritage Facilities and Key Landmarks across the Toowoomba Regional Council Jurisdiction” brochure will be launched during Australia Day celebrations at the Highfields Pioneer Village, Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Publication of this brochure was made possible through grant funding received from Arrow Energy’s Brighter Futures program.

“Arrow Energy’s support enabled us to engage a consultant to research content and develop a three-fold brochure detailing the many heritage facilities and landmarks in the Toowoomba region” said Mr Frank Ondrus, President of HOPE.

“HOPE undertakes project management, printing and distribution of the brochures throughout the region and online, and marketing of the availability of the brochures.”

The COVID-19 restrictions had closed many of our wonderful heritage facilities and landmarks for most of 2020 - wiping income from several events and festivals, as well as greatly reducing general visitor numbers.

This brochure is HOPE’s contribution to encourage support for, and increase visitation numbers to, heritage facilities in the Toowoomba region, as our community emerges from COVID-19 restrictions. HOPE envisages the launching and distribution of our brochure will:

  • increase awareness of heritage facilities and landmarks;
  • increase visitor numbers to heritage facilities and landmarks;
  • improve financial viability of the heritage sector; and
  • increase economic activity in the Toowoomba region - i.e. visitors spending on accommodation, fuel, food; and locals too, spending locally!

You can keep up-to-date with this and other HOPE activities on our website and by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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

Written by Sean Egan, Volunteer Media Officer – HOPE QLD


MR-2021-01-20-Directory_of_Heritage_Facilities_and_Key_Landmarks_across_TRC_Jurisdiction_Brochure-HOPE_Inc.pdf


MEDIA RELEASE
12 January 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

Re: The Climate Action Network for a Fair and Sustainable Australia

Householder’s Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. is proud to support the ongoing work of The Climate Action Network Australia (CANA) who are fighting for a safe and sustainable Australia that is protected from and prepared for the impacts of climate change.

CANA consists of over 100-member organisations ranging from local to international groups working across diverse sectors, ensuring action is taken to:

  • Reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero
  • Power Australia’s society and economy with clean energy and exports
  • Protect Australia’s people and environment from the harmful effects of fossil fuel extraction
  • Strengthen climate leadership and resilience in the most vulnerable communities
  • Ensure Australia effectively contributes to combatting the climate crisis on a global scale.

 

CANA works to achieve these goals by providing the infrastructure for its member organisations to collaborate on and co-design climate strategies, campaigns, projects, policies and proposals used to strengthen climate action efforts across communities and sectors.

CANA promotes the importance of community-led projects, with 30% of its member organisations focusing on climate action through local initiatives. The member organisations also work to create change through environmental protection, energy transformation, research, economic justice, global justice, health, cultural change and faith.

Emphasis is also placed on the significance of intersectionality in the fight for climate action and the impact that racism, colonialism, sexism and capitalism have in determining the communities most vulnerable to the dangers of the climate crisis.

For more information on The Climate Action Network Australia visit https://www.cana.net.au/ or contact [email protected] .

 

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

Written by Meg Bowyer – HOPE Media Officer NSW

 

 


MEDIA RELEASE
10 January 2021

Think Globally, Act Locally

Re: International Year of Fruits and Vegetables

The United Nations (UN) has designated 2021 the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV) - http://www.fao.org/fruits-vegetables-2021/en/ .

The UN is promoting fruits and vegetables as dietary essentials because they are vital for our nutrition. Also, by reducing the waste of fruits and vegetables, we can all contribute to sustainable production and increased food security.

Fruits and vegetables are good sources of dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Due to these nutritional factors, it is recommended adults consume at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables daily to prevent chronic diseases and to counter micronutrient deficiencies. Accordingly, we should all monitor the amount of fruits and vegetables in our diets.

Despite their necessity for our health, large amounts of consumable fruits and vegetables are wasted because of aesthetic or physical irregularities. To reduce this waste, we should store and handle fruits and vegetables appropriately to preserve their quality. Reducing waste also includes buying imperfect fruits and vegetables that are perfectly edible and nutritious, so they are not needlessly discarded.

Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. proudly promotes the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables and invites you to help raise awareness of the importance they have for us all. Everybody can get involved by heading to the official website <http://www.fao.org/fruits-vegetables-2021> and on social media with the hashtag #IYFV2021. Also, keep up-to-date with HOPE Inc. on our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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

Written by Sean Egan, Volunteer Media Officer – HOPE QLD


2021 Media Releases


2020 Media Releases

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