30 Jul 2010

Download Damage

Remember all that 'Y2K bug' hysteria? Predictions of social collapse; survivalists stockpiling tinned food and water? We may laugh now but the fear of worldwide calamity on New Year's Eve 1999 was real. Founded on deep-seated concern that we were too reliant on technology, now, 10 years later, we're even more hooked.

The Internet is at the heart of our global addiction to technology. Colossal amounts of digital data pulse around the world every second via undersea cables, delivered to around 1.73 billion people. We lap it up and demand more. With so much information exchanged in an instant, we hardly think about the impact of our electronic actions. But how green are our online lives?

Every time you hit the Google search button, about 0.2 grams of carbon dioxide is created, according to research by Harvard University physicist, Alex Wissner-Gross.
Read article

Climate change drops off the radar in 2010 election

Both the coalition and the Labor Government have effectively abandoned any emissions trading scheme during the next term of government. Now industry are warning that investment into crucial power infrastructure is in a state of limbo and environmentalists claim that the country is going backwards at the very time when urgent action is needed.
Read article

Frankly, I don't give a damn about those emission trading schemes, as I don’t believe in shuffling money around as the only people getting better (read richer) from it are the ones shoving it.

No, I think we should stop talking about emission trading and start working on a solution!

Companies who are polluting should be forced to work on minimizing pollution if they are not doing so already.

People have to take responsibility for their actions, everyone, as we are all polluters one way or the other.

And the more you pollute the more action you need to take.

The words Climate Change doesn't work for me, o.k, the climate is changing, and we are helping it by polluting so much.

I would rather call it something more specified to the big pollution problem, but that probably doesn't sounds good enough...

Participate in the Walk Against Warming to promote renewable energy

THE Walk Against Warming will happening nationwide on Sunday August 15, six days before the federal election.
This event is promoting the replacement of dirty fossil fuels with renewable energy, a vision for the future of Australian resources.

At midday, Sunday August 15 thousands of West Australians will work together at the Fremantle Esplanade Reserve, to plant a sea of windmills in a map of WA
Read article

Making airconditioning a blast from design past

A COMPANY claims to have developed a Darwin house that doesn't need airconditioning.

Eco Housing manager Hannah Fletcher said the homes could be cooled by having just louvres. She said airconditioning could be fitted - but a small unit would cool the whole house.

Eco Housing is going into residential property for the first time after putting up community buildings and Darwin's Lameroo apartments. It is building a house in Katherine and another at Frances Park in Darwin.
Read article


29 Jul 2010

Design Contest

Who can participate in the competition?
Students at international educational institutions for design and young designers (within two years of beginning to work as a designer).

Which pieces can I submit?
Any designs that include moulded wood. Combine moulded wood with other materials at your discretion.
They could be furniture designs, but we also expressly welcome pieces from other areas of application.
You can submit stand-alone pieces, group projects or thesis projects.

When is the deadline for submission?
31 January 2011

More info here

28 Jul 2010

Plastic bottle catamaran crosses Australian finish line

SYDNEY - A catamaran made from 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles sailed into Sydney Harbour on Monday after spending four months crossing 8,000 nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean to raise awareness about marine pollution.

The craft "Plastiki" and its six-man crew captured worldwide attention when it left San Francisco on March 20. The 60-foot (18-metre) catamaran was greeted by a flotilla of boats as it sailed through Sydney Heads, the gateway to Sydney Harbour.

"The crew are really very happy because everyone said they'd never be able to do it, you know a boat made of plastic bottles, held together with glue made from cashew nuts and sugar cane, and they did it spectacularly well," Kim McKay, a spokeswoman for the "Plastiki" told Reuters.
Read article

Will WA swallow recycled water?

Could water be the issue that puts the brakes on WA's next economic boom?

Figures released this week by CommSec place WA ahead of the rest of the country on a range of indicators, including those based on economic and population growth, retail spending and employment.

CommSec's latest rankings show growing international demand for resources has propelled Western Australia to the top of the list.

But as the state soaks up the economic sunshine, WA's water authorities are facing the challenge of ensuring the resources sector and people flooding into the state can be sustained by the state's most critical resource - water.
Read article

Models wear Coca-cola cups

A Bolivian designer has taken recycling to a whole new level snipping and sewing Coca-Cola cups egg cartons and old cellophane, into her clothes.

Models hit the catwalk wearing dresses made from materials that would normally end up in the rubbish.

The designer, Marion Macedo is known for using paper in her fashion but says saving the environment is her main inspiration this year.
Read article

More photos of the show here

27 Jul 2010

Perth Green Drinks - 3 August


You are invited for the Perth Green Drinks on 3 August 2010

When: Tuesday 3 August 6.00 – 8.00 pm

Where: Central (TAFE) East Perth Campus at 140 Royal Street, come by train, just 2 minutes from Claissebrook station. There plenty of free parking available at the back of the building off the Brown Street entrance. (More info and map on attachment)

How: Central Institute of Technology is providing one voucher per person for a choice of drink + finger food. Following drinks are non alcoholic.

What: Network, interact, talk, laugh, debate, drink, have fun!

RSVP: Green Drinks is a free event but please rsvp before Thursday 29 July 5pm - rsvp@central.wa.edu.au

Topic of tonight: Simplifying Climate Policies coordinated by Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ).

An opportunity to understand and ask questions regarding the fundamentals of the climate policies of The Australian Greens, The Australian Labor Party and The Liberal Party of Australia. Presentations will be made by:
Senator Rachel Siewert from the Australian Greens, Senator Louise Pratt from the Australian Labor Party and Senator Alan Eggelston from the Liberal Party of Australia.

Hope to see you there!

Wilma van Boxtel

Vicki-Lee Tarca

Central Institute of Technology

When in Sydney: Sydney Green Drinks

Green Uppers are invited to this special event at SIMS this wednesday evening. To purchase tickets (with a special GreenUps price) please click here.

Tickets are limited, so get in quick, and we look forward to seeing you there.
Download the full invite as a pdf invite here.

Next Tuesday 3rd of August GreenUps gets intimate and money minded as we head into the city, down a side lane (off George St between King and Market, Next to RM Williams) and into the cosy confines of one of Sydney’s newest small bars - Grasshopper.
Since this will be our first CBD bar we thought we'd try and attract some of those city types with a bit of a green money and finance theme. So invite the bankers, accountants, venture capitalist, financial advisors, investment managers, and of course your good selves down to this months GreenUps to join in the green money conversation.
RSVP: Via Facebook or the MeetUps site, or just come along (and bring your buddies).

Hans Rosling on global population growth

Sustainability, population and Australia's future

Creating a sustainable future for Australia is much more complex than haggling over immigration numbers, writes Geoff Gallop.

Much is being said in this election campaign about "sustainability". It is an important concept developed to guide public policy away from "the economic growth at all costs" mentality that had dominated post-war thinking about the future of the country.
However, the real test will come in our regions, particularly in an opportunity state like Western Australia. We have already seen growth in cities like greater Bunbury and Geraldton-Greenough. Today they have populations of 64,000 and 37,000 respectively. Serious investment in infrastructure in Bunbury in the 1980s and Geraldton in the 2000s has facilitated population growth. Why wouldn't such cities aspire to the size and status of a Wollongong (284,000) or Newcastle (141,000)? Are we thinking about how this can be done? Are we planning for it now?

Merely by raising the question one gets a sense of the size of the challenge involved. That, of course, is what this debate boils down to. To gain from population growth (and immigration) Australia is going to have to devote more time and resources to the responsibilities involved. If those costs are shared fairly across the community and across the levels of government, an Australia that is bigger but also better, greener and fairer can be realised. It is precisely what is meant by sustainability- a strong economy, a fair society and a clean environment.
Read article

Bunbury has the largest population in Western Australia outside of Perth.

26 Jul 2010

What’s so funny about Climate Change?

Monday 2nd August at the Subiaco Arts Centre starting at 7pm.

Bar open at 6.30pm

Tickets only $14 and available from BOCS – 9484 1133 www.bocsticketing.com.au

The Earthwise Open Day 2010

"Celebrating sustainability in the suburbs" is being held on Saturday September 4th, 10am - 4pm at Earthwise.

To celebrate there will be tours of the new environmental technology and permaculture garden; worm farm and composting workshops; live music and entertainment; op-shop; homemade woodfired pizzas, devonshire tea, fresh fruit juice and fruit-creams; and environmental and community information stalls!

If you would like to be involved contact Lucy at education.earthwise@y7mail.com or ph: 0409 645 225
or phone Peg on 0422 941 492
More info here

22 Jul 2010

Big Help Mob

This video describes Big Help Mob Origins, which took place on May 9 2010. Big Help Mob is a 100-strong rent-a-crowd of ordinary young guns like you. We get together to do superhuman acts of awesomeness for non-profits and communities in Perth. One day it's planting 10 000 trees in a few hours, the next it's renovating a community centre or cleaning up a place that's been forgotten and trashed. Nothing is too big for Big Help Mob and we're not afraid to get our hands dirty... all 200 of them. Once the hands-on mission is accomplished with near-lightning speed, we celebrate with enormous, ridiculous flash mobs in public, using our superpowers to draw attention to good causes that need it.


The story of cosmetics

Light Rail and Canning Bridge Forum, 12 August

Community members from both sides of the river and anyone interested is invited to attend a community forum on Light Rail and new developments in the Canning Bridge Precinct.

When: 7 p.m. on 12 August 2010.
Venue: 64 Kishorn Rd Mt Pleasant, an easy and pleasant walk from the train or bus stations.

The event is organised by the WA Greens Party. Guest speakers will be Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and Peter Best, Greens candidate for Tangney. Both will arrive fresh with the latest updates.
Read article

21 Jul 2010


Since a few weeks I follow this fellow Aussie blogger who moved to New Zealand and is blogging about her life in the country. I love her simple ideas on how to make yoghurt, the money you save on having chickens or simply looking at day to day life situations.

Today she wrote about McMansions and misery, and she points out the same issues I have with all these new bigger houses build on smaller blocks with hardly any room for an outdoor setting.

I'll add her blog, Cluttercut, to my link list on the side as I think she deserves the spot!

20 Jul 2010

Sustainability with a smile

A new animated film addresses issues of sustainability in design with humour in its heart, writes Dan Rule.

ERIC SUN is not a happy little mobile phone. In fact, he's up to his aerial in the gloom of an existential crisis. After little more than 12 months, his owner has abandoned him for a sleek, sexy new model.

Perched uneasily on the edge of the couch in his psychologist's office, he pauses, gathers his thoughts, bottom lip quivering. 'I just feel really worthless,' he stutters eventually. 'My career has only lasted for one year. I need a new life, doc, a new direction! There has to be more to life than being stuck in a drawer.'

Eric Sun is the chief protagonist of Life Psycle-ology, a short animated film to be launched on Thursday as part of the State of Design Festival broaching issues surrounding eco-design and the life cycle of consumer products. The difference being that the film, which is the first in the series The Secret Life of Things, does so with a smile.

'Eco-design has a PR problem and it's not being communicated very well,'' says Leyla Acaroglu, who developed and directed the film through her eco-design consultancy Eco Innovators. ''We're trying to use humour to engage people on another level.'
Read article

WA farmers using EU banned pesticides

DOZENS of hazardous pesticides, which are banned in other countries, are used on WA farms.
A report detailing the most "dangerous" chemicals, classified as known or likely to cause cancer, that are stocked and sold in Australia has been released today by the World Wildlife Fund and pollution advisory group National Toxics Network.

More than 80 of the products sprayed on fruits, weeds, vegetables and animals to ward off pests and disease in WA are prohibited in Britain, France and Germany.

According to the WWF, the list includes "17 chemicals that are known, likely or probably carcinogens, and 48 chemicals flagged as having the potential to interfere with hormones".
Read article

Dangerous asbestos litters bush track

PEOPLE'S health is being put at risk because of bureaucratic buck-passing, which has allowed dangerous asbestos to lie in bushland and on tracks used by the public.
Hundreds of pieces of cracked cement and asbestos pipe were discovered nearly two years ago littering a 1km length of track near Baldivis.

The area, which includes a Class A nature reserve, is frequented by hikers, police, four-wheel-drive enthusiasts and workers.

The asbestos was discovered after BHP Billiton carried out maintenance work in the area.

Angry resident Steve Hesse said he contacted BHP for the first time in October 2008, requesting the deadly fibres be disposed of safely.
Read article

Fishing nets still killing WA dolphins

DOLPHIN deaths from fishing nets appear to have halved in the past few years, but researchers believe some kills are literally slipping through the net.
A study by Murdoch University researchers found the number of dolphins killed as by-catch in WA had dropped from 100 to 20 a year.

But the university's cetacean researcher Simon Allen said the figures could be wrong because by-catch reduction devices fitted to nets may be allowing dolphin carcasses to fall back into the water.

“Current BRDs have bottom-opening escape hatches only and, in some cases, dead dolphins fell through them before the nets were hauled up and were therefore not recorded,” Mr Allen said.

Only those dolphins landed on deck were recorded, meaning dolphin by-catch figures could be far higher.

"Our research showed that air breathing animals, like dolphins, swim upwards when under stress. Trials of nets with top-opening escape hatches for air-breathing animals are vital."
Read article

Group worried about Great Artesian Basin contamination

A group set up to advise state and federal governments on the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) says it is worried mining and exploration activities could damage the resource unless guidelines are in place to protect it.

The basin underlies more than 20 per cent of Australia, including most of Queensland, and is the only reliable source of water for much of the inland.

The GAB Coordinating Committee is meeting this week in Longreach in central-west Queensland and will discuss issues including the coal seam gas sector.

Chairman Jeff Austin says proposed guidelines under the National Water Initiative need to be tightened to ensure mining companies protect water resources.
Read article

China world's biggest energy consumer, says International Energy Agency

CHINA has passed the US to become the world's biggest energy consumer, according to new data from the International Energy Agency.
The milestone reflects both China's decades-long burst of economic growth and its rapidly expanding clout as an industrial giant.

China's ascent marks “a new age in the history of energy”, IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said. The country's surging appetite has transformed global energy markets and propped up prices of oil and coal in recent years, and its continued growth stands to have long-term implications for US energy security.

The Paris-based IEA, energy adviser to most of the world's biggest economies, said China consumed 2.25 billion tons of oil equivalent last year, about 4 per cent more than the US, which burned through 2.17bn tons of oil equivalent. The oil-equivalent metric represents all forms of energy consumed, including crude oil, nuclear power, coal, natural gas and renewable sources such as hydropower.
Read article

WA's commitment to clean energy questioned

The Conservation Council remains concerned the State Government has no effective long term strategy to curtail carbon emissions in WA.

Earlier this week, the council criticised the Environment Minister Donna Farragher for giving conditional approval to three coal-fired power station projects.

The council says the decision entrenches carbon-producing coal power generation in WA at the expense of renewable energies.

The council's director Piers Verstegan says he has discussed the issue with the Premier Colin Barnett .

"Now we've talked to the premier about these issues. The premier has given us little comfort that there's any policy in place to seriously reduce our greenhouse emissions. That's very concerning to us."
Read article

Help save the elephants

Zimbabwe Wildlife Fund will stage a film nigth at the Windsor Theatre in Nedlands.

The aim is to help to buy solar panels to help save elephants and other wildlife in Hwange National Park.

During the long hot summers, expensive petrol driven pumps continuously pump water from bores to ensure wildlife survives.
The plan is to replace some of these pumps with solar powered ones.

Thousands of animals died in 2005 because the 'pans' dried out through insufficient water.

The film night will include wine, cheese and the movie The Special Relationship, starring Dennis Quaid and Michael Sheen. It will run from 5.45 to 8.30pm on Friday, August 6, and the cost is $20.00

RSVP to Wayne Monks on 043 9952 698 or email members@zimbabwewildlifefund.com by Saturday, 24 July. All tickets will be pre-sold.

19 Jul 2010

URGENT - Cockatoos need you - 20 July

Could you please help to make up a massive presence outside UWA at the corner of Stirling Highway and Winthrop Avenue Tuesday 20 July at 8am


A giant flock of people along Stirling Highway standing up for the survival of our cockatoos and bushland will impress on the WA Government and the University that we will not let this bushland, and other bushlands and forests go.


Please join the CCWA, WWF and may others Tuesday morning at the UWA to show our disapproval for the approval of over half of Underwood Bushland to be developed.

WWF-Australia policy officer Katherine Howard stated: “This patch of bush has become a Perth icon. It’s a regionally significant Bush Forever site and the biodiversity it supports is of global importance."

“It was just such a shocking decision,” Friends of Underwood Bushland convener Margaret Owen said. “Up to 300 Carnaby’s cockatoos rely on the Underwood Avenue bush for feeding habitat, and there are at least four important indigenous heritage sites in this bushland.”

We need massive numbers to show the government and UWA what we want and what is right.

18 Jul 2010

Home Retrofitting Expo Mt Claremont 25 July

More info on website

Water demand to grow by trillion litres

Perth will need more than 80 per cent more water by 2056 to cater for the city's predicted population explosion, a new national water report says.

Alarming projections by the Water Services Association of Australia also show that nationwide by 2026 an extra 600 billion litres will be needed, while by 2056, Australian demands will have escalated to an additional trillion litres from the 2009 figures.

Water Services Association executive director Ross Young warned yesterday that even conservative estimates showed that if the national population hit 31 million in 2056, Australian capitals would need an extra 961 billion litres a year.

In Perth, the worst case scenario was a 2.4 million population by 2026 demanding 308 gigalitres, a huge jump on the 250 gigalitres used last year.
Read article

Pollution to soar as boom hits

WA's carbon emissions could soar as much as 75 per cent through resources projects when the State is supposed to be drastically cutting its output.

WA now pumps 76.3 million tonnes a year into the atmosphere but an Environmental Protection Authority report estimates that could rise to 133 million tonnes if planned projects are approved and built.

The report, released in May, said WA should aim to drop its emissions to 28 million tonnes by 2050, a target the EPA describes as "daunting".
Read article

Beekeepers add buzz to Japan urban jungle

Tokyo's Ginza district is usually abuzz with shoppers and office workers, but high above its skyscrapers nature-lovers have created a home for real busy bees -- the ones that make honey.

It's part of a project to bring a slice of natural life back to the centre of the world's largest urban sprawl, a cityscape home to more than 30 million people that stretches far beyond the horizon.

Eleven storeys above the heart of the Tokyo concrete jungle -- with its beehive office partitions and swarms of suit-clad worker-bees -- enthusiasts have stacked up beehives dripping with golden honey.

The beekeepers may be an odd sight in the Japanese capital, but they are not the only urban farmers -- on a rooftop just blocks away, barefoot farmers were recently wading through almost knee-high mud to plant a wet rice field.
Read article

June Earth's hottest ever: US monitors

Last month was the hottest June ever recorded on Earth, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday, amid global climate warming worries.

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature data also found the January-June and April-June periods were the warmest on record, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, which based its findings on measurements that go back as far as 1880.

In June, the combined average for global land and ocean temperatures was 16.2 Celsius0.68 Celsius more than the 20th century average of 15.5 Celsius.
Read article

While we had our coldest June in 15 years

Miss truths about GM in WA

Mr Jim Chown,

As the Member for the Agricultural Region, I find it appalling that you are willing to blatantly tell miss truths to the West Australian community. Members of the Legislative Council who voted against the disallowance motion for GM canola are NOT supporting the views of the majority of WA grain growers. You have no proof they were.

Case in point, you seem ecstatic that less than 900 people signed the agreement with Monsanto to grow and supply GM Canola for this growing season, and somehow these people represent the majority of farmers? 27,000 signatures, 5,000 postcards, plus delegates from Japan were presented to the Liberal Government urging Colin Barnett to maintain the moratorium. Over 20 shires (many in the main farming communities) declared themselves GM free. The state has overruled these local shires, something which Terry Redman said he wouldn't do. Farmers and consumers do not want GM.

If Mr Chown had done his research he would find that, no Peer-reviewed publications of clinical studies on the human health effects of GM food exist. Even independent animal studies are few and far between.

Monsanto has withdrawn applications of 2 GM corn varieties LY038 and LY038 x MON810 from European regulators, Independent scientists in New Zealand have warned that they are not safe for humans when cooked.

FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand) has approved both varieties for food and animal feed.

French researchers published detailed statistics of 3 rat feeding trials of GM Maize NK 603, MON 810, MON 863, They concluded that all 3 cause adverse effects on organs, mainly involving the kidney and liver, but also the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and heamatopoietic system.

All 3 are approved by FSANZ for food and animal feed.

FSANZ is supposed to look after the citizens, not the biotech industry. Has FSANZ done any studies on GM Canola or GM Cotton? No they have not! FSANZ relies solely on the data provided to them from the biotech industry. Where is the rigorous testing that you refer to Mr Chown? Where are these peer reviewed studies? Which well reputed science journals are they published in?

When genetic engineers create GM crops, they do not insert the gene in a particular position. The gene ends up in a random location in the genetic material, disrupting the existing genes at that place. Also, genes do not work in isolation but interact with each other.
Unintended side-effects therefore occur and most GM plants are deformed. How is that in any way safe or "good science"? The biotech industry is very quick to call anyone against GM anti progress, anti science. We are neither of those, we just want the truth!

Please note that in nearly 20 years of GM commercial crops, NONE have been designed to increase yield, be salt, flood, drought or frost resistant by the Genetic Engineering process. These crops are only designed to drink unnatural poison or create their own unnatural poison.

Mr Chown you tell me that this is what the majority of West Australians want? Mr Terry Redman and Mr Colin Barnett have sold out West Australian farmers and consumers to the biotech industry, an industry that is unsustainable, uncontainable and yet to be proven safe.

Letter to Farm Weekly, by Josh Copeland, Mukinbudin

Build a Hydroponics System Cheaply & Easily

If you are not the outdoor kind of guy you can always grow vegies inside, look at this introduction of how simple it is to build your own hydroponic garden.

This info comes from Treehugger: Hydroponics isn't just for hippies, and a lot of people are using it to grow food inside, with natural or artificial light. But is the result as good as growing in soil?

What is hydroponic?
To grow plants in a liquid mineral solution rather than soil is known as hydroponics.
Nutrients normally supplied from soil come from a commonly available formulation that is mixed into water.
Here you find another method to build your own hydroponic garden.

And on this website are several instruction videos with more info on all the details and stuff you need to grow the vegies like all the different types of nutrients you add to the water for example.

16 Jul 2010

The looming threat of GE Wheat in Australia

The threat of GE wheat is looming in Australia. If chemcial companies succeed in progressing these trials to market-release stage, we could soon be eating polluted, GE food for our breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It might be the worst thing since sliced bread ...

This June, the government's gene regulator approved trials of up to 1,322 different types of GE wheat. The trials are set to take place over the next five years in Corrigin, WA; Narrabri, NSW; Adelaide, SA; and just outside of Brisbane, Queensland.

Wheat genes have been altered by the insertion of various types of bacteria and viruses, including e.coli viruses and synthetic genes, which create proteins not found in nature.
Read article

Coles to sell GE chicken meat‏

Coles' response to the True Food Network reveals the company's backslide on GE feed. Unless we can convince Coles that shoppers want their non-GE policy to stay, more of our food will soon be polluted with GE.

In June, True Food Members who took action to stop GE animal feed from seeping into our food supply should have received a reply from the supermarket.

In an attempt to fob-off customer’s complaints about polluted, GE animal feed, Coles states their ‘strong preference’ for non-GE feed, and promises that they follow all the laws when it comes to genetically engineered toxins.

Unfortunately, Australia’s current laws openly allow GE pollution in our food. Coles also completely fails to mention its chicken products. This is a serious omission, because we know that poultry producers are the most likely culprits when it comes to using dodgy GE feed.
Read article

Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our own decisions?

Electronic waste recycling gets funding boost

WA'S recycling centres have received a much-needed funding boost as electronic waste mounts with the switch from analogue to digital television.
Councils across the state have been injected with a share of $400,000 for recovering and recycling electronic goods such as televisions and computers.

In the past, e-waste, which can contain lead and mercury, poured into waste dumps across the state.

Estimates suggest that during the next three years, there will be 360,000 discarded analogue televisions and 180,000 discarded computers in WA.

To deal with the problem, councils have been forced to implement their own electronic waste recycling service at a cost of about $1000 a month.
Read article

Ceramic Fuel wins innovation gong

An Australian company that develops energy-efficient electricity generation units has won an innovation award in Germany.

Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd develops solid oxide fuel cell technology to provide low-emission electricity from natural gas and renewable fuels.

It won one of three awards from North Rhine-Westphalia's economic development agency NRW.INVEST, for innovation, expansion investment and new investment, to encourage investment in the German state.

Out of over 11,000 foreign companies eligible for the award, Ceramic Fuel was selected the winner for its new fuel cell production facility in Heinsberg.

Thousands of Ceramic's new BlueGen machines are expected to be manufactured at the facility annually, creating 80 new jobs.
Read article

Solar-powered bulbs bring poor out of darkness

WHEN he was seven, Stephen Katsaros took apart the box fan in his bedroom and reassembled it using a bigger, stronger motor.

'It sounded like a B-52 but I was cool,' the Denver inventor says. 'I was always breaking stuff open and never really fixing it.'

Three decades later, the perpetual tinkerer snaps apart his latest invention: the world's first solar light bulb.

In his spartan Capitol Hill office, Katsaros explains how Nokero, the affordable, durable, sun-fuelled light, can help 1.6 billion people worldwide without electricity and wean them from dangerous kerosene lamps. 'You know how much money we could save on kerosene?' says James Marshall, a Liberian who will soon be distributing Nokero bulbs in his homeland, where there is no network for electrical distribution.
Read article

Dieback devastates massive slice of WA bush

Dieback had claimed an area of WA bush more than 2500 times the size of Kings Park and was poised to tear through the Fitzgerald River National Park, experts warned yesterday.

Celebrity gardener Sabrina Hahn said dieback was having a chronically dire impact and was rapidly encroaching on suburban backyards after testing revealed further infestations in Nedlands and Cottesloe.

Dieback is a soil and water-borne micro-organism that kills by destroying the root systems of plants.

Ms Hahn said WA could lose up to 80 per cent of its flora in State forests.

"That's why they call it the biological bulldozer," she said.

"It just wipes out whole ecosystems. We need more money for research . . . the State and Federal governments have to put a lot more money in."
Read article

Fight to preserve Floreat bush fails

A decade-long battle to save 63ha of bush in Floreat was killed off yesterday with a State Government decision to allow housing on the environmentally sensitive land, a move local conservation groups said was devastating.

Decisions about the University of WA land in Underwood Avenue and conditions for its use have gone between the WA Planning Commission, the State Administrative Tribunal, the Environmental Protection Authority and the State and Federal governments for years.

In May, the City of Nedlands voted to push the $100 million development plan forward after voting in December to oppose it.

The site is a vital habitat for endangered Carnaby's black cockatoos and Friends of Underwood Avenue convenor Margaret Owen said the decision was heartbreaking after so many years of trying to save the bush.

She said its environmental significance should have ruled out development long ago but admitted the move was expected after Environment Minister Donna Faragher dismissed 33 of 35 submissions opposing development in September.
Read article

Update 15 July: WWF opposes Perth bushland development

13 Jul 2010

New challenge: multi-purpose products

What a great idea for a challenge - finding and using multi-purpose products. At it’s core, this is a challenge to reduce waste.

We can reduce the packaging wasted on single-purpose items; we can reduce the time we spend shopping for the individual items we need; we can reduce the amount of money we spend on all the things that marketers and corporations are trying to convince us are essential.
Read Julie's challenge

Grants open for Young People and the Arts

Grants for artists and arts workers aged 26 and under are now available through the Young People and the Arts (YPA) Program at the Department of Culture and the Arts.

The Development category and the YPA Fellowships both have a deadline coming up on 24 September, for activity beginning after 1 January 2011, plus the ongoing YPA Quick Response Fund for opportunities that arise at short notice.

To discuss any of these programs or simply chat about your idea, contact the Young People and the Arts Project Officers, Daevid Anderson and Kate Boyle, on youngpeople@dca.wa.gov.au or by calling (08) 9224 7310.

More info on the DCA website where you can download the Arts Grants Handbook 2010 for further information.

E-waste seminar at Murdoch - 19 July

You are cordially invited to attend the following seminar:

Current Situation on Recycling of E-waste in South Korea
by Dr Jae-Chun Lee
Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KGAM)

Date and time: 11 am on 19 July, 2010

Venue: Seminar Room 2.059A, Environmental Sciences Building
Murdoch University

Dr Lee is a senior South Korean Govt Researcher on his way to an E-Waste Workshop in Brisbane.
Dr Lee is: Director of Minerals and Materials Processing Division in the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM). He is also a chair professor of resources recycling programme in the University of Science & Technology of Korea since 2003. He was awarded the Honda Recycling Prize from Clean Japan Centre, 1998, for the development of technology for recovering valuable metals from printed circuit board waste. Author or co-author of 78 refereed journal papers, 15 patents and 80 conference papers.

Please contact Dr Jim Avraamides if you require further information or would like to meet with Dr Lee while he is in Perth on Monday July 19
Tel. 9360 2831 Mob 0409 360 660

12 Jul 2010

Greenpeace publicises companies on Indonesia paper

Major foreign firms like Walmart and KFC are contributing to forest destruction and the loss of species like Sumatran tigers by buying from Indonesian paper giant Sinar Mas, Greenpeace said Tuesday.

It said Sinar Mas subsidiary Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) was "relentlessly trashing rainforests" and driving species to extinction in the Southeast Asian archipelago.

"Sinar Mas's 'sustainability commitments' are not worth the paper they are written on and some of the world's best known brands are literally pulping the planet by buying from them," Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner Bustar Maitar said in a statement.

It accused Sinar Mas of illegal logging in sensitive areas on Sumatra island, where lowland forests have been decimated by years of deforestation.
Read article

Two plastic bag suppliers facing ACCC wrath

The consumer watchdog has accused two companies of falsely claiming plastic bags they made and sold were biodegradable.

Goody Environment and NuPak Australia (eco page under construction) allegedly said the bags could legally be supplied to South Australian businesses, where sale of non-biodegradable plastic bags is banned.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will allege in the Federal Court next week that the bags failed to satisfy Australian standards.

John Dee from the ban the bag campaign is pleased that action is being taken.

"The question that does need to be asked is why has the EPA [Environment Protection Authority] allowed this bag to be sold in the marketplace for over a year?

"Why wasn't action taken earlier? Because a lot of South Australians have spent money on this bag thinking that they're doing the right thing when in fact they haven't been."
Read article

Ships to carry water for Pilbara

TOKYO: Recycled Tokyo water may soon be carried to the Pilbara on otherwise empty iron ore freighters.
The move comes more than a century after British cast iron was used as ballast for wool ships bound for Australia,

Just as cast-iron lace balconies adorn Victorian-era terraces in Sydney and Melbourne, the recycled Japanese water could be used to wet down the iron ore dust in Pilbara ports.

Water is scarce and expensive in the arid Pilbara, and using the recycled Tokyo sewage for dust suppression and processing would save valuable local potable water.

Japan and Western Australia are poised to test the scheme, which has the potential to deliver millions of litres of water for reduced cost.
Read article

Chemical free method dumped

When the South West town of Busselton introduced a new, chemical-free method for purifying its water supply ten years ago, environmentalists and residents were thrilled.

The process of using ultra violet rays to destroy all the nasties in the water replaced the need for harsh chemicals such as chlorine.

But now, the Busselton Water Board says the area's growing population is placing higher and higher demands on the system and the ultra violet purification process can't cope.
Read article

9 Jul 2010

Sign petition against more coal fired power stations

The WA Government is about to make a terrible mistake by approving three new coal-fired power stations.

concervation Council urgently needs your help to stop it by signing our new online petition

Last month, the EPA issued some truly alarming advice to the Barnett Government. They revealed that Western Australia’s carbon pollution is set to skyrocket by around 75% in the next few years!

One of the big drivers are three new dirty coal fired power stations proposed for WA.

Get up to vote

Featuring Julia Gillard as James Bond, Tony Abbott as Bruce Willis and a cameo by Bob Brown, our hilarious action-hero enrolment video is going wild online and in the news.

Politics has never been so much fun - but there's a serious message too. Incredibly, there are still 1.4 million Australians - especially young Australians - not enrolled to vote. Hundreds of thousands more may be unable to vote because they've moved house or changed their name since the last election.

Get up to vote

GM details sketchy

OPPOSITION Agriculture spokesman Mick Murray has renewed calls for the Department of Agriculture and Food to identify farmers growing genetically modified canola after revealing this week how many Avon Valley farmers were growing the crop.

In Northam, seven growers are farming 1158ha of GM canola between them, while 13 farmers in York are growing 3230ha.

In Toodyay, seven growers are farming 1157ha.

GM canola growers in Toodyay and York represent 1 to 5 per cent of all growers, while less than 1 per cent of growers in Northam have planted GM canola.

Mr Murray said he was disappointed about the generalised information and maps available online and feared that failure to release specific GM grower locations could lead to contamination of neighbouring properties.

“It is pointless if you don’t know if the neighbours are GM-free,” he said. “A colour on a map means really nothing.”
Read article

More info and maps available on the website of the Department of Agriculture and Food

New website Community Gardens WA

Growing Communities WA is delighted to announce the launch of a new website for community gardens in WA.

communitygardenswa.org.au is the new home for WA community gardens. The website includes lots of information, resources to download and suggested avenues for support for gardens.

There is also an online database and map of WA’s community gardens which makes it easy for people to find and connect with established gardens and those that are under construction or in the development stages. Gardens can create and manage their own free database/map listing.