31 Aug 2010

Earthwise open day this Saturday 4 September

Click on picture to enlarge

Environment to be taught in schools

School students and teachers have joined forces to try and convince the Federal Government to add 'the environment' as a subject in the national curriculum

The Majestic Plastic Bag - a mockumen

30 Aug 2010

WA Government partners with Monsanto

The WA State Government’s push for GM crops became clearer this week when Minister Redman released a statement saying that our state cereal breeding company, InterGrain, has joined with Monsanto, which has acquired a 19.9 % minority interest.

InterGrain says it intends to remain an independent provider of new grain varieties for all Australian farmers. But Monsanto's Peter O'Keefe says it can guarantee buying out more of the company in the future.

This was reported on the ABC, which included a podcast. Click on the link and listen to the actual interview as Skye Shannon speaks with Brian Whan, Intergrain and Peter O’Keefe, Monsanto and listen to the end remarks of the podcast! (from 4:40)
Read article

Why should we be opposed to GM wheat?

- Intergrain intends to ultimately provide new GM seed only
- This will remove non GM choice for farmers and consumers
- There are no markets open to GM wheat.
- GM wheat will have to be labelled
- There is consumer rejection of GM foods
- Price penalties of up to 40% could result.
- Desired traits can be developed in non GM varieties.
- Possibility of larger (major?) Intergrain ownership by Monsanto
- GM crops have not increased yield (GM soy has 10% decrease)
- GM canola uptake has been poor (still less than 8% over east) so cannot be used as a model.

The Centre for Sustainable Design

The Centre for Sustainable Design facilitates discussion and research on eco-design and broader sustainability considerations in product and service development.

This is achieved through training, workshops, conferences, research, consultancy, publications, and the Internet.

The Centre also acts as an information clearing house and a focus for innovative thinking on sustainable products and services. The Centre is an internationally recognised centre of excellence.
Visit website

Video launch Kimberley whale

"Urge the Premier to keep his promise."

IMAGES of humpback whales will be beamed into WA households from today as the war over development in the Kimberley heats up.

Local and international environment groups have teamed up to launch the biggest televised campaign aimed at stopping major oil and gas projects, such as the proposed LNG Precinct at James Price Point.

The 30-second commercials attack Premier Colin Barnett, urging him to keep his promise to protect the Kimberley's whales.
Watch commercial here

Why would you pave paradise to put up a parking lot?

Why a Margaret River coal mine is madness - Liam Bartlett

JONI Mitchell made the point years ago. Why would you pave paradise to put up a parking lot?
The answer is as obvious now as it was in 1970. Except Mitchell has never been to Margaret River, so she wouldn't realise that in the category of the bleeding obvious, the concept of making a buck at any cost is alive and well.

Just ask the suit and ties in charge of LD Operations _ they run an outfit that wants to mine coal in the middle of the pristine wine-growing region for the next 20 years. They assure us that the project will be 'accomplished in a safe and environmentally and socially responsible manner'.
Read article

Paint dumped in river

THE Swan River Trust is investigating the dumping of several litres of water-soluble paint into the Canning River.

A member of the public reported a yellow plume in the river at Salter Point and SRT officials used an absorbent boom to contain the plume before bringing in a liquid waste disposal truck to extract the contaminated water.

SRT investigators have questioned a person in relation to the incident.

SRT riverpark manager Chris Mather said it was one of the most careless acts of deliberate pollution he had encountered and it served as a reminder of the importance of community vigilance around the rivers.

“The quick action of the individual who reported the incident allowed us to respond immediately and minimise the spread of the plume,” Mr Mather said.

He said investigations into the incident would continue and people with information should call 9278 0900.
Read article

29 Aug 2010

Sustainable September

Sustainable September demonstrates sustainability in action in WA, and celebrates the people who are creating a just and sustainable future, in community, business, government, industry and education.

There is a lot to do in Perth during this month, check the calendar for every week on the website for more info.

26 Aug 2010

Sustainable September at the Grove Library & Community Centre in Cottesloe

Click on picture to enlarge

Westfield rolls out recycling initiative

Australian shoppers can "do the right thing" by using the right bin.

New recycling facilities for empty bottles and cans will be available in Westfield food courts across Australia by the end of the year.

The first of the yellow bins was launched at Burwood, in Sydney's west, on Wednesday.

Regional General Manager for Westfield, Timothy Roberts, said the initiative aimed to divert over 675 tonnes of drink containers from landfill every year.

The study into Australian beverage consumption shows an average of 78 per cent of drink containers are recovered for recycling at home, compared to 24 per cent while people are out.
Read article

Liquid bounty

The US desert city where I live – Tucson, Arizona – receives just 304 mm of rain on average each year. That’s nearly half the amount of rain that falls on Australia’s driest city, Adelaide.

Like many communities around the world, Tucson fails to see the rain as an asset, letting rainwater run off into storm drains and sewers, while pulling from the water table faster than nature can replenish it. In Australia, this practice has resulted in water restrictions in major cities and depletions of the water table as severe as 80 per cent in many areas. In Tucson, the same practice has dried up countless springs and wells, along with the Santa Cruz River, which once ran perennially through the west side of town.
Read story with interesting tips

25 Aug 2010

Don't sweat the small stuff: how I make the little eco-decisions easier

When I first took an interest in environmental issues, I was focused on the big picture: endangered animals, climate change, pollution, deforestation, and so on. But like many of you, after I learned the causes of these problems it felt like I had new eyes when I looked at my everyday life.

I could see the impact of my paper napkins, my over-packaged soap, the zillion plastic bags I had stored in case I could find a use for them later on. I felt surrounded by evidence of my contribution to the problems in the world, and I wanted to fix everything all at once.
Read further

Declining trees spell gloom for planet

LESS rainfall and rising global temperatures are damaging one of the world's best guardians against climate change: trees.

A global study, published in the journal Science, shows that the amount of carbon dioxide being soaked up by the world's forests in the past decade has declined, reversing a 20-year trend.

It diminishes hopes that global warming can be seriously slowed down by the mass planting of trees in carbon sinks. Although plants generally grow bigger as a result of absorbing carbon-enriched air, they need more water and nutrients to do so, and they have been getting less.
Read article

Restocking the cockatoo flock

THE biggest flock of rehabilitated Carnaby’s black cockatoos ever released back into the wild in WA were set free in Yanchep National Park last week.

The Department of Environment and Conservation, and volunteers from the Black Cockatoo Rehabilitation Centre returned 28 birds to their natural habitat.

The centre, based in the Perth hills, works with DEC and Perth Zoo specialising in the care of sick, injured and orphaned Carnaby’s and Baudin’s red-tailed and white-tailed black cockatoos.
Read article

RSPCA won't rule out charges against WA Government

The RSPCA says it's not currently investigating the WA Department of Environment and Conservation, but wouldn't shy away from prosecuting the State Government over allegations of animal cruelty.

A parliamentary inquiry into the DEC's management of former pastoral leases found it neglected its landholder responsibilities and allowed hundreds of animals to die.

RSPCA spokesman Tim Mayne says his organisation will be looking at all the submissions to the inquiry, that relate to animal cruelty.
Read article

Department blamed for animal losses

24 Aug 2010

China closes factories, green deadline

China, facing the risk of embarrassment if it misses a looming environmental deadline, has ordered thousands of companies to close high-polluting plants as its leadership vies to retool economic growth.

Beijing has pledged to slash China's energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 per cent between 2006 and 2010, as the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter seeks to reduce pollution and clean up its environment.

Official data suggest China is likely to miss the year-end deadline -- potentially causing red faces for top leaders who have trumpeted efforts to curb emissions growth and develop renewable energy.

"It is a gesture to show that the country is trying its best to achieve the target," Andy Xie, an independent economist based in Shanghai, told AFP.

"The leaders need to save face."

Beijing this month ordered 2087 firms producing steel, coal, cement, aluminium, glass and other materials to close their old and obsolete plants by the end of September -- or risk having bank loans frozen and power cut off.
Read article

Solar marries diesel at Marble Bar energy epic

CLEAN green married dirty old diesel on Friday as Marble Bar, the hottest town in Australia, became home to the world's first hybrid (solar cum diesel) power station that will harness harsh light to meet 190 resident's energy needs.
Marble Bar, the hottest town in Australia, will harness the harsh sun's rays of the Pilbara to meet the energy needs of 190 people in the town.

A second station will be opened in neighbouring Nullagine, about 88km from Marble Bar, featuring reduced carbon emission footprint criteria to replace noisy and ageing diesel stations.
Read article

23 Aug 2010

Free Diploma of Management course for artists

Dear artists and practitioners,

Would you like to complete a Diploma of Management course for free?

The Training Facilitation Group provides free training for non-for-profit and charitable organisations in different sectors each year. Last year was for disadvantaged youth, this year is within the Arts Community – next year will be offered to a different sector. Therefore, this is most likely a one-time opportunity.

Tim Naylor from the Training Facilitation Group has asked FORM to pass on his details to our list of artists and practitioners, as he feels this course could be very useful to you. Whether it is with managing your own practice, or, as the recent Australia Council study indicated, many artists find Arts Management as a useful source of income while pursuing their own practice.

Deadline for submitting interest is this Thursday, August 26.

Contact: Tim Naylor: tim@trainingfacilitationgroup.com.au

357 Murray Street, Perth Western Australia 6000
T +61 8 9226 2799 | F +61 8 9226 2250 | E peter@form.net.au
To become a member of FORM please go to our Membership page.
Or visit our website

"Socially-Responsible Design's Highest Award"

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge is an annual international design Challenge awarding $100,000 to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity's most pressing problems. It attracts bold, visionary, tangible initiatives focused on a well-defined need of critical importance.

Winning solutions are regionally specific yet globally applicable and present a truly comprehensive, anticipatory, integrated approach to solving the world's complex problems.

Deadline is Monday, October 4, 2010 at 5pm, Eastern Standard Time
More info here

Built from rubbish

‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ as they say… and no one believes that more than Luiz and Edna Toledo in Brazil.

Their house is literally made of rubbish, and at a fraction of the cost of a normal building.

Dateline’s Giovana Vitola gets a guided tour of the bottle walls, bamboo roof, floors made from marble waste…and their unique take on interior design.

It’s not the first recycled house the Toledos have built and they have plans for a whole condominium development.
If you missed it yesterday on Dateline watch it here.

Getting eager to start building yourself?
Check this blog

19 Aug 2010

ACF Election Scorecard 2010

It looks like everyone has a score card nowaday...

Check this one here


Where do our major parties stand on WWF’s selection of critical environment issues?
With over 1,575 animals and plant species at risk of extinction, here is how the major parties are currently responding to WWF's key environmental priorities for the next Australian Government.
Check it here

Get cash for your old mobile

PEOPLE can convert their unwanted mobile phones into cash and help eliminate a recycling nightmare.

In an Australian first, Mazuma Mobile plans to spend more than $5 million snapping up many of the estimated 16 million unwanted and unloved old phones gathering dust in drawers across the nation.

The company is offering $1.60 for non-working models and up to $650 for a top-flight iPhone.
Read article

18 Aug 2010

"elephant in the room"

FAR from going unnoticed, a herd of protesters dressed as elephants have brought attention to the issue that neither leader wants to mention.

"It's not hard to find an elephant suit," she said, adding that costume stores either rented or lent them out at no charge to support the cause.

Organised by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, these pachyderms are trying to draw attention to what they call the "elephant in the room" - climate change.
Read article

16 Aug 2010

Be Inspired by the Velomads

The last Perth Green Drinks event on August 3rd was a special one. Besides the 3 senator guests from The Greens, Liberal, and Labor Parties, two other distinguished guests attended the eco-orientated coming together. I am talking about the Velomads.
Richard Fergé (France) and Stani Martinkova (England) are cyclists from Europe who are currently in their 6th year of a Round- The- World bicycle tour and have just arrived in Australia, their 50th country with an 88.000 km of distance coverage and another 5 years to come. What a pleasure and privilege for us all to have the rare opportunity to meet and have a chat with such inspiring, dedicated people.

My good friend Sybille, took them into her heart and organised some desperately needed new sleeping bags for them, kindly donated by Anaconda at Scarborough beach road.
Read her story here.

15 Aug 2010

Save our trees petition

What is better in Perths hot summer than walk under the dappled shade of the big trees lining the road?

I am always getting a stomach ache when I see beautiful mature trees cut down or even when I hear about it. How can people do this for no reason at all? Tonight I got shocked by this advert on Gumtree...

I am so happy there are groups of people fighting like Save our Trees to keep our trees, without trees there is no healthy life, people seems to forget this when building their homes...

Unfortunately, our parliament doesn't recognize e-petitions so you have to print it and get as many people as possible to sign.

This petition calls for the protection of urban bushland, mature trees and the banning of dangerous poisons for the control of weeds on public land.

Click on the picture to enlarge and copy and print it and get your friends and family to sign it. Present to your local or state managers of parks, verges, bushland etc. Signed petitions can go to any politician - local, state or federal. Or return them to: PO Box 474 Nedlands.

Design the 2011 WAtoday Rottnest Channel Swim T-shirt

Local artists have the opportunity to display their talent in a design competition for the 2011 WAtoday Rottnest Channel Swim official race T-shirt with design entries closing on 3 September 2010.

Regarded as a collector’s item by swimmers and support crew, the iconic long sleeve T-shirt has been produced since 1994. Each year the T-shirt features a bold new design.

"For past swims we received T-shirt designs from interested swimmers, graphic artists and school groups”, said Rottnest Channel Swim Association President Raymond Yong.

“As the wider community has become more interested and involved in the swim, the committee is acknowledging this valuable support by again inviting ideas for the 2011 T-shirt design from across the community," said Mr Yong.

All interested artists are asked to download the Terms & Conditions below which outline the specifications of the design, prizes and judging criteria.

The winning design will be displayed on the 4,500 T-shirts produced for the event and the artist will be featured in the 2011 Race Book. The artist will also win entry into the event, or $500 cash.

“Planning is well under way for the 26 February 2011 event,” said Mr Yong.

“The swim takes many months of preparation to ensure the day runs smoothly and safely, which is always our aim.

“2010 was our best event yet, and we are looking forward to engaging more and more community in the spirit of the swim in future years.

“This competition is one way in which everyone can be involved.”

2011 T-shirt Design Competition - Terms & Conditions.pdf

14 Aug 2010

Sustainable Suite Design Competition

About The Competition
USGBC, The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and The Hospitality Industry Network (NEWH) are sponsoring the Sustainable Suite Design Competition to help drive green design practices within the hotel industry. This competition provides a platform for student and professional teams from around the world to present their approach to green hotel room interior design. Hospitality Design (HD) is an exclusive media partner of this competition.

The winning design is being built as a model guest room to be presented as an educational display for the design industry, hotel owners and brands, and corporate travel executives. The Sustainable Suite will be unveiled at HDExpo in Las Vegas, NV in May 2010. Please check back for updates here.

13 Aug 2010

Dick Smith's population puzzle

Check online

Watch the Q&A debate if you've missed it yesterday, click here.

12 Aug 2010

Bike rack as art - Design competition

Elevate the humble bike rack into a glorious work of urban art!

This Australia-wide design competition invites creative, street-savvy designers to design a cutting edge public bike rack that can be seen as a beautiful item of street art as well as a long-lasting, easy-to-use, functional device.

The winner will receive a cash prize of $10,000 and their bike rack will be manufactured and installed, to be viewed and used by thousands of people at selected locations in the Western Sydney River Cities of Parramatta, Liverpool and Penrith. Second and third place entries will receive $5,000 and $2,000 respectively.
Read more about it here

More action to protect Underwood Bushland, Sunday 15 August

Open Day, 10am-4pm Aug 15, is UWA's premier annual event for prospective students and parents who want to find out about UWA's study options and campus. 100's, probably thousands, of people will attend the open day throughout Sunday, and it's an oppurtunity for us to make sure they know about UWA's(deleted) development plans that will destroy Nyungah sacred sites and endangered species habitat. Also, if we make a strong presence, hopefully the federal government will take some notice in it's assessment process due to begin soon.

Underwood flyers are being prepared for people to hand out.
There are various actions already planned and you can call 0424 337 533 to find out about these and get involved.

One of these actions includes cardboard cockatoos and white crosses being placed around UWA to mark the threat of extinction. Otherwise we encourage to you to get together with some friends or family, get creative and come along on Sunday between 10am-4pm and bring a banner/placard/costume or just your voice, and join the rest of us as we protest against this destruction and raise awareness for Underwood's protection.

UWA promotional events and stalls will be spread out over campus, but most of the action will probably happen around Winthrop hall and the front entrance of the uni.
see map of UWA

Meet at 9:30am at the front entrance of UWA ( Stirling HWY and Winthrop Ave) for a coordinated/mass gathering for about an hour.

Dick's blonde ambition: $1m cash to save civilisation

Dick Smith wants to save the world from population growth, and he is willing to pay $1 million for it.

The larger-than-life Australian entrepreneur launched his Wilberforce Award at the Financial and Energy Exchange in Sydney this morning, flanked by five young blonde women, celebrity publicist Max Markson, a Chihuahua dog and an old suitcase filled with $1 million in $100 notes.

The aim of the prize is to encourage people around the world below the age of 30 to come up with the best solution to stop what Mr Smith terms society's capitalist-driven addiction to consumption growth.
Read article and watch video

Mine stopped by one man

A MAN who earns about $40,000 a year yesterday gave up the chance to become one of Australia's richest men.

Traditional owner Jeff Lee, 39, persuaded Labor to promise to absorb Koongarra - which sits on a small but rich uranium deposit - into Kakadu National Park.

The decision means that billions of dollars from the export of uranium oxide will be lost.
Mr Lee could have earned millions in royalties.

But he said: "I don't worry about money. It's the country that's important to me.
"My ancestors walked on that land long before any balanda came.
Read article

Report finds WA coast not contaminated

The Kimberley coast escaped contamination by Australia's worst offshore oil spill, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has found.

The massive spill in the Timor Sea began on August 21 last year and continued until it was plugged in November.

The spill prompted the EPA to investigate and testing was conducted on water, sand and pearl oysters in October and December last year.

The samples were taken from islands, four pearl farms and peninsulas from Camden Sound in the south to the Stewart Islands in the northeast.

The EPA report found no petroleum hydrocarbons in any of the water or shoreline sediment samples at concentrations above the analytical limits of detection.
Read article

Australia is lagging behind when it comes to chemical regulation

CHEMICAL poisons banned overseas because of serious health concerns are still used in Australia, with the regulator taking up to 16 years to investigate the risks.

Scientists and environmental groups are demanding a complete overhaul of chemical regulation in Australia and several chemicals banned altogether.
Read article

Greens push plan to slash fresh-water use

THE Greens are proposing water standards for new homes and commercial buildings, including compulsory rain tanks, efficient showerheads and a second pipeline to supply storm and recycled water.

Victorian Greens Senate candidate Richard Di Natale said use of a second pipe network could cut fresh-water use by 65 per cent, citing the results of a Gold Coast development. It would increase development costs by 5 or 6 per cent.

Dr Di Natale said the average Australian used 100,000 litres of fresh water a year, the world's highest per capita rate.

'In a country as dry as Australia, we shouldn't be using fresh water to flush our toilets and do our washing,' he said.
Read article

9 Aug 2010

Hunting for treasure in the trash

VICTORIA'S biggest heist isn't by Underbelly types in balaclavas.

Each year, the weight of stuff plundered from hard rubbish collection piles.

Research shows that while four out of five households contribute to hard rubbish at least every two years, two in five make a withdrawal.

Parents with young children are either the worst offenders or the best recyclers.

Monash University lecturer Dr Ruth Lane has spent several years poring over hard rubbish.

She says rubbish raiding is an urban culture, an environmental statement and, for some, a business operating on the grey fringes of the law.

"Whole student households get furnished with hard rubbish and collectors go out for it," she said.

"We recruited 69 households who agreed to monitor what happened to their own hard rubbish piles.

"Something like 35 per cent of all the material was scavenged before the council pick-up."
Read article

I think half the stuff in our house is also scavenged from local verges... Better than seeing it dissapear into landfill!

Wine industry bid to crush Margaret River coal mine

GRAPE growers say a proposed coalmine in Margaret River could poison the water supply and decimate the region's world-famous wine industry.
The campaign against the Vasse Coal Project, an underground coalmine just 15km from the heart of the tourist town and 1km from the Margaret River waterway, continued to 0gather momentum this week.

It comes as officials from LD Operations, the company behind the project, organised a series of meetings with business and community groups to try to win support for the mine and put a lid on growing public fury.

Vanya Cullen, owner of Cullen Wines, one of Margaret River's oldest wineries and its first to be fully organic, described the mine proposal as "madness".
Read article

8 Aug 2010

o2 Western Australia suggestion

Hello there,

Being an avid writer with a passion for the environment, we wanted to share with you our infographics showing the reality of recycling.

Recycling is important to our everyday lives; the infographics shows justhow much recycling can save our environment.

If you find the infographics useful and interesting, then please feel free to share it with your readers.
Many thanks.

Kindest Regards,


Infographic by Recycle - Don't bin it, recycle it

Filtered Water In 2 Minutes with New UV Light Bottle Invention

Most portable water filters use carbon filters, special membranes with microscopic openings, or chemicals like chlorine or iodine to clean the water and make it save for drinking. However, one of the best systems for purifying water is actually with ultraviolet light.

But how do you get an ultraviolet light purification system into a small portable water bottle that can be used anywhere? One design and technology graduate has figured it out, and already won the UK branch of the prestigious James Dyson Award for his invention.
Read article

4 Aug 2010

WA Furniture Design Awards for students - apply by 6 August

If you have a piece of furniture you have designed and made in a previous project.... enter it into the student design awards.
FIAA - Furnishing Industry Association of Australia (WA) Inc

You need to fill out this form and include a picture of your piece of furniture by this Friday 6 August

Email to Peter Hutchinson: obellidesign@bigpond.com

Perth Green Drinks photos

Perth Green Drinks had a record number of rsvp's (120) yesterday with the three senators speaking. It was a great evening were the senators introduced themselves and the parties view on climate change and although they went on for a bit longer than planned (as most politicians do ;) we still had about 20 minutes of questions from the public while in the background the smells of finger food were lingering.
It was a great chance for people to ask questions and the senators stayed during the drinks so were approachable for further questions.

It was a great evening thanks to corporation of Perth Green Drinks with EIANZ who organised the senators. And of course Central Institute of Technology for sponsoring the venue and drinks.
Thanks to the senators for coming in these busy times; Rachel Siewert from The Greens, Louise Pratt from Labor and Alan Eggelston from Liberal.

Click on the photos for an enlargement and sorry for the bad quality as we tested one of the settings to use the flash but don't get the over exposure of cold flash light... it definitely needs a steady hand...