30 Sep 2010

The cockatoos need you!

The cockatoos need you! Take action!

And come to the Perth Green Drinks to hear Margaret talking about these marvelous birds.
RSVP by Friday noon for a spot: rsvp@central.wa.edu.au


Use these points in your comments to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population when the UWA proposal for Underwood Avenue Bushland is referred to the federal department. Include the proposal title, and the reference number. Go to www.environment.gov.au and then EPBC Act on the LHS. There will be only ten days to get your letter in.

John Gorton building
King Edward Tce
Parkes ACT 2600

I [or the group’s name] believe that the University of Western Australia’s proposal for housing in Underwood Avenue Bushland if implemented would have a significant impact on listed endangered species, namely the Carnaby’s Cockatoo, the Graceful Sun-moth, the Rainbow Bee-eater and their community. I urge the DSEWP to declare the proposal a controlled action again (for the third time).

Carnaby’s cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus latirostris
• The group of Carnaby’s cockatoos which live in the western suburbs area between February and August each year, drink at Perry Lakes (or the Karrakatta Cemetery) each evening, roost in tall trees at the corner of Underwood Avenue and Brockway Rd (or in the area around the Hollywood Hospital) and feed in bushland and residential trees and shrubs in the western suburbs.
• The Banksia, jarrah, marri, hakea and acacia in Underwood Avenue Bushland provide high nutrient food which is essential to the wellbeing of the cockatoos.
• Banksia prionotes is an important and significant species, as it flowers from January to August and it flowers prolifically. Banksia attenuata flowers from October to February, so banksias provide food for most of the year.
• Banksia prionotes is also an important species for small bush birds, which also face extinction. (R Davis and L Brooker- Ecological Linkages and Urban Fauna at Risk on the Swan Coastal Plain)
• It is a fact that Carnaby’s cockatoos forage over all of Underwood Avenue Bushland.
• If we want to see Carnaby’s cockatoos survive into the future, we must stop clearing their habitat.
• A major reason that numbers of Carnaby’s cockatoo continue to decline is the continued clearing and fragmentation of banksia woodlands on the Swan Coastal Plain.
• The western suburbs has seen bushland cleared at AK Reserve and at the former ECU site, now called Churchlands Green. Future clearing will occur in bushland along Bedbrook Place, in Selby St for the Autism Association building, and probably in the future at Royal Perth Hospital bushland, Shenton Park, as well as Health Department and Defence Department owned land adjacent to Shenton Bushland in Shenton Park. This clearing has and will contribute to further stress Carnaby’s cockatoos in the area.
• The stand of Banksia prionotes abutting Underwood Avenue would be completely destroyed if the UWA proposal is allowed.
• Underwood Avenue Bushland is important in its own right and is vitally important as a linkage between Bold Park and Shenton Bushland and on to Kings Park.

Graceful Sun Moth, Synemon gratiosa;
This endangered moth may be present in Underwood Avenue Bushland. One was sighted in Shenton Bushland this year so there is every possibility that they could be in Underwood Avenue Bushland.

Rainbow Bee-eater, Merops ornatus;
This migratory bird comes to Underwood Avenue Bushland each year, staying from September/October to February/March and nesting in the bushland.

There will be no ‘net environment benefit’ from this latest UWA proposal and offsets cannot be offered to compensate for the loss of any part of this remaining remnant of fantastic bushland.

Yours faithfully,


23 Sep 2010


The world around us is changing fast, and not all the changes are positive. We're facing the biggest natural, social and economic challenges our world has ever seen. We've addressed some of these issues in the past, but the days of just talking are over. It's time to take action.

To make an impact, we need some help. So we're asking you — yes, YOU — to roll up your sleeves and Redesign the World with us at PICNIC '10.

Are you up for the challenge? We're focusing on Life, Cities, Media and Design -- areas that provide real opportunities to make a difference. PICNIC '10 brings you a platform to create new solutions for a better world.

22-24 September 2010

If I was still living in The Netherlands I would have been there now!

Bikefest Design Competition – Call for entries

Bikefest is calling all students, design professionals or bicycle enthusiasts - to submit designs that make the world better by bikes.

Whether it's better cycling design, better fashion, better accessories, better infrastructure or fostering better communities - Bikefest wants your bicycle-related designs.

How To Enter:
Open to anyone, professional, student or hobbyist in Victoria who has a bike related design idea. The entry must have been devised or designed within the last 18 months. All entries will be profiled on the Bikefest website.
More info here

22 Sep 2010

State Government to share cost of ambitious solar project

THE WA government has announced it will foot one-third of the bill for Australia's largest grid-connected solar power plant, to be built in the state's mid-west.
Speaking at the annual Energy in WA Conference, Energy Minister Peter Collier announced the $58 million solar photovoltaic energy project would be built in Geraldton.

Mr Collier said the project would generate up to 10 megawatt hours of electricity each year.

"Managed by Verve Energy, this facility will become the biggest solar PV project in the nation, testing and demonstrating the technology in WA on a commercial scale,'' he said.
Read article

PGA hopes for heritage listing rethink

The Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) hopes the change of Environment Minister will lead to a change of heart on the planned national heritage listing of the Kimberley.

Former agricultural minister Tony Burke has taken over the environment portfolio and will make a decision about whether parts of the West Kimberley should be placed on the heritage list.

PGA president Rob Gillam told the ABC's Rural Report that pastoralists in the Kimberley are concerned heritage listing would stifle future developments.
Read article

I can only hope the heritage listing will be a fact, I love the Kimberley, the last bit of real outback should be preserved!

Get up - Use your voice

Do you have a campaign suggestion, or a great idea for a tactic that would improve a current GetUp campaign? Search here to see if it's already out there, and if so, you can add your support by voting for it. If not, add your own idea.

GetUp can't campaign on everything - but if your campaign idea is of national interest and will help create a progressive Australia, it might get up!
You get 10 votes, use them well like for example on GM food!

Rhino Day on Wednesday 22 September 2010

Africa is experiencing a ferocious resurgence in rhino poaching, caused by illegal demand for rhino horn from Asia. South Africa, the stronghold of Africa’s rhino population with more than 80% of the 24 000 rhinos left in Africa, has been losing more than 20 rhinos a month. If the current trend continues, the rhino conservation gains of the last decade will begin to erode.

WWF has organised a worldwide Rhino Month campaign in support of the rhino warriors on the frontline in the fight against poaching. These brave men and women face well-armed poachers, many of whom are militarily-trained, in order to protect our rhinos.

You can help them by helping us provide the support, equipment and training they need to keep themselves and our rhinos safe. Donations to our Rhino Month fund can be made here

Rhino Month will culminate in Rhino Day on Wednesday 22 September 2010. At 1pm on Rhino Day, we are asking people around the world to dust off their vuvuzelas and make some noise in a symbolic call for effective international action against rhino poaching. We’re using one African horn to call for help for another.

It doesn’t have to be a vuvuzela … you can also blow didgeridoos or alpine horns or toot your car hooters or anything else that makes a big noise in support of rhinos.
More info here

Police arrest rhino-poaching masterminds
Police in South African have exposed a rhino-poaching syndicate that is believed to be a major supplier of illegal horns to the international black market.

Rhino poaching in South Africa has increased this year, owing to booming demand and rising prices for rhino horn from increasingly rich Asian markets, where it is used as a medicine.

21 Sep 2010

Fish or Frankenfish?

Genetically engineered salmon that grows twice as fast as conventional fish appears to be safe, an advisory committee told the Food and Drug Administration Monday. But they say more testing may be needed before it's served on the dinner tables.

Consumer and food safety groups are not convinced a genetically modified salmon dubbed 'frankenfish' is safe to eat.
Check ABC environment for Lateline news flash.
Read article

Dr Judy Carman asks” Is our food safe to eat?”

Dr. Judy Carmen, a key note speaker is a world renowned epidemiologist from South Australia . Dr Carmen has been conducting experiments on feeding GM food to animals funded by a small grant from the previous Labor government Minister of Agriculture, Kim Chance. You will be given the most up-to-date information of the safety of GM food from her results so far’.

Venue: City West Function Centre, Plaistowe Mews, West Perth
Time: 9.00am Registration for 9.30am start - 3.00pm finish
Date: Tuesday 19th October, 2010

Speakers: Dr Judy Carman - Research Nutritionist
Elaine Attwood - Expert on nanotechnology and food labelling
Karen West - Nutritious Food on a Budget
Myrtle Andrews - growing vegetables in the home garden

Morning tea and lunch are provided.

Cost: Waged: $30.00
Unwaged / Pensioners: $20.00

Please phone or email NCWWA to register. Tel: 9325 8897 Email: ncwwa@iinet.net.au

Here is a list of the GM canola growing shires in WA

Names in bold indicates shires that had previously declared a GM free status.

Beverley, Boyup Brook, Brookton, Broomehill-Tambellup, Bruce Rock, Chapman Valley , Chittering, Coorow, Corrigin, Cranbrook , Cuballing, Cunderdin, Dalwallinu, Dandaragan, Dowerin, Dumbleyung, Esperance, Geraldton-Greenough, Gnowangerup, Goomalling, Irwin, Jerramungup, Katanning, Kellerberrin , Kent , Kojonup, Kondinin, Kulin , Lake Grace, Manjimup, Merredin, Mingenew, Moora, Morawa, Mount Marshall , Mullewa, Narembeen, Narrogin, Northam, Northampton, Pingelly, Plantagenet, Quairading, Ravensthorpe, Tammin, Three Springs, Toodyay, Victoria Plains, Wagin, West Arthur, Wickepin, Williams , Wongan-Ballidu, Woodanilling, Wyalkatchem, Yilgarn, York

What can you do?
- If you live in one of the GM growing shires (see list above) contact your local CEO, President and or councillors with the media release and ask them what steps they will put into place to avoid GM contamination to protect non GM and organic farmers.
- Write a letter to the paper (The West Australian letters@wanews.com.au) and your local newspaper to highlight the problem, and the fact that shires may have to use harsher chemicals to eradicate GM canola.
- Write to Terry Redman Minister.Redman@dpc.wa.gov.au and Colin Barnett Premier.Barnett@dpc.wa.gov.au expressing how unfair it is for shires to have to foot the bill for a product that should be the responsibility of the producer.
- Contact your local MP and ask them what role they are taking to protect WA from the advent of GM canola contamination.
Say no to GMO

The Genius Of Design

New series on ABC: The Genius of Design

This five-part series tells the story of design from the Industrial Revolution to the present day. The first episode pays tribute to the anonymous designers responsible for ordinary but classical designs.

We live in a designed world, made for us and overseen by a diverse group of specialists that we call designers. This five-part series tell the story of design from the Industrial Revolution to the present day, from the accidental birth of design as a by-product of the ‘division of labour’ to the central role it now plays as we grapple with issues of over-production, consumption and the environment.
Tonight was the first part; Ghosts In The Machine

More info on the series and trailer here.

How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth?

The world is increasing by 2 people every second, 200.000 people everyday, nearly 18 milion every year.

Esteemed naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough takes a look at the problems we face as a continuously growing species. On a journey from Mexico to Spain, China to Rwanda, ecologists, demographers, farmers, engineers and family planning clinicians report on the enormous challenges of dealing with humans in ever increasing numbers.

This documentary was on SBS tonight, if you have missed it watch it here.

20 Sep 2010

Diesel cars

Touted as an eco answer to petrol cars, diesels are on the rise, but are they really the greener choice?

Diesel engines have traditionally been considered reliable workhorses: sturdy, tractor-pulling, truck-driving, long-distance beasts. No one imagined a diesel engine could be responsible for speeds more suited to a race car.

In Europe, diesel cars make up 53 per cent of all new car registrations. In Australia, that figure is around 6.5 per cent. However, with improvements in performance and a surge in popularity (thanks to Jenson), diesel engines are gaining traction in the car market Down Under.

A recent study from the motoring organisation found that up to 28 per cent less fuel is used by the diesel version of a car. It seems an open and shut case. Diesels are more fuel-efficient and less damaging to the climate. But there's more to the story.
Read article

On a Wing and a Prayer

Playful, mischievous and highly intelligent, Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos are adored by thousands, hunted by many and saved by few. Endemic to the south-west region of Western Australia, only a small pocket of these large, gregarious birds remain and these are permanently under threat. Some are still being poached and smuggled for private collections. Many are illegally shot. Together with land clearing, loss of native food habitat and injury from man-made structures, the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo is plummeting towards extinction.
Watch the movie trailer here

16 Sep 2010

Perth Green Drinks - 5 October 2010

You are invited for the Perth Green Drinks on 5 October 2010, Green drinks
is a global event happening in more than 700 cities worldwide to bring people together.

When: Tuesday 5 October 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.

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 30 September 5pm - rsvp@central.wa.edu.au

Topic of tonight: Saving our wildlife
Harry McNally is talking about his participating in numbat radio tracking at Dryandra woodland
More info on Numbats
Margaret Owen is talking about Black Cockatoos in Perth
Take action on preserving habitat for cockatoos here.
Discussion afterwards on how important it is for us to save our wildlife and how many groups are active on this topic in WA.

Hope to see you there!
Central Institute of Technology

Alcoa fined for alumina dust

Alcoa Australia has been fined $45,000 for failing to stop dust from an alumina refinery south of Perth from affecting local residents.

Alcoa had pleaded guilty to breaching environmental regulations by allowing visible dust from a bauxite refining process to escape its Wagerup alumina facility in May 2006.

The dust spread over a wide area, causing some residents to suffer headaches, burning throats and skin and eye irritations, the prosecution said.
Read article

Retrofitting for Energy Efficiency

Retrofitting existing buildings in Australia has become the most urgent of priorities.

Commercial buildings with a Net Lettable Area of 2000 m2 or more will now have to declare their rating because of the incoming NABERS regulation. This will have a significant effect on property value and leasing prices.

According to the latest Jones Lang LaSalle Survey of Investor Sentiment, one hundred percent of investors agreed that sustainability impacts their investment decisions.

This conference will focus on the WHY, WHAT and HOW of retrofitting existing buildings in order to achieve greater efficiency and asset value.
More info here

15 Sep 2010

Report: Children's products may contain hazardous metals

Rain coats, hair barrettes and jewelry seem harmless. But Consumer Reports magazine says a series of tests uncovered "worrisome levels" of potentially hazardous metals in such children's products currently on store shelves.

In its October 2010 issue, which hits newsstands Tuesday, the magazine says a metal-and-rhinestone hair barrette, a clover-shaped cell phone charm and a vinyl children's rain coat contained heavy metals.

Cadmium and lead levels are the focus of the magazine's report, which is based on tests of more than 30 products using an initial screening method called X-ray fluorescence and outside laboratory analyses.
Read article

14 Sep 2010

Turn Oz into a natural theme park

An ecotourism specialist wants the new federal government to commit $10 billion over the next 10 years to restore Australian tourism to its former glory.

Tony Charters, convenor of next month's Global Eco Asia Pacific Tourism Conference, says reef tax data shows the number of day trippers to the Great Barrier Reef is the same as it was 20 years ago, and the tourism industry must be resuscitated.

"We've known for years that Australia is a leading destination and very highly regarded but the reality is we are being beaten by our competitors, not only on price but on the diversity of their product," Mr Charters said.
Read article

There is nothing like Australia!

Paint waste ends in a master stroke

TALK about painting yourself into a tight spot.

Australian car makers use almost 10 million litres of paint a year on plastic car parts, but only 30-40 per cent of it actually makes it on to the finished cars. The rest is wasted — a colossal loss that costs manufacturers about $100 million a year, according to data from the Australian paint industry.

It is also an environmental disaster. Each year, an average 2.5 million litres of slurry-like paint by-product goes to landfill, while solvents used for spray painting evaporate into the air, distributing volatile organic compounds and hydrocarbons into the atmosphere.

The problem stems from plastic's lack of conductivity, so that airborne paint particles are not drawn to the plastic surface.
Read article

Save these horses

NEAR Gregory Lake in the Kimberley region live many beautiful wild Arab horses.

The Government has not regulated them properly so the numbers have increased to 5000, therefore making them a pest.

The Government is complaining that horses are ruining the land, but if the horses are killed the Government is planning to replace them with a cattle farm, which means all it wants is more money at the cost of the death of innocent animals.
Read article


Earth Carers

Click to enlarge

Celebrate Lake Claremont - 24 October

Click to enlarge

WA logging may imperil thirsty forests: EPA

The Environmental Protection Authority has reported that logging may prove unsustainable in forests with low or mid-range rainfall across the south-west of WA.

13 Sep 2010

Health Minister endorses True Food Guide!

One of the WA GM Free Network members posed these questions to recently pregnant WA Minister for the Environment and Youth Affairs, Donna Faragher.

She asked
1. Please refer me to the studies of GM food trialled during pregnancy
2. Please advise how to avoid eating GM foods during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Her questions were first referred to Terry Redman, and then, at her request, to the Minister for Health (and Deputy Premier) Dr Kim Hames who suggested she refer to Greenpeace’s True Food Guide.

Now there’s an endorsement... but should we really be relying on information provided by an NGO because our Federal Government has failed us regarding GM labelling?

All the more reason to insist on transparent GM labelling as FSANZ is clearly not doing its job.

As for Minister Faragher, she has so far failed to directly respond to the queries.

Redman refuses to disclose Monsanto details

Labor MLA Mick Murray has asked Agriculture Minister Terry Redman curly questions about the Monsanto/InterGrain alliance in Parliament this week.
(Go to link - 8 September Wednesday - Legislative Assembly, and scroll down to page 6163)

While Murray determined to find the price paid for the deal, Redman refused by claiming the ‘need to respect the confidentiality of the value that Monsanto paid’.

And continues ‘When growers are faced with seasons such as we are having now, drought conditions, the challenges of high-priced fertilisers and so on, we need to make sure that we have varieties that can deal with those challenges’.

We know what that means... GM varieties only (as stated by InterGrain CEO) and non GM farmers will have to make do with old varieties leaving us with no choice but GM.

Please send an email of support to Mick Murray, and ask him to continue the pressure, and call for a committee to look into the whole WA GM scandal:
Mick Murray mick.murray@mp.wa.gov.au
Terry Redman Minister.Redman@dpc.wa.gov.au
Colin Barnett Premier.Barnett@dpc.wa.gov.au
And get onto your local member as well.

Real sea change - migration to the big smoke

The big demographic story of our age is urbanisation. For the first time in history more than half the world's population lives in towns and cities. Doug Saunders, the author of Arrival City: How the Largest Migration in History Is Reshaping Our World, notes that more than 2 billion people, a third of the people on Earth, are on the move from rural to urban areas.

Across our region countries are exploiting the economies of scale that big metropolises bring. Except for us, apparently.

This week we learnt regional areas will be given priority when it comes to the national broadband network, thanks to the deal struck between the Labor Party and the two country independents who handed it government.

Australia was ahead of the curve on urbanisation. In spite of our complaints about congestion and property prices, the vast majority of us choose to live in cities. Attempts to shunt city dwellers to regional towns in the country have generally failed.
Read article

Final stage of Indian Ocean Drive set to open

STAGE 2 of the Lancelin-Cervantes project, the final section of Indian Ocean Drive, will officially be opened by Premier Colin Barnett next Sunday.

Transport Minister Simon O’Brien said the project would be completed nine months ahead of schedule.

“The new road between Lancelin and Cervantes will mean that for the first time, an uninterrupted sealed coastal route exists all the way from Perth to Dongara and the coastal communities further north,” he said.

The Minister said the project would have lasting economic and environmental benefits.

“As a result of our commitment to conservation, more than 20,000 new seedlings are being planted, while the utmost care was taken in designing a road that took environmental concerns into account,” Mr O’Brien said.

He said that the new coastal route, which overlooked the Indian Ocean, would be great for tourists and other light vehicles, as it separated them from the heavy freight traffic on Brand Highway.
Read article

9 Sep 2010

Change for the Oceans

Given enough time, sea life could adapt to climate change. Sadly animals evolve far too slowly. But we can change as quickly as we choose to.

Small actions can make a real difference.

Rare supply: the trace minerals powering our gadgets

Technological innovation has brought us wonderful new tools for modern life, but some experts believe supply is lagging behind demand for the rare minerals that make them possible.

Alongside the technological innovation of the last 20 years is the race to keep up with demand for minerals used in electronic devices - some experts believe supply is lagging behind. Lithium is one such mineral.

A recent report by The Institute of Sustainable Futures titled Peak Minerals in Australia: a review of changing impacts and benefits, raises concerns about the future supply of minerals and says while few metals are in danger of complete physical depletion, many are becoming harder to extract.
Read article

8 Sep 2010

Sustainable House Day - Sunday 12th Sept

The ninth annual Sustainable House Day on Sunday 12 September will showcase some of Australia’s most environmentally sustainable homes to the public as millions of Australians continue to embrace renewable energy, recycling and other practices designed to lessen our impact on the environment. Environmental awareness – or being ‘green’ – is great, but putting it into practice around your own home is the best contribution you can make to living in harmony with our planet.
Find out directly from home owners who’ve put sustainable living into practice, about reducing waste around your home, saving water, natural home heating and cooling and more.
Check website

Visit a Sustainable House in your neighbourhood, check here where to go.
Or visit this one.
Or this one.
Check out the calendar of events!

Minister snubs call for Palmer bond info

Regional Development Minister and Nationals leader Brendon Grylls has refused to release a swag of documents dealing with a WA Government decision to drop a $45.5 million environmental bond on Queensland billionaire Clive Palmer's $4 billion Balmoral South iron ore project in the Pilbara.

Environment Minister Donna Faragher removed the Environmental Protection Authority imposed bond after Mr Palmer lobbied her and Mr Grylls last year.

Although Premier Colin Barnett said yesterday a bond on the project would still be applied through the Mining Act, the Labor Opposition claimed in State Parliament that Mr Palmer received favoured treatment because he was a major donor to the Nationals.

Electoral Commission records show that for the 2008-09 financial year Mr Palmer's company Mineralogy donated $110,000 to the WA Nationals.
Read article

Earth Carers training

If you are interested in the topics mentioned above I can only recommend to do this training. Earth Carers is giving this training twice a year and I've joined the last one with much pleasure. I met some fantastic people and even though I already know a fair bit, having chooks who eat my scraps and taking care of my compost heap, I won the worms from the demonstration and now I have a thriving worm farm in an old ceramic water filter which I had picked up from the verge earlier this year. So the only waste I have is one little bag of plastic packaging from food.

It's a fun training, very good organised, all local with interesting site visits and you learn a lot. You meet interesting people with whom you can swap seeds, plants, goods etc. Like I swapped the old washing machine drum for a few fertile eggs to put onder my broody bantam. The drum was used to free up a lemon tree in a tiny pot. We had picked up the washing machine from the verge for the kinetic energy as it was a Fisher and Pykel, so we can create our own little wind mill in the garden, a project which is still on the list.
You learn from each other, someone knows everything about herbs, another about soap making and yet another about solar energy. You swap not only goods but also handy ideas.

7 Sep 2010

Sheep farmers struggle in the west

While it's very wet in the east of Australia, Western Australian sheep farmers are offloading stock to help cope with a drying season.

In the last few months, there's been a mass exodus of sheep from farms with little water and no feed.

More than 150,000 ewes have been sold to buyers in the South Australia and Victoria who want to re-stock.
Read article

China's 45 Billion Disposable Chopsticks Require 100 Acres of Forests Every 24 Hours

Apparently China's Ministry of Commerce has had it with disposable chopsticks. It sent out a warning to chopstick makers in June to warn them that: "Production, circulation and recycling of disposable chopsticks should be more strictly supervised." The reason?

With about 45 billion disposable chopstick pairs made every year in the country, or about 130 million a day, a lot of wood is being wasted, and that in a country that is trying to increase its forest coverage (from about 8% in 1949 to 12-13% today, compared to 30% for the USA).

Sadly, change has been slow so far. The Bring Your Own Chopsticks movement has been gaining momentum, but is still far from succeeding in changing people's minds (or even being on most people's radar). But there is some hope on the horizon: As China grows richer, more restaurants will be able to afford the equipment to wash and sterilize reusable chopsticks.
Read article

6 Sep 2010

Making sustainability sexy

Magazine editor and environmentalist Tamsin O'Neill is on a crusade - but not telling people what to think.

HAS the Great Australian Dream been sullied by a Great Australian Delusion?

Have we, understandably but unwittingly, undermined the value and potential pleasure of home ownership by making the classical error of putting quantity ahead of quality?

Have we, at a suburban level at least, already become victims, rather than lucky-country beneficiaries, of the belief that bigger is better?

Are the multitudes of McMansions, as they have become known, spreading daily around Australia's major and satellite cities, a mistake we are making en masse?
Read article and watch interview

West Australians to pay for dirty living

WA produces the most pollution, uses the most energy and creates the most waste in the country. Source: AP
WA is the most polluting, energy-guzzling, waste producer in the nation, according to a damning new study.

Murdoch University business and development lecturer Peter McMahon warns West Australians will pay dearly through their hip pockets for living in one of the least-sustainable societies in the world.

His report, which examines the energy, transportation,environment, farming and mining sectors, covers WA sustainability from 1829 to 2020.

Energy Minister Peter Collier said the state's thirst for energy was because West Australians had been living in a "fool's paradise'' for too long.
Read article

Liquid gold

Farmers are selling it and savvy investors are buying it, write Deborah Snow and Debra Jopson. Tomorrow, savvy Australian businessman Richard Lourey will climb aboard a plane bound for Hong Kong to sell our water to the world. Not water in bottles. Farm water. He wants to bag $100 million from overseas investors in Asia, Europe and North America to buy up permanent water rights along the Murray-Darling Basin, one of the longest river systems in the world. He plans to lease it back annually to those who want it - and can afford to pay.

Lourey is one of the new breed of global investors who see fresh water as business - big business.

Another is John Dickerson, a former CIA analyst in San Diego, who set up one of the first funds in the world dedicated to acquiring water rights.

Dickerson's Australian subsidiary Summit Water Holdings bought up $20 million worth of our permanent rural water rights two years ago and is on the lookout for more.

As Dickerson puts it: 'You might remember the old Will Rogers saying, 'You ought to buy land because they ain't making any more of it'. He could have said the same thing about water.'

Unnoticed by most of us living in the big cities, fresh water in this country has become liquid gold. For many farmers caught at the height of the drought over the past three years, with failed or unsown crops and little ability to fatten stock, selling water rights got them through.
Read article

I am stunned this is possible...

Irrigation farmers find buyers drying up
JEREMY MORTON and Ian Shippen are southern NSW irrigation farmers trying to use the water market to sell out and get off the drip.

Monsanto wants to ‘educate’ us.

Monsanto steps up its campaign for acceptance of GM
Global biotechnology company Monsanto has begun an education and advocacy campaign to change the opposition many Australia consumers have to genetically modified food.

MADGE has prepared another ‘education’ campaign….educating us about Monsanto! Read on…..

- Australians need to be educated about Monsanto (see lists of crimes/upheld charges)
- We are asking for Monsanto's educative propaganda to be sent to MADGE so we can 'demystify' it (MADGE = Mothers are Demystifying Genetic Engineering).
- Monsanto (owns at least 23% of all world seed) has just purchased a 19.9% share of West Aussie grain development company Intergrain, with 2 intentions:
1. to put their patented GM traits in Australian wheat - they will own it
2. to purchase a larger share of Intergrain (they have guaranteed it)

GM wheat would need to be labelled which consumers would reject, and that is why Monsanto is moving to 'educate'. We and many other groups will put out a more comprehensive release on this WA and wheat issue.

Creek turns green but 'don't panic'

Bickley Brook creek near Maddington has turned bright green but the Department of Environment and Conservation said there was no reason to panic.

The creek, which leads into the Canning River, turned green yesterday after a non-toxic chemical, Fluorescein, was spilt into drains in the vicinity of Kelvin Road and Wildfire Street.

The department has found the company allegedly responsible and is investigating.
Read article

Submit art for life

Artists of all persuasions are invited to submit works that express the sentience of animals (their ability to perceive and feel) to be included in ARA's inaugural art exhibition:

sentience: an exhibition of life

Artwork will be displayed at the Kurb Gallery at 310 William Street in Perth, Western Australia from 15-21 January 2011.

Submissions may include (but are not limited to) photography, drawing, painting and sculpture and should be submitted by 30 November 2010.

For more information on submitting your work contact ARA on: info@ara.org.au

Green Restaurant Design Competition

The Global Design Competition of Seattle, WA USA calls for entries of
integrated function, high efficiency, low carbon restaurant designs. Our
goal is to create a shareware reference resource of design solutions that
also functions as a services directory for participating design teams.

The design objective is a low carbon restaurant, by any means possible,
including but not limited to reduction in the need for electricity, food
menu and ingredient choices, localized power generation and waste energy
capture and reuse.


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3 Sep 2010


Category Award Finalists

2010 Education Award - Raising the Bar
2010 Indigenous Award - Caring for country
2010 Land and Biodiversity Award - Preserving Our Ecosystems
2010 Water Award - Our Most Precious Resource
2010 Agriculture and Food Award - From Paddock to Plate Sustainably
2010 Built Environment Award - Harmonious Manmade Landscapes
2010 Clean Technology Award - Harnessing Opportunities
2010 Transportation, Warehousing & Logistics Award - Mindful Movement
2010 Leading in Sustainability Award - Setting the Standard for Large Organisations
2010 Leading in Sustainability Award - Setting the Standard for Small to Medium Businesses
More imfo here

New Australian research has opened up a debate over the health risks of tinned food.

Aussies Pull the Plug to Slash Surging Power Bills: New Research

Brand new research has found an overwhelming 97% of Australians are making efforts to be more energy efficient because they are so worried about soaring power prices. The Newspoll revealed 88% of respondents want to reduce their household energy use and 79% would like to increase energy use from sustainable sources.

The survey demonstrates that sustainable energy is no longer a ‘greenie’ niche phenomena, but is moving very much into the mainstream market.

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Australians are so worried about sky-rocketing electricity prices they are rushing to cut their energy consumption and flicking the on-switch to more sustainable energy sources to slash their household energy bills and preserve the planet.

An online Newspoll survey of 676 home-owners aged between 18 and 64, commissioned by Solahart, has revealed a whopping 97% making efforts to be more environmentally-friendly and cut household energy bills, with 94% concerned by hikes in energy prices (including 58% who are very concerned) and 88% wanting to reduce their household energy use.

Refusing to be beaten, home-owners are tackling the price surge, and climate change, head-on with 79% wanting to increase energy use from sustainable sources.

So far almost a quarter (22%) of respondents have replaced electric hot water systems with more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly alternatives such as solar water heaters, and 22% have opted to pay extra for ‘Green Power’.

In addition 89% have installed energy efficient light globes, 72% have purchased energy efficient appliances, and 64% are turning off appliances when they are not in use.

Stephen Cranch, National Manager for Solahart, Australia’s leading manufacturer of solar water heaters, said the Newspoll figures show sustainable energy is no longer a niche ‘greenie’ alternative, but mainstream.

“Until recently, sustainable energy was barely on the radar with householders and just a small proportion thought of making the swap,” Mr Cranch said.

“These survey findings illustrate the landscape has changed dramatically, with Australians more conscious of the environmental impacts of their lifestyle choices. Coupled with the power price hikes and the generous government rebates and incentives available, sustainable energy is rapidly moving to the top of the agenda. House by house, Australia is transforming from a nation of serial greenhouse gas emitters to a smarter, planet-responsible power base,” he said.

Right now, the Federal Government is offering a $1000 rebate to those replacing electric water heaters with a solar hot water system, which is additional to some State Government rebates. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are also available, saving consumers up to another $1000 when buying a typical Solahart 300 litre system.

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems, which generate electricity through solar panels typically placed on the roof, also attract valuable incentives for householders under the Solar Credits Program.

However, too many of the homeowners surveyed are still ignorant of the savings opportunities available to them with just 50% conscious of the $1,000 Federal Government solar hot water rebate and only 52% knowing about RECs. In fact just over a quarter are completely unaware that any legislation or rebates exist to help them transition to a sustainable energy supply.

To make matters even more urgent, and despite a worrying majority (77%) of homeowners canvassed not realising it, the ability to purchase a new electric hot water system will be stopped across Australia by 2012 and rebates may not apply by then. Solar water heaters are more energy efficient and will help save on energy bills leaving Australians with more money in their pockets.

For more information or further comment:
Amy Collie or Jackie Crossman, Crossman Communications, (02) 9361 6099

Half not aware of hot water subsidies