29 Oct 2010

DesignBUILD 3-4-5 November Perth Convention Centre

More information here

Arsenic-treated posts being removed from vineyards

A growing number of vineyard managers are pulling out timber posts and replacing them with steel or recycled plastic.

The green-tinged timber posts that prop up the vines in wine-growing regions have long been part of Australia's rural landscape.

But the timber posts are treated with arsenic to stop termites eating them, copper to prevent fungal problems and chromium to bind the two other chemicals together.

The substance is known as CCA. Timber Preservers Association of Australia spokesman Harry Greaves says CCA is probably one of the most robust wood preservatives.
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Bilbies back to extinction zone

About 35 bilbies bred in captivity have been released across the South-West in an attempt to bolster stocks of the increasingly endangered mammal.

At one time found across 70 per cent of Australia, their numbers have been decimated by foxes and feral cats to the point where scientists no longer know how many are left in the wild.

Now existing in scattered and isolated populations across arid regions of WA, the Northern Territory and south-west Queensland, the bilbies have returned to the South-West for the first time since their extinction from the area 30 years ago.
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Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

This is a small Animate we made in collaboration with Riverhead books in New York and Steven Johnson to present themes from his new book, 'Where Good Ideas Come From'.

Check out this TED talk as well.

28 Oct 2010

c-water by chao gao - iida awards 2010

'c-water' by Chao Gao from china, one of the 2nd prize winners for iida 2010

The incheon international design awards 2010 competition organized by Designboom
in collaboration with incheon metropolitan city, South Korea received entries from over 4000 participants in a call for fresh and sustainable designs that aim to change our daily city living.
'c-water' is a device which produces freshwater. It evaporates sewage, salt water and other watery
objects by the use of heat, which is generated from sunlight. It is applicable to wetlands, beaches, boats, sewage and other places. It has a flexible and compactable design. Not only can it be used as a deflector of steam, it is also space-saving and convenient for transporting. What's more, it is beneficial for travelers.
The aim of 'c-water' is to advocate the value of creating highly environmental protection with low costs.
Read article

New star on the green catwalk

Green business now stands for good business, and Australia’s design and building industry is leading the trend worldwide. Dave Drayton reports.

As cars, tourism and even coffee went eco-friendly, it was inevitable that the building and design industry in Australia would eventually follow suit.

And while Australia cottoned on to the trend slightly later than Europe, it has by now well and truly caught up, according to the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

“Australia is definitely one of the world leaders. We have transitioned a lot faster than a lot of the other countries,” says Suzie Barnett, Executive Director of GBCA.

Around 11% of buildings in Sydney’s CBD are “green-star” rated, which means their environmental impact has been assessed based on management, indoor environment quality, energy, transport, water, materials, land use & ecology, emissions and innovation.
Read article

Barnett attacks Gillard over energy sector

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has defended his government's record on energy investment following what he described as "strange" and "wild" comments by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

In a speech to the Australian Industry Group in Canberra on Monday, Ms Gillard said recent energy price increases in WA were "overwhelmingly driven by a lack of investment".

"The Premier of WA has effectively apologised for the situation, saying, `I regret it, but it's something that simply has to happen'," she said.

Advertisement: Story continues below Mr Barnett said he found the comments strange as WA had experienced substantial investment in its energy sector including gas turbines at Kwinana and solar plants in the Pilbara.

"We are in a good position in terms of electricity generation and in terms of distribution," he told reporters in Perth on Wednesday.
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LNG boom will double WA emissions: Greens

The Australian Greens want all new liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants forced to sequester their greenhouse gas, claiming coal and gas projects proposed for Western Australia alone could almost double the state's annual emissions.

Greens senator Scott Ludlam on Wednesday released his calculations of the emissions from new LNG plants and coal power stations proposed for his home state to 2016, as well as two big emitting iron ore projects.

The figures, sourced mostly from company data provided to the WA government, show the state's annual emissions of around 80 megatonnes would soar to almost double that if all the projects were approved.

Advertisement: Story continues below The proposed James Price Point hub alone would emit 32 million tonnes a year of greenhouse gases - equivalent to five per cent of Australia's current total greenhouse gas emissions, or New Zealand's entire annual greenhouse gas emissions, Senator Ludlam said.
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Toilet paper going tubeless in push to reduce waste

17 Billion toilet paper tubes produced annually in the USA. An American toiletries company is trialling tubeless toilet paper in an effort to make the world's most most relied upon bathroom product greener.

Manufacturer Kimberly-Clark will introduce Scott Naturals Tube-Free toilet paper at certain Walmart and Sam's Club stores throughout the Northeast of America., USA Today reported.

If the product, which will be rolled out in stores next Monday, is well-received by consumers, the company may sell it nationally and globally, according to the report.

The company has said the tissue will be just the same but will only be missing the cardboard tube typically inserted inside the roll. The new toilet paper rolls will still fit over bathroom spindles.
Read article

27 Oct 2010

Population survey finds Australians think couples should consider limiting family size

•Australians want stable population level
•Survey says families should limit children
•Big population bad for Australia - Brown

It's a case of one for mum, one for dad, but think carefully about the impact of any more on the country.
Half of Australians believe couples should limit the number of children they have out of concern for how the nation will cope with a rising population.

And while two-thirds of Australians are happy with the direction the country is heading, a majority also say they want the population to remain at or below current levels, according to a survey by ANU.

It suggests Julia Gillard hit the right note by rejecting Kevin Rudd's "big Australia" push.

In what is believed to be the first survey on attitudes to family sizes in relation to handling population growth, the study found 30 per cent of Australians think couples should have up to two children only, and another 18 per cent think couples should think about having no more than three.
Read article

GM wheat threatens Aussie's daily bread

TOP chefs and environmental campaigners have joined forces to warn Australians that in the near future, there may be a bigger trap in their lunchbox than a soggy sandwich.

Greenpeace will today release a report on GM wheat at the Sydney International Food Festival, with renowned Sydney chefs Peter Gilmore, of Quay, and Robert Marchetti, of Icebergs Dining Room.

The report, called Spliced Bread: the Threat of Genetically Engineered Wheat in Australia, says the nation is "on the brink of a complete shift" in food production and consumption.

It says genetic engineering companies have "taken over" Australian wheat research since the deregulation of the wheat board, including an alliance between the CSIRO and Syngenta, a Swiss agribusiness giant.

It also raises the "vested interests" of grain handlers in GM development, and suggests they, along with the companies, wield too much power to make decisions about GM wheat.
Read article

Calling all geeks! federal funding opportunity closing date 22/11

Call yourself a geek? Fancy some money to make some digital art, or help other people to discover their inner geek?
If you answered yes to any of the above, the Australia Council's Digital Culture Fund and Geek in Residence program may be just what you're looking for.

The Digital Culture Fund offers up to $40,000 for artists working with innovative technologies in a live context with a strong focus on audience engagement. The Geek in Residence program offers up to $25,000 towards a technically confident artist (or artistically confident technician) to work in an arts organisation on a temporary subsidised placement.

To find out more, you are invited to a series of special events taking place in major cities around Australia. You will have the chance to hear all about the work the Australia Council for the Arts is doing to support the digital era, find out more about these two funds, meet some of last year’s successful applicantsanddo some ‘geek speed dating’.

Click here for a full schedule of dates and locations. Meetings to discuss individual applications with Fee Plumley, the Digital Program Officer, can be booked here.

The Digital Culture Fund deadline is November 22nd, so apply now! The Geek in Residence call opens imminently, sign up here to be sent the direct link once we're live.

26 Oct 2010

IOC to study eliminating fireworks

The IOC will study proposals to eliminate fireworks from the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics for environmental reasons.

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said 'I'm not saying it's going to happen but we are going to study it in a very serious way.'

Sri Lanka's national Olympic committee on Sunday proposed eliminating fireworks to reduce harmful emissions. The committee said laser shows could replace fireworks. I just saw a documentary on pollution in China and those people dying from cancer want the incinerator to move out and celebrate this with a huge firework...
Read article

It's about time! We just have finished the Perth Royal Show with every night a big firework display, why that much pollution for a handful of people? Because it's tradition? Let's change tradition to something more sustainable to celebrate!
I just saw a documentary on ABC about China's dirty secrets and those people want to celebrate to get rid of an incinerator with a huge firework while they are already dying of cancer...
Related post

Desalination plant to be built in the Pilbara

The Premier Colin Barnett has announced plans to build a $370 million desalination plant on the Burrup peninsula in the Pilbara.

State cabinet met in Karratha today and endorsed the proposal.

The plant will add a further six billion litres of water annually to support residential and small commercial growth in Karratha, Dampier, Roebourne, Wickham and Port Samson.

Mr Barnett says the plant will be commissioned in three years.

"The growth is now no longer simply the responsibility of major companies," he said.

"State government is accepting its responsibility to ensure a safe, reliable water supply for the people of Karratha and surrounding areas."
Read article

Antarctic snowfall linked to WA drought

The significant drought in southwest Australia may be linked to increased snowfall in the Antarctic over the past 30 years, researchers say.

They say understanding the connection could help farmers in Western Australia plan for years to come.

Analysis of ice cores, drilled at Law Dome just inland from Australia's Casey Station in the Antarctic, shows snowfall may be linked to climate in the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean and southwest WA.

Advertisement: Story continues below Dr Tas van Ommen, Principal Research Scientist with the Australian Antarctic Division in Hobart, presented his research results at Curtin University in Perth on Monday.

Dr van Ommen said the ice cores from the Law Dome site provided a record of annual snowfall variations stretching back over 750 years.

Over the past 30 years, the cores indicated there had been a significant increase in snowfall in that area, he said.

This inversely correlated to significantly lower rainfall and subsequent drought in the southwest of Western Australia.
Read article

Family Swap-a-lot Party at Scotch College 13 Nov

Click on picture to enlarge

25 Oct 2010

Crab finds bottler of new home

WITH a sturdy metal roof and glass walls to make the most of the coastal views, this discarded bottle neck is the perfect home for a hermit crab.
This ingenious little fellow has taken advantage of our propensity to litter - and added his own modern twist to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

But really, it's a message in a bottle to anyone too lazy to put rubbish in a bin.

Hermit crabs normally fight one another to make homes in shells discarded by other crustaceans, but on a beach in Thailand, 11-year-old Alex Marttunens snapped this picture with his parents' camera.

The Finnish boy's photograph, titled Home Sweet Home, got him to the finals in the under 16 section of the prestigious Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management's environmental photography competition.

Judges said it was a stark reminder of man's often damaging impact on the environment.
Read article

WA's big dry nudges catastrophic level

WA'S big dry has been elevated to one level below "catastrophic" on a Department of Agriculture emergency scale.
And in a sign of how bad the drought has become, one of the state's biggest farming equipment suppliers, Farm Power, was yesterday poised to be put in the hands of administrators.

The Agriculture Department's internal scale, from zero to four, is a barometer of how bad a natural disaster is and how devastating it will be on farmers, the environment and regional communities.

The record dry spell affecting half WA, including huge tracts of the Wheatbelt and the South-West, has been raised from level two to three.

A department spokeswoman said the category-three rating meant the big dry was "likely to cause severe and widespread impact on industry, the community or environment".
Read article

Green crime cost is billions

POLLUTION, illegal logging and wildlife smuggling are now parts of a multibillion-dollar international crime problem almost as lucrative as the drugs and illegal arms trades, a report says.

The prevalence of the latest electronic gadgets and the proposed introduction of emissions trading schemes would provide scope for the further involvement of organised crime in what is broadly labelled environmental crime, it warns.

Nevertheless, environmental crime is traditionally 'not viewed with the same moral repugnance' as property or personal crime - perhaps because it is perceived as victimless or does not always have immediate consequences, the report by the Australian Institute of Criminology warns.
Read article

Biopirates plunder developing world's genetic diversity
From rooibos tea to tribal heredity, the new sovereign battleground is the lawless frontier of genetic resources, writes Robin Powell.

Listening out for the white-striped bat could help our scientists

WEST Australians are being urged to tune in to things that go bump in the night.
Biologists at the Conservation Council hope West Australians can help map the distribution of tiny white-striped bats by listening and logging their high-pitched calls after sunset.

As one of the only "microbats" whose echolocation system is audible to humans, these heat-sensitive bats make the perfect tool for monitoring climate change, scientists say.

With the launch of Conservation Week today, researchers are asking people to listen for the metallic "ting ting" of the bat about 90 minutes after sundown on warm evenings for 10-minute periods.
Listen to the sound of the white-striped bat here
This pigeon-sized bat has big flight muscles which generate too much heat, grounding them when overnight temperatures top 20C.
Read article

Convenience food had a huge impact on the environment

WHILE some Australian shoppers have become kings of convenience, the luxury can come at a cost to their wallets and the environment.

Christopher Zinn of consumer advocacy group Choice said pre-packaged and ready-to-go food had become a way of life for many but the convenience was costly.

"There are certainly high costs attached as soon as you take any fresh produce and peel it or take a leaf off it or cut it there is a premium that you pay for, and sometimes it is quite high," Mr Zinn said.

"These companies that make the products try and work out how much people are prepared to pay for convenience and charge for the package accordingly."
Read article with heaps of examples for people who are not used to put a little bit of afford in preparing food. It's worth it!

Read also this article: Keep your eyes peeled – good things come in natural packaging
The pre-peeled potato has arrived at our local supermarket, the perfect product for those people just too busy to spend the 40 seconds it takes to peel a couple of spuds.

I wonder what they do with the 40 seconds they save? Read Proust? Train for the Olympic squad? Knock out a few pelvic floor exercises?

The potato, you might notice, comes equipped with its own packaging but, since this has been removed, a substitute plastic packaging must be added, the potatoes sitting nude and glistening in their presentation tub, another sheet of plastic draped over the top like a see-through Doona.

Advanced wheelchair gets trial run

Tennant Creek resident Dion Beasley is taking part in a trial run of a new all-terrain wheelchair in Central Australia.

22 Oct 2010

Australia's 2nd largest marine park created

The WA government has announced plans to create new Kimberley wilderness parks.

There will be four new marine parks, a new national park and additional land conservation reserves which will cover an area more than half the size of Tasmania.

The protected region includes the largest humpback whale nursery in the southern hemisphere at Camden Sound.

The Premier Colin Barnett says the Great Kimberley marine park will extend from Montgomery Reef in the south to Cape Londonderry in the north, making it Australia's second largest marine park behind the Great Barrier reef park.

It will include two sanctuary zones which are designated no-take areas.

Mineral and petroleum exploration or drilling are barred from those zones as are commercial and recreational fishing.
Read article

Update 22 Oct: New marine parks created in Kimberley

22 Oct: Conservationists slam new marine park
Green groups say the new Kimberley marine park announced today by the state government will do little to protect marine life.

But conservationists are concerned that the park will not include sufficient sanctuaries to offer full protection for marine life.

Jessica Meeuwig, a research professor with the Oceans Institute at the University of Western Australia describes the announcement as woefully inadequate.

"Effectively marine parks without sanctuary zones are like a Ferrari with a lawnmower engine - they don't actually offer any real protection and my concern is that we will look at this announcement and say that's fantastic, we've protected the Kimberley and we actually haven't done that."

$14,000 penalty for dumping drums of toxic sludge across Perth

A BECKENHAM man has been fined $3200 and ordered to pay $10,788 in clean up costs for illegally dumping 90 rotting and leaking drums of toxic sludge across Perth.
Gary Graham Bound, 32, dumped the rusted 44-gallon drums, which contained a foul-smelling sludge used in industrial fertilizers, in bush in Rivervale, Welshpool, Burswood, Kenwick and Belmont between July 13 and 17 last year.

Bound has pleaded guilty to 11 counts of littering and eight of unauthorised discharge offences in Perth Magistrates Court.

The Department of Environment and Conservation hazards manager Ken Raine said eight of the barrels had leaked into the environment.
Read article

The Untrained Environmentalist

RETIRED sheep grazier John Fenton writes about the trials his family endured to resuscitate their barren Western District farm.

The author began farming Lanark, near Branxholme, in 1956 with the belief that if he wanted to sustain productivity, he would have to give the land something in return.

John and his wife, Cicely, began planting lots of trees and reinstating wetland areas on the "moonscape" farm they had inherited.
Read article

21 Oct 2010

Airbag For Your Head

These people are wearing bicycle helmets! It's a collar with an airbag which blows up when you are falling or are hit by a car.
Especially invented for those people who don't want to ruin their hair...

Check the company in Sweden for more info.

20 Oct 2010

Play more, work less: CSIRO researcher

Australians need to work less, play more and stop buying junk if they want to achieve a more sustainable future, a leading CSIRO researcher says.

Speaking at the Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia conference in Townsville on Tuesday, CSIRO researcher Dr Graham Turner called for a lifestyle overhaul.

He said Australians needed a four-day working week and less consumption.

Advertisement: Story continues below "We need to use the efficiency dividends of technology to enrich our lives in ways that aren't based on material things," he said.

"It means spending more time with family and kids ... Elderly parents spending more time in the environment or on cultural things.

"Buying less things to fill our houses with, (like) plasma TVs, or more jet skis."
Read article

Tougher sprinkler bans on cards

Perth householders face the prospect of the strictest sprinkler bans in WA history as the State Government yesterday refused to rule out a one-day-a-week roster over summer.

The summer ban threat came as Water Minister Graham Jacobs introduced on-the-spot, $100 fines for water wasters, conceding the fines might mean nothing to some landowners who preferred a green lawn over water conservation.

The ban decision will be made by the middle of next month. Dam levels are hovering at just over 34 per cent, having dropped to two-thirds of last year's levels.

Dr Jacobs said spring rainfall had not been as high as expected and the stream flow remained at its lowest level since 1913.
Read article

Native logging end to take decades

The Forest Industries Association says it will take decades to end native forest logging in Tasmania.

The timber industry and environmentalists have signed a deal designed to end Tasmania's decades-old forest wars.

The document commits to halt the logging of high conservation value forests within months.

Terry Edwards from the Forest Industries Association says it will be a big shake-up for the industry.

"It's one that we have approached very cautiously, but we are very optimistic about the future," he said.

The agreement also pledges to eventually end all native forest logging.

Mr Edwards says it will be a difficult, time-consuming process which could take up to 30 years.
Read article

Forest deal in detailTHE Tasmanian Forests Statement of Principles agreement in detail.

Give a damn about the Swan?

The Swan River Trust is now telling swimmers not to enter the water after heavy rain because of sudden flushed roadside and drain pollution...
Read article

Generations of Western Australians have fond memories of swimming, crabbing, boating and generally enjoying the Swan River, however with the river now in serious environmental decline, many of these activities risk being consigned to the history books.

The Swan River Trust recently reported that the amount of nutrient pollution entering the river at present is still roughly double the maximum levels that can be tolerated if the river health is to be restored. This means we have to reduce fertiliser pollution entering the river by at least 50%.

Unfortunately the Minister for the Environment has not implemented the Fertiliser Action Plan, instead choosing to rely on continued voluntary approaches by the fertiliser industry and regulations for domestic garden fertilisers which have a relatively lower contribution to the problem.

In addition, the Minister recently announced further funding to pump more oxygen into the dying river to counteract the polluting impact of all the fertiliser pollution. This is nothing more than an expensive band-aid which in effect is a subsidy for the fertiliser industry to keep making polluting products.
Read article

Residents halt tree cull

THE removal of three oak trees in Caversham has been suspended after residents put pressure on the Department of Planning.

Bullsbrook resident Len Hammersley noticed contractors preparing to cut down one of the 9m trees in Guildford Meadows.

Then he sprang into action to put a stop to it.

“I was there when they cut it down from about 8am until 2.30pm,” he said.

“I got onto everyone I knew to spread the word and put a stop to it.”

Mr Hammersley recognised the trees, that had a canopy span of about 30m, were not native to Australia but believed they should still remain standing.

“They are a lot like a lot of other trees that we wouldn’t want to see cut down,” he said. “They are a magnificent specimen.”

He said he would continue to stand up for the trees that were saved.
Read article

Design competition "The Hand's Thought"

Bosch have sponsored a product design competition called "The Hand's Thought", which seeks to explore how the hand is the perfect tool for giving actual existence and shape to the mind’s thought.

The designs must increase the value and potential of the use of the hand, in a framework consistent with contemporary technological development and the proper use of material and energy resources and the use of the designed products.

Entry is open to any design discipline however
- entrants must be students under 30 years
- the design must be original and unpublished
- in a framework that complies with contemporary technology development
- use appropriate material and energy resources in production and use of the design

Entry closes in late November.

More information here and here

Energy Efficiency Talk tonight 6pm

Hi Wilma,
my name is John Knox and I'm on the ride of my life!
I am deeply concerned about Climate Change and its potential impacts. I went back to school in 2008 to study Renewable Energy for which I received an award. Currently I am on extended leave from the Alternative Technology Association and I have presented several talks on Energy Efficiency on their behalf. I have now got “on my bike” to travel around Australia to present talks to communities on Energy Efficiency.
I will be doing a talk tonight 20th October 6pm, at Central TAFE East Perth Campus, 140 Royal St, East Perth, Lecture theatre (B202) first floor and I would appreciate it if you could distribute this to your members with a view to helping them reduce their energy use (and save them money).
If you want further information, please see my website or you can contact me direct on 0450 364 508

John Knox
Follow me on Facebook
Twitter: @ridethetalk
Be audacious, get active and in the words of Dr Seuss:
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not." from The Lorax
"If a thing is humanly possible, consider it to be within your reach!" - Marcus Aurelias
The greenest watt ever produced is the one you never use.

19 Oct 2010

The 100 Greenest Companies in America

When Jeff Swartz, CEO of Timberland, was buying computers for his footwear-and-apparel company a few years ago, he had questions for a salesman from Dell. “I told him that part of how we decide is based on environmental stewardship,” recalls Swartz. “The salesman said, ‘Our founder is very serious about running our business that way. I’ll ask him to call you.’?” Right, thought Swartz. Michael Dell is going to call me.

But that’s exactly what happened. Dell called Swartz and explained his theories of environmentalism and frugality: that minimizing waste is good for the bottom line. “I was impressed,” Swartz says. So much so that Timberland gave its business to Dell.

It’s an example of the kind of commitment that helped Dell earn the No. 1 spot in NEWSWEEK’s 2010 Green Rankings. Dell got high marks for its strong environmental policies, including free recycling of products worldwide and a ban on the export of e-waste to developing countries. But while feel-good policies may win the trust of potential customers, offering more efficient products closes the sale. And Dell has figured out how to do both, designing desktops and laptops that consume 25 percent less energy than systems produced in 2008. Dell figures these efforts, along with others, have saved its customers more than $5 billion in energy costs over the past few years.
Read article
And that's why I write the posts for this blog on a Dell computer! Last year I bought a new big screen monitor which is better for CAD and of course this is a Dell too, it automatically lowers the intensity of the light when you need it less bright and it came in an ingenious packed cardboard box without all the plastic rubble.

The problem with phthalates

Imagine a child sitting in his classroom, gazing through the window at the rain. He picks up his pencil and chews distractedly on the eraser at its top. Chemicals, classed in Europe as "toxic to reproduction," dissolve in his saliva and enter his body.

.It's a scenario that may not be unusual. A report published last week by a consortium of 140 environment groups shows that potentially risky chemicals are present in dozens of everyday plastic items for sale by European retailers -- from shoes to erasers, from pencil cases to sex toys.

The study focused on a group of chemicals known as phthalates, six of which have been virtually banned in toys in the European Union since 1999 over fears they can damage the sexual development of children. But as the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) found in its study, phthalates are present in items routinely used by children and on sale in big supermarkets such as Carrefour and Tesco.
Read article

On-spot fines for breaking watering ban

Households caught flouting sprinkler bans will be fined $100 on the spot as the Water Corporation steps up its efforts to protect Perth's fragile drinking supplies this spring and summer.

As the State Government-owned utility revealed it had virtually stopped using Perth's dams amid fears they could plunge to record lows, corporation water efficiency manager Ben Jarvis said yesterday marked the first day immediate fines would be issued to people who watered their lawns on non-rostered days.

Water Minister Graham Jacobs last month cut sprinkler rosters for scheme water users from two days a week to one day during spring, citing Perth's second-driest winter on record.
Read article

18 Oct 2010

Dead animals pile up on Indian Ocean Drive

WA'S new Indian Ocean Drive - which runs through a national park and two nature reserves - has become a highway of hell for hundreds of native animals.

Conservationists are calling for the 110km/h speed limit to be reduced after dozens of brush-tailed wallabies, grey kangaroos, echidnas and reptiles have been mowed down.

Unlike other parts of the state, no tunnels have been built under the road to provide critter-friendly crossings.
Read article

Clearing killing Perth's bushland animals

6812ha of bushland cleared 2001 - 2009.
Few of the 33 native Perth mammals inhabit the metro area

ENTIRE populations of native plants and animals will be pushed to extinction if Perth land clearing continues at the present rate, experts warn.

A new Government-funded study by the Perth Biodiversity Project found that more than 6800ha of vegetation was cleared between 2001 and 2009 in the metropolitan region - the equivalent of almost 1 1/2 football fields every day for the past eight years.

The yet-to-be-released study found that, on average, more than 851ha of bushland was bulldozed each year.

WWF-Australia is calling on the Government to limit urban sprawl into bushland and encourage more sustainable urban design.
Read article

15 Oct 2010


Click on picture to enlarge

Blog action day: WATER

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

The average person in the USA uses 465 liters of water per day, the average person in Britain uses 155 liters. Find out how much you use.

What am I doing to save water?- I have a water saving shower head and shower less than two minutes.
- I catch the cold water in the shower in a bucket as it takes a while before it's warm. This water goes to water the plants in the garden.
- I catch all the water in the kitchen sink when I was my hands or rinse a cup or the vegetables. This water goes to the plants in the garden.
- The dish washer is fully loaded when we turn it on.
- The washing machine is fully loaded when we turn it on.
- The reticulation is only set on the plants who need the water once a week, not on the lawn. We have quite a big garden.
- I water my vegetables by hand in the early morning or in the evening.
- In winter I am catching rain water in a row of buckets as we don't have a water tank yet.
- I use the dunny outside and only flush when necessary with the water saving button.
- The garden has a lot of trees for shadow and has plenty of natives which don't require that much water.
- I take my own metal water bottle everywhere and fill it up with tap water to drink. You can add lemons and mint for better taste. Or use a water filter.

What do you do to save water?

100 Water drops...

Few Australians are aware of the fate of water when it hits our landscape. On average, of every 100 drops of rain that fall:

► Thirty drops are absorbed and transpired by vegetation and crops.

► Six drops are added to groundwater.

► Twelve drops enter our creeks and rivers (of which two are lost and four flow to the sea).

► Two drops enter our dams and storages, of which:

► 1.6 drops grow our food.

► One-third of a drop is used by industry.

► One-tenth of a drop is used in our homes, parks, ovals and for other uses.

► A massive 50 drops out of the 100 wastefully evaporate.
Read more

Water is the key to sustainability

WE must look to recycling and best farming practice to secure our future.

FRESH water and its effect on sustainable food production will be a key determinant of future social wellbeing, globally and nationally.

But the water available to grow the world's food could shrink because of the decline in groundwater resources, burgeoning demand from cities and the effect of climate change on food producing regions.

It is in this context of an agriculturally water-scarce world that Australia has to seriously rethink its approach. The condition of the Murray-Darling basin and other key water resources, as well as the effect of the 10-year drought on much of southern Australia, has accentuated our own vulnerability.
Read article

Enviro-nappies pooh-pooh opposition

Australian company EcoQuest Ltd has responded to the growing number of parents searching for eco-friendly options by launching a range of biodegradable nappies.

Australian landfill is clogged up each year with enough disposable nappies to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground three times over.

These nappies, which use oil-based film for the waterproof layers, can take more than 100 years to decompose.

Advertisement: Story continues below EcoQuest has spent the past three years developing its Little Takas nappies, which are 90 per cent biodegradable, as they use polylactic acids derived from renewable sources such as corn starch.
Read article
They always show you happy babies in a diaper, but the reality is that those babies dirty an average of about five to six diapers a day for the first three years of their life!

14 Oct 2010

Green Furniture Award 2011

The registration date for the Green Furniture Award is postponed to the 25th of October so there is still time to register.

Green Furniture Award is a furniture design competition to encourage the production of furniture with Outstanding Sustainable Design.

Outstanding Sustainable Design incorporates aspects such as the choice and sourcing of material, production methods, efficient use of materials and ways of disassembling and recycling.
Outstanding Sustainable Design also meaning a piece of furniture to keep and treasure – with a story to tell, that ages in a nice way, that can last beyond current trends and have the potential of becoming a classic.
The Green Furniture Award consists of the following prizes:
1) A first prize of 50 000 SEK (approx. 5000 Euro) + prototype costs
The contribution winning the first Prize will be exhibited at the Stockholm Furniture Fair
2) A second prize of 30 000 SEK (approx. 3000 Euro)
3) A third prize of 20 000 SEK (approx. 2000 Euro)
2009 and 2010 two additional Honourable Mentions were also awarded.
More info on the website

Brown makes a stand against proposed 'biggest gas plant on the planet'

THE campaign against a $30 billion gas project on the Kimberley coast in the far north of Western Australia went up a significant notch yesterday when Senator Bob Brown ''planted his feet on the ground'' of James Price Point and vowed to fight the huge development.

Asked if the new-found political heft of the conservation movement, courtesy of propping up Julia Gillard's minority Labor government, was sufficient to have the project blocked, the Greens leader replied: ''I wouldn't be here if I thought this was a fait accompli.

'My starting position is that this area - James Price Point and the Kimberley - is an international wonderland; globally, a big natural and indigenous heritage area.'

Advertisement: Story continues below Visiting the iconic, raw-beef red escarpment 60 kilometres north of Broome at the invitation of dissident traditional landowners, Senator Brown said: 'The agenda is money and the question is this - will anywhere be out of bounds, or is all of Australia to be a quarry?'
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Insecticide 'should have been banned years ago'

An independent fish expert has criticised the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for taking so long to ban the toxic chemical endosulfan.

The authority has cancelled the registration of the insecticide after new information suggested that it was likely to lead to environmental damage.

The insecticide's residue has been detected right throughout the environment, including in the blood of polar bears.

Environmentalists argue the insecticide has already been deregistered in more than 60 countries and they accuse the regulator of moving now only to save Australia the embarrassment of being one of the last countries in the world to shut down use of the chemical.
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My cousin, Anthony van Boxtel, 45 years old living in Canada was a pilot in such a spraying plane. He died last year of acute leukemia... He didn't want to take over his fathers farm as this job paid far more with less hard work... it did...
Locust plague pesticide 'risky to humans'Chemicals used to combat a looming locust plague across four states could be dangerous to humans and better management of pesticides is needed, environmental groups say.

But farmers say these chemicals are absolutely necessary to control the worst locust swarms seen since the 1970s.