30 Nov 2010

Captain Cleanup

I met Captain Cleanup Saturday morning while doing volunteer work for the Earth Carers at the Hullabaloo festival in Cottesloe.

Captain Cleanup visits over 100 schools & 20,000 kids each year showing how we all can make a difference to the environment... and of course always looking for new eco ranger recruits to enlist in the fight to save our planet.
More info here

Soy based adhesivs for furniture

Click on picture to enlarge

I found this article in the magazine Furnishing International, a trade magazine.

29 Nov 2010

Why we must hang greenwashing out to dry for good

Traditionally, ''greenwashing'' has seen companies posing as environmentally friendly before some incident raised hard questions about the sincerity of their efforts.

This time it was in finance, in this case ANZ, which promotes itself as a ''new age'' bank. ANZ is the world's highest-ranking bank in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, but is not clean when it comes to coal. The bank continues lending money to coal operations, which are non grata in many quarters.

The outstanding example is the Body Shop. The retailer of ethical cosmetics sold out to L'Oreal, a notorious name in ethical investing that stood for everything the Body Shop was supposed to be against. L'Oreal is a company ethical investors regularly rallied against. It has a record on animal testing in cosmetics - not to mention a history of taking over Holocaust-era assets. The deal was sealed in 2006 but most shoppers don't know the Body Shop is owned by L'Oreal.
Read article with more examples like Boost and Green and Black chocolate.

Protest rally in Perth against gas hub

A way must be found for West Australian Premier Colin Barnett to back down gracefully and abandon plans for a gas hub in the Kimberley, a protest rally in Perth has been told.

At a rally on Sunday in Mr Barnett's electorate of Cottesloe, about 1000 people were urged to fight the proposed $30 billion gas precinct at James Price Point, about 60 kilometres north of Broome.

Mr Barnett has come under fire for moving to compulsorily acquire land for the Woodside Petroleum-led project after negotiations with traditional land claimants stalled.

Wilderness Society WA co-ordinator Peter Robertson told the rally that Woodside's joint-venture partners - BP, Shell, Chevron and BHP Billiton - were not so sure about the project.

"Certainly BHP, Shell and Chevron have repeatedly expressed their reluctance about being forced by the premier to go to James Price Point," Mr Robertson said.

"The problem is, of course, we have a premier who's absolutely determined to impose this project on the coast of the Kimberley, no matter what.
Read article
More here and here

New bike helmets soon mandatory

NEW bicycle helmet standards to come into effect on December 12 will make it illegal for retailers to sell hundreds of in-stock helmets before Christmas.

Public Transport Authority cycling integration manager Jim Krynen said the new helmet standard allowed for a varying density polystyrene shell.

“It provides more cushioning for the brain and straps that will stretch sufficiently in an accident to allow the helmet to come off a rider’s head after absorbing the initial impact,” he said.

“Also a redesigned visor prevents a cyclist’s head being twisted excessively when hitting the road.

“It’s critically important to wear a helmet correctly.

“Unfortunately 75 per cent of cyclists don’t.”

- Older helmets will still be legal to use if in good condition.
Read article
More info here and here

24 Nov 2010

Junk mail

With only 20 per cent of the eight billion catalogues delivered each year ever read, Tim Langdon from Eco Voice says junk mail creates a lot of unnecessary waste.

"When you consider the amount of trees used to produce the paper and the water used, the fuel and energy required for the production and distribution, the chemicals that are used in the printing process, the CO2 that's released into the atmosphere and the amount of paper rubbish that ends up in landfill, it's an incredible waste if those catalogues aren't being read," he said.

Junk mail makes up an astonishing six per cent of Australia's total paper usage, amounting to 240,000 tonnes of paper annually. The water needed to produce a year's worth of catalogues could fill 8,640 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Read article

I got a bit annoyed the last couple of weeks when the community paper (Western Suburbs Weekly) is filled with junkmail when it ends up in my mail box while I have a NO Junk Mail sticker. Hope they stop doing this, as I am not asking for all that extra paper, I am only interested in the paper, if people want to advertise please do it in the paper instead.

Fujitsu unveils new data centre in Perth

FUJITSU will today officially open its multi-million dollar data centre in Perth, signing up Bankwest as its first corporate customer.

"It will also enable us to reduce our carbon footprint."

Fujitsu said the 8000 square meter complex provides more than 3000sq m of highly secure (tier 3) raised floor space, including private data suites.

The Japanese IT giant claims the Perth centre will consume 30 per cent less energy than standard facilities and boasts of a cooling system that can save up to 80 per cent in water use.
Read article

Asphalt roads some like it hot

Anyone who's ever tried to walk - or, rather, run - barefoot across a road in the summer knows how hot asphalt can become. Now, researchers are trying to figure out a way to harvest some of that energy.

Engineers from the University of Rhode Island are trying to figure out how to use it to power streetlights, illuminate signs, heat buildings and melt ice on bridges.

K Wayne Lee, URI professor of civil and environmental engineering and the leader of the joint project, said that the temperature of many roads rises to 60 degrees C or more.

'If we can harvest that heat, we can use it for our daily use, save on fossil fuels and reduce global warming,' he said in a press release.

One idea is to run water pipes under roads to carry heat, or to embed thermo-electric materials that would create a current.

Another idea - although not directly related to heat - is to wrap photovoltaic cells around highway barriers.

Ultimately, the URI team thinks it would be possible to replace asphalt with roads made of large, durable electronic blocks that contain photovoltaic cells, LED lights and sensors. The electricity the blocks generate could be used to illuminate the lanes.
Read article

Televisions become a load of old rubbish

FEWER than 1 per cent of old television sets are being recycled and about 7 million of them will end up in landfill over the next five years as Australia switches to digital TV, a new report has found.

The government's ''digital tracker'' reports show a recycling rate of 73 per cent for old TVs, but most of that figure actually refers to television sets that are stored, sold and donated, rather than recycled.

The national television recycling scheme is not expected to be operational for another three years, even though many areas will lose their analogue broadcast signals before then, research by the Total Environment Centre shows.
Read article

Australia's New Sustainable Seafood Guide launched

AMCS is excited to unveil the new edition of Australia's Sustainable Seafood Guide. This compact, user-friendly, consumer guide has been developed in response to public concerns about overfishing and its impact on our oceans and their wildlife. It is designed to help you make informed seafood choices and play a part in swelling the tide for healthy oceans.

Updated with the latest research, the new Guide is super sized now covering over 100 species of seafood most commonly found in our supermarkets, restaurants and fishmongers.
More info here and here

Hong Kong: World's most wasteful city

Hong Kong is officially the world's most wasteful city, generating at least 6.5 million tonnes of rubbish last year. Where to dispose of all the trash in such a crowded city is proving to be a growing problem.

22 Nov 2010


In 2008 Josh Fox received an offer from a gas company, which wanted to lease his family’s land in Milanville, Pennsylvania. Following his nose, he took off an investigative road trip across America, which took him deep into the dark heart of America’s fossil industry – an industry he says is behaving “like a desperate crack addict.”

Gasland reveals some very ugly facts about what is called “gas fracking”, and the almost entirely unregulated business of natural gas extraction in America. It’s an industry described in the film as “messy as a teenager’s bedroom.” But Gasland is also an entertaining and very personal odyssey of discovery, which hinges on Fox’s childhood in an idyllic forest.

This is a must see movie – check out the trailer – in selected metropolitan cinema’s around Australia from 18 November 2010 – see Gasland: Gassing the Frack Out of Us for more details and cinema locations.

21 Nov 2010

ABC coverage of “World according to Monsanto” debate

The ABC has given the GM debate fantastic coverage with the following interviews. What excellent work by Rural Telegraph.

Listen here to author Marie-Monique Robin, and Monsanto’s response.

Book claims Monsanto's monopoly on GM seed threatens food security
By Greg Muller, Friday, 19/11/2010

Any discussion of genetically modified food usually involves references to the multinational company Monsanto. This is because Monsanto owns the vast majority of the world's GM seeds. According to documentary maker Marie-Monique Robin, the company owns 90 per cent of them.

Proponents insist that GM crops lead to higher yields and therefore greater food security, but the question remains - if one company owns most of the seed, how secure is the food?

Marie-Monique Robin is a French investigative journalist who has written The World According to Monsanto, published in Australia by Spinifex Press. See the documentary here

GM food could soon be clearly labelled

Food containing genetically modified (GM) material may soon have to be clearly labelled.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon and Australian Greens senator Rachel Siewert introduced a bill to the upper house on Tuesday calling for an overhaul of food labelling standards.

Senator Xenophon said Australians were living with one of the weakest food labelling regimes in the world.

Advertisement: Story continues below "Not enough Australians seem to realise the implications that the rapid introduction of genetically modified materials may have on our health and potentially on our ability to produce safe foods and foods free from GM contamination," he said.

Under Senator Xenophon and Senator Siewert's bill, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) would have to introduce a standard for the labelling of genetically modified material, irrespective of the amount or how it came to be present.
Read article

Hope they are doing better labelling than before...
Big fat lie: food labels hiding truth

20 Nov 2010


Parody with Purpose

16 Nov 2010

Because there is too much traffic...

Every day, Perth drivers make about 250.000 car trips taht are less than one kilometre and each trip is equivalent to a ten to fifteen minute walk.

Why did the amount of school kids driven to schoool increase with 30%???? This sounds insane, the same people blaming the amount of traffic are causing it...
Let your kids walk to school please!

What value on a tree?

Click here to watch this documentary.

Cottesloe Council
Dear Mayor,Councillors and staff,

Please see the attached photos of the two mature trees ( a pine and a gum) that will soon be destroyed if you do not take urgent action.

The third photo of the Moreton Bay Fig tree is to remind Council of the senseless destruction that took place in Curtin Avenue some months ago after I was issued with a "move on " notice and prevented from protecting the tree. How many more of our iconic trees will be destroyed in our "leafy" suburbs?

In a letter of response to me regarding the removal of the mature trees for its transmisson line works, Western Power advised that:

"As mentioned in The Post article, one of the options Western Power considered involved retaining the two trees. The options were presented to officers from the Town of Cottesloe and it was determined that the preferred option would involve the removal of the trees"

There would appear to be no good reason as to why the line cannot be relocated further to the east and the trees retained. The Tree Benefits provided to the community and wildlife by large trees cannot be replaced.

Your urgent intervention is required to preserve these trees.


Alex, and all of us who care for trees!


12 Nov 2010

Vego Wannebes

Click on picture to enlarge

I went to the Vego Wannebes meeting last week and it was great! There were about 20-25 people of different ages, some were vegetarians and some were just interested in eating less meat and share recipes. We all brought a plate to share and before we started eating we told what we cooked and after that started eating, tasting from every plate and most of it was delicious! There was also a demonstration on how to preserve food, more info here.
Unfortunately I can't go to the next meeting but I definitely will go again!
For more info please send an email to eustance @ iinet.net.au

11 Nov 2010

Plan to ease aquifer pressure

ABOUT 165 gigalitres may be taken from Perth’s groundwater for public water supply, after the Department of Water consented to an in-principle agreement with the Water Corporation.

The proposal is for 150.7 giglitres to be taken from the combined Gnangara aquifers and 14.7 gigalitres from the Jandakot aquifers.

The Water Corporation requested the draw after the dams that supply Perth’s scheme water recorded only 11 gigalitres inflow in 2010.

Water Resource Use director Rob Hammond said the extractive pattern was designed to minimise impact of abstraction on key ecological values attached to the Gnangara groundwater system.
Read article

Story of Stuff - Electronics

More info on the website Story of Stuff

9 Nov 2010

Student Design Competition - DESIGN YOUR LIVING SPACE

Design and architecture students have been able to register for the world's largest student design competition since 1 October 2010.

The competition is looking for interior designs as well as furniture concepts and systems that best meet the requirements of the next decade.

Impress us with your creative and future-proof ideas.

What's the latest on International Design Award? Who's on the adjudicating panel?
Subscribe to the Newsletter and stay up to date, check website here

7 Nov 2010

Big Splash — 20 November

What is ‘The Big Splash’?
Quite simply, WA’s largest and most inspiring conversation for sustainability!

Using a dynamic ‘open space forum’, The Big Splash will bring together people from all walks of life for a day to build on our existing efforts, share ideas and inspire further collaborative action towards creating a sustainable future for Western Australia.

Date: Saturday 20th November 2010
Time: 9.30am-4.30pm
Venue: e-Central, 140 Royal St. East Perth
Register: Online at www.sustainablewa.net.au
Cost: $10 (online registration) or $15 (on the day registration)
More info here

6 Nov 2010

Recycling industry heading for change

With the speed of of a melting glacier, Australia's recycling industry is grinding towards its long-promised national scheme for recycling old computers, televisions and mobile phones, as well as bottles and cans.

There were pledges of future legislation and further studies, but few tangible results to report so far, at a meeting of state and federal environment ministers in Sydney yesterday.

The quick action on a national "cash for cans" recycling scheme, flagged by former Environment Minister Peter Garrett as last year's meeting, will have to wait until next year while a review into its impact on industry is completed.

Advertisement: Story continues below Legislation to underpin a scheme for recycling electronic waste will not be in place until July next year. The ongoing delays mean up to 200 million electronic items will now go into landfill over the next seven months instead of being recycled.

A scheme for recycling old tyes will be in place by November next year, while legislation for recycling packaging and limiting plastic bag use is now set down for March 2012.
Read article

Woodland plan to protect vegetation

A 10-year conservation plan to protect 16 million hectares of woodland in WA’s south-east will aim to halt the loss of vegetation in an area heavily sought after by the mining industry.

But in announcing the plan in Kalgoorlie this morning, Environment Minister Donna Faragher has promised it will not impact existing mining tenements and timber harvesting will also continue in the area.

The Great Western Woodland, as it has become known, covers an area three times the size of Tasmania and is the largest temperate woodland remaining on the planet.

Scientists attacked the government earlier this year over what they claimed was the benign neglect of an area containing more than 3000 flowering plant species and a variety of animal species.

Mrs Faragher this morning pledged $3.8m over three years to get the strategy rolling.
Read article

3 Nov 2010

Fresh, the movie - Sat 13 Nov 2010 - 7.30pm

FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.
More info here

When: Sat 13 Nov 2010 - 7.30pm
Where: Lockridge Community Garden, Diana Cres , Lockridge
Cost: $5 Donation for East Timor Permaculture Garden
Running time: 72min
Bring: BYO Dinner, Movie Snack foods, folding chairs, blankets, pillows, repellent

Expert slams WA government’s deal with Monsanto

A report due out in the next two weeks will reveal whether global bioscience company Monsanto was given special treatment by the Western Australian Liberal Government when it acquired shares of InterGrain.

The Labor party is concerned Monsanto may have received special treatment from the Barnett Government and has requested the report, which will reveal shareholding information of Monsanto’s acquisition of shares into InterGrain, which is part owned by the government.

InterGrain is a crop breeding company with wheat and barley breeding programs that target the major cereal growing areas in Australia.
Read article

1 Nov 2010

Fly plague may hit Aust's south-west

The country's south-west could be struck by a fly plague this summer with the insects breeding in huge numbers.

One of Western Australia's most popular tourist attractions, The Pinnacles, has already been hit.

Experts say the flies have swarmed in from the Wheatbelt, which surround Perth's metropolitan area
Watch it here

Perth's air pollution choking our children

Perth's air pollution is affecting children's health, with those aged four and under most at risk of asthma attacks from traffic-related smog, a study reveals.

The University of WA research shows that the likelihood of an asthmatic child under four turning up at a hospital emergency department increased 70 per cent if there had been heavy background air pollution the previous day.

The study, published in the Australian Medical Journal today, analysed the more than 600 instances where children and teenagers showed up at WA hospital emergency departments between 2002 and 2006, comparing the figures against nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide data for the same period.

UWA epidemiologist Gavin Pereira said the results were surprising because people tended to think Perth's air was quite clean.
Read article

Weather conditions dry up water supply

The WA Water Corporation is expected to ask for the maximum allowable draw from Perth's Gnangara mound due to dry conditions across the state.

Beach litter worsens

LITTER on City of Joondalup and Stirling beaches has increased 16 per cent, with the worst cases in the City of Joondalup, according to a survey by three local environmental groups last month.

Beaumaris, Burns Beach, Hillarys and Mullaloo were “the worst” for litter in the annual survey of 100m of nine Marmion Marine Park beaches, run for the past 25 years.

“In the early surveys, the litter was mainly from commercial fishing activities, but now almost all is left by irresponsible beachgoers,” Friends of Marmion Marine Park member and survey convener Don Poynton said.

“It was particularly disturbing to see so much plastic, as thousands of marine mammals and birds die each year after ingesting or becoming entangled in it.”

Dome Café Mullaloo franchisee Arpi Simai said he started daily rubbish collections after several customers complained.

“Ninety per cent of the rubbish was left by teenagers, who disregard hygiene rules and don’t seem to care,” he said.
Read article