29 Apr 2011

All's swell for new-wave energy

THE Eureka moment for Perth inventor Sean Moore, 41, came when his Protean wave energy device achieved its sixth degree of freedom.

The discovery gave Mr Moore's low-cost buoy system the greatest efficiency possible to generate electricity from harnessing the perpetual motion of the sea.

Unlike other wave power technologies that generate electricity from only one or two degrees of movement out of a possible six -- heave, surge, sway, yaw, pitch and roll -- Mr Moore's Protean device captures the lot.

Protean energy is planning to raise $7.5 million through a public share issue to commercialise the technology.
Read article

27 Apr 2011

Companies, environmental groups campaign against illegal logging

BIG corporations and environment groups have formed an unlikely alliance in an attempt to make Australia crack down on illegally logged timber.

Companies like Ikea, Bunnings and Fantastic Furniture, along with Greenpeace, WWF and others, released a common platform today, setting out the plan.

They've given the federal government 11 points on imposing laws to achieve a globally sustainable forestry.

There is currently no law banning the importation of illegally logged timber or the products made from them.

But the government has introduced such legislation to parliament.

Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed the government's early efforts but believes more needs to be done to ensure the $14 billion trade is snuffed out.
Read article

Will sustainability become mainstream in Western Australia?

Western Australia has recently joined a global network that promotes sustainability through education.

Creating a WA-based Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) was the brainchild of Winthrop Professor and Dean of Sciences at UWA Tony O'Donnell.

"It's not about being green. I think we have to get away from that whole idea that this is for people who want an alternative lifestyle, I think we all have to learn to live sustainably," he said.

"I don't want to give up my car - I enjoy the lifestyle that I have, but I'm willing to make an effort and I think many, many people are willing to make an effort to do what they can to extend those resources, recycle, use them in a different way.
Read article

20 Apr 2011

Free Earth Carers Course

Want to learn practical ways to manage your household waste? Come along to the Western Metropolitan Regional Council’s (WMRC) free Earth Carers Course. The course will unravel the mystery of recycling, provide tips on reducing waste, simple living and green cleaning, include a tour of a local landfill and let you get your hands dirty composting and worm farming at a community garden. If you have already done a course and enjoyed it, please pass this onto a friend.

The next Earth Carers Course commences Tuesday 17 May 2011 at 7pm-9pm. The course includes five sessions over three weeks (Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings) at interesting western suburbs community locations.

Reservations are now open, download a registration form here.

More about Earth Carers here

Billion dollar battle

A $34 billion gas project in Western Australia is in peril after a bitter rearguard action has been mounted on the east coast and now the investment investors are getting nervous.

Questions about spraying weeds in the absence of a Risk Assessment‏

Environmental Health Managers,
Parks and Gardens Managers,
Mayors, Councillors and Chief Executive Officers,

Dear all,

The attached document contains 8 questions in regard to the use of pesticide(herbicides).

In response to criticism of my letter in the Western Suburbs Weekly in which I raised concerns about the spraying of herbicides in and around Lake Claremont, I'd like to make the following points:

Although tree planting programmes are a great idea, I have been openly critical for a long time about our street tree replacement policies and our state and national weed strategies that have led to the removal, poisoning and ring -barking of many thousands of trees on public land.

The chemical weeding methodology has been of concern to many people, this also over many years. There is strong resistance, however, from our environment and health managers, to stopping this source of environmental pollution and toxicity to public health. Councils such as Nedlands and Fremantle have made some very good changes to their practices and they are now using mainly steam for the treatment of weeds but progress is very slow on a state-wide basis.

I have been trying to stop tree removal since the mid 1990s when several trees in our street disappeared, and I first complained about pesticides in the mid 80s when our passion fruit vines and backyard grass died as a result of council authorized spraying along the back lane. This occurred when our children were little and were often playing in the backyard. For many years after the spraying incident our back fence had the words "NO SPRAY" painted in bright red paint that could clearly be seen by the spraying contractors.

I will continue to publicly oppose this senseless and harmful practice because of the risks to the environment, residents and the general public, and I know that there is a large network of people who share these concerns.

Many of the pesticides can cause chronic and acute adverse health effects.
The Material Safety Data Sheet for one of the products that Subiaco Council intends to use around Lake Jualbup,as reported in the Post Newspaper, page 21, states :

".. a high potential to bioaccumulate in aquatic species.." and
" ..animal tests indicated that repeated and prolonged exposure produced liver and kidney disorders and embryo/foetotoxic effects"

Furthermore, this herbicide that is commonly used in or near our bushland and lakes is a schedule 6 Poison.

The other common herbicide used like lollywater globally, in our lakes and in our bushland, was linked in 1999 by two Swedish oncologists to Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It also has adverse effects on the environment, including links to die-back.

In view of the many young people and pregnant mothers with toddlers who often use these recreational areas, why are we continuing to put at risk public health?

Many health problems have occurred over the years and many have been recorded. More recently I have been told that at least 11 residents have been affected, 4 children severely affected and 2 people hospitalized, due to the spraying of bushland in Bassendean. It is simply disgraceful that residents have to suffer ill health due to local or state government spraying practices and that the best that some authorities can do is to provide 300-500 metre exclusion zones around individual homes. Furthermore, who is speaking on behalf of any wildlife that may also be adversely affected? I can't imagine any frog, bird or insect that would be pleased to have its habitat sprayed with chemicals.

Please refer to the website and read the many complaints from residents about the pesticides that are being used on public land by our authorities.

Please also research the health and environmental effects of the many common pesticides. Also feel free to contact Jane Bremmer at the Alliance for a Clean Environment and the National Toxics Network. Jennifer Catalano and her group at Midland Frogs have been slowly and carefully weeding Blackadder Creek without any chemicals for over 10 years.

Industry best practice tells us that a Risk Assessment should be undertaken if our authorities wish to convince the public that the risks posed by the weeds are greater than the risks posed by the herbicides that are used to kill the weeds. I am not aware that any such Risk Assessment has ever been undertaken by any level of government. To continue such practices in the absence of a Risk Assessment, in my opinion, is reckless.


Alex Jones
PO Box 474 Nedlands,WA 6009

18 Apr 2011

V-Day 2011

What is V-Day? from V-Day Until the Violence Stops on Vimeo.

The Vagina Monologues
The award-winning play is based on V-Day Founder/playwright Eve Ensler's interviews with more than 200 women. With humor and grace the piece celebrates women's sexuality and strength. Through this play and the liberation of this one word, countless women throughout the world have taken control of their bodies and their lives. For more than twelve years, The Vagina Monologues has given voice to experiences and feelings not previously exposed in public.

20 and 21 April 7:30 PM
at the Subiaco Art Centre in Subiaco

29 and 30 April 7:30 PM
at the Prendiville Performing Arts Centre in Joondalup
More info here

A friend of mine, Sybille Lawrenz, has a role in the Joondalup one so please come along and at the same time give to a good cause. Tickets are $ 25.00 each.

15 Apr 2011

Perth tops nation for water use

Perth residents' water consumption is the highest in the nation - despite record dry conditions - prompting calls for tougher measures and more use of recycled water.

Figures released yesterday by the National Water Commission show Perth residents used on average 276 kilolitres a household last financial year, about twice that of Brisbane and Melbourne.

The commission found Perth householders cut water use by only 1000 litres in each home - about the amount used in eight loads of washing - by June 2010.

While Perth's water consumption was the highest in the country, WA uses the least recycled water of any State.

Water Minister Bill Marmion said there were significant opportunities for improvement.
Read article

I'll checked our water consumption in the past year and was happy to see it is way below the average with 158 kilolitres, 43% less, but still way too much. I've never checked the yearly use before so now I aim for a minimum of 10% less this year.

14 Apr 2011

This Won't Be A Waste Of Your Time!

You probably did not realise this, but WA has the lowest recycling rate in Australia.

It’s shocking to consider that only around 20% of our cans and bottles actually end up recycled - and they are the easy things! Far too much of our waste is ending up in landfill where it produces unnecessary greenhouse emissions, contaminates the environment and is just a waste of our precious resources.

Tell them what you think about waste and recycling in WA and you could win free tickets to Perth Zoo!

For too long, governments and industry have been wasting time while very little gets done to tackle our growing waste problem in WA. But in a democracy like ours, what people think counts – especially if we can communicate it clearly to politicians and decision makers.

This short survey won’t be a waste of your time. The CCWA will use your feedback to prioritise their work on waste and recycling, and what policies and programs to push for in WA.

The Power of Words

The Story of a Sign

Morgan Freeman: The Power of Words

The Sunscreen Song - 10 Year Tribute


13 Apr 2011

From Fremantle to Mumbay

British ocean rower Roz Savage sets off from Perth, Western Australia on 13-4-2011 for her solo row across the Indian Ocean.

To follow her journey check her blog

8 Apr 2011

More than 2.3 million litres of water lost in Lesmurdie

ALMOST enough drinking water to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool was left to pour out of a Lesmurdie drain by the Water Corporation for eight days because the authority did not have a required part in stock.

The water came from a leak in an inlet pipe to the Canning Road summit tank in Lesmurdie.

According to Water Corporation senior media co-ordinator Phil Kneebone, the authority was aware of the problem on March 29.

Mr Kneebone said an estimated 290 kilolitres of water leaked each day, more than 2.3 million litres in total.

“The leak was detected last week but we have had to fabricate special fittings to facilitate the repairs.”

He said the fittings were expected to have been available by Thursday, April 7 so the Water Corporation could “move into the final stage of repair”.

State Opposition water spokesman Fran Logan said such situations were too frequent and questioned why the Water Corporation did not carry needed parts.

“You keep those things in stock – at least two or three of them – because I’m sure in the whole integrated water system, it’s not a unique part,” Mr Logan said.
Read article

What about rapid prototyping???

7 Apr 2011

Interesting new product: Robotic Trousers To Help Paraplegics

A remarkable invention that promises to change the lives of many who are disabled. Robotic trousers allow paraplegics to get about without using a wheel chair.

6 Apr 2011

Reuse Your Television competition: ReNew Magazine

As the humble old idiot box is replaced by the flatscreen and Australia prepares to switch to digital, televisions are popping up on nature strips across the country, ready for someone to take them away. Sadly, a lot of these boxes end up in landfill, leaching polluting metals and toxins. Send ReNew magazine your ideas, realistic or completely mad, for reusing old television sets.

Describe in 100 words or less what an old TV can be recycled into for the good of the planet: the main aims are to keep it out of landfill and to be something fun, useful or completely ridiculous. Ideas for what to do with particular parts are welcome too.

Entries close May 1, 2011. Email entries to renew@ata.org.au

Diagrams or photos at high resolution 250 dpi are welcome. Winning entry receives a $200 gift voucher from Enviroshop.

ReNew is published by the Alternative Technology Association, a not-for-profit consumer-based organisation that advocates for renewable energy, sustainable building and water conservation.
Read it here

Tough water restrictions may be needed

The CSIRO says Western Australia has been far more pro-active than the rest of the country in finding new sources of water in the drying climate.

The Water Corporation has warned water supplies are running low and Perth needs 76 billion litres of water this year to meet demand.

It has also warned that tough restrictions may be needed.

The CSIRO's Don McFarlane has told the ABC the Water Corporation recognised WA's drying climate more than a decade ago and moved to find alternative sources.

"WA responded by putting in lots of extra water sources when everybody else was building nothing, so we would have been in a much worse situation if we'd done very little, like a lot of the other states had done," he said.
Read article

No ADDED hormones in beef?

Did you see the Coles commercial on no added hormones to beef?

Since when do they add hormones to the beef? It's the hormones given to the cattle during their farming life which makes the beef containing hormones as far as I know!

I think it's a big scam in where a bunch of marketing people came up with a smart turn on the reality to make ignorant consumers believe they buy hormone free meat!

From now on, all the fresh beef you find in our meat departments, in any Coles, anywhere in Australia, will be nothing but 100% Australian beef, with no added hormones. So all that great Aussie beef you love to feed your family will now be even more tender than ever. And whilst this announcement has been years in the planning and cost Coles tens of millions of dollars, we’ve saved the best for last. No added hormones. And no added cost to you.

If they would advertise with hormone free beef I would believe them, this is just a big SCAM!!!

More info here and here)