31 Aug 2011

How big a backyard would you need to live off the land?

Graphic illustrates how much backyard square footage would be needed to feed a family of 4 a well-rounded diet of meat, dairy, eggs, wheat, fruits and veggies for a year. Not surprisingly, it's a lot, about two acres.
Check out this poster in readable size here.

25 Aug 2011

Ten principles for climate change

Practical rules should underpin a post-Kyoto agreement. THE clock is ticking for the Kyoto Protocol, which ends next year.

The Durban conference should focus less on target numbers and more on what each country will do in terms of policies and initiatives to achieve its targets, binding or voluntary. It should first reach consensus on 10 principles that should underpin countries' policies and actions.

First, the aim should be for the world economy and individual economies to grow, but with low carbon emissions.
Second, countries should adopt a 40 to 50-year time achievable horizon.
Third, every country should work to continually reduce the energy intensity of its economy.
Fourth, all countries, particularly the developed ones, should work to reduce their per capita consumption of energy and actively discourage wasteful consumption.
Fifth, the global post-Kyoto agreement should seek a commitment from all countries, particularly those with high populations, to curtail their growth rates to less than, or equal to, replacement levels.
Sixth, policy initiatives in developed economies such as an emissions trading scheme should have maximum coverage, not just the big businesses.
Seventh, governments in developed countries should provide price signals and incentives to everyone, householders and businesses alike, to continually reduce their carbon footprints.
Eighth, all governments should promote investments in renewable energy and carbon sinks such as forests
Ninth, all governments should agree to develop policies that minimise "carbon leakage" (moving factories countries without an emission fee)
Tenth, each government should combat its emissions growth by undertaking ''local actions'' and not rely heavily on measures such as international carbon trading to financially offset its emissions.
Read article

WA accused of carbon tax scaremongering

Mr Gray says Federal Treasury modelling shows WA will record the country's strongest economic growth under a carbon price.

He says the WA economy is forecast to more than treble in size by 2050.

Mr Gray says the WA government is trying to hide electricity price rises under a carbon price that has not yet come into effect.

"Mr Barnett and Mr Porter have increased the price of electricity without a carbon price and they aren't compensating anyone," he said.
Read article

Gillard leading WA up the carbon path, according to WA Treasury report

Ms Gillard has consistently said that tax cuts and increases in welfare and family benefits would deliver an average compensation of $10.10 a week.

She has made no secret of the fact that the aid, designed to offset a $23 a tonne carbon tax on the nation's 500 biggest polluters is designed to help the nation's low-to-middle income families.

Households with a combined income of more than $120,000 are big losers because they won't qualify for many of the sweeteners, and today's report shows that 242,000 households in WA fall into that category.

Opposition Leader Eric Ripper said yesterday "it was the height of hypocrisy" for Mr Porter to blame Ms Gillard for hikes in utility charges given the WA Liberal-National Government's 57 per cent increases in electricity charges since 2009."Mr Barnett has savagely increased the price of electricity without any compensation for anyone," Mr Ripper said.
Read article

Carbon tax will cost WA families $144

State opposition spokeswoman Michelle Roberts said Mr Porter's comments were nothing but "political scare-mongering."

"It's just speculation about the carbon tax and it's all hypothetical," Ms Roberts said.

“I think people know what's gone on in Western Australia in the last three years - I think they've looked at their gas, water and electricity bills and they know that Colin Barnett does not give a jot about their household charges. This is nothing more than anti-Canberra politicking.”
Read article

23 Aug 2011

Australians have largest homes in the world

CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian discusses data that indicates Australians are constructing the biggest homes in the world.
Aussie homes still the biggest, for now

22 Aug 2011


Visit Quirky but first watch this video to see what it is about:

Quirky Manifesto

21 Aug 2011


Call to take part in a demonstration on 26 October 2011, at 9 am (CET), at the European Patent Office in Munich, Erhardtstr. 27.
Attend public hearings on 26 October and 8 November 2011 at the EPO!
Stop Patents on Broccoli and Tomato!
Stop Patents on Life!

International companies are taking control of basic resources in agriculture and food production. Patents on plants and farm animals granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) enable companies such as Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta Bayer and BASF to claim plants and animals as their exclusive monopolies. It is time make a stand against this abuse of patent law. Come along to the European Patent Office in Munich to stop patents on seeds!

If you can't be there, sign the petition here.
No patents on seeds

19 Aug 2011

Growing green in the city

Urban Orchard
A free sustainability lecture series at the Perth Cultural Centre is inviting city workers to escape the office and enjoy their lunch outdoors.

The Winter Hot Topics lunchtime events is part of EPRA's Growing Green program in the Perth Cultural Centre and will feature industry experts discussing topical issues such as decarbonisation, water management and WA's biodiversity.

Curtin University Professor of Sustainability Peter Newman will present the first lecture Decarbonising the City this Wednesday from 12:30pm. Dr Newman will talk about one of the biggest issues facing the global economy and provide insights into how Perth can reduce its carbon footprint.
Read article
For more information click here and here

pathetic news

Carbon tax protest on a roll

The main organisers of the Perth convoy, Narrogin beef farmers M + J Thompson, said they were delighted by the turnout and the support from those who came to see them off or joined them along the way.

There is literally a hand full of people on the roll...
Understandable, as the 'famous' beef farmers left a long time stink in Narrogin. Originally from the USA, they thougth to become rich in WA by setting up a feedlot. A feedlot is nothing more than a bare place where lots of cows are stored to be fed with food they not normally eat as being grass eaters, hence the interesting stomach system in a cow, to be fattened for a fast exit to the slaughter house.
They are fervent followers of the "Great Global Warming Swindle" and do everything to halt progress on making this world a better place out of revenge because their business suffered from environmental rules.

The question is, who wants to eat beef that is fattened up with grain and GM soy instead of grass anyway?

17 Aug 2011

WA coastal towns among most at risk in the world: Climate Commission

Towns along Western Australia's coastline are among the most susceptible to climate change in the world with the areas of Mandurah, Busselton, Rockingham and Bunbury under particular threat of flooding and coastal erosion, a new Climate Commission report reveals.

The report estimates between 18,700 and 28,900 residential buildings – worth up to $7.7 billion - are at risk of inundation due to rising sea levels.

Sea levels along the WA west coast have been rising about double the global average since 1990, at between 7.1 millimetres and 7.4 millimetres per year, according to the commission.

Fremantle already has seen a 20 centimetre rise in the sea level since the late 1800s, which has caused a three-fold increase in recorded flooding.

"We are more certain of the climate change risks for water resources for south-western WA than any other part of Australia," he said.
Read Article

Free Earth Carers course starts 15 September

The WMRC's next Earth Carers Course commences Thursday 15 September at 7pm. Highlights of the course include a tour of the DiCOM® bioconversion facility, Tamala Park landfill and a materials recycling facility (MRF), visits to the REmida creative reuse centre and Earthwise. Cecilia Jordan from WALGA will explain Household Hazardous Waste. Practical demonstrations include setting up composting systems for residents of St Catherine's College in Nedlands, worm farming and green cleaning.

Click here for the programme with full details of venues, topics and presenters. The course includes five sessions over three weeks (Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings).

The course is aimed at residents, teachers, students, and professionals who are interested in learning practical ways to reduce their carbon footprint by managing waste in their home, workplace and community. Please circulate this invitation to your networks (word of mouth is always best). Unable to do the whole course or keen on doing a refresher? Enrol in one or two sessions of interest.

Download a registration form or contact WMRC Earth Carers Amy or Rebecca on 9384 4003, email earthcarers@wmrc.wa.gov.au or visit the website

10 Aug 2011

Kids and parents clash on climate change

AUSTRALIAN kids are clashing with their parents over the importance of climate change, a survey has found.
The survey, by research groups Bayer and the CSIRO, found one in three families disagree on the importance of climate change with one in five parents saying they didn't believe in climate change.

"It is encouraging to see that children are taking what they've learned in the classroom and using it to educate their parents on how to reduce their carbon footprint," Peta Ashworth, from the CSIRO's Science into Society Group, said today.

he survey, which sought the views of 1000 parents and children aged 10-16, found that kids were helping their parents to reduce their carbon footprint with 46 per cent of parents saying their kids encouraged them to recycle rubbish and 27 per cent saying they were encouraged by their offspring to take shorter showers.
Read article

Brown Dress

This is already an old project from an American choreographer who decided to make a stand against consumerism and wore the same dress every day for a whole year. From 7 July 2005 until 7 July 2006, her birthday. Watch the interview on how she did it:

8 Aug 2011


Toyota is the world's greenest brand, according to a new global survey from the international brand consultancy Interbrand.

The research, called Best Global Green Brands, combines public perception of environmental sustainability with a demonstration of that performance based on publicly available information and data.

Based on data collected from the world's leading markets, the report awards Toyota a top Green Performance Score of 64.19 points, ahead of industrial conglomerate 3M and engineering group Siemens.

"Toyota is a leading example of making the environment a core management priority, while also engaging in a meaningful way with audiences around the world," the report says.
Read article

And as Toyota sponsored the National Tree Day last week, I received a Bunnings gift voucher to give to one of my readers only a few days too late. So I take this chance to get some responses from the public:

For every person on earth we should have at least 6 mature trees. If we continue to cut down native forests the balance will be discturbed. As a solution we must plant more trees globally (and wait until they are full-grown) or we should bring back population growth severely.

Next week Monday I will check the comments so please give some feedback on this statement to win the $50 Bunnings voucher.

7 Aug 2011

An evening with Peter Cundall

Amongst the gardeners of Australia, Peter Cundall has become a household name.

In 1969, he began presenting a studio-based garden advice program for the ABC. This show, after several name and format changes, became one of the longest running, most iconic shows in Australia - Gardening Australia. His departure from Gardening Australia has left a huge void in that TV shows popularity.

Good news! Peter is coming back to WA for two nights only.

"Bloomin Marvellous", an evening with Peter Cundall - Will be a fire side chat with long time friend and colleague John Colwill about his life, gardening trends, sustainable gardening, Q&A’s and much more. Supported by a photo presentation.

Monday 22nd August at Performing Arts Centre Ormsby Terrace, Mandurah
Tuesday 23rd August 2011 at Octagon Theatre- University of WA

Time: 7.30pm-9.30pm

Tickets: $ 25.00
More info here

5 Aug 2011

A trip of a lifetime - move, eat, learn

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage... all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ....into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films.....
Watch all three here

Thomas Thwaites: How I built a toaster -- from scratch

It takes an entire civilization to build a toaster. Designer Thomas Thwaites found out the hard way, by attempting to build one from scratch: mining ore for steel, deriving plastic from oil ... it's frankly amazing he got as far as he got. A parable of our interconnected society, for designers and consumers alike.

4 Aug 2011

Surging China costs turn some U.S. makers homeward

On a recent morning at Master Lock's 90-year-old factory in Milwaukee, a cluster of machinery was whirring, every 2 seconds spitting out one of the combination locks used by American high schoolers as the company readied for the back-to-school rush.

The seven-day-a-week, three-shift-per-day whirlwind of activity marked a change from two years ago, when the machine normally ran for just a few hours a day because the unit of Fortune Brands Inc (FO.N) was ordering more padlocks from suppliers in China instead of making them.

Why move production from the world's low-cost workshop back to a unionized U.S. factory where wages are six times higher than in China? Efficiency: The machine in Milwaukee is about 30 times as fast as the Chinese factories the company had been buying from, more than making up for the difference in wages.

"I can manufacture combination locks in Milwaukee for less of a cost than I can in China," said Bob Rice, a senior vice president at the largest U.S. padlock manufacturer.

Master Lock is not alone. General Electric Co and Boeing Co are also part of the small group of U.S. companies that are boosting production at their U.S. factories.

A variety of factors are driving the shift, including rising wages in parts of Asia, surging fuel prices and the complexity of transporting goods across the Pacific.
Read article

Will be good for the design community as well :)

Chinese chopsticks: Made in USA

It looks like opposite worlds: America providing chopsticks to China. China has a shortage of disposable wooden chopsticks
so an American company started to manufacture and deliver.

China has a severe lack of wood but in the state of Georgia there are plenty of poplars and gum trees and manufacturing the wooden chopsticks is cheap; less then one cent per piece.
The company aims to manufacture 10 million sets a day for export by the end of this year.

3 Aug 2011

Green Campus update

As part of Curtin’s commitment to sustainability, and the development of a greener campus, I am happy to see some recently implemented initiatives to help Curtin reduce its impact on the environment.

New drink container recycling bins have been put in place across campus. And I've already used the new installed drinking fountains. These fountains supply filtered water and more fountains are planned around campus for the coming months.

More information about how Curtin is working to make our campus greener here.

This is a good thing although it has been years ago, at the start of 2008, when I was discussing this topic with several people at Curtin. I couldn't believe it was that difficult to install recycling bins but apparently it was, as it is 3.5 years later now. But I am very happy it's there!

2 Aug 2011

Who Needs a Paper Diploma, When You Got a 3-D Printed Pig Head?

A surreal graduation medal, for students at a famed design school.

The Design Academy in Eindhoven, Netherlands, is one of the best design schools in the world, and each year, for graduation, they don't settle for lame paper diplomas. Instead, they hire an artist to create a graduating trophy. This year, they've outdone themselves with a 3-D printed pig's head by designer Ted Noten and Freedom of Creation.

Yes, a pig's head. Why? Because. (Also, pigs are something of a national mascot for The Netherlands -- the country is reputed to have more pigs than people, and many famous design projects have featured pigs).

But through the magic of 3-D printing, this isn't just a pig's head. Rather, the pig's head is comprised of slices, which then become medallions that the graduates can wear around their necks:

I graduated at The Design Academy in 1988 and got a boring piece of paper stacked away somewhere in a binder...