29 Sep 2011

Wind turbine noise may annoy but causes no serious health problems

New research published in Environmental Research Letters looked into the effect of low frequency noise from wind turbines on people living near wind power projects.

The study found that while some people are indeed annoyed by the sound, and some level of sleep disturbance was found, but it did not find empirical support for claims of more serious health problems.

From the report's conclusion:

LFN from modern wind turbines are audible at typical levels in residential settings, but the levels do not exceed levels from other common noise sources, such as road traffic noise...
It has been found that 10-20% of residents are annoyed, and about 6% are very annoyed by wind turbine noise at levels between 5 and 40 dB...
Except for noise annoyance, no consistent effects on health due to wind turbine noise have been reported. However, a statistically significant association between wind turbine noise and self-reported sleep disturbance was found in two studies.
Read article

27 Sep 2011

Perth Green Drinks 4 October - rsvp now

Catch up with sustainability professionals, students and friends at Perth's Green DrinksMore info on green drinks, a global event, click here.
More info on Carnagie Wave energy here.

25 Sep 2011

E-waste hell

Ever wondered where your old TVs and computers go after you send them off for recycling or to charity?

Dateline’s Giovana Vitola has found a mountain of old electronic equipment dumped in what were once picturesque wetlands in Ghana in West Africa.

Ghana has emerged as the E-Waste capital of the world. Alongside China, Nigeria, India, and Vietnam, Ghana has become one of the preeminent destinations for electronic waste.

“The dirty little secret is that when you take [your electronic waste] to a recycler, instead of throwing it in a trashcan, about 80 percent of that material, very quickly, finds itself on a container ship going to a 'third world country' where very dirty things happen to it.” Says Jim Puckett, the executive director of the Basel Action Network.

Although scavengers can make money selling salvaged pieces from these electronic graveyards, the process of gathering these materials is extremely toxic. “It’s the only part of the world where you’ll go and see thousands of women on any given day that are sitting… basically cooking printed circuit boards,” says Puckett. “As a result, they’re breathing all of the flame retardants and the lead and tin that are being heated up. You smell it in the air. You get headaches as soon as you enter this area.”

The e-waste is poisoning everything around it, including the scavenging children burning the wires to try and get at the valuable metal inside. Meanwhile, acrid smoke drifts across the Agbogbloshie area of the capital Accra, and even the city’s main food market.

Stamped across the equipment, the names of companies and government bodies in countries like Australia, Britain and the United States, with many hard drives still intact and containing potentially confidential information.

Exporting hazardous waste to developing countries is strictly regulated, so how is some of it ending up in Ghana illegally? Do the companies disposing of it even know what’s happening? And what do the Australian authorities plan to do about it?
More info here and here

22 Sep 2011

Environment Grants and Sponsorship Program 2011/12

Environment Grants and Sponsorship Program 2011/12The City of Perth is inviting businesses, community groups, Non-GovernmentOrganisations (NGOs), and other organisations to apply for environmentgrants or sponsorship up to $10,000 as part of the Environment Grants andSponsorship Program.

The 2011/12 focus is on reducing the environmentalfootprint of buildings and businesses in the city.

A briefing session will be held on Tuesday 27 September 2011 at My Placelocated on 70 Pier Street, Perth to assist you with the applicationprocess. Light refreshments will be available from 5:00pm-5:30pm and thebriefing will commence at 5:30-6:30pm.
If you wish to attend this sessionplease RSVP by 5pm Friday, 23 September 2011. The application period will be open until 5pm on 19 October 2011.

TheInformation Kit and Application Form have been attached to this email orare available of the City of Perth website. For further enquiries about the Environment Grants and Sponsorship Program or to RSVP to the Briefing Session please contact the City of PerthSustainable City Development Team on 08 9461 3110 or email jessica.turner@cityofperth.wa.gov.au

Cocky's corner

Please send your letters of support to cockyscorner@gmail.com urging the CEO and the board members to ensure the "Continuance Of Cocky`s Corner and keep the food going to the needy!

Cocky`s Cocky`s Corner collects from local Perth markets and distributes fresh fruit & vegetables 7 days a week, every week, all year round! The fresh food is supplied to various charities, churches, soup kitchens and the needy for free. This benevolent food charity is under threat.

21 Sep 2011

A liter of light

Such a simple and great idea! And it's not only for the slums in Manila but I can use one too in my old garden shed!
More info here

Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta this weekend!

24- 25 SeptemberHulbert Street is just a regular street of about 30 houses off Douro Road in South Fremantle, but each year they open their doors and their hearts so others can see what life is like in “Fremantle’s Most Sustainable Street”.

With two open sustainable homes (The Painted Fish and Ecoburbia), five open gardens and five open art studios, you are sure to leave inspired and full of plans for your place.

This year a special Show and Tell area will allow you to interact with others who are willing to share some aspect of their sustainable journey – from keeping bees, to making soap, preserving your garden harvest to keeping chickens.

There is lots of free fun for the whole family – from the popular wood working stall, to art and craft activities, the fairy garden and two busking areas. Plus the Fiesta includes a colourful range of stall holders including many community groups, local artists and companies selling sustainable products ranging from solar panels and water tanks to cloth nappies and organic seedlings.

We recommend bringing the whole family - check out the timetables below to plan your visits or stay for the entire weekend!

Entry to the Fiesta is by donation, so come along, share and be inspired.
More info on what is all organised check here.

16 Sep 2011

History to judge carbon vote: Julia Gillard

JULIA Gillard challenged Coalition MPs to ask themselves if they were on the right side of history as she introduced the government's carbon tax legislation, declaring this parliament would pass the measure after decades of debate on climate change.

The Prime Minister said MPs would be judged on their vote by every Australian, "because the final test is not are you on the right side of the politics of the week, or the polls of the year".

"The final test is this: are you on the right side of history?"

Ms Gillard entered parliament at noon and received a round of applause from the public gallery as she introduced the Clean Energy Bill, the main piece of legislation in the 18-bill climate change package.

The raft of bills will impose a $23-a-tonne carbon tax from July 1 next year, moving to an emissions trading scheme in 2015; increase the tax-free threshold to $20,542; and provide compensation to low- and middle-income earners to offset any resulting price increases. The legislation includes an assistance package to support trade-exposed industries.
Read article

13 Sep 2011

The Edge 2012 - Design exhibition - apply now

More information click here And download your application form here

12 Sep 2011

Central Institute of Technology Short Design Courses October

Check out my course: Put more Green in your DesignsClick to enlarge
Next term's short courses start mid October, apply now. For more information contact Linda Kemp | administration assistant | central institute of technology monday & tuesday | art portfolio
12 aberdeen street, northbridge wa 6003 | t 9427 1905
thursday & friday | design portfolio
19 aberdeen street, northbridge wa 6003 | t 9427 1564

Australia should adopt a few solar ideas from the Spanish...

On the outskirts of Seville, Spain, 600 rotating mirrors send shafts of light to a collector atop a soaring 380-foot- (115-meter-) tall tower. Its scalding 480-degree-Fahrenheit (250-degree-Celsius) steam drives a turbine generating a peak capacity of 11 megawatts (MW) of electricity for the national grid. This "power tower" was the first of nine built by Spanish engineering giant Abengoa Solar.

Spain overtakes US with world's biggest solar power station July 2010
Spain has opened the world's largest solar power station, meaning that it overtakes the US as the biggest solar generator in the world. The nation's total solar power production is now equivalent to the output of a nuclear power station.

We have plenty of desert areas to use for this kind of giant projects to create electricity. But there is not much out there yet except research reports...

Western Australia's Concentrated Solar Power Potential Jan. 2011
Researchers from the University of Western Australia say Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technologies have excellent potential to generate clean, renewable electricity for communities and mining operations throughout the state's vast Wheatbelt.

Potential of concentrating solar power in Australia A CSIRO report from June 2011

It's about time something will be done with all the technology available and proven! Instead of playing around with urging individuals to put panels on their roofs, promising nice schemes which are stopped with no warning while there are heaps of possibilities to be done nationally to cover a whole area.

No tax on $20,000? Love the carbon plan

Carbon, schmarbon. If I hear another rumour or speculation about what the carbon tax will or won't do, I think I'll explode.
I've hit saturation point with all this carbon talk, and from the sound of it, so have many others.

And perhaps that's just what the politicians want. Nothing like a bit of disinformation overload to shut down the debate as those eyes glaze over and those heads start to nod.
Read this column in the Herald Sun! It's good, I like the idea:
As part of a promise to help offset the impact of the carbon tax, the Government has increased the tax-free threshold from $6000 to just over $18,000 which, with a few other bits and pieces, means all of us can earn just over $20,000 a year and not pay any tax. Gotta love it.

But what if we adopt this initiative as a new work-life philosophy? What if all the 40-hour plus a week sloggers cut back and instead of one person working 40 hours we have two people working 20 hours a week? Let's spread this part-time, job-share trend across the country.

Yes, most of us will be a bit poorer financially but on the happiness stakes, hey, I reckon it's a winner.

Businesses would have less stressed, more motivated workers and homes would have less stressed, more motivated individuals, all thanks to the carbon tax. Gotta love it.

Design for a thingless future

In a resource-limited future, we may not own our things, but instead hire the service they perform. It may change the very nature of our possessions.

CRAVING A NEW CAR? Coveting a Prada handbag? Worrying about the environment? No problem. As a consumer, it's now possible and maybe even sustainable to have it all; at least, if you're willing to rent rather than own.

"What we're seeing now is the preference to access over ownership," says futurist Tim Longhurst. It's a pattern that led trendwatching.com to list renting, loaning and sharing our possessions as one of the top trends of 2011.
Read article

Tomorrow Vego Wannebes in Mosman Park

Click on picture to enlarge

Start 7pm with a 10 min TED talk on Climate change before the meal; bring your own contribution to the 'Vege Pie and Salad' meal to share.

At 8pm there is a talk about WATER with Adam.
Adam is an avid data collector and has kept records of local rainfall and his household water use both from tank and the mains system.
He will share with you how his family has tried to deal with Perth's limited water and give you food for thought about how you might go about it too.

9 Sep 2011

Council election in Mosman Park WA

It's local council election time in Mosman Park WA and important who you chose. So if you live in the northern part of Mosman Park you might be interested in councilor Libby Eustance. I know her from several environmental and sustainable happenings and think she would be a good person to have on board of the local council! Check out her website for more information, click here. You can comment on a lot of issues on her site, so please have a look. I wish she was in my local council... I went for the first time to a council meeting in Claremont this week and was shocked by the stiff atmosphere. I went to ask questions about the cutting of 39 mature trees in our street to replace them with a 3 story modern school building while we are in a heritage zone and they have plenty of space a bit further from the road so they can both keep the trees and keep the heritage feel. I think they didn't like my question as I didn't get much of an answer they are just like a lot of other councils out for greed, lots of commercial stuff to get more money and it doesn't matter to them that all green has to make way for concrete... so sad...

8 Sep 2011

Sustainable House Day, this Sunday 11 September!

Houses are open for FREE between 10am and 4pm.

Check out a sustainable house in your area, click here for more info. There are 17 houses open for the public in all areas.

Or come to the Subiaco Sustainable house, I'll be there as a volunteer all day. The house is designed and owned by a Curtin University senior lecturer in the Architecture department. It's at 199 Hamersley Road so if you are in the area come in and have a look.

Solar Dwellings, Western Australia’s leading passive solar home design company, is organising this years Sustainable House Day and tonight we were briefed and informed.

7 Sep 2011

Wine: What the label really means

SPEAKING to a couple of wine retailers recently, they said that while many consumers are concerned about sustainability, wine additives and so on, there's still a lot of confusion about exactly what's what in the bottle and what different label claims actually mean.

Organic: For a wine to be labelled organic, the vineyard and winemaking process have to be officially certified as organic. Grapes grown organically but made into wine using non-organic methods cannot be sold as organic.

Most importantly for those concerned about or sensitive to sulphur, an organic wine does not automatically mean it is preservative free. Some are, some aren't and your best guide is to check the back label listing of additives.

Sulphur: All wines contain small amounts of sulphur dioxide as a natural byproduct of fermentation. But it's sulphur added as a preservative and anti-bacterial that has become the bogeyman for many consumers.
Read article

Bike to work challenge 2011

Sign up, more info here

GetUp! Stop coal seam gas

Every week Tony wakes at dawn to make his regular rounds. There are already 66 wells in the Piliga State forest near his farm, and over 1,000 more are planned. It's supposed to be a conservation reserve.

He follows the pipes, looking for leaks, and often finds them. He takes photos of the unsealed ponds where mining companies store waste water from extraction, and of the trees dying off nearby. He's right to be concerned. Analysis of waste in other areas found hundreds of industrial chemicals, and carcinogens linked to leukaemia at levels 6 to 15 times safe drinking water standards.

Undeterred, coal seam gas companies don't want anything to slow, nor regulate, their rapid expansion. So this week they launched a new PR campaign to convince the community and the Government there is nothing to worry about.

If the industry hasn't moved into your area yet, watch this video featuring Tony and other locals to see why coal seam gas is the next big threat to our land and water:

Sign the petition click here

A CAMPAIGN promoting coal seam gas (CSG) benefits is a sign of how desperate mining companies are to sway public opinion, farmers and green groups say.
Read article

Update: 10 September 2011 Blowback against Australia's new gas rush

Meat is murder? More like suicide, argues Planeat film

Eating animals and their products is bad for our health and our planet, according to a subtle new polemic.
Read article by Damian Carrington

2 Sep 2011

She's Alive...Beautiful...Finite...Hurting...

This is a non-commercial attempt to highlight the fact that world leaders, irresponsible corporates and mindless 'consumers' are combining to destroy life on earth.

It is dedicated to all who died fighting for the planet and those whose lives are on the line today.

The cut was put together by Vivek Chauhan, a young film maker, together with naturalists working with the Sanctuary Asia network.

Content credit: The principal source for the footage was Yann Arthus-Bertrand's incredible film HOME. The music was by Armand Amar. Thank you Greenpeace for your support.

It's official: Perth is full of wasters

Perth households are the biggest domestic water guzzlers in the nation.

The National Water Commission reports that each home in Perth uses 276 kilolitres a year, which is double the amount households in Melbourne and Brisbane use.

But what is behind this alarming rate of water consumption?
Do Perth residents shower more, or pour more water onto their gardens than Melburnians? Are there more backyard pools, or do they just like to wash their cars more frequently?

As winter turned into spring this week, the State Government lifted its total ban on using garden sprinklers.

But at the same time, it is urging people not to rush out and switch on their reticulation, because the weather bureau says more rain is on the way.
And the dams still are not full.
Read article

"About 43 per cent of our water usage is in the garden between irrigation and hand watering."
The second biggest water user is showers and baths, using about 25 per cent of household water.
"Then you've got things like washing machine usage and toilets, which use about eight or nine per cent each," Mr Jarvis said.

Will anyone buy an anti-shopping campaign?

MARKETERS hoping sales will pick up in one of the worst times for retail in recent history face a movement asking consumers to stop discretionary spending for the whole of October.

Buy Nothing New Month encourages people to investigate second-hand alternatives, extend the life cycle of things and maximise household savings. The movement, which started in Australia last year, aims to counteract pre-Christmas marketing by brands, which are well under way by in-house marketing departments and advertising agencies.
Read article

'Buy Nothing New Month is about positive behaviour change. It doesn't say people shouldn't buy things, just that they should think about how they buy what and why,' he said.

'It also challenges the notion that all consumption is good because it creates jobs. An economy built on wasteful consumption is not sustainable or good for our business, our people or our environment.'