28 Dec 2012

Barnett Browse shift angers EPA

WA's environmental watchdog has accused the Barnett Government of undermining confidence in the State's green approvals process by removing limits on carbon pollution from the proposed Browse LNG development.

Environmental Protection Authority chairman Paul Vogel said lifting pollution conditions on the $40 billion Kimberley gas hub could lead to worse environmental outcomes.

Environment Minister Bill Marmion reversed more than a decade of precedent last month when he largely exempted Browse proponents from conditions to minimise greenhouse gas emissions.
It was particularly important with Browse, he said, because the project would lift WA's total greenhouse gas emissions up to 52 per cent above 2007 levels if it reached capacity. "There's still a role for the State Government in maintaining public confidence in the environmental performance of proponents, particularly when they have large greenhouse gas emissions," he said.

Read article
"Not only will the Browse hub be, if built, the most polluting project Australia's ever seen (41mtpa of Co2e, equivalent to 7% of the country's total emissions now) but Barnett's proposing it should use old-style dirty gas combustion technology". ED

19 Dec 2012

Make a good intention for the new year:

Turn your consumerism way of living in a selfmade garden of Eden. Step by step. You might already have set some steps like taking your own shopping bags to the supermarkets and putting the aircondition 2 degrees higher in summer. Or maybe you already installed solar power with the goverment rebate or you've taken up cycling instead of driving the car to work.

Whatever it is, this one step leads to the next en before you know it you are one healthy lucky person!

13 Dec 2012

Japan researchers invent solar-cell fabric

CLOTHES that could literally light up your life were unveiled Tuesday by Japanese researchers who said their solar-cell fabric would eventually let wearers harvest energy on the go.

This new fabric is made of wafer-thin solar cells woven together that could see people powering up their mobile phones and other electronics with their sweater or trousers.

But its creators conceded there was work to do before taking the fabric to market.

"We still have things to solve before commercialisation, such as coating for the conductive wires and improving the fabric's durability," said an official at the Industrial Technology Center in central Japan's Fukui Prefecture.
Read article

Read also Power-Generating Fashion: A Look into Smart Textiles

The Innovation Challenge winner could change steel-making forever

USING recycled rubber to revolutionise steel-making earned Sydney engineer Veena Sahajwalla the $30,000 top prize at The Australian Innovation Challenge awards in Sydney last night.

The technology - which was developed at the University of NSW - has already prevented more than 1.4 million tyres from becoming landfill, with the rubber, along with recycled plastic containers, partly replacing coke in generating power for the production of steel.

Dr Sahajwalla, who studied in India before completing a PhD at the University of Michigan, said the principles underlying her polymer injection technology to create an environmentally friendly steel industry could also be applied to other industries. The technology could cut power consumption by millions of kilowatt hours a year.
Read article

Update: Not sure how to rhym this piece of media (doing the rounds on Facebook this week) with the above idea:

12 Dec 2012

Malaysia orders Lynas to ship out waste

Malaysia has ordered the Australian miner Lynas Corp. to ship out all the waste from its new rare earths plant, because of environmental and health concerns.

Lynas began processing rare earths at the $800 million dollar plant in Malaysia's eastern Pahang state last month.

However, residents and environmental groups are worried about radioactive residue from the factory.

Four Malaysian cabinet MPs (responsible for trade, science, natural resources and health) have now released a joint statement, saying the temporary licence granted to Lynas requires it to remove "all the residue" from the plant out of the country.

They said Lynas must ship out all residue, including products made from it.
Read article

I reckon they should do this as well with the foreign owned companies creating environmental hazards in Australia, let them ship it all back to their own country! The good with the bad!

11 Dec 2012

Exploited workers and the environment pay a high cost for our cheap clothes.

DURING the past 15 years the fast-fashion formula of high-volume, low-cost trends delivered quick to market has spread thick and fast, revolutionising the way the Western world shops.

We are buying (and discarding) apparel at unprecedented rates. Last year, Australians bought one billion units of clothing, 90 per cent of it imported.

Even the Salvation Army is feeling the weight of our bulging wardrobes, processing more than 20 million garments a year. And according to the organisation's general manager, Neville Barrett, "The number of new, unworn garments donated has increased."

Consumer desire fuels demand, and the behemoths continue to rise at a rapid rate. Topshop has opened stores in Melbourne and Sydney, with Zara moving into Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Next year, Swedish fashion mega-retailer H&M, and Japanese basics brand Uniqlo will land on our shores.

The figures are astounding. Last year, H&M opened 2500 shops worldwide, with estimates suggesting that it sells more than 550 million garments annually.
Read article

And I thought there was still an economical crisis worldwide... silly me... haven't bought anything new for years, love Good Sammy's and swap parties!


No life without trees

10 Dec 2012

World's biggest, oldest trees are dying: research

SYDNEY (AFP) - Scientists Friday warned of an alarming increase in the death rates of the largest living organisms on the planet, the giant, old trees that harbour and sustain countless birds and wildlife.

Research by universities in Australia and the United States, published in Science, said ecosystems worldwide were in danger of losing forever their largest and oldest trees unless there were policy changes to better protect them.

"It's a worldwide problem and appears to be happening in most types of forest," said David Lindenmayer from the Australian National University, the lead author of a study into the problem.
Read article

The Conversation: The end of big trees?

9 Dec 2012

Landfill harmonic

Landfill Harmonic is an upcoming feature-length documentary about a remarkable musical orchestra in Paraguay, where the musicians play instruments made from trash.

7 Dec 2012

Waste to energy plan

THE developers of a $350 million waste plant set to be built in Kwinana say it could convert up to 300,000 tonnes of rubbish into energy by 2016.

The Kwinana Waste to Energy Plant being developed by Phoenix Energy aims to turn non-recyclable waste into energy, with the by-product turned into bricks.

Managing director Peter Dyson said the facility, to be built on 3.5ha of land in Kwinana, could turn 300,000 tonnes of waste into energy put back into the power grid per year. He said the plant could produce 60 megawatts of energy at full capacity.

Mr Dyson said Australia created 44 million tonnes of solid waste between 2006 and 2007, half of which went into landfill. “No waste goes into landfill from this facility,” he said.

“The waste is turned into energy and the by-product, ash, is created into bricks. About 20,000 bricks could be made each day.”
Read article
More info here

Or is it just a fancy new way of telling people they are incinerating waste and while burning it the heat generates power and the ashes left will be used for construction materials....
What about all the CO2 emissions and dioxins? Hope they pay the carbon tax!

6 Dec 2012

Dulux energy saving paint claims dodgy, claims ACCC

The ACCC allege that Dulux made false, misleading or deceptive claims in relation to a roof and outdoor paint purporting to ease the pain of energy costs.

A TOP-selling paint company is accused of using flaky claims about cutting energy bills for consumers by cooling temperatures in the home.

The nation's consumer cop has lashed out at DuluxGroup Australia over allegedly dodgy advertising for a roof and outdoor paint purporting to ease the pain of energy costs.

Documents lodged with the Federal Court in Western Australia allege that Dulux made false, misleading or deceptive claims by falsely representing that, when compared to standard paint of the same colour:

DULUX InfraCOOL roof paint can and will reduce the interior temperature of the living zones of a house by 10C, and significantly reduce energy consumption costs and the carbon footprint of homes.
DULUX Weathershield Heat Reflect exterior wall paint can and will reduce the surface temperature of the external walls by up to 15C, and significantly reduce indoor temperature; and significantly reduce energy costs".

The ACCC alleges that Dulux did not have reasonable grounds to make these representations on its website, Facebook page, print and television advertisements, pamphlets, colour cards and the paint tins themselves.
Read article

5 Dec 2012

WA: Little money spent on recycling

A contentious levy slugged on households and businesses that is meant to boost WA's poor recycling record has been largely unspent.

The surplus of cash has prompted the Opposition to claim the Barnett Government is botching waste management efforts.

Financial statements from the Waste Authority, the Government agency charged with lowering WA's landfill rate, show its coffers swelled from $15.5 million to $18.3 million in the 12 months to June 30.

The increase came after the Waste Authority failed to spend about $3 million from the $10.5 million it collected from the landfill levy, which is applied to household and industrial waste going to tips.
It means less than half of the Waste Authority's budget, which comes almost entirely from landfill levy receipts, was spent on recycling initiatives in 2011-12.

This was despite WA having the worst recycling record of any State or Territory and the levy's supposed objective of reducing landfill rates.

Environment Minister Bill Marmion maintained the Government had an "ambitious" plan to double recycling rates in WA by 2020 and intended to spend $65 million on initiatives over the next five years.
Read article

York anger over city waste plan
Avon Valley residents are fighting plans to dump up to 150,000 tonnes of rubbish a year near York.

Plan critics fear it will create environmental hazards, cut tourist numbers and create traffic chaos on Great Southern Highway as trucks cart the waste from Perth.

Perth's sea level on the rise

In a statistic that federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese described as "disturbing" and "extraordinary", readings since 1993 have indicated sea levels are rising by between nine and 10 millimetres per year.

The global average is around three millimetres per year.

With temperatures rising and rainfall falling, environmental changes are having little effect on the numbers of people moving to Perth, with the city population growing by 2.6 per cent since 2001 - making it the fastest growing capital in the country.

That expanding population was having little impact on transport habits, with almost 80 per cent of people still travelling to work by car and only 12 per cent by public transport.
Read article in Herald Sun
Perth's sea level on the rise three times the global average
Urban sprawl and climate change issues for Perth

4 Dec 2012

Leadership and the Environment: Vision, Success and Failure

I went to a breakfast talk this morning organised by the Curtin Business School and was interested to hear Greg Hunt, the shadow minister for climate action, talk.

And I was very dissapointed to hear him just tell us about how bad the carbon pricing is but he didn't talk about what can be done instead. So far the empty talk of liberal politics! In my view they can only dissagree with everything what their opponents do but cannot come with an interesting alternative plan, too afraid to hurt the people who are backing them, the ones with the money.
Hunt plays the pricing scaremonger card

Here I was hoping to hear something interesting... another wasted 1.5 hour.

While: Barnett attacked on carbon tax
The Barnett Government could never again question the legitimacy of the carbon tax after using it to remove greenhouse conditions from the Kimberley gas hub, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said yesterday.

A liquefied natural gas- processing plant last month became the first major project since the late 1990s to be given WA Government approval without greenhouse conditions after Environment Minister Bill Marmion decided it did not need them in light of the carbon tax.

Emissions from the plant operating at full capacity could be as much as 52 per cent of WA's and 6.5 per cent of Australia's total greenhouse gas generation based on 2007 levels, according to the Environmental Protection Authority.

2 Dec 2012

Plastic Planet - Movie

After the stone age and the ice age we now have the plastic age.

Werner Boote presents an up-close and personal view of the controversial and fascinating material that has found its way into every facet of our daily lives: plastic. He takes us on a journey around the globe, showing that plastics have become a threat for both environment and human health.

We live in the age of plastic. It's cheap and practical, and it's everywhere - even in our blood. But is it a danger to us? The plastic industry annually generates hundreds of billions of dollars. Every industrial sector in the world today is dependent on plastic. The amount of plastic we have produced since it was invented would be enough to cover the entire globe six times over. But this inexpensive and convenient substance comes with a hefty price. Plastic stays in the ground and water system for up to 500 years. It is found on every beach in the world. Numerous studies have proven that the chemicals it releases (such as Bisphenol A) migrate into the human body and may contribute to or cause grave health problems, from allergies to obesity to infertility, cancer and heart disease. For Austrian German director Werner Boote, plastic is personal. His grandfather was one of the early manufacturers of plastic and he introduced Boote at a young age to the magic substance that would change the world. Many years later, after reading about the global threat posed by plastic, he decides to embark on a quest to discover the truth about this pervasive substance. Traveling to fourteen countries, he boldly and humorously confronts manufacturers, scientists, government officials and consumers to ask questions that concern all of us: Why don't we change our consumption behavior? Why is the industry not reacting to apparent dangers? Who is held accountable for hills of garbage mounting in deserts and seas? Who wins in this game? And who loses? This feisty, informative documentary takes us on a journey around the globe - from the Moroccan Sahara to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, from a factory in China to the highest peaks of the Alps - to reveal the far-flung reaches of our plastic problem. Interviews with the world's foremost experts in biology, pharmacology, and genetics shed light on the perils of plastic to our environment and expose the truth of how plastic affects our bodies and the health of future generations. Interspersing animated sequences and old commercials, this eye-opening film reveals how the world has wholeheartedly embraced the convenience of a substance it knows nothing about...

Want to know more after watching the movie, click here.

29 Nov 2012


Children must experience nature in order to learn it's worth saving

The remarkable collapse of children's engagement with nature - which is even faster than the collapse of the natural world - is recorded in Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods, and in a report published recently by Britain's heritage conservation body, the National Trust. Since the 1970s the area in which children may roam without supervision has decreased by almost 90 per cent.

In one generation the proportion of children regularly playing in wild places in Britain has fallen from more than half to fewer than one in 10. In the US, in just six years (1997-2003) children with particular outdoor hobbies fell by half. Eleven- to 15-year-olds in Britain now spend, on average, half their waking day in front of a screen.

There are several reasons for this collapse: parents' irrational fear of strangers and rational fear of traffic, the destruction of the fortifying commons where previous generations played, the quality of indoor entertainment, the structuring of children's time, the criminalisation of natural play. The great indoors, as a result, has become a far more dangerous place than the diminished world beyond.
Read article

This reminds me of asking my class (3D Sustainability) at Curtin University last year about their hobbies and I was stunned that more then 90% of the hobbies named where indoor and computer/TV related. The only student with an outdoor hobby was surf live saver in his spare time.

18 Nov 2012

Produce food close to home

A BLUEPRINT for Australia's food production is calling for 80 per cent of food to be sourced and processed within 150km of consumption.

The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance released its People's Food Plan in September.
"If you spend $1 in your local community, 80 cents stays there, but if you buy something that is grown inside but purchased outside, only 20 cents stays in that community,'' he said.
Read article



1. Eliminate food waste. Eat half the food you normally waste and save $500-plus a year.

2. Grow your own food. Use kitchen scraps to feed worms (or get some chooks) and make compost. Save $100-plus a year.

3. Drive one day less a week and you could save $300 a year. Plan your trips, inflate your tyres properly, keep the boot empty and moderate your speed (90km/h on the highway) and save $200-plus a year.

4. If you can't be a no-car household, at least have no more than one car for every two drivers, using walking, cycling and public transport to balance out car use. Save $4000-plus a year.

5. Set a target to reduce your energy use (look for the amount of consumption in kilowatt hours or kWh on your bill) by at least 10 per cent. Turn off unnecessary lights, gadgets and appliances on standby. Save $175-plus a year.

6. Hang your clothes on the line instead of chucking them in the dryer. You can save pollution and around $400 a year.

7. For heating or cooling, set the thermostat (or control manually) to delay having heating or cooling cut in until they are really needed. Save $500-plus a year.

8. Become a consumer expert on energy saving, water saving and fuel efficiency star systems, and use them when making major purchases like white goods and cars. Save $500-plus a year.

9. Swap clothes, go shopping in your own wardrobe, shop vintage or second hand, avoid fast fashion and buy higher quality clothing that you look after well - washing in cold water and pegging on the line. Save $500-plus a year.

10. Have a strategy especially for major purchases - give yourself a seven-day cooling off period to avoid being swayed by heavy sales pitches, and to ask "Do I really need this?" Save $500 a year.

11. Swap buying more stuff for creating "experiences". OK, you may not save money, but you'll save energy, cut pollution, keep stuff out of landfill and feel better.
Women unite to cut waste

13 Nov 2012

No such thing as waste

Charlie from Hamilton Hill has a new video clip, so here it goes:

This is the old one.

Brad Pitt Designing Furniture?

Brad Pitt has teamed up with bespoke furnituremaker Frank Pollaro to create a limited edition line of furniture from beds to bathtubs.

Pitt says he was inspired by the geometry and lines of Frank Lloyd Wright and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and the attention to quality craftsmanship that Frank Pollaro brings to the partnership.
Read article

And here you think that when a celebrity is diving into something totally different he would make a statement, but no, it's very tacky not sustainable design at all... how inspiring... NOT!

12 Nov 2012

Diesel cancer risk in WA mines 'worse than asbestos'

THE state's 10,000 underground miners are being put at risk by breathing in a cancer-causing chemical, with a former safety inspector claiming the toxin's impact could "eclipse asbestos" as an industrial killer.

Diesel particulate tiny carbon particles in diesel exhaust that penetrate deep into the lungs is now listed as carcinogenic by the World Health Organisation's cancer research branch.

Underground mine workers are at high risk because the machines they use are diesel-powered, exhaust fumes cannot escape mine shafts naturally, and many companies stand accused of poor ventilation.
Read article

Behance, the creative network

Behance is the leading online platform to showcase and discover creative work, check it here.

9 Nov 2012

When in Cottesloe tomorrow...

Visit the Cash for Containers stall at Cottesloe Village fair (Hullabaloo) tomorrow with Earthcarers, Two Hands Project and the Town of Cottesloe

They are giving people 10c for their empty beverage containers. Come down and show your support for a national Container Deposit scheme.

Tomorrow, Saturday 10 November!

7 Nov 2012

Dumb and dumber energy choices in the wild West

I was stunned to read this article and learning about multi million dollar projects on energy thrown away...

"A power plant that is built, but doesn’t operate, and is paid for by a state-sponsored tariff imposed on consumers. The Perth-based company Merredin Energy is in the throes of completing an 82MW peaking plant near the wheat-belt town of the same name. It is being built at an estimated cost of $95 million and proposes to use expensive and highly polluting diesel fuel, but it may never be switched on. And if it isn’t, its owners might not care – under WA’s capacity payments system, they’ll likely make enough money simply for being there – around $15 million in its first year. In fact, they might prefer if the plant wasn’t used".
"The company SolarHart began in WA in the late 1950s when a bunch of plumbers, frustrated with the expensive and dirty coal fired generation based in the south west of the state, decided that heating water with the sun was a lot more efficient, and cheaper than with coal".

"By the late 1970s nearly one third of new houses were installed with solar hot water heaters. That figure plunged to less than 1 per cent once the government started to flog subsidized gas".

"But even when renewable energy development has occurred, there is an air of tokenism. After the construction of the first Esperance wind farm, little was built in following decades. And on the same day that Energy Minister Peter Collier travelled to Geraldton to open the 10MW Greenough River solar farm built by First Solar, GE and Verve Energy, he and premier Colin Barnett said they wanted the federal government to get rid of the renewable energy target – a move that would surely mean that no more solar plants of that type would be built for the foreseeable future".

The irony is that WA is home to the best wind and solar resources. Peter Newman says WA should now return to wind and especially solar, and use its natural resources to advantage.
Read article

A state of producers so how is food security an issue?

If the highway to the eastern states was cut, Western Australia would have seven days' food supply. Meanwhile, we're wasting about 50 per cent of all the food produced.

The Australian Government can't say for sure how much arable farmland in the country is foreign-owned.

The seven days' supply, the waste, the issue of foreign-ownership and the overfed all affect our food security, according to researchers at Curtin University.

WAFF's (Western Australian Farmers Federation) Dale Park says Western Australia exports about 80 per cent of its raw produce, including grain, fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat, so it would seem unlikely that the state could ever run out of food. Similarly, he thinks the issue of foreign ownership of farm land is not a big issue while we produce such large quantities.

Both WAFF and the Institute agree that there is too little value adding or manufacturing going on in WA.

The raw produce is sent interstate or overseas, and bought back as consumable food products.

Professor Graeme Wright, from Curtin University, says WA is too reliant on manufacturers outside of the state or country.
Read article

What are free range eggs???

Living in one of the last westernised countries where cage eggs are still on the menu for lots of people  (only 40% buys free range and an even smaller amount goes for organic) I am happy to have my own chickens.

And now I am reading again about this dilemma from the Free range industry who wants to increase numbers of chickens in a small space while they are already up to 13 times higher as the proposed number of chickens per M2 because there is no proper standard in Australia!

"While there is no legally enforceable definition of free range, the current free-range egg industry code limits free-range egg producers to 1500 hens per hectare. Under its proposed trade mark, the Australian Egg Corporation proposed increasing that limit to 20,000 hens per hectare".

Producers, consumers cry foul in egg fight

So I was happy to read that they are going to vote against it: Free-range egg definition change rejected
But more happy I am with my four chooks who are supplying us with an abundance of eggs and besides that eat all our scraps and deliver manure for the garden. I can't think of a better system!
More chicken news:
With eggs, some chooks are freer than others
Update: 2 January 2013 Chicken numbers to be cut 

SWAN Valley Egg Farm has lost its appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal to keep its egg producing operation.

WA’s biggest free-range egg producer has one year to reduce chicken numbers at the Bennett Springs farm from 80,000 to 24,000.

6 Nov 2012

ABC1 Q and A in Perth

If you, like me, didn't have time to watch the full program on Monday night, you can still watch it online or download it: Click here

Topics were the James Price gas hub in the Kimberley, press and media regulation (the monopoly of one newspaper in WA is good for some laughing matters in the program, and I was reading the text coming in...  GM wheat crops and two speed economy with the dark side of the mining boom.

In the Panel: Bob Brown, Colin Barnett, Alannah MacTiernan, Hannah McGlade and Bob Cronin. To see who they are click here.

5 Nov 2012

Africa for the rich

It's a weird world, seeing for example hungry people in Ethiopia and on the other hand German companies occupying 32.000 acres for biofuel and India growing flowers and other food there... Or in the Republic of Congo where China has 7 million acres to produce biofuel...
According WFP (world food program) these countries in Africa have the highest rate of unnourished people.
I know, the answer is simple: plain greed!
It's sad to see it's all for biofuels, as there are heaps of alternatives; take your bike!!!

Perth Green Drinks 20 November

Hi everyone!!!
Make sure to RSVP in time for our next sell out event!

Join us for the last Perth Green Drinks of 2012: an evening of inspiration, education & conversation.

This special end of year event is also about celebration with good food, drinks and music at Perth City Farm!

It’s been a successful year for many projects that are seeking a more sustainable way of life in Perth, including Perth Green Drinks!

To celebrate the “power of we”, sustainability in Perth, and all the good things Perth Green Drinks been facilitated in the last 5 years (that’s right 5 years!), we will have past speakers telling us where they are now and how their projects evolved.

Wilma van Boxtel is an industrial product designer at Deseos Design and lecturer at Central Institute of Technology and Curtin University. She believes design is crucial to moving towards a more sustainable future, as it is allows us to rethink how to deliver products without damaging the world around us or compromising the well being of present and future generations. Wilma is particularly interested in Cradle to Cradle, a biomimetic approach to design that seeks to create efficient, waste-free systems. Wilma started Perth Green Drinks back in 2007!

Richard Hayes is a resource engineer, one of the founders of eTool and the driving force behind the company’s innovative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) software. The software was rated one of the best in the world to quantify and lower the environmental impact of buildings through design. Today, it has 600 registered users. Richard was a speaker at Perth Green Drinks in 2010.

Eugenie Stockmann is one of the initiators and owners of The Green Swing – a small scale, sustainable, inner city real estate development in Lathlain. Now in the final stages of construction, The Green Swing has influenced a revaluation of planning codes by the Town of Victoria Park to accommodate sustainable practices. In her spare time, Eugenie studies towards a master degree in Sustainable Urban and Regional Development at Murdoch University. Eugenie was a speaker at Perth Green Drinks in 2011.

We will have lots of time for networking with FREE Little Creatures beer, and music by The Junkadelic!

The Hidden Pantry and Harris Organic Wines will have sustainable food and drinks for sample and sale.

Bring your friends! Looking forward to seeing you there!

Where Perth City Farm - 1 City Farm Place, East Perth

Note: The free Yellow Cat stops in front of City Farm, which is also located just a short walk from Claisebrook train station and along cycle routes. There is public parking on 158-204 Royal Street and Lime Street.

When Tuesday, 20 November,
Registration 5:45 (for a 6pm start) - 8:00pm
Cost FREE! Registration is required.

RSVP by 16 November on Eventbrite – no need to print your ticket!

31 Oct 2012

Cocky notes

In this issue:
1 Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo numbers are still down in Perth
2 A love affair with the cockatoos of Coomallo Creek
2 Artworks contribute to cockatoo conservation
3 Plant pathogen devastating black-cockatoo habitats
3 Plants flowering for Carnaby’s
3 Plants for Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo workshop
4 Researching micro-climates of nesting hollows
4 Cockatoo conservation logo flies again
5 My journey with Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo
6 Tales aplenty at Newdegate
7 Steps to Recovery DVD

 Check the online newsletter here

REmida: Refuse, Reduce, REUSE, Repair & Recycle!

If you have any creations using REmida materials we want to see them!

RE-BOOT! Members Exhibition is being held as part of National Recycling Week to celebrate the joys and infinite possibilities of reuse and promote it as household concept (before recycling, and definitely before throwing away!).

If you enter a piece or not, please join us for the opening on the 10th on November from 4:30pm to 6:30pm.

Check for more info here

23 Oct 2012

Design & Thinking - 1 November in Perth

"Design & Thinking" is a documentary exploring the idea of "design thinking"

“Design thinking is a term that arose in order to distinguish between what others think of as design, which is usually just the surface, to the thinking behind. Thinking is something you do first, and then you make.” Paul Pangaro, CTO, in Design & Thinking.
Come to see the movie!
More info here

20 Oct 2012


Did you know that Monsanto started back in 1901 by becoming the primary source of saccharine for the US, eventually switching to aspartame in the 60s? Toxic from day one.

17 Oct 2012

Test Your Awareness: Do The Test

Organised crime, illegal timber and Australia’s role in deforestation

Illegal logging is booming, as criminal organisations tighten their grip on this profitable global industry. Hence, it comes just in the nick of time that Australia, after years of debate, is on the verge of passing an anti-logging bill.

Illegal logging is an international scourge, and increasingly an organised criminal activity. It robs developing nations of vital revenues while promoting corruption and murder. It takes a terrible toll on the environment, promoting deforestation, loss of biodiversity and harmful carbon emissions at alarming rates.

Moreover, the flood of illegal timber makes it much harder for legitimate timber producers. The vast majority of those in Australia and New Zealand have difficulty competing in domestic and international markets. That’s one reason that many major Aussie retail chains and brands, such as Bunnings, Ikea-Australia, Timber Queensland, and Kimberly-Clark, are supporting the anti-illegal logging bill.
Read the article

Ride2work day

I am just home from Ride2Work day. I participated as a volunteer in the big breakfast in the city where lots of local suppliers donated their goodies. I was in charge of the yummy Mundella Greek yoghurt with passion fruit and Harvey milk. But there were Carnarvan bananas, local apples and pears, juices, cerial, buns, etc. Nobody went home on an empty stomach!

I always ride to work, one or two days a week this is 34km return and two days a week it's a 22km return (I teach at two different locations) which adds up the total kilometers nicely. I participate in the Cycle instead spring Bike to Work challenge and in the past four weeks I did more than 600km!

There is a discussion on The Conversation about riding to work Governments should get behind bikes, and not just one day a year which is interesting as coming from Holland I am used to lots of bicycles on the road, especially in peak hour. Here it's only the happy few in lycra and the compulsory helmet. I wouldn't mind if we get a more relaxter mentality here in WA about bicycles on the road!
Join the discussion!

15 Oct 2012

The Power of We

When I started this blog in May 2007 it was because I was asked to be the liaison for the global network o2, a network for sustainable designers, in Western Australia. The first thing I had to organise was the Perth Green Drinks, which was a bit of a task as being reasonably fresh migrants to Australia our network wasn't that big yet.

So I started this blog, gathering all kind of interesting, mainly local, news on environmental topics while in the mean time making plans on how to organise the first gathering for Green Drinks in Perth. I used this blog to gather ideas from readers by creating polls.

Green Drinks is a global network for anyone who is interested in sustainability and the environment, most people from NGOs, academia, government and business. When I started in 2007 there were about 230 cities active in the mean time, five years later, there are about 680 cities who have regular (in Perth it's bi-montly)  Green Drinks.

Over the years we've had visitors from other countries checking out our Perth Green Drinks and I have visited Green Drinks in Sydney. I started at the same time as Olivia in Singapore and if I look back on what we've achieved this is wonderful! Five years later Perth and Singapore Green Drinks are vibrant networks who bring people from different disciplines together to get even better ideas.

So my message for the Power of We is that whoever you are and whatever your background, you can achieve something big by just doing it! Don't be afraid to just start something totally new to interact with other people to become stronger and get a good platform to work from!
So where are you waiting for?

13 Oct 2012

Toxic leather tanneries

Since I teach 3D Sustainability at Curtin University (2008) I've shown a picture at one of my lectures of the waste in Bangladesh from the many tanneries and glue factories there. Now I come across this article: Children as young as 11 being exposed to poisonous chemicals in Bangladeshi tanneries and see it's even worse than the picture and nothing has been improved since the past five years.

As designers of products using leather we must source materials from companies who improve their business practices. We must check how clean the factories work, how they dispose of their waste and if they are using child labour. And say no to their products if they are not cleaning up their act!

Stop Shell drilling oil on the north pole.

4 Oct 2012

Recycling mobiles a mammoth task

AUSTRALIANS are hoarding more than 22 million unwanted mobile phones despite a national service that will recycle the old handsets free of charge.

But the scheme, funded by the mobile phone industry, cannot afford to recycle them all and a prominent environmentalist has accused the group of failing to do as much as it should to collect and reuse the massive stockpile.

The recycling program, Mobile Muster, is run by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association and is funded by handset levies paid by phone makers and the country's four major telcos.
Read article

How to recycle your old mobile phone:
First of all it's best to use it as long as possible, most discarded mobile phones are still in perfect order. And if you buy a new mobile give your old one to someone else who will use it.
If there is nobody who wants your phone recycle it:

-- COLLECT a reply-paid Mobile Muster satchel at Australia Post
-- DOWNLOAD and print a shipping label from mobilemuster.com.au
-- DOWNLOAD and print a shipping label from apple.com/au/recycling
-- DROP YOUR OLD PHONE off at a collection point listed at mobilemuster.com.au

I just tried it and it gives me 8 places where I can bring my old mobile if I want to recycle it within 1 or 2 km from my home. But they won't get my old Siemens yet, it's 9 years old and still working perfectly for where I need a mobile for: calls and texts!

3 Oct 2012

Tom Dixon: Legal advice for designers

In his presentation at the London Design Festival, Dixon commented on the threat foreign manufacturers pose to his design business. Searching for his work on eBay produces seven pages and only two genuine items, he said: “All the others are copies at a third of the price from Hong Kong.

” Copiers use drawings from designers’ websites to produce accurate replicas and even steal marketing images to paste into their own online catalogues, he explained. “It’s very quick and pernicious. I used to laugh it off and be flattered that people bothered to copy, but now I’m more nervous.”

Speaking to Dezeen after his talk, Dixon explained that “in Australia for instance, if you call something a Tom Dixon replica you can bypass the law: you’re stating what the thing is, it’s a replica, so therefore it’s legitimate even though it’s a copy.” He says that designers “just have to be smarter, faster and quicker to market.”
Read full article and hear him talk here