26 Feb 2012

Make your own solar water heater

A solar water heater made from glassbottles, drinking cans and copper. Can be used for warm and cold climates. Very cheap but demands some efforts.

24 Feb 2012

Change only comes with community action and support


It’s time for change
Local groups are working to restore community and environmental values

Meet the people who are working hard to keep those values on Saturday 25 February between 9am and 2pm in Claremont on the corner of Bay View Terrace and Quintins Avenue.


"Meet the Greens" 13 March 5.30-7.30pm at UWA

FREE upcoming introductory Greens WA workshop

5.30-7.30pm, Tuesday 13 March
Social Sciences Ground Floor Seminar Room, G.209, UWA.

This workshop is designed for anyone who may be curious about the Greens. Participants do NOT need to be a member – or even a vague supporter.

Bookings (essential) and full details are available on the Training website.

21 Feb 2012

Keep GM wheat out of Western Australia!

I went to the presentation of two Canadian wheat farmers yesterday evening in West Perth and it is pretty clear that WA should stay far from monopolistic companies like Monsanto not only because the GM wheat is scary health wise but also because of the things happening to the farmers and goverment. Monsanto wants to patent every living thing with only one goal, to dominate the world foodmarket and become very powerful and rich!

They have a lot of media power and bring it as "we have to feed the world" which is not true. There is already a surplus of food but it won't reach those people starving because they have no money!

Hearing the stories of experiences from farmers in Canada is eye opening and it was sad there were only a handful of farmers in the audience. If you are interested in more info on the whole GM dilemma, there are several evenings coming up:

Perth Friday 2nd March, 4pm
Murdoch University
Hill Lecture Theatre
Education and Humanities Building
South Street
Free parking available in Carpark 4
Free entrance

Margaret River Saturday 3rd March, 5.30-7.30pm
Cullen Wines,
Tickets $20 – light refreshments, drinks for sale
RSVP 08 9755 5656 between 9-12pm
More information 97573301

Perth, Sunday 4th March 7pm-8.30pm
Professor Seralini will be accompanied by a French Chef Jerome Douzelet for a Q&A session on GM Foods
Peppermint Grove Library Building
1 Leake Street (corner Leake & Stirling Highway) Peppermint Grove. (5 minutes walk from Cottesloe train station).
Free entrance

Listen to an interview on ABC

Stop logging forests

Burning native forests for power is not reneweable!

Burning native forests for electricity production is not renewable! Please keep the climate agreement strong. Don't divert taxpayer funds from solar and wind into the logging of native forests. Sign the petition here

20 Feb 2012

Free outdoor movie: 7 March

Info on the movie + trailer The end of the line

If you are interested in learning ways to live more sustainably and meet like-minded people in your community enrol for the free Earth Carers course commencing 14 March. Click here for details.

REMINDER: Perth Green Drinks 22 February 6-8pm

The first Perth Green Drinks meeting of 2012 is fast approaching, we've got a great panel talk lined up for you. Mark your calendars for February 22nd!

Usually defined as new ideas that meet social needs, social innovation is about coming up with novel ways to address persistent problems such obesity, waste disposal or the isolation of elderly people.

Is this a task for businesses, not-for-profit or government? Can a business be for profit and for good? How do you balance these seemingly competitive objectives?

What are the new business models emerging around the world to tackle these and so many other challenges, including the pressing environmental ones?

To discuss how to foster ideas and to explore the state of affairs around social innovation in Western Australia, the first Perth Green Drinks meeting of the year is dedicated to social innovation.

New format
Our new style of meeting will showcase multiple speakers on the same topic followed by a panel discussion. Bring your questions along, we want you to be involved!

Guest Speakers

Brodie McCulloch is the Managing Director of SiiWA (Social Innovation in Western Australia), he will bring the latest in social innovation in Australia and Western Australia, discuss business models and present an overview of SiiWA's current projects.
Lachy Ritchie will tell us about his project Dismantle and its vision in using cycling to promote awareness and innovative thinking in the areas of environment, sustainability, waste education and recycling.
May Carter, PhD, will be attending to tell us about her work at PlaceScape and how they are promoting better parks and green space planning, design and management while placing emphasis on community engagement and involvement to engender sense of place, ownership and care.

Come out, bring a friend or two, and debate with our guest speakers. Afterwards, as always, enjoy drinks, snacks and lots of networking.
Looking forward to seeing you there!

Where Lecture Room B354, Central Institute of Technology
30 Aberdeen St, Northbridge (cnr William St)
Entrance via Aberdeen St, then turn left and take the stairs up to the next level.
When Wednesday, 22 February, 6-8pm
Cost FREE!
Please RSVP to greendrinks.perth@gmail.com by Wednesday 15 February so we can arrange for catering.

30 Aberdeen St is walking distance from Perth train station and near several bus routes and the Blue Cat. Street parking is available, or you can use the Perth Council carparks.

As always, a big thankyou to the sponsor: Central Institute of Technology

1000 Surfboard Graveyard

Not only my cousin, Manly Artist Angela Van Boxtel, has set a lot of people to think twice about throwing out their snapped surfboards.

Sydney based designer, surfer, artists Chris Anderson has set up an the 1000 Surfboard Graveyard blog with lots of facts and ideas.

Click to enlarge

14 Feb 2012

Repair cafe

Repair Cafe, a neighborhood meeting place where they repair broken stuff for free, is a success in the Netherlands. In one year, the number of bars increased from 1 to 25. Due to the economic crisis the project against the throwaway culture is blooming.

What do you do with a broken toaster, printer, CD player or woolen sweater? In most western countries, the solution is simple: throw it away and buy a new one. In other parts of the world (Latin America, Africa and Asia) are repair shops where things can get a second life. In a country like the Netherlands, they are almost impossible to find and if you find one it appears that the costs are often higher than the price of a new one.

The first Repair Cafe started in 2009 in Amsterdam. Set up as a meeting in a community center where people can bring their broken stuff and meet volunteers who like to fix them. That brings only benefits: You have a nice afternoon, preserve repair knowledge while teaching a new generation how to do it and have your product fixed.
Read article (Dutch)

UPDATE: Read article in NY Times 8 May here and the Sydney Morning Herald 10 May here

9 Feb 2012

18 Feb Less is More Festival

Click on picture to enlarge
Come along to do one or more of those interesting workshops at The Grove Library in Peppermint Grove!

I am giving the Chook Keeping workshop twice, at 10am and 12pm and my friend Liv is giving the Soap Making workshop at 2pm. And there are several people from the Earthcarers giving other workshops.

Check out the timetable on the the website.

How to change the world!

REMINDER:ACT (Activist Campaign Tools) is a series of three day courses for community organisers in Perth, WA.
Priced for an activist budget, they are designed to provide practical skills and campaign secrets for people trying to improve the world.

The courses are designed to provide practical skills and professional training for non-profit organisations, advocates, students and anyone working for change!

CAMPAIGN SKILLS: Freo Sunday 29 Jan, 5 & 12 Feb
Translate passion into action! Campaign Planning, marketing and media, politics and lobbying, events, activism tactics and people skills.

COMMUNITY SKILLS: Perth Sunday 11, 25 Mar & 15 Apr NEW
Build your organisation! Volunteer recruitment and management, fundraising secrets, increase membership, Web 2.0 and Cyber-activism, networking and partnerships.

SPEAKING SKILLS: Perth Sundays 6, 20 May, 10 June
Compelling Communications: Speaking with Confidence, Speech Structure and Content, Vocal Skills, Body Language, Persuasive Psychology, Dynamic Debating, Impromptu Speaking.

For more details and bookings, please see website or call Katrina Bercov on 9443 7454.

7 Feb 2012

Genetically modified wheat trials should be banned

Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC, the WA Greens spokesperson on GMOs, is calling for a ban on genetically modified (GM) wheat trials in Western Australia because of the risks posed to Western Australia’s wheat market.

“There have been numerous contamination incidents associated with GM crop trials, such as the ‘low-risk’ GM rice trial that Bayer conducted in the US which resulted in widespread contamination and cost the US rice industry $1.2 billion, ” said Ms MacLaren.

“Monsanto abandoned plans to commercialise GM wheat in 2004 (GM Canola is approved in WA) because of fears of market rejection and Colin Barnett has promised Japanese buyers that GM wheat will not be grown here. By allowing field trials of GM wheat, the WA Government is potentially jeopardising our $1.7 billion wheat export market,” added Ms MacLaren.

“Questions also need to be asked about the WA Government’s New genes for new environments program. Why is the Government wasting $9 million of taxpayers money developing GM crops when there is no market for them, and traits such as drought and frost tolerance can be more easily developed using other means?” concluded Ms MacLaren.
Read more
DIR 112 - Limited and controlled release of wheat and barley genetically modified for altered grain composition and enhanced nutrient utilisation efficiency
And although there is no market, before 10 February the government is going to advise if this trial in the open field near Merridin is going to happen or not.
If you don't like that to happen, click on the link and send them an email why!

Monsanto to Face Biopiracy Charges in India

The government of India has made it very clear that they will not tolerate Monsanto's attempts to commercialize on their indigenous knowledge, a practice known as biopiracy.

India's National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), a government agency, is suing Monsanto, the world leader in genetically modified (GM) crops and seeds, and their collaborators, the Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company, for using local varieties of eggplant to develop a genetically modified version.

Quite simply, the biotech giant did not get prior approval to use the naturally occurring breeds for the purposes of genetic modification, and in so doing violated the country's Biological Diversity Act (BDA), enacted in 2002.

The case marks the first time a government has accused Monsanto of biopiracy, and the results could set an important precedent for the future of the food supply. In essence, will we continue to allow corporations like Monsanto to steal, profit from, and patent native plants without compensating the native country from which it came?

Monsanto has long been trying to establish control over the seeds of the plants that produce food for the world, with little regard for farmers' rights or even basic levels of morality. They have already patented a number of genetically altered food crops, which can only be grown with proper license and the seeds for which farmers must purchase anew each year or face legal prosecution. They have even developed terminator technology—which they hope to deploy soon.
Read article

Call for tighter laws to halt illegal timber imports

Australia must tighten laws to stop illegal timber imports and insist on stricter labelling of timber products to track the country of origin, an international tropical forests expert says.

James Cook University rainforest ecologist Professor William Laurance has warned ''vague labels such as 'Made in China' are not helpful'' to consumers - and are likely to be misleading - given China's dominant role in the global illegal timber trade.

Although manufactured in China, the products could be made from timber harvested illegally in Africa, South America, Asia or Papua New Guinea.

Speaking at the Australian National University yesterday, he said eco-certification programs such as the Forests Stewardship Council did ''not go far enough'' to protect tropical forests from illegal logging, and mostly applied to timber harvesting in temperate regions. Less than 5per cent of tropical timber is currently eco-certified as being obtained from a sustainably harvested source, he said.
Read article

Logging is a crime against nature

The madness of logging our forests. It is anyone's guess why the State Government wants logging in native forests to continue. Against all the evidence, it claims that logging is sustainable.

So let's turn the question round and ask: why should we stop logging native forests?
Read article

In Western Australia loggers are now poisoning thousands of marri trees that are essential habitat for many endangered forest birds and animals near Bunbury and Bridgetown.
Look at the damage done in Warrup

LED lights the way to the future

A new technique for manufacturing LED lights has been developed by researchers at University of Cambridge.

By combining current LED technology with silicon wafers the researchers have made LED lights far more cost-efficient and more power conservative.

The researchers suggest that if there were a worldwide switch to LED, it could allow the closure of 560 power plants and significantly diminish the CO2 emissions generally emitted from light bulbs.
Read here

echnological Outlook for Energy in WA - Industry Forum 13 February

Western Australia's Department of Commerce supports industry, science and innovation in various ways, including by disseminating current information that many local enterprises find useful or otherwise difficult to gather.

They are aware that recent increases in the cost of energy and future emissions are impacting on the cost of business. This impact is potentially very significant in WA as an energy intensive economy. In order to limit the impact, innovative technological developments are being explored and, where feasible, gradually adopted both in the local generation of energy with lower emissions and in more efficient uses of energy.

To assist us in becoming more aware of relevant technological developments, in collaboration with CSIRO's Energy Transformed Flagship, Western Power, Alcoa World Alumina, Office of Energy and EMC Engineering, they have assembled the relevant expertise to contribute current knowledge in an Industry Forum on the technological outlook for energy in WA.

There is no charge for attending, free parking is available and your participation is highly encouraged.

6 Feb 2012

No Such Thing As Waste

An Aussie Permaculture principle song by yardboidoroony.
Filmed & Edited by Wee Earthlings. Animations by OzJThomas.

2 Feb 2012

What? Genitically modified mosquitoes???

Mosquito-borne diseases remain one of the greatest global threats to human health. Genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes hold great potential to reduce the burden of disease but as research moves from the laboratory into the field, concerns are emerging about how these new mosquito-control strategies are regulated.
Read article

Or this one: Modified bugs turn seaweed into biofuel

Police raid finds dogs and goats for 'human consumption'

A ROCKBANK property housing animals, including dogs and goats suspected of being illegally slaughtered and sold for human consumption, was raided yesterday.

The raid was organised after police received a statement from a witness who reported seeing a dog being butchered and a blowtorch used to remove its hair before the carcass was hung on a hook.

It was also alleged a man who lives on the property sold dog meat to about 100 customers for between $100 and $350.

The witness said the dogs were found through public notices that advertised the animals as free to a good home.
Read article

I am always very sad when I read the free dogs and cats adds on Gumtree, looking for a good home... So many of them!

Why are they still breeding so many pets when there are so many euthanised in shelters or like here, butchered for meat???

So many people think they can 'take' a pet not knowing it involves 100% commitment to that animal while they know they can't give it that so the poor thing ends up in a free add and with a lot of luck with a good person. But mostly those sad animals end up for worse.

I am not a person for regulations but I think it would be very wise, and also more sustainable, if people who want to have pets have to first do a training course, like getting your drivers licence.

What do you think?

Clean up Australia at 10 cents a bottle

VICTORIA should immediately introduce a 10¢ refund scheme for bottles and cans to reduce the thousands of drink containers dumped across the state, according to the founder of Clean Up Australia Day.

'What we are pushing for is [container] deposit legislation like they have got now in the Northern Territory and what they have in South Australia, your recovery rates on beverage containers are less than 35 per cent, whereas in South Australia they are 87 per cent,' he said.
Read article

Coming from a country with a deposit scheme as long as I can remember I can't understand why it takes such a long time in Australia to get it installed. I've read about it for years now and nothing has been done so far, definitely not in WA!

What's the problem? I heard the big suppliers, like Coca Cola, are having to do with holding up legislation as it will cost them 0.01 cent for each bottle or so.

How long do they talk before it will be understood that resources aren't there forever and ever? At least not without ruining this planet...

Insuring the environment – who pays when mining goes wrong?

This past Christmas, Darwin waited with unnecessary nervousness as Cyclone Grant developed to our north. It missed us, but on Boxing Day it dumped 385mm of rain into the Edith River.

The resulting flood washed away a railway embankment and sections of a goods train carrying copper concentrate from Oz Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine in South Australia to the Port of Darwin.

More than 1,000 tonnes of copper concentrate was spilled. The rail wagons are covered only by tarpaulins and derailed by floodwaters tracking a well-forecast cyclone.
Read article