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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!