Archive for August, 2008

Launch of e-publication “Cultivating the Web”

Posted in Uncategorized by fedwards on August 29th, 2008

Eat Well Guide’s first publication, “Cultivating the Web: High Tech Tools for the Sustainable Food Movement” has just been launched and is available for free download at

“Cultivating the Web” highlights how new media is supporting the agrarian revival and also includes a comprehensive list of web resources for all sorts of good food fighters, from farmers to foodies to activists. This book is the first of its kind for our movement, and includes contributions from Joan Gussow, Marion Nestle, Bill McKibben, Tom Philpott, Bonnie Powell, Kerry Trueman, Anya Fernald and Fritz Haeg.

You can also learn more on the Green Fork Blog,

Growing Fuel

Posted in Models by fedwards on August 28th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #74, 26 August 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar,“.

Queensland Green Vine
“A hectare of the trees can produce 5500 litres of biodiesel a year – enough to run 100 cars for a year. All of Queensland’s fuel needs could be met by about 1.5 million hectares of the trees – an area about 10 times the size of Brisbane. The potential for large-scale commercial production is ‘super high’ says Professor Peter Gresshoff, an expert in plant biotechnology and biofuel at the University of Queensland.

‘In a few decades’ time, I believe we will have large forests of pongamia [pongamia pinnata – sometimes referred to as native wisteria] along the Bruce Highway’, Prof Gresshoff said. Growing trees as a source of biodiesel has a double appeal in countering climate change. The trees would absorb carbon and reduce future greenhouse gas emissions by offering a renewable alternative to fossil fuels. “The native wisteria, often grown as an ornamental because of its purple flowers, could be ideal as it has already adapted to Australian conditions and will tolerate drought, frost and salty soils, meaning it could be grown in many areas, Prof Gresshoff said. And because it’s a legume, it produces its own nitrogen, eliminating the need for fertiliser. The oil, similar to olive oil, is produced in seeds inside large pods. The trees take five years to reach their first yield but then produce annually for up to 100 years.

And the bonus, Prof Gresshoff said, was that as a legume the trees would provide a high-protein feed for cattle which would be worth as much, or more, than the diesel itself. The researchers are looking at the best areas for planting and trying to develop variations which could produce five times the number of seeds.

“Gum trees are also being looked at as a possible source of biofuel. Queensland Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation Minister Andrew McNamara recently returned from a trade delegation visit to Brazil where major companies including Dow Chemicals are looking at how to produce lignocellulosic – or second-generation – ethanol from the woody parts of plants, rather than sugar or grains. ‘They feel they are five years away from correcting this process’, Mr McNamara said. ‘It’s tantalisingly close’.

Queensland scientists are watching closely, believing the method could be used to produce fuel from eucalypts.‘Gums grow quite quickly and have quite a mass’, Mr McNamara said. ‘We need to pursue every rabbit down every hole in the search for sustainable energy sources. There’s no silver bullet, but there’s a lot of silver buckshot’.

“Mike Jubow, who runs the Nunyara Forest Nursery at Mackay, has been importing seeds for the so called ‘diesel tree’ – copaifera langsdorfil – from Brazil for two years. He has supplied about 100 growers with a total of 50kg of wild seed, enough for about 50,000 trees. ‘But we’ve been getting a lot more inquiries since the fuel prices have gone right up’, he said. Mr Jubow, who normally imports 10kg lots of seed, said he would have to place an order in for 20kg-30kg to keep up with the growing demand. A latex-type oil can be extracted from the trees and converted quite simply to biodiesel. A 1ha plantation is expected to produce 10,000 to 12,000 litres a year and the first harvest would cover the cost of planting and nurturing, but the trees take about 15 years to mature and have to be handharvested. They are suited to high rainfall areas.

“Another import being considered is the jatropha, a drought-resistant shrub being cultivated by BP as a biofuel in India, southern Africa and South-East Asia. But Mr Jubow said the toxic plant, nicknamed ‘the bellyache bush’, should be kept out of Australia. It has already been declared a weed in Queensland. Another plant with biofuel potential but also regarded as a weed risk is euphorbia lathyris, or caper spurge.”

Ref: Daryl Passmore, Courier Mail, 10/8/08

Seeking Papers in Energy Policy for Low Carbon Communities

Posted in Research by fedwards on August 27th, 2008

Call for Papers in Energy Policy
Special Issue: Low Carbon Communities
Guest Editors: Yacob Mulugetta, Tim Jackson, and Dan van der Horst

We welcome a range of different contributions to the theme ‘low carbon communities’, including for example the following:
• The role of planning in facilitating (or impeding) community owned energy services
• Low carbon housing initiatives
• Co-operative energy programmes
• Technologies and communities
• Partnership approaches and the role of the private sector
• Social enterprises and their place in communities
• Low carbon outcomes through communities of place
• Achieving low carbon outcomes through community of interest
• Values and outcomes associated with a low carbon community
• Accounting for direct and indirect energy in community-based initiatives
• Participation, ownership and responsibility
• Social cohesion through low carbon community schemes
• Institutions for community-based initiatives: divergent experiences
• Community networks and their value for decarbonisation
• Food miles, diet and health in communities
• Low carbon travelling initiatives (work and leisure)
• Legislation, policy and governance to encourage distributed energy
• Community action: cycling, car sharing schemes
• Economic incentives and market mechanisms for collective action
• Social innovation and social ownership
• Localisation and carbon reduction
• Co-production and co-use arrangements
• The cost of decentralisation and centralisation
• Urban municipal cases

We welcome contributions from practitioners, researchers and scholars – and we are happy to provide feedback or guidance on abstracts or draft documents. We particularly invite submissions that use a comparative analytic framework and use empirical evidence to address theoretical questions. Full papers will be 6000 to 8000 words in length. We are looking for about 12 papers.
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Event – Postgraduate International Course on “Global Environmental Change” – 9 to 16 November

Posted in Events, Movements, Research by fedwards on August 8th, 2008


Integrated Assessment of Global Environmental Change Many aspects of our planet are changing rapidly due to human activity. Over the last 50 years, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in other comparable period of time. All these changes, including climate change, land use change, pollution and biodiversity loss are
strongly interrelated and cannot be seen in isolation. Because their impacts influence the entire planet, the combined changes are commonly recognized as global environmental change.

To study and understand the causes of global change and possible responses and to learn how to use scientific information in Integrated Assessments. The course is not only meant to discuss the latest scientific findings on global change issues, but also to train skills that are needed for making this knowledge available for policy making

This multidisciplinary course is especially intended for PhD students from the natural and social sciences.

The summer course will be held 9-16 November 2008, at a central location in the Netherlands.

The course will consist of lectures by prominent international scientists, model exercises and exercises in writing texts for Integrated Assessments. Besides the regular lectures, each day will end with a stimulating aperitif lecture, which will include controversial and philosophical topics. Active discussion with the lecturers will be stimulated by asking participants to prepare propositions for each lecture. Interaction with lecturers and fellow participants will be further stimulated by poster presentations.

Finally, a small group assignment will encourage discussion the lectures, guided by topical questions. The study load is equivalent to 3 credits (ECTS).

The course is primarily intended for PhD student, and is limited to 30 participants. However, motivated post-docs and other researchers are also encouraged to apply.

You can send your application to the SENSE Education Desk ( before 1 September 2008., including:

  1. Your Name
  2. Name and address of research group
  3. Status: PhD student/ postdoc/ other
  4. If applicable: graduate school name
  5. a short motivation letter, and
  6. CV

After a selection procedure, you will be notified about participation by September 2008. You can also register online

The course fee is EUR 500, except for PhD students from the Research Schools SENSE, PE&RC and Mansholt with an approved Education Plan (TSP), for whom the fee is EUR 350. For a few participants from developing countries the fee may be waived. Fee includes B&B, coffee, tea, lunches, dinners and course materials.


  • Rik Leemans, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • Robert T. Watson, University of East Anglia, UK
  • Ekko Van Ierland, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • Frans Berkhout, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Pavel Kabat, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • Carolien Kroeze, Wageningen University
  • And many others

SENSE Research School for the Natural and Socio-Economic Sciences of the Environment (

Lindsey Wuisan
Environmental Systems Analysis Group
Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Movement: Beijing embraces Brave New World of buildings

Posted in Movements by Rob Eales on August 8th, 2008

I thought the Sustainable Cities Network audience would find the following article interesting. As climate change approaches so too does innovation arise in building techniques! Have a read below of the abstract about how the city of Beijing is embracing such change.

Date: June 24, 2008 — Updated 1427 GMT (2227 HKT)
Beijing embraces Brave New World of buildings
By Stephanie Busari, For CNN, URL

LONDON, England (CNN) — China’s new found wealth has seen an explosion in the number of new developments springing up in what is, arguably, the world’s biggest building boom.
The construction of the Linked Hybrid project is underway in Beijing.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Beijing, which has transformed into a virtual construction zone as the city undergoes an Olympic makeover.

Once a flat cityscape in the shadow of the formidable Forbidden City, Beijing has been struck by skyscraper fever.

The city is now an architect’s playground with foreign “starchitects,” like Norman Foster flocking to the country armed with individual creations that push aesthetic and technological boundaries.

And the latest addition to the Beijing skyline is no exception.

Standing on the edge of the former site of the city’s historic walls are a series of eight asymmetrical towers that bestride the smog-laden landscape like a colossus.

Dubbed the Beijing Linked Hybrid, this architectural maverick has certainly pushed the design envelope to its very limit.

The brainchild of New York architect Steven Holl, the mixed-use unit is a ring of eight 21-story towers, linked at the 20th floor by gently sloping public sky bridges, lined with galleries, cafes, restaurants, bars and shops.

The development has been widely praised for its forward thinking sustainable design that includes a waste water recycling plant that sits beneath the complex and one of the world’s largest geothermal systems, which eliminates the need for boilers or electrical air conditioners.

Research – “Attitudes to conservation and water consumption” report

Posted in Movements, Research, Visions by fedwards on August 8th, 2008

Please find below some information about the report, “Attitudes to conservation and water consumption” which was recently posted on Australian Policy Online . There is also a link to the full article below.

Attitudes to conservation and water consumption
Bill Randolph and Patrick Troy / City Futures Research Centre
Posted: 18-07-2008

Sydney’s water supply is under great pressure as the demand continues to rise. Demand mitigation strategies have had some success, but domestic consumption remains high. This paper discusses the attitudes of households to their water consumption in a search for ways in which domestic demand for water may be reduced. Evidence on attitudes of households in different kinds of housing was obtained using a telephone interview survey supplemented by information derived from focus groups drawn from households in the same areas. The information was collected in a period when strong water use restrictions were in place and major arguments were being mounted in favour of water pricing as a way of moderating demand. The paper argues that the complexity of the forces shaping demand needs to be understood in the context of the socio-demographic composition of households in different kinds of dwellings, as well as the cultural, behavioural and institutional aspects of consumption, if public policy is to be successful in reducing consumption and/or providing alternative domestic supplies of potable water.

Full Text [pdf]

Australian Policy Online

Transport Resource – “Greener” Car Buyers Guide

Posted in Models by fedwards on August 7th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #70, 29 July 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar,

Car Buyers Guide

“Car buyers can now compare the running costs and carbon emissions of the various makes and models before heading down to the dealer, thanks to an innovative addition to the Government’s Green Vehicle Guide: ”

Ref: Federal Government Media Statement, 20/7/07

Green Vehicle Guide

Resource – “Farming Futures” fact sheets

Posted in Models, Research, Visions by fedwards on August 7th, 2008

The information below was sourced from Tara Garnett at the Food Climate Research Network, Centre for Environmental Strategy University of Surrey, This is an excellent resource to receive updates on research and events on an international basis pertaining to sustainable food systems. To join the FCRN mailing list please email Tara at taragarnett

Farming Futures – new fact sheets
The Farming Futures programme, managed by Forum for the Future, has produced new fact sheets on: anaerobic digestion, biomass, water management and soil management. You can download them here: . In the pipeline are fact sheets on nutrient management, smart technology, how to measure your carbon footprint and energy efficiency.

To remind you, Farming Futures is a collaborative communications project jointly run by the the National Farmers’ Union, Country Land and Business Association and the Agricultural and Horticultural Research Forum (representing the agricultural and horticultural levy boards), the Agricultural Industries Confederation, Forum for the Future and Defra. It aims to provide provide inspiration and information to the farming sector on how to prepare for the impacts, opportunities, risks and responsibilities that climate change brings. For more information see

Food Climate Research Network

Call for abstracts: Global Health & Development Conference – 15 August

Posted in Movements, Research by fedwards on August 6th, 2008

Unite For Sight 6th Annual Global Health & Development Conference: “Achieving Global Goals Through Innovation

When: April 18-19, 2009
Where: Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
What: Join 2,500 conference participants for a stimulating international conference
As Featured On CNN: The Unite For Sight Conference Is What CNN Calls “A Meeting Of Minds”

NOW OPEN: Registration and Abstract Submission
First abstract deadline is August 15 (oral presentation deadline and early bird poster presentation deadline).

200 Speakers, Including Keynote Addresses by Dr. Jeffrey Sachs and Dr. Sonia Sachs
Register For Conference: REGISTER BY JULY 31 TO SECURE LOWEST RATE. Rate escalates each month.
Who is eligible to submit an abstract? Anyone may submit an abstract. Abstract submitters range from students to professionals.
Who should attend? Anyone interested in international health, public health, international development, medicine, nonprofits, eye care, philanthropy, microfinance, social entrepreneurship, bioethics, economics, anthropology, health policy, advocacy, environmental health, service-learning, medical education, and public service.

Keynote Addresses

  • Jeffrey Sachs, PhD, Director of Earth Institute at Columbia University; Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, Professor of Health Policy and Management, Columbia University; Special Advisor to Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon
  • Sonia Sachs, MD, MPH, Health Coordinator, Millennium Villages

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Leading Green Thinkers Roadshow, Australia – August

Posted in Events, Models, Movements by fedwards on August 6th, 2008

This August, The Green Building Council will be hitting the road to bring you one of Australia’s Leading Green Thinkers, Robert Coombs.

Robert Coombs is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Asia Pacific division of InterfaceFLOR, Australia’s leading manufacturer of commercial interior products. Hear about InterfaceFLOR’s journey to becoming Australia’s first manufacturing company to have 100% of its products Climate Neutral.

Places are limited, so book now to secure your spot!

Leading Green Thinkers Roadshow August 2008

Leading Green Thinkers Sydney Monday 11 August
When: Monday 11 August 2008
Where: Watersedge, Pier 1, 11 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay
Time: 5:15pm-8:00pm (Light refreshments from 7-8pm)
RSVP: Thursday 7 August 2008

Leading Green Thinkers Melbourne Wednesday 13 August
When: Wednesday 13 August 2008
Where: Sofitel Melbourne, Arthur Streeton Auditorium, Collins St
Time: 5:15pm-8:00pm (Light refreshments from 7-8pm)
RSVP: Friday 8 August 2008

Leading Green Thinkers Brisbane Wednesday 27 August
When: Wednesday 27 August 2008
Where: Brisbane City Hall, King Georges Square
Time: 5:15pm-8:00pm (Light refreshments from 7-8pm)
RSVP: Friday 22 August 2008

Ticket Prices

  • $65 for GBCA Members
  • $90 for Non-Members
  • $40 for Future Green Leaders Members

Book Online!
Registrations for GBCA events are now online, please visit the Green Building Council Australia website to register. If you are having problems logging in, please read the login guide for assistance

Green Building Council Australia