Archive for November, 2009

Walk Against Warming

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on November 30th, 2009

Source: Zero Carbon Moreland

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Come along to the Walk Against Warming and help form a massive human sign, a sign so big that the message will reach Copenhagen! In Melbourne, the walk will start by the State Library, on the corner of Swanston Street and La Trobe Street at noon on December 12 and end at Princess Bridge. On the bridge, 20,000 people will make a human sign saying: SAFE CLIMATE – DO IT. Zero Carbon Moreland friends and supporters are invited to meet and walk together. To find actions in other cities, visit the website.

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Green Cities 2010: People, Places, Performance

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on November 25th, 2009

Source: Green Building Council Australia (GBCA)

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Green Cities 2010 – People, Places, Performance – is now taking bookings.

“Join us in Melbourne from the 21-24 February 2010 at the largest and most influential green building conference in the Asia Pacific region. Bringing together green building innovators and leaders from around Australia and internationally we will explore new ideas and share practical knowledge in the expanding sustainable building industry. ”

  • Hear from renowned global green building experts including: Malcolm Smith – Director of Integrated Urbanism, Arup UK;  Jerry Yudelson – Principal, Yudelson Associates USA
  • Learn about the latest industry developments, techniques and strategies
  • Network with global and domestic sustainability leaders
  • Visit some of Melbourne’s latest Green Star certified buildings including CH2, The Gauge and Goods Shed North
  • Brush up on your professional development at a Master Class

What is Green? Retail Icon System

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 23rd, 2009

Source: O2: network for sustainable design

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Image: Green Depot

Green Depot is a US supplier of environmentally friendly and sustainable building products, services and home solutions.  Its stated goal is to establish sustainable building as cost competitive, and to provide products of the highest quality that are certified green.  All of the products Green Depot sells must pass through its proprietary green “filter,” a strict quality and values criteria focusing on health, durability, performance, life cycle, natural resource conservation and energy conservation.  This filter is designed to address the issues of greenwashing that serve to confuse and mislead consumers, and ensure an accurate evaluation of each product carried.

In 2008, Green Depot evolved its goal of demystifying green for consumers by developing a system of icons to break down green into five simple categories: air quality, local, social responsibility, energy & conservation.  These icons allow customers to choose products that address the aspects of green living that are most important to themselves, their budgets and their families, identifying every product that meets one of the filter criteria.  They are displayed as a half-tone if a product performs better than most conventional products but has room for improvement, and full-tone if it truly meets or exceeds standards.


Incremental Change: the Ginza Bee Project

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on November 20th, 2009

Source: Japan for Sustainability

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Image via tokyo green space

From “The Ginza Honeybee Project — Urban Development Inspired by Beekeeping” by Yuriko Yoneda

Ginza is one of the world’s leading downtown districts, complete with high-class department stores and designer shops. Ginza honeybees are nicknamed “Ginpachi” (short for “Ginza bees” in Japanese), and recently they have become somewhat of a new mascot for the district.  In March 2006, the Ginza Bee Project placed three hives on a rooftop 45 meters above the intersection at Ginza 4-chome, and bees began flying into the sky above Ginza.  Parks such as the Imperial Palace, Hibiya Park, and Hama-rikyu Gardens are located within two kilometers, and many roadside trees are also good sources of nectar. The amount of honey collected has been increasing steadily, growing from 160 kilograms (kg) in 2006, to 290 kg in 2007, 440 kg in 2008, and over 700 kg in 2009.   The beekeepers are using the honey to make Ginza-based products using local skills.

The honeybee is said to be an environmental indicator species because it is extremely susceptible to pesticides, which are used on vast areas of farmland in Japan, and are causing the survival rate of bees to drop. Meanwhile, in Ginza, which is in the central part of metropolitan Tokyo, the use of pesticides is avoided because of the growing number of people with allergies. So Ginza has ended up being a bee-friendly environment, and the high-quality honey-producing Ginza bees have made people aware that the district has a rich natural environment.  Since the bees were brought to Ginza, cherry blossoms that had previously not been pollinated began to produce cherries. People began to see birds eating the cherries, and small insects began rejuvenating the environment around the area.

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Climate-change affordability: Economic study

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on November 19th, 2009

Source: Environmental Research Web

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Image: D Sharon Pruitt via flickr CC

From “Climate-change policy is affordable after allby Liz Kalaugher

Climate policy is cheaper than most economic studies have suggested. Indeed it is affordable without causing any disastrous effects on our economies. That’s according to Jeroen van den Bergh of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain, and Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  “I wasn’t satisfied with the dominant economic approaches, notably cost-benefit analysis of climate policy,” van den Bergh told environmentalresearchweb. “In addition, I had the feeling that many important arguments, including very down-to-earth ones, were being left out of the debate on climate policy. I decided therefore to list all the relevant alternative perspectives on the cost of climate policy I could come up with in a single paper.”

Writing in Climatic Change, van den Bergh details twelve new angles on climate policy cost that haven’t received any attention so far. He believes that cost-benefit analysis isn’t appropriate for climate change policies as it’s hard to be certain about the costs of climate damage, to put a cost on the value of a human life, or to handle scenarios that have a small probability of taking place but would have a high impact, including irreversible changes such as a slow-down of the global thermohaline circulation, or the collapse of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets.  The studies tend also to neglect the impact of climate change on human conflict, biodiversity, economic development and human populations. Cost-benefit analyses carried out to date have come up with a wide range of estimates for climate costs. Instead van den Bergh prefers to assess the cost of a reasonably safe climate policy.

“If it can be argued that a safe climate policy means considerably lower net costs than the absence of such a policy, it is rational to be in favour of such a policy,” he writes. “This represents a kind of cost-effectiveness combined with precaution, given the uncertainties involved, aimed at avoiding extreme damage costs due to climate change.”

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Sharing & efficiency: Taxi 2

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 18th, 2009

Source: Springwise

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Taxi2 is a beta project from Virgin Atlantic that’s currently being tested in New York and London.  Touting the financial and environmental motivations for sharing a cab, Taxi2 is a free service for passengers of any airline. Users simply log on to the Taxi2 site and input their flight and destination details. From there, the system matches them with suitable cab-sharing companions and provides a protected way to contact them, allowing the travellers to decide whether to agree to the match. The system offers a way for female travellers to be matched only with other female travellers; it also protects all personal details. Once travellers agree on a match, Taxi2 even provides a printable and foldable sign to help them find each other at the airport. A mobile version of the technology is coming soon.  Much the way carpooling makes sense as a way to reduce the cost and impact of commuting to work, so cab-sharing seems like a no-brainer for all the many travellers heading in the same direction.

Read more on Springwise.


The Big Green Idea

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on November 17th, 2009

Source: GreenRazor, the GreenPages Newsletter

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An innovative funding scheme for eco-visionary Australians

Got a big green idea? Need money to help it grow? Then the British Council wants to hear from you. The Big Green Idea is a new funding initiative from the British Council designed to help put eco-visionary ideas into action. For the first time, in 2009 we’re offering five project grants of AU$10,000 each to people who will make a real contribution to Australia’s environmental future. The Big Green Idea is designed to assist in initiating new projects that motivate people to minimise their own climate change impacts. We’re looking for eco-entrepreneurs with savvy ideas to address some of the biggest sustainability challenges faced by urban communities.

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New models of conservation: “Win The Best Holiday In The World”

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 16th, 2009

Source: EcoVoice

From: “Help Save The Cassowary And You Could Win A Holiday To Tropical North Qld”, by Mia Lucy

The Best Holiday in the World competition has been set up by the Australian Rainforest Foundation (ARF) to provide funds to purchase a 250km stretch of rainforest Cassowary habitat in far North Queensland to allow safe passage and breeding for the Cassowary.  Saving the big bird is a massive undertaking. The ARF’s response to this challenge is Operation Big Bird, launched globally in August 2009. The campaign brings together all levels of government, community groups and individuals, scientists, traditional owners, land managers and the corporate sector to work collaboratively towards a common goal.

“The Cassowary is the gardener of the Australian rainforest and its survival is vital for the health of the habitat,” says Warren Entsch, ARF Chairman. We refer to it as a keystone species because its existence is critical for the survival, food and shelter of many other plants and animals. These magnificent birds disperse the seeds of more than 200 rainforest plants through their droppings. If the Cassowary disappears, rainforests like the magnificent Daintree will irreversibly changed. Also, keep in mind this bird is of immense cultural significance to the local Indigenous population,” he says.  The goal is an ambitious Cassowary corridor, linking critical areas of habitat between Cooktown and Cardwell, a distance of more than 400km covering a wide variety of vegetation.

“This will be the largest wildlife corridor ever established in Australia and will be a world-first pilot project demonstrating how an industrialised nation can sustain an endangered wildlife population in its midst.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Struggle for Sustainability in Rural China: Book Release

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on November 11th, 2009

Source: Eanth-L, e-list for the field of ecological/environmental anthropology.
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Image: boris van hoytema via flickr CC

Exploring the complexity of sustainable development within a rapidly changing nation…

Though China’s economy is projected to become the world’s largest within the next twenty years, industrial pollution threatens both the health of the country’s citizens and the natural resources on which their economy depends. Capturing the consequences of this reality, Bryan Tilt conducts an in-depth, ethnographic study of Futian Township, a rural community reeling from pollution.

The industrial township is located in the populous southwestern province of Sichuan. Three local factories – a zinc smelter, a coking plant, and a coal-washing plant-produce air and water pollution that far exceeds the standards set by the World Health Organization and China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection. Interviewing state and company officials, factory workers, farmers, and scientists, Tilt shows how residents cope with this pollution and how they view its effects on health and economic growth. Striking at the heart of the community’s environmental values, he explores the intersection between civil society and environmental policy, weighing the tradeoffs between protection and economic growth. Tilt ultimately finds that the residents are quite concerned about pollution, and he investigates the various strategies they use to fight it. His study unravels the complexity of sustainable development within a rapidly changing nation.

“The Struggle for Sustainability in Rural China: Environmental Values and Civil Society”,  by Bryan Tilt


Saving marine life with flowerpots

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 9th, 2009

Source: The Ecologist

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Image: British Ecological Society

From “How to save marine life… with flowerpots” by Emma Bocking, 27th October, 2009

Although sea walls are a strong form of coastal defence they effectively wipe out rock pools which are important oases for marine life. Scientists in Sydney have found a solution involving flower pots…  As anyone who has ever been rockpooling before knows, these little pools of seawater can be a haven for marine life.  But when a natural shoreline is replaced with a vertical seawall, the gently sloping foreshore, along with its rockpools, vanishes.

Without rock pools the number and diversity of animals and plants species in the intertidal area plummets.  Two ecologists at the University of Sydney, Dr Mark Browne and Prof. Gee Chapman have come up with a solutions that is so simple you wonder it hasn’t been done before – flower pot pools.

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