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Posts Tagged ‘Queensland’

Trellises protecting tropical fruit from cyclones

Posted in Movements by Jessica Bird on January 9th, 2013

Source: ABC Rural

tropical fruit tree trellise
Photo by Marty McCarthy

From “Cyclone-proofing Queensland orchards” by Marty McCarthy

Tropical fruit growers near Tully in north Queensland were dealt a hard blow when Cyclone Yasi ripped apart orchards in the area in February 2011. Many farmers not only lost their fruit for the season, but also the trees on which they grow. But two years on from Yasi locals are now using trellises to make sure their trees stay in the ground next time a cyclone hits.

Peter Salleras owns a plantation in the rainforest north of Tully at Feluga, where he grows an array of tropical fruits using trellises. “It’s an insurance policy we have that we can plant a tree and be pretty confident even if a category five hits we’ll still have our trees there,” he said. “With some species we didn’t lose a single tree whereas in [Cyclone] Larry we lost about 80 to 90 per cent. Supporting the trees in a big wind is a bonus for us but it’s not just about cyclone insurance – it’s the ease of harvest, ease of netting, ease of pruning and ability to control pests better.”

Ten minutes up the road from Peter’s farm is Feluga State School, where students are now using trellises to grow tropical fruits as part of an outdoor classroom. Trina McKiernan works with the students in caring for the trees. “Each family here has their own tree that they’ve adopted,’ she said. “A lot of these kids don’t get the interaction with food… it’s really important [for them] to know that things don’t just come out of a box.” And this understanding is already starting to show in the attitudes of students like school captain Madison Styve, who’s using the trellis to grow a rollinia tree. “I still have quite a lot to do with it,” she said. “I still have to do some trimming and hopefully it will get some fruit on it. It’s not just about putting it in the ground and waiting for it to grow by itself. You’ve got to water it you’ve got to feed it with fertiliser and you’ve got to make sure the conditions are right,”

The work students like Madison are doing with trellises is critical to the region because although trellising is common practice in Australia’s southern states, the structures are rarely used to help grow tropical fruits. Kath Gregory is a local lettuce grower and volunteers at the Feluga State School helping the children care for their trees. “It [trellising] has been tried in southern climates, but not for growing tropical trees,” she said. “I think the most important thing [about trellising] is you can grow a huge amount of stuff in a very small place and the fruit trees are all going to survive a cyclone. In the previous two cyclones a lot of us lost most of our fruit trees with not a lot remaining. But with this system the trees remain alive and you can still pick the fruit. It’s just magic.”

>>> You can find the original article on ABC Rural.


Support Systems: Rebuilding for Resilience

Posted in Models, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on June 30th, 2011

Source: The Fifth Estate

From “Resilience planning for wild weather and climate change” by Leon Gettler:

Queensland, the state of floods and cyclones that devastated property, has become Australia’s laboratory for sustainable building, for creating resilient homes, offices and structures in the face of climatic volatility. In a radical scheme, Grantham residents who had confronted a deadly mountain of water in the floods, have been invited to apply for land swaps to higher ground after the small southeast town was declared the first designated reconstruction area under the new Queensland Reconstruction Authority’s powers. The local council is working with reconstruction authority to create the land swaps.

Green Cross Australia, the non profit group working with developers, insurers and the Property Council of Australia to encourage sustainable thinking, plans to launch a Harden Up portal in August.

The scheme is a world first. Using social media, it aims to makes people aware of the history of the weather patterns in their region, helps prepare them to protect their homes, families and communities and encourages them to share their insights. People will be able to tap into the portal to assess the weather patterns in their suburb or town over the last 150 years, using data from the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO. They will be taken on interactive multimedia tours and encouraged to share their insights through a page on Facebook. The exercise is not only about creating awareness, it’s about empowering communities and giving them the know-how and information needed to create more resilient housing.

Green Cross Australia has also run Build It Back Green workshops that seek to reduce household greenhouse gas emissions, improve community resilience through good design and engagement, invest in green school infrastructure, invest in commercial, government and public buildings, invest in green infrastructure projects and develop solutions for low income residents that reduce energy, water and waste.

Significantly, the Build It Back Green model is now being used by 7000 Victorians whose homes were destroyed in the Black Saturday fires. It is also now being taken up by residents in Perth who faced the bushfires there in January.

Read the rest of this article by Leon Gettler on The Fifth Estate.

Brisbane to Construct Second Landfill Gas Plant

Posted in Models, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on May 18th, 2011


Image via UK Energy Saving

From “Willawong waste-to-power plan gets Green approval” by Karin Adams, Sarah McVeigh on QUT News:

The Greens have welcomed Brisbane City Council’s plan to turn rubbish into power, but say the council is years behind the rest of the world.

The landfill site at Willawong in the south of Brisbane will have its methane and carbon dioxide emissions turned into electricity and put into the grid. Methane gas is 21 times more environmentally damaging than carbon dioxide. Landfill Gas Industries managing director Adam Bloomer, the company building the plant, says this will tackle a huge problem for council. “Every council in Australia that owns a landfill,” she said. “Their landfill is their single biggest source of their carbon emissions.” “Generally they’re somewhere in the range of 60 to 70 per cent of their greenhouse gas emission.”

Queensland Greens spokesperson Libby Connors says Brisbane and Australia are behind the rest of the world. “Queensland and Brisbane in particular are a long way behind the (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) where at least 20 OECD countries are already using this sort of technology,” she said. She says she has been calling for the Willawong landfill gas plan for 20 years. “Australia has been really smug for many years that the easiest solution for our waste disposal is landfill because we’ve supposedly got all this space,” she said. “You know that is just completely been the wrong attitude.”

Waste Management Association of Australia Queensland president Pravin Menon says Brisbane City Council is pushing forward with good sustainability policy. “What Brisbane City Council is doing is extremely responsible from an environmental perspective…in actually utilising a resource in the ground that would otherwise add to our environmental impact,” he said. He says future waste management strategies need to avoid, reuse and divert waste. “Councils should firstly look at reducing the amount of waste that they send to landfill,” he said.

Ms Connors says Queensland is missing landfill gas plant opportunities. “It’s interesting the only two plants are here in Brisbane but there are plenty of other opportunities to develop this around the state,” she said. Mr Bloomer says the benefits of the plant are environmental but won’t stem the rising electricity prices. “I don’t think it’s going to make a big difference to electricity prices,” he said. “Renewable energy is still a premium product as far as cost is concerned.” But he says what it will do is provide power to around 1400 homes annually. The plant will be operational by June 2012.

Read this article by Karin Adams & Sarah McVeigh on QUT News.


OpenIDEO Challenge for Australia: Local Food

Posted in seeking by Kate Archdeacon on March 28th, 2011


Image: robstephaustralia via flickr CC

How might we better connect food production and consumption?

The Challenge asks design thinkers and people in the food sector to consider ways to improve and enhance the relationships and interactions between producers and consumers, rural and urban communities, growers and retailers. At the heart of this challenge lie issues of food security, global sustainability and local happiness.

Help us close the gap between rural food production and urban food consumption to create more sustainable, happy and healthy communities. OpenIDEO has partnered with the Queensland Government in Australia and the IDEAS Festival 2011 to create a closer connection between local food production and consumption that can make a dramatic impact on sustainability efforts.

Food, glorious food: a fundamental need yet how often do we take it for granted? We’ve come to expect the convenience of plucking the very best in fresh produce from our supermarket shelves or local markets all year round – but at what cost to our farmers, our environment and future generations?

The Challenge asks us to consider ways to improve and enhance the relationships and interactions between producers and consumers, rural and urban communities, growers and retailers, retailers and consumers. We’d like the community to consider issues such as energy use, transportation, biodiversity, food security, nutrition, obesity, the health of rural economies and the strength of inter-generational and intercultural knowledge sharing.

At the heart of this challenge lie issues of global sustainability and local happiness to improve life for rural and urban communities. We hope to cast a wide net for inspirations and concepts that will address the challenge in a holistic way. Think about new services, campaigns, policies, products, systems that could address these issues.

The concepts that we create together through this process will be as good or as bad as the community that gets involved. Please do share what we’re up to in your social networks and if you’re on Twitter you can use our hashtag #oi_localfood

For more information or to get involved, visit the challenge page at: http://openideo.com/open/localfood/inspiration/


Green Building Demonstration Project: Commercial Viability

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on June 8th, 2010

Source: Green Building Council Australia (GBCA)

Green Building Case Study:

When the Queensland Government’s Accommodation Office (AO) recognised the need for a Government Joint Contact Centre (JCC) in 2006, they embarked upon a project to demonstrate to government agencies and industry that projects can achieve the highest ESD outcomes at a commercial cost. Design decisions were made for their ‘green’ benefits, payback periods and quality.  The JCC project was earmarked to achieve and exceed the Queensland Government’s benchmark of 5 Star Green Star Office Design buildings, and adhere to strategic policies relating to the reduced consumption of water and energy and the use of renewable and sustainable construction materials for existing and new building stock.

Project Outcomes:

The result is a building that has achieved a 6 Star Green Star – Office Design v2 rating representing ‘world leading’ green building design. At the time of certification (25 September 2009), JCC achieved the highest number of points (92/100) to date for any Office Design v2 project in Australia. At the time of publishing this case study, this achievement had not been surpassed.  The JCC building is expected to deliver substantial economic savings as a direct result of the symbiotic relationship of its building components, building services, and building generation elements relating to maximising energy efficiency and passive design.

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