In Brief

Extreme Weather Here to Stay: Climate Commission

New BOM weather map showing the extreme heat over Australia in January 2013, with a new colour purple in the centre, where the temperature was in the 50s Celcius.

A recent report from the Australian Climate Commission has called the current Australian heatwave unprecedented in measurement records, in terms of the length, the severity and the spread of the high temperatures. “Climate change has contributed to making the current extreme heat conditions and bushfires worse” says the report Off the Charts: Extreme Australian summer heat.…

Where Does All the Mercury Go?

Mercury emissions by light source (en)

There is no doubt that compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are more energy efficient than their predecessors, incandescent light bulbs. But the issue of their mercury content ending up in landfills is very real. The Australian Government’s FluoroCycle scheme is a voluntary system supporting industry in recycling fluorescent lights, thereby keeping mercury pollution from entering the…

Prominent Climate-Change Sceptic Converts

Richard A. Muller, professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, looked at all the climate-change research and found some problems. Pieces of the puzzle that didn’t add up, or studies that didn’t stand up to scrutiny. “It’s a scientist’s duty to be properly skeptical”, he rightly states in a recent article for the…

Horizontal Wells Used Polution Remediation in S. Korea Redevelopment

Seoul

Horizontal wells have been installed to remediate ground water pollution problems, in a landmark redevelopment construction project in Seoul, South Korea begun earlier this year. The 140 acre site is being developed as an international  business park, high density housing center, retail center, educational facility and open space in Seoul’s downtown near the Han River.…

And We Have a Winner…

One Magic Square: The Easy, Organic Way to Grow Your Own Food on a 3-Foot Square by Lolo Houbein

My ten-year-old son Liam did the honours today, drawing a name out of a hat, to determine the winner of our giveaway of One Magic Square. In front of exited onlookers, Liam drew out the name… (Drum Roll Please) Dani So our winner is Dani of Ecofootprint ~ South Africa. Congratulations Dani, I hope you…

Vote for Swap Shuffle Share!

Swap Shuffle Share

Swap Shuffle Share is “an online community who swap their backyard bounty at meet-ups, shuffle carrots for cabbages and rhubarb for radishes, and share home-grown tips and tricks about home-growing.” This is a grassroots organisation, up until now solely funded by founder Natasha Kuperman, and exactly the sort of important movement I think Paul Gilding…

How Graphene Just Got Greener

Graphene and Its Fascinating Attributes; Editors: Swapan K. Pati, Toshiaki Enoki, C. N. R. Rao

A lot of attention has been given to the graphene in recent months. The product of an experiment in a Manchester University laboratory only eight years ago, graphene has quickly risen to be the star of material science. Stronger than any known substance, light and flexible, superconducting, and photoelectric graphene is a material with green…

Sustainability Education Portal Launched

The Antarctic Environment (for 2-4 players)

The Australian Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (what a mouthful!), has recently added an Education Portal to their website, with entry points for students and teachers, though the information reached doesn’t seem to be significantly different for the two groups. Categories include Sustainable Living, Biodiversity, Marine, Heritage, Land, Water, Parks, Indigenous Australians,…

US to Fund New Technologies for Off-Shore Wind Energy

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced a six-year, US$180 million initiative to capture wind energy off American coasts, with an initial US$20 million available this year to start up to four offshore wind energy installations. In choosing projects for this new funding, the Energy Department will be looking for “highly innovative technologies that will…

Tiny House to Occupy Wall Street

Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

In the US, over 5,000,000 homes have been foreclosed since the bank bailout. With the housing crisis at the crux of the economic breakdown, just think how different things would look if even half those five million people had chosen to build a tiny house, ten years ago. On December 13th Tumbleweed Founder and Small…

Urban Farming About More Than Just Food

With youth unemployment now at over one million in the UK, skills upgrades are more vital than ever. In respose to this need, Cultivate London began an urban farming project in March, in which young people aged 16-24 can learn real gardening skills. The project has both apprentices and trainees, supported by a head grower…

The Plastic Bag Ban

The ACT Plastic Bag Ban

Plastic bags can take 50 generations, or 1000 years to break down in landfill While Seattle is working towards the use of fewer paper cups, Australia’s Northern and Capital territories will soon be using far less plastic bags. From 1 November 2011 no retailer in the ACT will be able to supply the single-use, light…