In Brief

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…

China the world leader in renewables; wind most mature renewable energy: UN report

Wind turbines expanding along a ridge in Galicia, Spain

In 2010 China was the world leader in investment in renewable energy technology according to the UN’s Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011. Globally investment was up almost one third in 2010 over 2009, at a record US$211 billion, and for the first time developing economies put more into “financial new investment” than developed ones. Global increase…

$15 Million for Energy-Efficient LED Lighting: US

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced almost US$15 million for eight new research and development projects into high-efficiency solid-state lighting technologies like light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). LEDs and OLEDs can last 25 times as long as incandescent light bulbs and be as much as 10 times more efficient than such…

Guinness Ratify Cloth Diaper Challenge Results

Guinness have ratified the evidence and the official Guiness World Record for most cloth nappies changed simultaneously is 5,026 people. The Great Cloth Diaper Change was held around the world on April 23 (US time) with the aim of raising the public awareness of the benefits and ease of cloth diaper use. The unofficial record…

Solar Protest Action in Australia

Members of the solar sector in Australia have pronounced the 2011 Federal Budget, released last week, as “disappointing”. But Australian’s aren’t taking disappointment lying down. The Solar Last Chance Rally today is a response to the NSW Government permanently closing down their Solar Bonus Scheme (notably started by the previous government), and announcing last Friday…

Solar Power Boosts Home Values

A recent study in California found that having a rooftop solar power system installed significantly increased the value of homes. No surprise right? But the interesting thing was that the sale value of the homes with solar power increased by about the cost of installing the system – even though the original home owner had…

Western Meat Consumption Causing Malnutrition in Africa

Western diets high in meat are coursing malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a study presented recently at an international conference looking at agriculture and its effects on nutrition and health. The report, presented by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), finds that if people in Western countries at less meat, the price of…

National Permaculture Day on May First

Sunday May 1 is National Permaculture Day in Australia. Permaculture is a term that was coined in the ’70s as a shortening of both “permanent agriculture” and “permanent culture”, by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. Josh Byrne, well known from the ABC TV Show, Gardening Australia, calls permaculture “practical, grass roots sustainability in action”. What…

Sustainable Cities Toolkit

A new toolkit to assist with sustainable urban development is the current project of researchers at RMIT University in partnership with the UN Global Cities Programme. Professor Paul James, Director of RMIT’s Global Cities Research Institute, recently spoke to ABC Radio National’s Future Tense, where he described one part of the toolkit as something that…

Antibiotics in Animal Feed Create “Super Bugs”

In a paper published last month in Environmental Health Perspectives, experts explain how administering medicine through animal fodder can cause antibiotic resistant bacteria to develop. “If they don’t get all their food, they don’t get all the medicine, and if they don’t get all the medicine, then the whole bacteria population isn’t wiped out, and…

Full Range of Fairtrade Chocolate

Some, but not yet all, of Green & Black’s organic chocolate bars are fairtrade certified. But they have announced that not only are they on track to met their pledge of being entirely Fairtrade by the end of 2011, and in the UK they have already achieved that goal. This includes both chocolate bars and…

In Brief: Bee Populations Continue to Decline

According to the UN’s Environmental Agency, the world’s bee population will keep declining without changes to the way we manage them and their habitat. Since 70% of the crop species that feed 90% of the world rely on bees for pollination, that is a significant issue for humans as well as bees. To provide some…