Sunday, June 24, 2018

Robert Manne - using his voice to help people better understand climate change

When Robert Manne was diagnosed with throat cancer he faced a stark choice: have his voice box removed, or die. 
Robert Manne - using his voice to help
people better understand climate change.

A leading public intellectual, he thought at first he’d rather die than spend his life unable to speak. 

But now he’s back in the public domain - and still has plenty to say.

And speaking up he certainly is - Professor Manne has declared that his task from now is to do all he can to help Australian’s understand the realities of climate change.

Robert Manne is an Emeritus Professor of politics and Vice-Chancellor's Fellow at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia and is considered by many as leading Australian public intellectual.

He was interviewed on the ABC’s “One Plus One” program by Jane Hutcheon.

You don't use so much plastic, do you? How to ditch it for July – and beyond

My first Plastic Free July was in 2013. At the time most of my friends were signing up for Dry July, the month where participants go alcohol free and raise funds for cancer support organisations across Australia.
Plastic Free July is in its sixth year, and millions will sign
 up to live without single-use plastics for a month. 
Instead, I decided to participate in what was then a relatively unknown challenge to reduce my single-use plastics over a month after watching the eco-documentary The Clean Bin Project.
I had participated in Dry July before; surely a plastic-free July would be just as easy. All I had to do was refuse single-use plastics for 31 days – besides, I didn’t use that much plastic.

Consumer products giant Unilever calls on Australia to step up its battle against plastic pollution

Multinational Unilever, one of the world's biggest consumer products companies says it is being held back in the push to deliver more sustainable packaging.
Unilever's new bottles are made from 25 per cent recycled plastic.
While the Government has pledged to make all plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, Unilever is calling for "stronger co-ordination around how targets are delivered”.

The Government has not set a target for how much recycled content it wants to see in packaging, so Unilever says it has been "leading from the front", re-inventing its packaging to include recycled plastic.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

It’s been 30 years since the first alarm on global warming was sounded

After leading NASA climate scientist James Hansen told the US Congress 30 years ago this week global warming was already worsening heatwaves, many of his colleagues figured politicians would heed the warning.
James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for
Space Studies in New York, warned the US
Congress in 1988 that human-induced global warming
 was already underway and 'may have important implications
 other than for human comfort'. (This photo taken in 1989.)
"When I heard this news, I thought it was time somebody made such a clear message," said Stefan Rahmstorf, then a PhD student in New Zealand and now at Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Read the story by Peter Hannam in today’s Age - “It’s been 30 years since the first alarm on global warming was sounded.”

Wild dogs make a return to help restore the ecological balance

There are just 14 of them, far fewer than those that roamed Mozambique's Gorongosa National Park before the nearly two-decade civil war that started in the 1970s. As up to a million people lost their lives to violence and famine, much of the park's wildlife also was wiped out - including the wild dogs, an endangered species vulnerable to snares and disease.
In this undated photo supplied by Gorogosa Media,
a pack of wild dogs make their way down a road in Mozambique.
Now they have been re-introduced to Gorongosa, carnivores unleashed on plant eaters as part of an intricate conservation project that aims to restore a diverse ecosystem at the southern end of Africa's Great Rift Valley.

‘Inherent flaw': ACT threatens to block energy plan

The Turnbull government's signature energy plan fails to anticipate sudden exits of ailing coal-fired power plants and could lock in targets for a decade - two key design flaws that incline the ACT government to block it, Shane Rattenbury, the territory's energy minister said.
ACT Energy Minister Shane Rattenbury won't back the
National Energy Guarantee in its current form.
"It's very difficult for us to sign up [to the National Energy Guarantee] in the current form," Mr Rattenbury told Fairfax Media. His support will be crucial for the NEG to succeed because it requires all states and territories to sign up. The Federal Government hopes the NEG will reduce power prices, cut carbon emissions and improve reliability of the grid.

Read the story from The Age by Peter Hannam - “‘Inherent flaw': ACT threatens to block energy plan.”

Radioactive water reignites concerns over fracking for gas

High levels of a radioactive material and other contaminants have been found in water from a West Australian fracking site but operators say it could be diluted and fed to beef cattle.
Buru Energy says sampling from its Kimberley fracking
 operations found "relatively high concentrations"
 of a radioactive substance.
The revelations illustrate the potential risks associated with the contentious gas extraction process known as fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, as the Turnbull government pressures states to ease restrictions on the industry and develop their gas reserves.

Read the story from The Age by Nicole Hasham - “Radioactive water reignites concerns over fracking for gas.”