'We believe the next decade will see the movement towards a low carbon economy and environmental sustainability reach a tipping point. Popular consciousness will reject insatiable consumption; traditional ideologies and institutions will be challenged. This decade will set the foundation for a new era of humanity.
Already know whats happening with climate change? Don't care about politics and just want to do something positive to help the planet and your community? Skip down the page to see 'The climatefirst solution', or jump to our 'Easy Ways to Go Green' for tips and fresh ideas on how you can make a difference. Want to be informed? - read on...
Action - why?
Currently, atmospheric CO2 concentrations are 388 ppm and rising at a rate of about 2 ppm a year. Without significant mitigation global mean warming could reach as high as 7 degrees Celsius by 2100. (The Copenhagen Diagnosis, 2009).
If current trends continue millions of people will be at risk from extreme events such as heat waves, drought, floods and storms, our coasts and cities will be threatened by rising sea levels, and many ecosystems, plants and animal species will be in serious danger of extinction. (UNFCCC Bali Climate Declaration 2009).
We can already see climate change affecting habitats, wildlife and people with more frequent extreame weather, disappearing glaciers, melting ice sheets, acidification of the oceans, the spread of mosquito borne diseases, biodiversity losses and major methane releases from increased permafrost melt.
"If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence suggests that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm." (Hansen, J. et al. Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim? NASA 2008).
“If this whole thing hasn't been turned around within a decade, we'll be in a situation where climate change will be driving itself, irrespective of what any humans do. It will be unstoppable."- Dr Charlie Veron, former chief scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science 2009.
(graph courtesy www.350.org)
Action - what can we do?
Climate change cannot be stopped at this point, but we can still prevent the worst of it from happening. There are 3 primary strategies to deal with climate change;
Emissions reductions through energy efficiency, clean energy, forestry and reduced deforestation, ecosystem management, and modified behaviours.
|2. Adaptation||Initiatives and measures to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems against actual or expected climate change effects such as modify land-use regimes and migration away from hazard zones.|
|3. Geo-Engineering||Options that involve large-scale engineering of our environment in order to combat or counteract the effects of changes in atmospheric chemistry, for example underground storage of carbon dioxide or ‘fertilization’ of oceans with iron to encourage growth of plankton.|
Abatement strategies for emission reductions present the most immediate means for governments, communities and individuals to mitigate climate change. However political and scientific arguments about the validity and implementation of abatement strategies have resulted in a lack of large scale action.
See some practical abatement and adaption ideas that you can do in our 'Easy Ways to Go Green' area. (or scroll down this page)
Action - governments
In 2009 the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) at Copenhagen drafted 'The Copenhagen Accord' which formalised international agreement that actions should be taken to keep any temperature increases to below 2°C. In December 2010 the UNCCC met again in Mexico and formed the 'Cancun Agreement' - this strengthened the international commitment to reduce emissions and created a fund to help underdeveloped countries - however none of the agreements are legally binding and there are still many issues to resolve. The future of an international contract is still just talk, and at best will require many more lengthy negotiations and discussions.
Despite the lack of agreement at the United Nations, the European Union (EU) has committed to reducing emissions by 20% by 2020 compared with 1990 emissions. Proposals by United States President Obama and the targets already adopted by the United Kingdom similarly reflect strong commitments to deliver substantial emissions reductions by developed economies. In Australia the current Labour Government is committed to implementing short and long-term emission reduction targets between 5% and 25%.
The primary tool the Australian Government has developed to meet these targets is a national Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS). However on April 28, 2010, the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the CPRS would be shelved for at least until the end of 2012 meaning for Australia the implementation of emissions trading would be delayed until 2013 at the earliest.
Rudd was a dud on climate change
In February 2011 the current Prime Minister Julia Gillard outlined the Government's proposal for a carbon price in Australia to commence on 1 July 2012 - this scheme will provide a 3-5 year transition period to a cap and trade emissions trading arrangement linked to international carbon markets, allowing Australian businesses time to "understand their carbon liability and begin the transformation in a steady and purposeful way".
Julia Gillard makes her carbon price announcement flanked by Christine Milne, Bob Brown, Tony Windsor, Greg Combet and Rob Oakeshott. Picture: Kym Smith Source: The Australian.
The Federal opposition lead by Tony Abbott has vowed to fight the plan. With mixed community sentiment and unfavourable polls, the outcome of this debate is still very uncertain.
Action - the climatefirst solution
Climatefirst bypass’s the political process and empowers the entire consumer population with an opportunity to take responsibility for climate change. With a mechanism that can reach individuals every day on a global scale, there is real potential to make a significant impact on CO2 concentrations, and reduce the risk of catastrophic climate change.
The Climatefirst strategy is targeted investment in clean energy, renewable energy, forestry and community projects, combined with public education and awareness actions, all aimed at reducing atmospheric carbon and encouraging low carbon behaviour.
'Working together we can limit carbon concentrations and avoid the worst case scenario climate change forcasts'
.You can view the projects we support and see how we use targeted investment to protect the planet for future generations.
Action - easy ways to go green
You don’t have to grow a hair coat or travel by horse and cart to make a difference when it comes to combating climate change. Tweak your daily routine here and there and you could shrink your carbon footprint in no time – and save yourself cash in the process. Here’s how:
FOOD AND DRINK
Think before you buy: Demand locally produced food whenever you shop – it’s your right to be choosy!
Buy organic milk: Producing one litre of non-organic milk uses more than three times the amount of energy it takes to make one a litre of organic milk.
Buy in bulk:. It’s cheaper and limits the waste generated through packaging items individually. Don’t need much? Combine orders with a friend or neighbour.
Use your oven sensibly: Don’t keep opening it to check whether your food is ready – heat escapes and your meal will take longer to cook, using more energy. Switch it off a few minutes before your food is ready and it’ll stay hot enough to finish cooking the food.
Shut it: Keep fridge and freezer doors closed. For every minute a fridge is open, it can take three energy-intensive minutes for it to cool down again. Similarly, it can take up to half an hour for a freezer to regain its temperature once a door has been opened for just sixty seconds.
Keep your freezer full: It takes less energy to keep a full freezer cool than it does an empty one. If you don't have enough food to fill it, use plastic bottles filled with water or even scrunched up newspaper.
Think before you cook: Pressure cookers and steamers are both energy efficient; steamers are also easy to use and very healthy. Chop finely and boil smart. The smaller you dice your vegetables, the less time they take to cook. Boil only the amount of water you need, and match the size of the ring to the size of the saucepan.
Taking a few simple steps could cut the emissions from your home dramatically, saving you plenty of cash in the process.
Switch to Green Power: Not only do coal-fired power stations in Australia produce more than 170 million tonnes of carbon dioxide - the most significant greenhouse gas - every year, they also use vast amounts of water in their generation of electricity. Check out our list of accredited Green Power providers and make the switch to clean energy today. By switching to accredited Green Power you are not only helps the environment, you are supporting the growth the renewable energy market in Australia.
Install your own renewable energy: You can get grants for up to 50% of the costs of installing renewable energy, and you might even make a profit: produce more than you need and you could sell the excess back to your energy supplier.
Grow your own: By growing your own seasonal fruit and vegetables in your garden or on your balcony you'll receive the benefits of higher quality, more nutritious produce, and you'll be helping your environment. Transport, processing and other costs associated with bringing unseasonal, artificially ripened food to the supermarket represents less value to you and the environment.
Feed the earth: Why fertilise landfill with vegetable waste from the kitchen, when your sandy garden and backyard soils could benefit from their breakdown? Properly composted vegetable matter breaks down without emitting an unpleasant odour, and you can add worms to a compost heap to speed up the process.
Plant natives: By planting local, native plants in your garden that require far less water than their exotic cousins, you will be creating the ideal conditions to attract native wildlife - maybe even endangered birds and frogs! Check out your local nursery for advice on what to plant in your neighbourhood.
Insulate your house: You can cut up to 20% from your energy bill by installing quality ceiling insulation: it prevents heat from escaping, meaning you need less energy to warm or cool your home.
Buy energy-saving light bulbs: Some use less than a quarter of the electricity of traditional bulbs, and can last up to 12 times longer. Just one energy efficient light bulb can save you $20 a year on your electricity bill.
Make the most of nature: Light-coloured walls, ceilings and floors reflect daylight, making maximum use of natural light and reducing the need for artificial lighting.
Use infrared: If you have exterior lights, ask your electrician to fit infrared sensors so the lights only come on when you walk past them.
Resist standby: If every household in the UK turned off the TV at night instead of leaving it on standby, we’d save enough CO2 to fill the Millennium Dome 38 times every year.
Unplug it: Mobile phones, shavers and electric toothbrushes keep drawing electricity even when the battery is full. If it’s fully charged, unplug it.
Be water smart: Australian conditions mean water is especially precious, and we can't take it for granted. Front loading washing machines, dual flush toilets, aerated taps and power shower-heads all mean less water is used in the home. You can also install a rainwater tank, even in urban areas, which will collect water for use in the garden or washing machine. That means a reduced water bill, and more importantly it means we only take our fair share from the natural environment.
Keep your cool when washing: Almost 90% of the energy washing machines use goes toward heating the water, so switch to a cooler wash: today’s washing powders are just as effective on 30°C programmes.
Think before you print: The promise of the paperless office hasn't materialised. Work is more complicated and produces more paper waste than ever before. For final copy printing, why not print on both sides of the paper? For rough versions, why not use the blank side of paper that someone else has used? By making these small changes, you could cut your paper costs in half, and save some trees and the creatures that rely upon them. Use recycled paper that is made with 100% post-consumer waste or sustainably sourced material. If you have to print, do it double-sided.
Switch it off: A photocopier left on from dusk ‘til dawn uses enough energy to make 1,500 photocopies. Leaving an empty office lit overnight can waste the same amount of energy it takes to heat water for 1,000 cups of coffee.
Cut down on business trips: Why travel to meet with colleagues when you could use phone or video-conferencing? And if you really do need to travel, go by train rather than car or plane – it’s often quicker and you’ll be able to get some work done.
Surf safe: When going coastal, remember we share our coastline with many species of birds that use our estuarine and beach systems for sleeping, eating and breeding - it's their home. These areas are especially sensitive to human interference, so take care to avoid impacting these sand dunes and other coastal zones. Keep your dog on the leash and only drive 4WD vehicles in areas where they are permitted. Learn about your local shorebird species, they are your neighbours.
Go by bike: If you’re exploring locally, hire a bicycle instead of a car: it won’t produce a drop of greenhouse gas and helps burn off that holiday excess. Local Tourist Information Centres can tell you where to hire one.
Holiday at home: ! You’ll save emissions as well as money: one long-haul return flight produces more carbon dioxide per passenger than the average UK motorist in one year.
Spare your towels: Staying in a hotel? Ask for your towels to be washed every other day instead of every day to help save water – the planet’s most precious, and rapidly disappearing, resource.
Drive smart: The Green Vehicle Guide website gives the low-down on which cars are smarter at saving fuel and money than offers. But some drivers are smarter than others, too. Five "fuelish"' things that increase emissions while driving: 1. Speeding. 2. Driving aggressively (i.e., repeatedly accelerating and decelerating). 3. Using the air-conditioner for ventilation rather than cooling. 4. Engaging cruise control over rolling terrain. 5. Filling up with low-octane petrol. www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au
Give your car a day off: Go to work on foot, by bike or on public transport – even if it’s only for a few days a week.
Think small: Change your fuel. Many cars can use biofuels with little or no modification to the engine. Biofuels are made from crops such as oil seed rape or sugar beet, and burning them emits less climate-changing gases.
Keep your tyres properly inflated: Almost 80% of car tyres are believed to under-inflated, which can increase fuel consumption, and therefore emissions, by up to 5%.
Drive with the windows up: This reduces drag, which increases fuel efficiency and lowers emissions. You can also reduce drag by removing roof racks when you’re not using them.
Switch off in traffic: Turn off the engine if you think you’ll be stationary for more than two minutes. Idling for this long burns more fuel than it takes to restart the car.
Change your driving style: Changing gear earlier can reduce fuel consumption by up to 15%. When you’re approaching traffic lights, slow down gradually rather than suddenly braking: slamming on the brakes increases fuel consumption by up to 30%, and pulling away too fast boosts it by up to 60%.
Don’t use the car for short journeys: A cold engine uses almost twice as much fuel as a warmer one. Take a walk in the fresh air to the local shops instead – it’s good for you!
50 Ways to Save the World!
The following article has been reproduced with thanks to Fairfax Media Publications Pty Limited. This article first appeared in The Good Weekend on 19 June 2010 and was written by John van Tiggelen.
In his 2005 book on global warming, the weather makers, Australia's best-known scientist, Tim Flannery, suggested Australians could "in a few months rather than the 50 years allowed by some governments, easily attain the 70 per cent reduction in [carbon] emissions required to stabilise the earth's climate. All it takes are a few changes to your personal life, none of which requires serious sacrifices." Flannery was dreaming. Five years on, Australians, who make up 0.32 per cent of the world's population, appear resigned to waiting for the Rudd government to wait for the rest of the world to maybe do something. In the meantime, we merrily continue to produce 1.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which, per capita, is more than any other Western nation. If the rest of the world lived like us, global emissions would quadruple. So we're not exactly doing our bit. As Flannery points out, a greener lifestyle needn't be about sacrifice. But the reality is that for average domestic emissions to drop substantially, the rich are going to have to want to consume less and the poor must cease wanting to live like the rich - and that's just not going to happen.
The best that can be hoped for is that everyone treads a little more lightly. A warming world presents opportunities as well as obstacles, and innovative people are finding it is possible to make a difference and a buck. In the list that follows, we recognise some of the social entrepreneurs who are trying to do just that. It is hardly an exhaustive list. Nor do any of the ideas compare to, say, a carbon tax in their potential to make a real and decent difference. But in the absence of government gumption, it can't hurt to show there is still something to be saved and gained by thinking outside the square - whether that be a house, a lawn, a car, the office, the power grid or even a slab of beer.
1. Rent chickens: Backyard chickens are greener than Kermit's bum. Or so says Rentachook's main man, Dave Ingham (pictured, and no relation to the Ingham commercial chicken farmers). What other pet will turn your kitchen scraps and leftover meals into both fertiliser and food? An egg from the shop is widely travelled, having been shipped from the farm to a packaging plant, then to a central warehouse, then to the supermarket and finally to you. Backyard eggs, on the other hand, come with zero food miles. They are also assuredly free range, which is not always the case with eggs labelled as such - audits reveal that more free-range eggs are sold in Australia than are actually produced. Ingham's Rentachook basically works as Try-Before-You-Buy-a-Chook. That is, he will deliver an "eco-coop" and two chickens to your door, but if you don't love them enough after six weeks, you can get most of your money back, minus pick-up costs. The mobile coops are made from mostly plantation and recycled materials, including old pram wheels. But now chickens are hip, even in London and New York, there are designer coops out there, too. Check out the British-made Eglu, by Omlet, a brightly coloured plastic dome resembling an iMac G3. The importation costs do tend to kill the "zero food miles" pitch, however. www.rentachook.com
2. Go Electric: Why go hybrid when you can go electric all the way? Australia's first commercial all-electric car is being made by Ross Blade, who runs a wind-power-driven workshop, Blade Electric Vehicles, in central Victoria. Blade takes a small car, the Hyundai Getz, and turns it into the Electron by replacing the engine, exhaust and fuel tank with a battery box and electric drive system. Currently, there are 25 Electrons on the road, including one being driven by New Zealand's environment minister. The Electrons are ideal for short trips, but their range is dependent on where Blade can install special plug-in points. Thus far the cars are charged mostly at home. A Bendigo bakery has recently come on board, allowing central Victorians to drive to their regional centre and charge the car while they shop. It's ex−pected other towns will follow. As for the old Hyundai engines, Blade turns these into gas-run generators. www.bev.com.au
3. Host Roadkill Dinner Parties: Not for everyone, perhaps. But Ben Laycock, an artist and eco-warrior from central Victoria, likes to top up an otherwise vegetarian diet with food he hunts, fishes, forages and finds himself. A keen cyclist, he inspects any carcass he comes across. If it's relatively fresh and clean, he'll sling it over the back of his bike, take it home and invite over a group of like-minded friends for an opportunistic roast. Wallaby is Ben's signature dish, garnished with roadside herbs, but he's not averse to cooking up fox or possum. He thinks his dish would make a fine MasterChef challenge, and he's probably right.
4. Blow your own: Antony Interlandi, from Bendigo in central Victoria, has developed a domestic wind turbine for the inner city. The three-winged turbine rotates horizontally atop a small tower installed next to the house, to the height of the roofline. At average Melbourne wind speeds of 20kmh, the turbine provides about one kilowatt an hour, or about half the average home's power needs. At night, electricity is fed back into the grid. "The turbines are designed to also catch the turbulent airflow created by urban structures," says Interlandi. Independent tests suggest the turbine, which will retail for less than $10,000, will pay for itself within seven years. The turbines are silent and pose no threat to birds or possums. They will be installed this winter in the vaunted Pixel Building (on the site of Melbourne's old Carlton Brewery) - billed by developer Grocon as the country's first carbon-neutral office development.
5. Grow your own: Top chefs invariably say that the best food uses the freshest ingredients, so it follows that home-grown produce really does taste better - and everyone's got enough room for at least a herb garden. A productive garden consumes your compost and saves a few dollars but, more importantly, for every sprig of sage you
harvest yourself, that's one less sprig picked on a distant farm, plastic-wrapped somewhere else, trucked to a cool store and distributed to a supermarket near you.
6. Chill: In many households, the hot water is unnecessarily hot. Turn it down to save power and money.
7. Ride an Electric bike: The Melbourne-based Electric Bicycle Company, or TEBCO, designs a range of robust electric bicycles and tricycles. The bikes, which perform optimally on a combination of pedal and battery power, can be recharged at a normal power point, have a range of up to 40 kilometres and reach a top speed of 26kmh on the flat. Company founder Tony Morgan says he sells up to 2000 bikes a year Australia-wide. And you don't need a driver's licence. www.electricbicycle.com.au
8. DIY Soil: Outdoor compost bins can breed pests as well as worms. The Bokashi Bucket is an indoor compost bin. It sits under the kitchen sink, doesn't smell, is mouse- and redback-proof and will convert all your vegetable scraps, leftover meals, meat off-cuts, tea bags, bread, cheese and tissues into a rich garden compost. www.bokashi.com.au9.
9. Tap It: Should a time-traveller from, say, 1980 arrive today on Sydney's Bondi-to-Coogee coastal walkway, he might conclude from the number of plastic water bottles sported by walkers that Sydney lacks a freshwater supply. Bottled water is of some use in Cambodia or Karachi. But Sydney? Why buy it when you can tap it for free?
Yet, according to Clean Up Australia, Australians buy half a billion litres of bottled water a year, and two-thirds of the plastic used ends up in landfill. Sensibly, the NSW town of Bundanoon has banned the plastic water bottle. Check out The Story of Bottled Water (2010) on YouTube.
10. Shrink the family: Officially, the Rudd government has adopted the European Union's aim of a 60 per cent reduction in carbon emissions based on 1990 levels by 2050, which, allowing for projected population growth, works out to a target of 80 per cent per capita. To reduce that target to something slightly more achievable, Sustainable
Population Aust−ralia advocates non-racial curbs on immigration and the scrapping of the baby bonus. www.population.org.au
11. Retire high: In keeping with a green push for higher-density urban living, retirement villages are going vertical. Centrally located, high-rise retirement homes reduce the need for cars, the costs of heating and the expansion of outlying services. In Bondi, the not-for-profit Benevolent Society is basing its multi-storey Apartments for
Life building on a Dutch concept to enable 95 per cent of residents to remain in their apartments to within a month of their passing. www.bensoc.org.au/director/whatwedo/olderpeople/oceanstsite.cfm
12. Drive Smart: The Green Vehicle Guide website gives the low-down on which cars are smarter at saving fuel and money than others. But some drivers are smarter than others, too. Five "fuelish" things that increase emissions while driving: 1. Speeding. 2. Driving aggressively (i.e., repeatedly accelerating and decelerating). 3. Using the air-conditioner for ventilation rather than cooling. 4. Engaging cruise control over rolling terrain. 5. Filling up with low-octane petrol. www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au
13. Puff Green: It sounds ridiculous, and it is. Designed to circumvent anti-smoking laws, so-called green cigarettes, or E-cigarettes, plug a disposable cartridge of liquified nicotine (disguised as the "filter") into a battery-operated vaporiser (the "stem"). They're billed as green because they are smokeless and thus kinder to the immediate
environment. Nevertheless, it may well be "greener" to light up pure tobacco leaf, which is essentially carbon neutral because you're emitting no more carbon dioxide than the plant has plucked out of the sky. And while the transportation, production and packaging of conventional cigarettes adds significant emissions, these are countered by their toxic properties - as Liberal Senator Nick Minchin recently pointed out, smokers "die early. They actually save [the health system] money."
14. Billabong the backyard: Award-winning sustainable landscape designer Phillip Johnson (above), who lives in the fire-prone ranges outside Melbourne, believes the billabong should replace the lawn as the centrepiece of an Australian garden. Bordered with rocks and native vegetation, his natural pools also function as reservoirs in the event of fire or drought. Johnson's guiding motto appears to be sustainable beauty. He is presently collaborating with the French artist and botanist Patrick Blanc to create the country's tallest vertical garden at Sydney's Trio Apartments. www.phillipjohnson.com.au
15. Hop in a hybrid: Dubbed the "Pious" by global-warming sceptics, the world's first mass-produced hybrid electric car, the Toyota Prius, remains among the most fuel-efficient cars available. www.toyota.com.au/prius www.honda.com.au/civichybrid
16. Australian coffee drinkers use and toss out up to a billion disposable coffee cups each year. In 2007, Melbourne siblings Abigail Forsyth (above) and her brother Jamie decided enough was enough and came up with the KeepCup, a reusable plastic cup designed with both baristas and coffee lovers in mind. The cups come in three standard sizes (with a babycino size on the way) and a great variety of colour combinations. www.keepcup.com.au
16. BYO Cup: Australian coffee drinkers use and toss out up to a billion disposable coffee cups each year. In 2007, Melbourne siblings Abigail Forsyth (above) and her brother Jamie decided enough was enough and came up with the KeepCup, a reusable plastic cup designed with both baristas and coffee lovers in mind. The cups come in three standard sizes (with a babycino size on the way) and a great variety of colour combinations. www.keepcup.com.au
17. Get Tanked: Water tanks are typically fat and cylindrical because this yields a greater volume. But when the space outside the tank is an issue, such as in a small backyard, a round tank is rarely the best fit. These days tanks come in all shapes and colours, and can be dug underground, installed below a deck or even wrapped around a tree. See www.wetearth.com.au, among others.
18. Fly less: The world's airlines will transport 2.28 billion passengers in 2010. And, 2009's GFC aside, passenger numbers rise by five per cent a year. These passengers are responsible for between two and five per cent of the world's man-made global warming. Airlines, understandably, are keen to be seen to be doing their bit, and
none more so, it seems, than ANA. Check-in staff with the Japanese airline encourage passengers to pee before they fly, to save on fuel and thus reduce emissions. One assumes it's not empty bladders making the difference, but the lighter load of water needed for flushing.
19. Go camping: If your holiday accommodation combines the words "eco" and "luxury" in its brochure or on its website, it's having a lend of you. It really doesn't matter if you reuse your resort towels or not: if it's not a tent, it's not ecologically sustainable. Of course, there are tents, and there are tents. Check out the cotton-canvas yurt-like wonders on www.soulpad.co.uk and www.spiraldomes.wordpress.com.
20. Hail Parking Inspectors: In a world of emissions targets, any disincentive to drive has to be on the table. The City of Melbourne announced this month its CBD parking meters would continue charging for parking at night. It's been loudly dissed as a money-grab, but if it encourages people to use public transport instead, it's fair enough, surely. Many cities have already imposed a congestion tax
21. Hoist the washing: Though 64 years old this year, the Hills Rotary Hoist is as green as ever. After all, the very least we can do is use solar and wind power to dry our clothes. www.hills.com.au
22. Get the good wood: Many imported timbers, such as African mahogany, merbau (kwila), ramin and meranti, may be sourced from the habitat of threatened species such as tigers, orang-utans and tree kangaroos. But countries like Papua New Guinea, the Solomons and Indonesia also export sustainable plantation timbers, including rubberwood, teak, eucalyptus and merbau. For a sustainably logged timber, ensure it is certified by a global scheme such as the Forest Stewardship Council.www.goodwoodguide.org.au
23. Rethink Rover's poo: One in three Australian households has a dog. This means one in three backyards is mined with poo. Much of this is scooped, bagged and binned, yet it makes excellent compost. Almost any lidded receptacle in the corner of the garden will do - it can be made out of bricks, wood or an old tea chest. Composting poo doesn't smell, and the worm castings make a sound garden soil. If you remain incredulous, just ask Les Dashwood from Queensland. Originally a worm farmer, Les now makes the Doo Doo Loo, a timber "pet poo converter" that comes with a bag of worms. He sends one south about once a week. He just has one word of caution: if you're worming the dog, don't compost the poo for a few days because you'll nuke the composting crawlies.
24. Drink beer: Breweries generally consume a lot of water and power. And generally blokes will only drink green beer on St Patrick's Day. But Cam Hines (on left) and Dave Bonighton, founders of a boutique brewery in inner Melbourne, have determined there's a market for eco-guilt-free ale. The Mountain Goat Brewery occupies a Richmond warehouse refurbished with recycled materials, solar panels and rainwater tanks. Its brews are mostly sold locally (they're poured in more than 80 Melbourne bars), one of them is organic and staff are paid Christmas bonuses for the number of times they cycle to work. In case that all sounds a bit un-XXXX, the beer's name is pitched to restore a bearish/Boonie flavour: Mountain Goat - "a big hairy animal that's never gonna fall over". www.goatbeer.com.au
25. Join Greenpeace: If this sounds a little passé, think again. Earlier this year, environmental campaigners at Green−peace waged a two-month campaign against Nestlé for its use of palm oil, a product that has been linked to widespread clearing of rainforests and mangroves in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Palm oil plantations have replaced much of the habitat of the Sumatran tiger and orang−utans. In May, Nestlé caved in and announced it would cease using palm oil. www.greenpeace.org.au
26. Discover Eco Chic: When it comes to saving on emissions, reusing beats recycling hands down. Preloved clothes, toys, tools, books, furniture and household goods can readily be sourced online as well as from second-hand dealers, market stalls and garage sales. And it needn't be daggy; an antiques store is really a glorified op-shop.
27. Don't Dispose: Short of toilet paper and syringes, just about any disposable item can either be reused or replaced by something reusable. Take plastic shopping bags, for example; either use them as bin liners or replace them with recycled cloth bags. Another example is breast pads for nursing mothers. Why dispose of hundreds per
baby when there is a perfectly reusable product available? It's called LiliPadz. www.supermomz.com/LilyPadz.html
28. Raise Your Garden: Almost anything can be recycled these days. Melbourne's Close the Loop recyclers make "eWood" from toner cartridges and copier bottles. The Relph family use this material to manufacture a range of flat-pack garden products, including raised garden beds (Yum eYards), potting tables and vertical gardens. Unlike
timber, eWood is insect-proof and won't rot. www.best-solutions.com.au
29. Value your power: By paying your electricity provider a little extra, you can compel it to buy energy on your behalf from renewable sources. If that sounds steep, try factoring in the price you are paying for the waste that coal-fired power plants continue to discharge into the atmosphere for free. www.greenpower.gov.au
30. Avoid big box developments: Big box developments, or the clusters of superstores being built on the outskirts of urban Australia, are an American phenomenon designed specifically for car-borne shoppers. The big box strategy is that once you've found a park, you won't just buy the one or two things you've come for, but you'll load up to justify the trip. Consider getting on your bicycle to support the local hardware store instead.
31. Farm the Wind: Based on a Danish model of small towns owning their own wind farms, a central Victorian community has invested in a deal with a German manufacturer, REpower Systems, to build a two-turbine wind energy plant. From mid-next year, the Hepburn Community Wind Park will be capable of generating four megawatts of power, enough to supply Daylesford's 2000-odd homes. www.hepburnwind.com.au
32. Buy biodegradable nappies: The average baby goes through some 8000 nappies. Cloth nappies are by far the more environmentally responsible and cheaper option (though less so if you use a dryer), but nine in 10 Australian mothers use disposables instead. That's a lot of landfill. If this worries you, and you can't face the laundry, and you're willing to pay a little more, a Tasmanian company, Eenee, produces a range of disposable "eco nappies", including ones that are fully compostable.www.eenee.com.au
33. Mine the Tip: According to Joost Bakker, a tulip grower from the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, some 70 per cent of the rubbish we create in Australia is organic. Although a few people compost theirs, most of it ends up at the dump, so Bakker does the rounds of local tips to collect what he can. Adding worms and biochar (carbonised waste), he creates a rich soil for growing tulips, hyacinths and herbs. These he sells - bulbs, soil and all - from his "Urban Crop" florist van, which he parks about town. www.urbancrop.com.au
34. Take 10,000 Steps: The 10,000 Steps Challenge is an Australia-wide program that uses pedometers as a motivation to get people to live smarter, healthier lives by walking more and driving less. www.10000steps.org.au
35. Consult The Greenpages: The Greenpages Annual Directory is a right-on magazine-cum-guide to more than 300 sustainable products, trends and services. The website also provides up-to-date green news and views. www.thegreenpages.com.au
36. Turn your town Solar: Within a few weeks, John McConville, a community leader from Donald in Victoria's struggling wheat belt, convinced one-fifth of the townsfolk to go solar in a group deal, at a reduced installation cost of about $1500 each. On a sunny day, some 150 homes in Donald now sell electricity back to the grid, generating up to $600 a year for each home owner in the scheme.
37. Exploit Muscle power: Use hand tools rather than power tools. Do you really need that electric screwdriver, chainsaw, petrol mower and whipper-snipper? And why waste energy in a gym when you can put it to good use around the home? As for that leaf-blower - get a broom.
38. Grow Me The Money: This is a practical Victorian initiative that shows small businesses how to cut overheads by becoming more sustainable. So far, more than 1000 business have signed up to the 12-month online program to save themselves, on average, more than $6000 on bills after one year. www.growmethemoney.com.au
39. Screw Light Bulbs: Yes, installing energy-saving light bulbs is wise, but a new book seeks to put this measure in perspective. In Screw Light Bulbs: Smarter Ways to Save Australians Time and Money, Donna Green and Liz Minchin explain what will help cut emissions and what won't, and bust myriad myths in the process. Book royalties
are going to sea-level adaptation work in the Torres Strait.
40. Dispose of your PC The PC way: Environment Australia estimates that Australians have bought 45 million PCs in the past 20 years. This year alone, another two million computers will become obsolete. Most are dumped, often after years of storage in a garage. But e-waste is eminently recyclable, and MRI recyclers (www.mri.com.au) says it will collect "from Broome to Bondi".
41. Shower with the sun: Water heating is the biggest single source of household carbon emissions, accounting for almost a quarter of the average home's power consumption. Installing a solar hot water system may save several hundred dollars a year, and various state and federal government rebates apply.
42. Eat seasonally: Even if you're not growing your own, you can significantly reduce your food miles by buying your local, seasonal produce. The less time it has spent either in transit or in cold storage, the better it tastes.
43. Move house
Horth of Melbourne in Laurimar, developer Delfin Land Lease has launched a home that it claims produces no net emissions- the country's first. The Zero Emissions House, designed by the CSIRO, uses a third less energy than a house of a comparable size and has a 9.2-star energy rating.
44. Check your super: Ensure your superannuation is invested in sustainable funds. Presently about half of Australia's superannuation funds are members of the Investor Group on Climate Change, and typically these outperform their rivals by delivering higher rates of return.
45. Scan for green margarine: It's not available yet, but it's not that far away. Associate Professor Caroline Chan (left), from Deakin University's School of information systems, is working on an iPhone application that will allow users to scan the bar codes of supermarket products to yield a reading of their nutritional content. Down the track, it's
hoped a similar application will instantly reveal a product's environmenta; credentials, including its carbon footprint.
46. Warm to gas: Not only is it cheaper to cook and warm the house with gas, but heating with gas also releases one-third less carbon dioxide than heating with coal-sourced electricity.
47. Call Again: Used mobile phones can be donated to Melbourne or Täronga Zoo's "They're Calling on You" program to help protect gorillas. The phones are sent overseas to be refurbished and resold to raise money for gorilla conservation, but also to reduce demand for coltan, a mineral used in phones and sourced from precious
gorilla habitat in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in central Africa. www.zoo.org.au/Calling_on_you
48. Beware of Green PR: Consumption is the c-word that no one dares utter when it comes to tackling carbon emissions, yet the most obvious way to curb individual emissions is to buy less stuff. Eco-marketing is something of an oxymoron, because when it comes to choosing a green product over another, the truly green thing to do would be not to choose anything at all. Consumption is the c-word that no one dares utter when it comes to tackling carbon emissions, yet the most obvious way to curb individual emissions is to buy less stuff, including less eco-stuff. One of the more creative attempts to market a product as green is that of Sylk personal lubricant. Claimed in its marketing material to enhance ‘sensitivity in women and on men", Sylks key ingredient is extracted from kiwifruit pruning’s "in clean, green New Zealand", which are subsequently "mulched and returned to orchards". Indeed, Sylk's so natural there's "no need to shower off afterwards" (there, you save on water as well). Stop it or you’ll go green.
49. Plant trees: Community land care groups are always looking for volunteers to help revegetate creek banks, hillsides and degraded sites. So why not donate a weekend? A good place to start is www.treeproject.asn.au
50. Share a car: Congested city roads, a premium on parking spots and decent public transport means that inner-city professionals need their cars less and less. Car sharing schemes such as Flexicar in Melbourne (www.flexicar.com.au) and GoGet in Sydney (www.goget.com.au) allow members to choose a plan to suit their needs, much as they would a pre paid mobile plan. The more pre-time you buy, the cheaper the rates get. The rates cover petrol, maintenance, roadside assistance, insurance and cleaning. Customers book a car on line and simply pick up the nearest car, often around the corner, and return it to the same spot ready for the next person to use. European examples have shown that typically up to 30 people will share a car - removing 1000’s of cars from the roads and reducing congestion and carbon emissions.