clear the air

Australia’s Carbon Emissions Timetable

As reported by Mike Preston in Smart Company today, by the end of this year, business should have a clear idea about the extra costs they will face under a carbon emissions trading scheme after a timetable was released by the Government yesterday.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said she will release a green paper setting out what a carbon trading system will look like by July 2008, to be followed by draft legislation in December.

That will be followed in 2009 by a round of intensive consultation with business and community groups, Wong says, before the legislation is passed – although it will require independent support in the Senate – in mid-2009, wuth the carbon trading scheme commencing early in 2010.

“The introduction of emissions trading will constitute the most significant economic and structural reform undertaken in Australia since the trade liberalisation of the 1980s,” Wong said.


Facebook’s (Lil) Green Patch

By planting fruit with your friends you can help us all make the world a greener place! As well, we’ll shortly be launching some fun gaming features to constantly keep you entertained while doing good!

Our sponsors contribute money to save the Rainforests as you use this application. After expenses we will donate revenue to funding a portfolio of reforestation projects. Thanks for joining us in this mission! We hope you have fun!

The most recent donation was made March 1, 2008 to the Adopt An Acre program of the Nature Conservancy.

The (Lil) Green Patch community, working together, was able to save 8,368,026 Sqft of Rainforest so far! We are very excited about our progress and are confident we can make an even larger impact in the future!

To learn more about this program, please visiting HERE

Earth Hour Launched
earth-hour.jpgBusiness leaders have gathered in Sydney to support Earth Hour 2008 and its global launch.Earth Hour involves people and businesses turning off lights and appliances for an hour to send a message about curbing destructive carbon emissions.

NSW Premier, Morris Iemma, speaking at the launch accused critics of the event of pedalling ‘utter rubbish’.

‘The critics and sceptics need to get on board,’ he said. ‘It’s utter rubbish to say that symbolism can’t lead to change. Yes it’s about symbolism, but it’s a very powerful one – it’s about saving the planet.’

Mr Iemma announced that all government departments would take part in Earth Hour at 8pm on March 29th, and said he had allocated $100,000 from the state’s Climate Change Fund to support the program.

In 2007, 2.2 million Sydneysiders switched off their lights for an hour, a sight which was broadcast across the world.

In 2008, 24 major capital cities will take part, along with hundreds of other smaller cities.

WWF Australia, which is organising Earth Hour says 75 per cent of the top 100 companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, all of the state’s major property companies, 70 per cent of the state’s one, two and three hat restaurants, the top five banks, 85 per cent of the state’s main hotels and the 50 largest local councils in NSW will also take part.

Simon Turner

Library of Green Building Products

For architects and industrial designers, finding sustainable materials to use in building projects has long been a challenge, with providers and information scattered all across the web. Ecolect, which just launched last fall, aims to provide a single, central library of sustainable materials that makes it easier for designers to be “green.”

Rhode Island-based Ecolect, which was founded by two Rhode Island School of Design graduates, hopes to save designers time and money by answering three important questions: where to find sustainable materials, what makes them sustainable, and who else is using them and how. Toward that end, the site features materials with sustainable attributes—eco paints and bamboo flooring, for example—complemented by content that stimulates discussion about sustainability. Case studies illustrate the successful use of sustainable design, and users can contribute reviews and images of materials in use. The site’s blog, meanwhile, discusses how ecology affects the world. Ad-supported Ecolect is free for users.

“We saw a unique and unmet need in the marketplace,” explains Matt Grigsby, one of the site’s cofounders. “From there, we set out to not only create the world’s first free and accessible sustainable materials library, but also build a tight-knit global community, where individuals from around the world can go to learn and connect around the issue of sustainable design.”

Grigsby won last year’s Rhode Island Innovation Awards Rising Star Innovator title for his role in developing Ecolect, and the company itself has been named a finalist in the 2008 SXSW Web Awards, the winner of which will be named next month. The trend toward sustainability isn’t going away anytime soon, so the opportunities are many in supporting and informing those who make it happen. Since the distribution of building materials varies widely by country/region, this is definitely one to set up in your own neck of the woods. Or how about applying the concept to other industries?


Eco Mums

Numbering more than 82 million in the United States alone, there’s no denying that mothers are a significant force to be reckoned with, both economically and otherwise. The EcoMom Alliance aims to tap the power of that demographic for no lesser a goal than to help fight global warming.

Launched online a few weeks ago, the California-based EcoMom Alliance hopes to inspire mothers around the globe to make lifestyle changes that will reduce their carbon footprints. Through the EcoMom Challenge, it asks mothers to take its “10 First Steps for a Sustainable Future,” including swapping traditional light bulbs for energy-efficient compact fluorescent ones, driving less, and buying local, fair trade and organic products. Picking up on the Australian Conservation Foundation’s “Cool the Globe” initiative, the group’s One Night Off campaign encourages mothers to choose one night a week to turn off all lights, TVs, washers, dryers and other appliances. Also part of the group’s agenda are EcoMom Parties—a post-Inconvenient Truth version of the old Tupperware Parties through which members can connect, find support and share ideas. Other “edutainment” offerings from the group include blogs, podcasts and “Sustain Yourself” events for maxed-out EcoMoms.

The EcoMom Alliance is a nonprofit, 501 (c)(3) organization with about 9,000 members around the globe, including not just the United States but also Australia, Hungary, England, France and Brazil. It is reportedly in the process of training women to lead EcoMom events worldwide, as well as readying an official EcoMom seal of approval for commercial products.

US mothers alone control 85 percent of household spending, according to the Marketing to Moms Coalition, amounting to about USD 2.1 trillion annually. It’s hard to imagine a much better place to start enabling real change. (Related: Web community for greener living.)


Simon Turner

Green Beer: cheers to Cascade for it’s global cooling
March 11, 2008, 3:46 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Cascade Green Cascade announced the release of its newest and greenest drop, CASCADE GREEN – a 100% carbon offset beer. After first reducing the brewery’s environmental footprint, the full lifecycle of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with Cascade Green – right from the picking of the hops to putting it in the recycling bin – are offset, meaning the net impact of the emissions for the beer is reduced to zero.

Cascade Brewery, long renowned for the quality of its beers and Tasmanian heritage, has been driving year-on-year environmental improvements for over a decade, winning a number of environmental awards*. In the past six years the brewery has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 16 per cent and reduced water usage by 30 per cent per unit of production over this time.

Cascade Green’s packaging was designed with the objective to, where possible, minimise its carbon footprint. For instance, it uses the lightest weight, highest recycled content (minimum 50 per cent) glass bottle currently available in Australia, while the 100 per cent recycled carton is printed with two-colour biodegradable vegetable inks.

CASCADE GREEN has achieved Australian Government Greenhouse Friendly™ certification. As part of this rigorous accreditation process, Cascade Green has undergone an extensive Lifecycle Analysis, which has been independently verified by DNV and SMEC** and also has an Emissions Monitoring Plan in place to meet the ongoing commitments required of GFP members. Cascade Green has initially purchased certified carbon offsets for the Hobart Landfill Flare Facility, approved under the GFP and developed by AGL Energy Services, and will continue to purchase offsets on an ongoing basis.

The Cascade brewing team prides itself on making beers of exceptional quality and CASCADE GREEN is no exception. It’s a full-strength, clean and refreshing all-malt lager, with a third less carbohydrates than a regular full strength beer and is preservative free. CASCADE GREEN is available from March at quality bottle shops, restaurants and bars.

Further details can be found at:

Simon Turner

Australia’s Eco-Property Guide

The trend for people to consider selling up their higher priced city home, being mortgage free and heading to a coastal retreat for a more relaxed and family oriented life has been reported often in TV shows and print stories. Of course most of us still need to make a living so this requires either means having an easily transferable set of skills or making changes to way income is earned by running a small business or changing your profession.

Making the move to rural or regional areas of Australia is far less common despite the fact that Australia is known as the wide brown land and farming and the outback iconic. Returning to or considering country life is definitely the poor relation these days and it will be interesting to see what it may take to change this trend.

There are though some fabulous opportunities for families or business partners to consider not only moving to rural parts of Australia but taking up a new way of life. One example would be to join the organic industry by buying an already establishing citrus farm and business. All the hard work is now done with of course some potential to be realised if you wanted to grow the business further. Added benefit is that the current owners providing training and support. On the other end of the scale are properties such as in Tasmania which are more hobby farms where the activity on the farm at least pays its way and contributes food to the family and can blend with some off-farm activity to combine a wonderful way of family life.

Check out the Eco-Property Guide