Demand soars for carbon offset services as Australian businesses take lead on climate change. As pressure builds on the Australian Government to do more to tackle climate change, a growing number of businesses are taking the initiative, volunteering to curb their carbon footprint and offset their emissions.
Key points: Demand for Australian carbon offset providers is growingA 200km 'tree highway' will spread across the northern WheatbeltPressure is growing for more action on climate change at the federal level. Fixing climate change, poverty and ocean plastic requires a 'Moonshot' approach, economist Mariana Mazzucato says. Nearly six decades ago, President John F Kennedy's famous "Moonshot speech" rallied the US public behind the Apollo mission to send astronauts to the Moon.
"We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard," are the inspirational words that continue to be associated with ambition and grand achievement. Leading economist Mariana Mazzucato isn't the first to ask why, if humans can land on the Moon, they can't also solve some of the huge challenges here on Earth such as climate change, poverty or a plastic-free ocean. But as the founder and director of UCL Institute, it's a question she's spent a lot of time thinking about.
Her answer? Governments should adopt the "mission-oriented approach" of the Apollo project. Land rush on Darwin's outskirts as potential buyers miss out on grants. There is a suburban street on the outskirts of Darwin that you cannot yet find on online maps.
Key points: Top End developers and builders have seen a dramatic turnaround in the housing industryPotential buyers waiting for land release have missed out on grantsPlanning experts say there needs to be more consideration given to climate-responsive design Tovey Street in the middle of the new suburb of Zuccoli did not exist six months ago, but is now filling with houses in one of Australia's biggest housing sale turnarounds. In the last six months of 2020, developers sold more houses in a suburb carved out of scrubland than they had in the previous three years. Woolgrowers say they are accountable and consumers can have trust in Australian wool.
The wool industry has launched a campaign to convince consumers that wool is a sustainable product, and the industry is accountable.
Key points: The wool industry launches new sustainability campaignAnimal welfare groups say not enough is being done The WoolProducers president has criticised animal welfare groups The industry has been under scrutiny from animal welfare groups over some animal husbandry practices, and there is a growing trend by consumers to know more about where products came from and the sustainability of the industries such as wool. But woolgrower and industry leader Edward Storey is angry. Should solar owners pay to supply the grid, or are there other options? Here's what you need to know.
The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) last week announced that Australians could soon be charged for exporting solar to the grid to help cope with electricity "traffic jams".
So, what are these jams and is charging solar owners the only option to fix the problem? What are electricity traffic jams? Australia's electricity grid has traditionally operated on a one-way power delivery system, where big energy generators like coal-fired power and hydroelectric plants deliver electricity via poles and wires to homes and businesses. But with the uptake of rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV), electricity is now not only being taken from the grid to the home, but is also being injected back into the grid.
This is fine up to a point, but if too much power is put into the grid it can push the voltage too high, according to electrical and information engineer Gregor Verbic from the University of Sydney. Meet the giant mechanical stomach turning food waste into electricity. Tonnes of food scraps collected from restaurants and supermarkets are being converted into electricity under a green energy initiative powering thousands of homes in Perth.
Key points: A giant mechanical stomach is turning tonnes of food waste to energyThe electricity is being fed into the grid, powering 3,000 homesThe City of Cockburn has made the initiative part of its general duties The City of Cockburn has made the waste to energy service a permanent fixture of its general duties, collecting rotting food waste from local businesses and feeding it to a mechanical 'stomach' at a nearby fertiliser plant. The anaerobic digester heats the food, traps its methane gas and feeds the energy into the electricity grid, powering up to 3,000 homes. "It's really important to take food waste out of landfill because it produces harmful greenhouse gases. "If global food waste was a country, it would actually be the third-highest greenhouse gas emitter in the world. " Low-income families back proposed solar export fees in hope of reducing power bills.
Low-income families have welcomed proposed changes that would see solar panel owners charged exporting fees in the hope of reducing the overall cost of electricity.
Key points: Australians with rooftop solar panels could soon be charged for exporting electricity to the gridNew rules are being recommended by the Australian Energy Market CommissionSocial service groups say the change will make the system fairer for low-income families Karen Innes looked into getting solar panels installed on her family's home but the quoted price of between $6,000 and $8,000 was out of their budget. The urban farmers taking over someone else's backyard as a reprieve from the pandemic. On a quiet street in suburban Melbourne, there's no sign of the transformation taking place.
Behind an old cottage in Fawkner, Catie Payne and George Clipp carefully tend to rows of flourishing crops. The pair have long wanted to try their hand at farming. Australia's lesser-known ecosystems are heading for collapse. Here's what we stand to lose. A damning report has found several Australian ecosystems are so degraded, they are heading toward collapse if we do not intervene.
Of the 20 systems studied by a group of scientists, 19 showed evidence of collapse in some areas and required "urgent action" to prevent them from undergoing total collapse. Ecosystem collapse is what happens when a system is so fundamentally altered that it completely reorders, often resulting in a less diverse group of plants and animals and interactions between them than before. Among those identified in the report in Global Change Biology were some very well-known ecosystems — the Great Barrier Reef, the Murray-Darling Basin, Ningaloo Reef and Far North Queensland's tropical rainforests.
But then there were the less well-known habitats like the Georgina gidgee woodlands, the western central arid zones, and the Gulf of Carpentaria mangrove forests. Electricity has become a jigsaw in Australia and coal isn't best to fill the missing pieces. When the early closure of Victoria's second-biggest coal-fired power station was announced last week, something the energy minister said was less than complete.
Yallourn, in the Latrobe Valley, provides up to 20 per cent of Victoria's power. It has been operating for 47 years. Since late 2017 at least one of its four units has broken down 50 times. Queensland entrepreneurs use old laptop batteries to help combat global energy crisis among poverty-stricken families. A Queensland social enterprise is turning electronic trash into a global treasure, repurposing old laptop batteries to create a solar-powered solution for poverty-stricken families across the world. Key points: Recycling lithium-ion batteries will help reduce the amount that go into landfill in Australia100 PowerWells were shipped to Indonesia this week, and another 157 will go next monthOne PowerWell provides access to one household of about eight to 10 people on average It all began three-and-a-half years ago, at a start-up weekend at Substation 33 — an e-waste recycling facility in Kingston, south of Brisbane.
Town planner Nicholas Kamols and social entrepreneur Brad Clair had never met before, but within hours the idea of PowerWells was born and their lives changed forever. "The task was to come up with a solution to an environmental or social problem, and one of our group members was from Indonesia," Mr Clair said. I spoke to 'minimalists' to find out why they are giving up their personal possessions. I recently spoke to a man named Adam who told me that every object he owns could fit in one of Ikea's famous shelving units.
He owns two pairs of jeans, and t-shirts in just three colours. He is so concerned with the ethical and environmental impacts of his possessions that he once spent two months researching a pair of jeans to buy. Then, when he finally took them to the till, he didn't buy them as he noticed a tiny square of leather on the back. How Veena Sahajwalla's 'green ceramics' made from glass and clothes are revolutionising manufacturing. Veena Sahajwalla picks her way through the family rubbish bins, plundering them before they get out the door. Massive NSW property Narriearra Station hailed by conservationists as ecological treasure trove. In 1960, Bill O'Connor was a strapping 24-year-old on a remote pastoral property when, in a split second, his life changed forever. Key points: Narriearra Station, a vast property in north-west New South Wales, has immense ecological and heritage valueIts long-time owner, Bill O'Connor, lost his leg in an accident on the property but managed it for the next 60 yearsUsing Mr O'Connor's knowledge, New South Wales Parks and Wildlife are preparing the property to open to the public Warning: This story contains descriptions that may be distressing.
He and a mate were repairing a fence on Narriearra Station, east of Tibooburra in the far north-west corner of New South Wales. Bespoke Sunshine Coast tailor gives new life to old memories. Adam Johnson was just 13 when his father, a New South Wales police officer, died of cancer. All Mr Johnson was left with was his war medals and a police hat, which he stored on a shelf, a shed and even a shoebox.
Ecologists buy 1,000-acre blue gum plantation and transform it into wetland it once was. It was 2016, Mark Bachmann was stumped. He and his team of scientists were three years into transforming a huge tract of agricultural land into the wetland it once was, but had no idea how their small, regional, not-for-profit could negotiate the final step: to buy 1,000 acres of commercial blue gum plantation. That was when he spotted the platypus. You can recycle toothbrushes and coffee pods, but advocates say the sector needs help.
Coal-rich Hunter Valley ponders jobs future as Asian giants commit to net-zero carbon emissions. At the Lochinvar pub in the NSW Hunter Valley, a couple of power industry workers meet for a drink and ponder the future. "Everybody's a bit nervous because we are very reliant about coal, coal-fired power," says Gerard Spinks, who has worked for 39 years in the power stations of the Upper Hunter. "All of our other main industries are gone — our steel, shipbuilding, rail, and textiles — so all we've got left is mining and power. Once that goes, we've got no idea what the future holds. Textile waste presents 'untapped' potential for entrepreneurs as Bathurst runs recycling trial.
Do offsets and biobanking protect biodiversity? Biodiversity offsets have become a widely-accepted way to attempt to compensate for the destruction of endangered habitat and species in mining and other large scale development projects, but do they work? Before a project gains approval under the NSW planning system, the extent of environmental damage – for instance, through vegetation clearing or damage to upland swamps by mine subsidence – is negotiated upfront. Why understanding blue flowers is crucial for bees. At a dinner party, or in the schoolyard, the question of favourite colour frequently results in an answer of "blue". How to make your home more resilient to heatwaves and severe storms in summer - Science. Heatwaves may mean Sydney is too hot for people to live in 'within decades' What is green hydrogen, how is it made and will it be the fuel of the future?
Abundant, cheap and clean-burning, hydrogen has long been described as the fuel of the future. South Australia's recycling industry to be bolstered by up to $45 million. Why you may have to update your devices even if you don't want to. New wastewater rules could force thousands of Australian homes to install bigger, more costly sewage treatment. Adelaide scientists turn marine microalgae into 'superfoods' to substitute animal proteins. There's global interest in Tasmania's wind farms — but can foreign ownership laws cope? Penguin Op Shop thrives less than six months after the community saved it from closure. Queensland set to ban single-use plastics from September, but environment advocates want action now. Blistering assessment gives Australia 'just months' to fix nation's energy security. How to save money and electricity when renovating — CSIRO's top tips for your home.
Australian 'super seaweed' supplement to reduce cattle gas emissions wins $1m international prize. Why PNG's Daru would 'reluctantly' support a $204 million Chinese fishing plant on Australia's doorstep.