THE SUSTAINABLE LIVING FESTIVAL,
this year with no less than 300 events, started on on 7 February and will run till 1 March.
The Sustainable Living festival raises awareness and provides tools for change by showcasing leading solutions to the ecological and social challenges we face. It will again present a rich program of home and lifestyle solutions including talks, workshops, art, film, performance and markets to educate and inform the audience about their state of sustainability.
THE TRANSITIONS FILM FESTIVAL will start the first of its 20 cutting-edge documentaries and huge range of shorts on 13 February and It will run till 6 March. The Transitions Film Festival, Australia’s largest sustainability film festival, is dedicated to showcasing inspirational documentaries about the social and technological innovations, revolutionary ideas and trailblazing change-makers that are leading the way to a better world.
HEALTHY SOILS FOR A HEALTHY LIFE
Soil is a non renewable resource, and it determines much of our existence. Soil, apart from feeding us and sustaining us, also has a crucial regulatory role in our climate. The United Nations has declared 2015 The International Year of Soils It aims to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security, essential ecosystem functions and in addressing climate change.
SOIL IS A NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCE
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Soil preservation is essential for food security and our sustainable future
Live Pic of info sheet to be inserted
Soil is a core component of land resources, agricultural development and ecological sustainability, it is the basis for food, feed, fuel and fibre production and for many critical ecosystem services. It is therefore a highly valuable natural resource, yet it is often overlooked. The natural area of productive soils is limited – it is under increasing pressure of intensification and competing uses for cropping, forestry, pasture and urbanization, and to satisfy demands of the growing population for food and energy production and raw materials extraction. Soils need to be recognized and valued for their productive capacities as well as their contribution to food security and the maintenance of key ecosystem services. Read further..
BBC RADIO INSIDE SCIENCE ON SOIL BEHAVIOUR
New research seeking to further our understanding of soil behaviour.
Adam Rutherford interviews a number of people, including Richard Bardgett, Professor of Ecology Manchester University who says: “…The soil covers pretty much all of the earth’s surface, and we need the soil for our foods……the soil is critical for climate change, the soil is the third largest global store of carbon and there is something like almost two to three times as much carbon contained in the soil as there is in the within the atmosphere. So it is an incredibly important carbon store affecting the whole global circulation of carbon which is critically important for climate change…”
Soils acts as storage for carbon, especially when it is frozen but as the world gets warmer the permafrost melts as a runaway effect of climate change. With global warming the permafrost and the tundra defrost, releasing megatons more carbon…..
Further into the program, Professor Ian Hartley, Exeter University, says that “perhaps there is three times as much carbon in permafrost as we previously thought… That carbon has been present in these soils for thousands of years. However, tundra ecosystems are no longer absorbing carbon, they are actually releasing it. They are releasing it when they are starting to decompose when the permafrost thaws as it responds to climate change”. Listen to the program (30mins)
WHAT IS SOIL CARBON SEQUESTRATION
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide can be lowered by reducing emissions or by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing in terrestrial, oceanic, or freshwater aquatic ecosystems. A sink is defined as a process or an activity that removes greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. The long-term conversion of grassland and forestland to crop and grazing lands has resulted in losses of soil carbon worldwide but there is a major potential for increasing soil carbon through restoration of degraded soils and widespread adoption of soil conservation practices. ……land-use conversion and soil cultivation are still responsible for about one-third of GHG emissions…. However, improved agricultural practices can help mitigate climate change by reducing emissions from agriculture and other sources and by storing carbon in plant biomass and soils. Read the full article
‘HOTTEST YEAR’ STORY OBSCURES BIGGER NEWS: OCEAN WARMING NOW OFF THE CHARTS
Joe Romm Jan 2015
The oceans — where over 90% of global warming heat ends up — have literally warmed up off the charts of NOAA. The big climate news in the past weeks was NOAA and NASA announcing that 2014 was the hottest year on record, breaking the highs of 2005 and 2010. But the bigger story got buried: Global warming has continued unabated in recent years. Indeed, it’s not just that there not been a hiatus or pause or even slowdown in surface temperature warming. The oceans, where the vast majority of human-caused global warming heat goes, have seen an acceleration in warming in recent years. As climate expert Prof. John Abraham writes in the UK the UK Guardian, “The oceans are warming so fast, they keep breaking scientists’ charts.”
WHY THE ARCTIC IS WARMING FASTER THAN THE REST OF THE PLANET
Mindy Townsend Dec 2014
Earth’s climate is continuing to warm, and the arctic regions are warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet. This is to do with light and how that light interacts with stuff. Different wavelengths of visible light correspond with different colors. For example, if you see a green plant that means that the plant is absorbing all wavelengths of light except green. Green is reflected back, and that is what we see. Black and white are a little different, but it’s the same concept. Black is really the absence of light. Things that appear black are absorbing most of the light that hits it. White is all colors; things that appear white are reflecting most of the light back. The amount of light reflected from a surface without being absorbed is called the albedo.The more light or energy is absorbed, the lower the albedo. This concept is important for determining the effects of climate change.
The Earth reflects about 30 percent of the sun’s radiation, but not every point on the planet reflects the same amount. For example, snow reflects about 95 percent of the sun’s radiation. Water, on the other hand, absorbs that radiation. It only reflects about 10 percent of the radiation. As the arctic ice melts, it starts to expose the darker regions beneath it. Those darker regions absorb more heat, and cause more melting. This is called arctic amplification, and it’s causing the arctic region to heat up at a much greater rate than the rest of the world.Marine animals depend on the arctic sea ice for survival. Some such as Polar bears are doing okay in areas where sea ice is holding steady, but they are struggling in areas of sea ice decline. Some arctic vegetation can’t tolerate the new summer heat. Sea level rise will likely cause coastal erosion and flooding, and millions of people around the world are vulnerable to this. All of this is to say that the planet is still warming and the warming is accelerating in possibly the worst possible area of the planet.
ARCTIC’S ‘PENGUINS OF THE NORTH’ ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE
Brian Clark Howard National Geographic Jan, 2015
The latest research on little auks, sometimes called “penguins of the north,” reveals a surprising response to a rapidly warming Arctic: The birds make up for food lost to the effects of climate change by catching prey that were stunned by the cold water running off melting glaciers—another effect of climate change.
Why It Matters: Little auks are considered especially vulnerable to climate change. The birds are often considered an indicator species of the Arctic, raising red flags for ecological changes. “It’s good news that the little auks are adapting now, but because the system is changing continuously, we don’t know how long they will be able to keep up. …
… ultimately there is only one thing we can do for little auks, polar bears, and everything else that is affected, That’s to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.”
THE HUMAN COST OF POWER - youtube video (16.3mins)
by the Climate and Health Association. This film explores the health impacts associated with the massive expansion of coal and unconventional gas in Australia. It was produced by Fiona Armstrong, convenor, Climate and Health Alliance, together with the Public Health Association of Australia and directed by award winning science journalist Alexandra de Blas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5DIDUB_RyA
In 1947 the clock was at 7 minutes to Midnight.
Now in 2015 to clock has been moved to 3 minutes to Midnight
Last updated in 2012 at five minutes to midnight, the clock has moved forward two minutes as the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists grows further concerned about the
Droughts will become more intense. Hot days will become more frequent and hotter. Bush fires could become more common and more destructive than ever, ‘severe’ bushfire ratings will become more common. Extreme rainfall events across the nation are likely to become more intense, even where annual-average rainfall is projected to decline.” Oceans will become much warmer and more acidic. Cyclones will decrease, but when they do occur they will be significantly fiercer and occur further south.
IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO STOP CLIMATE CHANGE, AND IT’LL BE SUPER-CHEAP
Many problems facing humanity are not straightforward and cheap and easy to solve. Solving climate change however, although not easy to solve, is straightforward we know precisely what needs to be done and the net cost is quite low.”
AUSTRALIA’S SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD GUIDE produced by Society (AMCS) is available online at www.sustainableseafood.org.au, or you can download the free app to your iPhone. The guide is also available from most local libraries. And you can request a free mini guide for your wallet from www.amcs.org.au
For more information on sustainable seafood, ocean health and what you can do, visit www.amcs.org.au
THE IUCN RED LIST OF SPECIES AT RISK OF EXTINCTION http://www.iucnredlist.org/ is widely recognized as the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species. At the recent global conference at which 70 environment ministers met, more than 400 plants and animals were added to the list.
EXPLAINER: WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY AND WHY DOES IT MATTER? - CSIRO Blog
All of us need to breathe, drink and eat. These are all benefits that are fundamentally provided by biodiversity. Biodiversity collectively describes the vast array of approximately 9 million unique living organisms (including Homo sapiens) that inhabit the earth, together with the interactions amongst them. The concept includes every species of bacteria, virus, plant, fungi, and animal, as well as the diversity of genetic material within each species. It also encompasses the diverse ecosystems the species make up and the ongoing evolutionary processes that keep them functioning and adapting. Find out why we can’t get by without it, why biodiversity is in decline, and what we can do about it. http://csironewsblog.com/tag/climate-change/
INTERACTIVE MAP OF GLOBAL CLIMATE ACTION– a little less conversation, a little more action
The Climate Institute has developed the Climate Action Map to provide an overview of action taking place around the world. http://globalclimateactionmap.climateinstitute.com.au/#/criteria
GUIDE TO REDUCING YOUR ENERGY USE AND SAVE MONEY
From curtains to LCD monitors, taking showers to making toast, the Alternative Technology Association (ATA)’s new guide examines ways to save money and improve energy efficiency around the home. Learn how to reduce your home’s energy use without the need for major spending on appliances or home renovations.
The Guide to reducing your energy use and saving money is available now as a PDF.
DARA 2012 CLIMATE VULNERABILITY MONITOR 2ND ED. Report (45mb)
The monitor measures the global impact of climate change and the carbon economy at a national level. It calculates and compares the vulnerability for 184 countries in four areas of impact (environmental disasters, habitat change, health impact and industry stress) using 34 climate and carbon related indicators. The monitor uses five levels of vulnerability, from acute to low, to compare and contrast nations. “Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2nd Edition – a guide to the cold calculus for a hot planet” reveals that climate change has already held back global development and inaction is a leading global cause of death. Harm is most acute for poor and vulnerable groups but no country is spared either the costs of inaction or the benefits of an alternative path. Commissioned by the world’s most vulnerable countries and backed by high-level and technical panels, the new Monitor estimates human and economic impacts of climate change and the carbon economy for 184 countries in 2010 and 2030, across 34 indicators.http://daraint.org/climate-vulnerability-monitor/climate-vulnerability-monitor-2012/
HOW TO TALK TO AN OSTRICH: TODAY’S CO2 IS NOTHING SPECIAL YouTube video
Another common argument is that climate is always changing, that Earth has had higher levels of CO2 in the past… and was much warmer. Richard Alley in the National Ice Core Lab in Denver CO, shows the hard (and very cold!) evidence that today’s levels of CO2 are unlike anything seen in the whole of human civilization, for much more than 400,000 years. And, by the way, when Earth was much, much hotter it was fine for dinosaurs. We might not like it quite so much. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4BJDwI8zSk&feature=relmfu
CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE IN PRACTICE
The carbon pricing mechanism, which is part of the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future legislative package, came into force on 1 July 2012. The scheme aims to reduce Australia’s carbon pollution, and in turn avoid the worst effects of climate change. The Government predicts that under the scheme Australia will cut at least 159 million tonnes per year of carbon pollution by 2020. Analysis by Climate Works Australia shows that the Clean Energy Future package has the potential to see Australia three-quarters of the way towards achieving its agreed minimum emissions reduction target of 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020, using existing technologies alone. More:
SOIL TO SKY: AGROECOLOGY VERSUS INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE – Infographic by The Christiansen Fund
In order to feed our world without destroying it, an holistic type of agriculture is needed, and we have a choice. Here we compare the current high-input industrial system with a renewed vision for agriculture: the agroecolocial system. Agroecological strategies can better feed the world, fight climate change and poverty, and protect soil and water while maintaining healthy, liveable communities and local economies. Industrial agriculture contributes to climate change, malnutrition and ecosystem degradation around the planet. It has not delivered on its promise to feed the world.
MULTICULTURAL CLIMATE ACTION PROGRAM and FACTS SHEETS IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Any organisation working with CaLD communities might be interested in the EV project: Multicultural Climate Action program.
http://environmentvictoria.org.au/mca EV has also produced two factsheets about smart energy use in the home and renewable energy in Australia and we’re translating them into 11 languages. We hope to reach 50,000 multicultural Victorians with our translations and have produced them with multicultural and faith communities in mind.
The factsheets are available in: Italian, Greek, Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Arabic, Arabic Sudanese, Punjabi, Burmese, Turkish, Karen Download them here
HOW TO TALK TO AN OSTRICH: “WHO SAYS CO2 HEATS THINGS UP?” YouTube video
Some seem to think that the heat-trapping properties of carbon dioxide are exaggerated or are just a scientific phenomenon. But after World War 2 it was the US Air Force that studied CO2 most carefully: its heat-trapping properties could interfere with heat-seeking missiles. As the video says, “the atmosphere doesn’t care whether you study it for warring, or warming. Adding CO2 turns up the planet’s thermostat.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoR4ezwKh5E&feature=relmfu
A SIMPLE, USEFUL GUIDE TO COMMUNICATING CLIMATE CHANGE
THE CRITICAL DECADE: INTERNATIONAL ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
The Climate Commission’s third major report and follows a series of reports on the science and impacts of climate change and the opportunities in Australia associated with taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
HOW TO TALK TO AN OSTRICH: ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGE – YouTube video
“Earth’s Climate Changes Gradually… We Can Easily Adapt.” Maybe, maybe not… sometimes climate goes over the edge, and quickly. Richard Alley describes the 10 degrees C jump in temperature seen in the ice core record as like “bungee jumping off the climate roller coaster” which we see him do, in person in New Zealand, and in computer graphics. Perhaps we’d better take out some insurance.
HOW TO TALK TO AN OSTRICH: ”WE’RE NOT ADDICTED TO BURNING!”
Richard Alley describes how 19th C. Americans burned through forests and then moved on to hunt all the nearby whales close to extinction – “we burned the whales to light the evenings!” What happens if we burn through all the coal and oil, and – especially – America’s new fuel: shale gas.
CLIMATE CHANGE INFOGRAPHICS
An amazing range of info on climate change science, research, impacts, opportunities, etc, etc http://pinterest.com/visualoop/climate-change-infographics/
HOT PLANET (BBC documentary (59.22 mins) offers an accurate visual prediction of the planet’s future, based on the findings of over 4,000 climate scientists. Made in 2011 the documentary takes a look at global warming, exploring the world’s leading climate scientists’ vision of the planet’s future.
Scientists predict that if global temperatures continue to rise at their current rate, Earth will be one degree warmer within 10 years, two degrees warmer within the next 40 years and three degrees or more warmer before the end of the century. If the Earth’s temperature increases to three degrees warmer than the average pre-industrial temperature, the impact on the planet will be catastrophic. Across the Earth, ways of life could be lost forever as climate change accelerates out of control. This isn’t inevitable, however: climate change is not yet irreversible. Ingenious technology and science is currently being devised, advanced and tested around the world which could offer solutions for a sustainable future. The question that remains is, can the world embrace and implement them on a large enough scale within an effective timeline? If widespread damage to human societies and ecosystems is to be prevented, global temperature rise must be slowed and eventually reversed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-D0VEN4ZGo&feature=related
TO TALK TO AN OSTRICH: “WE DON’T KNOW ENOUGH….”
It is true that Earth’s a massive jigsaw puzzle, with lots of pieces intricately fitting together. But, Richard Alley argues, we already know enough to see the Big Picture. The missing pieces of scientific understanding – exactly how clouds work, how extreme weather will change with global warming – are important, but we can already see how Earth works.
FREE GUIDE TO SAVING ENERGY AND MONEY
From curtains to LCD monitors, taking showers to making toast, the Alternative Technology Association’s new guide examines all the ways to save money and improve energy efficiency around the home. This booklet is designed to help low-income households reduce their home’s energy use without the need for big spending on appliances or home renovations. Many actions can be done at zero or low cost, or through small changes in behaviour. To make it easier, we have tips for each room of the house. These range from the simplest tweaks, to improvements that may require permission from your landlord if you are in a rental property. Click here to download. The guide was developed by the ATA and the VCOSS. To order multiple copies email email@example.com
HOW TO TALK TO AN OSTRICH: “IT’S US!” – YouTube video Richard Alley addresses a common argument about climate change: that increasing amounts of carbon dioxide, CO2, are coming from natural sources, like volcanoes. He explains how analysis of the carbon atoms in the CO2 shows that they are the type that comes from burning fossil fuels. Therefore, the only possible explanation can be… “It’s Us.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=UXgDrr6qiUk
FROM LAGGARD TO LEADER:How Australia Can Lead the World to Zero Carbon Prosperity.
Beyond Zero Emissions have released their second volume of research: Laggard to Leader: How Australia Can Lead the World to Zero Carbon Prosperity. Available for $20 from BZE or downloadable free This new report challenges the common excuses that Australia’s contribution to the climate problem is insignificant, and we shouldn’t get ahead of the rest of the world, by exposing the true extent of Australia’s contribution to the climate problem and demonstrating our extraordinary potential to forge solutions at home and abroad.
OUR UNCASHED DIVIDEND A recently released report on the link between climate and health, and the health and economic benefits of climate action. Produced by the Climate and Health Alliance and the Climate Alliance
OPEN PERMACULTURE – Free resources
Permaculture is a promising path to creating sustainable communities, founded on a system of ethics emphasizing the importance of shared values among people. The ethics embrace care for the Earth, care for the people, and sharing the excess. The gardening techniques draw from several other disciplines including natural and organic farming, agro-forestry, sustainable development, and applied ecology. http://www.indiegogo.com/OpenPermaculture
For further reading and watching:
- Introduction to Permaculture – 40 hours of free video lectures
– Permaculture & Homesteading Books: The Ultimate Reading List for Sustainable Living (links to over 60 Free eBook previews and full eBooks)
- Permaculture / Organic Farming – Documentary Films Archive
– Permaculture Media Blog is a continually growing archive of more than 2000 Free videos, eBooks, podcasts and documentaries, divided into 4 main categories;
-“Permaculture & Organic Gardening”, “Natural & Green Building”, “Renewable Energy” and “Environmental Activism”
-Permaculture Directory is a free listing site for sustainable-living events from all over the world. Over 1300 events are listed, which have helped thousands of people to find life changing courses, workshops and festival
WHY LOGGING AUSTRALIAN FORESTS CONTRIBUTES TO OUR EMISSIONS – YouTube video
Logged Australian native forests are not renewable in the time-frame in which urgent action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They can only reabsorb lost carbon over periods ranging from several decades to centuries. Future logging for whatever purpose will:
– add to the atmospheric CO2 load, which is already too high
– reduce the stocks of carbon in the forests
– damage the capacity of the forests to draw down carbon dioxide
– make the forests drier, with more water hungry regrowth, affecting the land/atmosphere water cycle
– result in losses in soils, micro-organisms, plants and animals
Check out the animation, made by the Australian Forest and Climate Alliance, about the critical connection between forests and climate http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWYet-ipVK4&feature=youtu.be
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN AUSTRALIA – Report by the Environmental Defender’s Office.
The term ‘environmental justice’ has been very little used in Australia, and certainly not in the rich context that it has been in the United States. However there are signs that the concept is starting to gain traction here. For example, the Victorian Environment Protection Authority is currently considering how the concept might be developed and applied by them in a regulatory context. This project will explore and develop the concept of ‘environmental justice’ as a principle for identifying priority areas of unmet need, and then develop appropriate and effective methods so the EDO and other centres can meet these needs. This will be achieved by looking at three case studies, comprising: rural disadvantage in access to information and services with respect to land use planning, traditional owner involvement in natural resource management, and community involvement in decision-making around the disposal of waste, particularly hazardous waste. Project funded by Victoria Law Foundation View final report – Environmental Justice Project (July 2012, PDF, 6,513KB
BACK TO THE START: CULTIVATE A BETTER WORLD – YouTube video The film, by film-maker Johnny Kelly, depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the errors of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. Coldplay’s haunting classic ‘The Scientist’ is performed by country music legend Willie Nelson for the soundtrack Both the film and the soundtrack were commissioned by The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMfSGt6rHo
BEHIND THE SCENES of “BACK TO THE START” – YouTube video
Interesting little video about the making of “Back to the start” A behind the scenes look at the process of creating the video and the thoughts and ideas behind it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFlbGwAW7rw&feature=relmfu
The Climate Commission has released the report: Victorian climate impacts and opportunities Professor Tim Flannery, the Commission’s Chief Commissioner said that we have entered a critical decade in the race to adapt for the stresses of climate change. About Victoria and its state of play Tim writes: http://climatecommission.gov.au/report/victorian-climate-impacts-opportunities/
CLIMATE POLITICS IN AUSTRALIA: WHERE WE ARE, HOW WE GOT HERE AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT - A 3-part series by “Climate Code Red” co-author David Spratt
Climate denier governments have taken power in eastern Australia and in WA, and will likely do so In Canberra in 2013. How did this happen, what lessons can we learn, and how can we build a united mobilisation with clear messages and objectives?
THE POST CARBON PATHWAYS WEBSITE
The Post Carbon Pathwayswebsite aims to strengthen understanding of strategies for achieving a rapid transition to a just and sustainable post carbon future. There are interviews with Paul Gilding, Roy Neel, Jenny Clad and Mark Ogge, as well as John Wiseman’s Post Carbon Postcard #2 from New York City. The website will be updated regularly over the next few months with more in-depth interviews with leading post carbon transition thinkers and advocates, and more resources about inspiring initiatives around the world.
“WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD” – VideoDavid Attenborough’s “What a wonderful world” is yet another reminder of what, in our ignorance and greed, we are destroying. http://www.youtube.com/embed/auSo1MyWf8
“WELCOME TO THE REST OF OUR LIVES.” Peter Sinclair, who runs the blog Climate Denial Crock of the Week http://climatecrocks.com/ , just put together this fantastic a compilation of the recent extreme weather events around the U.S. The film’s title is a scarily accurate and simple description of our new reality. Must-See Video Compilation Of Extreme Weather: ‘Welcome To The Rest Of Our Lives’ http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/07/10/513493/must-see-video-compilation-of-extreme-weather-welcome-to-the-rest-of-our-lives/?mobile=n
131 YEARS OF GLOBAL WARMING IN 26 SECONDS - Video
For a quick animation of how the globe has warmed since Industrial Revolution times, you can now watch a simple video from NASA that collapses the story into less than half a minute.
The Center for Biological Diversity has been fighting global warming for many years on many fronts, from protecting polar bears to stopping offshore oil drilling and calling on cities to push our leaders to act now to help the Clean Air Act reduce CO2 in the atmosphere. Then see the impressive force of what we’re up against in the 131-years-of-climate-change-in-26-seconds video.