Category Archives: Business and Economics

environmental stories and issues around business and economics

Why We Need A “Fundamental Shift” To A Sustainable Economy

Professor Jeff Sachs: "We need to re-think economic development."

Last year I heard a speech by Professor Jeff Sachs which crystalised a lot of things for me. (Sachs is a Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.)

I’m giving a speech myself soon at The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. It’s for Design Week and it’s about ‘the importance of creativity for sustainability’. In preparing I’ve found myself coming back to Sachs’s talk at Sydney Uni.

Reason being Sachs puts the whole damn thing in context. He describes how we got to where we are now, how special our time is, and how we are at a watershed moment in human history where we’re going to have to make a fundamental shift to a sustainable economy.

In this post I’ve included a synopsis of the Sach’s speech and links to a podcast of it. I’ve also posted some notes from my proposition that creativity is going to be key in re-thinking and changing how we live.

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What’s The Deal With Emissions Trading?

Coal fired power plant

Just at the time Australia is launching into an emissions trading scheme, the EU one appears to be faltering. Eek. In this post we’ve collected links to articles and videos on the European scheme and the political stoush that’s happening here in Oz. (We predict it’s only a matter of time before the Opposition here cotton on to the European failings.) And of course there’s the question of – what the hell is an emssions trading scheme anyway? Plenty of people wouldn’t have the foggiest. We explain here at the end. Click on.

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‘It’s time’ for a Green New Deal – an answer to climate change, peak oil and the financial crisis

Technologies of old providing inspiration for the future

It’s estimated governments have collectively found about $5 trillion to rescue banks and galvanize economies. Now the Head of the United Nations Environment Program and the leaders of some European countries are saying the time is right for the world to invest substantially in renewable energy. They’re calling for a “Green New Deal” to tackle our climate, oil and credit crisis together.

Audio:
Listen to our interview with Senator Christine Milne on the Green New Deal.

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Why Germany has 1000% more solar power, with half the sunshine

Electricity feed-in tariff will feed solar power growth

A decade ago Germanys uptake of solar energy was on par with Australia. But thanks to an innovative financial incentive, Germany has surged ahead. So much so, its renewable energy is now a mainstream industry and a leading employer in that country.

Audio: Markus Lambert explains the effect the electricity feed-in tariff has had in Germany.

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The Cars That Ate China, Part 1 (how Western auto makers are scrambling to feed the beast)

Are cars killing China (and the world)?

At the recent Sydney Film Festival I saw a great new documentary called ‘The Cars That Ate China’. In this podcast the director Stefan Moore discusses the background to the film and we hear a clip with Joe White, China correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.

Joe takes us to the Beijing car show and explains how foreign car makers are piling into China to make a killing in the last big score in car manufacturing.

Audio: Listen to The Cars That Ate China interview and movie podcast – part 1, Joe White and the Beijing Car Show.

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The Cars That Ate China, Part 2 (why the Chinese have gone car mad)

Can China and the world cope with increasing cars?

Western marketing has moved into China in a big way. In this podcast we hear a clip from the film ‘The Cars That Ate China’ with Tom Doctoroff from J Walter Thompson Advertising. He explains how marketers have tapped into Chinese thinking. And specifically why the Chinese have gone so nuts about getting a car.

Audio: Listen to The Cars that Ate China movie podcast – part 2, Tom Doctoroff on Chinese consumer behaviour.

Photo: decade_null, Creative Commons, Flickr.

The Cars That Ate China, Part 3 (implications for the world’s environment)

Industrialisation and consumerism at warp speed – China’s economy is growing so rapidly and there are so many people in that country, we will need 4 planets of resources to cope with the demand. In this podcast we hear from James Kyng who wrote the book ‘China Shakes the World’. He introduces us to the implications for the world’s environment of China’s mad rush to prosperity.

Audio: Listen to The Cars That Ate China movie podcast – part 3, James Kyng on the implications for the world’s environment.

Garnaut lashes out at climate change sceptics (in his own gentle way)

The good professor has a message for the sceptics who still don’t believe in climate change and the scaremongers who would have us believe the sky will fall in if we re-gear our economy to lower our carbon emissions. Listen to the podcast interview with Ross Garnaut on climate change.

Just add water (to food labels)

Here in Australia we know we should be watching how much water we use for things like showers, gardens and washing cars.

But really, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to how much water goes into the products we consume.

Now an Australian academic has proposed that the amount of water used in making food and other items be clearly shown on product labeling. Listen to the interview with James Hazelton.

To see how much water goes into making different products, check out www.waterfootprint.org.

The ‘urban planning rock star’ changing city environments around the world

Wall to wall vehicles. Thats how Jan Gehl describes Sydney’s CBD. He says Sydney has squandered its beauty and it’s time something was done about it.

Professor Gehl was commissioned by the City of Sydney to re-think its centre. He’s proposed to divert cars and give streets back to the people. Sound radical? His plans have been implemented in other cities like Copenhagen and Melbourne, and surprise, they’ve made life heaps better. And, interestingly, not just for people. Businesses have thrived too.

Check this interview out – Jan’s quite a character. No wonder he’s been called an ‘urban planning rock star’.

His next commission, by the way, is to develop a plan for New York City.