Tag Archives: environment

Why we need a “fundamental shift” to a sustainable economy (and the role of creativity to get there)

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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Earth Hour: is it a waste of time?

Earth Hour is on tonight 28 March 2009

Earth Hour is on again – tonight 28th March at 8.30pm. The event asks people and businesses to turn off lights and appliances for one hour. It ran for the first time in Sydney only a few years ago. Since then the idea has been picked up by many other major cities around the world.

But looking beyond all the hype, how useful is it really in helping to tackle the problem of climate change?

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Emissions Trading: what the ….?

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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Extreme weather: is climate change responsible?

The last few days has seen some of the worst fires in Australia’s recorded history. That’s in the South East of the country. Meanwhile in the north we’ve had extensive flooding. Not so well covered in the Australian media has been the snow storms enveloping the Northern hemisphere in places like the UK.

So is climate change the cause of these extreme weather events?

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Christmas Month v. Earth Hour: a snapshot of our sustainability schizophrenia

Christmas lights on suburban Sydney house
Climate crisis, what climate crisis?

Audio:
Have a listen to our Christmas lights podcast. In it we hear from people with ‘over-the-top’ Christmas lights on their houses to find out why they’ve done it.

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New film shows nature’s energy answers

Future Makers film logo

A new documentary called ‘The Future Makers’ shows how the answers to our environmental problems are there in nature itself. It includes renewable energy innovations in solar, wave and geothermal. And discusses the application of biomimicry.

Video:
You can view here the The Future Makers documentary trailer.

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2008: only the 7th warmest year on record!

Global temperature rise since the industrial revolution - from NASA

2008 – a not so hot year compared to the last few, but ….. it looks like the only way is up! This is the global temperature trend since the industrial revolution.

Maybe we’re so used to hearing about global warming, the 7th warmest year on record doesn’t sound so bad. But remember most of the other warmest years have all occurred since 1998 – as you can see in the chart above.

These figures have been compiled and were released yesterday by NASA’s Goddard Institute and the World Meterological Organisation.

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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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Interest in sustainable housing goes through the roof!

The number of ‘sustainable houses’ is growing worldwide. And if you’re interested in making your place more sustainable, the best way to get going is to see one in action.

But where are they? This weekend is Sustainable House Day (which in fact runs Saturday and Sunday) when some of Australia’s best sustainable houses will be open to the public.

Audio: Interview with Judy Celmins from Sustainable House Day.

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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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