Tag Archives: Sustainable Development

The real cost of fossil fuel subsidies

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Two weeks ago, the Perth Diocese announced it would divest its fossil fuel investments, and last week its Canberra counterparts did the same. This week the Melbourne Diocese has followed suit, resolving to take “all reasonable steps” to divest its stake in corporations whose revenues from fossil fuel extraction or production exceed 20 per cent of their total revenue.

At their annual 800 person strong General Synod (akin to an AGM), Professor Kate Rigby, Chair of Monash University’s Environmental & Humanities Department spoke about the changes to the energy paradigm in the present day. “While coal might have been cheaper [than renewable energy], this is only because its environmental impacts have not been factored into costing and because coal and other fossil fuel industries receive massive government subsidies.”

According to Environment Victoria, the Australian Federal Government spends approximately $10 billion per year on handouts (subsidies, tax breaks, infrastructure and cash) to the larger fossil fuel polluters. Continue reading The real cost of fossil fuel subsidies

It’s World Food Day today!

World Food Day

Once again TED Talks are here to provide us with innovative ideas and interesting ways to approach the future.

Today is World Food Day and the talks below, discovered in this post from Collectively, show us that there is more to food than what we think about.

Listen to Jamie Oliver teach children about food, Mark Bittman tell us the bad things about our food, or perhaps learn from Louise Fresco about how we can feed the whole world.

If nothing, put your feet up, grab some nosh, and learn about how the world around us eats and lives, and how we can help them do so far into the future!

6 websites to inspire & innovate

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It’s hard to stay positive in this day and age. With all the ills of the world slapping us in the face from the comfort of our armchairs we can get disillusioned that we can make a difference, and build a brighter and more sustainable future for our children.

Below are six websites/blogs that provide inspiration, and evidence that there are people out there that are questioning the status quo, and making small improvements to their lives – and the lives of those around them. Have a read of these fountains of inspiration, and see how you can develop your world for the better. Continue reading 6 websites to inspire & innovate

TEDXPerth 2014 in review

Biomimicry

Saturday 4th October at the Perth Concert Hall played host to the TEDXPerth 2014 event, which Sustaining People discussed a short while ago. Hamish Jolly (pictured above) was a crowd favourite for the day, with a particularly relevant talk about biomimicry and his shark-repellant wetsuit. The clear stand out for us, however, was Ernesto Sirolli, although Peter Newman and Adam Johnson presented some thought provoking ideas. Continue reading TEDXPerth 2014 in review

Energy Quality vs Quantity: Why coal is restraining our economy

An actuarial study just released by the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) reports that moving away from fossil fuel investments “could cost a 45-year-old almost $58,000 in lost retirement savings“. In recent months, many institutional investors have announced a move away from coal investments in favour of clean energy portfolios, and it seems that the Minerals Council and its Chief Executive Brendan Pearson are using this report to continue the onslaught against a culture of change and sustainable development. Continue reading Energy Quality vs Quantity: Why coal is restraining our economy

TEDXPerth 2014 is coming this Saturday!

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TEDXPerth 2014 is coming this weekend!

The local TED Talk event for 2014 is happening this Saturday 4th October at the Perth Concert Hall, but unfortunately tickets are all sold out. You might get lucky and score on from the TED Perth Facebook page, as that seems to be the place to grab unwanted tickets. You can also get updates on the TEDPerth Twitter page.

If you aren’t able to do that, you can still catch all the action at Northbridge Piazza (Cnr James &, Lake St), where there will be a live broadcast of the event, starting from 9:30am this Saturday. Continue reading TEDXPerth 2014 is coming this Saturday!

Sustaining People expands to Twitter @sustainppl

Twitter Capture

Guess what!?! Sustaining People is now live on Twitter, using the handle @sustainppl.

Whilst we will continue to serve up regular weekly articles and posts about the state of sustainability and corporate social responsibility in Australia, Twitter will give us stronger functionality in linking our readers to events and articles as they happen.

Sustaining People is excited to be expanding its operations as it will allow us to bring you heaps of content in different and more accessible ways. If you would like to follow us search for @sustainppl on Twitter and get plugged in!

Thanks again for all your support readers, Sustaining People will continue to bring you useful and interesting content. If you have any questions and comments, please don’t hesitate to let us know!

United Nations Climate Summit 2014

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The UN Climate Summit is happening today in New York. Yesterday more than 30,000 people attended the Climate March in Melbourne. People all over the world marched in protest over government inaction on climate change ahead of the Summit, creating a bigger global awareness of the issues we all face. Unfortunately our Prime Minister Tony Abbot is “not able” to attend, due to ‘scheduling conflicts’. Given that the majority of world leaders are meeting today to focus on the future of a sustainable planet, Sustaining People hopes Tony Abbot’s inaction  doesn’t leave Australia flailing in the dust.

Check out the official UN Climate Summit 2014 page for news as it happens. Watch this space over the next few days for news on the Summit’s progress.

Lessons from the Sahara Forest Project

Four years ago, architect Michael Pawlyn recorded a TED Talk at the TEDSalon London 2010, where he spoke about the benefits of biomimicry and how it can be used to change the way society approaches sustainable design. Watch his presentation above, and you will be excited about the wonder and simplicity of natural systems that are guiding the way that our cutting edge developers and dreamers are creating a sustainable future.

The second half of his talk Using Nature’s Genius in Architecture, focused on the potential of the Sahara Forest Project (SF Project). Put simply, the project is ‘…a combination of environmental technologies to enable restorative growth, defined as revegetation and creation of green jobs through profitable production of food, freshwater, biofuels and electricity…’. Essentially this project aims to revegetate large areas of arid desert, whilst simultaneously using a closed loop system to create food, energy, freshwater and natural building products on the same land.

Four years on, the Sahara Forest Project has strong backing by many nations, and Qatar has hosted the pilot facility to asses and nurture the viability of the project since its completion in December 2012. In June of this year, Jordan signed an agreement to build a Test & Demonstration Centre, which will act as a hub for innovation and capability to showcase the economic viability of the project.

Qatar Plant

Jordan Facility

So what can we learn from this amazing experiment and its successes to date? Here are five lessons that will have a profound impact on the future of this project, and other projects that are in the pipeline around the world. Continue reading Lessons from the Sahara Forest Project

Michael Traill to step down from SVA Australia

Michael Traill

Michael Traill, the Founder of Social Ventures Australia has announced he is stepping down from his role as CEO, at the annual SVA Oration, at the NSW House of Parliament last night. His exit will be sadly be effective October this year and will be succeeded by Rob Koczkar, the current Managing Director of Pacific Equity Partners. Continue reading Michael Traill to step down from SVA Australia