PostHeaderIcon Environmental Statements


Environmental Statements

Under the relevant European Directives, an Environmental Statement is the formal product of an Environmental Impact Assessment. Environmental Statements are often organised in a way that describes the environmental baseline, mitigation and effects for each type of environmental receptors: ecology, water resources, archaeological resources, human beings etcetera. Contaminated land is often managed in the same ways as the various environmental receptor groups, although it is principally a cause of impacts rather than a receptor. It also often refers to a pre-existing condition and its damaging effect is on a variety of different receptors such as human health, structures and buildings, surface water features, groundwater features and ecology. This often means that land contamination specialists struggle with integrating the issue in a logical manner in an Environmental Statement. Sticking to the structured approach of an environmental statement is essential to ensure a clear description of the existing environmental condition, the potential impacts and the actions taken to avoid, minimise, offset or manage the impacts. This article is based on UK practice and legislation, although fundamentally the issues should be similar within other contexts.

Contaminated land is in many countries considered on a source-pathway-receptor basis. This is important to understand the impact land development can have on the issue of contaminated land. Development can interfere with any of these three elements. It can introduce sensitive receptors by changing the use of land, for instance by building new residential units on a site that was previously used for heavy industry. New pathways linking pre-existing contamination with an existing receptor can be formed, for instance when piling through a non-permeable layer connecting a layer of contaminated soils with a deep aquifer. Finally by introducing pollutants on the site a development project can introduce a potential source of contamination.

The second element to consider is the structured approach of an environmental statement. Apart from the introductory and procedural elements described in the environmental statement, a good environmental statement comprised the following sections:

  • environmental baseline conditions
  • potential environmental impacts
  • mitigating measures
  • residual environmental impacts

There should be a logical relation between the different sections. Any receptor that is affected and described in the section about the potential impacts and effects should have been introduced in the section describing the baseline. Any material impact should be assigned a mitigation or management action etc. Implementing this structure allows a clear description and understanding of the environmental impacts and the way it will be managed.

Applying these principles to contaminated land will result in a baseline condition section that describes the current sensitive receptors that are present within the potential sphere of influence of the development, the sensitivity and importance of these receptors, the presence of any pre-existing contamination and the presence of actual and potential pathways. The next section, potential environmental impacts or effects, first considers the impacts that the development will have in terms of the introduction (or removal) of sensitive receptors and the creation of new pathways between existing and potential pollution sources and receptors. In addition this section will describe the potential environmental impacts that are associated with the introduction of new sources of contamination. In the third section, mitigating measures, a description of the actions to mitigate each of the impacts that may occur should be provided. Finally a statement of the residual impact of the development is provided in the last section: residual environmental impacts.

Paul Giesberg is an environmental consultant with a special interest in environmental impact assessment and sustainability in land use development.


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PostHeaderIcon Green Computing


Green Computing

Green and Clean Computing

Little thought may be given to the energy consumption of computers, but as more and more computers are purchased each year, it is not just the number of computers that forces increased energy consumption but the way in which computers are being used that adds to the building energy burden. Research has shown that most computer desktops are not being used a great deal of the time they are running and are left on for long periods of time. As with other forms of energy consumption, electricity is wasted when it is not being used and this burns fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide into the air and cause smog, acid rain and other detrimental environmental side effects.

The typical desktop computer consists of a system unit which houses the central processing unit (CPU), a monitor and a printer. The CPU may require 100 watts of electrical power; the monitor, which may be 15 to 17 inches, may require another 50-100 watts; a laser printer can use as much as 100 watts or more while ink printers use as little as 12 watts while printing. The cost for operating a 200 watt system all day and night, everyday, would be $125 annually, while the cost of operation for normal business hours of 40 hours per week would range around $30 annually. Considering the tremendous benefits derived from using computers, this figure may not appear extensive, but when multiplied by the many computers used on a daily basis in this country, the total grows phenomenally.

There are many ways to reduce personal computer energy consumption. Computers, printers and monitors can be turned off when not in use. Many years ago, it was considered harmful to the computer if it were turned on and off periodically during the course of a day. However, the internal circuitry of personal computers is designed to be protected from power damages that might result from on and off switching. Doing so will not substantially affect the computer’s useful life.

The use of screen savers wastes energy and should not be used. They go back to the days when, if not used, images would be ingrained on screens if they remained on too long, but updates in technology have long made the use of screen savers unnecessary.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has also developed technology for computers and monitors that can be programmed to automatically power down to a lower power state when not in use. This “sleep mode” can reduce energy consumption by 60% to 70% and these “Energy Star” computers serve to gain efficiency without any loss in computing performance.

Green computing extends beyond the personal computer to the use of related devices and materials. For example, paper waste can be reduced by printing as little as possible and only when necessary, recycling waster paper, using electronic mail instead of faxing to eliminate the need to produce a hard copy, and trying to print on both sides of the page when possible. In addition, printer and toner cartridges can be recycled. Although this is a practice that has been discouraged in the past by printer and toner cartridge manufacturers, such recycled cartridges save resources and reduce pollution and solid waste. Disposing of electronics as well can be done through recycling agencies to reduce waste and provide for recycling of functional equipment.

Finally, green computing also means not buying new equipment unless there is a real need for it. Close investigations can be made regarding upgrading hardware or software before purchasing a new computer. However, if the determination is made that a new computer system should be purchased, there are “Energy Star” computers, monitors and printers on the market. In addition, ink jet printers use 80% to 90% less energy than laser printers and soon, even “Green Computers” will reach the marketplace for sale.

Visit http://www.OCRuggedLaptops.com for more information about the rugged laptop industry.

BBC World News America


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PostHeaderIcon Green Technology


Green Technology

China Must Also Play a Role if We Are To Make A Difference

Our world is facing a huge crisis today in the form of global warming. Though most recognize that it is a bomb ticking away and awaiting to explode, few of us actually make an effort to change this dangerous trend. Lots of research and methods are being discovered and discussed but very few concrete steps have been taken yet. The major culprit is the industries that contribute maximum carbon dioxide and other dangerous gases to the environment. Although it is imperative that each of us do something to reduce our carbon footprint on earth, the industries and huge factories in the developing worlds should be forced to take up real concrete methods of curtailing pollution.

With rising population, the world has to increase production of materials and goods for all. This obviously calls for more and more industries in the world, which will only add more emitting pollutants to the atmosphere. The world needs to come together to work out solutions that can both save the environment and maintain economic development.

The problem of global warming represents a serious threat to the entire world. We are running out of time as warned by many scientists around the globe. People have created this problem by greatly increasing the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; and people working together will be the only way to stop it.

As President Obama makes an effort to introduce and promote green enterprises and industries, he will face a startling fact. Most pollution is created by China and the developing world. So no matter how much the developed world reduces their carbon emission, countries like China will compensate it with more pollutants. The per capita emission has increased six times today thanks to industrial projects which do not follow minimum environmental laws and directives.

It is imperative that Chinese President Hu Jintao and the other world leaders start to outline a plan now that will be followed by most countries, particularly China, in going green in their business practices.

However, the problem facing the world is that if we tackle this problem from a micro level, we come face to face with industrialists who are trying very hard to make their business a success and increase profit. There is nothing wrong in that because more profit would mean greater investment and a stronger economy. But most of these factory/industrial owners do not take into account the bad effects of pollution due to the emissions and discharges from their units.

Scientists across the globe are insisting that the environmental costs should also be included in the production costs. But, unfortunately, the busy industrialists do not have time to take into account the social and environmental responsibilities of the company; and, hence, little to no effort is made by them to alter the situation. Forcing the overworked staff to look into ways to follow the green norms is not cost effective in the long run.

A better way to tackle the problem is to hire a Green Consultant. The Green Consultant would look into individual business practices and suggest concrete methods to reduce pollution and reduce wastage and improper use of resources. For a nominal fee the consultant would work throughout the year to move the business toward a successful GCI Green Building certification. However, because businesses differ in nature, region, demands, budget, etc., it would make sense that one approach for all may not work well.

Consult the Green Business League website to learn more about the consultant and their expertise.

Samm Parker is author of this article on Nationalgeographic.

Find more information about Global warming here.

PostHeaderIcon LAUGH OR CRY TV


LAUGH OR CRY TV

Lets Revisit The Global Warming Theory

We have all heard about Global Warming, where the planet’s atmosphere is supposedly heating up. Of course, we as common citizens have no real proof, only what our scientists tell us, along with the Think Tanks and mass media. But how can we trust this when Global Warming researchers have been paid 100s of millions of dollars, and they know if they disagree with global warming theory the money stops being funded and they are out of work?

One of the most fascinating debate points for Global Warming goes something like this; “The majority of scientists say global warming is real and we are already seeing its impact (the drought in the Western USA and the long term drought in Australia.”

This is seriously a flawed argument and let me tell you why. You see it is irrelevant and may not even be true. After all, 55% would be most of the scientists and thus the majority, still leaving a huge contingency of doubters, with plenty of data and research to back up the opposite point of view.

Likewise, during Copernicus’ day only one man believed the world was round, everyone else said it was flat; so the “majority of scientists” argument is irrelevant; majorities don’t mean anything. If you were one of a 100 people and they all jumped off a bridge because they agreed to, would you jump too? That is illogical.

Now then, the second part of the argument has to do with droughts in the world. And we all know that droughts come and go. Remember the Dust Bowl “Grapes of Wrath” in the US? And in the 1950s Australia had a drought just as bad during the same period, same as the one they are having now. This one we notice more because there are more people demanding the same amount of water.

In California, the snowpack this year is normal and anymore puts us above normal, thus, the drought theoretically is over? So, does that mean this so-called Global Warming is over? Of course, not the powers that be, behind global warming will continue to pursue this until it’s no longer in their interests. Think on this.

Lance Winslow – Lance Winslow’s Bio. If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; http://www.WorldThinkTank.net/.

PostHeaderIcon EarthDay Birthday Celebration Means Brainstorming Ideas For Appropriate Slogans


EarthDay Birthday Celebration Means Brainstorming Ideas For Appropriate Slogans

EARTH DAY IS A SPECIAL DAY – There is a special day each year that was established in 1970 by Gaylord Nelson to raise awareness in individuals, communities, towns, governments and countries about the state of our earth.

We have come to realize that our Blue Marble has finite resources. Once human greed and actions of indiscretion removed or destroyed our land, water, and air it would take thousands of years to repair our fragile planet, if ever.

OUR CHANGING WORLD Many had no concept of the untold repercussions upon all living organisms that would result from thinking only of how to take from the earth and not give back or preserve. We are feeling the effects in our escalating human diseases, loss of rain forests that filter our air, changing climates bringing drought, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes or floods. We are observing the rapid extinction of plants and animals both on land and in our oceans.

INCREASED AWARENESS Due to the heightened awareness from past Earth Day Celebrations many have championed for preservation and replenishing our Earth. This year we hope to far surpass the original 20 million people who were involved with that first Earth Day almost 40 years ago. The need is more pressing and urgent. Our landfills are over-burdened and farm animal waste seeps into our water supplies. We scrape coal from the ground and leave eroded denuded rock. We need to find technological methods to secure nuclear waste, stop air pollution and clean up the invisible acid rain that harms every living thing.

LAWS CAN BE ENACTED Countries around the world have created governmental committees and agencies to spearhead environmental clean up and to oversee improved management of natural resources. We should legislate for better programs and ways to protect our earth. The spirit of the day includes binding people together by simply stating the cause through slogans, posting them on banners in public places and using them as public service announcements.

BUILD COMMUNITY AND AWARENESS WITH MOTTOES Slogans solidify the main theme for each year’s celebration. You may want to emphasize the grand scheme of things or focus on a particular issue. There may be off-shoots from different organizations as they gather support for their favored area. One group may consider the rivers and streams where their people fish and recreate as the top priority. Others may focus on trees, natural preserves, and all aspects of wood and forests. People living in mountain ranges may emphasize the importance of clean air and fight to prevent acid rain. Villages that live on the coasts want to keep their fisheries alive with clean oceans.

GET INVOLVED BY BRAINSTORMING SLOGANS Suggestions for stimulating discussion, approaching the issue of slogans and having fun at the same time:

1. Meditate on the idea of Earth Day. What does your intuition tell you?
2. Look around and take notice how pollution effects you? What is the most important issue?
3. Read the paper, listen to the radio, or search the latest news online. What current event topic comes up most often?
4. Talk with friends, family, community and congregation members. Get some opinions.
5. Join an environmental group in your region and read their articles.
6. Create a survey.
7. Now that you’ve got the juices flowing, begin writing the main ideas.
8. Use as many words to describe the themes and then see if any phrases or words cover these ideas.
9. Are they catchy like the hook of a song or the repeating stanzas?
10. Would the phrase fit on a button or shirt?
11. Are the words powerful? Would they motivate others to action?
13. Are the words emotional? Do they touch the heart with meaning?

http://budurl.com/EarthDaySlogan – See a list of slogans that have been used in the past or have been proposed by others visit this Hubpage
http://www.eventslisted.com/eventlaunchstrategies/ – Learn more about the Social Media aspect of EarthDay and the power of the internet and people working together towards one goal.
Please write to me if you have ideas for EarthDay Birthday Celebration Slogans.

Debby Bruck, CHOM. believes hope and healing can be accomplished through homeopathy. She sees the good in all people and prays that the people of the world will work together to repair the earth. Every little good act makes a better world.

2008 - Going Green Tech News

PostHeaderIcon Have You Got Earthday Business


Have You Got Earthday Business

The sun is shining across the hills of West Cork as I listen to the story of Earthday told by a team of evangelists with nothing but Earthday business on their minds. In 2008, visionary Simon Ford started a group to bring like-minded, positive people together in socially conscious activities. He called the group Social Traffic and right now that group has Earthday business on its mind.

The group’s first major campaign centers around Earth Day with an event named, Earthday Birthday a global birthday party for Mother Earth. Earthday 2009 and the celebrations that will go with it is all set to clamor its way across the social media landscape like some all embracing vine, covering the sometimes harsh elements of the online world with a softer, greener facade which many hope will last for more than a lifetime.

Earthday 2009 is a global celebration and a day to spread awareness of people’s destructive impact on the planet. But before you jump right in there and start changing the world on a massive scale here’s a few simple things you can do to make a difference right now, tomorrow and every single day after that.

Here’s my list of top five things to do to celebrate Earthday 2009 and reduce your impact on our planet;

1. Plant a tree or two. If you’re feeling energetic plant a whole field full.

A tree will absorb CO2 and other forms of pollution, provide a home to hundreds of creatures, help to create and retain soil and performs a whole host of other ecological functions. And, in case you needed a reminder, will leave a lasting legacy of your time on the planet.

2. Walk to work for a day, a week or a whole month. You’ll feel better and the earth will be a much healthier place to live too.

You might even want to think about joining a car sharing scheme and make it a permanent part of your work life balance to drive to work only one day a week and sleep the other four in the passenger seat while someone else does all the hard work!

3. Dry your dishes naturally. Turn off the dishwasher at the dryer stage of the cycle and leave your plates and cutlery to dry themselves for a change!

4. Turn off all your plug sockets before bed. Maybe spend the evening in the dark for one day a week and treat the kids to a few ghost stories before bedtime!

5. Don’t be a water importer.

Get rid of your supply of bottled water, keep a jug of fresh tap water in the fridge and reduce the damage we do to the environment by producing plastic bottles to hold gallons of mineral water that tastes no different to the clear, fresh water that is piped through your home.

So, if you’ve got business on your mind this Earthday, perhaps you should take a few minutes to look around you and realise how precious our planet is and how beautiful that small piece of turf is right outside your window.

If you want to know more about this subject and how you can make a difference take a look at this great squidoo lens all about Earth Day Birthday right now.

Neil Ashworth is a member of Simon Ford’s Social Traffic Team who are raising awareness of environmental issues using the power of social media marketing to support the Earth Day Birthday campaign.

GLOBAL PULSE: The Color of Stimulus


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PostHeaderIcon Notices For New Technology


Notices For New Technology

Paint That is Environmentally Friendly, Should I Really Buy Into It?

Over the past few years, more and more people have become quite aware of the need to take care of the environment and take responsibility for our part in saving the planet from ecological disaster brought on by the inventions and waste products created by man. As a natural result of the many developments, inventions, and innovations made by man, the environment has slowly been degraded to the point that it has become a real point of concern for everyone living on the planet. The toxic byproducts of the manufacture of most of the inventions of man have slowly choked and poisoned the environment, slowly producing adverse conditions that would take years to undo, if at all. Other than the production of fuels and modern lubricants, another source of chemical pollutants that are not only toxic to the environment but also directly to humans as well, are the various paints being made in manufacturing plants. These paints have pigments that are laced with lead, and this lead is a heavy metal that is highly toxic.

Thankfully, some paint manufacturers have taken the problem to heart and devised new compounds that are lead free and contain no other toxic chemicals, in effect, environmentally friendly paint. This is probably one of the best developments in the field of synthetic materials, since having environmentally safe paint is beneficial not only to the environment long term, but also directly and immediately upon humans, since this paint does not exude the strong toxic fumes that people have come to associate with freshly applied paint. Environmentally friendly paint is in many ways better then the traditional paint of old, not only in the fact that it will not poison the environment, and the residents of the house using it eventually, but also because of the fact that formulation of the environmentally safe paint actually allows it to dry quite faster than traditional paints. What’s more is that the colors found available in environmentally friendly paint are as varied as the ones you find in traditional paint, so finding the paint color that you like in non-toxic form should be quite easy now.

In case you are wondering just how environmentally safe paint is beneficial to you, here are just a few pointers:

Not a health hazard

There are millions of people with both diagnosed and undiagnosed chemical allergies that are easily triggered by numerous stimuli, and one of the most popular irritants are the traditional paints and their strong, noxious fumes. Environmentally friendly paint exudes little, if at all, chemical fumes when they are applied and while they are drying, making it ultimately ideal for the home and for places where people tend to stay indoors for a long period of time.

Safe for the environment

Like the name suggests, environmentally safe paint is just that, safe for the environment. Production of this type of paint did not in any way contribute to the contamination of groundwater and landfills, and does not have any substance in it that will deplete the ozone layer even faster. This is the entire reason for making this type of paint. Rest easy knowing that as you use environmentally friendly paint, you are in no way damaging the environment

Cost-efficient and effective

Environmentally friendly paints are known to perform rather well in coverage, scrubability, and in hiding the flaws that came out during previous coats of paint. People who have used environmentally safe paints say that the paint itself has enough body to allow more areas to be covered with the same amount of paint that would normally only cover a smaller surface area. This translates into significant savings by not having to buy more paint than is necessary.

Water-based paint

Being water based means it can be easier to clean, since it will not retain and absorb dirt and other stains, much like what traditional paint tends to do. A lot of discoloration in old paints is primarily because of dust and dirt actually seeping into the paint, causing it to grow darker and uneven in color.

Rico Franco is an SEO Copywriter/Marketing Specialist specializing in optimized written content and marketing/advertising copy. He was awarded by the Catholic Mass Media Awards in 2005 for Best Business/Feature story written, produced, and aired. Rico also writes various articles in paint colors, online games, and other topics.

PostHeaderIcon Get Rid of Junk Mail


Get Rid of Junk Mail

Four million tons of junk mail is sent every year…at least half of which is never even opened. You probably are aware that your name, address, and spending habits are regularly being traded and sold on the open market.  By investing half an hour now, you can rid yourself of most of the junk mail for up to five years…and save a few trees while you’re doing it.

So here are a few tips that you can work on to lessen the load of junk you get every day:

  • Product warranty cards do not register your product…that was done when you purchased it. They are used to fin out about your interests and your income for the sole purpose of junk mail.
  • When ordering something on the phone, tell them specifically to not give your name and address to other companies for any reason.
  • Any time you donate money or order a product or service by mail, write on it in large letters, telling them not to sell your name and address.
  • When the junk come by first class mail, cross out the address and bar code, circle the first class postage and write “refused: return to sender”.
  • Your credit card companies are the worst offenders and probably sell your name and address more than anyone else. Stopping them is easy; you just need your address and social security number. One call does it all for agencies Equifax, Trans Union, Experian and Innovis. Dial 1-888-5 OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688) 24 hours a day.

Lisa is a freelance writer with a specialty in Internet content and SEO articles. She has written thousands of articles, hundreds of ebooks and thousands of website pages and related content. She has also authored her own books and works as a consultant to other writers, Internet marketers and Internet businesses.

Professional wordsmith for hire: gamer, wife, mother, entrepreneur, published poet, co-owner of game guides company (http://www.liti4.com), public speaker and Internet business consultant. You can learn more or follow Lisa’s blog from her website: http://www.freelancewriter4hire.com

Kelley Blue Book Interviews Todd Suckow

PostHeaderIcon Reduce – The Holy Grail


Reduce – The Holy Grail

The hard truth is that we all need to reduce. Reduce the amount of money we spend. Reduce the amount of food we eat…and our waistlines. And reduce the amount of stuff we throw away. In fact new we look at the 3 R’s of reduce, reuse, recycle, they are actually in that order for a reason. It is a hierarchy for a reason and reduce is the Holy Grail. Put in its simplest terms reduce means that we use less of the earth’s resources and in any environmental scheme should be our first priority.

That said, it is also the hardest to accomplish. When I thought about all the things we do to be greener, the number of examples of reducing stumped me. I suppose the most obvious example of our efforts to reduce was the decision some months ago, not to purchase an automobile. My husband has the use of a company van, but even that is rarely used. The difficulty comes when we want to go anywhere as a family. The work van has only one bucket seat in the front that fits three people. Obviously this presents difficulties. Even on our Saturday shopping trips with my mother-in-law, I end up sitting in the back of van; a solution that is both dangerous and illegal for the children. About a year ago, when I was working full-time, we were seriously considering buying a vehicle. But in the end, we thought the expense was too much when you consider not just payments, but insurance, road tax, maintenance and gas. Instead, we signed up for StreetCar; a car rental scheme that you pay a monthly fee to join and an hourly or daily rate only when you need to use a car or van. Looking back, that was one of the best decisions we have made both for the environment and family finances.

The other obvious example I found of reduction was our decision a year ago to switch to bags for life. We now have a stack of them beneath our kitchen sink and faithfully use them for our Saturday shops. But I do admit to occasionally forgetting them when just running out to grab something quickly. When this happens though, we make certain to re-use (we’ll talk more about that tomorrow) any plastic bags we get for outings or for small bin liners. Did you know that in the UK alone 100,000 TONNES of plastic bags are thrown away each year; that is the equivalent of 70,000 cars? So if there is one thing, I can encourage you to do, it is purchase bags for life. My store sells the sturdy plastic ones for about forty pence, the jute ones are about a pound, and the pretty cloth ones are about three pounds with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. Or it is very simple to make your own if you sew.

Speaking of which, sewing and mending our clothes is another excellent way of reducing. My boys from my husband to my sons are always wearing holes in their jeans on the inside thighs. Before the economic downturn, I admit we were likely to just toss them out and purchase new ones. But since I have not been working, we have instead taken them to the drycleaners and had them patched. The cost of the repairs is less than the cost of purchasing new (although I am committed to mending them myself from now on…a further savings). And we have reduced in a very small way the demand for jeans.

Of course, as I sit at my desk in my bedroom I am witnessing another reduction…the daylight streaming in through the open curtains. One of the first things I do each morning is open the curtains and the blinds. By using natural light when and where possible, we are reducing the amount of electricity that we consume and that the power grids must generate. We are also of course saving money on our bills. My husband is a genius at this; going around and turning off and unplugging everything he can each night before bed. I admit though that being American this whole switch on the plug thing still gets me and I often forget to do that, but I am improving. Of course, another example was turning down our thermostat during the winter and wearing heavier layers of clothes instead. In fact, I can think of only a couple of days this winter when we turned our heat on before night fall at all.

These are just a few ideas of ways that our family is reducing. There are many other things that we and you can do to cut back on the things we consume and help save our earth’s precious resources. On Friday as I said, we will do a mini-inventory and I will commit to new ideas on how our family can better live the 3 R’s reduce, re-use, recycle. I will be especially focusing on reducing since this is the most important of the R’s.

Terri O’Neale is the mother of six; ranging in age from 3 to 22. She has been both a working and stay-at-home mother at various times in her life. She was also a single mother for almost five years, before re-marrying the love of her life at the age of forty. Obviously, she has a life-time of training in raising a family on a tight budget. In addition to these real life experiences, she possesses a bachelors degree in health education and a minored in environmental management in her masters programme.

Terri feels strongly that this is one of the most challenging times in history for the family, but she also believes that families with the will and resolve to address the pressing issues of saving money, becoming greener, leading healthier lifestyles and spending more time with one another can endure these challenging times and come out victorious in the end.

Through Frugal Family articles, blogs, videos and social networking, she helps modern families rediscover some lost art forms such as cooking, sewing, and gardening. The goal is not to go back in time or become fanatical, but to help all families find simple and effective ways that fit into their lifestyle to make moderate changes with huge impacts. For more information, check out her blog http://frugalfam.wordpress.com/.

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PostHeaderIcon Farmers market with Chef Carlin


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Is Australia’s Emission Trading System Going to Work Effectively Or is it Just Greenwash?

In Australia the government are introducing an emission trading or cap and trade scheme.  There are major concerns about the level of reduction the government wants to sign up to and also whether it will actually work.

As Australians we do need to take action about carbon reduction.  We are both the most vulnerable continent for feeling the effects of global warming and also we are the worst greenhouse emitters per head than any other country on the planet.  We emit even more than the USA and Canada who are our nearest competitors for this wooden spoon.  This is at least in part due to our huge coal industry.

The head of the Australia Institute’s Think Tank says that the Federal Government’s emissions trading scheme will have too many permits and will not reduce carbon emissions.

The Australia Institute’s executive director, Dr Richard Denniss, said the scheme’s flaws related to the 5 to 15 per cent emissions reduction targets, which he described as ”ridiculously low”, and he said there would be too many permits.  Dr Dennis said that “We won’t achieve the policy goal, which is to reduce emissions.”

Dr Denniss told the Senate that ”[If] we pass this legislation, we’ve got it for the next 10 years. And anyone that’s got a good idea a year later, it’s not going to help. This legislation is designed to not be tinkered with.”

Professor Clive Hamilton, from the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, said the proposed scheme had damaged Australia’s reputation. A reduction target of at least 25 per cent needed to be set if the Government wanted credibility on the world stage.   Australia would be better off taking no policy than the proposed model to the December climate change talks in Copenhagen, he said.

”It not only lowers the ambition of the world community but also excludes Australia from being a forceful player in negotiating … a strong international agreement.”

It is hard to see how exempting large emitters ignoring the 1.9 million small to medium businesses is going to help us reduce our carbon footprint. These same small businesses are currently suffering from financial stress, the business owners and managers are overworked and simply don’t feel able to handle anything new. Many don’t really understand what global warming is about or why it matters. 

We urgently need unambiguous communication so that small to medium businesses accept the reality of the need for change and also how easy it can be to make significant reductions with minimal time input and save money at the same time.

We also need to help low income households reduce their carbon footprint with more efficient heating and cooling and effective public transport.  We should NOT be giving them even more cash hand outs as “compensation” as currently promised by the government.  All households need to come on board and stop wasting power.

We need a clear message that going green applies to all of us, is easy and saves money – just “go for a grumpy walk and just turn it off”.  If every small business and householder just went around each office and home and did this it would be relatively easy for every one to reduce their carbon emissions and their power bill by 15-20%. At present we are told it will be difficult and it only applies to big business.  Such a wrong message – we all need to pull together.

A Brief given to the Victorian Government advises that the state should only bother with green measures if they are more cost-effective than alternatives.  They have been told to rethink programs such as subsidies for solar farms and hybrid car fleets because these will not contribute to any additional emission cuts under the federal scheme.

The Greens have concerns about the cost of emission permits being reduced by the actions of households, councils and governments, hence reducing industry’s incentive to cut emissions. This is more than simply an economic debate. Individuals and households should also be reducing their emissions. Achieving sustainability is a grassroots exercise that involves the entire community, and Australians are becoming aware of the need to remake the economy and society. The momentum must not be lost.

An additional concern is whether the legislation and also the international agreements reached in Copenhagen will be flexible enough to take account of emerging technology.  At present this does not appear to be the case.  Senator Wong, the Minister for Climate Change, rejected spending on biochar, a form of carbon capture in soil research because that is not listed in the protocol.  Thankfully some soil carbon storage research will now be funded in the agriculture budget but that begs the requirement for the legislation to be flexible and allow for new and future technology.

If the ETS cannot deliver real carbon reductions it is really a form of “greenwash” saying we signed Kyoto and have done something before the next election. The big problem is that the government looks ahead 3 years to the next election, Big Biz CEO’s also look to the short term of their contracts and bonuses.  Who looks ahead for our children?

Jean Cannon is an energy management and sustainable business consultant. If you would like more information about how to go green in your home or business and increase your business profits why don’t you go to http://www.itiseasytobegreen.com and download a chapter of my book of almost the same name and find out how to reduce your carbon footprint.