Monday, July 25, 2016

Dog helps explain climate v weather

With Winter on the way, you may hear someone say "global warming isn't happening because it's so cold outside" or something like that.

Astrophysicist and cosmologist Neil deGrasse Tyson breaks down the differences between weather and climate change in a simple and visually effective way.



It's an important distinction to make. Any day can be hot or cold, but what's the overall trend? That's the question.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Fossil fuels kill 3 million

The International Energy Agency Energy and Air Pollution report has detailed analysis of air pollution impacts. It finds three million people a year die prematurely from outdoor fossil fuel air pollution. Particulate emissions from coal combustion is the key underlying factor.


Here's a convenient solution - let's not kill millions for our energy.

PS. Another study finds the US could achieve $400 billion of environmental and public health benefits through solar power.

Friday, June 24, 2016

ACF compatibility scorecard

The Australian Conservation Foundation election guide is different from most you'll see this election. It's part scorecard, part compatibility test. Turn the dials to how much you care about clean energy, cutting pollution and protecting nature. Then see which party cares as much as you do.


Here are the results I got.


The website also gave an explanation of the scoring system and the party policies the scores are based on. Try it out for yourself.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Does your MP take fossil fuel money?

The Pollution Free Politics initiative asks members of parliament to take a pledge calling for an end to taking donations from and giving subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. In this election season you can find out where your MP stands. If they haven't signed the pledge encourage them to do so.




Thursday, June 09, 2016

Countries moving on

There's a whole bunch of countries who have recently made big moves in energy.

The UK's energy from coal has hit zero, Portugal has run entirely on renewable energy for the past four days and Denmark produced 140% of its energy needs from wind power, exporting clean energy to Norway, Germany and Sweden. Here at home, Tasmania has returned to 100 per cent renewable energy and South Australia has disconnected its last coal power station.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

New world at Newstead

The Victorian country town of Newstead aims to be 100 per cent renewable within five years. Business owner Mick Harris has installed an electric vehicle charge point in the old petrol bowser at his business as a way of moving away from the "older systems" to the "new renewable systems".

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Aussie households go solar

While the government might be dragging it's heels on renewable energy, Australian homeowners are getting right into it.


My home state of Queensland is leading with around 30% of households now with solar. Queensland also has 6 of the top 14 postcodes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How coal gets to you

This advert from an American solar company is also a great little cartoon of the simplicity of solar compared to coal.



The series includes one about gas and one about oil. Great Stuff!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bye George - I've done it!

Today I took the last of my money out of St George Bank. St George is owned by Westpac which lends to fossil fuel companies. Part one was transferring the last of the money out of St George.


Part two was telling the bank to close the accounts. I also printed out a letter (get your template here) to let the bank know why I was taking my money out.


And I couldn't resist a little card cutting photo. Cutting my connection with fossil fuels. Oh and my T-shirt says "My bank chose fossil fuels. So I chose another bank."

See also: Sending my bank a message

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Sending the bank a message

I just sent my bank a message. They have lent billions of dollars to fossil fuel projects over the last few years. Obviously this increases pollution and increases climate change.


Also, with the world switching to clean energy, loans to fossil fuels are also financially risky. So I let the bank know how I felt about this.


It's quite easy to do. Find out where your bank stands in the bank comparison table. If they're investing in fossil fuels there's a "tell them to stop" link. There's a template letter. Edit it if you like (I did) and click 'send'.

PS. I've already moved 99% of my money from this bank to an ethical alternative. But this was a great chance to let them know why I'm about to close the account.

See also Bye George - I've done it!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Planet Stupid

John Clarke and Bryan Dawe take a satirical look at what's on the news while the human race destroys its own planet.


Again, it's one of those things that's quite funny, yet incredibly not funny at the same time.

Monday, April 18, 2016

David Attenborough's Great Barrier Reef

If you haven't seen this series yet, catch episode 3 this Sunday Night at 7.40 on ABC (for Australian readers) and catch the first two episodes on iview.


Alternatively, take an interactive journey through the his Great Barrier Reef website. The graphics and underwater video footage are simply amazing. But it doesn't end there. This is one of the most incredible things I've seen online.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Good Beer gives back

Today I read a news story about a great new social enterprise - the beer that helps save the reef.


The brand will be "Good Beer" and it aims to taste good and do good. Half the profits from this beer will support protecting the reef, through the Australian Marina Conservation Society.

I'm not a big beer drinker, but this is one brand I hope really takes off. Why not support it by helping with the crowdfunding?

Friday, October 30, 2015

Photon finish!

The University of NSW Solar Racing Team Sunswift came fourth in the cruiser class in the World Solar Challenge.


The team is now looking to get the car registered as road-legal. Hear the interview.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Our brains are holding us back

One of the things that fascinates me about our reaction to climate change is just how many things outweigh facts and rational decision making. I've recently read a couple of articles about our psychology in this area.


One is about gender socialisation. What that means is from childhood boys are taught that masculinity means "detachment, control and mastery" while girls are taught "attachment, empathy, and care". Researchers think this is partially why more women accept the reality of climate change. Essentially they are trained to care more about the dire consequences.

The other article was about temporal discounting, which means our struggle to give up a small thing now for more later. In experiments people choose $100 now instead of $120 in a month's time. Financially it makes no sense. The extra $20 represents an interest rate of 240% and is definitely worth the wait. But our brains "discount" (or devalue) the future when we make decisions.

In experiments it might cost us 20 bucks, but in climate change it could cost us a whole lot more.