Saturday, March 28, 2015

Earth Hour Video 2015

With Earth Hour tonight, 8.30-9.30pm in your local time zone, what better time to look at the official Earth Hour video for 2015 - featuring Pompeii by Bastille.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Australia's top 10 polluters

Who are Australia's top 10 polluters? Geoff Cousins went on Lateline to announce them - and here they are:

You may recognise them. Some of them have been very loud in the media trying to reduce the amount of renewable energy in Australia.

Read more about on the ACF website.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Super Solar

ABC's science show Catalyst this week looked at Australian solar research. A new technology converts about 40% of sunlight into electricity. That's double the efficiency of current panels.

Catalyst Super Solar Cells

It's a bit high-tech, and probably won't be suitable for home rooftops. But it could mean even more productive solar farms, which would mean even cheaper renewable energy. The episode is well worth a look.

Monday, March 09, 2015

High Speed Rail for Australia

Long-distance travel can be a tricky to do without emitting carbon. Until now.

Research group Beyond Zero Emissions have come up with a comprehensive plan for High Speed Rail in Australia.

Beyond zero emissions high speed rail report

The plan makes train travel a convenient and less expensive way to travel up and down the east coast of Australia. 60% of Australians live within reach of this high speed network, and trips to Sydney can be made in about 3 hours, from either Melbourne or Brisbane. And that time is city centre to city centre (not to an airport that takes extra time to commute to and from).

Here's a small sample of their example timetable.

High speed rail timetable from Beyond Zero Emissions high speed rail report

It's a really good report. I encourage you to download a copy.

Map of high speed rail route from Beyond Zero Emissions high speed rail report

Monday, February 16, 2015

Breaking up with fossil fuels

Over 450 events were held in 60 countries, to mark Global Divestment Day. The idea is to withdraw our business from banks that invest in fossil fuels.

Of course the weekend was also Valentine's Day, so a British group put together this witty video of people realising it was time to end their relationship.

On the day, there were a lots of people divesting, and a couple of 'remade' songs. A group in Adelaide, dressed as Tina Turner to sing "Simply Divest", while a big group in Sydney enjoyed "Stop in the name of love (before you wreck the reef)". That song made it onto SBS News (at the 3 minute mark).

Breaking up with fossil fuels

Australians, see if your bank invests in fossil fuels.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Global Divestment Day

With Global Divestment Day happening this weekend around the world, this video does some explaining, on what divestment is all about.

"Fossil fuels companies only care about one thing - money. Who can stand up against them and steer the world towards a safe future? You can."

"We'll close our accounts with banks and funds who continue to invest in climate chaos."

"Divestment is deliberately moving your money away from companies you're not happy with. It's helped to stop some of history's worst offenders including Apartheid South Africa."

"Each act of divestment takes back power from fossil fuel companies and helps create a mandate for our leaders to take real action."

Australians, see if your bank is funding fossil fuels.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Solar Scorecard 2015

This is a non-partisan blog, but near election time I do pass on some voter information. My home state of Queensland goes to the ballot box this weekend, and Solar Citizens has scored the parties on their solar-friendliness.

Solar Citizens' Election Scorecard Queensland 2015

For the full scorecard, and the detailed responses of the parties, see The sunnier the ratings, the better the policy for solar.

This information is meant as a guide. If solar energy matters to you - this scorecard allows you to assess which parties are more likely to support solar energy.

Monday, January 19, 2015

2014 - Hottest Year on Record

It's Official. 2014 is the world's warmest year in recorded history - and the 38th year in a row of above average temperatures.

Bloomberg did a clever animation showing how the years just keep getting hotter and hotter.

And the New York Times had this informative graphic showing both a heat map of 2014 and a chart of all the years up to now.

record of 2014 - the hottest year ever - and all the years leading up to it

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Disbelieving Pastor

As a Christian, Anna-Jane believes that we are stewards of God's creation - and should be acting on climate change.

But it's difficult when some powerful pastors don't even acknowledge the existence of climate change. It's even harder when one of these pastors is her own dad.

Anna Jane and her dad - who refuses to accept climate change science

This is the background for Episode 4 of Years of Living Dangerously. See what happened - the episode is free online until Feb 2.

It's quite interesting to see how a person's mind works when confronted with something it doesn't want to accept - an "inconvenient truth" if you like. He demands hard indisputable evidence (despite devoting his life to God without such evidence). When such information is presented, he seems not to believe it - for reasons which aren't entirely clear.

I'd be interested to hear your impression.

Here's the trailer for the episode:

Friday, January 02, 2015

Top 5 of 2014

Here are 2014's most-read articles from Convenient Solutions:

5. Money was a big theme of 2014, particularly divestment - removing money from institutions that fund fossil fuels. My summary of the May Divestment Day, including tips for how to do it, was the most read of my divestment theme.

4. When a friend asked me who I recommend for solar panels, I put my answer on the blog. Turned that my friend was one of many who wanted the answer to that question.

3. Satire and comedy can be a big relief when times are bad. I shared the cartoon Australia's New Coat of Arms and the humour was well appreciated. (See more funnies)

Parody of the Australian coat of arms after Australian renegged on carbon pricing

2. My Good News Tuesday piece about sales of electric and hybrid cars in the USA being greater than total car sales in Australia was good news to many.

1. Humour featured again in the most popular item The Penny-Farthing of Energy. One of many great pieces by The Roast - it was a statement of great common sense, delivered in a witty and clever style.

The Roast 1 September 2014

Thanks again for reading in 2014. I've enjoyed writing for you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

That's So Kind

Have you ever struggled to find a gift for someone? Have you ever received a gift you didn't really like?

Why do we feel forced to buy physical stuff from stores, when people would much prefer other gifts? Ones that don't end up in landfill. Often it's because we don't know what people want. So Kind fixes that problem.

So Kind gift registry

It's like a wedding gift registry, but for any occasion - and also for non-tangible gifts.

You list gifts you would like - the kind of gifts that would make you say "That's so kind". They might be vouchers, homemade gifts, or a second-hand item you would like (if one of your friends has one and doesn't need it). Maybe even a donation to your favourite charity. There are plenty of ideas for your list, and other lists to get ideas from. Then tell your friends and family about your list.

For the gift buyer, just look at the list and pick something from it. You'll know for sure that it's something they'll like - and won't be in landfill next week.

It may be too late for this Christmas, but a good time to start one for your next special occasion.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hot Springs

Last year I wrote that 2013 was Australia's Hottest Spring. Now, 2014 has broken that record.

Possibly not surprising considering we had the warmest September ever, Australia's Hottest October Day, and a November heatwave.

This is getting serious. We really need to act.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Ready-made Gift

At this time of year it can be stressful - searching shops for something special for friends and family.

But perhaps their gift is already in your home. There are plenty of items of yours that you can give as gifts.

Bernadette created this gift tag, to show the recipient why the gift is special - that you are caring for them, and also the planet.

We hope you don’t mind. We hope you understand. While your gift’s been carefully chosen, it does come second hand. By doing this we are trying, to be conscious of our buying. Becoming more sustainable, so a better future is obtainable

It's an idea that makes so much sense. Books and DVDs that I've read/seen once are still effectively new. Why not give them to someone who can enjoy them for the first time. There are many other items that also make great gifts.

You're giving a gift you know is good quality. As a side-benefit, you reduce your own clutter and prevent another item from ending up in landfill. You also save money and reduce needless consumption.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Who is Katharine Hayhoe?

This is Katharine Hayhoe. A Texan. A Christian. A Climate Scientist. Star of the documentary Years of Living Dangerously. One of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People

Katharine Hayhoe picture

She is also an author. Her and her husband, evangelical pastor Andrew Farley, have authored the book A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions.

Book Cover. A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions

Could be an interesting read. It's currently out of print, but a new version is coming out in 2015.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Living Dangerously in Australia

Remember when I wrote about the US documentary series Years of Living Dangerously? It stars Matt Damon, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarznegger, Jessica Alba, Don Cheadle and James Cameron.

Now it's being shown in Australia. I caught tonight's episode on SBS.

You can see it too. Each Tuesday at 9.30pm on SBS.

Or watch it online, through SBS On-Demand.