Tag Archives: climate change

Understanding landscape should be the chief qualification

ACT Government needs a chief landscape specialist

Many decades ago when talking to a staff member of the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC) in their 220 Northbourne office about urban and social matters, I was distracted by the view south from the 9th floor office window.

Continue reading Understanding landscape should be the chief qualification

Chief Planner ignores biodiversity in his reforms

Unfortunately for the city’s future, the ACT Chief Planner is not known for taking biodiversity seriously. Others do, although their efforts may be a little too polite to make any impact on this Greenslabor government.

Continue reading Chief Planner ignores biodiversity in his reforms

ACT Government sidelines climate issues

someone else does climate in the ACT

The most obvious stuff up about the release of the November 1 media release on the Planning Reforms is that what is being proposed does not recognise that planning and development are the most basic keys that the ACT government should be using to deal with urban climate issues.

Continue reading ACT Government sidelines climate issues

Seven star rating not quite good enough

ACT Minister brags about not much

Rebecca Vassarotti, the ACT Sustainable Building and Construction Minister, announced in late August that state and territory ministers had agreed to a national mandatory seven-star rating for new residential buildings, starting next October.

Continue reading Seven star rating not quite good enough

ACT Government has morning tea

while more trees come down!

Last week, the ACT Environment Minister, Rebecca Vassarotti, announced her draft action plan about the loss of mature trees.

Continue reading ACT Government has morning tea

ACT Government fails own climate actions

Rhetoric alone is not climate action

Once upon a time, Canberra tourism included views of tree-lined suburban streets. That was Canberra as we knew it – a city in a landscape. The ambience was greenery and open spaces.

Continue reading ACT Government fails own climate actions

ACT planning directorate past its use-by-date

The ACT Government’s planning directorate has an impenetrable structure that reminds me of the “Star Wars” concept – the Borg Hive – called The Collective.

Continue reading ACT planning directorate past its use-by-date

Australian War Memorial as vandal

Memorial declares war on its trees

The residents of Canberra love this city because of the trees. There are numerous occasions when people have had to rally to save our trees.

Continue reading Australian War Memorial as vandal

The Norway Alternative

Comment: Australia threw away the mining wealth.


Tour Of Statoil ASA's Oseberg Gas Drilling Platform


In Australia the government has completely messed up any opportunity to gain long-term economic sustainability for the country. We have just witnessed the current government do a dirty deal with another party led by a mining millionaire to do away with an opportunity for a just tax on the miners.

Continue reading The Norway Alternative

Going Backwards Fast

Commentary: on how the country is being trashed


GREEN ARMY INITIATIVE LAUNCHThe Conversation has just completed an informative series on the range of devastating changes being made to this country.

The writers cover most topics including:  health, the environment, education, migration, science and the economy.  It is definitely worth the time to make your way through them.

Continue reading Going Backwards Fast

New Garden Cities

Competition winner: for new Garden Cities


It was announced in the UK that the winner of a competition has proposed that to deal with population growth that new cities should be built nearby established ones. These would be garden cities connected back to the older city by public transport.



Continue reading New Garden Cities

Guilfoyle’s Volcano

Review: Landscape

Guilfoyle’s Volcano at Melbourne Botanic Gardens

Andrew Laidlaw, landscape architect



This is a job well done. I saw an article about this and was determined to have a look. Now if only they had been sensible and given an address.

Continue reading Guilfoyle’s Volcano

Greener London

How making London greener could make Londoners happier

an interactive map

From The Guardian: London – with all its tarmac, brick and glass – is actually 38.4% open space and ranks as the world’s third greenest major city. Now Daniel Raven-Ellison wants to go further … and make Greater London a national park. His campaign and online petition aims to have the city treated in the same way as parks like the Peak District and the Brecon Beacons, to conserve its natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage.

click here for the article.


Paul Costigan, 20 August



Big Coal & The Reef

The Rabbott Government and Big Coal and The Reef

reef1The Guardian has published a terrifying article of just how far down this country is heading.  As Tim Flannery says: The Great Barrier Reef is sick. Almost half of its coral is already dead and a massive new coal mine, which was given final approval this week, will only cause further damage. This is not just an issue for Australia, it affects us all.

click here for his article


Paul Costigan, 3 August 2014

Climate Dangers

Climate Change dangers that Australia is ignoring

955199c9-5763-407f-a581-a8acd28f04d3-460x460When you read the statistics on the range of dangerous changes already occurring to the planet because of climate changes, you do wonder about the stupid and dangerous decisions being made by the present Australian Government.

Suzanne Goldenberg has written that because of the changes to climate the world is nearly five times as dangerous and disaster prone as it was in the 1970s. Her reference is a new report from the World Meteorological Organisation.

Click here for that article.


Paul Costigan, 26 July 2014


The duopoly of supermarkets in Australia


8061542291243433879There is a very hard-hitting article in the August 2014 issue of The Monthly on how the two large supermarkets have been allowed to rip anyone and everyone off. Even more depressing is that it points to how we, as consumers,  are continuing to allow this to happen.

The major point raised by the article is how this dominance of the two of these supermarkets has reduced the food security in this country.

Continue reading Supermarkets

Trust Scientists?

Naomi Oreskes: Why we should trust scientists


Merchants_of_DOUBTMany of the world’s biggest problems require asking questions of scientists — but why should we believe what they say? Historian of science Naomi Oreskes thinks deeply about our relationship to belief and draws out three problems with common attitudes toward scientific inquiry — and gives her own reasoning for why we ought to trust science. (From YouTube)

Naomi Oreskes is an American historian of science. She became Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University in 2013, after 15 years as Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California San Diego. (Wikipedia)

Continue reading Trust Scientists?

Al Gore

Al Gore writes on optimism in dealing with Climate Change

In an article in Rolling Stone, Al Gore provides some very welcome optimism on how we may yet deal with the coming climate change events.

The article is very very long. It takes quite a commitment to allow the time to get through it all.

It is worth it! Happy reading. Click here.


Paul Costigan, 20 July 2014


Comment on the Art of Trees




I have said it before and am happy to say so again, I live in a suburb in Canberra that has a fabulous amount of trees. The amount of trees in the public arena, streets and parks etc, combined with those throughout the residential properties delivers an ambience that is hard to explain to anyone who has not experienced it. With our local trees comes other biodiversity and heaps of bird life. Researchers have just worked this out. Click here for a story on this.

Continue reading Trees

Urban Trees

Comment and UK Research





I have the benefit of living in a suburb with plenty of tree cover. In fact the view outside onto the streets is almost as if the street is a parkland. The concept that any suburb should have an abundance of trees and shrubs and associated bio-diversity is simply so logical that one wonders why would anyone think otherwise.

Continue reading Urban Trees

Value Landscape

How can we work with the landscape to make liveable places?

How the liveability of our cities means designers and planners working with the landscape rather than against it.

A video, about six and half minutes, introducing the concept of valuing landscape and the link to liveable settlements.

Continue reading Value Landscape

Sustainable Sites

Announcing new Tools

The Sustainable Sites Initiative 2014


Blue Hole Swimming Area

The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES™) is a program based on the understanding that land is a crucial component of the built environment and can be planned, designed, developed, and maintained to protect and enhance the benefits we derive from healthy functioning landscapes. Sustainable landscapes create ecologically resilient communities better able to withstand and recover from episodic floods, droughts, wildfires, and other catastrophic events. They benefit the environment, property owners, and local and regional communities and economies.

Continue reading Sustainable Sites

GoodBye Big Coal

Report Just in

Utilities wake up to threat of mass grid defection


rabbott01A report on that the wake up call may at last have been heard by some of the energy suppliers.

As the reality hits home, some energy companies are realising that coal based energy may not be as a sustainable business model as the proposed by Australia’s foolish Prime Minister.

Click here for the story.

Melbourne’s Urban Forest

City Council policy to address Climate Change

Always good to check if any Australian City Councils are taking actions and setting targets despite the dangerous attitude of our Federal Governments.

Melbourne City Council has an Urban Forest Strategy to increase markedly its tree coverage across the city (remembering this is the inner city council – who knows what the rest are doing!).

Continue reading Melbourne’s Urban Forest

Canberra Urbanity & Development

Recent Canberra Government development announcements



In recent weeks and months there have been several significant development proposals announced by the territory (ACT) government in Canberra. If all the government’s ambitions come to fruition then residents about to witness some very serious alterations and additions to the make-up of several parts of the inner city urban fabric.

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity & Development

climate and insurance

from the Guardian

article about climate impacts on property


Consumer and climate experts say extreme weather could raise insurance premiums and lower property values. This is something still being ignored as too many people have allowed the federal government misinformation campaigns to distract them from addressing these devastating issues. click here


Paul Costigan 5 June 2014

Urban Agriculture

 Urban Agriculture – one part of the solution

from The Guardian, Designing cities and factories with urban agriculture in mind. The Netherlands offers inspiration for designers looking to create environments that harvest water, energy and nutrients.

Urban farms are transforming inner city spaces – rooftops, infrastructure, streetscapes, building skin – into generative ecologies that support the lives of people, and pollinators too. They are bringing into cities, and into plain view, the natural systems that sustain urban life

click here

Car Parking

Using Parking Meters in Climate Change


parkingmadridThere are all sorts of stories in circulation in Canberra as a result of the decision to introduce paid parking for all areas within the Parliamentary Triangle. This has a big impact on those who work in the area. Some public servants are devising clever tricks to continue to have free parking.

This will also mean that visitors will now have to pay to visit the national institutions and have limited time to visit. This could be a marked change in how visitors regard the national cultural institutions. I know as a local, it will mean less visits to these institutions.

Continue reading Car Parking

Big Coal Stumbles

Big Coal Chief has brawn but no brains


The same crowd that managed to assist in bringing down the Rudd Labor government when the government proposed a tax on the riches being ripped out of the country, have just introduced an online promotion to bring together those in favour of Big Coal and its future.

Sadly for Big Coal have entered the democratic world of online chats and twitter. The full story is told in the Guardian – click here. Enjoy and chuckle at the expense of the not so bright chiefs of Big Coal.

solar power

Rooftop solar and Australian politics

There’s evidence appearing about the take up of solar may in fact continue to expand and become fully part of the country’s source of electricity. This is amazing given the on-going vicious and well-funded campaigns being carried by Big Coal and their allies in the present Australian Government.

The next big trick is to get solar to be a key issue at the coming elections, both state and federal. With many of the subsidies now being removed, those who have solar are starting to notice how they are being duded by the Big Coal electricity companies who do not want solar to succeed.

There’s a very good article online titled: Rooftop solar may be ‘sleeping giant’ of Australian politics – click here. It is worth a read to gain an update on this debate and some facts on the current rip offs underway.


Paul Costigan 14 April 2014


Climate inAction

About climate action – or climate inaction

A piece from the New Yorker that again points out that the time for action on climate change is now but that inaction has actually become the norm. So many politicians have come to office on the back of statements on climate change, yet here we are in 2014 with no significant actions being undertaken to realistically deal with climate change.

The really sad part is, as pointed out in the article, the longer we allow our national governments to sit on their hands, then the harder it will be in the coming years as the problems will have worsened and become far more difficult to deal with. It seems we are all waiting for someone else to solve this problem.

Eventually of course, someone or at least something  will. That will be the planet that rejects the dangerous race called humans.

Here’s the link to the New Yorker article – click here



Food Security

Australia needs to listen to the warnings about its food security.

From the Independent Australia Blog comes the warning about food security.

The latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints a grim picture for the future of Australia’s food security.

Food security is an issue that must be carefully and comprehensively addressed by our government as a matter of critical forward planning. And it must be given priority over trade “arrangements” that may have attractions now, but which will limit the government’s policy options when current circumstances change, which all indicators point to being soon.

Continue reading Food Security

Sustainable Cities

World Urban Forum Highlights Opportunities for Sustainable Cities

In a blog on the Huffington Post, the authors point out the obvious. That is, obvious to those who are looking and care as opposed to too many who are presently making decisions about cities and sustainability.

The evidence is there.  Design well and all the benefits can follow. Design badly, which is too common, and all the inequities and unsustainable practices come to the fore. As the authors say:

Well-designed cities generate jobs, innovation, and economic growth for all. But when designed poorly — with too much sprawl, waste, and inefficiency — they can divide cities and exacerbate pollution, inequality, and political instability. Moreover, poor design has long-term consequences given that urban infrastructure often lasts decades. Continue reading Sustainable Cities

Media and Climate Confusion

The role of the Media in confusion over climate change action

As reported many times, the current mainstream media has become part of the problem in encouraging the world to act urgently on climate change.

In Australia it has become painfully obvious that media, such as our own ABC, has gone far too far in providing what they term as ‘balance’. The voices of the scientists and the weight of their reports and the mountains of evidence is ‘balanced’ by the time given to complete skeptics and their lack of scientific evidence.

Continue reading Media and Climate Confusion

LA in 2033

From The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post presents a wonderfully optimistic report about a city that is often regarded as being a terrible example of urban development. I disagree. It has many things wrong with it but if you spend time there you can see that there are some really great things happening. All cities have their problems and many do not much to boast about.

Continue reading LA in 2033


 Comment: Wetlands and Climate Change Adaptation

Australia has a very mixed understanding and relationship with wetlands. I happen to be fortunate to live close to one. This came into existence just a couple of years ago when the local government transformed a disused and degraded parkland into a wetland attached to an old style concrete drain.

This wetland was part of a series of several wetlands installed into the inner northern suburbs of Canberra. Our hope is that one day the same local government will take on the challenge of enlarging the nearby wetlands to include much of the concrete drains through the inner northern suburbs. This would then be then be a linear park and wetland that would wind its way through several suburbs and increase the amount of green infrastructure. It would also be a wonderful walkway and increase the chances of locals getting out and walking.

Continue reading wetlands

Climate and Soils

Soil as Carbon Storehouse:  New Weapon in Climate Fight?

From environment360, by judith d. schwartz

The degradation of soils from unsustainable agriculture and other development has released billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere. But new research shows how effective land restoration could play a major role in sequestering CO2 and slowing climate change.

Soils of the world must be part of any agenda to address climate change, as well as food and water security. There is now a general awareness of soil carbon, an awareness that soil isn’t just a medium for plant growth.

click here for the full article


Technology and Conservation

How Technology Is Transforming Conservation

from the online – Foreign Affairs, April 2014

Conservation is for the first time beginning to operate at the pace and on the scale necessary to keep up with, and even get ahead of, the planet’s most intractable environmental challenges. New technologies have given conservationists abilities that would have seemed like super powers just a few years ago.

Continue reading Technology and Conservation

global system unravel

industrial civilisation headed for irreversible collapse

global system unravel

The evidence is out there. “A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.”

Yet governments continue to play down the message in order for short term political gain. The article is definitely worth a read, not to become alarmed, but to become more informed of the need to rethink the way we do business. click here.

Green Roofs

Green Roofs and Urban Design

I remain skeptical about all the hype around green roofs and green walls. This is not to say that when delivered comprehensively, that green roofs can be very effective in reducing temperatures of the buildings. It is more that so many of the current crop of green roofs and green walls are token add-ons.

Despite the hype by the building companies and their contractors about how wonderful particular green walls and roofs are, many are superficial and deliver very limited benefit, if any. When done properly, a green roof can be a contributor to the green infrastructure of urban areas.

Continue reading Green Roofs

Watching the World Change

PBS deals with the Big Coal myths

PBS dives headfirst into the myth of clean coal and pretty much tears it apart using something we don’t often see these days when it come US energy issues: facts. And the most complete take-down of “clean coal” in the segment came from the CEO of the second largest coal electricity company in the US.

see the report on the program (not available online to Australia) through the web site – Coal is Dirty – click here.


Climate Terminology

Climate Change Terminology

It’s all in the words we use

Variability in terms is a product of government climate

About a decade ago, when some of us were attempting to get the issues of Climate Change to be the basis for the debates on sustainable settlements, it was curious to see the distractions being manufactured in order to avoid taking these debates as comprehensively as they needed to be.

The most ardent opposition to a simple us of language actually came from particular academics who should have been the ones leading the charge to have clear and precise arguments. I suspect that despite their so called concerned views, the overriding pressure was that they were in fact part of large corporations, called universities, that had yet to step up and tackle the then conservative government’s point of views on climate change.

Continue reading Climate Terminology

Climate Council Report

Climate Council Report: The Angry Summer

Continuing hot on the heels of the ‘Angry Summer’ of 2012/2013, Australians again endured record breaking extreme events this summer.

The Climate Council’s report provides a summary of extreme weather conditions in the 2013/2014 summer, illuminating a continuing trend of hotter summers and more weather extremes in Australia.

click here for more on the 2014 Angry Summer Report.

Urban Sustainable Development Goal

Why We Need an Urban Sustainable Development Goal

To quote from the article on The Nature of Cities” : The arguments for an urban Sustainable Development Goal are many. Urbanization has the ability to transform the social and economic fabric of nations and cities are responsible for the bulk of production and consumption worldwide, and are the primary engines of economic growth and development. Roughly three-quarters of global economic activity is urban, and as the urban population grows, so will the urban share of global GDP and investments.

The right to development for low-income and middle-income countries can only be realized through sustainable urbanization that addresses the needs of both rural and urban areas. It must also be recognized that cities are home to extreme deprivation and environmental degradation with one billion people living in slums. In many countries the number of slum dwellers has increased significantly in recent years, and urban inequality is deepening.  see the full article here


climate action

Extreme weather is ‘silver lining’ for climate action

rabbott01In an article from the Guardian, Christiana Figueres speaks optimistically of the effect of the numerous devastating weather events should have on political decision making on how to deal with climate change. Obviously she has not yet learnt that there are people in this world such as those who presently hold the power in Australia on these matters. I am not here referring to the idiots we have in the government, such as the Rabbott, but those who are the real puppet masters.

Nevertheless, I agree with her thrust that this matter is at last moving to another level of government thinking and that maybe now they may take action. Here is the link to the Guardian story – click here

Empires of Food

Book Review

Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

empiresoffoodEvan D. G. Fraser and Andrew Rimas.  Random House, 2010

As if there was not enough information available on how the world is not paying attention to all the warning signs, this book was recommended to me to make me aware of the dire situation coming our way in relation to the supply of adequate food for coming generations.

This is all linked in with the issues of climate change, population growth and the way we have allowed our food supplies to be controlled by particular market and political forces. This book is a must read for all.


Continue reading Empires of Food


Book Review: The Charms of Suburbia

This is a link to a review on the online Magazine: Metropolis.

Paradise-PlannedI was attracted to this as I believe in suburbia but get very annoyed (or is that angry) about the way current planning and development agencies have gone about ruining concept of suburbia through their lack of care for developing sustainable settlements.

This new book is a comprehensive history that rescues the garden suburb from the periphery of urban design, and repositions it at the heart of the debate on cities.


Continue reading Suburbia

Reasons for Optimism

The State of the Debate on Climate Change

Reasons for Optimism

Old Colony_tcm3-34346I have to admit that having done a lot of reading and been involved in many discussions on climate change and the lack of concerted actions, it was novel to read an article titled: The State of the Debate on Climate Change: Reasons for Optimism.

I do however share the view that any optimism for change is based not on the behaviour and actions of the national or state governments, but on the policies and actions as undertaken by some of the local governments.

Continue reading Reasons for Optimism

The State of the Debate on Climate Change

The State of the Debate on Climate Change:

Transformational Change Needed

At a conference organized by the National Council on Science and the Environment (NCSE) in Washington, D.C., Diana Ürge-Vorsatz, director of the Center for Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Policy at Central European University, said “spreading today’s best building practices could hold energy costs steady,” but the big question is “how to get the public and private sectors to work together to make transformational change.”

The session then outlined some more problems limiting action on climate change, and the transformational solutions needed to solve them. Interestingly one of the problems first identified was to do with higher education. Another was the decision making processes. There were others such as water and energy wisdom. See the report on this session on The Dirt (ASLA) – click here

Water Competition

Notice: Water Competition

tulaneWin A million Dollars – find the solution to this particular water problem

Tulane University is offering a $1 million prize to the team who comes up with the best solution for combating hypoxia-affected waters, the dead zones in the world’s lakes and oceans. Hypoxia is the oxygen depletion in water bodies caused by “excessive amounts of river-borne fertilizers and other nutrients.” Tulane’s grand challenge is a response to President Obama’s call for universities and philanthropies to step up and pursue innovative solutions to our most pressing environmental problems.

click here for the details


Paul Costigan, 25 February 2014

climate dark art

climate dark art

The desperate need for frank, honest, timely and evidence based advice.


max-P1020481Remember how things were during the more optimistic days of living in Australia, when climate change was not a dirty word or two?I am referring to the times of the Kevin Rudd and then Julie Gillard governments.

Back then the country was known internationally as taking a whole raft of initiatives to deal with climate change mitigation and adaptation.

I have to admit that I found the public sector involved in these areas to be under all sorts of pressures. The then government’s priorities kept changing as they worked through what they could and couldn’t do, given the nature of the controls other parties had over the government’s policies.

Continue reading climate dark art

Wind Farm

Wind Farms

The truth is out there!

rabbott01Things are looking desperate in Australia. The present Rabbott government continues to ignore science and the benefits of policy decisions based on scientific evidence.

The latest example of stupidity is that the Prime Minister has announced a review of the health problems linked to wind farms.

Maybe he, or at least his infamous chief of staff, should learn to read rather than just respond to lobby groups. The media share a lot of responsibility on this issue. Despite the case being closed by scientific evidence that there are no health problems, the media will still take any nut job and allow them equal time in any debate. This keeps the false debates alive.This keeps the case for ‘there remains doubts’ alive.

Continue reading Wind Farm

Get Real

Get Real about Climate Change

There are may time as a citizen, that one despairs that any government is really going to Get Real about climate change. This is more frustrating because as we all know that they have at their finger tips all the advice and scientific information necessary for intelligent and timely decisions. Yet for so many governments, it is business as usual.

According to an article just published, the State of Victorian has an agency that is prepared to offer frank advice about the crucial steps we all need to take as a nation. It has listed the top challenges for Australia. In their simplest form, they are:

  1. Getting off coal
  2. Getting on to renewables
  3. Ending fossil fuel subsidies
  4. Stop facilitating the emissions of others
  5. Get ready

Continue reading Get Real

Climate Change Voices

Comment: More Climate Change Voices required


It is definitely time for political leaders and other voices to take the issues of climate change up to the mainstream media and the bunch of nut jobs who we politely call climate deniers.

The United States President and the White House team have been unable to deliver on its climate and environmental agendas due to the emasculation of anything sensible by the legislators.

This should not stop any or all of them making more leadership statements to encourage the rest of the world and their own state governments to get on with dealing with the enormous challenges.

Continue reading Climate Change Voices

Climate Change Flooding

Climate Change Flooding in the UK

While the predictions forecast an increase in temperatures and a drier climate for places such as most of Australia, especially in the South East, the same predictions forecast much wetter conditions in countries in the north, such as the UK.

While the former predictions are starting to be fulfilled, the latter for the UK is now being questioned. That is, not whether they are true, but whether climate change has already affected the weather in the UK.

With the massive flooding now underway and more expected, these questions are being asked and answered by the scientists within their bureau of meteorology.

Continue reading Climate Change Flooding

Cities and Biodiversity

Cities and Biodiversity

There’s a short presentation online that introduces the benefits and urgency for all countries to do more for Cities and Biodiversity. The presenters have some key messages on their web site.

Key Messages for Cities and Biodiversity Continue reading Cities and Biodiversity

urban ecology

urban ecology

re-posted article: What are the social justice implications of urban ecology, and how can we make sure that “green cities” are not synonymous with “gentrified” or “exclusive” cities?

Here is Australia there is a lot of talk amongst city planners and such that there is a need for green cities, sustainable cities and lots more simplistic terms. It is very hard indeed to find amongst the rhetoric any realistic commitment to urban ecology.

The need to base all urban developments against a measure based around preserving and enhancing the soil, the ecology and the green infrastructure remains an optimistic wish for those interested in the survival of the planet. Current approaches to urban design and planning are still very much ‘business as usual’ with market forces, meaning the quick dollar, as the drivers and measures applied.

Continue reading urban ecology

Wind Farm Refugees

Wind Farm Refugees

re-post from The Drum on the ABC

rabbott01If you have paid any attention to the wind farm debates within Australia, two names surface. One is the Waubra Foundation, and the other is their leader, Sarah Laurie. The town of Waubra has had its name used by this so-called foundation, even though it has requested that they cease using their town’s name in this campaign. As for Sarah Laurie, there have been numerous articles exposing her claims. Today there is another researcher who calls into question the claim that people have become refugees of the wind farms as they have had to leave their properties to get away from the harm caused by the wind farms.

Continue reading Wind Farm Refugees

Canberra and climate change

The city of Canberra and climate change

Re-posted from the Canberra Times

There are times here in the City of Canberra when one despairs at the actions of the planning authority in its spin about how it goes about the planning, design and redevelopment of Canberra’s suburbs. In short: It is shocking!

The authority uses all sorts of green wash in its spin. The planners within the authority still favour the so called market forces to translate their lose planning requirements to deliver what the local developers consider as adequate for residents. This means an extremely artificial nod to the urgent climate change adaptation issues that are impacting on our urban environments. Say no more.

Continue reading Canberra and climate change

Edible City

Advocacy: Edible City

A presentation: Turn your city to being an edible city

Developed by the American Society of Landscape Architects, this presentation will assist advocacy to deal with the forecasted food shortages as climate change kicks in. The presentation demonstrates how to turn a conventional community into an edible city. Learn how to transform unproductive spaces into agricultural landscapes that help fight obesity and reduce food deserts. Make sure you note the address and send it onto anyone in decision making roles.

Continue reading Edible City

Revitalizing Cities with Parks

Advocacy: Sustainable Landscapes – Revitalizing Cities with Parks

Developed by the American Society of Landscape Architects, this presentation should assist anyone with their advocacy for Revitalizing Cities with Parks. In these times of reactionary governments and tight budgets, it is important to maintain efforts to introduce the simple idea to create more parks.

Continue reading Revitalizing Cities with Parks

Leadership in Design

Leadership in design of the built environment

watson-House-P1030003I was attending a meeting of combined community council two years ago, when to members of the public who were in attendance made very similar appeals. Both were very upset with the quality of the redevelopments that had appeared within their street, despite the local communities objections about key aspects of the developments.

As far as I could ascertain, they were not necessarily opposed to the infill of their suburb. It was more about the nature of the apartments being built.

Continue reading Leadership in Design

Urban Forests

Advocacy: Urban Forests

A presentation: Urban Forests = Cleaner, Cooler Air

Developed by the American Society of Landscape Architects, this presentation will assist advocacy for more resource allocation for urban forests. Governments need to deal with climate change in the urban areas, and dealing with urban forests is a good place to concentrate some resources. The urban forest issues are linked to the population’s health and wellbeing and avoiding heat island effects.

Continue reading Urban Forests



Online Presentation: The Best Planned City: Olmsted, Vaux, and the Buffalo Park System

Despite all the evidence and all the advocacy, our political leaders are still not up to the challenge of dealing with something that is a threat to life as we have come to know it here on this planet. True leadership seems to be in short supply these days.

There are a host of professions that could be showing much greater leadership. Many have learnt to be spin doctors and have filled pages with their commitments and their policies. All this is very nice and very polite.

Continue reading Leadership

climate change and cold weather

Research: climate change and cold weather

Public perception of cold weather events as evidence for and against climate change

A paper has been posted online by Stuart Bryce Capstick and Nicholas Frank Pidgeon. The Abstract reads:

It has been argued that public doubts about climate change have been exacerbated by cold weather events seen as a form of disconfirming evidence for anticipated ‘warming’. Although a link between perceptions of climate and weather is well-established, such assumptions have not been empirically tested. Here we show, using nationally representative data, that directly following a period of severe cold weather in the UK, three times as many people saw these events as pointing towards the reality of climate change, than as disconfirming it.

Continue reading climate change and cold weather


Is horticulture a withering field?

re-posted from Philly.com

By Virginia A. Smith, Inquirer Staff Writer

Posted: January 07, 2014 Coming from image-conscious professionals who prefer to gush about the beauty of flowers and the joys of growing vegetables, the words were downright shocking: “Horticulture is under siege.” They jumped off a three-page letter penned by a half-dozen of the country’s most prominent plant people sent in December to 800 schools and universities, government agencies, industry associations, and growers of everything from almonds to onions. Clearly, horticulture – once a priority, if not an obsession, for generations of Americans – is in trouble. The letter warns that if something isn’t done soon to boost the ranks of plant scientists, breeders, students, and others in the field, horticulture could become a lost art and a forgotten science. see the full article on Philly.com: click here



Big Coal and the truth

Big Coal and the truth

Couple of articles about Big Coal and its attitude to the truth:

When Barack Obama first ran for president, being green was so popular that oil companies like Chevron were boasting about their commitment to renewable energy, and his Republican opponent, John McCain, supported action on global warming.

As Mr. Obama seeks re-election, that world is a distant memory. Some of the mightiest players in the oil, gas and coal industries are financing an aggressive effort to defeat him, or at least press him to adopt policies that are friendlier to fossil fuels. And the president’s former allies in promoting wind and solar power and caps on greenhouse gases? They are disenchanted and sitting on their wallets.

more from the original NY Times – hopefully the link is working

Continue reading Big Coal and the truth

Australia’s climate plan

Australia’s climate plan: are you serious?

rabbott01We live in strange times. The former Australian Government had developed an international reputation for being in the business of looking after its people, of caring for the environment and for careful financial management.

The new Rabbott government is establishing itself as far more interested in the short term aim of providing for those who assisted it into power. This means handing decisions on social, financial and environmental issues back to the business lobby groups. This is the new version of government taking a back seat and allowing business to drive the agenda. In many cases, this means the business lobby groups are having government wind back programs, especially on any issues dealing with the environment. There’s a good piece in The Conversation on the attitude taken by this government to addressing climate change.

“Reverting to fossil fuels, phasing out of renewable energy incentives and increasing deforestation levels to accommodate expanding agriculture explains most of this. Which begs the question of Australia’s government: are you serious?” read the full article here.


Big Coal

Big Coal: It’s time to celebrate (or not) Australia Day

meanwhile people in North West NSW, continue to battle Big Coal.

From the Guardian (Friday 24 January): This Australia day, us underdogs will fight Big Coal to save Maules Creek. In the battle that is gripping my community, my fifth generation farming family and I are siding with traditional owners and environmentalists against miners to save the land we love; an article by Phil Laird.

This Australia Day, many of us will gather to reflect on and celebrate what’s great about our democracy. It’s our good fortune as a nation to be blessed with abundant natural resources that are our common wealth. Our fertile land, clean air and water underpin our country’s agricultural heritage, which has fed and clothed us. Australia’s native wildlife is unique, and the bush where Australians walk, fish, hunt and camp is habitat for the animals that are emblems of the country itself. Traditional owners of the country have the longest continuing culture in the world, and a connection to the bush that goes back tens of thousands of years. click here for the Guardian Article


Trees and Carbon

Big old trees grow faster, making them vital carbon absorber

from the Conversation ( where would we be without The Conversation?)

botgrdn-P1020238The linked article has ramifications for the current forest management methods and choices about what to log or not. The piece also reminds us all of the importance of all trees, not only for shade and green infrastructure benefits, but also as carbon sinks.

While becoming carbon neutral must be the top priority, it remains that trees are part of the adaptation processes of dealing with some of the carbon in our atmosphere. This points to the need to increase our urban forests and to ensure that new developments include more than adequate trees to deal with heat island effects, to provide for increase health and wellbeing and to be part of city-wide urban carbon sinks.

Continue reading Trees and Carbon

Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health

Reporting on research being undertaken

Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health

You are urged to ‘watch this space’ for research and reports by scientists who have been carrying out research on Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health. To quote from their website:

Safeguarding future health in Australian cities, The CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship has funded scientists and researchers from a range of disciplines to develop adaptation strategies which will improve the health of urban populations in the face of a variable and changing climate.

The Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health Cluster was established in 2010 and officially launched in March 2011 at a Conference in Cairns, bringing together nine different partner organisations focusing on 7 major research projects.

Continue reading Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health

Climate Change on TV

Climate Change on TV

How Little Time Television News Devotes To Climate Change

an article about climate change on TV re-posted from the Huffingtton post

Climate change got more coverage on broadcast news in 2013 than in the previous few years, but the issue still didn’t get nearly as much attention as it did in 2009, Media Matters found in a new analysis. ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox together featured more coverage in 2013 than they did in 2012. The amount of airtime granted to climate change on both the Sunday shows and the nightly news was up, too — to a total of 27 minutes, and an hour and 42 minutes, respectively, for the entire year. The progressive media watchdog group Media Matters totaled the time broadcasters devoted to climate change for a new report released Thursday. read the full article here

Green Spaces and the Health Budgets

Green Spaces and the Health Budgets

re-posted from the BBC

In Australia planning authorities and government administrative services sections still do not address the proven links between health and the access to open spaces. One has to only look to the small budgets for parks initiatives and worse still to the shrinking allocations for park maintenance within local governments.

Meanwhile all our governments are under stress because of the increasing requirements being identified under their health portfolios.

Continue reading Green Spaces and the Health Budgets

Health Wellbeing and Parks

re-posted from BBC, science and environment

It’s about the links between Health Wellbeing and Parks

Green spaces, Parks, have lasting positive effect on health and wellbeing

Living in an urban area with green spaces such as parks has a long-lasting positive impact on people’s mental well-being, a study has suggested. UK researchers found moving to a green space had a sustained positive effect, unlike pay rises or promotions, which only provided a short-term boost.

The authors said the results indicated that access to good quality urban parks was beneficial to public health. The findings appear in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Continue reading Health Wellbeing and Parks

Threats to Climate Action

Opinion: Climate in danger from Australia

Threats to Climate Action

re-post from the Guardian

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

rabbott01Once upon a time, not that many years ago, Australia was on the world stage as a leading in actions on climate change. It was not that a lot had actually happened. The truth was that a many new initiatives were being proposed.

The aura was that the country was on the move. The Australian Government was open to do business on climate change.

Other countries were admiring the remarkable turn around on climate change actions from those of the previous Howard government years. If you happened to have been overseas, you felt proud of your country and were able to discuss these issues in the knowledge that your country was out their doing its stuff; or at least about to do so.

Continue reading Threats to Climate Action

Heat and Australia

What’s cranking up the heat across south-eastern Australia?

re-posted from The Conversation, Tess Parker, 13 January 2013

In the midst of a January heatwave in South East Australia, with temperature outside being around 40 degrees Celsius for several days, it is refreshing to see the science being discussed as to what happens and why. As usual there will be the trolls who try to distract the facts being put forward. I for one thank the researchers who continue to seek evidence based answers to the many queries around weather and the links to climate change. Here’s the link to the piece by Tess Parker, on The Conversation

Cities and Biodiversity

Re-posted from The Nature of Cities

Cities and biodiversity and national parks.

It is about equating the Natural Environment of National Parks to the natural environment of Cities – there are the one environment!

Many the time I have had frustrating debates with bureaucracies over how we address the issues of biodiversity and landscape. Often it results in the otherwise intelligent bureaucrat insisting that we talk about two separate entities, the built environment and the natural environment. This perception has also surfaced in discussions with organisations such as Conservation Foundations and their like.

Continue reading Cities and Biodiversity

Education in ecology and biodiversity

The Nature of Cities

Education in ecology and biodiversity

If cities look to stay within their boarders, there is the need to seek acceptable ways to intensify the number of residents within the older suburbs. This requires an intelligent engagement with the present residents of suburban areas on a case by case basis.

Given the need to address climate change within the suburbs as they are being redeveloped and upgraded throws up a host of requirements that should have by now have been built into legislation. Sadly this is not so as most of the re-development and intensification as been left to laissez-faire market forces.

Continue reading Education in ecology and biodiversity

Cities and urban wildlife

re-post from the Guardian

Cities and Urban Wildlife

Take any city and ask, has the government in place a long-term strategy to enhance the biodiversity through maintaining and increasing its green infrastructure? This requires not just consideration of the public realm but also ways to encourage citizens that this needs to happen in the backyard of every home.

In the past governments have often established arboretums to undertake research on trees and shrubs. It is now far more realistic to continue the aims of arboretums not by having these specialist sites, instead the approach needs to be to increase the range of trees and shrubs within the urban areas themselves.

Continue reading Cities and urban wildlife

Climate Deniers

Re-Post from Climate News Network

‘Dark money’ funds US climate deniers

LONDON, 6 January – Approximately three quarters of the hundreds of millions of dollars that go to US climate change denial organisations is from unidentifiable sources, according to new research in the journal Climatic Change.

Robert Brulle, a sociologist at Drexel University in the US, set himself the challenge of trying to identify the financial backers who bankrolled more than 100 US organisations, the Climate Deniers, that make up what he calls the “climate change counter movement”.

Continue reading Climate Deniers

Climate Deniers

Re-Posted from The Fifth Estate

Peter Newman: Why climate whingers and climate deniers need to get real

Any climate change-related article in The Conversation, and indeed any newspaper, attracts some of the most diabolical discourse, the most offensive personal abuse and the most deeply felt rhetoric. It is not very elevating to read. Climate Skeptics dominate the media.

It has of course spilled over into politics and threatens to tear apart the fabric of our society.

Continue reading Climate Deniers

sustainable communities

Re-Posted from Island Press

Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities

Design Strategies for the Post Carbon World, Parick M Condon 

Questions of how to green the North American economy, create a green energy and transportation infrastructure, and halt the deadly increase in greenhouse gas buildup dominate our daily news. Related questions of how the design of cities can impact these challenges dominate the thoughts of urban planners and designers across the U.S. and Canada.

With admirable clarity, Patrick Condon discusses transportation, housing equity, job distribution, economic development, and ecological systems issues and synthesizes his knowledge and research into a simple-to-understand set of urban design rules that can, if followed, help save the planet.

No other book so clearly connects the form of our cities to their ecological, economic, and social consequences. No other book takes on this breadth of complex and contentious issues and distills them down to such convincing and practical solutions. And no other book so vividly compares and contrasts the differing experiences of U.S. and Canadian cities.

Continue reading sustainable communities