The Sustainable Australia Report 2013 from the National Sustainability Council was released today presenting a framework for guiding progress that also balances competing interests. However the report itself may present a risk in achieving that goal. See the report here http://www.environment.gov.au/sustainability/measuring/council.html
The report seeks to establish a framework better defining sustainability and putting forward key indicators across social and human capital, natural capital and economic capital. It is largely presented as a benchmark report to be refined and reported against over time, and with the Sustainable AUstralia Report due in 2015.
Its 266 pages will take time to fully digest and that is a risk. As with some State-of-the-Environment reports, when such documents are too complex and large to be accessible and contain timely data, they can be overwhelming.
Equilibrium’s work assisting local and State Government to more fully understand the potential benefits and costs of container deposits has been included as part of an article published on ABC Online and The Drum. See http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2013/05/06/3751446.htm and http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4672338.html
The article by Equilibrium’s Nick Harford seeks to expand awareness of the complexity of the issue and the degrees of potentially positive and negative impacts that are best understood to achieve optimal environmental and financial outcomes.
Proposed changes to the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme will make no difference to the general community but will enhance the longer-term viability of the Scheme.
The changes impact organisations operating the Scheme, not how it is delivered to the public. Most notable is the proposal to create one product class so organisations do not have to meet separate targets for recycling TVs and computers but all collected and recycled materials will contribute towards achieving targets.
The proposals are in a discussion paper available at http://www.environment.gov.au/settlements/waste/ewaste/index.html and comments close on 7 May 2013.
The NSW Government has announced a 5-year $465.7 million waste and recycling program aimed at delivering economic, employment and environmental benefits for local communities.
Key areas of the package include:
- Waste and recycling infrastructure package - $250 million
- Supporting local communities – $137.7 million
- Combating illegal dumping – $58 million
- Tackling litter – $20 million.
On a global scale, environmental and social impacts arise through the actions of billions of actors undertaking trillions of actions, each with varying implications. These actions take place within a general framework of economic and capitalist behaviours, mediated by varying legal codes and social norms.
There’s no single or homogenous audience to talk to about the challenges and opportunities of sustainability and climate change. Instead there are many different actors, be they individuals making consumption choices, governments setting legislation or policy, or corporations making investment and production decisions.
All tend to make choices in isolation, but with cumulative impacts. Ecological and social problems are generally not the result of conscious or deliberate choices but the side effects of all these individual actions and decisions. It’s these unintended consequences that are causing concern: climate change, natural resource depletion, pollution, waste, land degradation, etc, etc. Read the rest of this entry »
Pooran Desai was in town giving presentations recently. He is one of the co-founders of BioRegional, a social enterprise in the UK that created the innovative sustainable community, Beddington Zero Energy Development (BedZED). BedZED is a mixed-use sustainable community, comprising 100 homes, community facilities and office space for over 100 people. It is a carbon-neutral community, using only energy from renewable sources generated on site.
Desai and Co. used the lessons from the design, construction and monitoring of BedZED to develop One Planet Living, which is BioRegional’s approach to community development and was also used as the framework to create the sustainability platform of the London 2012 Olympics. Read the rest of this entry »
Seems there’s a few organisations taking the potential consequences of climate change very seriously: the US military and intelligence establishment!
At the request of the US intelligence community, the National Research Council was commissioned to “to evaluate the evidence on possible connections between climate change and U.S. national security concerns and to identify ways to increase the ability of the intelligence community to take climate change into account in assessing political and social stresses with implications for U.S. national security.”
The resulting report, Climate and Social Stress: implications for security analysis indicates that accelerating climate change will place unparalleled strains on American military and intelligence agencies in coming years by causing ever more disruptive events around the globe.Clusters of apparently unrelated events exacerbated by a warming climate will create more frequent but unpredictable crises in water supplies, food markets, energy supply chains and public health systems, leading to internal instability or international conflicts. Read the rest of this entry »