Thursday, April 29, 2010

TED talk from Transition founder Rob Hopkins - Transition to a world without oil

TED talks bring some of the world best thinkers and doers together to share "Ideas worth spreading". Along with its once a year conferences in California and Oxford, TED affiliated events are now held around the world and many talks are put online for all to see.

Here's Rob Hopkins talking about the transition to a world without oil at TEDglobal in Oxford last year.

There are lots of other great TED talks available on the website, many along the Technology, Entertainment, Design subject areas but increasingly others too, such as A Greener Future? I'll be posting some more interesting talks in the near future.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Green Ideas and Drinks at The Apple Tree, Thurs May 6th

Transition Kenmore are having our first Green Ideas and Drinks on Thursday May 6th.
It's a a relaxing informal way to hear what others are doing, share an idea, be inspired and to meet people interested in building community and living more sustainable lives.

Invite you neighbours and friends for a chat, a coffee or drink and something to eat, perhaps after they have done their shopping or are on their way home from work.

Meet you in the courtyard at:
The Apple Tree
2060 Moggill Rd
from 6:30pm!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Debunking Monckton (with videos)

Recently, Lord Christopher Monckton was in Australia. Arguably the most prominent climate change "skeptic" in the world, Monckton's visit drew enormous press (over 10x that of Prof James Hansen, arguably the most prominent climate scientist in the world, on his recent visit).
While in Oz, Monckton had a number of things to say, but is he truthful or credible? In the entertaining videos below Peter Sinclair examines some of Monckton's claims.

Have a look.

After watching these videos, you may (like me) wonder how someone who goes around claiming that global warming is a conspiracy to impose a communist world government, and that he has has invented a drug which is being showing promise against AIDS and a host of other diseases is taken seriously and gets so much press?
Although it is "somewhat" understandable that many journalists would not have the scientific expertise to examine some of his other claims, do they never stop to ask "Is this guy credible?" Or is it simply that no credibility is required to be a prominent climate skeptic?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Don't Palm Us Off - Zoo's launch petition for labeling of Palm Oil in consumer products

Zoos from around Australia and New Zealand are running the "Don't Palm Us Off" Campaign. A petition to FSANZ (Food Standards Australia and New Zealand) to have mandatory labeling of all food products containing Palm Oil. You can sign the petition here or here.

Currently deforestation and habitat destruction on a massive scale is occuring in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia to clear rain-forests for Palm Oil plantations. Not only is this a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions but the loss of habitat is threatening species such as "the orangutan, Sumatran tiger, Asian elephant, Asian rhino and other rain-forest species with extinction".

The palm oil from these former rain-forest areas goes into a huge number of consumer products and so the Zoo's are running the "Don't Palm Us Off" campaign to introduce mandatory labeling of which products contain Palm Oil so that customers have the option to not buy products contributing to the devastation of rainforests in South East Asia.

Why take this step, Taronga Zoo explains "To help support sustainable palm oil sources, the first step is for palm oil to be labelled on food products. Currently, with no mandatory labelling, consumers do not know what is in the products they are purchasing."

Fans of Rhys Darby from Flight of the Conchords might enjoy this little video too.
Petition is here

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Permablitzing Chapel Hill - Pictures from the March Permablitz

On Saturday the 13th of March Transition Kenmore carried out its second Permablitz in Chapel Hill.

One of the first jobs was clearing away weeds from around the section

Garden boxes, ready for mulch and new plantings. Plus a very large pile of mushroom compost.

Planting in the newly cleared side of section

Planting strawberries

A much smaller pile of compost than when we started

The very professional looking chook-house

Planting done, growing begins......

Monday, April 19, 2010

"From oil dependence to local resilience" - In Transition Movie at Transition Kenmore April Meeting:

How are others preparing to face the future?

In Transition
From oil dependence to local resilience

Inspiring examples of everyday people deciding to make a difference right where they live.

WHEN: Wed April 21st 7:30pm
WHERE: Uniting Church Hall
982 Moggill Rd

This month we are watching the movie 'In Transition". It is a great movie to introduce people to the Transition Town concept of living a lower carbon lifestyle in a very positive way, so I am sure you will make your best effort to let friends, family and neighbours know about this event.
See you there.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

100% Renewables Campaign

I received the following from the 100% renewables campaign, a new campaign that aims to create a united front around one of the issues many environmental groups and groups like TT support, a move to 100% renewable energy. If anyone is interested in taking part in the launch, please email me (change the " NO SPAM " in the link to an @) and I'll pass on the documents referred to in the quoted message. The value for TT in supporting this campaign is we can pitch in when necessary and as we see fit, and let someone else worry about the details of promoting the cause nationwide, getting the attention of media, etc.

Dear renewable energy supporters,

As many of you will already be aware a number of people in community based climate groups have been beavering away over the last few months to pull together a national campaign for 100% renewable energy.

This campaign, which supports groups to work at the local level on a campaign with national level significance, is now ready to launch - and we'd love you all to be involved!

On Sunday 2nd of May local groups from around the country will gather in their area to call for an urgent transition to 100% renewable energy.

Getting involved in the launch is easy - all you need to do is organise a launch event on Sunday 2nd of May. You might want to hold a picnic or a talk or show a film for your launch but there is one simple thing we hope everyone can do to show our numbers, strength and spread across the country.

We are asking groups all over Australia to take a photo next to a sign showing their town or suburb name, like the ‘Welcome to Ballarat’ sign. Add some phrases on a poster such as “supports renewable energy” or “100% renewable energy for…” and you have yourself a great picture and story for your local media. It’s going to look amazing!

Then when we have pictures from Brisbane and Bayside and Balmain and Ballarat - together with those from many other groups across Australia - we can demonstrate just how many communities are calling for a clean energy future for Australia.

…and this is just the beginning, with other launch activities outlined in the launch plan attached!

In other exciting news, the new logo has been launched along with the campaign website, now up and running at We'll be uploading new resources and website functions in coming weeks so sign up, check it out and we'll be in touch again soon to let you know how you can use the site to share your stories and ideas, register your local launch, and post your launch photo online!

And finally, we want to hear from you! So please let us know if you are planning a launch or have ideas to share and we'll be sending out another online survey to the campaign feedback group soon!

Look forward to hearing from you,

for the 100% renewable campaign organising group*

PS. Not sure what the campaign is all about and want to know more? If so, check out the attached '100% campaign in your community' document so you can talk with your group and start planning your launch for Sunday 2nd of May!

*This campaign is brought to you by members of the following climate groups: Climate Action Newtown, Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions, Climate Rescue of Wagga, Climate Action Darebin, Climate Change Balmain Rozelle, Parramatta Climate Action Network, Climate Action Moreland, Manly Warringah Climate Action Group, Victorian Climate Action Centre (with input from the 100% campaign advisory group and the over 30 members of local climate groups on the CAG feedback group).

Friday, April 9, 2010

Permablitzing Pullenvale: 17th of April

Permablitz time!

Transition Kenmore's April permablitz is coming up on Saturday the 17th of April from 7:30am. This month we will be Blitzing the garden of some TTKD regulars in Pullenvale.

Bring your gloves, hat, trowel and spade or rake if you have one and any seedlings you have to share.
This blitz will be on an established garden with mature trees. There will be lots of mulching as well as preparing the vegie garden for the next crop. Our next blitz will be chosen from those who attend.

If you want to get involved contact us at transitionkenmore "at"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pictures from Transiton Kenmore's Earth Hour community dinner

For Earth Hour 2010 a group of Transition Kenmore folks held an outdoor community dinner.

In hindsight, the sign probably contained a bit much info to be understood by passing motorists, although I'm sure they got the "Earth Hour" bit.

We had plenty of food and thanks must be made to Carol's chickens for providing some many eggs to base dishes around.

The lack of flash strength leaves us mostly anonymous in the photos, but plenty of people passing by noticed and it was a great evening for a candlelit outdoor dinner.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"Climategate" fizzles out: UK Parliamentary inquiry exonerates British scientist but calls for greater transparency in climate science

The first of several inquiries into the hacked email brouhaha, that from the UK House of Commons, has reported its findings (you can download their report here).
The findings of the inquiry do much to exonerate Prof Phil Jones and the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia whose emails were stolen and who have been subsequently targeted with what can only be described as an extremely vicious smear campaign.

"The focus on Professor Jones and CRU has been largely misplaced. On the accusations relating to Professor Jones's refusal to share raw data and computer codes, the Committee considers that his actions were in line with common practice in the climate science community but that those practices need to change.

On the much cited phrases in the leaked e-mails—"trick" and "hiding the decline"—the Committee considers that they were colloquial terms used in private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a systematic attempt to mislead.

Insofar as the Committee was able to consider accusations of dishonesty against CRU, the Committee considers that there is no case to answer.

The Committee found no reason in this inquiry to challenge the scientific consensus as expressed by Professor Beddington, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, that "global warming is happening [and] that it is induced by human activity"."

Although there are other inquiries still ongoing it would be a surprise if they find anything significantly different from this one. The findings here can be summarized as: science is solid, but more data sharing please. Ie: that CRU should follow the example of NASA and make all their data available (although most of it already is).
No doubt some of the more irrational "skeptics" will claim that this report is a conspiracy to hide the conspiracy that AWG is a plot to enforce a one world government/ higher taxes etc, however actual evidence for this is looking thinner than an arctic ice cap at the moment.

See CNN's report here
Joe Romm has a good summary and commentary on the report here
Richard Black of the BBC has some thoughtful points on the evolution of data sharing and availability in science here

Friday, April 2, 2010

Environmental Toxins - Time Magazine investigates the chemicals found in everyday products

The ingenuity of the chemical industry has created tens of thousands of new chemicals over the last century, which are now used in vast quantities in many everyday products. Unlike medicines and pesticides, governments have generally required no testing of these chemicals to show that they are safe.
While many synthetic chemicals are undoubtedly harmless, others, especially those mimicking natural hormones known as "endocrine disruptors" such as phthalates, are increasing being linked with disease and developmental abnormalities.
Time magazine has investigated this area with a series of stories on Environmental Toxins, including The Perils of Plastic (which amongst other things documents the growing scientific concerns about the safety of bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates), Pharma in the Plumbing and The Top 10 Household Toxins.

Recommended reading

Please note that as this is a Time Magazine story the "governments" referred to are successive US governments. Other parts of the world such as Europe and, judging from Erica's comment below, Australia have much stricter regimes. Even so chemicals such as phthalates and BPA are still found in Australian products.