The environment

A few connected thoughts.

The environment, climate change, and global warming are the talking point of every politician and news organisation at the moment. I get the feeling that there has been a “tipping point” reached and we might actually be making some progress here. Not sure what the trigger event was, maybe Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth has had something to do with it but does it really matter?

Speaking on An Inconvenient Truth we finally got around to seeing it on Sunday afternoon. If you have not seen it do so. Personally I found it a great movie and I think Al Gore put together a great presentation that should appeal to a vast majority of people. The movie gets you thinking, “what am I personally doing to help the environment?” There also a blog, and a great ad on You Tube:-

Next thought, this week the WWF released a very interesting report, their update to Living Planet Report 2006, and they have had lots of press around the world. Australia has faired very badly in the report, with the 6th largest ecological footprint! Australian’s are using 6.6 global hectares per person per year we are only behind United Arab Emirates, the US, Finland, Canada and Kuwait, but above New Zealand, UK, Russia, China and Japan. Australia is also the 13th largest water users per person between 1998 and 2002, this is NOT included in the WWF footprint analysis for a number of reasons. Take a look at the full report.

The report also goes on to discuss what could will happen in the future and provides a number of options to reduce our demand on the planet. In a scenario called “Business As Usual” if we do nothing by 2050 our demand for cropland and CO2 generation will have increased by 60%, demand on grazing and fishing by 85% and the use of forests by 110%! We would be in debt to the plant for around 34 years of complete biological production! Guess what it confirms we need to reduce our footprint to a level that is sustainable.

The report also covers our footprint growth in the last 40 odd years. In 1961 our Global Ecological Footprint was 4.5 and the planets capacity was 9.0 (global hectares), in 2003 our footprint was 14.1, capacity 11.2. Under the 3 different scenarios to fix the problem by 2050 with “business as usual” the footprint would be 23 to a capacity of 11, “slow shift” a footprint of 16 compared to capacity of 13, and “rapid reduction” a footprint of 12 to a capacity of 13. Very scary!

What can we do?

Al Gore provides us some great tips on his Climate Crisis site, including a carbon calculator which unfortunately only cover the US. But his 10 tips are great really simple to implement and should be your first step. Sign up at show your support. You can also listen to Treading Lightly a podcast about the environment.

So back to the question what am I doing, me personally and my family?

  • We only own 1 car, and that one is powered by LPG
  • We recycle
  • We have 100% green power, again
  • We walk instead of driving when we can
  • We catch public transport to work, I am looking to ride to work as well
  • We live in a townhouse with no unnecessary garden to water
  • We only use vinegar, ammonia and bi-carb soda to clean the house with, exception being the dishwasher
  • We have a low water usage front loader washing machine
  • We eat as much organically grown produce as possible, we have a box delivered once a week. We have also been reducing the amount of red meat we eat.
  • We have signed up at

Now what do you do?

4 thoughts on “The environment

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  2. Hi Michael – great post. Thanks for reading the Living Planet report too – these reports can be a bit daunting and depressing, but I’m glad to see you’re still going for it.

    You (and your readers) might also find some interesting Australian-centric tips on WWF-Australia’s website:

    Including details of an Australian offsets provider, eco-driving tips, among others.

    Thanks again for spreading the word.

    Regards, Grant

  3. Grant thanks for reading and commenting. Thanks for the link to your Take Action page a fantastic resource that ready needs to be promoted further! I plan to write a follow up on it.

    BTW your petition for a firm greenhouse gas reduction targets is not working.

    (I also like the links to, Digg and Newsvine!)

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