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Found 10 results

  1. There is no direct evidence that wind turbines affect physical or mental health, according to a review of the evidence by the National Health and Medicine Research Council (NHMRC). The review found no direct link between health effects and wind turbines, including pathological anxiety, depression, changes in blood pressure, heart disease, and ringing in the ears. However, due to the generally poor quality of the current evidence, the council recommended further high quality research, particularly within 1,500 m of wind turbines. More than 4,000 pieces of evidence were considered, but only 13 were deemed suitable for the review. The review found evidence supporting a link between wind farm noise and indirect health effects such as annoyance, and sleep disturbance. However it found no evidence for a link between possible health effects and low-frequency noise or infrasound. While the review said it was unlikely wind turbines would cause health impacts beyond 500 m, noise from turbines could be considered “disturbing” at distances of up to 1,500 m. Bruce Armstrong, Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney and chair of the review’s expert committee, said none of the studies were of good quality, mostly because of poor participation rates, which could have biased the results. Armstrong identified three areas for further research: improving measurement of wind turbine noise; well-constructed studies that do not rely solely on self-reported health effects; and consideration of social and environmental circumstances. Will Grant, a researcher at the Australian National University, said there should be more research into wind turbine syndrome as a “communicated” disease. “There’s a lot of suggestion from the academic community that it’s a psychological or psychogenic illness. The interesting thing is that there hasn’t been a full research study that has investigated if it’s a psychological cause, what are the things that cause that, what are the things that contribute to that, and could we actually mitigate that.” Simon Chapman, professor of public health at the University of Sydney, said the review was the most comprehensive yet. However he expressed concern that ongoing investigation could be a foundation for stopping wind farms. “Wind farm opponents in the parliament will soon have a ready made excuse to argue for moratoriums on further wind farm development,” he said. Grant said the review was important because it took claims of ill-health seriously. He highlighted a recent study commissioned by Pacific Hydro into the health effects of low-frequency wind turbine noise, which he criticised in an article on The Conversation. “Where they were on the right track was in attempting to do research with those who have very different ideas. The only way to get to the bottom of this is to do research in which people on all sides of the debate have control over the methodology.”
  2. In March, Victoria's capital city was the country's hot-spot for green building and environmental safety. This exquisite event has met millions supporters through the years striving to educate Australia's population on the benefits of green investments and Eco-oriented lifestyle. Being one of the greenest cities in Australia, Melbourne had been chosen to be hot of this year's Green Cities conference. The event was held at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne where world-leading Eco organizations and specialists joined forces in order to help reducing the carbon footprint of the country. The prime topics, which had been discussed in March 18 and 19, vary from researches on the benefits green buildings for the environment and nature diversity of Australia, to the development of sustainability strategies by the leading industries in the Southern Hemisphere. Main place in the debates took the presentation of Kent Larson, a researcher and director in MIT. Along with topics such as uncovering the opportunities for retrofitting existing buildings, intensely discussed were some outstanding researches on the effect the employees' satisfaction on the success of green building investments. Speakers such as Sean Chiao, the CEO of Buildings and Places and Ann-Kristin Karlsson, the director of WSP Sustainable cities were also an important part of Green Cities 2014 (@GreenCitiesConf). With a huge following and a great cause, the conference got a massive response in the residents of Melbourne inviting more and more organizations to take the path of sustainable living. But being part of a more verdant community is not new to the residents of Melbourne. Cleaning agencies, such as the housekeeping team Cleaning House Melbourne, have long ago adopted the cause of green living by offering Eco-oriented services and applying cleaning methods, well-known to be beneficial for the reduction of the country's carbon footprint. Still, there are goals we are yet to achieve in order to help the the world become a better place for all of us and the Green Cities conference took us one step closer to our aim.
  3. Dust in Melbourne can build up from the surfaces of roads, pavements and driveways, causing havoc for the home. Warm, dry weather takes the moisture out of top soil and leaves it liable to blow away in dust clouds over flatland. The dust collects around buildings and addresses making the cleaning of ducted heating and cooling systems extremely important for letting fresh air into the homes. Instead of brushing the dust away, where it can collect elsewhere and come back, it should be taken away from the property before it dries or marks paintwork. Dust carried overland by the wind at high speed and can leave dirty marks on white paintwork. The walls as well as interiors is a must to create a good first impression for guests or future property buyers coming up driveways to view your address. This may also mean re-painting badly marked areas and considering other colours which won’t show up top soil quite as badly. Such wall coverings may be terracotta or taking plaster back to leave brickwork exposed. Yet when the possible purchasers enter your property, they shouldn't be repelled by bad smells coming out from a poorly maintained air conditioning system. This is why, if your property is on the market, you should arrange a ducted heating servicing along with the lease cleaning service which comes with every relocation. Red soil is synonymous with Australia, but not a common feature in every state and less so in cities or concrete jungles. However, trucks carrying cargo through the outback can bring red soil into depots and deposit dust around cities, so this is worth bearing in mind wherever you live. Most dust stuck onto walls in the humidity can be brushed off gently, but be careful not to remove dirt with wire brushes as this will also take off paintwork or wallpaper. Instead lightly use a soft material duster to minimise the costs of repainting. Avoid using water as this will just smear the dirt and leave a stain where you have cleaned around the dust. Else, a domestic cleaning and air conditioning service in Melbourne is your best bet.
  4. This video is quite good! Sure the installation costs of wind power might be high, but once they are up and running wind power will save us money. Australia's Renewable Energy Target Explained The renewable energy target is hard to understand for many consumers, so we made this video to make it easier and explain how it can make a positive impact on your household bills.
  5. Buying Green Home in Australia

    The current environmental pollution is a growing disaster all over the world. Green homes are a perfect choice to curb the pollution of our surroundings. Green certified homes have the ability to remodel energy assessment, improve home energy performance and upgrades, water and resource conservation as well as improving indoor air quality. Buying a green home in Australia will highly improve your environment as a country and the whole world at large. This greatly helps home owners in waste management, which in turn enable them to conserve Mother Nature. Factors to consider when buying a green home in Australia Its size: it is obvious that the bigger the house, the higher amounts of energy it consumes. The Australian council for green homes prefers neutral homes, which most people need. The need for excessive and unnecessary space leads to wastage of energy. Location area: An excellent green home is one located in areas that provide access to road networks, shopping malls, supper markets, schools, parks, restaurant and even stores. This enables one to save on transport cost as well as reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced in the air by motor vehicles. Is it well constructed? - It is important to check if the home is well constructed. Consider if it is well oriented, well-insulated, doors and windows should be sealed to avoid air leaks. The efficiency of water usage should also be checked to ensure energy efficiency. Since most people do not have the ability to test all this qualifications, it is advisable to consult a third-party, trained professional inspector to confirm the above standards. How to finance your first home Buying your first home is one of the most rewarding feelings in the world. Unfortunately, many have made serious blunders when it comes to buying homes. This is as result of misunderstanding the settling process, which most of the time can be very confusing. Decide on how much to spend and the exact mortgage rates that works best for you. For a person to complete this process effectively, intensive research is required. There are various sources such as the internet, mortgage professional consultants and also real estate agents who are known to provide reliable technical advice, before you visit a sales office to get your first home owner grant. It is very important to chose green home as your first home. This is because they are environmental friendly. It is this environmental factor that has enabled it to undergo a series of serious structural test making it more strong and durable than normal houses. It also utilizes energy and water conservation methods, which enable you to save cash by saving bills from unnecessary use of resources. There is only a very slight difference between the green home cost and the normal ones with the green home being slightly higher. But this difference cannot be compared to the endless benefits you will enjoy after buying a green home. Buying green home is beneficial because it contains all the information highlighted above.
  6. Ideal homes are a matter of choice and personal taste. But for the average new Australian mom, an ideal home is one that is more spacious than the current home and still not unaffordably so. It has to be modern in all its fixtures and conveniences so that chores are easier with a baby to care for. It should have a sunny north facing daytime living area – as all homes should really - for the best use of natural light and lower utility bills. And it should be close enough to facilities like hospitals, daycare and other emergency services that living with a baby can often require. Image credits: APG Homes The Size of Your Ideal Home Most families in Australia today are of the average size of 2.6 (2006 figures). The size you want your family to be in the future is important in helping you choose your home. If you intend on having a family of two children, a 2-4 bedroom home with a living space will be suitable. But in the nursing years it is always a blessing to have room for the helpful relative or the sleep-deprived parent while the other parent is on the night-watch shift. Also note that while it's tempting to buy a larger home for your money, sometimes larger is not better. It will leave you with less garden space and more space to clean, light, heat, cool and furnish. This will add to your chores and costs for as long as you own the home. So, think about size carefully before buying a home before buying a home. What Your Ideal Home Should Look Like As a new mom, what you want your home to look like will depend on a number of things. Whether you want a condo apartment with its own modern conveniences or a detached or semi-detached townhouse is a matter of choice, cost and location. Whether you want a modern flat-roof home or a traditional pitched roof is again a matter of tastes and lifestyles. Gabled homes have a certain charm while flat roof homes are cheaper. On the flip side, flat roofs can be harder to maintain because water drainage is not as effective as in pitched roofs. On the inside, the walls should be baby-proof with washable paint so that growing toddlers and pre-teens can bring out their inner artists without causing a panic. The furniture should be as free of pointed corners and fragile glass as possible. Babies are bundles of energy, and you can't expect them to hold back for the sake of your furniture. Utilities and Conveniences of An Ideal Home If your home is built smartly with passive heating and cooling solutions, then you probably won't need a heating or cooling system in some areas. But in others, you can consider alternative power sources for your energy solution. Wind powered units or the areas that have access to geothermal energy such as Victoria are great places to locate your family home. Alternative energy sources will cut costs and make sure your home remains sustainable for you and your children for a long time into the future. Most mothers would want some basic appliances for convenience in their kitchens and bathrooms; a dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, washer and dryer are essentials. Safe induction or electric cooktops that are easier to clean are also a great modern option as opposed to gas-fueled cooktops that can create safety hazards for the family with toxic gases such as carbon monoxide. Also, don't forget that coffee machine for the desperate cup of morning coffee after a sleepless night of tending to colic pains! Other conveniences can include a toaster; a juicer for the healthy family, and surely most mothers would not pass up on a neat Jacuzzi in the bathroom to relax in at the end of an exhausting day.
  7. Queensland Labor Party Supports Tough Measures To Minimize Air Pollution Caused By Coal Dust In December, we witnessed the Labor Party of Queensland supporting the stringent measures that are being implemented to limit the amount of coal being transported through Brisbane in an effort to contain the air pollution caused by coal dust. The measures being implemented include providing covers for trains transporting coal and stockpiles of coal. At the state’s recently concluded ALP conference, Peter Cumming, councilor for Wynnum, put forward a motion with a view to address the community’s growing concern about coal dust pollution along the rail route from the coal mines in Darling to the Port that passes through Brisbane. Mr. Cumming is from a suburb near Brisbane Port where millions of tons of coal are transferred from trains to ships and exported annually. Annastacia Palaszczuk, Labor Leader, said that the issue has already been referred to the appropriate policy committee for deliberation when asked about her support for the motion. Further info http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/labor-supports-brisbane-clampdown-on-coal-dust/story-e6frg9df-1226774573600# Monitoring studies carried out recently by a union of the community groups revealed that the fine particles level in the air is much above the limit prescribed by the state, particularly near stockpiles. Jondaryan, a town close to Darling Downs, is by far the most contentious area because of a stockpile located just one kilometer away from the town. New Acland mine which sends supplies to this stockpile wants to further expand its operations despite LNP’s ruling against such a move prior to the elections in the state. On the other hand, the holding company of the mine New Hope has promised that they would relocate the stockpile if they are given permission for their stage three expansion. When asked about coal shipments in general and the Jondaryan stockpile, Andrew Powell, Environment Minister, responded by saying that the community’s concerns have been addressed by the Newman government. A process of spraying a ’veneer’ on to the coal loads has been initiated to prevent coal dust from flying out. Preliminary air monitoring studies indicate that this measure is adequate in the short term. However, further studies are also being carried out, according to Mr. Powell. Measures Taken by Port of Brisbane to Contain Air Pollution Caused by Coal Dust The Brisbane Port handles different types of cargos, including motor vehicles, containers, both wet as well as dry bulk commodities, etc. The dust raised when handling bulk commodities, such as coal, adversely affects the quality of ambient air and the prevailing wind conditions often extend the air pollution problems to the neighboring areas. Some of the measures implemented by the Port to minimize pollution include the following: • Maintenance and monitoring of moisture present in the bulk product that is being handled • Storing of bulk material in enclosed spaces • Handling or loading/unloading of bulk material in covered areas • Implementing management practices in a proactive manner, including covering and wetting of stockpiles that are exposed Further info: http://www.portbris.com.au/environment/air-quality Further, the Brisbane Port has developed and implemented Environmental Management Plans to reduce dust emissions caused by such activities as construction, traffic movement on areas that are not sealed and land reclamation. As far as particulate matter let into the ambient air because of combustion of fuels used in trucks, trains and ships that come to the port is concerned, the Brisbane Port has instituted indirect management techniques that contribute to improving transport efficiencies. These include: • Improving the condition of the roads and port’s access • Effective management of shipping movements • Encouraging multi-modal transportation alternatives Air quality monitoring activities have been undertaken since 1999. The programs that have been implemented at the port to ensure ambient air quality include: • Real-time dust monitoring at three locations within the port from June 2013. • Long-term dust monitoring study from 2003 to 2011: The study showed that the dust deposition in the Port area is more or less within the prescribed limit. • Fallout dust analysis for motor vehicle storage facilities (2001 to 2003 and also in 2007): The study found out that motor vehicles storage does not impact atmospheric deposition and that road dust contributed to 70% dust deposition on vehicles. • Roadside monitoring study (2006 to 2008) • Fine particulate emission monitoring study (2012). Follow up study to be conducted in 2013/2014. Results of Real-time Dust Monitoring Program Under this program, the presence of large as well as fine dust particles in air is monitored and calculated on a daily basis. The results of the studies conducted during the first three months show that the particulate matter present in air close to the place where coal is handled is significantly below the levels prescribed by the government. The Brisbane Port has also launched an air quality website, as part of its commitment to the local communities, to provide real time charts, information on air monitoring programs, etc. Health Effects of Coal Dust A number of health problems are caused by coal dust that contributes to air pollution during the process of mining, preparation, storage, transport and combustion of coal. Some of the negative health effects are as follows: • A reduction in life expectancy • Respiratory hospital admissions • Black lung caused by coal dust • Congestive heart failure • Non-fatal cancer, renal dysfunction, osteroporosia, ataxia • Asthma attacks, chronic bronchitis, etc. • Damage to the nervous system Carbon monoxide from explosives used in mines and that produced because of incomplete combustion of coal in power plants pollutes the air and poses health risks. Coal dust produced during mining, transportation and handling of coal causes severe as well as deadly respiratory problems. Coal sludge and acid mine run-off cause water pollution. Air pollution caused by coal dust, emissions from factories, vehicle exhausts, etc., can lead to incidences of lung diseases, cardiopulmonary diseases, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney disease, asthma, etc. The top ten most polluted places in the world include Sumgayit, Azerbaijan; Linfen, China; Tianying, China; Sukinda, India; La Oroya, Peru; Dzerzinsk, Russia; Norilsk, Russia; Chernobyl, Ukraine and Kabwe, Zambia. Vapi, India which was there in this list has been removed because of the significant improvement in air quality in this place. Environmental Effects of Coal Dust Coal is responsible for a lot of damaging effects on the environment. Some of the aspects include: Global warming: Power plants that use coal as fuel are mainly responsible for carbon dioxide emissions which contribute in a huge way to global warming. In complete combustion of coal produces black carbon which is also a contributor to climate change. When coal is mined, methane gas is released. It is estimated that 18 percent of the global warming effect is attributable to this activity. The contribution to the greenhouse effect from carbon dioxide generation is 50 percent. Acid mine drainage: This refers to the flow of water that is acidic in nature from coal mines. This often happens because of exposure of rocks that contain pyrites, a sulfur-bearing mineral, during coal mining activities. Acid mine drainage greatly contributes to water pollution. Air pollution: Emission of particulate matter as well as gasses such as methane, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide contribute a great deal to air pollution. Coal dust that is stirred up when mining and transporting coal also contributes to air pollution. Coal fires that occur in waste piles and abandoned mines release approximately 40 tons of mercury into the atmosphere annually. Further reading In conclusion, mining, transporting, storage and combustion of coal do not only result in health issues and deterioration of quality of life, but also the degradation of the ecosystem.
  8. Just weeks after being elected as Australia’s new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott has started his war against science and climate. Abbott, who have said that climate change "is absolute crap", has already dismantled the country’s climate commission and is now set to repeal the carbon tax that was introduced in 2011 by the former left-leaning government. The first victim of Abbott’s anti-science and anti-climate campaign was the country’s Climate Commission. The commission was established in 2011 with the goal to independently inform and communicate the dangers of climate change to the Australian public. The most recent report from the commission, titled The Critical Decade, warned that the world needs to essentially “decarbonise in the next 30 to 35 years” in order to avoid serious consequences from global. This means, as the report noted, that Australia would have to keep most of its fossil fuels in the ground. Abbott and his new conservative government estimates that the closure of the Climate Commission will save taxpayers $1.6 million a year, reduce bureaucracy. The government has also promised that the Department of Environment will instead continue with informing the public about climate change. But considering that Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter, it’s not that hard to figure out the real reason to why Abbott wanted to shut down the independent commission. Christine Milne, opposition leader for the Greens in Australia, has said the decision shows Abbott’s "contempt for climate science and for the health and wellbeing of future generations." "Shooting the messenger does not alter the fact that Australia has to do a lot better than 5% in order to contribute fairly to the global challenge of constraining global warming to two degrees," Milne said to the Guardian. "Prime Minister Abbott has distinguished himself as one of the only leaders of a western democracy to deny the severity of global warming and to actively undermine infrastructure which is bringing down emissions." But the Climate Commission is not the only target for Abbott. Other bodies that are in the risk of being stripped of its funding are the Climate Change Authority, which provides independent advice on emissions reduction targets, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, a renewable loan institute. It’s now painfully clear that, despite promises of the contrary, Abbott has no intentions of doing anything meaningful against the climate crisis. Mark Dreyfus, former parliamentary secretary for climate change and energy efficiency in Australia, writes on the Guardian that: “Abbott now seems determined to ensure that good policies implemented over the past six years by Labor are torn down as fast as possible, regardless of their economic merit, regardless of the negative impact this might have on the jobs and businesses that have been created…” Just a couple of days ago, Abbott did what he promised in his election campaign: he introduced a repeal bill to the Australian parliament that will scrap the country’s controversial carbon tax. "This is our bill to reduce your bills, to reduce the bills of the people of Australia," Abbott proclaimed. But critics say that Abbott is doing just the opposite. Adam Bandt, from the Greens in Australia, writes that "there’s nothing new about conservatives slowing down the pace of reform, offering paternal protection and preserving the status quo." But "global warming is already damaging the health and the way of life of ordinary Australians and unless we act those threats will become catastrophic. [...] If our prime minister truly wants to protect the Australian people, he must help fend off dangerous global warming, the country’s biggest ever threat." Abbott has campaigned with the promise of getting Australia back on track. But in reality he is moving Australia backwards. Photo credit: DonkeyHotey (cc).
  9. This past weekend Australians gave (with some help from Murdoch) Tony Abbott, the leader of the Australian Liberal Party, a landslide victory in the country's 2013 federal election. But environmentalists fear that the conservative leader, who has said that climate change "is absolute crap", will destroy decades of hard-fought environmental and climate policies. In 2009, Abbott said that "the argument [behind climate change] is absolute crap." Since then his climate denialism has softened up a bit. Now in 2013 he says that "I think that climate change is real, humanity makes a contribution." So instead of just bluntly denying climate change, Abbott now only denies the need to act on it. So it's no wonder that some commentators and environmentalists have likened Tony Abbott and his policies to the same anti-science and climate denying stances that Sarah Palin or Rick Santorum advocates. Abbott has already promised that, if elected, he will repeal the carbon tax that was introduced in 2011 by Julia Gillard and her former ruling Labor Party. The historic carbon-pricing legislation was supported by the Greens and has charged industries and energy companies for their emissions. Instead Abbott plans to replace the carbon-pricing legislation with his Direct Action program. The program is meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by five percent from the levels in 2000 by 2020. Abbott himself says that his climate policies will "take strong and effective action to tackle climate change, action that doesn't damage our economy." But critics say that even this meager reduction target will be impossible to reach. Among others, George Monbiot has said that the Direct Action program "is incapable of delivering the cuts it promises, absurdly underfunded and surrounded by a swarm of unanswered questions." "Were it to become big enough to meet its promises, it would be far more expensive than a comparable carbon trading scheme, which Abbott has falsely claimed would incur "almost unimaginable" costs. But it won't be big enough, because he refuses to set aside the money it requires. Direct Action is a program designed to create a semblance of policy, in the certain knowledge that it will fail to achieve its objectives," Monbiot writes. Australia is the world's biggest coal exporter and despite commitments from Australia to limit global warming to below two degrees, the country's coal export are planned to expand by more than double current levels in the coming years. Both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard from the Labor Party has rightfully received criticism for their inaction on climate change. But with Tony Abbott as the new Prime Minister, the climate outlook in Australia looks even bleaker than before.
  10. A TV ad which attacks Coca-Cola for trying to stop a recycling scheme in Australia has been stopped from airing on TV. In recent weeks Greenpeace has been campaigning in support of the implementation of nationwide 10-cents-a-bottle recycling scheme in Australia. The environmental organization has called the scheme "a no brainer" and they've been critical of Coca-Cola's efforts to undermine and stop the recycling legislation. Last week Greenpeace raised $20,000 in donations in just one day to get the TV ad, which attacks Coca-Cola for lobbying against the recycling scheme, shown during Channel Nine's Friday Night Football broadcast in Australia. But the ad was pulled just minutes before it was supposed to air after being deemed "too offensive" by the channel. Greenpeace quickly blamed Coca-Cola and other beverage makers for putting pressure on Channel Nine to stop the ad from airing. "They took the money and now they've bottled it," Greenpeace's Reece Turner said. "Coke has been accused of bullying politicians into blocking cash for containers. It's a reasonable assumption their influence is behind Channel Nine's last-minute choking." Seabirds and other animals often mistake plastics with food. These plastic objects slowly fills their stomachs over time until they are unable to ingest any real food. A slow death by starvation then follows for these poor seabirds. In Australia, this plastic rubbish is estimated to affect up to 65% of the seabird population. And Coca-Cola is currently trying to fight legislation that is key to fixing this problem. This short ad by Greenpeace exposes how Coca-Cola, even though being a longtime supporter of WWF, is willing to let plastic pollution trash our oceans and kill our marine life. Despite being banned from TV, Greenpeace's campaign is still making waves. The actual ad has been seen over 700,000 times and is the most shared video in Australia. And now shareholders has started to question Coca-Cola's efforts to stop a national Cash for Containers scheme. During an annual meeting in Sydney, Coca-Cola Chairman David Gonski called the scheme "old fashioned", inefficient and warned that it would increase the price of soft drinks. But his comments were challenged by shareholders as well as protesters outside the meeting. "What's wrong with old fashioned?" one shareholder asked. "We have container deposit legislation in South Australia and only 4% of containers are found in litter. That's a stark contrast to the 40% of containers in the eastern states." By blocking the ad from airing on TV, Channel Nine have successfully given Greenpeace's campaign more media attention. And in the end Coca-Cola is the one who will suffer the most from the public backlash that follows.