Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Should we mine the Moon?

It's a common saying, "look before you leap", encouraging someone to thoroughly consider an action before taking it. Will mankind take it's own advice with a new moral dilemma?

A new substance has been discovered on the Moon called Helium 3. When heated to high temperatures in reactors on Earth it produces massive amounts of energy that have the potential to replace nuclear and fossil fuel energy sources around the world. These samples were acquired during the Apollo missions who collected Moon dirt and rocks for scientists to conduct experiments on.

This has created a new era of the Space Race. Countries including the USA, China and Russia as well as private organisations are investing millions of dollars in getting back to the moon and establishing a cost effective way of getting Helium 3 back to Earth.

Many questions still seem unanswered before man leaps back on to the Moon. Firstly, who owns the Moon? Opinions vary and there isn't a set of total clear laws or treaties ratified by the UN as outlined in this National Geographic article: Secondly, should we start mining a land mass we know little about? On one hand it may offer the solution to Climate Change here on Earth. On the other hand, do we know enough to start mining a landscape with confidence that we will not do irreparable damage? Our track record on Earth isn't immaculate!

The documentary, Moon For Sale, gives an outline of the opportunities, challenges and issue. Taking both sides of the argument equally, does it help you decide....should we mine the Moon?

Monday, March 12, 2012

A global cheer for the Earth

On a gloomy night in March last year, I found myself winding through the cobbled slate-grey streets of Paris. As I rounded a corner, I found what I’d been searching for, where at Trocadero Square hundreds of candle-illuminated paper mache pandas, representing each of the remaining 1600 pandas left in the wild. Magnifique! My French is limited to a spattering of poorly executed phrases but as dignitaries gave speeches and hit a grandiose red button that plunged Eiffel Tower into darkness, I could not help but be touched at the symbolism of how when a group of people come together, so much can be achieved. It’s overwhelming to think that one of the world’s most iconic monuments in the “City of Lights” can be shut down because climate change is recognised collectively as of global importance.

The largest Earth Hour event I have been to was Sydney 2009. Sitting having a drink at a harbor-side bar waiting for the hour of darkness to fall upon us, masses of people started to congregate. As Earth Hour arrived, and the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge plummeted into darkness, accompanied by other buildings in the skyline, you heard a roar of the crowd cheering. That’s the feeling that reminds you why you catch a train rather than drive, why you turn off lights as you walk out of a room, why you send an email to the government to deter logging. You do it because like you, there are millions of people around the world making the same changes and sending the message they care about the Earth. That cheer reminds you, you are not alone.

Earth Hour has grown from a Sydney initiative in 2007 to encompass millions of people in over 5,000 cities across 135 countries who are to turning out their lights for one hour to take a stand against climate change. International landmarks powering down include Times Square and the Empire State Building in New York, and Dubai’s Burg Khalifa - the tallest building in the world. Even an Inuit igloo is taking part.

This year in Australia many totemic structures have already signed up to be part of Earth Hour 2012. The Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Art Gallery of NSW, the Victorian State Library, Victorian Parliament House, Melbourne’s Federation Square and Southern Cross Station , Brisbane’s Story Bridge Hotel, Adelaide Zoo and Aquatic Centre as well as Luna Park have all put their hands up to turn their lights down for the hour. Many of them will have gathering and events where you can join with other patrons of the Earth and experience the cause that unites us.

However, as in years past, others have opted for smaller events. These may be at home or as part of a community event. Events include sustainable food, acoustic performances, star gazing and other imaginative, Earth-friendly entertainment. WWF has created a great way for these events to be shared. It’s called Earth Hour Unplugged and you can find an event in your area. If you can’t find one, start one and post it on the site! Simply visit Here you can also add a fundraising element to your event to assist WWF, one of the world’s key players in ceasing Climate Change, with much needed funds.

Earth Hour is the perfect time for all individuals who love and care for our environment and are committed to tackling Climate Change to unite. Regardless of the measure you have taken, from in your own home to working with governments, this is your opportunity on one night to feel the power of what a gathering of people can accomplish.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Zero Waste Home

While doing some research online for an article I was writing about resourcefulness, I discovered a great blog called The Zero Waste Home. A few years ago a Bea Johnson became aware of just how wasteful her and her family's lifestyle, as well as the general person's, tends to be. She made the commitment to be a home that produces no rubbish. Her mantra is "Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot (and only in that order)." Now here blog has a massive following. Today, she is involved in media and speaking engagements to share stories, tips and the benefits of Zero Waste living as well as running a home consulting services on decluttering, living simply and waste reduction.

Here are some of my favourite tips:
  1. Get your 4Rs right. Refuse-Reduce-Reuse… Recycle only as a last resort
  2. Shop at farmer's markets. There will be little packaging and they will take your egg cartons and berry containers back next week.
  3. Learn to love tap water rather than buying plastic bottled water all the time.
  4. Use the cold water coming out of your shower while it heats up to water the plants in your bathroom (you do have plants in your bathroom, don't you now?)
  5. Open a window instead of plugging in an air freshener (simple and obvious but how many people opt for the freshener)
  6. Recycle old mobile phones
  7. Do not use everyday antibacterial products, they make bad bacteria stronger.

Wasteful living has a very detrimental effect on us and on the Earth. As best described by Anup Shah, “Humans have been expanding, exploring, migrating, conquering, utilizing, evolving, civilizing, industrializing, and now, destroying the very land upon which we live.” We are using more resources than the Earth can supply and one day, sooner rather than later, they will run out. In fact some believe most of the wars in the future will be over the acquisition of resources.
Check out Zero Waste Home at and take up the challenge of applying all the tips she outlines.