Greenpeace Australia Pacific BLOG

How much trash do you produce in a week?

Posted on August 20, 2014 at 11:38 by Rashini Suriyaarachchi

If you could see all the waste you produce, would it change the way you consume? This photographer is hoping so.

Australians produce a lot of waste. According to Clean Up Australia, the amount of waste that hits landfill in Australia every year is enough to cover the entire state of Victoria.

The average Australian produces 1.5 tonnes of waste in a year. Much of this household waste is avoidable – like plastic packaging and food waste. But according to the ABC, Australians still let $8 billion worth of edible food hit the bin each year.

Being environmentally conscious on recycling day and sorting your rubbish into compost, recycling and general waste bins is fantastic – but it’s important to think about producing less rubbish to begin with. That’s why photographer Gregg Segal created 7 Days of Garbage – a series of portraits of Americans surrounded by a week’s worth of household rubbish. Gregg says:

“7 Days of Garbage is a series of portraits of friends, neighbors, and other acquaintances with the garbage they accumulate in the course of a week. Subjects are photographed surrounded by their trash in a setting that is part nest, part archeological record. We’ve made our bed and in it we lie.”

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What would your garbage selfie look like?

You can find all photos from the series here, and more of Gregg’s work on his website here.

5 things you need to know about Sydney University

Posted on August 19, 2014 at 14:58 by Rashini Suriyaarachchi

There’s something about Australia’s sandstone universities – they’re grand, prestigious, and a little mysterious. But the University of Sydney’s million dollar investment in Whitehaven Coal and their destructive Maules Creek Coal Mine isn’t just mysterious – it’s downright dodgy.

Tell Sydney University to stop funding Maules Creek Coal Mine!

Not only is Whitehaven responsible for the largest coal mine under construction in Australia, it is also flattening endangered forest, trashing Indigenous Australian heritage sites and destroying prime farmland. It’s not exactly in line with the University’s public policy to make green and ethical investments.

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Here’s 5 things Sydney University’s investment means for our environment, farmland, and climate:

1. Bulldozing endangered native forest

To make way for the Maules Creek Coal Mine, huge tracts of the Leard State Forest – an area known for its extraordinary biodiversity – will be flattened.

Based on current proposals, the combined impacts of mining within the Leard State Forest would remove 60% of the forest and woodland, including 1,217ha of endangered Box Gum woodland and Derived Native Grassland.

2. 30 threatened species at risk

Tell Sydney University to stop funding Maules Creek Coal Mine!

To make way for this new mine, huge tracts of the Leard State Forest – an area known for its extraordinary biodiversity – will be flattened.

The construction of Maules Creek coal mine directly threatens over 30 threatened species such as the squirrel glider and koala.

3. Trashing indigenous heritage sites

Numerous of indigenous heritage sites have already been trashed by Whitehaven Coal to make way for this new, dirty coal mine.

The University of Sydney prides itself on respect for the first owners of our land, but it has been funding this destruction all along. There are still several culturally significant heritage sites intact and time to save them.

4. Damaging Australian farmland

Tell Sydney University to stop funding Maules Creek Coal Mine!

Local farmers are deeply concerned about the danger to what is one of the most fertile regions of NSW. The Maules Creek mine will reduce the local water table, in some places by up to six metres.

It has a license to draw three billion litres of water from the local Namoi River per year. While farmers face the aftermath of a severe drought, 4 million litres of water would be guzzled up every day from the nearby Namoi River to build the mine.

5. Fuelling dangerous climate change

Tell Sydney University to stop funding Maules Creek Coal Mine!

Whitehaven’s Maules Creek coal mine is the largest coal mine currently under construction in in Australia. When in full production, it will contribute over 30 million tons of CO2 per year, materially accelerating dangerous global warming.

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There’s nothing prestigious about the destruction of our environment. Even smart people make dumb choices, but the University of Sydney can fix this now. Tell Sydney University Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence to sell any shares in Whitehaven Coal before it is too late.

 

Arrest of forest rights activists symbolic of what’s wrong in India

Posted on August 19, 2014 at 08:38 by Greenpeace Australia Pacific

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It was just past midnight when Indian police hauled two Greenpeace India activists out of their sleep and arrested them this week as a crackdown on protests against a planned coal mine in the Mahan forest intensified.

The arrests are the latest example of intimidation tactics used in India to quell unrest over the plans by Indian conglomerate Essar to turn the Mahan forest into a climate-wrecking coal mine. (more…)

10 amazing shark pictures

Posted on August 14, 2014 at 17:05 by Jess Macleod

Did you know that scientists can determine the age of a shark by counting the rings that form on its vertebra? Much the same as you can count the rings on a tree to tell its age. [1]

Enjoy our gallery below. 

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Our Green Electricity Guide has landed!

Posted on August 14, 2014 at 16:34 by Alison Orme
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Want to know whether your power company is really green and not just a wolf in green? You’re not alone.
 

Since Greenpeace kicked off our campaign to stop the big three power companies – EnergyAustralia, Origin and AGL – wrecking Australia’s Renewable Energy Target we’ve had a stream of people asking, ‘If I want to leave them where should I go?’This question from Sonya, a Greenpeace supporter, is typical:

“Thank you for raising the issue of the “Dirty Three”. It would be helpful if there was another power company that we could change to. Who do you recommend?”

Finally help is at hand – a new, independent online Green Electricity Guide which provides a state by state ranking of electricity retailers against seven clear criteria. Greenpeace worked closely with the Total Environment Centre to produce this independent, thorough guide to Australia’s energy companies.

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Shark Girl: Why the Discovery Channel has got it wrong on sharks

Posted on August 13, 2014 at 17:22 by Rashini Suriyaarachchi

This is a guest blog by activist and shark lover Madi Stewart – also known as Shark Girl. Madi has been swimming with sharks since she was 12 years old, and makes conservation films to try and change the way people see her finned friends.

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Many people develop relationships with animals. For some, it’s their pet dog or cat, the possum that lives in their backyard tree, or their local birds. The animal I most connect with is the shark.

But growing up loving sharks can be very different to growing up with your pet labrador. Put yourself in my shoes – how would you feel if people took pride in killing your favourite animal, if the media gave them a terrible reputation, or if people ate them and hated them? (more…)

Don’t think sharks are adorable? Watch this.

Posted on August 12, 2014 at 16:47 by Rashini Suriyaarachchi

In Hollywood, sharks are a bit like Christopher Walken – they always get typecast as the bad guy. Our friend Lily Williams doesn’t agree with that – so she’s made her own movie to change the way everyone sees sharks.

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It’s not your average shark flick – it’s factual, adorable, and narrated by Lily’s 10-year-old cousin. So why did Lily decide not to take inspiration from Sharknado? We asked her a few questions to try and find out.

Why do you love sharks?

I love a lot of things about sharks! When I found out sharks have been on earth longer than dinosaurs and have survived several mass extinctions, all I could think was – “Wow, sharks are prime examples of successful evolution!”. A lot of people settle on the scary popular culture image of sharks…but sharks are much cooler than that.

Have you ever seen a shark in the ocean? If not, would you like to?

I have not yet, but I dream of seeing them first hand in the wild someday! I would love to swim with them.

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A lot of people are scared of sharks – and some artists draw quite frightening shark illustrations. What made you decide to illustrate our finned friends the way you do?

I think the “scary shark” trope is overplayed. Yes, sharks are wild animals and fierce predators, but they do not hunt men as men hunt them. The sooner we stop fearing them, the sooner we can protect them… and we need to protect them. I make my sharks personable which allows us to relate to them.

Why do you think visual storytelling is such a powerful means of activism?

Thanks to the internet, we have access to so much information, yet it’s spread out over such a wide variety of sources. Effective visual storytelling takes all that fantastic information and presents it in a clear concise way that is easy to digest. When we make those visual stories accessible to all ages, it creates a diverse dialogue, allowing information to spread in a fun and positive way!

Congratulations on the success of Finconceivable! What’s been the best moment in the process of creating and getting the film out into the world?

Thank you so much! It’s hard to decide! The whole process has been very rewarding. Working with Shark Stewards, writing the film, coming up with the shots, painting, and working with my adorable 10 year old cousin, the narrator – it was all so much fun. Receiving emails from teachers worldwide about how the film has resonated with their students, has been a sweet moment. I am really glad my film connects to so many other students of all ages!

Check out Lily’s awesome infographics about how important sharks are to marine ecosystems! You can find much more incredible work at her website here. If you’re a teacher, parent, advocate – or just love sharks and want to use her work – get in touch with her here.

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Do you think sharks are important too? Take action to protect them – tell the West Australian government not to extend their brutal and misguided mass shark cull policy!