Tag Archives: sustainability

Stifling innovation #2: Overland Flow

This story is a follow on from the British Standard Fire Test of an earlier post. It is the story of how an attempt to be innovative with design in the aftermath of a major natural disaster foundered on the rocks of tick-box regulation.

Satellite image of Chelmer on the Brisbane River in January 2011. Source; ABC/Nearmap.

Satellite image of Chelmer on the Brisbane River in January 2011. Source; ABC/Nearmap.

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Doha Dreaming

Doha Dreaming

“There is surely a correspondence between an exhausted culture and a populace devolved so far into mental dullness that it can’t recognize its predicament. We don’t seem to get how much the industrial production spree of the past 200 years has just plumb worn us out, not to mention the ecosystem we were designed to dwell in” writes James Howard Kunstler under the title “Modernity Bites” this November 26, 2012.

James’ thesis is that we are at the end of the industrial era and that the economic structures it has spawned are imploding around us.

What if we just accept the reality that the industrial spree was a self-limiting adventure and now we have to move on?

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Community Based Renewable Energy Programs

City of Victor Harbor

Victor Harbor South Australia

I’ve been inspired recently by genuine grass-roots community initiatives to regain control of their energy security as a buffer against increasing costs and supply disruptions through investment in cooperative style renewable energy.  The City of Victor Harbor in South Australia in particular has made an impressive start – more below, but first some background.

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Doing the dishes?

The Question: (from Europe)

Within a business / home environment what should be considered to be the least environmental pressing way of doing the dishes:

  • washing dishes by hand?

  • automated cleaning of dishes?
  •  buying disposable tableware, plates and cups?

My Answer:

There are so many variables here that no single answer will be the best choice. The impacts of each option above could be large or small depending upon context.

We need to dig a little deeper to find the best approach

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Interviewed by Willi Paul @ PlanetShifter.com

In the short time I’ve been participating in the Linked In networking forum I’ve connected with some diverse and amazing people from all over the world.  These people have self-identified with certain interests in sustainability and ways toward a more positive resilient future.

A stand out contact is Mr Willi Paul from Northern California who launched his Planet Shifter initiative on Earth Day 2009.  Willi is proof positive that there are people out there doing marvellous things to help make our future look more optimistic.  I was honoured and delighted when he asked me to be interviewed and thereby join the extensive ranks of folks on similar journeys.

You can view the interview at:

The PlanetShifter.com Magazine & Networks Interview with John Cameron:

Consider this: ‘Is it wrong to assume that a huge step to finding solutions to global problems, and averting future crises, will be taken if we can think in the spirit of community and fraternity, not as individual entities? When we accept that this is a world of people all alike, of families all alike, of communities all alike – of countries facing the same challenges – of human beings ultimately seeking the same thing – then we will truly be in a position to foster well being, security and happiness’ The King of Bhutan (2008). The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is the home of the Gross National Happiness index.

The Manpollo Project: How it all ends

Greg Craven, an American high school science teacher, posted a 2007 viral video (not “a virus”, rather it’s popularity spread rapidly) on YouTube: “The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See”; an appeal to act on climate change. It received over four million hits in the first six months online.

This grew into the Manpollo Project, in their words:

So what is Manpollo, anyway?

We provide a risk-management perspective to the often political debate of global warming. We aim to quantify the possible consequences of international, national, statewide, and personal action, based upon economic and climate models provided by top scientists in their respective fields.
Our goal is to get people asking the right questions about global warming. We believe that, as citizens, we should NOT be debating whether global warming exists, and we should NOT be debating whether we’re responsible for it. Instead, we should use the various opinions from credible experts in these fields to answer a much more important question: “Given the risks and uncertainties of global warming, what is the best action (or no action) to take?”

I highly recommend taking 10 minutes to view Greg’s presentation on why we don’t need to believe in global warming/climate change before deciding to take action:

Who drives corporate sustainability?

The Question:

What position in a company drives sustainability initiatives the most?

My Answer: Continue reading

Sick and tired of “green”?

The Question:  (from the USA)

Are you sick and tired of “green.”?

Pretty much none of us want to intentionally waste or harm the environment, but are you sick and tired of “green” everything? The NFL having people use stationary bikes to reduce a so-called “carbon footprint” at a Superbowl; “global warming” commercials showing people in a hurricane implying the world will sink into the sea; and any number of crazy ideas just to say “green.” At what point does this all look like a shakedown instead of smart practices?

My Answer: Continue reading

Investing in Solar Panels?

The Question: (from California)

What are the pros and cons of buying and installing your own solar panels, vs. leasing them through a company such as Solar City?

I am considering installing solar panels on my house. There are a lot of attractive sounding offers from leasing companies out there (such as “pay nothing – we will install and manage your panels for you, and you just keep paying your regular electricity bill amount to us instead”). I would appreciate advice from anyone who understands true pros and cons of each option.

My Answer: Continue reading

The Next Big Thing?

The Question:

Michael Maynard writes: What products or services can be provided in the future that use minimal natural resources whilst generating wealth?

I am thinking about things like lotteries, Abba’s music and the wealth it brought to Sweden, The Beatles phenomenal success. They were unpopular with politicians until they saw the money roll in and then they got medals! Elvis did something similar. Bill gates gave IBM MS-DOS and that didn’t use a lot of natural resources and he made a few bucks… Gambling, music, art, software all work. But what next? Will EBooks have a similar affect? Can digital cause an explosion of new talent in television. Is there anything else, we haven’t yet thought of?