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Conservationists take Clive Palmer to Court to Save Queensland’s Bimblebox Nature Refuge, but Citizen Action is Also Needed

Visitors to the Bimblebox Nature Refuge website will notice a heartfelt plead welcoming them; ‘Help save Bimblebox’. Every good story needs a villain. This time (and not for the first time) it’s Clive Palmer

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Greenpeace Australia, GetUp!, March Australia, Green MPS and many other groups, including local organizations Stop Adani and Galilee Blockade, have called on state officials to deny Palmer’s application and save the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, supported by citizens.

The Bimblebox Nature Refuge, a well-beloved Queensland gem, is facing its toughest challenge to date. It was purchased by private individuals in 2008, when Queensland’s land clearing rates were amongst the highest in the world, in order to save it from a grim fate. Now, after 12 years of peace, it is again threatened – this time by mining mogul and billionaire Clive Palmer.

Palmer, currently accused of trading while insolvent and of other corporate misgovernance allegations by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, has an abysmal track-record in Queensland’s Galilee Basin;

Besides this new initiative, Palmer is also currently seeking approval on a monstrous coal mine 3 times bigger than Adani’s, called Alpha North. If Palmer is successful in his bid, he would construct the mine on a conservation area for the endangered black finch. And let’s not forget Palmer’s now-bankrupt nickel refinery, Queensland Nickel, which caused several major spills and leakages that harmed the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding territories, the latest one in 2018 (3 years after it shut down).

Queensland Nickel’s negligence is not just environmental; maintenance issues and safety incidents and accidents kept piling up long before it was closed, say ex-employees. Documents attained by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland mention dozens of unattended breaches.

Now, Palmer’s company Waratah Coal wants to build another mega-coal mine on the lands which today are home to the Bimblebox Nature Refuge. Its current owners claim that even though they own the land, they are still vulnerable, as “protected areas that make up the National Reserve System are not automatically protected from mineral exploration and mining, which in Australia are granted rights over almost all other land uses”.

Unluckily for the Bimblebox, it is the first protected area to face the threat of mining to the degree proposed by Waratah Coal’s proposed mine. President Paola Cassoni says the important of this case goes beyond their small protected area, and will “serve as a test case as to whether the Queensland State and Australian Federal governments are willing to alter outdated legislation so that conservation values are considered to be at least of similar importance to the state as large mining projects”.

The QLD Environment Department itself had advised in 2011 that proposed clearing on Bimblebox Nature Refuge for Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal mine would kill about 35,880 birds, 13,570 mammals and 780,000 reptiles. “We will fight to save this invaluable island of remnant woodland,” Cassoni said in a statement. “We cannot stand by and allow the trashing of nature for coal.”

Queenslanders have shown their support for the Nature Refuge on social media since the announcement. Many protested the proposed mine, calling leaders such as Premier and Minister for Trade, Annastacia Palaszczuk, Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick and Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Anthony Lynham for immediate action.

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The QLD Environment Department itself had advised in 2011 that proposed clearing on Bimblebox Nature Refuge for Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal mine would kill about 35,880 birds, 13,570 mammals and 780,000 reptiles.

Greenpeace Australia, GetUp!, March Australia, Green MPS and many other groups, including local organizations Stop Adani and Galilee Blockade, have called on state officials to deny Palmer’s application and save the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, supported by citizens.

David Morris, CEO of The Environmental Defenders Office, is acting for the Bimblebox owners. He told The Guardian that the project would destroy about half the nature refuge. “The project consists of two open-cut pits and four underground mines that will totally destroy roughly 50% of the nature refuge and cut underneath the remainder, leaving it in ruins,” Morris said.“It will have a huge impact on local graziers and destroy a private conservation reserve that is one of the largest tracts of intact woodland in Queensland and home to hundreds of species, many of which are rare or endangered.”

Local farmers have concerns as well; the use of 768 billion litres, or 768 gigalitres, of groundwater over its 30-year lifespan of the proposed mine, equating to one-and-a-half times the volume of Sydney Harbour. “When you’ve lost your groundwater, you’ve lost it. It doesn’t matter how many make-good agreements you sign, you’ve lost it,” added Paola Cassoni.

Many are wondering how the state of Queensland could allow Palmer to run another mine in the region, especially considering that the Townsville City Council is taking legal action against Clive Palmer’s companies QNI Metals Pty Ltd and QNI Resources Pty Ltd as we speak, seeking more than $2.5 million from the billionaire. Palmer has apparently not paid rates and charges relating to land where Queensland Nickel’s Yabulu refinery sits and to another property since 2016.

“Not only is this frustrating, it is also unfair for the thousands of other land owners across Townsville who paid their rates and water charges as required, including those who paid despite their property suffering damage in the devastating monsoon event earlier this year,” a council spokesman has said.

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The Bimblebox Nature Refuge, a well-beloved Queensland gem, is facing its toughest challenge to date.

Other Palmer debts, such as to the Port of Townsville, Aurizon, Queensland Rail and the state (for over $60 million paid to the workers of QNI from taxpayer money), also remain unpaid.

ALSO READ: Regular Visits to Museums and Theatres Can Help you Live Longer: Study

A court hearing in the matter of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge has yet to be scheduled. Concerned citizens can still object via phone, email or official form, lodging complaints with the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM) and the Environmental Authority.

 

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36% Consumers Would Like Devices to Offer Guidance on Environment: Report

36% consumers want guidance on environment from devices

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36% consumers would prefer being guided on environment by devices. Pixabay

While nearly half of consumers worldwide see technological innovation as critical to tackling future environmental challenges, about 36 per cent would like their devices to offer guidance on leading a more environmentally conscious life, an Ericsson report said on Wednesday.

Interestingly, consumers who think technology will be crucial in solving future environmental challenges express almost twice the interest in various ICT solutions to help them live more environmentally consciously, compared to others, said the report “Consumers, sustainability and ICT”.

“ICT tools and services can play a significant part in assisting consumer’s daily efforts to reduce their personal environmental impact,” Zeynep Ahmet Vidal, Senior Researcher at Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab and author of the report, said in a statement.

Consumers
Consumers who think technology will be crucial in solving future environmental challenges express almost twice the interest in various ICT solutions. Pixabay

The consumers do perceive ICT as helpful as an aid in their daily life, be it for environmental, health, cost or convenience-related reasons.

“But ICT also has the potential to enable future innovation in climate action, and here the service providers have a unique opportunity and position to provide novel solutions that can aid consumers in making more sustainable choices in daily life,” Vidal said.

The findings of Ericsson’s latest ConsumerLab report is based on a quantitative study of 12,000 Internet users from across the world.

The countries involved in the study include India, the US, Brazil, the UK, Germany, Spain, Russia, South Africa, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, China and Australia. The sample consists of 1,000 respondents from each country.

The report uncovers the current consumer mindset of leading environmentally sustainable lifestyles.

In the last two decades alone, concern about air and water pollution has risen from concerning one in five consumers, to almost one in two, the research showed.

While consideration for climate change and global warming has also risen from 13 per cent of consumers to 50 per cent.

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Global warming has also risen from 13 per cent of consumers to 50 per cent. Pixabay

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The study also includes consumers’ thoughts on where ultimate responsibility lies in mitigating environmental impact.

Globally, 8 in 10 consumers consider governments as being responsible for environmental protection.

While approximately 70 per cent consider that citizens should also be responsible, 5 in 10 expect companies and brands to uphold their share of the responsibility, said the report. (IANS)

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Here’s How You Can Practice a Sustainable Lifestyle

A sustainable way of living

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Sustainable living is a must nowadays. Pixabay

In todays time, a sustainable way of living is the key to our existence.

But what is sustainable living? Sustainability means to live in a synchronized manner without disrupting the course of Earth. It attempts to reduce the consumption and stress of Earth’s natural resources and one’s personal resources. Development in the present without harnessing future assets or without basically harming our future is high priority.

But the best way to practice a sustainable lifestyle is by planning our homes.

Sustainable living is essentially guided by four principles – minimizing waste, limiting the use of Earth’s natural resources, wise use of the environment, and ensuring quality working/living environments – which can be easily incorporated in housing plans and construction as well, says Sudeep Kolte, VP Sales & Marketing, Saint Gobain India Pvt Ltd – Gyproc Business.

Many interior designers and architects these days put emphasis on sustainability when building and designing spaces and encourage consumers to build eco-friendly surroundings.

Sustainable housing helps to not only to bring about a change in the way we live but also attain a better and healthy future.

Kolte tells us how can one make their house sustainable

Design for energy eco-efficiency

Energy conservation and a zero-waste lifestyle are key to sustainable housing. When designing a space try and incorporate elements that help reduce waste and consume only the necessary amounts of energy. Some examples of this are the use of energy saving LED lights, solar panels to generate power and electricity, organic paints that are made with natural raw materials and building materials like gypsum that are recyclable and have environment friendly properties.

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Try using elements that help reduce waste and consume only the necessary amounts of energy for example solar panels. Pixabay

Design for low environmental impact

The millennial generation wants affordable functional spaces that offer comfort without compromising on design or affecting the environment. One of the big trends catching on among designers is minimalism, which not only declutters a space but also helps to project a small space look bigger and spacious. Similarly, reduce, reuse and recycle and do-it-yourself (DIY) are other trends that have propagated among young homeowners. Use of multipurpose solutions like drywalls which help in partitioning a room into two, saves not only the cost but also the materials used to build another separate room. Drywalls are also flexible in nature, faster to construct and easier to build than brick or cement walls. .

Design for durability and flexibility

Investing in a home is typically a one-time investment as there is a lot of thinking that goes in while buying a house. The goal of designing for longevity is to create durable and timeless spaces and reduce the need to change the whole design every couple of years. The best way to achieve timelessness is to choose quality over quantity, and simplicity/functionality over embellishments. Technology and innovations have led to designs that can be modified to create bigger spaces. For example, adjustable and modular furniture like sofa cum beds and wall mounted tables or built in shelves or mounts for TVs on drywalls.

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The right kind of ventilation improves the air quality of a home. Pixabay

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Design for healthy environment

People spend most of their time indoors, be it schools, colleges, offices or homes. Consideration of the indoor health environment should be on the priority list for every designer and homeowner.. Use of materials which have low emission of VOC – volatile organic compounds and other air pollutants or materials like Gyproc that have moisture resistant qualities and can absorb harmful compounds help in creating a healthy living space. The right kind of ventilation also improves the air quality of a home. To increase connectivity with nature biophilic designs are the way to go, however more relevant for large spaces.

Industries like energy, automobile, IT and biopharmaceuticals have adopted the green concept. The construction and interiors industry too, is striding towards sustainability with ecological practices implemented while designing spaces. (IANS)

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Here Are 6 Ways To Cut Down Fashion Industry’s Carbon Footprint

Indranath Sengupta, CEO and Founder of Kompanero and Sanchit Baweja, Co-Founder of Stage 3 share six ways to cut down the fashion industry's carbon footprint

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Experiment by styling the product differently for eOOTD'. Pixabay

One thing we can all agree on is our love for shopping; there’s no feeling like adding the latest fashion items to our closet be it apparel, shoes, bags, accessories and the like. But more important then trends, being conscious about the environment is critical in today’s.

Indranath Sengupta, CEO and Founder of Kompanero and Sanchit Baweja, Co-Founder of Stage 3 share six ways to cut down the fashion industry’s carbon footprint:

Reorganise your closet

The process of creating a sustainable closet doesn’t start with throwing away things. Streamline your closet by splitting your outfits into four piles: clothing you love wear, clothing you wear occasionally, clothing you’d like more if it fit better, and clothing you’re sure of not wearing again. After creating the piles, keep the first three in your closet and donate the other one in charity.

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Restyle your closet

Try to invest money in items where you’re sure to utilise them multiple times. Experiment by styling the product differently for eOOTD’. You can try either elayer’ in case of repeating an outfit or emix & match’ in case of accessories like bags, jewellery, etc.

Choose brands that work towards sustainable fashion

As Vivienne Westwood said, “Buy Less, Choose well, and Make it last”. Research to find brands which are part of the fashion sustainability cause and working towards saving the environment. Even a small commitment like using organic cotton and other textiles or eco-friendly packing goes a long way in saving the environment. Purchase eneeded’ items from brands that deserve your hard-earned money.

Rent outfits you will wear only a few times

India is embracing a sharing economy across sectors with the emergence of platforms like Uber, Netflix and AirBnB. New age consumers are turning to shared services as a smart and convenient way to focus more on experiences. Collaborative consumption has enabled people to differentiate between what they want and what they can afford. With the power of technology and the Internet, we’re creating a sharing economy for fashion consumption. It enables people to experiment with fashion without having to worry about the commitments to a piece.

Interview, Lifestyle, Clothing, Men, Fashion, Burberry
There’s no feeling like adding the latest fashion items to our closet be it apparel, shoes, bags, accessories and the like. Pixabay

Why keep an abundance of clothing that we know we’re never going to repeat. With a rise in the sharing economy, more want experience over ownership. Social media is a big driver of this change in consumer behaviour, where we are constantly sharing and exploring new trends and experiences. Re-using outfits especially occasion-wear gives people the opportunity to try different styles of fashion without the need to buy.

Invest in wardrobe essentials that you can wear & re-wear

If we choose to shop sustainably we’re making huge changes to our ecosystem. One way to do it is to only buy staple clothing or have a capsule wardrobe. The effortlessness that styling your basics exudes is chic and saves a huge amount of money. Start with building essentials that you can style in various ways, for example, a simple white shirt can be layered under a slip dress or worn over a pair of jeans. Your style will speak for you.

ALSO READ: Majority of Urban Indians Have Chosen Banks as Most Essential Service During Lockdown, Reveals Survey

Eco Friendly Clothing

There are so many sustainable brands out there which follow slow fashion, and many more are emerging with a change in how fashion is produced. Sustainable clothes are made of reused or recycled material and are durable, lasting many seasons. If you’re looking to invest in a piece, going eco-friendly is the best way to go. (IANS)