Are synthetics overcoming the natural materials?

In 1935, Percy L. Julian (1899-1975) synthesized physostigmine, the compound that was only available in its natural source, the Calabar bean, now used in the treatment of glaucoma. This pioneering research opened a door to widespread usage of chemical materials; however, it also started a “synthetic versus natural” debate on whether and how synthetics substitute …

Guide to the Most Important Green Building Certification Systems in the World

Here in Australia, the GBCA are working towards a greener and more sustainable future. The past decade has seen tremendous growth within the building industry, as companies such as the GBCA and others have been working towards designing and creating a greater percentage of buildings that are certified as green and sustainable. When looking at how this …

Paper Consumption Impact in Australia

Everyone must play their part in creating sustainable futures for the world’s commodities. Paper is a huge commodity and is consumed at exorbitant rates as outlined by Forest Ethics‘ recent research. They reported that across the world North America used on average 229kg of paper per capita annually, Western Europe got through 178.7 kilograms, Latin …

Printed solar cells as easy to produce as t-shirts!

Australia is really taking the initiative in alternative energy production. The latest news is that a consortium of Australian researchers have succeeded in producing printable solar cells, in a process which might just have the potential to revolutionise solar power production across the continent. Perhaps, we can only hope, the world. Succinctly, a new printer …

Wind power: renewable energy for the cities of the future

Renewable energy? I’m a big fan! Unfortunately, so are modern wind turbines, which are the subject of intense arguments and criticism despite their many benefits. However, this view might be changed somewhat, by a new innovation by Farzad Safaei at the University of Wollongong (UOW) – a new type of wind turbine known as PowerWINDows. I’m …

Asteroids, extinctions, and biodiversity: Wiping the slate clean for new life to flourish

The recent meteor strike in Russia has been a rather sobering reminder that Earth has been regularly battered during its history, by space rocks. Actually, the amount of meteoritic material constantly landing on Earth is startling – on average, over 100 tons every day which we don’t even notice. Now, most of that is in …

Climate Change, Resilience, Communication

Climate Change Last week I listened to a webinar on climate change discussing findings of the draft report from the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee. Not much has changed from the year 2000 report, or the 2009 report. Well, a few changes: the science has improved, climate change is now being stated directly …