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Creating Places for People is a collaborative commitment to best practice urban design in Australia. Released at the end of 2011, the protocol is the result of two years of collaboration between peak community and industry organisations, States, Territories, Local Governments, and the Australian Government. The protocol does not take a one size fits all approach. It provides broad principles for urban design that take into account the unique characteristics of a location, people’s enjoyment, experience and health, and encourages excellence and collaboration in the design and custodianship of urban places.
The 2012 edition of the National Environmental Grants Guide – an annual directory of environmental grant and funding opportunities from around Australia – is now available. Published in December each year, the Guide lists grant and funding opportunities available from the Australian and State Governments, corporate giving programs as well as the major Australian philanthropic funds and trusts.
Put together with a wide audience in mind including schools, community environment & landcare groups as well as Councils, businesses and householders, the handy glove box sized (A5) Guide will prove to be a convenient resource when seeking funds to assist with environmental and natural resource improvement projects.
House Water Expert is an interactive software package that enables householders to accurately record their water use and helps them assess ways to reduce water wastage.
A consultation statement has been prepared that aims to encourage water sensitive urban design across South Australia and suggests targets for water conservation, stormwater management and environmental water quality and community feedback is invited on the new approach. The feedback will be used to develop a water sensitive urban design policy for South Australia.
In November 2011 the Australian Government announced funding of almost $148 million for world-class collaborative research and innovation under the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) program. The funding includes $30 million for the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities and $28 million for the CRC for Low Carbon Living.
The CRC for Water Sensitive Cities will deliver the socio-technical urban water management solutions, education and training programs, and industry engagement required to make Australian towns and cities water sensitive.
The CRC for Low Carbon Living brings together key property, planning and policy organisations with leading Australian researchers to develop new social, technological and policy tools for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment.
Bushland and Urban Biodiversity Management in a Changing Climate is the final report of the investigation that looked into the current understanding of the impacts of climate change on local governments ability to manage their biodiversity and bushland assets. The report has been prepared by the Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (EAGA) which was established in 2008 to provide a regional framework for local stakeholders to work together on climate change and greenhouse gas projects in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria.
Southern Australia is one of the three most fire-prone areas on Earth. After more than a century of urban growth and valiant efforts to ‘tame’ the bush, recent decades have seen more people moving back onto the fringe or into the middle of this volatile landscape. As this movement has intensified, so has the debate on how to best protect life and property from the ever-present bushfire threat. A long-running drought and a predicted warming climate have ensured that bushfire is a dominant factor in our nation’s long-term planning.
Following the tragic Victorian Black Saturday fires in 2009, a much greater urgency now confronts policy makers, land and fire managers and communities living in bushfire areas. This has led to a call for a single, simple answer on fuel reduction burning to reduce the bushfire risk. Burning Issues explains that this is a complex issue without such a simple answer.
The book gives an account of the role of fire in Australia’s ecosystems, how we have to accept and live with fire, and how we can manage fire both for safety and for diversity. It aims to change people’s attitudes to fire, and to be influential in encouraging changes in land management by government agencies.
The Science Alert article Urban estuaries 100-fold weaker as ‘Blue Carbon sinks reports that Australian scientists have found a 100-fold weakening in the ability of coastal ecosystems to sequester carbon since the time of European settlement. Collecting soil cores from sites in and around Botany Bay, the scientists have reconstructed the past six thousand years in estuary sedimentation records and found that changes in plant and algae abundance point to a possible undermining of these natural coastal carbon sinks.
The NSW Government’s Coastal Management Program’s primary objective is to provide support to local councils to manage the risks from coastal hazards such as coastal erosion. A secondary objective of the program is to restore degraded coastal habitats. The primary objective of the Government’s Estuary Management Program is to provide support to councils to improve the health of NSW estuaries and understand the potential risks from climate change. Applications for grants under the NSW 2012-13 Coastal and Estuary Management Programs are now open. Applications close at 5pm 28 February 2012.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made sustainable energy one of his five priorities that will guide his second 5-year term. Specifically, he will direct the United Nations to extend energy’s reach in order to combat endemic poverty. Universal access to energy, improved efficiency and enhanced deployment of renewable sources are ambitious goals, and the Secretary-General is leading a Sustainable Energy for All initiative to make them achievable.
This initiative will call for private sector and national commitments and attract global attention to the importance of energy for development and poverty alleviation. In recognition of the importance of energy access for sustainable economic development and supporting achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations General Assembly has designated 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.
© Bruce Boyes 2008-2013
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