Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Environmentality, 27 February 2013

Carolyn, Marianna, Danielle and Nicole from the Western Polytechnic Institute, the United States was here to work on Banksia Garden’s Science Education Program. The girls worked to embed longevity into the science program. Based on loss of interest in science careers, Banksia hope to promote science to schools. We managed to wrangle the girls into going to the Sustainable Living Festival on the 15th of February while they were here.

Courtesy of Banksia Gardens

Here are is the list of groups that the girls spoke to:
  •  Car next door: car sharing website that allows people to lease their cars when you’re not using it. In sharing cars, not only are we reducing the resources used in making new cars, but also encouraging more people use alternative forms of transport such as walking and public transport. Piloting in Bondi, they are looking to expand into Brisbane and Melbourne 
  •  Australia organic schools: free school gardens resources to help schools implement gardening into their curriculum 
  •  Green Renters: helps renters live more sustainably by providing advice on what renters can do legally to greener lifestyles. Green Renters also runs workshops to provide people with ideas and tools to implement in their homes 
  • Poo Power: Reducing the amount of dog waste going into rivers and making people sick by collecting dog waste to generate bio-energy. 
  •  DYI Double Glaze: Double glaze units to replace existing windows, hence improving insulation 
  • Positive charge: a social enterprise of the Moreland Energy Foundation, positive charge has expanded to work with other council areas. Positive Charge also provides to get free phone advice, and connects people to resources and service providers  
  • Re-place: divert plastic from landfill and turns it into things that don’t break down such as furniture, signage and decking.
  • PJT green plumbing: plumbing that focuses on sustainable initiatives such as rain water tanks and solar hot waters
  • Landcare Victoria: promoting and supporting community conservation and friends groups, sustainable agricultural, urban groups, education in schools and protection of crown land 

We’re certainly glad to hear that the girls liked our public transport system, amount of bicycles in the city and availability of recycling bins!

To learn more about the Science Education Program and listen to the girl’s impression of Melbourne, tune into the podcast! If you would like more information into the Science Education Program, you can leave a comment on the blog or give Jaime a call at Banksia on 9309 8531 

To hear about the girls experience, tune in here

Tracks played:  
We Won’t Cry- Archie roach
Fighting Kind- Ainslie Wills
I awake- Sarah Blasko

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Environmentality- 20th February 2013

Hello Environmentality Listeners,

Today Jodie wasn’t feeling well so was unable to come in for our regular gardening segment; we hope that she’s feeling better now. But Jaime, Smokey and Admed did speak to Robyn Deed from The Alternative Technology Association about the latest issue of ReNew magazine.  
Courtesy of the ATA

The current issue of ReNew focuses on reuse of materials. Robyn highlights that building materials make up 40% of landfill, hence by reusing materials not only are we diverting materials from landfill but also reducing up to 90% of the embodied energy in houses. Using shipping containers to build a temporary shopping mall in New Zealand, a studio in the backyard or a home demonstrates some of the ingenuous designs from using recycled materials.      

Towards guilt free cooling by Allen Pears guides us through the practicalities of heating and cooling.  Allen goes into different types of cooling such as insulation, windows, roof and walls, and active energy consuming cooling. Allen suggest that simple test we can all do if we are unsure whether a window is causing overheating is to place the shinny side of the cooking foil on the inside of the window to see if it makes any difference to temperature or energy cost.  

Martin Freney discusses earthship homes and its radical design using recycled car tyres filled with dirt, dirt walls and a greenhouse. Martin’s research has shown that earthships homes in New Mexico are able to maintain stable temperatures without the need for heating and cooling.  Furthermore, comparing the earthship homes to other types of construction materials, earthship comes out on top when built with a greenhouse. Without a greenhouse, earthship’s energy efficient has been shown to very similar to insulated and concrete block.    

Given the vast options of solar panels available, Stephan Ingrouille’s article helps us to work out which is best with a 15 point check list. Some of the things to ask are panel efficiency, price, manufacture’s product and performance warranty, insulation warranty and features.    

For more information about ReNew or access to the forums, you can access the website here

We look forward to talking with Robyn again about the next issue of ReNew.

Don't forget to listen to the podcast!

Tracked played today:
Saltwater band- Wapango
The Sundays- Skin and Bones
The Sea Urchins- Pristine Christine
Joy Division- She’s Lost Control Again

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Environmentality- 13th February 2013

Hello Environmentality Listeners,

Today Jaime chatted with Robert Bender from the Friends of the Organ Pipes National Park (FOOPS), Smokey dropped by a little later towards the end of the show. Robert has been a member of FOOPs since 1983.

Located off the Calder Hwy in Sydenham, The Organ Pipes National Park is the smallest national park in Victoria. The significance of the park is the basalt columns or organ pipes, a volcanic formation that formed when volcanoes erupted 1 to 2 million years ago to fill in the old river valleys. The area was initially used as a ground to teach geology students about volcanism. 
Courtesy of FOOPS
FOOPS was established in 1972 when the group volunteered to restore the park from pastoral land filled with weeds, pest and rubbish to its natural state. In 1973 FOOPS propagated seeds in the park, and after 15 years the trees were inhabited by animals. An animal study conducted by the Arthur Riley Institute discovery of 7 species of bats lead to the installation of 10 bat boxes in 1992. 27 additional boxes have since been installed totaling 37 bat boxes with a count of 470 bats. Sugar gliders were released into the park in 1989. The sugar gliders eat the black wattle sugar turned into gum in the winter. Unfortunately as the black wattles were all planted during the same period they also all died in the same year, so all of a sudden there were no trees and the sugar glider population was greatly impacted. However it is great news to hear that new trees were planted which are now coming into maturity and the sugar gilder population is growing. Weeding continues to be an ongoing project due to pest such as the Artichoke Thistle, African Boxthorn and the Prickly Pear.

Courtesy of

The park is extraordinarily active with monthly working bees and bat, frog, sugar glider and water studies. Robert stresses the significance of volunteers to the restorative success of the park, however with decreases in volunteers numbers, more volunteers are needed to help continue the fantastic work done so far. Given that it will take about 500 years to restore the ecosystem, and out of the 300 species needed to restore the park to its natural state only 50 species has been reestablished, Robert reminds us all that ongoing commitment along with a much better funding and support system is needed to ensure that the incredible work by FOOPS continues into the future.   

Anyone can join the group and any of the projects. To join you can contact Parks Victoria on 13 1963. You can also email Robert at or Terry Lane at

We would like to thank Robert for coming on to the show and showing us what can happen when a group of volunteers get together to work on a common goal!

For more information about FOOPS you can access the link to their website here

Listen to the podcast here

Tracks played:
Archie Roach- Song to Sing
Oh Mercy- Confessions
Mia dyson- tell me
Linda Ronstadt- Blue Bayou
Linda Ronstadt- Winter light
Shane Howard- Solid Rock
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