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Abbot Point port developers to shelve Great Barrier Reef dredging plan

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Controversial plans to dump millions of cubic metres of dredged waste onto the Great Barrier Reef have been scrapped, according to Australian media reports.

The already approved proposals to expand the Abbot Point terminal in Queensland, a hub that exports much of Australia’s coal riches, included plans to spill dredged seabed into the waters around the reef.

Now, after much criticism, the consortium behind the Abbot Point expansion has reportedly decided to dispose of the dredged waste at an alternative site onshore.

Critics had warned the operation could have extremely detrimental effects on the health of the precious Great Barrier Reef ecosystem, while the UN’s heritage body was said to be considering listing the site as being “in danger”. Last week, local MP George Christensen also admitted he had been wrong to support the expansion project.

According to sources unnamed by the Australian Financial Review, the consortium, which includes North Queensland Bulk Ports and the Indian mining company Adani, will resubmit proposals to environment minister Greg Hunt this week.

Though cautious to declare victory until the news is confirmed, environmentalists have welcomed the change of heart. 

“If confirmed, this is good news for the local community, the tourism industry and the vast majority of Australians who opposed the plan to dump waste in the Great Barrier Reef Park”, said Adam Walters, head of research at Greenpeace. 

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Christensen added, “If there is a land-based option that emerges, I want to see it, Greg Hunt wants to see it, we all want to see it.”

However, opponents warn that the expanded Abbot Point terminal will still pose a threat to the reef, as the number of ships passing through the area is expected to increase by around 450 per year.  

By boosting the coal industry, the port will also contribute to climate change, which is deemed by scientists to be the greatest threat to coral reefs around the world.

The expansion was launched primarily to serve the $16 billion (£8.9bn) Carmichael coal mine, which was approved in July.

Carmichael will extract around 60 million tonnes of coal per year, a considerable amount of which will be exported via Abbot Point to India. 

It is expected that the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the use of this coal will be roughly equivalent to any domestic emission reductions achieved by Australian government policy.

Hunt’s own climate action plan has targeted a reduction of 131 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Yet, Carmichael coal alone would emit around 130 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

“Coal mining remains the greatest long term threat to the reef. The coal industry still seems determined to cook the Great Barrier Reef by fuelling climate change,” Walters added.

Photo: eutrophication&hypoxia via Flickr

Further reading:

Australian MP says he ‘got it wrong’ on dumping coal waste on Great Barrier Reef

Mining company escapes Great Barrier Reef compensation payments and strict operating conditions

Australian environment minister admits climate change threat to Great Barrier Reef

Climate change is the biggest threat to Great Barrier Reef

Australia approves $16m Carmichael coal mine despite environmental concerns

Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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