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Unesco blocks Australia’s proposals to open up Tasmanian rainforest to logging

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The UN has rejected a proposal from the Australian government to revoke the special protection afforded to 74,000 hectares of Tasmanian rainforest, in order to allow logging operations in the region to resume.

The controversial request was unanimously rejected within just seven minutes at a meeting of the Unesco’s world heritage committee in Doha, as delegates from Germany, Colombia and Portugal argued against the delisting.

The news agency Reuters reported that members of the Portuguese delegation said, “The justifications presented for the reduction are, to say the least, feeble.

“Accepting this delisting today would be setting an unacceptable precedent impossible to deny in similar circumstances in the future.”

The Tasmanian wilderness was added to Unesco’s world heritage list in 1982, recognised as being one of the last expanses of temperate rainforest in the world and a haven for a massive range of fauna and flora. 

In 2013, the then-Labour government added 170,000 hectares of Tasmania’s rainforest to the protected heritage area in a peace deal. When Tony Abbot’s Liberal National party came into power later that year, it pledged to reopen some of the area to Tasmania’s timber industry.

The government had claimed that the 74,000-hectare strip of forest is already degraded and has already been disturbed by earlier logging operations. Had the bid been successful, Australia would be the first developed country to have the protected status of a natural environment reversed on economic grounds. 

Instead, Unesco’s quick decision has left the government “disappointed”, while earning praise from environmentalists.

“The Australian government must now accept the world heritage committee’s decision and get on with the job of protecting our spectacular forests and engage with the Tasmanian aboriginal community to fund and rigorously complete the requested cultural heritage assessments”, said the Wilderness Society’s Tasmania campaign manager Vica Bayley.

Aboriginal community elder Rocky Sainty, who had worked with environmental groups in Doha to oppose proposals, added, “We can return home in celebration and assure our elders that Tasmanian aboriginal heritage and culture is important to the world. 

“As custodians, we have felt the weight of responsibility to protect the burial places of our ancestors, some of the oldest rock art in the world and our magnificent forests, from the Australian government’s irresponsible proposal.”

Meanwhile, Unesco has decided to put on hold a decision about whether to declare Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as being “endangered. The move comes as concern rises over the government’s plan to unload dredged sediment into the reef’s marine park, as part of a controversial effort to create one of the world’s biggest coal ports.

Photo: J Brew via Flickr

Further reading:

Environmentalists await Unesco verdict on future of protected Tasmanian forests

Unesco decision on Australian Great Barrier reef protection delayed until 2015

BlackRock adds voice to investor concerns about coal and gas risk to Great Barrier Reef

Australia announces plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef

UNESCO concerned over Australia’s decision on dumping coal waste in Great Barrier Reef waters

 

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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