Articles on Sustainability

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An outstanding example of sustainable residential building, Breathe Architecture’s The Commons apartments in Melbourne won a 2014 National Architecture Award. Image courtesy of Australian Institute of Architects

Sustainable cities? Australia’s building and planning rules stand in the way of getting there

New South Wales is the only state that has made meaningful progress on legislation and enforcement of standards capable of creating a sustainable built environment.
A tiny house in the backyard appeals to some as a solution that offers both affordability and sustainability. Think Out Loud/flick

Interest in tiny houses is growing, so who wants them and why?

New research has found a marked increase in people, particularly among women over 50, who are building or want to build a tiny house. However, inflexible planning rules often stand in their way.
Flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Can the region rebuild infrastructure so that it can better withstand extreme weather events? AP Photo/David J. Phillip

6 rules for rebuilding infrastructure in an era of ‘unprecedented’ weather events

After extreme weather events like Hurricane Harvey, city planners need to think about the smartest way to rebuild. Here are some no-regrets infrastructure investment ideas.
Sand for use in hydraulic fracturing operations at a processing plant in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin in 2011. AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)

The world is facing a global sand crisis

Overuse of sand for construction and industry is harming the environment and fueling violence around the world. Scientists explain why we need international rules to regulate sand mining and use.
Education is recognised in a number of the SDGs, particularly SDG 4 which calls for “inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

Universities must act now on sustainability goals

Universities can contribute to the goals through education, research, innovation and leadership, but they need to get started now.
Environmental threats in the Pacific Islands can be cultural as well as physical. Christopher Johnson/Wikimedia Commons

Australia doesn’t ‘get’ the environmental challenges faced by Pacific Islanders

Australia is good at 'hard hat' responses to crises such as cyclones. But a new environmental declaration on the Pacific Islands points out that the best approach is more well-rounded and subtle.
Giant kelp can grow up to 60cm a day, given the right conditions. Joe Belanger/shutterstock.com

How farming giant seaweed can feed fish and fix the climate

In an extract from his new book, Tim Flannery explains how giant kelp farms could suck carbon dioxide from the air and store it in the ocean's depths, while encouraging species like fish and oysters.
Solarpunk imagines a sustainable future, and what it might be like to live in it. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Explainer: ‘solarpunk’, or how to be an optimistic radical

Punks aren't known for their positivity, but 'solarpunks' are all about optimism. A new movement of speculative fiction, art, fashion, and activism, it imagines a sustainable future that requires radical social change.
Nearly one-third of tropical animal species face extinction if humans do not curb our growing appetites for beef, pork and other land-intensive meats. The Panamanian golden frog bred by the Vancouver Aquarium in this 2014 file photo may be extinct in its natural habitat. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

How changing your diet could save animals from extinction

As much as one-third of animal species in the tropics could be eradicated if their habitats continue to be converted for monoculture farming. We can all do something to make a difference.

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