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Analysis and Comment (28)

Blurred lines. Costs and benefits of the TDF are hard to define. Blurred lines. Costs and benefits of the TDF are hard to define. oneshotimages

Tour de Yorkshire will boost economy but what about the environment?

When the world’s greatest cycling race starts in Yorkshire, England on July 5, some 2-3m visitors are expected to turn out to watch a spectacle which will cost an estimated £10m to host. If the organisers…
Not all that which is greening is green. Not all that which is greening is green. André Künzelmann/UFZ

The ‘greening’ of Europe’s farms has been a failure

The European policies designed to encourage a more biodiverse environment that is better able to support wildlife and plants are failing. In fact, our analysis of the reforms designed to “green” the EU…
Extreme fire is part of life in places like San Diego, USA, pictured earlier this month. But local fire captain Richard Cordova says it’s “very odd for the month of May to have these types of fires”. Extreme fire is part of life in places like San Diego, USA, pictured earlier this month. But local fire captain Richard Cordova says it’s “very odd for the month of May to have these types of fires”. Michael Nelson/EPA

Forget ‘saving the Earth’ – it’s an angry beast that we’ve awoken

Environmentalism is undergoing a radical transformation. New science has shown how long-held notions about trying to “save the planet” and preserve the life we have today no longer apply. Instead, a growing…
Many long-promised renewable and low-emission energy programs have been scrapped or cut back in the Coalition’s first budget. Many long-promised renewable and low-emission energy programs have been scrapped or cut back in the Coalition’s first budget. Lukas Coch/AAP

Billions axed in clean energy: renewable target is next

There are billions of dollars of broken promises in the Abbott government’s first budget for low-emission and renewable energy programs – and wiggle room to break even more in the next few years. Among…
Four out of five Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast – but expanding cities are taking a toll on our environment. Four out of five Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast – but expanding cities are taking a toll on our environment. Paul Boyce/Flickr

The state of Australia: our environment

In the lead-up to the budget, the story of crisis has been hammered home, but there’s more to a country than its structural deficit. So how is Australia doing overall? In this special series, ten writers…
We collect climate data. We collect health data. What if we combined the two? We collect climate data. We collect health data. What if we combined the two? Kevin

Data mashups can help answer the world’s biggest questions

As the world wakes up to the power of data, we need to start working out how to join up all this information. We need to turn it into meaningful findings that will help us to make changes to the way we…
Can the Green Army be more than toy soldiers? Can the Green Army be more than toy soldiers? FraserElliot/Flickr

The Green Army needs a big strategy to win the environmental war

The government’s central environmental policy, the Green Army, will take to the field from July 2014. Work has started to identify projects for the recruits. The army can potentially do some great work…
The calm before the storm: millions of people will descend upon the city of Sochi and its surrounding areas. What’s in place to mitigate their impact? The calm before the storm: millions of people will descend upon the city of Sochi and its surrounding areas. What’s in place to mitigate their impact? EPA/Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

Sochi 2014 – a ‘rich green legacy’ to remember … or forget?

Since the late 1990s, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been committed to sustainable development. Since the Agenda for the Olympic Movement in the 21st Century (Agenda 21) was adopted in 1999…
More than half of Australians say they recycle for mostly environmental reasons. More than half of Australians say they recycle for mostly environmental reasons. Shutterstock/spwidoff

Most Australians overestimate how ‘green’ they really are

Most Australians overestimate how much they are doing for the environment compared to others, and are more concerned about water shortages, pollution and household waste than climate change, a new CSIRO…
Within eight months of taking office, South Korean president Park Geun-Hye embraced her predecessor’s green growth strategy and now champions the so-called Green Growth 2.0 policies. Within eight months of taking office, South Korean president Park Geun-Hye embraced her predecessor’s green growth strategy and now champions the so-called Green Growth 2.0 policies. EPA/Kim Min-Hee

Green Growth: rebooted in South Korea, booted out in Australia

Like Australia, South Korea had a change of government last year. And like Australia’s, Korea’s new government was keen to distance itself from its predecessors' legacies – particularly its “Green Growth…
Our food environment could influence the type of food we buy. Our food environment could influence the type of food we buy. Hopkinsii/flickr

The ACT’s food environment plan is good – here’s why

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government has introduced a Healthy Weight Action Plan aimed at curbing the number of obese people in the territory. As its name suggests, the plan seeks to create…
China has aspirations to become a green/low-carbon country, but significant reform is required. China has aspirations to become a green/low-carbon country, but significant reform is required.

All change: China’s reform agenda shuns growth at any cost

Last month Chinese leader Xi Jinping set out his top reform agendas for China’s next decade, setting out important policies, ranging from political reforms, social policy and market reform, to a commitment…
Bees still in a sticky situation, despite the neonicotinoid ban. Bees still in a sticky situation, despite the neonicotinoid ban. P7r7

Neonicotinoid ban won’t fix all bees' problems

The controversial ban on neonicotinoid insecticides comes into effect across the EU this weekend. Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are powerful neurotoxins, killing insects with minute doses and impairing their…
Who you gonna call? (They’ve all been fired) Who you gonna call? (They’ve all been fired) Anna Gowthorpe/PA

Environment Agency staff cuts risk economy and reputation

In the days after typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines, David Cameron said that such extreme weather demanded that we take steps to prevent and mitigate against climate change. These are encouraging…
Programme makers are wary of turning off viewers with climate change. Programme makers are wary of turning off viewers with climate change. Till Krech

We’ve woken up to climate change but we’re not tuning in

A report from the International Broadcasting Trust has argued that more investment should be made to get environmental issues covered on television. Environment on TV is based on interviews with people…
Too many? Well, they are planning to save the world. Too many? Well, they are planning to save the world. jamescridland

Fewer people won’t save the planet, behaving better will

People who love animals and open spaces often have little use for other people. Naturalist David Attenborough recently described humans as “a plague on earth”. David Foreman of Earth First has set a goal…
Recent reports reveal that the cost of environmental damage far outweighs the cost of business model restructuring. Recent reports reveal that the cost of environmental damage far outweighs the cost of business model restructuring. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Dollar signs of the times: how our politicians are costing the Earth

One of the most depressing and puzzling features of the current election campaign is the lack of emphasis on the costs that environmental risks pose to industry and business. Australian politicians appear…
An aerial view of the Cononaco River in the Ecuadorian Amazon, with a huge emergent Ceiba tree in the foreground. An aerial view of the Cononaco River in the Ecuadorian Amazon, with a huge emergent Ceiba tree in the foreground.

FactCheck: is protecting global rainforests the best way to rapidly tackle climate change?

“Nothing would do more to rapidly decrease the risk of climate change than a major plan to protect global rainforests” – Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt, media release, 30 August. Launching…
#timeforlunch brb. #timeforlunch brb. Sean Gray

Forget tweeting, meet the birds who blog

Researchers in Aberdeen and the RSPB have set up a project that enables Scottish birds to write their own blogs. Readers will be able to track the daily lives of red kites as they travel around the Scottish…
Is there a better way to face the challenges of the future? Is there a better way to face the challenges of the future? Clown image from www.shutterstock.com

Forget the Sideshow: Australia needs better decision-making for a better future

As a nation we pay too much attention to the sensational and the short-term. Whether it’s a social media spat, a gaffe in question time, or a political interview that runs off the rails – our national…
Tiny fragments of plastic, upon each of which balances a miniature world of microbial life. Tiny fragments of plastic, upon each of which balances a miniature world of microbial life. Marilou Maglione/SEA

Welcome to The Plastisphere: ocean-going microbes on vessels of plastic

The amount of plastic debris accumulating in the open ocean has doubled in 40 years. This has been is a topic of increasing public concern and scientific interest since it was first reported in the 1970s…
Boards will need to be ‘six-capital literate’ in order to assess performance, identify risks and develop strategy. Boards will need to be ‘six-capital literate’ in order to assess performance, identify risks and develop strategy. Shutterstock

Integrated reporting to walk more than the bottom line

Paul Druckman, the CEO of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), recently led the coalition’s global charge on corporate reporting changes to Australia, where he bolstered support and talked…
AusMake pursued Corporate Social Responsibility in a number of technical ways that supported its economic goals. AusMake pursued Corporate Social Responsibility in a number of technical ways that supported its economic goals. Shutterstock

How CSR transforms pursuit of profit into moral mission

Recent discussions have explored the ways Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) might work in the interest of business. Countless academic articles have also celebrated the connection between positive…
Extinctions: happening since before we were around, but happening a lot more now. Extinctions: happening since before we were around, but happening a lot more now. Andrew Milligan/PA

Our role in extinctions cannot be denied

The State of Nature report published this month showed that of more than 3,100 British species surveyed, 60% are in decline, and one in 10 of those species on the Red List are under threat of extinction…
The Slow Food movement has arisen to counteract fast food and fast life. The Slow Food movement has arisen to counteract fast food and fast life. French Tart

Forget fast food, slow down for better well-being

There’s an old saying, you are what you eat. If you look at the average Australian diet, we’re in trouble. The rise of the 24/7 society, unsocial work hours and an accelerating pace of life have led the…
Be the change you wish to see in the world - it may have more impact than you realise. Be the change you wish to see in the world - it may have more impact than you realise. Corepics VOF/Shutterstock

Neighbourhood watch: how to go green and influence people

We all know that children learn by example. I know if I swear in front of my four year old I’m going to hear that word again soon, probably right in front of my mother-in-law, a school teacher, or a priest…
Federal member for Fremantle Melissa Parke has attracted a national profile with her left wing views in recent years. Federal member for Fremantle Melissa Parke has attracted a national profile with her left wing views in recent years. Office of Melissa Parke MP

In Conversation: Greens are not our enemy, says Labor’s Melissa Parke

Labor’s Melissa Parke probably won’t be too popular with rightwing powerbrokers like Paul Howes with her view that the Greens are a fellow progressive party rather than an insidious enemy to be confronted…
More pressing matters: people can be “concerned' about many things, but what really matters to them are problems close to daily life. More pressing matters: people can be “concerned' about many things, but what really matters to them are problems close to daily life. AAP/April Fonti

What we really care about, and how to lift sustainability’s real appeal

New polls frequently announce that a significant proportion of the population is concerned about an issue or willing to sacrifice for a cause, from environmental sustainability to Third World debt. These…

Research Briefs (4)