Year 7 students at the International School of Helsinki, Finland, doing a sustainable development exercise with the author (top left) and fellow teacher Rachael Thrash.
My year of buying almost nothing saved me thousands of dollars – but also taught me valuable lessons as a teacher, including about the benefits of failure.
Plastic packaging isn't always the enemy and don't be fooled by organic labels.
Our smartphones are made by rare earth metals, and consume large amounts of electricity.
Katie McLean / Author provided
Last year, it was estimated data centres around the world generated the same amount of carbon emissions as created by the global airline industry's fuel usage.
The most thoughtful gifts can also be the most sustainable, and last long after Christmas has ended.
Ecological economics focuses on sustainability and development, rather than the traditional economic concerts of efficiency and growth.
Ecological economics focuses on sustainability and development rather than efficiency and growth. Cities, as home to 70-80% of economic activity, are at the heart of the challenge of being sustainable.
Cloud computing can play a crucial role in helping African countries reach sustainable development.
The costs of keeping a roof over our heads create a dependence on market growth that puts low-consumption, sustainable living out of reach for many of us.
The cost of land and, in turn, housing forces people to buy into the rules of market capitalism, making it very hard to 'downshift' from consumer lifestyles. But what if we rethink public housing?
One in 10 shops in the UK lies empty. These buildings could be put to good "meanwhile" use to benefit and sustain communities.
Although tiny houses take many forms, most are situated in rural or semi-rural areas.
Tiny houses aren't for everyone, but most people who live in them are positive about the experience. Yet planning laws still make this way of life harder and less secure than it could be.
Planning and design for healthy, liveable communities in the Australian tropics can involve quite different considerations from those that apply down south.
There's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all plan for sustainable, healthy urban living. Urban diaries help identify what works – and doesn't work – for tropical cities like Cairns or Townsville.
What does a green star rating – One Central Park apartments in Sydney
received five stars, for instance – actually mean?
Buildings are central to creating more sustainable cities, and green ratings are often used to assess how well a building measures up against this goal. But the current system has serious flaws.
The old Pratt Street power plant in Baltimore in the US is now home to commercial uses. But the heritage preservation is compromised by advertising that is not sympathetic to the building style and design.
Adaptively re-using buildings can preserve heritage while enabling new uses that help make cities more liveable and sustainable.
We need to look behind the sharing economy’s apparently informal, casual intent to consider the impacts on people’s lives.
In cities dominated by globalised market forces, how can we achieve social equity and justice? For any sharing economy idea, we need to ask what will it do to fix the big problems confronting us all.
Producing fresh fruit and vegetables year-round has a hidden cost.
Would you be shocked by a supermarket without carrots, potatoes or broccoli, at any time of year? But harvesting in the off-season does serious damage to our soil.
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
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
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.
Some local councils are more tolerant than others in allowing residents to grow food where they want.
Urban residents are increasingly keen to farm verges, parks, rooftops and backyards, but planning rules sometimes stand in the way.
Soft Landing recycles the materials of mattresses that otherwise get dumped in landfill.
City dwellers are individually starting to do their bit to live sustainably. Now pioneering businesses are aiming to make ecological and social sustainability part of their bottom line.
The uniquely weak regulation of high-rise, high-density development exemplifies the market-driven growth of Australian cities.
Achieving the goal of sustainable cities depends on rolling back the market after decades of privatisation and deregulation.
Could building small affordable dwellings be a part of the solution?