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Ward off Climate Change

About the author


Gary Warden was raised in the Perth Hills. After graduating from the University of Western Australia with a degree in Geology, Gary joined BHP Billiton where he spent 18 years working in a variety of roles in a number of locations around the world. Prior to leaving BHP Billiton in December 2006, Gary was Global Manager for the company's US$1Billion business improvement program.

While he was originally sceptical about the claims relating to climate change, he became convinced of the urgency of the issue in early 2006. He left BHP Billiton primarily to spend more time with his young family, but also to dedicate himself to creating a more sustainable life for himself and his family and to support others in making that change.

In September 2007 he was trained by Al Gore and has delivered the "Inconvenient Truth" lectures to thousands of west australians since then. In November 2007 Gary ran for the senate in the Federal Election representing the Climate Change Coalition.

In addition to his climate change lectures, he has facilitated Living Smart workshops across Perth. Between 2008 and 2009 he was on the Executive Committee of the Conservation Council of Western Australia including one year as Vice President.

Gary co-founded and is Executive Director of the very exciting Days of Change program, one of the largest sustainability programs in Australia and is now General Manager WA for Eco-Kinetics, one of the largest Solar PV companies in Australia and subsidiary of ASX-listed CBD Energy.

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Plan Your Journey on Transperth with Google

by Gary 2/25/2009 4:04:00 PM

While I am passionate about catching buses or trains in preference to hopping in the car, I realise that not everyone shares my passion. One of the reasons that people give for not taking public transport is that they don't know what services are available or when.

The Transperth website has a journey planner that is slightly better than awful. However it is not particularly intuitive, tends to be exceedingly slow, and forget about trying to get up a map that shows your journey.

Julian Ilich (my Days of Change program partner) and I were mulling over this the other day and thinking "wouldn't it be great if you could use Google Maps to do your public transport travel planning for you", and were even wondering about sending an e-mail to Google suggesting this.

You can imagine our delight then when a colleague of Julian's told him that Google Maps have exactly this functionality already.

And it works BRILLIANTLY!

Today we had to travel from our office at 110 William Street to the UWA Club in Crawley. We went to Google Maps and typed "from 110 William Street Perth to Corner Mounts Bay Road and Hackett Drive Crawley" into the search field, pressed enter, and voila, the following screen appeared showing a range of bus options, a map of the route, stop information etc.

 

This is the last time that I use the Transperth Journey Planner. The Google planner is simply brilliant.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Google maps, simply go to http://maps.google.com/

If you know anyone who catches the bus or train, then send them this article. I suspect that most people wouldn't know about this functionality.

And now you have one less excuse not to use the bus or train!

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Reduce Your Emissions | Tip of the Week

Aquaponics Producing a Rich Bounty

by Gary 2/23/2009 8:22:00 PM

Towards the end of 2007, we used Joel Malcom and Faye Arcaro from Backyard Aquaponics to install a large aquaponics system adjacent to our house in Piesse Brook.

The system consists of six large grow beds, a small sump tank and a large 3000 litre fish tank. It took us a while to get the system set up right. For example, initially we stocked the tank with just 25 Silver Perch. We found that this stocking level didn't produce enough effluent from the fish to supply the grow beds with enough fertiliser for the plants to grow effectively.

Since adding an additional 125 Silver Perch, we haven't looked back. The vegetables have been growing like crazy and we've now successfully harvested lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, beetroot, spring onions, celery, artichokes and capsicums in the grow beds.

The fish are also now plate size and ready for harvesting. 

The system is large enough to provide a large proportion of our fish and vegetable needs.

One of the great things of this approach, is that it uses just 10% of the water of traditional vegetable growing methods. So in an increasingly dry climate, this is a great way to go. The only downside is that the pumps do require electricity to run, however we have 2kW of solar PV panels being installed tomorrow, so this will help us run those pumps free of emissions.

Backyard Aquaponics

The six grow beds. Celery and spring onion in the foreground.

Backyard Aquaponics

Broccoli and young artichokes doing well.

Backyard Aquaponics

Succulent cos lettuce and spinach.

Backyard Aquaponics

The 3,000 litre fish tank, covered to keep children and predators out.

Backyard Aquaponics

A plate-sized silver perch straight from the system.

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Reduce Your Emissions

Changes to Federal Government Solar Rebate

by Gary 2/10/2009 5:59:00 AM

I’ve got good new and bad news.

The good news for those of you who don’t currently qualify for the $8,000 solar rebate from the Federal Government because your household income is above $100,000, is that from July 1 this year the $100,000 means test is to be scrapped.

The bad news is that the new scheme is horribly complex, and it is impossible to predict exactly how much the rebate will be as the value of it will be tied in with the Renewable Energy Target Scheme and will therefore vary.

What is certain is that households earning less than $100,000 will also get less assistance under the new scheme.

For example, under the current scheme, a household earning less than $100,000 can install a 1kW system and receive a $8,000 from the federal government.

Under the new scheme starting in July 1, the same household will receive as little as $4,500. To receive the maximum rebate, the household will have to install a much more expensive 1.5kW system, in which case a rebate of approximately $7,500 will apply.

Households earning more than $100,000 will be the big winners, going from receiving no rebate under the current means test, to receiving the same rebate as lower income households as described above.

So what should YOU do?

If your household income (total income less allowable tax deductions) is less than $100,000, then you should move quickly to sign-up for panels before July 1. If you wait until after July 1, you will lose up to  $3,500 in rebates compare to the current system.

If your household income is above $100,000, then you are probably better off waiting until July 1 to sign up for your system.

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Climate Change | Reduce Your Emissions | Tip of the Week

The Story of Stuff

by Gary 2/4/2009 8:56:00 AM

The Story of Stuff is a 20 minute video that tells the story of how things that you buy are produced.

This is a truly amazing video—funny, appalling, informative and inspiring—all rolled into one.

Your shopping habits will change forever once you have watched it.

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Climate Change | Humour | Reduce Your Emissions | Tip of the Week

Foodscraps to Fertiliser Workshop at Environment House

by Gary 2/2/2009 9:52:00 PM

Environment House is a shop-front community environment centre located in First Avenue in Maylands. The shop features a range of sustainable products and they have an on-line catalogue.

Environment House runs a range of community education programs including "Foodscraps to Fertiliser" workshops covering three popular methods in two hours - compost bins, wormfarms and the bokashi microbial fermentation method. This workshop is for those who've never had a go, as well as for those who've tried and failed - working out what went wrong means you're well on the way to success!

The next workshop is being held from 9:30am to 11:30am on Saturday February 21. Visit the Environment House website for more details and how to enrol.

Environment House offers the following general advice on composting.

If you've got an average-sized backyard we suggest one or preferably two well-sealed compost bins (like we sell!) with the Compost Mate corkscrew aerator - effective and easy on the back

If you've got a courtyard or villa sized garden we suggest a worm farm and/or bokashi microbial fermentation bucket (needs a minimum 7 square metres of garden space). It sits in the kitchen but is emptied into the garden every month or so where it turns into great compost within a few weeks; it deals with all food scraps including those the worms don't like - like meat, fish, milk products, onion, citrus. (Bokashi microbe mix costs around $1 per week.)

If you've got a pot plant garden and balcony-or a roomy bathroom/laundry- a worm farm could work for you - must have full shade.

 

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