Recycling is not enough. Zero-packaging stores show we can kick our plastic addiction

Frenco, a zero-waste store in Montreal.  Benoit Daoust/Shutterstock.com Wrapped, sealed, boxed, cling-filmed and vacuum packed. We have become used to consumables being packaged in every way imaginable. The history of “packaging” goes back to the first human settlements. First leaves, gourds and animals skins were used. Then ceramics, glass and tin. Then paper and cardboard. But with the invention of plastic and...

The Darling River is simply not supposed to dry out, even in drought

Puddles in the bed of the Darling River are a sign of an ecosystem in crisis. Jeremy Buckingham/Flickr The deaths of millions of fish in the lower Darling River system over the past few weeks should come as no surprise. Quite apart from specific warnings given to the NSW government by their own specialists in 2013, scientists have been warning of devastation since...

How is oxygen ‘sucked out’ of our waterways?

Dead fish are a source of food for bacteria, which then extract oxygen from the river. AAP A million fish have died in the Murray Darling basin, as oxygen levels plummet due to major algal blooms. Experts have warned we could see more mass deaths this week. Read more: The Murray Darling Basin Plan is not delivering – there’s no more time to...

The environmental impact of music: digital, records, CDs analysed

Our favourite way of listening to music might have a bigger environmental impact than we think. patat/ Shutterstock Although streaming remains the most popular way people listen to music, old formats like cassettes and vinyl have both seen an increase in sales. In fact, vinyl has seen a remarkable sales increase of 1,427% since 2007, selling around around 4m LPs in 2018 in the UK alone....

Now Christmas is done, what on earth should you do with the tree?

Christmas shouldn’t be the only time of the year to have greenery in the household. Rain0975/Flickr It’s the most wonderful time of the year: deciding what to do with your Christmas tree. If you bought a plastic tree, you might have already made the commitment to store and reuse it next year. However, if you were just looking at the greenhouse...

Forget sharks… here’s why you are more likely to be injured by litter at the beach

Sadly, people plus beach equals litter,   so be careful out there. Wikimedia Commons Our beaches are our summer playgrounds, yet beach litter and marine debris injures one-fifth of beach users, particularly children and older people. Our research, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, found more than 7,800 injuries on New Zealand beaches each year – in 2016, some...

Stick to the path, and stay alive in national parks this summer

Step carefully. Wikimedia Commons Many Australians will take a trip to one of our national parks over the holidays. In New South Wales alone, there are more than 51 million visits to national parks each year. Few if any of us would expect not to make it out of one alive. But national parks claim lives around the world every year. In the...

Unpacking the history of how Earth feeds life, and life changes Earth

 At a fleeting glance, the study of life – biology – seems very separate from that of rocks, or geology. But a look back through history shows that geological processes have been key to the evolution of life on Earth. Geology has shaped biology by creating favourable conditions, and indeed the basic “ingredients”, for life’s emergence and evolution. And now there...

Earthrise, a photo that changed the world

Earthrise: astronauts aboard Apollo 8 captured this spectacular photo of Earth rising above the lunar horizon as they emerged from behind the dark side of the Moon. Image Credit: NASA December 24 is the 50th anniversary of Earthrise, arguably one of the most profound images in the history of human culture. When astronaut William Anders photographed a fragile blue sphere...

Labor promises a comprehensive overhaul of federal environmental framework

As environmental laws were foreshadowed at the Labor national conference, outside a climate change rally was in full swing.  Lukas Coch/AAP Australia will get the biggest overhaul of its federal environment laws in two decades if a Labor government is elected next year. Labor would establish a new Australian Environment Act and create a federal Environmental Protection Agency in its first...