ENVIRONMENT

Better boil ya billy: when Australian water goes bad

Just what is coming out of your tap.Steve Dorman/Flickr Many Australians take it for granted we can drink untreated tap water, without worrying about the health effects. However, a recent audit criticised the regulation of pollution in the massive Warragamba Dam drinking water catchment, the biggest single metropolitan water reservoir in Australia. Read more: Why does some tap water taste weird? The Auditor-General’s report found that...

Ecosystems across Australia are collapsing under climate change

Widespread mangrove dieback in the Gulf of Carpenteria. JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY/AAP To the chagrin of the tourist industry, the Great Barrier Reef has become a notorious victim of climate change. But it is not the only Australian ecosystem on the brink of collapse. Our research, recently published in Nature Climate Change, describes a series of sudden and catastrophic ecosystem shifts that...

Look up #happycity and here’s what you’ll find

The same things tend to make people happy-such as nature and colour. (Jardin des Curiosités, Lyon, France)  Léonard Cotte/Unsplash City planners and designers want to build cities that are liveable, healthy and smart. Yet, in the abundance of research and guidelines on how to make healthy cities, happiness seems to be missing. Research shows urban environments have an impact on our...

Higher energy prices are here to stay – here’s what we can do about it

Australia’s energy prices have doubled since 2015.  Photo by José Alejandro Cuffia/ Unsplash The good news is that after two years of big rises, wholesale electricity prices have fallen somewhat since mid-2017. The bad news is that prices are still much higher than they have been for most of the past 20 years. And the worse news is that we...

Smart city planning can preserve old trees and the wildlife that needs them

Mature trees have horizontal branches that are attractive to wildlife and birds. from shutterstock.com Australia’s landscapes are dotted with mature eucalypts that were standing well before Captain Cook sailed into Botany Bay. These old trees were once revered as an icon of the unique Australian landscape, but they’re rapidly becoming collateral damage from population growth. Mature eucalypts are routinely removed to...

New coal doesn’t stack up – just look at Queensland’s renewable energy numbers

As the name suggests, Windy Hill near Cairns gets its fair share of power-generating weather. Leonard Low/Flickr/Wikimedia Commons As the federal government aims to ink a deal with the states on the National Energy Guarantee in August, it appears still to be negotiating within its own ranks. Federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg has reportedly told his partyroom colleagues that he...

Australian cities are lagging behind in greening up their buildings

Green rooftops give a backyard feel to smaller housing units in Sydney, Author provided Covering roofs and walls of buildings with vegetation is a good way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And these green roofs and walls make cities look nicer. Toronto’s central business district adopted a policy of establishing green roofs on around half of all city buildings in 2009. Research...

Lowy Institute Poll shows Australians’ support for climate action at its highest level in a decade

The survey revealed 84% support for renewable energy among the Australian public. AAP Image/Lukas Coch The annual Lowy Institute Poll on Australian attitudes to the world and global issues for 2018 has been released. Among a series of interesting findings, one thing is clear: support for climate action and renewable energy continue to grow. In response to the survey’s questions on climate and energy,...

Bees get stressed at work too (and it might be causing colony collapse)

A new study shows foraging for pollen and nectar causes stress in bees. Ralf Hirschberger/AAP Images Ever been overworked, tired and felt muddle-headed? Research now shows honey bees suffer from the same thing – and we understand why. A honey bee’s life is hardly relaxing. Every day forager bees make many trips, travelling long distances, to gather vital resources of...

Mass slaughter of wedge-tailed eagles could have Australia-wide consequences

Wedge-tailed eagles have been found poisoned in East Gippsland. Simon Cherriman, Author provided (No reuse) Last week it was revealed that at least 136 wedge-tailed eagles have been intentionally poisoned in East Gippsland, with concerns that more are yet to be found. In the past five years I have used satellite tracking devices to research wedge-tailed eagles’ movements across Australia, and I’ve never encountered...

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