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SENG QLD December Newsletter - Sustainable Christmas Ideas

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SENG QLD Newsletter - December  2017

Welcome to Newsletter Number 69

Dear SENG Qld members and friends,

We hope that you have had a great year and we are looking forward to seeing you all again next year!  Have a safe and happy festive season.
This month’s newsletter includes:

2018 SENG Networking Event

Other Events

Sustainable Christmas Ideas

Interesting Snippets

Open for comment

David's Blog

As always, we welcome input from members regarding topics or speakers of interest. Please contact one of the Qld committee members, or consider coming along to a committee meeting, held at Engineering House prior to each of our technical seminars. We hope to see you there!


Sustainable Engineering Society

Qld Branch
Engineers Australia.


2018 SENG Networking Event

Date:              Fourth Week of February 

Time:              5:30 for 6:00
Presenter:      SENG QLD committee
Venue:            Botique Brewery - To be advised 
Cost:               Free 
This will be a social event where we do a brewery tour and have a discussion on the future direction of SENG.  We will also be inviting people to join the committee.  Purchase your own drinks, nibbles will be provided.  More information will be available early in the new year.


Other Events

10th International Conference on Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) & Hydropolis 2018 (Feb 12 - 15)

The program for WSUD / Hydropolis 2018 has recently been released and the focus is “Creating Water Sensitive Communities".  This event aims to challenge delegates’ thinking and knowledge, and expand their views on what represents urban water management best practice and its vital role in developing our future communities. The program includes three days of technical presentations with a number of excellent keynote speakers and range of oral sessions covering both peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed papers. A formal conference dinner will be held on 14 February 2018 where Engineers Australia and Stormwater WA Industry Awards winners will be announced, alongside some light entertainment. Register before Tuesday 7 November to secure the early-bird rate.

Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership Program - Griffith University
The four-day intensive course will be offered at the Griffith University EcoCentre from March 6th to March 9th 2018.

Information about cost, program content and an overview of what to expect can be found via the Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership website or via the button above.

Sustainable Christmas Ideas

Not done your Christmas shopping yet!?  That's good!  Before you hit the shops please consider - do your loved ones really need more stuff!?
Get things in perspective by watching the Story of Stuff (youtube)video or reading more on the Story of Stuff website.

If you're a long term member of SENG, you probably remember these "Green" christmas hints from last year and the year before. We like them - so here they are for you again.

1. Buy practical gifts that will last or give an "activity" gift rather than a "thing"
Gifts that are useful, serve a purpose, and will last a long time are ideal. An activity based gift, like a day out at a theme park, or a night out at a concert, are also usually well received. 

2. Save trees by viewing catalogues on-line instead
Put up a "no junk mail" sticker on your letter box and instead check the catalogues on-line. 

3. Recycle everything you can
Wrapping paper, Christmas cards, jars, plastic drink bottles, cans and glass bottles… remember to put everything that can be recycled into your recycling bin or in the 'Planet Ark' bins (for cards) at supermarkets. Put all your salad and veggie scraps into a compost bin or worm farm and get free fertilizer!
- Op shop dining table ideas to reduce consumption.
- Christmas Presents with a conscience
- Do it yourself christmas decorations

4. Crank the fan instead of the air conditioner
When it's hot use a fan instead of an air conditioner to save power and CO2 emissions. A pedestal or ceiling fan might use 90 watts on high, whereas a wall mounted reverse cycle air conditioner may use 2,000 watts and a big ducted system may use 5,000 watts!

5. Buy locally produced fresh food
Locally produced fresh food usually has lower carbon miles and is often better for you.

6. Eat fish, native meats, and veggies instead of beef and lamb
The production of beef and lamb results in large amounts of greenhouse gas. Choose veggies, native meats, chicken or seafood instead.

7. Choose sustainably caught or farmed fish
Ocean fish stocks of many species are under significant threat. Choose species such as:
• Whiting
• Australian Sardine
• Mussels
• Calamari, and
• Blue Swimmer Crab

Do not choose:
• Orange roughy (deep sea perch)
• Swordfish
• Gemfish/Hake
• Bigeye Tuna, or
• Shark/Flake

For a complete list of species have a look at the Australian Marine Conservation Society Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide 

8. Now is the time to use the beer fridge
If needed, plug in the second fridge over the Christmas period, then once all the family have left, all the beer is gone, and you really don't need a second fridge, unplug it and save yourself $50 to $140 a year in electricity costs.

9. Drinking alcohol? Choose a Green Beer or Green Wine!
The two big brewers in Australia both produce a carbon neutral beer; Lion Nathan produce Bare Cove Radler (beer with a twist of lemon) while Fosters are responsible for Cascade Green (premium beer with low carbohydrates). For exampleTaylor's Eighty Acres wine is 100% carbon neutral.

10. Use the microwave or BBQ instead of the oven
Ovens use a large amount of electricity and they pump out waste heat (making your house even hotter and more difficult to keep cool). Cook using the microwave or barbie where possible.

11. Buy gifts on-line
The lack of a retail outlet means on-line shopping results in lower CO2 emissions. Legally downloaded music and film is even better as there is also no packaging.

12. Don't buy foil wrapping paper
It may look nice, but it isn't recyclable. Stick with the paper.

13. Plant a native or fruit tree
If you have room in your yard, why not plant another tree? A native tree will suck up CO2, provide habitat for native wildlife, and provide you with shade. Bigger trees like eucalypts are better but if you don't have the room go for a smaller native like a grevillea, wattle, bottlebrush or lily pilly. Or plant a fruit tree, that'll provide some of the same benefits but also give you free food.

14. Buy green energy to power the Christmas lights
If you have lots of Christmas lights, consider purchasing Green Power to power all the lights. Some energy retailers can supply a proportion of green power for no additional cost (it may even be cheaper than your current deal). Compare your current electricity retail deal with others here: https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/

15. Switch off the Christmas lights overnight
Save money on the power bill and minimise CO2 emissions by turning off the Christmas lights before you go to bed.

Going away for Christmas? Don't forget to ... 
1. Kill the standby power

Remember to turn all non essential appliances off at the power point before you go. Things like computers, TV's, DVD players, microwaves, stereos, washing machines, and plug-in clocks.

2. Don't heat water while you're away
If going away for a fortnight or more, turn off your electric hot water system. For everyday its on yet no water is getting used it'll still use an extra 20 cents worth of electricity and 1.4 kg's of CO2. Flick the hot water switch in your power box to turn it off.

3. Offset your air travel
If you forgot to offset your air travel for these holidays it's probably too late to now, but for next time, remember to buy a carbon offset with your plane ticket.  It'll render your flights carbon neutral and will probably only cost $5 extra.

4. Drive safely and efficiently
Drive to anticipate conditions. Brake and accelerate the least amount possible. An aggressive driver uses up to 30% more fuel than a moderate driver! Check that your tyres are inflated to the correct and equal pressure, and remove any needless items to reduce weight and drag. These will all save fuel.

5. Ask a neighbour to water your veggie patch
Don't have a veggie patch? Plant one! They're rewarding, get you out exercising in the back yard, the food produced is "low carbon", the food is very healthy, and if you get it working well the food is very cheap.

Sustainable Christmas Ideas 

https://shop.wateraidaustralia.org/Default.aspx
https://caregifts.org.au/about/
http://www.worldvision.com.au/Smiles/GiftCatalogue/Default.aspx
http://usefulgifts.org
http://www.redcross.org.au/default.aspx 
http://www.oxfamunwrapped.com.au/
http://www.hollows.org.au/ 
http://www.karmacurrency.com.au
http://www.charitygifts.com.au
Are you looking to make a Christmas donation or two?  Find a cause that you believe in.
www.acfonline.org.au/bethesolution/index.html
www.amnesty.org.au
www.angelwish.org
www.anglicare.org.au 
www.actionaid.org.au 
www.brisbanebasketbrigade.org 
www.canteen.org.au 
www.childfund.org.au 
www.climatecouncil.org.au 
www.cysticfibrosis.org.au 
www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/
www.hollows.org.au 
www.leukaemia.org.au
www.makeawish.org.au
www.msf.org.au/donate.html 
www.plan.org.au/
www.redcross.org.au 
www.rspca.org.au 
www.savethechildren.org.au 
www.simplygiving.com.au 
www.starlight.org.au 
www.tear.org.au 
www.thesmithfamily.com.au 
www.unicef.org.au 
www.wesleymission.org.au 
www.WorldVision.com.au 
www.wspa.org.au 
http://www.wwf.org.au/
www.youngcare.com.au

Of course there are many many more worthy charities. Please accept our apologies if your preferred charity has not been included on the list.  (Send it to us for next time!)

Interesting Snippets

For your interest, horror and amusement. SENG makes no claims regarding the accuracy or currency of these items.


- War on Waste survey results are out now.
- Successful new technology using hybrid silica gels to remove pharmaceutical and micro-plastic pollutants are now being tested for their ability to be retrofitted to existing wastewater infrastructure. Find out more here.

 - Creativity is need to produce flexible international treaty laws that are necessary to govern the predicted conflicts arising from climate change impacts upon water’s transboundary nature, as arid areas get drier and wet areas get wetter. Click here for more info.

 - Investment campaign group, Share Action, have found that Shell and BP are deceiving their shareholders and the public regarding the corporate financial risks associated with climate change and the companies' actual carbon emission targets for addressing the issues. More details here.

 - The amount of organic matter washed into water bodies after storms and floods can prevent pathogen-killing UV rays from penetrating the water’s surface, thereby increasing the occurrence of pathogens. This is expected to increase the occurence of pathogens as the impacts of climate change bring more extreme rainfall events and thaw the permafrost. Find out more here.

 - On average, over 21 million people are displaced each year due to extreme weather events and this number is expected to rise due to climate change impacts. Read more about Oxfam's report here

 - The Environmental Defenders Office in Queensland urges the major political parties to enact strong laws regarding the Great Barrier Reef, climate change and excessive tree clearing and reviews their current related policies. Find more information here.

 - Although Australia’s land is very prosperous, actions such as increasing our food productivity, reducing our food wastage and changing our eating patterns are needed to ensure a strong and sustainable future that promotes the interconnections between food, health and environment. Find out more here.

 - Esteemed global scientists’ consensus, including the majority of Nobel prize laureates, issues a second warning to humanity about the coming catastrophic conflict with nature, on the recent 25th Anniversary of the first warning. Read more here

 - Investment in Green infrastructure is shown to produce significant financial benefits in exemplar cities by NSW Masters of Urban Policy. Read more here.

 - Medical waste from dialysis has been found to improve the durability of concrete. Read more here

 - New recycling systems maximise resource recovery from electronic waste. Find out more here

 - A recent international survey or 26,000 participants from 13 countries has found that the general global population want to move away from coal toward renewable energy sources as quickly as possible, particularly the Chinese. More details available here.

Awards and Open for Comment

Sign the petition here for the Queensland Government to enact legislation banning all new investment in coal, oil, and gas projects within Queensland, that contribute to global warming.

Moment for Action 

Sign the petition

David's Blog

Keep up to date by reading David's Blog on the SENG website. Log in using your to post comments or questions.

Join the conversation on our LinkedIn group page

If you have an idea to share, an issue you would like feedback on, or just want to follow the conversation, click here to join the group.

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