Momentum de-clutters and de-mystifies the vast array of corporate sustainability and … Read More
What do Australian children need and what can the public and the government do to help protect them and make the future more secure?
Children are naturally vulnerable and most people wish to ensure they are protected and grow up to reach their full potential regardless of their background and circumstances. There are many individual issues that affect the quality of childhood. These include their health & mental health, the provision of sufficient opportunities and the quality of their education to name just a few.
In addition, there is one overarching issue that affects all of us, a common denominator that has not found its way into policy and practice yet: the safety of our planet. Sustainable management of our resources is being discussed this week at the Rio + 20 summit and this is extremely timely.
We have known about the negative environmental impact of large scale economic activity for at least four decades. The assumptions upon which we have based social service delivery to protect children have changed and continue to change. Nothing is simple anymore but children need to inherit a clean and safe environment as the minimum foundation to prosper. So what do we have to do to attain a sustainable lifestyle for them? How will the effect of climate change influence the delivery of social services to children? What does climate change mean for the policy and practice of protecting children? [Read more…]
by Terence Jeyaretnam, Director of Net Balance (email@example.com), one of the world’s leading sustainability advisory firms. Terence is based in Melbourne.
A businessman would not consider a firm to have solved its problems of production and to have achieved viability if he saw that it was rapidly consuming its capital. How, then, could we overlook this vital fact when it comes to that very big firm, the economy of Spaceship Earth and, in particular, the economies of its rich passengers? E F Schumacher, Small is Beautiful, 1973
Erosion of natural capital has continued over the past 50 years, despite the heightened awareness of environmental impact of industrialization and population growth. Over the fifty years, there’s been a multitude of international conventions, giving birth to a large number of new institutions and protocols on sustainable development. They have proved just one thing – that there’s no silver bullet for the environmental predicament. [Read more…]
The Byron Bay Farmers Market is doomed! Why? A hybrid flower stall turned up not long ago and selling these particular, non local, non native varieties of flowers point towards a bigger issue. Because hybirds are artificially refined. Because of us manipulating nature to ‘improve’ it without consideration of unintended consequences or in the worst case scenario, through simple carelessness.
For more than two decades I have been in love with Byron Bay due to its natural beauty and as an experiment in sustainable living – healthy living on a small footprint in harmony with the environment.
At the end of October 2011 it is estimated that the world population will have reached 7 billion people – an achievement and challenge at the same time.
This article focusses on just three challenges and corresponding opportunities that might stretch the traditional mindset for social investments by corporates, trusts and foundation and governments. All three are interdependent and addressing one can have postive impacts on the other.
1: Addressing [Read more…]
Bicycle riding to benefit our health, pocket and planet!
Car and bicycle sharing schemes have emerged from urban centres worldwide as a new form of sustainable transport. More and more commuters are navigating our urban environment by bicycles and cities are coming to terms with accommodating cyclists. We are also discovering cycling as a fun family activity supported by the evergrowing network of cycling ways. [Read more…]
harmonizing giving and investing as a necessary step for Foundations to meeting the ‘public benefit’ test
by Stephen Viederman
I listened and lectured in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in October 2005 and I admit I became an Australiaphile. While there I was struck by many similarities and differences between our philanthropies. One similarity of special interest to me was the limited interest in and even lesser practice of using assets as a way of adding value to giving as an instrument of change.
Each year the effort to “invest as if the future mattered” becomes easier as new and more sophisticated investment vehicles in all asset classes enter the market. In addition, the concept of ownership and stewardship has grown urging shareowners to engage with the companies they own by voting proxies and in other ways.
The public benefit is how the Charity’s Commission of England and Wales describes the charitable purpose of foundations. This is as clear and concise a definition as I have seen.
Unfortunately, however, this only seems to apply to giving, not to the use of the assets that make the giving possible. In Australia, I suspect, as is the case here in the US, the chasm between mission and giving, on the one hand, and investment, on the other, is still more the rule than the exception. I firmly believe that harmonizing giving and investing is a necessary step toward meeting the ‘public benefit’ purpose. [Read more…]
Following consultation for a population strategy for Australia, the Australian Government has just released its ‘Sustainable Population, Sustainable Communities’ strategy and ignored the most important factor: the negative unsustainable environmental impact of population growth. How is this possible when submissions pointed these implications out so eloquently and conclusively? What a missed opportunity to engage in a mature debate about population control and pave the path to a sustainable Australia that considers itself part of a global community and wishes to maintain a decent quality of life for all.
Unfortunately, the Australian Government is not alone – although this is by no means to be interpreted as an excuse. The much loved and extremely well respected Sir David Attenborough, known for his wonderful nature documentaries, pointed out in his President’s Lecture at London’s Royal Society of Arts: ” … the [UK’s] Government’s ‘Foresight Report on the Future of Food and Farming’….[It] shows how hard it is to feed the seven billion of us who are alive today. It lists the many obstacles that are already making this harder to achieve – soil erosion, salinisation , the depletion of aquifers, over-grazing, the spread of plant diseases as a result of globalisation, the absurd growing of food crops to run into biofuels to feed motor cars instead of people – and so on. … …It recommends the widest possible range of measures across all disciplines to tackle this.. but doesn’t state the obvious fact that it would be much easier to feed 8 then 10 billion people.” [Read more…]
The sustainability mantra of the 21st century ought to be:
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE & OFFSET – in THAT priority order. Instead, we lead a pseudo-sustainable lifestyle of the well to-do. We consider ourselves successful if we can afford to jet set around the world, following the lead of the rich and famous. For more on that read the Guardian article: Hypocrisy of champagne environmentalists is deceitful and distracting. [Read more…]
Apparently 8% of men do not know the real haircolour of their wives… approximately 70% of women and up to 30% of men in Australia dye their hair regularly. Consider the amount of chemicals going down the drain every day in large parts of the world! And not to mention the potential health risks associated with chemicals in hairdyes like amonia and peroxide.
Did you know that 2011 to 2020 is the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity, that this year is the International Year of Forests, that 22 April is Earth Day and 5th June World Environment Day, celebrated since 1972? If yes, you belong to a relatively small group of ‘insiders’ and if not, why not?
Earth Hour on the other hand – the one day a year where we are prompted to symbolically turn our lights off for one hour is known by millions around the world. How come the latter has become a global phenomenon and yet directly related, mature environmental awareness raising initiatives lack momentum?
The United Nations has celebrated World Environment Day on the 5th June since 1972. So how can we focus the millions of people who symbolically turn their lights off on rapid action for the environment, including forests and biodiversity?
Apart from collaborating with Earth Hour organisers to ensure it is more than a feel good exercise (more about this here), we can learn and transfer those social marketing lessons. Any social campaign that moves us to change our habits needs to: [Read more…]