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Items of interest that have landed on the Habitat desk.

Clarification on Bradshaw Training Area

Major Richard Sharp of the Environmental Practice Section, Defence Estate Organisation in Canberra wishes to clarify issues raised in a recent letter to Habitat.

In the October edition of Habitat, you published a letter from Russell Willis of Milner regarding the Bradshaw Field Training Area. Two points Habitat readers should be aware of are:

1. This training area has been purchased as a Defence, not Army, training area and, pending the EIA process, will be used for a variety of military organisations including Navy, Airforce, DSTO and foreign forces.

2. This training area is currently being assessed under Commonwealth and Northern Territory, environmental protection legislation; an EIS is to be released later this year.

What's in a word

Donella Peters of Aldgate in South Australia believes that there is a need to change the environment movement's vocabulary.

Much reading and listening has led me to the inescapable conclusion that the term `the environment' is suffering from occupational over-use syndrome. It has almost ceased to provoke a nervous response from governments, and no longer causes enough muscle flexion in the populace at large. It also fails to convey the importance that should rightly be attached to it. To most people it means `trees and animals', something that is `out there' somewhere, but has nothing to do with how or where they live.

In recent decades it has become fashionable for large corporations to change their names or logos, perhaps to revive a flagging image, or to stave off customer boredom and loss of patronage. Telecom, BP and the Commonwealth Bank are all examples of this trend, and I think it is time the environment movement followed their example.

I therefore propose that we replace the tired, out-dated term `the environment', with the far more eye-catching `human life-support system'. It is somewhat of a mouthful, I grant you, but it should carry more weight when used in statements such as `The human life-support system is breaking down!' or `This development threatens the human life-support system!'

I also suggest you change your name from ACF to something more catchy, such as PlanetLink or Trees `R' Us, and update your logo; a globe of the world with a gas mask on, perhaps, or with a thermometer in its mouth. This should help capture wandering public attention, for a few years, anyway.

The plane truth

Karen Stanton of Redlynch in Queensland believes that a serious emission was ignored in the August Habitat education page.

I eagerly read the article in your most recent issue re greenhouse gas emissions, in the hope, as always, that I would find that a corner has been turned and that we are heading towards a better future. I became quite alarmed, however, to find on the page directed towards children (Class action) and domestic consumption, that no mention at all was made of air travel.

If the figures I read a few years ago are correct, air travel is 20 times more contributing to greenhouse gases (per person) than travelling the equivalent distance by motor vehicle. Thus, any domestic savings made by turning off the lights, travelling by bus, or cycling to the shops or work, could be wiped out many times over by a single plane flight. To ignore its effect appears to me to be the equivalent of an overweight family deciding to count calories -- but to leave out the chocolate milk shakes. One might as well not bother counting.

Peter Kinrade responds: Karen is right, flying generates a great deal of greenhouse gases. Depending on various factors, air travel is 2-3 times more greenhouse intensive per person than driving an equivalent distance. For Australians, therefore, travelling overseas is problematic. Similarly, domestic air travel generates about three million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. This underscores the need to greatly improve intercity rail networks.

Art from the heart

Two new consignments of traditional central Australian art are on display for the Christmas season at ACF headquarters in Melbourne.

One consignment originates from the Jukurrpa Artists in Alice Springs, and represents the stories of Aboriginal people from several different communities in the region. The colourful `dot' paintings are skilfully executed and represent many stories and activities of the people and their spirit beings.

Other paintings have also arrived from the western desert people of Yuendumu. The artists have embraced the full palette and produced exciting works of traditional themes based around Walpiri country. These sand paintings are aerial pictures of the landscape with symbolic pathways between important sites where cultural activities and food gathering takes place.

The value of these paintings is not inflated, and the money from sales is sent direct to the artists and their communities. It is important that we further ACF contact in a variety of ways with Aboriginal people. All works are for sale and ACF welcomes visitors. For information Ph: (03) 9416 1166.

Fateful time for Australia's first woodchip zone

Peter Wright, representing an alliance of conservation groups in New South Wales, sees the end in sight for a very long campaign.

In 1969, the New South Wales Forestry Commission signed a 20-year woodchip agreement with the Daishowa Paper Manufacturing Company, and the company began work on its Eden chip mill.

When the federal government began to consider another 20 years of woodchipping in 1985, the campaign to save the southeast forests began in earnest. It exploded to national prominence in 1989, when well over 1000 people were arrested in protest actions in the forest.

After 13 long years, an end to this long-running campaign may be in sight. In December and January, the New South Wales government will consider options for completing the system of national parks in the south-east, adding to the scattering of reserves already declared in the area. An end to clearfell logging is also on the conservation groups' agenda.

A postcard to Premier Bob Carr is inserted into the New South Wales distribution of Habitat. Please use it to play your part in helping to resolve this long-running dispute.

Green pages 1998

If you were ever wondering which group did what in the environment movement, then the latest copy of Green pages: a directory of Australian community environment groups is for you. Green pages 1998 is now available on disk for $15. The disk contains three read-only files: groups by postal address; groups by contact person, phone and fax; groups by aims. To order your Green pages 1998 disk, call Chris Smyth at ACF, Ph: (03) 9926 6709.

Complete Habitat index out now

The Habitat Index 1973-1997, which lists by subject and author all major articles published over three decades of environmental campaigning, is now available for $10 (including postage and handling) from the ACF office in Melbourne, Ph: (03) 9926 6710. At the same time, why not order a binder (only $12) to store and protect your loose copies of Habitat.

RELATED ARTICLE: Come on into the car pool, the air's fine

The Greater Sydney area is set for a reduction in traffic congestion and air pollution with the recent launch of Easy Share, Australia's first computerised car-sharing scheme.

Up to 100,000 participants are expected to enrol in the scheme which will enable them to meet new people, save money, help the environment and take advantage of the latest transport alternative.

Car-sharing participants offer and request lifts in advance, and the Easy Share computer system does its best to match them by time, destination and travel partner preferences. People can specify what type of person they wish to travel with -- an age group, male or female, even down to smokers or non-smokers and musical tastes.

It has been estimated that if car sharing were to be adopted in Australia on the scale proposed by Easy Share, national fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by five per cent.

If you wish to enrol in Easy Share or obtain further information, call 1300 302 402. The annual fee for Easy Share membership is $49, but that will be easily recouped from the savings made on fuel costs.

RELATED ARTICLE: Win an Easy Share membership

If you are an ACF member living in the Greater Sydney area (Sydney-Wollongong-Newcastle-Blue Mountains), and if you are one of the first 10 to phone Marie on (02) 9389 5599, you will receive the first year of membership to Easy Share free (normally $49).

RELATED ARTICLE: A will for the environment

Thinking of making or amending your Will? A bequest to ACF can help to achieve its long-term goals for the protection of our environment. Contact Nola Wilmont at ACF in Melbourne for details. Ph: (03) 9926 6712.

RELATED ARTICLE: Don't shop till you drop this Christmas.

Visit ACF's one-stop Christmas gift shop instead for all of your gift-buying requirements. Janis Barber (left) and Karryn Faragher, managers of ACF's Sydney shop, are keen to help and have stocked a wide range of gift ideas for the coming season. You can find the shop at 33 George Street, The Rocks or call Janis, Karryn or their friendly and efficient volunteer staff on Ph: (02) 9247 4754. Hours: 10 am-5:30 pm, 7 days a week. And by the way, the shop is always in need of volunteer staff to help support its work for the environment.


Jim Downey recently announced his resignation as ACF's Executive Director, a position he held for the past two years. Although his commitment to the environment, and to ACF, remains undiminished, in the future he will be expressing it in different ways. We wish him well. (See page 21 for a tribute to Jim's achievements at ACF)

In the period leading up to the appointment of a new Executive Director, Jo Wigley will be Acting Chief Executive Officer, responsible for the day-to-day management of ACF, and Michael Krockenberger will be Acting Director, responsible for campaigns and media.

Jo is also directing the development of ACF's Strategic Marketing Plan. The plan, currently being prepared by Jo and ACF's Marketing Committee, takes a fresh look at what we are, what we do and how we communicate our message. This approach has been greatly assisted by the National Australia Bank's CommunityLink program, which has funded AMR Quantum Harris's qualitative and quantitative market research into community attitudes towards ACF and other green groups.

Growth in ACF's membership and supporter base is a key objective of the strategy plan. For the past five years it has also been the focus of our Membership Coordinator, Louise Sverns. Sadly for ACF, Louise has decided to return to a teaching career. We thank her for the wonderful job she has done, for her boundless enthusiasm, energy and drive, and for the strong support she has given to the environment.

In another staff change, Peter Wright, ACF's biodiversity campaigner based in Sydney, has also decided to take a break. Peter has worked long and hard for forests, wetlands and many other significant parts of our natural environment, and has been a regular contributor to Habitat. He will be missed.

And as the end of 1997 rapidly approaches, the ACF President, councillors and staff would like to wish all of our members and supporters a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

RELATED ARTICLE: Daintree holiday in paradise

Michelle, Stuart, Matthew and Callum Roth really enjoyed their holiday at Daintree Eco Lodge, their prize in ACF's recent Top End Treasures Raffle.

`The Daintree Eco Lodge was beautiful, with the individual lodges nestled at tree-top level in the middle of the Daintree. At night the noises from the bush were spectacular, and in the evenings we would sit out on the balcony of the lodge, with a glass of wine in hand, just listening to the bush around us. Heaven!'

The results of the global warming raffle will be published in the February edition of Habitat.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Australian Conservation Foundation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Habitat Australia
Date:Dec 1, 1997
Previous Article:Winning the West's environment.

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