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Ward Off Climate Change

I’ve got good new and bad news.

The good news for those of you who don’t currently qualify for the $8,000 solar rebate from the Federal Government because your household income is above $100,000, is that from July 1 this year the $100,000 means test is to be scrapped.

The bad news is that the new scheme is horribly complex, and it is impossible to predict exactly how much the rebate will be as the value of it will be tied in with the Renewable Energy Target Scheme and will therefore vary.

What is certain is that households earning less than $100,000 will also get less assistance under the new scheme.

Learning How to Live More Sustainably

Volume 1, Issue 9

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Crab, Basil and Cherry Tomato Frittata

We have been enjoying an almost overwhelming abundance of tomatoes from our home garden this summer. We’ve been bottling tomatoes whole, making tomato sauce, and drying other tomatoes. Even still, I’ve been looking for ways to be creative with fresh tomatoes.

Our 7 girls have also been happily laying so I’ve also been looking for different ways to use eggs.

Did you know that crabs  are listed as one of the more sustainable seafoods in the Australian Sustainable Seafood Guide? Check out the tip of the week below for more information.

This recipe combines beautiful fresh home-grown tomatoes and eggs with the delicate sweetness of crab meat and the fragrant sweetness of basil.

Enjoy it with a glass of your favourite chilled white wine (organic of course).

Low Carbon Meal of the Week

Many of you will have already heard of the phrase “Tipping Points” - points at which we simply won’t be able to turn back the climate change clock, runaway climate change is inevitable, and we don’t really know exactly how bad it could get.

The following video provides an excellent summary of tipping points. Click on the image to view.

Tipping Point Video

Hoselink Hose Connector

Do you every have trouble with your hose connections bursting or constantly dripping?

This brilliant Aussie invention will put an end to that.

Simply point the two connectors towards each other, insert, twist and click—and your connectors are joined and guaranteed never to burst off.

Product of the Week

Sustainable Seafood Guide

Have you been wondering which seafoods are better than others from a sustainability point of view?

The Australian Marine Conservation Society has developed an excellent guide that will help you make more informed decisions when buying seafood.

For example, fish such as Orange Roughy should be avoided.

Good choices include blue swimmer crabs, WA crayfish, herring.

You can purchase a copy of the guide online for $9.95 at

Tip of the Week

It was very pleasing last night to see the federal government, as part of its massive second economic stimulus package, announce $3.8 billion over four years to insulate 2.2 million households.

However, the stimulus package really misses out on a much greater opportunity to help transition Australia to a cleaner, greener economy.

For example, the government is handing out $12.7 billion on one-off $950 “bonus payments” to low– and middle-income earners to encourage them to spend, spend, spend.

Sadly, I can’t help but think that many people receiving these payments will waste the money buying “stuff”. For those of you who watched the “Story of Stuff” video highlighted in my last newsletter, you will know what I am concerned about.

While I don’t question that these bonuses will be welcomed by many, I do question why such payments couldn’t be provided on the proviso that money is spent on retrofitting homes with external shading, water tanks and water-efficient and energy-efficient appliances.

Kevin Rudd need only look to the USA to see what inspired leadership looks like on this issue.

US President Barak Obama’s $US819 billion recover bill includes more than $200 billion for clean energy, modernisation of the electricity grid, improving the thermal efficiency of buildings, improvements to public transport and the development of battery technology and biofuels.

Many renewable technology projects are struggling to raise capital in the current market, so strong government support is even more important now to make sure that we transition from a carbon-intensive economy to a low-emissions economy that ensures future wealth and prosperity for all.


Federal Government’s “Green Economy” Stimulation Good, But Nowhere Near Enough

Changes to Federal Government Solar Rebate

I have had the great pleasure of having facilitated two Living Smart programs now. The first in Darlington from September to October attracted some 30 participants. The second in Kalamunda from November to December attracted almost 70 participants.

I started running these courses, because I felt that they offered something that was currently missing for many people—simple, affordable advice on how to go about reducing your impact on the planet. The courses have also been well put together, making them a highly enjoyable experience for participants, highlighted  by these sorts of comments:

· My Saturday afternoons for 7 weeks have completely changed my life;

· I achieved monumental changes in my way of life which I had always meant to do but never got around to;

· I thought I knew it all and was doing most of it until I went to Living Smart. Now I'm doing much more and there is still more I can do;

· I really feel proud that I am living a smarter life.

I am pleased to be running two more Living Smart courses over the coming months:

· Wednesday afternoons at Kalamunda Community Learning Centre from February 18;

· Thursday afternoons at Royal Perth Hospital from March 2;

There are also courses being run by other excellent facilitators over the next few months:

· Wednesday evenings at Falcon e-Library from Feb 25;

· Saturday mornings at The Meeting Place in Fremantle from February 14;

· Thursday evenings at Subiaco Community Centre from February 12;

· Wednesday evenings in Fremantle from March 4.

Topics covered at each course can vary depending on the interests of the participants, however typically most programs include:

· How to reduce your ecological footprint;

· How to reduce your power, water and petrol bills;

· Organic gardening;

· How to create a healthy home;

· A diet and exercise regime that is good for you and the planet.

Most courses are free, or charge a very nominal fee. Check out the Living Smart website for more information or to enrol.


Participants from the Kalamunda Living Smart program showing off the no-dig garden they created with supplies and services kindly donated by Green Life Soil Company, Julie Stuurstraat from Veggie Garden Creations and the Shire of Kalamunda.

The “Greenest” Gift Card and Wrapping

I’ve met many people who are very committed about reducing their impacts on our planet.

However my colleague Julian Ilich must take the prize in the gift wrapping category for his efforts last Christmas.

Click on the image above to check out his level of commitment!!


Just when you thought you were motivated