26 April, 2009

it is high time to re-think water & sanitation in developed, Industrialised communities

The more I consider current practice in water and sanitation (particularly in my own city - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia) the more ludicrous it becomes...

Most of our potable water is sourced from dams in the hinterland. There are plans to build another dam over a hundred kilometres North of Brisbane. Yet the storm water that falls on the city of Brisbane (mostly on impervious, paved surfaces is channelled to the Brisbane River, mixes with the estuarine, brackish water and flows out to sea.

A de-salination plant 100 kilometres South, draws saline water from the ocean and uses electricity to purify the sea water and pump it into the so-called "water grid".

Taking a relatively solid reside, which contains some of the most harmful bacteria known to humanity and making a 1-2% slurry, solution, pumped hundreds of kilometres to centralised sewage treatment plants is a very inefficient use of electicity and potable water.

In Brisbane, we currently purify the sewage treatment plant effluent with an energy intensive process called Continuous Mirofiltration, followed by reverse osmosis. The lunacy continues with the purified water being pumped over 70 kilometres to be used to cool the exhaust from the steam turbines of a coal fired power station.

My background is in industrial water treatment (steam generation, heat rejection, process water, corrosion mitigation, anti-scalants, emulsion breaking etc). When I apply the principles of "cleaner production" to domestic sewage treatment, the first thing that needs to be done is separation of waste streams.

In other words, no.1's need to be kept separate from no.2's.

Adding a concentrated source of Nitogen, Phosphorus and trace quantities of endrocrine disruptors to this mix is sheer stupidity, considering the difficulty ond expense of removing the N.P and endrocrine disruptors from the dilute stream.

So what is the alternative?

I understand that Urine-separating toilets have been used as an effective source control measure in many parts of Europe for years. The No.1's can be collected and used beneficially as fertiliser and are a precursor to many industrial chemicals including ammonia, pool chlorine and/or bleach.

The No.2's contain many pathogens, which can be disinfected through dessication and/or heat. Once treated, this residue is a useful soil conditioner and source of organic material. It could even be digested and the biogases could be used to generate electricity.

There is billions of dollars tied up in the infrastructure that perpetuates this system. There is inertia and resistance to change. So just because this is the way it is always been done, does not mean we have to keep doing it this way.

Subvert the dominant paradigm. Lobby your local Authorities and install a urine separation toilet.

17 April, 2009

beef means burps

Anna still does not make the connection between cars, coal and COWS and climate change.

Joint Statement: Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Anna Bligh

Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland
The Honourable Tim Mulherin


Backing beef in Rocky: Bligh

The Beef Australia 2009 expo to be held in Rockhampton next month is expected to inject millions of dollars into the local economy and significantly boost export trade income.
In celebrating the eighth Beef Australia Expo (Mon 4 to Sat 9 May), the Queensland Government will have a significant presence through pavilions, property tours, mobile office, meetings, committees, trade fairs, seminars and workshops.
Premier Anna Bligh said with more than 60, 000 people expected to attend from around Australia and overseas, it would be a great forum to showcase the best that the Queensland beef industry had to offer in terms of science, sustainability and innovation.

"This is an excellent opportunity to see first-hand how Queenslanders work hard to produce the best beef in the world, create a strong industry powered by bright ideas, and protect our lifestyle and environment," Ms Bligh said.

"Domestic and international exhibitors will demonstrate the latest industry innovations from genetics to live cattle, and handling equipment to cattle management software.

"A strong trade focus makes Beef Australia 2009 the perfect opportunity to make contact with the widest possible number of beef and cattle suppliers in the one place at the one time in Australia," she said.

Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten said at Beef 2006 expo, about 60,000 people attended with an estimate of over $50 million dollars generated from trade.

"Rockhampton is the beef capital of Australia and we are proud to host the Beef expo, which attracts a range of people from the general public through to major players in the beef industry," Mr Schwarten said.

"The five-day Beef 09 expo will feature Australia's largest stud, carcass and commercial cattle competitions as well as property tours, seminars and hundreds of domestic and international trade exhibitors."

Primary Industries and Fisheries is the lead agency for the Queensland Government's involvement with Beef Australia 2009.

Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland Minister Tim Mulherin encourages delegates to visit the Queensland Government Pavilion for information about skilling and careers, business and community development, science and innovation, sustainability and health.

"Biosecurity Queensland Officers will be available to answer any farm biosecurity issues as well as presenting the latest National Livestock Identification System (NLIS)Express mobile phone software technology," the Minister said.

"There will be daily Queensland wine tastings and safe food production lunchtime activities.

"At the Durack Pavilion, Primary Industries and Fisheries will also be launching the Australian Tropical Livestock Genetics website, which will provide a primary access point to overseas customers interested in purchasing Australian tropical livestock genetics."

The Queensland Government's major business matching program Handshakes 09 will also be rolled out during the expo, providing a unique opportunity for Australian and international enterprises and specialists in the meat and livestock industry to explore business opportunities and meet face-to-face.

Mr Mulherin said the range of services and activities to be showcased at Beef 09 was proof of the government's commitment to working with industry.

"Our aim is to strengthen our producers' capabilities and improve access to new markets and deliver better trade outcomes," Mr Mulherin said.

Beef 09 delegates can also visit the Queensland Government's Mobile Office in the Centre Arena for beef services advice.

Another highlight is the comprehensive workshop and seminar program, including leucaena production, FutureBeef, livestock transport and e-business solutions.
Partnerships with Queensland Government, Austrade, the International Livestock Resources and Information Centre (ILRIC), Meat and Livestock Australia, Quadrant Australia, peak industry bodies and breed societies will see international delegations from up to 30 countries attending.

For more information visit the Beef Australia website www.beefaustralia.com.au
Media: Minister's Office 3239 3120

10 April, 2009

a message to the LORD MAYOR - Campbell Newman

Dear Lord Mayor,

A quick note to wish you well for Easter (or facsimile) and congratulate you on doing a top job.

I am pleased to see the corporate social responsibility demonstrated by Brisbane City Council in the current economic climate. It is fabulous news to hear that the Northern Link project is “on hold” for at least two years. This provides Council with an opportunity to re-consider the options and perhaps even come up with a better idea (like an iconic mass public transport system for example). The new big, phallic, super buses are a fabulous idea and are one step closer to the light rail system that Council should have built decades ago.

I applaud the improvements to day to day services provided by the Council, including street sweeping and litter collection. I have taken advantage of a wide range of energy saving options available through the Council’s Green Heart CitySmart program and I am encouraging my fellow citizens to do the same.

I would also like to thank you for an outcome that you may not have anticipated. The proposal for the Northern Link tunnel provided an excuse for the people in my neighbourhood to start talking to each other. We are now discussing how we might collaborate on a “Community Garden” somewhere in our precinct. Councillor David Hinchliffe has be very helpful and supportive. In the first instance, I am becoming involved with the community garden proposed for Victoria Park (near Bowen Bridge Road). We are also looking for suitable locations within our own precinct.

While 2009 will no doubt be a challenging year for us all, there are tremendous opportunities to move towards a more ecologically sustainable and socially responsible society.

Kind regards,

Rowan Barber

re-inventing the roo

it frustrates me that they put so much time, effort and cash into maintaining the status quo, instead of biting the bullet and looking at alternative sources of protein (apart from cow & sheep) like roo, mushrooms etc....

James thinks it's funny that they're trying to turn cow's into Kangaroos when they could just use Kangaroos. "they're politicians, they have to look for solutions that will win votes".

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: statements@qld.gov.au
Subject: Winds of climate change for gassy cows
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2009 10:07:53 +1000

Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland
The Honourable Tim Mulherin

06/04/2009 Winds of climate change for gassy cows

The Queensland Government has secured funding for three new, major research projects aimed at cutting the greenhouse gas belched out by livestock.

Primary Industries and Fisheries in the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), and the University of Queensland (UQ) were successful in obtaining three of the Federal Government's 18 emission reduction projects.

Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland Tim
Mulherin said the projects focus on minimising methane emissions from cattle and sheep.

Mr Mulherin said: "Many people don't realise that livestock produce serious quantities of methane - affecting the earth's temperature and climate system.
"In fact, methane 'burped out' by sheep and cattle contributes up to 14% of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions.

"We are already known for cutting edge research on this problem - in particular investigating whether bacteria from kangaroos, which are largely methane-free, can be implanted in cattle and sheep to reduce their methane production.

"These three new projects are in addition to that research.
Almost $1 million has been allocated to the projects, which aim to be completed in the next three years," Mr Mulherin said.

Primary Industries and Fisheries senior principal research scientist and UQ associate professor in animal nutrition Dr Athol Klieve outlined the projects.
Dr Klieve said: "One project centres on using viruses that attack methane-producing microbes in the guts of cattle and sheep.

"We are sure these viruses exist, we just have to isolate them.
"Another project will investigate boosting livestock feed by adding lipids (oils).
"Improving feed quality with lipids automatically improves the condition of the animal and cuts the amount of methane produced. It also reduces the organisms in the gut that produce methane.

"The third project will investigate the value of microbes that turn the methane produced in the gut back into hydrogen and carbon dioxide," Dr Klieve said.
Mr Mulherin said: "If we began reducing methane emissions now, we could see a change in 10 to 20 years.

"These projects could help achieve that while also contributing to increased productivity within the beef, lamb, dairy and wool industries," he said.
"The scientists and PhD students in Primary Industries and Fisheries Rumen Ecology Unit are excited to be involved with these projects that could potentially achieve significant cuts to Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions for the future."
The projects are co-funded through the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry's Climate Change Research Program in conjunction with Meat and Livestock Australia.

For more information on animal science, visit the Primary Industries and Fisheries website at www.dpi.qld.gov.au or call the Business Information Centre on 13 25 23.

Media: 32396530