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It's summer in Australia right now and that means heatwave forecasts on a regular basis. Sometimes it's scary to think how much hotter it will get.

Sydney hit 47.3°C (117 F) recently. That's not the kind of temperature you want to add more degrees to.
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This is the TeamArrow solar racecar. TeamArrow are based here in Brisbane and compete in the World Solar Challenge (2017 Challenge starts 8 October). They finished 8th in 2015 and I got to climb inside their racecar.


The car is 220 kg, cruises at around 85 kph and has a top speed of 126 kph. Surprisingly, it does all this on the same amount of power as your average toaster. Phenomenal.

Part of the reason is aerodynamics. After all, this is a racecar. Even the wheels are covered in an aerodynamic fin and the height of the car is quite low. I've had to squat down to be at the same height as a driver.


Of course I couldn't let the day go by without taking the opportunity to sit inside an actual racecar. After this photo was taken they put the aerodynamic lid on (you can see it in the first photo). It wasn't exactly spacious in there, but that's part of racing I guess.


On the day they were talking about their new car for this year's World Solar Challenge.

It will be in the "Cruiser" category, meaning it's a 2-person car and looks less like a racecar and more like something you might drive on the streets.



They hope to have them available for sale to the public soon after the race.
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Hard to believe it's more than 10 years since Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth hit cinemas.

Now his new movie An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is in Australian cinemas.

See the trailer:

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power (2017) - Official Trailer - Paramount Pictures - YouTube


Intrepid travel is offering free tickets - at least in Australia.

There are some conditions, and techincally it's a ticket reimbursement, and the offer closes on 10 September.

But still it's a very generous offer for what's sure to be a powerful movie.

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We're using up resources faster than Earth can replenish them. And we're creating waste faster than Earth can deal with.

With our current habits, we'd need 1.7 Earths (which we don't have).

In other words, we used up Earth's 2017 capacity by today, 2 August.

Some nations are even more wasteful. This graphic shows what the Overshoot Day would be if everyone lived like people from that country.


Australia is the third most wasteful in the world, using up a year's resources by 3 March.

You can find out your own personal footprint. How many Earths would we need if everyone lived like you?


If you'd like to reduce it, consider taking one of the pledges.
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Remember the series Years of Living Dangerously? (IF not, see my earlier posts about the series and the episode on the disbelieving pastor).

I recently found it at my local library. It's also available to watch on youtube and vimeo (if you're in the USA) or purchase on itunes.

Today I saw the episode 5 True Colours - following two US state governors.

It was stunning what a difference party politics makes to their ability to serve their people.


One moves his state forward on renewable energy and the jobs of the future. The other, despite his state being terribly hit by Hurricane Sandy, ignores climate change science. The science says this area will be increasingly hit by extreme weather events as climate change worsens. But because of his party's stance he continues to pour billions of dollars into rebuilding in the same disaster-prone area.

PS. The cover photo for the series is from this episode. That's actually the damage to someone's house.

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In 2018 my home state of Queensland will get container refunds. We will get money for the used bottles and cans we return for recycling.

Currently there is a trial 'Reverse Vending Machine' in operation (400 George Street Brisbane).

It's called reverse vending because it's the opposite of a normal machine. Instead of paying for an item, you return a used item and it pays you.

Here's video of me giving it a go.

video

At the moment the payment is replaced by a donation to a charity. So I donated my refunds to Clean Up Australia.

When the program starts in July 2018, the refund can be in the form of vouchers or something you can use.
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KeepCups are great. You can get a takeaway coffee without having to add wore waste to landfill.

It's even greater now that they have a Star Wars range.


It might be too late to save Alderaan, but it's not too late to save Earth.
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Here's another way to profit from your good actions. Keep Cups are reusable coffee cups specifically designed for takeaway coffees.

Many coffee shops give you a discount for using a reusable cup - even your own mug from home. After all, you're saving them money and helping the environment.

Responsible Cafes shows you where these shops are - so you can get your discount. Check the map for your closest option.


If your favourite coffee shop offers a discount for bringing your own cup, suggest they register on the website.

If they don't offer a discount, suggest they do. It's good for the planet but it also good for business to be listed on the site.

PS. The reason this is a big deal is because of the enormous waste of disposable coffee cups. This tram contains 50,00 coffee cups. Australia throws away a billion cups a year. That's 20,000 trams full. To put it another way, we would fill this tram every 30 minutes with our trashed coffee cups.

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In December 2012 I first blogged about the soft plastic recycling at Coles Supermarket (then a trial).

In all those years I've never seen it overflow so massively as today.


It's so exciting to see people recycling their soft plastics instead of sending them to landfill.

I'm guessing this was because of the publicity in the ABC series War on Waste.
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Sometimes I get feedback that doing things for "the environment" isn't really worth it. That human convenience is more important. But there are so many real human impacts of our high-emission high-waste low-efficiency living.

This is one example. Episode one of War on Waste showed the enormous food wastage that occurs before food even get to the shelves. For example millions of bananas get thrown out before a customer ever sees them. Meanwhile, Foodbank gives these stats on hunger - even if a wealthy country like Australia.

The last stat is probably the saddest.


Definitely food for thought (pun intended).
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