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Tag Archives | environment

Ethical fashion blogs: the best around


Photo credit: Dave Gingrich (Flickr)


Who hasn’t heard something about ethical fashion one day, only to have it contradicted by another source the next day? There’s a wealth of blogs about ethical fashion on the web, but which are the best and most trustworthy? Jess Noble has you covered. 

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There’s no need to krill for an ethical source of omega-3


Photo credit: Chad Rosenthal (Flickr)


Omega-3 oils are among the most vaunted of foodstuffs, and krill – tiny prawn-like creatures – are a popular source of them. But krill are a vital part of marine ecosystems, and their numbers are decreasing. Alix Foster Vander Elst knows how to get the good oil without harming the environment. Alix works for Greenpeace, but she has prepared this article as a volunteer in her personal capacity. The views expressed in this piece are her own, and do not necessarily represent those of Greenpeace.  Continue Reading →

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Banking on the Reef


Photo credit: Paul Toogood (Flickr)


Adani’s Carmichael coalmine would be disastrous for the Great Barrier Reef, but the company needs the support of banks, which in turn need our support. Alix Foster Vander Elst gives you the lowdown and lets you know how people power can help. Alix works for Greenpeace, but she has prepared this article as a volunteer in her personal capacity. The views expressed in this piece are her own, and do not necessarily represent those of Greenpeace. 

For anyone concerned about Australia’s natural environment, 2015 was the year of the Great Barrier Reef. Adani (the company wanting to build a huge coal mine next to our Reef) and the government fought to push forward a project that will invariably damage the Reef. The Australian people fought back even harder.

What happened?

In a whirlwind few months:

  • the government announced a plan for reef protection, which the Australian Conservation Foundation said did not take into account the mine’s effects on the Reef
  • UNESCO decided the plan was okay-ish but they’ll be checking on its progress in 18 months
  • a legal challenge resulted in environment minister Greg Hunt’s approval for the coalmine being thrown out (all thanks to a skink and a snake!)
  • traditional owners spoke up about the horrific effects the mine would have on their land
  • and, crucially, more banks announced they won’t fund the coal mine.

Why is that last point crucial? Well, building the mine will take a lot of money. Adani doesn’t have this kind of cash, so it will need to borrow it. The company could borrow from an international bank but, according to Market Forces, it will also almost certainly need the involvement of an Aussie bank.

So how do Australia’s big banks rate when it comes to the Reef?

  • NAB – have said they will not fund the mine 🙂
  • The Commonwealth Bank – pulled out of its advisory role but hasn’t explicitly said it won’t fund it 😕
  • Westpac – recently announced it won’t be funding projects that will contribute to Earth’s temperature warming above 2°C. But the bank hasn’t explicitly ruled out funding this mine 😕
  • ANZ –made a vague commitment like Westpac’s, but it’s even less clear 🙁

Okay, so what can I do about it?

Did you know that the big four have lent $36.7 billion to fossil fuel projects in Australia since 2008? That’s money that was lent to the banks by the vast majority of Australians. Here’s how you can protect the Great Barrier Reef with your banking choices:

  1. Check how your bank rates. Use Market Forces’s handy comparison table.
  2. Change banks. Use Market Forces’s How to Switch Banks and Make it Count.
  3. Tell your bank what you think! Banks really do care what their customers think of them (especially if you’re threatening to leave). When people leave in big numbers, and the bank knows it’s because of a specific project, it makes them sit up!

Some other great resources to help you bank ethically are, and So go on – get informed, make some noise and help protect our Reef!

For more ideas from Otter about how and why you can use your money to change the world, you might like to check out our previous articles on superannuation, Superannuation: one of your biggest opportunities to change the world, and the follow-up, Superannuation: still one of your biggest opportunities to change the world.

Photo credit: Paul Toogood cc. This image was not modified.

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Six must-see documentaries about sustainability and the environment

6 must-see documentaries

Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth made waves around the world when it burst onto screens in 2006. It won the 2007 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature and spurred the creation of non-profit organisation Climate Reality Project, which unites people around the world to share the message of climate change.

Film is a powerful medium to share important messages about the environment, sustainability and human or animal rights. Here are six documentaries that turn the spotlight on important environmental and ethical issues facing us today. Continue Reading →

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