The Technology Show

The Technology Show is a half hour podcast aimed at highlighting the latest in clean tech breakthroughs, climate science, and renewable energy solutions. It is recorded weekly at 3CR radio in Melbourne on Friday Morning at 8:30 am and syndicated around Australia on the community radio network.
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Climate Politics
Climate Science
Concentrated Solar Thermal
Commercial Energy Efficiency
Energy Storage
Electric Vehicles
Geothermal Energy
Grid Management
Passive Solar Design
Residential Energy Efficiency
Solar Photo Voltaic
Sustainable Urban Design
Transport
Wave Energy
Wind Energy

Brendan Condon

Positive moves towards a sustainable society

Brendan Condon is Managing Director and co-founder of Australian Ecosystems, an integrated company specialising in ecological land restoration. He is also Director at The Cape sustainable housing project and Biofilta Stormwater Solutions

Brendan Condon believes we have been "sitting on our hands" regarding matters relating to climate change for too long and ignoring the urgent need for a serious vision for the future. Who could argue with that? Certainly the P.M. would agree that this is an "exciting time"  but they would have amazingly different paths. Brendan has chosen to develop the means of capturing and re-using the storm water that we see flowing down our gutters carrying all the rubbish into the Bay, instead to capture the pollution by means of a plant filtering system. One of the largest of these systems of returning and re-using this water is in the Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne.

Another of his areas of challenge and developed expertise is the development of good design in sustainable housing (e.g. The Cape Paterson sustainable housing project). He points out that apart from environmental grounds there are marked improvements economically with the rise in the price of gas coupled with the drop in the price of solar.

Other projects of interest include the development of vertical and horizontal gardens useful for city dwellers for urban food production, community gardens, autonomous electric vehicles (probable in the next decade), when one can read a book on the way to work!

All this should be of interest to anyone planning a home, living in the city or merely caring about the importance of food and water and waste management for the present and the future.  

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Dr Stephen Bygrave

Dr Stephen Bygrave

Dr Stephen Bygrave on "Empowering Local Communities" 

BZE radio's Laura, Kay and Michael talked to Dr Stephen Bygrave, CEO Beyond Zero Emissions, who described Australia as a "solar paradise" and rated as third globally on the availability of renewable resources but of course rated most extreme when it comes to emissions per capita. Yet as Stephen says the coal industry is "static" and the COALition is "stuck in the old ways". 

This writer is often inclined to feel depressed at the criminal lack of progress and disinterest displayed in the development of renewables so Stephen feels like a breath of fresh air - somewhat equivalent to that of Tasmanian air being sold to China in tins! Travelling widely it seems, Stephen's plans include developing blueprints for  change  across different states and sectors. Addressing the welcome drop in the cost of batteries he says not to forget the importance of agricultural emissions frequently not so recognised, but no less important than renewables (which he described as "more sexy"). The agricultural sector of course includes land use, land clearing, production and wastage of food, water, transport etc. all of which mainly driven by local communities as it seems are most such progressive movements.

On closing Michael mentioned the Newcastle demonstration. which was held the previous weekend where they were watching some of the coal ships depart and estimating each ship to be the equivalent to 100, 000 cars on the road!  So much for Adani v the Great Barrier Reef!

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Dr Euan Ritchie concerning biodiversity

Dr Euan Ritchie joined the BZE radio team, speaking about the need to recognise we have a biodiversity crisis in Australia. Over the years we have lost 30 of our mammal species.We invest very little in our natural environment and there are many reasons for this:

-The government (and people) do not realise the economic value of nature e.g, every dollar spent on management can equal $75 that can be recouped on tourism.

-Those in government departments, who have the required knowledge are often gagged (e.g. alpine grazing) and therefore funding can be threatened to be withdrawn

-Short election cycles and vested interests and governments which are not practised at long term decisions

-Population moves from country to city so then people do not have a daily experience of nature

What to do: If we have open spaces this can help to reduce stress (and sometimes then reduce crime) and improve health. Perhaps excessive population growth plays a part as we live on a finite planet but it is more important to recognise and be aware of reducing our per capita consumption and not to live beyond our means. The Greens are pivotal but there is a need for cooperation between parties so there is a national focus rather than merely political.

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

Fire safety in solar PV installations

BZE radio is joined by Alessandra Chiaramonte (Alex), Austin Smith & Zachary Hood  - an university student research team from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in the US. They have recently completed a report on the effectiveness of DC isolators for fire safety in solar PV installations in Australia, in collaboration with The Alternative Technology Association (ATA).

Prof Kate Auty: Environment IS us

Professor Kate Auty, new Commissioner for Sustainability and Environment brings a wealth of knowledge and experience on Arts/Law, Environmental Science and Aboriginal Affairs. She enumerates similarities between these main areas. "Environment IS us" and climate change is pivotal to everything including water, transport, energy, bio-diversity etc. But leadership (seriously lacking) is important, not that of Napthine for example, who used the term "climate variability" which insinuates that climate change is a natural phenomenon that will right itself.  There is need for leadership such as demonstrated by Cathy McGowan in Indi who has shown a welcome propensity to listening and communicating, and one is reminded of the present Labor initiative such as the old-fashioned town hall meetings etc.

Kate tells us, our present ecological footprint is "outrageous" and 3 times the world average. We need more worlds! (Having a timley interview with the BZE radio team) the 22nd of April is also date for ratifying Paris agreements and Greg Hunt is participating (this accompanied by cynical laughter in the background by BZE interviewers present). 

Despite all this Kate says people should not despair, that BZE is a "standout organisation" and she enumerated some positive grassroots initiatives. We must look to the future with a new approach. One is reminded of Tim Flannery's comment that stress needs to be put now on adaptation rather than on mitigation.  

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

Dr Sara Bice talks social licence

Need for understandable data on increasing prevalence of unconventional gas and its impact on sedimentary basins

The BZE team talks to Dr Sara Bice with a history of journalism, sociology and now research fellow at Melbourne School of Government, University of Melbourne. 

Dr Sara Bice spoke of the need to create a regulatory basis and need for management of underground resources considering sedimentary basins comprise to a great extent  Australia's primary energy and water for agriculture and general rural population needs - in particular relating to CSG. This will have major effects on environmental economy and communities.  There is of course a need for a baseline for the effects of CSG and fracking in particular and with a moratorium such as that in Victoria.  The growth in CSG wells in Queensland alone has amounted to possibly 40,000 from 3000 in 2003! There is in particular a need for a better connection between University research, industry and policy makers and for the use of social media to provide a strong platform and despite for example, AGL giving the reasons for withdrawal as being financial with no mention relating to the power of protests. Reference to  AGL and "the license to operate" was also made by Green's Jeremy Buckingham. Is "social license" controlled by companies?

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

Coal seam gas debate is more than hot air: Did community opposition have a role in AGL’s decision to quit exploration of natural gas?

The Sustainable Sensibility - Blog by Sara Bice

Sara Bice on The Conversation

Do mining companies have a "social licence" to operate?

Dr Sara Bice Awarded Research Fellowship

Alexander Greig - Architect Green Magic Homes

Image result for green magic homes nz jpg

Beyond Zero speaks to Alexander Greig, Architect in New Zealand and Australasian dealer for Green Magic Homes. This technology provides arched structures made of fiber reinforced polymer modular components to build earth-sheltered green homes.

Margaret Blakers OAM

Beyond Zero speaks to Margaret Blakers, the Canberra-based Convener of the Global Greens. Margaret is a passionate Environmentalist and Political adviser. In 2016 Margaret was awarded the Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia for service to conservation and the environment.

Mark Watts C40

Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group in London, joins us on his recent visit to Australia. His C40 network supports cities to share knowledge and drive measurable and sustainable action on climate change.