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« Ignorance Running Rampant | Main | The Stars Align for Employee Free Choice Act »

Seeing 'Green' in Australia

By Lisa Attrill
May 14, 2009

In my initial entry on Everyday Citizen, my goal was to use my experiences while in Australia for the next three months to write from an American perspective about the environmental, social and animal welfare issues in Australia. While starting to write about "Green Energy" advances in Australia I found there to be too much information to compile in one single article. I ask your indulgence while I try to compartmentalize the various advances in this area.

My first article will be on "Green" Awareness and how little I actually realized that I knew about this issue when faced with the plethora of information available. I was amazed at the advances in "Green" construction and consumer tips that are occurring in the United States and elsewhere. I hope you enjoy this article as much as I have enjoyed researching and writing about it.

Having arrived in Australia merely two weeks ago, my goal was to communicate about the advances in "green energy" in the country and worldwide. My first observation was how many homes utilized outdoor clothes lines instead of clothes dryers and how many people actually didn't have or use dish washing machines. I knew that there had to be a story there about how the Austrian citizenry is energy efficient. However, that said, once I started my research I realized how undereducated I was about the Green Movement.

For starters, I was unfamiliar with Green Cross International which was founded by former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev in April of 1993 and is dedicated to fostering a global values shift towards a sustainable and secure future through environmental protection, poverty reduction and peace/security worldwide. With the inclusion of the founding countries - Japan, The Netherlands, the Russian Federation, Switzerland and the United States - there are now 31 countries that are members including Africa and the Middle East, Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean, and North America.

In the United States, the Globan Green USA is the only national environmental non-profit headquartered in Southern California with offices in New Orleans, Washington DC, and New York. The USA initiative is to create green buildings and cities and thus affect global climate change. Many Americans have heard about the Holy Cross Project Green Cross in the United States (supported by Brad Pitt, Salma Hayek, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Orlando Bloom and major funding sponsorship by The Home Depot). This project has taken cataclysmic events such as Hurricane Katrina (which destroyed over 50,000 homes) and have rebuilt areas such as New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in a continuing effort to make affordable green housing and an impact on schools. Other efforts in the United States include the rebuilding of Greensburg, Kansas, following a tornado on May 4, 2007, which wiped out the town, using a “green” footprint. Their website, provides information on numerous initiatives including "Green Building" for cities and schools, Climate Solutions, Security and Sustainability, Water and even a Green Building Resource Center.

Green Cross Australia has taken the February 2009 massive bush wildfires that ravaged areas of Victoria killing 210 and injuring 500 people, and destroying 2,000 homes and 3,500 structures (leaving 7,500 people homeless) and have developed project “Rebuild Green”. This initiative will rebuild homes, schools and businesses with sustainable energy. Their website also educates about Global Warming, Extreme Weather,a Solar future and preparing for rising Sea Levels. It also has a great video featuring Stu whose house is built from recycled materials and utilizes solar energy, recycled rain water, talking to two young girls about energy efficiency. I was also impressed to find that the world's largest environmental volunteer nonprofit organization is in Australia called the Earthwatch Institute in Melbourne.

While this is my first story on the environmental sustainability in Australia, expect many more posts in the future as I explore the country and its people.

Comments (2)

Angelo Lopez Author Profile Page:

Great post Lisa. I didn't know anything about Green Cross International until your post. It's great how they take catastrophes like the Katrina hurricanes and the Victoria brushfires and used them for opportunities to educate and develope environmentally conscious communities.

Lisa Reiss Author Profile Page:

Angelo: Thank you for your comments about my post - I would love other authors to comment as well. I just read your post on the founding fathers and slavery - great post!

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