Australia Creates Largest Network of Marine Parks

Australia has taken a step in the right direction when it comes to protecting their natural environment. The country has announced that they’ll be creating the largest network of protected marine areas in the world. Fishing and drilling for non-renewable resources has been been banned inside the network.

The announcement of the network was made a week before more than 130 heads of state and government will gather in Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations’ sustainable development conference as part of global efforts to curb climate change, one of the biggest conferences in U.N. history.

New reserves will be established from the Perth Canyon in the southwest to Kangaroo Island off the southern coast, but the “jewel in the crown” will be the protection of the Coral Sea area which surrounds the Great Barrier Reef in the northeast, Environment Minister Tony Burke said on Thursday.

“The Coral Sea marine national park … combined with the Great Barrier Reef area, becomes the largest marine protected area in the world,” Burke said.

Read more here.

WikiLeaks Founder Awarded Peace Medal

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been awarded a peace medal from the Sydney Peace Foundation for the work that WikiLeaks has been up to. I’m sure that this is given symbolical to Assange but intended to thank everyone who has contributed to the great work happening at WikiLeaks.

The peace foundation presented Mr Assange a gold medal in recognition of his “exceptional courage in pursuit of human rights” at a ceremony in London on Tuesday.

It is only the fourth time in the organisation’s 14-year history that the prize for extraordinary achievement in promoting peace with justice has been given out.

Previous winners are Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Japanese Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda.

Foundation director Professor Stuart Rees said the award was to honour Mr Assange’s work in challenging official secrecy.

Read the rest of the story here.

Legalizing Prostitution Increases Health and Safety

Prostitution isn’t going away anytime soon (or ever) and as a result ought to ensure the safety of those involved in the field. In many places sex workers are abused and exploited and that’s not a good thing.

A new study from Australia found that no matter what the laws are around prostitution it will still occur; however, if it’s legalized than sex workers are healthier and safer!

Sex workers in Sydney, where adult prostitution is decriminalised and brothel locations are regulated through local planning laws, have access to the best-funded support program at $800,000 a year.

Sydney sex workers were also more likely to report regular contact with a health worker compared with those in other cities.

Sydney has about 200 brothels within 20 kilometres of the city centre, the research found, all operating legally – but many without planning permission.

Read the rest of the article.

Two Aussie Schools go Green

Australia suffers a lot of droughts so it’s really good to see that at least two schools are taking steps to ensure that their water consumption is responsible.

While no longer breaking news, the endeavours of students and staff at two different Australian schools still merits attention. One school went bottled water free, whilst another became what they believe is the world’s first Carbon Neutral School.

In the first instance, a student-led initiative at Monte Santʼ Angelo Mercy College, in North Sydney will see the school install six water fountains and bottle refill stations to provide the 1,100 students with filtered tap water, so the canteen need apparently no longer supply bottled water, with all its attendant environmental woes.

The other school Oakhill College,, also in Sydney at Castle Hill spent six months completing an environment audit of its 42 hectares of facilities. The school will buy carbon offsets, while it uses the next five years to continue along it’s existing path of energy and water efficiency programs to the point it no longer requires the offsets.

Read more at Treehugger.

Town Bans Bottled Water

In what is probably a first for our planet, a small town in Australia has banned the selling of bottled water. This is absolutely fantastic to see because bottle water is an asinine idea for the developed world. Most bottled water comes form the same source as municipal tap water then shipped around via fuel-burning vehicles.
Bottle water is a fantastic model of inefficiency so it’s good to see this news coming out of Australia

“Every bottle today was taken off the shelf and out of the fridges so you can only now buy refillable bottles in shops in Bundanoon,” Dee told AFP.

The tiny town, two hours south of Sydney, voted in July to ban bottled water after a drinks company moved to tap into a local aquifer for its bottled water business.

“In the process of the campaign against that the local people became educated about the environmental impact of bottled water,” said Dee.

“A local retailer came up with this idea of well why don’t we do something about that and actually stop selling the bottled water and it got a favourable reaction,” he said.

Dee said the 2,000-person town had made international headlines with their bid, which he hoped would spur communities across the world to action.

Keep reading.

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