Feb 11

Local farmers drive inter-generational sustainability

Two hundred and seventy three solar panels were last month installed at Jaques Coffee Plantation near Mareeba. Rob Jaques and his brother Jason who manage this successful coffee farm, reckon the 500kW produced would be enough to power 25 houses.

The Jaques are going to use the panels to power their farm and irrigate the 85,000 trees that currently produce up to 170,000 tonnes of coffee a year.  “We wanted to turn to green power, solar seemed like the best option”…the solar power generated [is] already pumping electricity back into the grid.

The Jaques’ green credentials have extended into biofuels and planting trees.  The family has also planted 2000 pangamia pinata bio-diesel trees, each tree (after four years) yields up to 40 litres of bio-diesel a year,  and thousands of African mahogany and sandalwood trees which will generate the potential for carbon credits as well as producing the highly prized timber and sandalwood oil.

Feb 11

Meeting demand for seafood

Working at the Northern Fisheries Centre in Cairns, Dr. Clive Jones and his team from DEEDI, have successfully bred rock lobster.

The world’s first commercial rock lobster hatchery could see the region produce one million rock lobsters a year.  State Government is working with Harvest Capital Partners to raise the $12.8million necessary to make this a reality.

Now that’s innovation.

(Source:  Weekend Post Dec 2011 )

Feb 11


Businessmen Markus Huwener and former Allco principal Chris West believe biomass warrants just as much attention as wind farms and solar.  Huwener a former investment banker says biomass has one big advantage over wind and solar and the two men are working together to establish the world’s first co-ordinated biomass supply chain.

“Biomass, geothermal and hydropower are the only renewable energy technologies that can be relied upon 24/7.”    Now it is a question of reliability of supply.  Numerous power stations around the world now run permanently on a combination of coal and biomass pellets.

Classified as carbon neutral and renewable the biomass pellets are made from timber offcuts, rice husks, and sugar and bamboo waste.   (Source O’Reilly TWA, January14-15, 2012).

While Australia’s Clean Energy Bill will create the basis for a carbon trading system the more substantial gain is forecast to be in carbon farming  (link to Terrain NRM … trees, trees and more trees).

Continue reading

Feb 10

China – from emerging power to full superpower

China’s twelfth 5 year plan, forecasts 2015 as the year China will have the world’s largest population, largest greenhouse emissions, largest army and potentially the world’s largest economy.  For three decades China’s economic formula has been – produce ultra cheap manufactured goods, export them globally and reinvest the proceeds back into the industrial sector to build more rail, ports, factories and skyscrapers. China has recently lent enormous sums to the west including $1.1 trillion to the American government.

Disaffected Chinese workers launched a wave of industrial action last year forcing large employers like Honda to grant pay rises of around 25%.  In March 2011  China’s environment minister Zhou Shengxian, said “the exhaustion of resources and the deterioration of the environment have become serious bottlenecks constraining economic and social development.”

By turning the current economic model on its head (Charlton A., The Monthly June 2011) China’s new plan seeks to dramatically lift wages in the manufacturing sector, shift ten of millions of workers to higher paid service industries and refocus the economy on supplying the domestic market. Continue reading

Jan 06

2012 another challenging year

It is time to reflect on the year gone and the year ahead.

We do live in a privileged society in Australia – it’s a beautiful country.

I am looking forward to the establishment of the new cultural precinct in Cairns and the redevelopment of Shed No. 2 next to the Cruise Liner Terminal and the ‘open space’ that has been earmarked for community.

This past festive season has been much about community – community in family, community in friends, community in thought, community period.

Cairns is about to change from a tourist town to a more sophisticated city.

Discoveries are happening as we speak in the health sector which augur well for innovation in pharmaceutical benefits derived from our regional ecology.

We are becoming more ‘green’ with the Tablelands new Agri-science hub set to become a leader in tropical science and training and JCU’s Bachelor of Sustainability drawing international students to the region.

JCU is also building the Cairns Institute – one of its research areas will be social inclusion, more on that in another blog, but all the activity is linked to sustainability and there is activity happening in Cairns and the region, slow though it is to move.

Lastly I am glad that Australia has stepped up to the mark with a carbon tax and now China…whatever China’s agenda, setting a carbon price signals environmental concerns.

China’s pricing carbon at $1.59 per tonne

A global economy based on consumerism was inevitably going to fail.  We need to concentrate on survival, water, food and sharing.

Happy New Year.

Dec 03


EBC-46 a new cancer drug derived from the rainforest blushwood tree is close to human trials. Worth billions if successful this new cancer drug has been developed by EcoBiotics, a Tableland based company in Far North Queensland.  The drug has been tested treating tumours in cats, dogs and horses, in some cases the cancerous tumours disappeared in five to seven days. Watch this space.  (Source: Tony Stickley tcp.newsltd.com.au.)

Oct 26

New website

At last working on new website,  with focus on social media/marketing.

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