Tag Archives: power

Summer storms are as Aussie as meat pies and blow flies, and they are upon us again, nation wide. Along with our usual summer storms, most of Australia is now also experiencing some kind of extreme weather changes. Most of Qld and a lot of Victoria are on the tail end of massive floods. Some states have had bushfires, not helped by the rise in temperatures recently. Perth was recently threatened by a cyclone, and as I type this, north Qld braces for a massive category 5 cyclone, stronger than Australia has experienced before.

This is an important time for all Aussies across Australia to prepare for adverse weather conditions to avoid and minimize danger and damage to homes and businesses. Please read and follow the info and advice below.

Before storms and natural disasters:

  • Have an emergency kit ready with a torch, battery-operated radio, spare batteries, first-aid kit, waterproof bags, important documents, bottled of fresh water and possibly some waterproof food supplies.
  • Clear your gutters and drainpipes of leaf litter and debris.
  • Trim overhanging tree branches. NEVER attempt to trim trees near powerlines.
  • Put away and secure loose items such as outdoor furniture, tools and toys.
  • Move vehicles under cover and away from trees.
  • Have access to a phone that doesn’t require mains electricity.
  • Secure and protect your pets inside and preferably with you or a family member.
  • Always follow the directions of professional rescue and other services.
  • Find out support info and advice specific to your street, suburb, town, city, state or particular emergency.

During and after storms and natural disasters:

  • Seek shelter indoors. NEVER under trees.
  • Secure pets indoors.
  • If power is out, turn off and unplug all electrical items.
  • Listen to your battery-powered radio for info, advice and updates.
  • Do not use wet or damp electrical items for any reason.
  • Stay away from fallen powerlines, trees and potential falling things.
  • Always follow the directions of professional rescue and other services.
  • Find out support info and advice specific to your street, suburb, town, city, state or particular emergency.

Recovery efforts:

  • If your home or business was affected by flood or water, always have an electrician check before turning your power back on.
  • Keep some canned food and fresh bottled water in your home or business.
  • Donate canned food to recommended centres for families and animals affected by disasters.
  • Register with recommended organizations if you need help or rescue.
  • Register with recommended organizations to help those in need.
  • Register with recommended organization to help or foster pets and animals affected by disasters. DO NOT handle wildlife, but do contact appropriate services for rescue and recovery.
  • If you still have sandbags, HANG ON TO THEM, as storms and disasters may not be over.
  • Visit www.brisbane.qld.gov.au or free call 07 3403 8888 for fact sheets on floods and natural disasters.

The green market is now huge and everyone’s trying to cash in on planet-friendly consumers. As we move into the ‘eco age’, we’re being saturated with increasing numbers of ‘green choices’ in products and services, and while many of these may be great for the planet, they may not all be great choices for uneducated consumers. Many products and services now claim to be eco-friendly, environmentally- friendly, eco-smart, green and Earth-friendly, but like fat/sugar/salt-free, lite and diet labels for food, similar green labels can be and are increasingly misleading and inaccurate.

So how do we know if something is really ‘green’ or not? Here’s a few tips:

1. Look for accredited and credible ‘eco labels’ – the product or service you’re buying must have passed an established, recognised system of accreditation and certification standards, as is the case with ‘certified organic’ these days, for example.

2. Don’t expect perfection. Remember that every single product or service you choose has some impact on the environment, however small. There are few totally 100% environmentally-friendly things on earth, if any. In the case of choosing such goods and services, ‘the lesser of two (or more) evils’ is the better choice. Choose things that have the least impact on the environment.

3. Get to know the key eco-labelling organisations, logos and labels in your country, state and industry, so you can make more informed choices.

Eco Labels, Logos and Standards we should all know about:

  • The Energy Rating label is probably the most familiar in Australian homes and shows us how energy-efficient large electrical appliances are. This star rating has from 1 to 6 stars, with the more stars, the more eco-friendly the appliance is. Visit www.energyrating.gov.au for more info.
  • The Energy Star system is the international standard for energy-efficiency for home entertainment systems and office equipment. It reduces energy output by switching products to ‘sleep mode’ when not in use, and also reduces standby power use. Standby power costs Australians around $500 million and produces five megatonnes of greenhouse gas emission per year. Visit www.energystar.gov.au for more info.
  • Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme (WELS) works like the energy-efficiency rating scheme. This 6 star rating system helps us compare water efficient products, including taps, showerheads, dishwashers, toilets and more. The WELS label also indicates water consumption and flow. Visit www.waterrating.gov.au for more info.
  • Smart Approval Watermark is a national labelling program to help save outdoor water, and only products that offer a real, proven water saving solution are passed by an expert panel. Products with this label mean it really will save you water. Visit www.smartwatermark.org for more info.
  • The Australian Certified Organic logo means that a product is 100% organic. It is a fully owned subsidiary of the Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA). For more info visit www.australianorganic.com.au
  • Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International protects the rights and secures better trading conditions for workers and producers in small communities worldwide, and is managed by Fairtrade Labelling Australia and New Zealand. Visit www.fairtrade.net or www.fairtrade.com.au for more info.
  • Greenhouse Friendly is a government initiative launched in 2001. This logo means that a product or service has made a commitment to actively reduce its GHG emissions through an approved GHG reduction project. Visit www.climatechange.gov.au/greenhousefriendly/about.html for more info.
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) ensures timber has not been sourced from logging operations that destroy habitat and endanger any species. They are an independent, not-for-profit, international organisation.
  • International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is the largest developer and publisher of international standards in the world. Their network covers national standards in 160 countries, including Australia. One of its roles is to label products based on their overall environmental preferability, based on multiple criteria, such as life cycle considerations. For more info visit www.iso.org
  • Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) administers the Australian Environmental Certification Program. This is an environmental labelling and evaluation service which aims to minimise the impact of products on the environment during their lifespan and beyond. Visit www.geca.org.au/gec/index.html for more info.