Monthly Archives: May 2012

Namibrand Nature Reserve – Africa’s First International Dark Sky Reserve

How beautiful is this dark sky nature reserve… It’s inspiring that people are conserving all the myriad ways in which we view the world, and indeed the universe.

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Conservation is needed not just on the ground but above us in the sky. Namibia’s NamibRand Nature Reserve is one of Africa’s largest private nature reserves and has expanded its conservation role to include the preserving of the star filled sky above its famous dunes and mountains…

The efforts shown by NamibRand Nature Reserve have earned themselves high honors  as the International Dark-Sky Association have announced the NamibRand Reserve as the worlds newest International Dark Sky Reserve. The Executive Director of the International Dark Sky Association, Bob Parks explains:

“The night sky over the NamibRand Nature Reserve is exceptional, as are the efforts the reserve has taken to modifying its lighting for the sake of its wildlife and visitors”

Dr George Tucker, a retired professor of Physics from the USA identified the NamibRand as a potential Dark Sky Reserve said:

“Viewing the pristine night sky over the NamibRand is an unforgettable experience. Being…

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National Whale Day 2012 (Australia) – Saturday 02 June

I didn’t realise this was happening until almost too late! Time to go find out where my nearest whale-themed event will be… 

National Whale Day 2012 – Saturday 02 June

National Whale Day logo

Save the Date! IFAW’s fifth National Whale Day is on Saturday 02 June.

What is National Whale Day?

Launched in 2008 by IFAW, National Whale Day is a celebration of the whales and dolphins that migrate to our coastlines annually and Australia’s position as a world leader in whale conservation.

National Whale Day provides an opportunity to raise awreness of, and discsuss solutions to, the threats facing whales and their environment including commercial whaling, climate change, vessel strikes, noise pollution, marine debris and bycatch.

Since 2008 communities around Australia have joined in National Whale Day by holding events such as paddle outs, whale watch trips, talks, exhibitions, beach cleanups and performances.

National Whale Day 02 June 2012  

We are asking that people keep watch – you may just be treated to the show of a lifetime. But please keep your distance – there are regulations around how close you can get to whales and dolphins. These rules are in place to protect people as well as marine mammals and keep it down – both noise and speed should be kept to a minimum on the water when around whales.

Australians love water and if they can’t be in it, they want to be on it – in boats, on boards or jet skis. Recently we have seen a rise in incidents involving deliberate or accidental harrassment of whales and dolphins in our waters, and injuries from vessel strikes.The theme this year aims to encourage responsible behaviour on our waters around whales and dolphins by keeping watch . Why not use wind, wave or paddle powered craft, such as sail boats, sail boards, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, etc around your local coastline to celebrate the day?

Around National Whale Day, we will provide practical information and educational material to vessel owners and recreational water users so that they know how best to enjoy seeing these incredible creatures in the wild without disturbing them or breaching regulations. Event groups will be supported by IFAW with material, merchandise and messaging for the day.

How can you get involved? 

Humpback Icon Project (HIP) communities and councils around the country will be holding events and IFAW encourages anyone who loves whales and the water to participate.

Find out if your community is running an event (see map below), if not create one! Send in your details and we’ll register you. There is no registration fee and once registered , you will receive your National Whale Day kit – t-shirt, stickers, posters and media kit. All for free!

For more information or to register:

Rachel Kathriner at or on             02 9288 4973      

If you have previously taken part in National Whale Day and would like to participate again this year, please contact Rachel to register for 2012.

National Whale Day 2012 events

Wondering how else you can get involved in this year’s National Whale Day? Use the map below to find out where your nearest National Whale Day event is:

National Whale Day Events Map

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Inky fingers

Or, how to reuse your ink cartridges without getting dirty

Recycle for a greener planet

Recycle for a greener planet

It’s amazing how many people still don’t recycle.  I mean seriously, how difficult is it to separate out your plastic, aluminium, and paper from everyday waste?  It’s not a messy or dirty task; all you have to do is place it in a different bin for someone else to whisk away.  Plus you get to feel good about saving planetary resources at the same time.  Who doesn’t like to feel good about everyday things in life?

Sadly, the answer to that is too many people.

If, however, you are someone who does know the difference between ‘recycle’ and ‘chuck-it-in-a-landfill-to-destroy-the-environment’, you may find, like me, that it’s still difficult to be recycling conscious of everything.  Take printer cartridges, for example.  I’ve been doing a lot of printing recently.  Turning over the pages manually helps save paper, but what to do when your ink runs out? (Apart from loudly venting your annoyance, of course.)

  1. Throw away the cartridge, rush to the shops, and buy a new one for an exorbitant price because you just need to keep printing, right now.
  2. Keep hold of your cartridge, rush to the cartridge shop, and swap it for a reduced price refilled one because you just need to keep printing, right now.
  3. Keep hold of your cartridge, rush to the cartridge shop, and wait whilst they refill and clean it for you, for less than the cost of buying a new one.  Then rush home to keep printing.
  4. Rush to wherever it is you store your new cartridges, install one, and sigh with relief as you keep printing.  Then take your old cartridge along to a recycling point at your leisure.
  5. Rush online to order a new cartridge, preferably at a ridiculously low price from Asia, then wait by the mailbox for two weeks until delivery, then rush off to continue printing.  Forget about the old cartridge in the meantime.
  6. Cry.  Because you really wanted that [insert here] and have no means to do it.


My first reaction upon ink running out was number 1, quickly followed by number 6.  And a lot of loud venting of annoyance at the houseplant.  Given a few moments to breathe, however, and I turned to number 4.  I really don’t like paying a lot of money for things that you can buy So Cheaply online. And my print job could wait a bit, honestly.

Wait a minute. Where do these Mega Cheap cartridges come from?  How much oil and power and carbon emissions are used to produce them?  Who is benefiting?  Is it really worth the extra cents to produce another new cartridge when there are other means out there of producing my essential printing item?  Shouldn’t my recycling poster/Justin Bieber pinup be made with green ink, not dirty black?  (I’m sure even JB would prefer that. Maybe.)

  • It’s estimated that over 80% of used cartridges go straight to landfill.
  • Australians throw away more than 18 million printer cartridges per year.
  • Printer cartridges are made up of a complex combination of plastics, metals, foam, ink and toner. Throwing them away represents a waste of resources and contributes to the growing problem of electronic waste.
  • Material resources, water and energy (and therefore carbon emissions) are used to manufacture new printer cartridges.  Metals mined from the earth’s crust, plastics derived from petroleum.  These resources are finite – there are limited amounts of them that can be extracted.  The plastic in each new laser toner cartridge takes three and a half quarts (approx. 15.91 litres) of oil to produce, while each new inkjet cartridge requires 70 ml of oil.
  • Some kinds of toner dust contain hazardous materials.  Inkjet inks can also contain a range of chemicals that are harmful to the environment.  These materials pose no threat while they are contained within the cartridge.  But they can escape when cartridges are pulled apart in poorly managed refilling or recycling operations or when dumped cartridges start to deteriorate in landfill.  Toner dust is also extremely fine (5 – 15 microns), so it can easily leach from landfill into nearby waterways, ground water and ultimately the oceans.
  • Landfill is not a long term solution – it just leaves the problem for future generations to deal with.  Some cartridges can leak toner dust and residue ink in landfill, contributing to pollution. The plastics and metals are not readily biodegradable – a laser cartridge (more than 90% of cartridges thrown away are this type) can take up to 450 years to decompose in landfill. That’s long enough to forget who even Justin Bieber is.

Simple solution

Reuse or recycle your cartridges.  Reduce waste, save water and energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and make better use of our resources.

And the thing is, it’s so easy to reuse your old cartridges.  You can’t give them to your ordinary household recyclers because of all the different components.  But in Australia, Cartridge World can swap you a newly refilled ink cartridge for less than the price of buying a new one.  The main brands are stocked on shelf so you can just waltz in and give them your old cartridge to clean out and refill for the next guy. Some brands can be refilled while you wait.  If they can’t reuse your cartridge, it gets sent off to be recycled.

If you’d rather have new ink, but want to recycle, you can drop off your cartridges at a recycling point. Now that sounds like effort…  But it’s not, honestly.  The Cartridges 4 Planet Ark program has recycled over 18 million printer cartridges so far, and is aiming to reach 20 million by 2013.  You can drop your cartridges into all Officeworks and JB Hi-Fi stores, and at participating Australia Post, Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, Tandy and The Good Guys outlets.  Pretty convenient.

Plus – and here’s my favourite bit – recycling is free.  In the Planet Ark program, leading cartridge brands pay for the running costs including collection, transport, sorting and recycling.  Businesses actually being environmentally responsible, well that’s pretty cool.

But if you want to get your hands dirty..

Well, that’s OK too.  Why not get an ink cartridge refill kit?  Do it yourself, kind of thing.  But don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Sometimes these things are best left to the professionals.

My houseplant can attest to that.

Turn your black printer cartridges green. Cartridge World Ad.
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