On gas and hot air

News from the front desk: Five or six years ago the notion of cheap and plentiful gas available to our homes and offices might have been something to fear for its impact on climate and our greenhouse gas emissions.

On why this might be a great time for pause and thought around our next move

News from the front desk Issue 480: Politicians around the country are gearing up to pull the lever on big infrastructure projects to boost the economy. NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance labelled a second wave of mega transport projects a “silver bullet” to kickstart the NSW economy. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the state would need […]

On the “Cover of Covid” in WA and the choice of legacy for our PM in Canberra  

News from the front desk Issue No 479: Something interesting came up in our second TFE Live event on Wednesday with Davina Rooney, chief executive of the Green Building Council of Australia, and Danni Hunter, CEO of the Urban Development Institute of Australia Victoria. A new National Construction Code will come into effect on Friday, […]

On so many ways to not waste a good crisis

News from the front desk No 478: There’s no shortage of optimistic commentary coming out urging us not to waste this crisis. Suddenly, we have hours to kill in self isolation to reconsider existing economic, environmental and social policy, and ponder over better options. With any luck, we’ll seize the opportunity to embark on economic […]

On the facility managers fighting COVID-19 behind the scenes

News from the front desk Issue 476: Just a few months ago, the notion that large swathes of Australia’s building stock would be empty and in “hibernation” was unimaginable. As was the idea that COVID-19 might be enough to keep some people away from crowded buildings indefinitely.

On our new channels and plans to beat this thing

News from the front desk Issue 475: In all of history, the great hardships and challenges have yielded in their wake the most creative periods for humanity.

On changing our DNA

Looks like this virus has already rearranged our DNA. Acts of extreme kindness are appearing where before there was only cold-hearted neoliberalism.

On construction, energy, climate damage and the new radical transparency

News from the front desk: Issue 473: Aren’t we getting intimate with each other? Zoom meetings and briefings from the home studio, kitchen table or bedroom. Hair a tad askew, just in from a walk or a run in the rain. Apparently, it’s called radical transparency. That’ll bring us all down to earth. In case […]

On a walk in the park, and a peek into turmoil

News from the front desk Issue 471: If you’re feeling discombobulated by the crazy mental contagion of our world right now try this for some unsolicited advice: a good night’s sleep, an early morning walk in the sun, a bit of nature.

On why not everyone is worried about toilet paper

With three of the four horsemen of the apocalypse making their rounds in recent months, in Australia at least, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s all a bit bleak. And uncomfortable. And a tad scary.

On architects, engineers and the new denialists who don’t want rehab

News from the front desk Issue 469: From local councils, state governments and the architecture and engineering professions, there is a new sense of urgent momentum for change. This week The Fifth Estate called into Melbourne and had meetings with a few well placed people. One lot said to speak to the City of Melbourne; […]

On the determination to find blue skies

News from the front desk, issue 468: The year started as a beast. It’s still a beast but it’s now creating a fury roaring in another direction, ours.

On Brisbane’s medium density dilemma and a council election

News from the front desk, issue 467: There’s an election looming for the Brisbane City Council on 28 March and urban planning looks like shaping up as a key issue that could sway the result.

On why Adam Bandt is a man for the times

News from the front desk on Friday (part II) – Richard Di Natale was right for the times; Adam Bandt is right for now. Newscorp calls Bandt the Greens “attack dog”.

On why joined up thinking isn’t mumbo-jumbo, it’s science

Collective eyerolls are the order of the day in recent weeks, as we watch governments claiming emissions targets will be met while also approving expansion of emissions-producing industries. It’s like the various moving parts of policy and research just don’t connect even when they are in the same departmental body.

On why Jamie Dimon is in our sights

News from the front desk, issue 464: Right now, while government twiddles its thumbs and minsters glance constantly at their watches waiting for the next holiday, the private sector is doing what the ideology of small government/big privatised economy meant it to do – taking charge and declaring war on carbon. The speed of change is […]

On our new year of 2020 vision

UPDATED 21 Dec 19: News from the front desk, issue 462:  If 2020 signifies perfect vision then it could be a brilliant irony that in the most populated capital of Australia the air’s been thick with smoke and pollutants and visibility ultra low. On the other hand it could be a last loud warning. After […]

On why this is your time Scott Morrison

News from the front desk, issue 461: Dear PM Scott Morrison, this is your time. Your chance to shine and step up to the winners’ podium on the global stage, the number 1 spot at the political Olympics. The spot that that one of your predecessors Kevin Rudd was about to ascend when he embarrassingly stumbled […]

On why we don’t have to follow our political leaders

Experts report we’ve had the hottest decade since records began. Large tracts of the country are in flames with ash now contaminating Sydney’s main water storage at Warragamba Dam.

On why Steve Bracks is opening a project in Castlemaine

News from the front desk, issue 460: With so much bad and shady news around, it’s pretty good being on the side of an editorial desk that gets a steady stream of fabulous stories about heroes, innovators and pioneers to highlight to our readers. First this week came Willow’s story on an amazing builder at […]

On why it’s no time to be quiet

The mood of the nation is as volatile as the landscape this week, as science and ideology collide during the bushfire emergency.

On how to win: ask these three women

If you want to know how to lead a strong campaign on climate and sustainability ask the three women who fronted the C40 Women4Climate panel at a Sydney Town Hall dinner the other night, in a room full of women either already making a huge impact or well on the way.

On green tape or whatever it takes – bring it on

News from the front desk 459: While koalas burn alive in the Port Macquarie bushfires that are sending smoke as far as Sydney, farms and farmers are dying, rivers are running dry, and topsoil is blowing away, the federal government looks to be preparing to further eviscerate sustainability policy.

On what we can learn from our First Peoples

Among the most inspirational things we’ve come across this year was a book by Indigenous academic Tyson Yunkaporta, released a few weeks ago.

On creative accounting and why it’s always worth looking under the hood

Think we’re running out of time to save the world from catastrophic warming? Well, it seems much of the corporate world might have given up on the tight timeline needed to meet the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels.

On why Mobbs is just part of the chain reaction

News from the front desk 455: Michael Mobbs, one of Sydney’s most established sustainability gurus looks like he’s thrown in the towel on hope. He might not be throwing himself down on the streets as the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters are, but what he is doing could be more subversive.

On why we could probably do without the feds altogether

News from the front desk 455: There have long been voices suggesting that three levels of government in Australia is simply impractical. But while state governments are often targeted for not doing enough, it’s the federal government that’s falling short on many key agenda items.