environmental business at SWF + UWRF

Final instalment of Stephanie goes to UWRF + SWF! Today we’re talking environmental business, featuring activism, identity and the illegal wildlife trade; and sadly we’re not talking sand piracy.

Continue reading “environmental business at SWF + UWRF”

linkspam of the nation

The Time Everyone “Corrected” the World’s Smartest Woman, aka No Award supports misandry, and this article just gives us more evidence. Includes bonus statistics.

Speaking of misandry, The Toast retells The Little Mermaid, and it’s perfect.

MRA tweets during the qanda about domestic violence. Includes grossness.

On Ikea in Fortune:

One way Ikea researchers get around this is by taking a firsthand look themselves. The company frequently does home visits and—in a practice that blends research with reality TV—will even send an anthropologist to live in a volunteer’s abode. Ikea recently put up cameras in people’s homes in Stockholm, Milan, New York, and Shenzhen, China, to better understand how people use their sofas. What did they learn? “They do all kinds of things except sitting and watching TV,” Ydholm says. The Ikea sleuths found that in Shenzhen, most of the subjects sat on the floor using the sofas as a backrest. “I can tell you seriously we for sure have not designed our sofas according to people sitting on the floor and using a sofa like that,” says Ydholm.

Aside from the TERRIBLE turns of phrase (one should never use the term ‘meatballs out’ to describe the Indian market. INDIA.) this is a great article that speaks to many of Steph’s interests, primarily capitalism and regional difference.

sharks from support our sharks
sharks from support our sharks

Rap duo Coda Conduct take on Queanbeyan.

Steph laughed her way through this entire article: Karl Ove Knausgaard Is The World’s Worst Travel Writer. Steph loves travel writing, but hates many travel writers because they’re usually white people exploring exotic locations and learning about themselves on a backdrop of brown people. Good times. This is like everything that’s terrible about travel writing, but a non-North American travelling around North America, and so great. So funny.

Relatedish: ‘Africa’, a celebrity must have. On celebrity charity tourism and the white saviour complex.

Australian researchers have printed a 3D jet engine, GENIUS and also AWESOME.

Are there Black people in Australia, by Natasha Guantai at Overland. Great piece looking at blackness and immigration and assumptions and Australia, with some great conversations in the comments (and also some terrible ones, of course).

At ABC Science, 8 more things you should know about great white sharks.

Great whites don’t only rely on their sight for tracking prey. Like all sharks, they have special receptor pores under their noses (ampullae of Lorenzini) that detect the extremely tiny electric fields surrounding all living creatures.


Chinese Feminists have been in detention for 2 weeks, and not charged with any crimes, and basically being detained because they’re prominent feminists, and it is NOT ON. Two good articles: At China Law & Policy; at Foreign Policy.

fatberg update

No Award, we are so pleased to be able to bring you a fatberg update. Not actually an Australian fatberg update! Sadly. But a global fatberg update.

fatberg potential
fatberg potential

 Wet Wipes Box Says Flush. New York’s Sewer System Says Don’t. It was with GREAT DELIGHT that No Award read this article in the NYT yesterday morning. Just because it’s specific to the New York sewer system, don’t disregard it, though! Quartz has some extra deets about the impact of wet wipes. Steph, for example, didn’t realise that the culprits aren’t parents flushing baby wipes, but adults wiping their own arses! (No Award recommends Who Gives A Crap tp, A Lolstralian company producing 100% post-consumer waste paper TP)

Quokkas, don’t put your wet wipes into sewers and drains and water ways. “Flushable” doesn’t mean “decomposes” or “biodegradable” or anything like that. It just literally means that it won’t clog up sewers.

Local councils can help! (Apparently, by using biodiesel. I guess)

Previously on No Award, The Fatberg of Melbourne and things you shouldn’t put down the loo.

Today on No Award, DON’T PUT THESE LIQUIDS IN YOUR DRAIN, PUT THEM SOMEWHERE ELSE. Note that they are ALL OF THEM considered ‘household hazardous wastes’ in Australia.

  • Paint (including water soluble!)
  • Solvents
  • Pesticides
  • Coolants
  • Cleaning products
  • Any medications at all, I know they’re not always liquids but DON’T DO IT
  • Glues
  • Pool chlorine, I can’t believe we’re having this conversation, I don’t care if it usually goes in water and then we swim in it

HOW TO GET RID OF THEM: plug them into Recycling Near You. Your local council may also have ways to get rid of them (The Shops at Ellenbrook, for example, has a ‘Green Room’ provided by the City of Swan where you can drop stuff off, though not actually HHW stuff).

A FURTHER NOTE ON MEDICATIONS: you can also take them to a lot of pharmacists and they get rid of them responsibly through the RUM project.

AN UPDATE ON PAINT: when you’re washing your brushes out, remove as much of the paint via rags as you can, then wash the residual off into a jar or container and then tip that out into the compost. It’s about as much as you can do. SOZ.

ecologically responsible beach hang outs

On New Year’s Day (Gregorian Edition) I stood with my nephews in the waters at Rockingham Beach. Not Perth’s nicest beach, but lovely and clear, as all WA waters should be, and calm, as befits a not-even-2-year-old. J, aged 3 and 4 months, was admiring shells with his mum, and before E could finish the sentence that ended with ‘take some shells home’ I, ever the environmentalist, spoke up to ruin his idyllic West Australian childhood.

As good, ecologically conscious Australians, we can’t take shells from the beach. They’re homes, I said to J, and his mum helped divert his attention from collecting, and towards looking and talking and putting them back after we’d admired them.

Maybe you, too, are an ecologically conscious Australian, and you are out enjoying this summer (or suffering), and have been thinking about the impact you might be having on the beach? Auntie Steph the Ecological Sustainability Nerd is here to tell answer your questions! (J had lots)

cottesloe in the setting sun

Why can’t I take shells home? They’re so pretty!

I know, pumpkin. But shells serve many purposes. Shells serve as homes for lots of little sea creatures (including hermit crabs). Some birds use shells as components in their nest-building. Removing shells from the beach can make the beach wash away faster (that’s erosion to you grown ups). Algae hang out in shells sometimes, too! And even when they’re all broken up and jagged and hurting under your feet, they’re still useful – they’re eaten, or used to build homes in their broken form, and, yes, still help stop the beach from washing away!

Further reading for your responsible adult: in Conservation Mag; in the Smithsonian Mag.

Can I take seaweed out of the water or off the beach?

Afraid not, dumpling. I know seaweed in the water can be pretty (or scary), and on the beach can be smelly, but it serves a purpose too! In the water it’s for filtration, and can be an important part of decreasing carbon dioxide levels. Some people call seaweed the trees of the ocean! Don’t they look a bit like trees? It’s also used as homes and habitats by many sea creatures. Shark eggs hide in seaweed for protection, because they look like seaweed, and if you take a bunch of seaweed out of the water you might also be killing a baby shark. Even if there’s no baby shark egg in there, you might be damaging the home of lots of little fishes, or removing their food! You wouldn’t like it if someone took your sandwich, would you?

(We had PBJ sandwiches for morning tea, because their mother is a North American Heathen)

The seaweed washed up on the beach out of the water can be a bit smelly, and I know it seems like it’s not any use, but it’s a very natural part of the lifecycle of seaweed. When the tide comes up tonight it’ll just wash away again! And the bits that don’t wash back into the ocean become food for the bugs and animals that live on the dunes between the water and the land. If you’re at the beach and there’s lots of seaweed and it’s getting all a bit much, don’t worry because your local Council or Parks Authority scientific experts will come take it away. They know what they’re doing, and know when the seaweed becomes unsafe to be around.

Further reading for your responsible adult: on land seaweed; about kelp forests.

Can we take water balloons to fill with water and play?

Oh, lovely, no. Like balloons that you fill with your big breaths, water balloons are made of rubbers that don’t decompose or biodegrade. This means that if they end up in the water after you’ve played with them, they drift out to sea. Because they’re so bright, sea animals think they’re food and eat them, and that can harm them!

Further reading for your responsible adult: from the (former) Department of the Environment and Heritage.

Can I walk over that unmarked sand track?

Stick to the path! I know it’s lots of fun adventuring over the dunes and through the bushes, but walking over unmarked sand tracks can cause the sand to run away! (Again, erosion to you grown ups) Special types of plants, mostly grasses and native creeping ground cover, help trap the sand from the beach and assist the dunes in growing bigger, and keeping the sand and the land separate.

Always leave the beach the way you found it: shake off all that sand, take all your rubbish, leftover food, and anything you brought to the beach away with you. And maybe consider taking 3 for the sea.

Okay, great. Stay hydrated, stay safe, and don’t get sunburnt, Australia. And ask if you have any questions about ecologically responsible beach behaviour.

cottesloe beach

the fatberg of melbourne

In early September, Fatberg Fever gripped Melbourne, after the announcement of a Fatberg discovered by Yarra Valley Water in February.

Fatbergs are a serious problem, and one about which Stephanie, as an environmental professional, is qualified to speak.

SOME FACTS ABOUT FATBERGS and your drain system:

  • A fatberg is caused when fat, grease and oils smush together and block pipes. It’s kind of like fat in your arteries, but it’s the arteries of your city!
  • The problem is compounded by increased waste generation in urban centre.
  • Improper waste disposal is a sin! (And also a crime)
  • Things that you can’t put down the toilet or the sink: wet wipes; tissues; pads and tampons; condoms; oil; nappies WHY WOULD YOU EVEN WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, plastics, paint.
  • Things that you shouldn’t put down the sink: food scraps.
  • Fatbergs could possibly be a source of biofuels, but do not try to create one in order to find out.
  • The biggest fatberg ever found was under London, the size of a 747.

Stormwater drains go straight into the sea/river/ocean/bay. There are not consistently filter systems. Drains are different, but not that much different, as demonstrated by Fatberg.

My favourite quote ever is this one, from David Snadden of Yarra Valley Water:

“We all know where number ones and number twos should go, but there is no such thing as a number three, so please do not put anything else down the drain.”


If you want to see some pictures, check them out here – I won’t gross out NA readers by subjecting you without warning.

Our love of Fatbergs is so strong, music happened:



“Fatberging across the universe, on the starship Fatberg, under captain weaves!”

In conjunction with some friends and a need to avoid work, here is an ode to the Fatberg, written by noted Fatberg Zoe:

In sleep it blurbs to me
In dreams it came
That berg which calls to me and blurbed my name
And do I dream again for now I find
The fatberg of the city is there
Inside the drain

Blurble once again with me
Our strange duet
My power over you grows stronger yet
And though you turn from me to glance behind
The fatberg of the city is there
Inside the drain.

Those who have seen your fat
Draw back in fear
I am the fat you wear
It’s me they hear…

Your/My foodscraps and my/your fat in one combined
The fatberg of the city is there/here
Inside my/your drain

It’s there, the fatberg of the city!
Beware, the fatberg of the city!
It’s there, the fatberg of the city!
Beware the fatberg of the city!

In all your fantasies, you always knew
that blob and blurbleness
Were both in you
And in this drainage pipe
where fat is blind
the fatberg of the city is there
inside the drain

it’s there, the fatberg of the city

squiiiiiiidge, my fatberg of sewerage
squiiiiiidge, my fatberg
squiiiiiiidge for me

squiiiiiidge, my fatberg!
squiiiiiiidge for me!

Good day, No Award. Please watch what you throw down the sink, toilet, and stormwater drains. Your city thanks you.