Browser – issue 118

Cleantechnica

Lance Turner’s regular ReNew column on useful websites

www.cleantechnica.com

There’s quite a few environmental news sites around, but many of them lack technical knowledge, and so the reporting can be less than accurate (and is sometimes just nonsensical!).

Cleantechnica is one of a number of blog style websites run by Important Media—as they put it, they are “a decentralized, niche blog network, dedicated to covering those issues which are important to our collective and individual well-being, from humanity’s survival to human happiness.”

Of course, one of those areas is technological innovation in greener and more sustainable technologies. The latest renewable energy developments such as more efficient, cheaper solar panels, policy decisions that promote and advance renewables, transportation technology and many others are covered by the huge number of posts on the site.

But Cleantechnica is just one of a network of like-minded websites. These include the personal transport site Gas2.org, greenbuildingelements.com, ecopreneurist.com which deals with more environmentally benign products and business ideas, eatdrinkbetter.com, which covers food and how it relates in our current world, greenlivingideas.com and a number of other sites, all dealing with sustainability, social issues and similar. There’s enough material in these sites to keep you reading forever!

www.ala.org.au

ALA stands for the Atlas of Living Australia. As you might expect from the name, this site is a repository of information regarding the species of flora and fauna across Australia.

The great thing about this site is that you can simply enter your location into the search system and it will show you all the species in your area. The results are categorised into types and you can select individual species and learn more about them and see where they occur in your area.

You can also search on larger regions such as by state, and the results are given in categorised ‘tile’ format, with the name and a thumbnail image of each species.

Species maps can also be created, where you select the region you want to look at and add species you want displayed. Once the map is displayed, the colours can be customised so that maps with more than one species are easy to interpret.

There’s plenty more to explore in this site, including complete natural history collections and where you can go to see them (such as local museums and the like).

There’s themes and case studies on particular species and they have even developed a Citizen Science web application to help naturalist groups and researchers collect species observation information from volunteers.

If you want to know what critters and plants you are sharing your part of the planet with then this is a great place to start. Everyone interested in Australia’s wildlife should have this site bookmarked!

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