Browser – issue 119

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Lance Turner’s regular ReNew column on useful websites

The Fifth Estate

There’s a huge number of environmental news and reporting sites around now, but not many sites are local to Australia. The Fifth Estate is one that is.

As they put it, “The Fifth Estate is an online newspaper for green buildings and sustainable development. A website by and for passionate people and motivated companies who are determined to harness the power of the built environment to save the planet.”

The Residential section features news articles explaining how the latest developments affect the average homeowner.

There’s a Jobs section where environmental positions are listed regularly, as well as news on who is working where in the world of sustainability organisations.

For those of us who don’t have time to read their sustainability news in detail there’s a section called Briefs where the news items are, well, abbreviated to just a paragraph or two, while the What’s On section has a fairly extensive list of upcoming events.

The Spinifex category covers public, social and ethical news, and has some excellent reading, such as why is it that millions of people who have mobile phones are still using kerosene to light their homes?

The Business section, of course, covers more business-oriented news and there are many other categories that you need to scroll to the bottom of the site to see, such as Design and Technology, Arts and Letters, Politics and Policies, and numerous others. Of course, there is considerable overlap between categories but there’s plenty to read on this site. You can also sign up to have the newsletter emailed to you.

Living Greener

Living Greener is a Federal Government website put together to help everyone reduce their environmental footprint in simple and easy steps.

It is divided into several broad categories, such as saving energy, saving water, reducing and recycling waste and travelling smarter.

Each category has subcategories such as energy efficient appliances, insulation, rainwater use, greener building materials, motor transport, cycling and the like. Inside each of these you will find simple ideas, tips and solutions on reducing the environmental footprint of your day-to-day activities.

There’s also a complete index of all the actions you can do under the Take Action tab. If you are looking for financial assistance in changing to a greener lifestyle, click on the Rebates & Assistance tab, select your state and you will be presented with all the rebates that are available to you, such as solar energy feed-in tariffs and water tank rebates.

People can contribute their own stories to the site. At the time of writing there were 18, but anyone can add their ideas, along with photgraphs, just by clicking the ‘Contribute’ button—no logons or signups are required.

A list of guides on topics such as greener home entertainment, reducing energy bills, a home buyer’s guide, a home renovator’s guide and a number of others also feature on the site.

If you are looking for simple ways to green up your lifestyle, or just want to share your tips and ideas this is a good place to start.