Follow Jessica on Twitter @CrossAndLeaves or follow the Five Leaf Eco-Awards @fiveleafeco

Friday, March 30, 2012

Event in Tasmania

15th-18th May, "ASSISI Formation - Animators for Sustainability Program"
Event name: ASSISI Formation - Animators for Sustainability Program
Date/time: 15th-18th May, 2012
Location: Maryknoll, Blackmans Bay, Tasmania
Note: The same program is also being held on 14th-16th March, at Hotel Victor, South Australia
Organisation: Catholic Earthcare Australia
Cost: $990 (incl. accom, w'shops, meals, support materials)
Description: A three-day intensive formation program for people interested in forming sustainability teams in their school, organisation or community. Themes: ecological theology, sustainability, building learning communities in your own context.
Are you wondering ...
  • What would it take to animate the call to justice, peace and integrity of creation such that we learn together how to live and work sustainably on our planet?
  • What is required for your organisation to take the transformative journey to ecological sustainability?
  • What wisdom exists in Catholic Teaching that may help you and your organisation respond to the call for ecological conversion and sustaining God's Creation?
  • What would it take to truly harness the energies of God's love?
Catholic Earthcare Australia offers ASSISI as a comprehensive and holistic sustainability initiative for organisations to achieve sustainability. A three-day intensive is central to the formation experience. Participants are required to do preparatory work and follow-up work. During the course of the formation experience, participants are exposed to contemporary ecological theology, scientific understandings of sustainability and transformative social processes that can inspire and support this critical work.
Would you like to join with others to seek, discern and transform a new way of being that responds to the call for ecological conversion through participation in our ASSISI Formation - Animators for Sustainability program?
Then find out more at:

Implementing the Rainbow Covenant for Earth Mission

Crowea saligna. Photo: Sandra Payne.A Rainbow Covenant for EarthMission has been developed by the National Council of Churches Eco-Mission Project Team, representing a significant development in mission within the Australian Church.  Congregations and mission groups are now invited to discuss this document and explore where and how it might serve as a vehicle for promoting our mission to Earth as an important dimension of the mission program of the church. How best can this document be utilised and promoted?  Would a manual be useful for parishes and groups to study the biblical basis of the document and provide guidelines as to ways in which an Earth mission might be implemented?  Would it be helpful to include a network of resources, and examples of how groups have been motivated to engage in Earth mission and to take practical action?  Would your congregation endorse this mission?  Please send any comments and suggestions to Clive Ayre,

Canberra Events

00% Ready: Clean Energy Public Forum

100%A vast majority of Australians support a move to 100% clean energy. But a lot also wonder whether we can make it happen yet. The Nature Conservation Council is holding forums across NSW to hear from locals who are leading the future in clean energy.  The forums are showcasing real stories from the clean energy frontline that prove we're 100% ready to start making the switch. Join the discussion and help Australia make the switch to 100% clean energy.
Andy Hughes - Office of Environment and Heritage
Deborah Kingsland - 100% Renewable Campaign
Jeff Knowles - PV Solar
Pat Osborne - Landholder Windfarm
Katrina Willis - Queanbeyan City Sustainability Initiative  
Free entry, refreshments provided. Register now at
When: Tuesday 3 April, 6:30-8:30pm
Where: RB Smith Community Centre, 262 Crawford St, Queanbeyan

Coal Seam Gas: Is It All It's Made Out To Be? 

book coverThe ACT Greens MLAs invite you to a public forum on CSG.

Australia’s latest Energy White Paper suggests we are entering the golden age of gas and the ACT is increasingly looking to gas as an option in meeting its 40% emission reduction targets. But from where will this gas be sourced? As Australia seeks out alternative sources of energy, where does Coal Seam Gas (CSG) stand as an option? Comprising 13% of Australia’s domestic gas supply and heralded as emitting 70% fewer emissions than coal, is CSG as clean as some make it out to be?

Join us for an open discussion with our guest panel:
Ruth Armstrong - Queensland grain and cotton farmer and Save our Darling Downs Member
Larissa Waters - Greens Senator
Carmel Flint - Lock the Gate and the North West Environment Council
Dr Gavin Mudd - Senior Lecturer in Environmental Engineering, Monash University
Sean Munro - Australian Student Environment Network and ANU Environment Collective

When: Wednesday 4th April, 6 for a 6.15pm start
Where: Pilgrim Conference Centre, 69 Northbourne Avenue, Civic

Melbourne Environmental Events

Saturday 24th Mar , until Saturday 14th Apr
exhibition, benefit
Support Bush Heritage by coming along to an exibition of wonderful landscape paintings this Saturday.
» more info

Friday 30th Mar , until Sunday 22nd Apr
submissions open
The People & Planet International Photography Competition aims to select 53 photos to be published in the 2013 People & Planet: Social Justice & Environment Diary and Calendar, which raise money for our group of about 50 Australian charity partners.
» more info

Friday 30th Mar 
performance, benefit
A Beyond Zero Emissions fundraiser. BZE volunteer and internationally acclaimed comedian Matt Grantham asks that very question and explores whether two Independents and a Green would actually speed up the process.
» more info

Saturday 31st Mar 
Our annual Harvest festival, a free event which celebrates and gives thanks to the good earth, our farmers and the cycle of the seasons. The day is all about local produce, backyard self-sufficiency and our local community.
» more info
Saturday 31st Mar 
In 2011 The symbolic action of turning lights out for an hour is an expression of concern for the environment and a commitment to do more for the planet...
» more info
Saturday 31st Mar , until Saturday 21st Apr

Sunday 1st Apr 
Join hundreds of people in a fun, effective and peaceful protest against the tripling of coal exports from Newcastle harbour. Borrow a kayak or BYO creative floating vessel!
» more info
Monday 2nd Apr , until Wednesday 4th Apr
Join practitioners from diverse interest groups across the food system to discuss ideas that will help transform Australia’s food system.
» more info

Upcoming Perth Eco-Faith Events for your Diary

"Preaching Peace" and Christian Responses to Climate Change with Michael Hardin
Thursday April 26 2012 7-9pm
Details here:

Five Leaf Eco-Awards Presentation Ceremony
Saturday May 12th 2012, 4pm for a 4:30pm start
An essential event for anyone in Perth interested in getting their church involved in the Five Leaf Eco-Awards!
Details here:

Wollaston Tree Planting Day
Saturday June 30th 2012, 9am - noon
Details here:

Ecumenical Eco-Care Retreat
September 24 - September 28th 2012
Details here:

Awake Article: Encouraging Responsible Waste Disposal

This is the third in a series of articles summarising research into efforts to encourage specific areas of sustainability-related behaviours.

Our generation of waste is a big problem. Not only the amount of it, but the way in which we dispose of it. This is a pretty big topic, and we could focus on the amount of stuff we buy, where it comes from, what it’s made of and so on. But for now let’s look at the psychological aspects of our disposal of waste, especially recycling and composting.

There is a large body of research looking at the question of why we do or don’t recycle. While the results of this research vary widely, a few key things emerge.

Firstly, our attitude toward the environment is not a big factor in whether or not we recycle.  For example, a Portuguese study into the topic concluded that “recycling behaviour is not determined by citizens’ general ideological position toward environmental issues”. This is thought to be partly because recycling is generally quite easy, so it does not require a strong ethical or moral obligation to engage in the behaviour.  A Swedish study decided to differentiate between easy and difficult recycling behaviours and found that those with green attitudes were more likely to take on the behaviours which required a degree of effort, but that there was no difference for low-effort behaviours. So basically, you have to be fairly committed to the cause to go out of your way to recycle. But if you don’t have to go out of your way, then it doesn’t matter how ideologically committed you are.

Given that environmental attitudes are not a predictor of recycling behaviour, what are the factors that do make a difference?

While our attitude toward the environment is not so important, our attitude toward recycling specifically is important. Those who feel recycling does make a difference, feel confident and clear about what and how to recycle, and believe that it is not too much effort, are found to recycle most.

In particular, perceived convenience is a strong predictor of recycling behaviour.  In an article discussing the motives for recycling, Ewing states that “Evidence suggests that the amount consumers engage in environmentally benign behaviour is an inverse function of the effort or inconvenience involved and a direct function of the personal benefit expected”.
Confidence in our knowledge and skills also influences our propensity to recycle. AnotherPortuguese study was among many that found knowledge forms a large part of “perceived behavioural control”, something which in turn makes us more likely to recycle.

Another major driver of recycling behaviour is perceived norms. This refers to our belief of the right thing to do (personal norms) as well as our perception about what everyone else is doing (social norms). In fact, it has been shown that the latter can influence the former – that our view of the right thing to do can be shaped by observing others.  A2007 UK study was among many who have found that recycling is a highly normative behaviour , as opposed to reducing our consumption and re-using products, which are driven more by values, knowledge and concerns.

Closely related to social norms is the concept of modelling – the influence of seeing someone else demonstrate a behaviour. A revealing study into the disposal of food waste in food courts and fast food outlets found that the example set by actors planted by the researchers led to a large increase in customers choosing to place their waste in the composting bin. By contrast, the presence of a sign on each table urging people to compost made no difference.

Given that there are a number of different drivers of recycling behaviour, it is hard to know where to start in attempting to influence its uptake and increase. This challenge is emphasised even more in a study by Spanish researchers, who draw the distinction between a number of roles in the recycling process, including that of the influencer, the initiator, the decision maker and the vendor (the person responsible for transporting the waste to the collection points). They found that each have may distinct motives - for instance, the influencer is motivated by ecological concerns, whereas the vendor is worried about convenience. The researchers go on to advocate a marketing segmentation-type approach to promoting recycling, with a different message for each of the roles.

In conclusion, a review of the research emphasises the need to bear in mind the following points when promoting conscientious waste disposal

  • research your target audience, to understand their views, motives, perceptions and barriers with relation to the behaviour you are promoting
  • ensure that the desired behaviour is as convenient and interference- free as possible
  • ensure information and instructions are accessible, clear and unambiguous
  • foster a sense that the behaviour is the norm by role modelling, emphasising the social imperative and reporting successes, increases in behaviour, and environmental outcomes


You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Awake provides psychology-based tools and services which support organisations and communities to develop a culture of sustainability.  Visit for more info

Climate Change: Theology for Easter

Article by Mitch Hescox

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Talking about the 'carbon tax'

What’s in a name? The term 'carbon tax' has really caught on, but this is a triumph for those who oppose the legislation to be implemented in July. 
How about the proper term, 'Clean Energy Future' legislation, or at least 'price on pollution'? 'Carbon tax' is misleading. The price on pollution being imposed is not a tax, nor is it the only aspect of the legislation. Other aspects include energy efficiency standards, public investment in renewable energy, a biodiversity fund and compensation for households.
For sanity to prevail, ordinary people like you and me, need to be correcting misperceptions and letting people hear that there are those of us who agree with what’s happening. Let’s not be excessively conflict-avoidant. While being respectful of various views, it is possible to positively influence people. If people only hear others being critical, where would that lead us? Read more.

Source: Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) March e-Newsletter

Monday, March 19, 2012

Update Australia’s dietary guidelines to consider sustainability


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rick Chromey on why the church has to go out into the world (eg. Through environmental work)

"The church was meant to be missional. Like a mighty ship, the bride of Christ wasn't created for the harbour, but the open water...Somehow we've convinced ourselves that if we provide a safe, comfortable, and even entertaining place for people to come, they will.
But they're not coming. In fact, they're leaving. The fastest growing segment in Christianity is the "formerley churched" - individuals who have grown tired of a faith framed by buildings, schedules, and programs. In a 24/7/365 world, people won't settle for a 2/1/52 faith. The churches that figure out how to sling this stone [going out into the world like David against Goliath] into its community and culture will knock down false perceptions and priorities."

Rick Chromey in Energising Children's Ministry

Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+