Cool roads cool our cities

A cool road: pale road surface, mix of edible and decorative trees and plants, shade over 50% of the road What are cool roads and why do we need them? On average our suburb is 6 degrees warmer than it should be. This is called ‘heat island effect’. Of course, this problem isn’t unique to Chippendale – many cities and suburbs all over the world are too hot. These high temperatures are created by the absorption of heat from dark-coloured roads, roofs and other human-made... Read More

Seminar on sustainable public infrastructure

Meet industry, council and community leaders who are designing and building sustainable neighbourhoods. With the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia and others I’ll be presenting a seminar on how to build and operate sustainable public infrastructure.  The first one is in Sydney on Wednesday and Thursday 26 and 27 March. Country seminars will follow later in the year. The seminar is called, Sustainable Public Infrastructure and you may register there. IPWEA... Read More

A banquet of consequences – abrupt climate disfigurement

Everybody, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences. (Robert Louis Stevenson – Scottish Essayist, Poet, Author, 1850-1894)   First, the good news: “Good News- Solar Storage Plant Gemasolar Sets 36-Day Record 24/7 Output, by Emma Fitzpatrick, Reneweconomy, Oct. 8, 2013: The Gemasolar, a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) facility, is the world’s first large scale power plant that uses molten salt to capture heat during the day so it can produce energy... Read More

Project takes carbon pollution out of Earth’s air, puts hope in my heart

  Dairy calves on Country Valley Dairy farm There’s a new wave carrying hope with it at Sydney’s Bondi Beach. Mayor Sally Betts of Waverley Council has initiated a project to turn food waste into compost in 24 hours and take it to a farm to grow soil.  As the soil grows it takes carbon pollution out of Earth’s air. The project cuts cafe and council waste costs. Using the compost cuts the farmer’s fertilizing costs and produces healthier cows and dairy... Read More

Narara ecovillage raises funds without banks

Yesterday I had a coffee with Lyndall Parris, one of the Directors involved with the new Narara Ecovillage. Lyndall would be pleased to hear from anyone interested in finding out more about this residential development near Gosford, just north of Sydney.Her contact details are: and 0419 279 711.…Here are some points I made from our conversation:- The Narara Ecovillage Co-op is set up to build a world class ecovillage... Read More

Coal a dying business say Deutsche Bank and Standard & Poor’s

Two recent reports say coal, and the mining infrastructure for it, have only a few years to go before world-wide investment in them will not be available. Referring to the reports today the online magazine, Reneweconomy, reports that: “CLP Holdings, the Hong Kong based company that is one of the largest power companies in Asia, said it wouldn’t invest any more money in coal-fired generation in India following the disastrous results of its latest 1,200MW investment, which... Read More

Climate change a cause of Arab spring and more to come . . .

In his New York Times column today, Thomas L Friedman attributes climate change and the collapse of the world’s food crops, particularly wheat, as a major cause of civil unrest, particularly in the Middle East and specifically as a cause of the “Arab spring”: “Consider this: The world’s top nine wheat-importers are in the Middle East: “Seven had political protests resulting in civilian deaths in 2011,” said Sternberg. “Households in the countries... Read More

Watch ice bigger than Manhatten Island break away from a glacier

This speeded up film on Youtube, taken from a remote and distant mountain in the Arctic, shows ice breaking away from a glacier as it gets smaller and smaller. The video shows the 75 minute collapse in 4.41 minutes. Ice in chunks as high as 90 or more storied buildings and the size of Manhatten Island (87 square kilometres) rises three to four hundred metres high as the ice smashes and collapses. It took the glacier 100 years to break up and become 8 miles (~ 20 k) smaller –... Read More

Innovation and courage when shame’s won over by vulnerability

For a courageous – that is, the will to do or commit to something where there is no guarantee – talk about where innovation and courage and connections with each other come from try this talk by Brene Brown, Listening to shame. If you’re interested in new ideas, design, medicine, communications, city life – how we work and connect with each other and in our cities, workplaces and homes . . . here’s someone who says shame is an issue we’ve all... Read More

New way to get local council action

There’s a new phone App that seems to be making a difference. Called, Snap Send Solve,  it says it’s “the free app that lets you report issues and provide feedback to your local council in under 30 seconds Australia wide.” It works like this: take a photo with your phone, then choose a category for the photo, then send it off as an email from  your phone.  It’s a pity it can’t yet be sent as a text message but that may come. There are about... Read More

  • Michael Mobbs

    Michael is a former Environmental Lawyer who is uniquely placed to consult in four main areas:

    • Sustainability Coach and Speaker,
    • Sustainable Urban Farm Design greening, watering and cooling the cityscape, roads, parks, suburbs,
    • Major Projects Consultant Commercial and Industrial,
    • Residential Sustainability Consultant.
    For permission to re-print any articles or to book Michael for a speaking engagement go to Contacts. Please ensure all quotes from Michael's blog include a reference to