Tag: environment

Eight-Year-Old Wins Toyota’s Annual Dream Car Contest

Eight-year-old Claudia Fields has won Toyota’s annual Dream Car Art Contest for 2020. Her Nature Insect Car addressed what she sees as a lack of nature, biodiversity and colour within our metal cities. 

“My favourite thing is insects. I thought, what if we could create a car with insects and flowers?” says Claudia. “The cities don’t have any lovely colours. They are just grey and white and black so this car provides lots of colour and scents. Also, it provides a safe home for insects and bees. Both are very important to our world because they pollinate fruit, flowers and vegetables to clean the air and bring nature and greenery to concrete cities.”

West Australian Claudia Field has designed her car as a haven for insects to help revegetate and beautify our cities

The Contest

Toyota partners with Faber Castell and not-for-profit education resources organisation Cool Australia for the contest. It provides a chance for all of our child engineers, creative thinkers and designers to draw their ‘Dream Car’. Additionally, Toyota encourages children to use their imagination as best as they can. 

Entered were over 4700 colourful and creative creations in total. Each one showed what kids today think some of the biggest issues facing society are. Similarly, other finalists addressed issues including waste and recycling, homelessness, bringing communities together and much more.

Albion Dolphin’s The Help Car is designed to offer food and accommodation for the homeless

Jason Kimberly, Cool Australia Managing Director and Founder, says, “Children these days are far more aware of the issues that surround them. Furthermore, encouraging them to really use their imaginations and creativity to help address some of those problems can never start too early.”

On top of this, Wayne Gabriel, Toyota Australia’s Chief Marketing Officer, said, “It was really interesting to see the way so many ideas incorporated solar energy and even hydrogen fuel cells. This is actually a technology Toyota is already using in the Mirai. Plus, Australia is already trialling it – as clean, environmentally-sustainable power sources for their cars,” Mr Gabriel said.

“Under Toyota’s Environmental Challenge 2050 program, we are aiming to reduce vehicle carbon emissions to zero globally. As a result, we hope to ensure a long and sustainable future for personal mobility. Because of this, it’s great to see the youngest generation of Australians really caring about their, and our, impact on the planet. Through programs like the Dream Car Art Contest, we hope to be able to continue to inspire that interest and action so we can all contribute to a better future,” he said.


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How Do Our Homes Impact Our Wellbeing and the Environment?

Home is the place where we sleep, eat, relax, grow and play. In high-income countries we spend 70 per cent of our time at home. That number is even higher where unemployment rates are high. Obviously, any positive action we take such as saving energy or making our homes more meaningful will have a massive impact on our health and financials. On top of this it, it will address one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century: climate change.

If you feel the need to improve on those directions, Smart Home Need can support you. They are a social Start up helping people to reconnect with their inner needs (ex. sleep, work from home, security, healthy environment). They do so to help you live a better life, focusing on well-being and sustainability, because they know how much homes can impact your health and the environment.

The impact of homes on health.

Most people, when asked about the things that they do to stay healthy, answer about nutrition and physical activity. This shows that few people are aware of the impact that a variety of factors of wellbeing have on our health. Even more so, they’re unaware of the role that our houses and housing environment plays on our overall physical, mental and social wellbeing.

Every person’s genetics and behaviour play an important role on their health and wellbeing. However, so do things such as the indoor air quality, the light, the noise, the moisture, the temperature, the amount of space and ability to move.

For example, high indoor temperatures can increase deaths to do with the heart (like cardiac arrest). The indoor air pollution can cause allergic or other reactions such as asthma. And on top of this, living in a dark home can worsen our health by 50 per cent. Worsening health is often translated into headaches, insomnia or depression.

These are just some examples of health issues that Meaningful Smart Home can help reduce or help you avoid. As a result, the costs for the global economy should decrease. Research affirms that the world lost 5.5 million lives in 2013. These deaths were due to diseases associated with outdoor and household air pollution.

The impact of homes on the environment.

The International Energy Agency states that the energy demand from buildings and building construction continues to rise. The buildings and buildings construction sectors combined are responsible for 36 per cent of global final energy consumption. They’re also responsible for nearly 40 per cent of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions!  

Increasing the use of daylight, preventing leaks, using proper home insulation and making better use of the energy are just some of the things you can do to decrease your environmental footprint.

Visit Smart Home Need and join one of our plans to change the way you approach life, starting from home. By subscribing to our plans, you will learn why human needs are important for your well-being and how to satisfy them through new habits and smart home technology. We will support you to take informed decisions and to live your life meaningfully.


Read more PakMag health blogs here. 



More and More Aussies Are Keen to Try a Plant-Based Diet

MorningStar Farms research shows that Aussie households are trying to reduce their meat intake. Half of the people in Queensland are considering adding more plant-based meals into their diets within the next year!

Over half of Queensland residents said they would cook meat-free meals as long as they could still enjoy their favourite dishes. The concerns are that the meat-free food is tasteless (29%), that they have a lack of confidence in cooking meat free meals (29%) and that the family or partners won’t enjoy it (43%). Unsurprisingly, spaghetti Bolognese, chicken stir fry and beef burgers were the top three results for meat dishes that would be hard to give up.

This is where MorningStar Farms steps in. They are passionate about making plant-based food delicious to eat – yes, this includes our favourite burgers, tacos and other easy go-to recipes! On their website you can find a whole range of tasty recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetisers and more.

They are now launching in Coles around Australia so that plant-based alternatives are easier than ever to find. Next time you go grocery shopping, why not swap out a couple of your typical dinners for the plant-based alternatives? The MorningStar Farms Grillers Classic Mince and Grillers Prime Veggie Burgers are perfect for a family dinner.  Simply make your favourite meal such as tacos or burgers and swap the meat for the plant-based alternative! Even by slowly reducing the amount of meat you eat you are helping both your health and the planet.

Benefits of Eating Plant-Based

A plant-based diet is shown to have many different benefits, from supporting your immune system to reducing inflammation. Research suggests that eating mainly plant foods can help you live longer and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. These include heart disease and type 2 diabetes, obesity and more. Additionally, by eating plant-based you are getting a whole lot more fibre. This is great for your gut health and digestive system!

Plus, we can’t forget to mention how plant-based diets are beneficial for the environment. The animal-based agriculture industry produce a LOT of waste each year, including high greenhouse gas emissions.


Cairns Takes Home the Award for Queensland’s Top Collector

Cairns Regional Council have now earned the award for Queensland’s top collector in the Mobile MobileMuster Local Government Awards. Cairns residents alone have recycled a whopping 156kg’s of mobile phones this year. Impressively, 95% of the material from old phones and accessories get recycled. Then manufacturers can use the materials to make new products. However, there are about 24.5 million unused phones stashed across Australia. This means there are more old phones in Australia than there are people!

In 1998 the mobile phone industry and the federal government launched the MobileMuster program in Australia. The program is a a free mobile phone recycling program. Its goal was to raise awareness and help everyone understand the importance of recycling. Since then the program has collected and then recycled almost 1,500 tonnes of mobile phones and accessories, including over 14 million batteries and handsets. That’s almost the weight of 250 African elephants, or about 400 times as heavy as a Hippopotamus!

Our Mayor, Bob Manning, has been involved in the recycling program for over 10 years. “We congratulate Council’s waste management teams, library officers, and Cairns residents for their commitment to community-based recycling programs like MobileMuster,” he says.

“Recycling has many benefits, including reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill, protecting the environment and economic savings.”

Next time you want to throw away your old phones, make sure you put them towards recycling. Most of the glass, plastic and metal in our phones is re-usable, and the Council offers kerbside recycling every fortnight.

People can drop phones off at Council libraries, Council’s Customer Service Centre or transfer stations for FREE. Transfer stations accept electronics, audio/electrical cables, certain TV’s, computers, tablets and printer cartridges. Libraries accept batteries.

 Cairns Regional Council recycling numbers (2018/19 financial year):

  • 150 tonnes of e-waste, which includes computers, cables and televisions as well as mobile phones.
  • 3708 tonnes of scrap metal and white goods.
  • 106 tonnes of batteries.
  • 849 tonnes of crushed glass for sand replacement in concrete.
  • 113 tonnes of paint.
  • 7121 chemical drums.

Did you know? Resources go to waste every year, especially as e-waste goes discarded and grows with our use of technology. According to the UN, all of the countries combined generate 44.7 million tonnes of e-waste annually. But, we only only collect and recycle 20 per cent of e-waste globally. That’s a LOT of electronic waste! 

You can read this for 5 reasons why recycling e-waste is important. 

Read more of our Cairns news blogs. 



STEAM – Why Our Ocean’s Health Is So Important

If the Earth had no water then there would be no life on it. All of us need water, including all plants and animals, making it one of the most important things that we have. We need fresh water to drink and keep our bodies functioning properly – even plants need to drink water to stay alive. But, it’s also such a huge part of our daily lives in many other ways; we need water for cooking, washing our bodies, clothes and dishes. We also need it for our farms and recreation (a swimming pool would just be a hole in the ground without it).

Our salt water oceans are just as, if not more important. They cover 72 percent of the Earth and supply more than half the oxygen we breathe and absorb much more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere does. The oceans help regulate our weather patterns and climate, including the temperatures and how much rainfall we have.

The ocean is our planet’s life support system. A healthier ocean means a healthier planet and a healthier life and future for us all…but, it’s in danger. More than 40 percent of the ocean has been severely affected by global climate change, pollution, habitat destruction, invasive species and decreases in ocean fish stocks. This has led to a loss of jobs, food and environmental services.

To keep our oceans clean and healthy, we need to take better care of it and protect it from the threats it faces. Pollution and the impact of fishing needs to be reduced. Protection areas for marine life needs to be created and we need to work together to spread awareness.

The ocean’s health is our health- let’s look after it.

Resources to Inspire and Educate

The Big Book of the Blue by Yuval Zommer

Not only does this book bring the underwater animals to life with beautiful illustrations, it explains how they survive underwater and the different families they belong to. It also dives into the things that put these animals in danger and how everyone can do their part to help save sea life. It’s perfect for inspiring young readers to be passionate about protecting such a vital part of our world.

National Geographic Kids 

The National Geographic Kids website has an abundance of quizzes, facts, figures and more. You can learn the wonders of the oceans, including the amazing life that exists in them. But most importantly you can also learn how plastic pollution is harming the marine life. The information is fun and educational, making it a great platform for getting the important messages across to children. Do a search for “ocean” from the home page and enjoy!

Learn How to Craft a Coral Reef in Minecraft 

Coral reefs can be found all over the world and one of the many parts of the ocean ecosystem. This awesome, educational edition of Minecraft shows you how to code and design your very own reef. You can learn about different types there are and how complex and beautiful they can be. Plus you gain an understanding of what can be done to help save them. Combining games with learning has never been so fun!

Engino STEM Hero Sea Exploration Kit 

Includes parts to build five models with online 3D building instructions, a 44 page book to learn about history of sea exploration, boats, nautical travelling, tools of navigation and principles of floating plus access to online experiments and a quiz! 

$119.95 .Get 15% OFF this price at www.engino.com.au by using code PakMag15



With the plastic bag ban almost upon us, it’s time to ask yourself, “am I ready?”

Convenience doesn’t have to cost the Earth!

From the 1st of July (or the 20th of June at Woolworths, BWS and Big W stores), Queensland and Western Australia will ban single-use lightweight plastic bags from major retailers. The widespread impact of plastic pollution on our environment, in particularly our marine life, has proved to be catastrophic. An estimated whopping one billion single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags are used in Queensland each year, with around 16 million of these ending up in the environment.

When this happens, animals such as sea turtles and sea birds can become entangled in them or swallow them, causing serious health issues. Around 30% of all sea turtles have ingested plastic debris.

With the plastic bag ban in sight, let’s go over some of the facts.

Which plastic bags will be banned?

  • Lightweight, single-use supermarket plastic shopping bags (the ones you bag your items in at supermarket checkouts)
  • Biodegradable and degradable lightweight plastic shopping bags (these break down in the environment the same way as lightweight, single-use shopping bags and can still harm the environment)

Which plastic bags will not be banned?

  • Reusable bags
  • Heavy-duty plastic bags designed for reuse
  • Barrier bags for unpackaged food such as fruit, vegetables, and meat
  • Garbage bags
  • Nappy bags
  • ‘Dog poo’ bags provided by the council at dog parks

Other areas of the world that have already banned single-use plastic shopping bags include France, Italy, India, Taiwan, many countries in Africa, and California, USA.

Other areas of Australia that have already banned single-use plastic shopping bags include South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, ACT, and soon to be Victoria, Western Australia, and Queensland, with New South Wales to follow later in the year.

Alongside the lightweight plastic bags mentioned here, some countries have taken further steps and banned microbeads, plastic cups, plastic straws, or other similar items that may otherwise end up causing harm to nature.


What other steps can you take to reduce plastic use and waste in your daily life?

  • Reusable straws. For a small cost, you can have your very own reusable straw to keep in your bag. These are usually made of bamboo or metal. Just remember to clean them.
  • Bamboo toothbrushes. Next time you replace your toothbrush, consider purchasing one made of bamboo. Unlike plastic brushes, these are biodegradable.
  • Compostable bags. Some of us use the single-use plastic shopping bags to line our bins, and may be wondering what we can use in place of them with the ban in sight. Luckily, compostable bin liners are available! There are even compostable dog poo bags available to bring along on your pup’s daily walkies.
  • Reusable coffee cups. These cups and travel mugs are available in a range of fun colours and designs, from calming floral patterns to fun pop-culture related designs.
  • Beeswax food wraps. Cling wrap and aluminium foil are two other big offenders that many of us use on a daily basis. Beeswax wraps are an environmentally friendly and reusable alternative, perfect for wrapping those sandwiches.

The ban could have an enormous positive impact on the environment and on the way we shop. From the 1st of July (or the 20th of June for Woolworths, Big W and BWS), single-use plastic shopping bags will be a thing of the past – so make a note to yourself to bring reusable bags when you leave the house for your weekly shop. Leave them in your car or in your bag to ensure you always have them with you.

And if you forget, no worries: for just a dollar or two, you can buy one brand-new at most supermarkets.