part of the solution

students to ‘make an impact’ on climate change
An innovative school kit to help children reduce their personal greenhouse footprint is the latest initiative to be launched under Alcoa of Australia’s Connecting with Schools education program.

Students at more than 60 schools around our operations in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales are being given a helping hand to reduce their personal greenhouse footprint.

Alcoa of Australia and long-time sustainability partner Greening Australia this month launched ‘Make an Impact Toolkits’ which are designed to encourage the next generation to become part of the solution to climate change and think differently  in our carbon constrained world.

The Make an Impact Toolkits contain four tools - infrared thermometer, compass, Power Mate and stopwatch - with corresponding activity worksheets to help children and their families consider ways to reduce their household water and energy use.

Following their launch at Pinjarra Primary School in Western Australia earlier this month, the remaining Toolkits will be rolled out in local schools in the coming months.  Students will be able to borrow the Toolkits from their school libraries to take home. 

Hamish Jolly, CEO Greening Australia WA, said with Australian households generating up to one-fifth of Australia’s total greenhouse emissions, the school Toolkits can help children to make simple practical changes around the home, which can make a big difference to the environment.

“Being part of the solution to climate change doesn’t need to cost a lot of money, things like draft proofing your home to avoid switching on heaters, reducing hot water usage and using energy saving light globes all have a dramatic effect on your home’s greenhouse footprint and your bills,” he said.

The Make an Impact Toolkits form part of Alcoa’s wider ‘Make an Impact’ program, which was devised with the assistance of Greening Australia in 2006 to help Alcoa employees reduce their home water and energy use.  Today, more than 1400 Alcoa employees are involved. 

Last year, Alcoa launched a new Make an Impact website, which is accessible to anyone with the internet, offering a range of tips for living “green”.

Alcoa of Australia Managing Director, Alan Cransberg, said that as a business Alcoa was reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency, productivity improvements and new technology.
 
“We are seeking long term solutions to these global problems and we continue to move beyond the work gates and out into the community to do so,” he said.
 
“Make an Impact has changed my behaviour and spread to every level of our organisation."

He added that Alcoa recognises the importance of schools in the local community, and also children’s right to a healthy planet and a good education.
 
“We all need to be part of the solution to climate change and these Toolkits are a great way to help kids learn about this critical issue,” he said. 

“This initiative sees us out in the community to help make a difference in a very practical way.
 
“For us, reaching out with high-quality educational resources, under our Connecting with Schools program, is proving a great means of connecting with the next generation, to get them thinking about how they can be part of the climate change challenge too.”

To learn more about Make an Impact, visit: www.alcoa.com.au/makeanimpact

Visit www.alcoa.com.au/schools to find out more about Alcoa’s school initiatives.

government grant helps mining rehabilitation
A Federal Government research project will see Alcoa scientists explore how to deep freeze jarrah forest plants, then bring them back to life.

The project involves Alcoa’s Marrinup Nursery staff and the WA Mining Group Environmental Research Department assisting with the development of innovative plant technology.

Alcoa’s Marrinup Nursery exists to support our mine site rehabilitation programs. It’s located near Dwellingup, south of Perth, and includes a tissue culture laboratory which has been successful in restoring a high diversity of plant species for our rehabilitation. No other mining company in the world has comparable facilities.

Alcoa is a renowned award-winning world leader in mine site rehabilitation.  We were the first mining company in the world to achieve 100 per cent plant species richness in our rehabilitated mine site areas in Western Australia.  Our rehabilitation objective is to re-establish a functional ecosystem that will fulfil the pre-mining forest land uses including conservation, timber production, water catchment and recreation.

The development of the plant technology, under the research project, is called Cryostorage.  It uses liquid nitrogen to freeze plant parts down to minus 196° Celsius.  The aim of this is to provide a long term method for safely storing seed that is difficult to gather, as well as plant tissue cultures that are difficult to grow.  The intention, at this stage, is to do this at Marrinup Nursery and to also have offsite copies of the seeds or tissue cultures as ‘insurance’. 

Dave Willyams, Propagation and Revegetation Research Officer at Alcoa, said: “This ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity is bringing all the Australian expertise together to focus on a mine revegetation issue of national importance.

“Once plants and seeds are deep frozen, the maintenance costs are very low.

The research team also plans to use this technology for plant conservation, crop technology, and landcare and revegetation of other disturbed lands.

Alcoa’s partners in the research project include Kings Park, Curtin University, The University of Western Australia, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), The University of Queensland and Worsley Alumina (BHP Billiton).


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The Make an Impact Toolkits which are going into schools around our operations



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A Federal Government research project will see Alcoa scientists explore how to deep freeze jarrah forest plants, then bring them back to life - scroll down for full story



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Inside the lab at Marrinup Nursery



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