One World Newsletter March 2005 Vol 2 No#2

Environmental, Social and Business Development Issues Facing Our World

Welcome to our edition of our newsletter "One World". This is a monthly publication dedicated to providing you with knowledge and information to raise your awareness about sustainable development issues facing us in the contemporary world.

Most of the issues discussed are from within Australia, however as the theme is "One World" we will be providing information from all over the world.

We know you are very busy, so want to thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter. The information we provide you is comprehensive, concise and apposite.

We are a an independent consulting group and we are not affiliated with any religous or political organisations. Our religous and political irreverance is a fact we pride ourselves on.

Our mission is to raise your awareness on sustainablity issues throughout the World, through independent, factual information, helping you can make the right choices to empower yourself in the uncertain times ahead.

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Tobi Nagy
Director of SDS Consulting

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Index _________________New? Would you like to subscribe now

1. Greenhouse Effect and its possible implications
Some information for those who may not know much about the causes and implications of the "Greenhouse Effect"

2. World's seas are becoming more acidic
Rising acidity levels are affecting reef systems around the world.

3. Something in the air
Australian researchers are developing a way of reducing methane, a major source of Greenhouse gas emissions, in livestock

4. Colonisation of Coral on remote islands around the world
Coral cannot swim or fly across vast oceans, so how do new and remote islands become surrounded by exotic species of coral?

5. Top tips for Business Success
What are the most important factors to consider when starting a small business?

6. How to prepare an effective business plan
Considering starting a business? Here is an essential guide to get you started.

7. Previous editions of our newsletter

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Some information for those who may not know much about the causes and implications of the "Greenhouse Effect"

For those of you who have been living under a rock or asleep for the last 20 years or those who want to know more about it, here is a brief article.

  • The Greenhouse Effect maybe the most important natural phenomena and may lead to major changes in our lifestyles within our lifetime.
  • Today, whenever there is a natural disaster, the Greenhouse Effect seems to be on the agenda. It wasn't so long ago that scientists were dismissive of the Greenhouse Effect and there are some still that do not believe it exists, just like there are still people out there that think the world is still flat and the Holocaust never existed. So what is the Greenhouse Effect?

The Greenhouse Effect
The Greenhouse Effect is the culmination of various Greenhouse gases that have been trapped in the Earth's stratosphere that is leading to the changing of the word's climate.

  • Under the influence of the sun's rays, the earth's temperature varies from 0 to about 50 degC with an average through night and day, winter and summer, of about 15 deg C
  • The warming is done by rays from the sun, including the very shortest, ultraviolet (UV) rays and the longest infra-red (IR) rays which give you that warm feeling when you walk out into the sunshine, much like an electric radiator warms you when you turn it on and get close to it.
  • Some of the incoming rays are reflected back by the clouds in the sky and others by the sea and land, particularly deserts and snowfields.
  • Not all those reflected rays go back into space, instead, the atmosphere re-radiates many of the IR rays towards the earth making it warmer still. It is this ability of the atmosphere to re-radiate warm rays which creates the Greenhouse Effect.
  • Water vapour, carbon dioxide and certain other trace gases, absorb some of this radiation and prevent it being sent back into space. This "blanket effect" keeps the earth warm.

History of the Greenhouse Effect
It is not a new phenomena or concept. The term "Greenhouse gas" was first used in the Nineteen Century, by Irish born scientist John Tyndall in a paper he wrote in London's Philosophical Magazine in 1863.

  • It wasn't until the 1960's that Professor Bert Bolin of Stockholm University worked on the phenomenon. When he discussed it with fellow scientists they said "This is science fiction. We don't believe it".
  • However by the mid 1970's things were starting to change rapidly as scientists were starting to accept he was right.

How do we know the Greenhouse Effect exists? What is the evidence?

1. Scientists have analysed climates on planets like Venus and our moon.
Venus which is covered by a very dense atmosphere of carbon dioxide. Its surface temperature is around 500 deg C. Whilst the moon which has no atmosphere has an average temperature of approximately -18 degC. Our atmosphere keeps the surface of our earth, with an average of 15 degC, some 33 degC warmer and thus habitable.

2. Evidence of ice cores
Over the past 160,000 years carbon dioxide and methane levels trapped in ice cores have varied with global temperature. Scientists have been able to drill out ice cores from the Arctic and Antarctic and measure the levels of carbon dioxide and methane.

3. Increase in surface temperature of approximately 0.5 degC over 100 years as carbon dioxide levels increase
Studies conducted by scientists have concluded that the earth's temperature remained fairly constant until the start of the Industrial Revolution. Indeed it did not change much until the start of the twentieth century.

  • From 1880 to 1940 there was a warming of just a quarter of a degree. Most of it was lost between 1940 and 1970.
  • From 1950 to 1980 the average surface temperature was 15 degC.
  • Between 1970 and 1980 the temperature average went up by three-tenths of a degC.
  • 1987 and 1988 were the warmest years on record

4. Sea levels are rising and small glaciers are melting
Scientists using satellite and imaging technology have been able to monitor the melting of polar ice caps and glaciers.

What are the implications of the Greenhouse Effect?
By using very sophisticated computer modeling, scientists have been able to predict what the world's climate will be like when carbon dioxide levels have doubled.

1. Increase in world's temperature

It is thought that there will be an increase in the average global temperature by between 1.5 and 4.5 degC . By year 2030 an increase of 2 deg C, by 2100 an increase of 6 deg C.
The warming will be greater at higher latitudes and in winter. This will lead to the melting of polar ice caps and glaciers which is already evident, in places like Greenland, the Arctic and Antarctic.

2. Changes in World's climate
The Greenhouse Effect will lead to world-wide changes in weather and climate. Some places may get more rain and storms while other places may get less. Not all changes will be bad. However, almost everywhere in the world will have changes in weather, which will have a big impact on our lives

3. Rising Sea Level

It is estimated that by the year 2030, the average sea level will increase by approximately 20cms. This will be due mainly to the melting of the polar ice cap, but also warming of the atmosphere will heat the upper layers of the oceans, which will expand when heated.
For low lying countries in the Pacific like Tuvalu and Kiribati, and in the Indian Ocean like Maldives and other countries like Holland may altogether disappear.

4. Other impacts

Other impacts could be the dieing out of some species of animals and plants, such as coastal marine environments and coral reefs. Some plants would not be able to survive temperature increases. It takes thousands of years for forests to move north or south to cooler climates. According to Joel B. Smith, co-author of an EPA report states that "such a warming over a century would require forests to move five times faster than the fastest rate recorded by paleontologists since the end of the last ice age".

What are the primary Greenhouse gases?
They are a number of organic compounds which have more than two bonds (i.e 3 atoms). The seven major Greenhouse gases are:

1. Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
2. Ozone (O3)
3. Methane (CH4)
4. CFC's (Freons F11 & F12)
5. Water vapour (H2O)
6. Nitrous Oxides (NOx)
7. Ethane (CH3CH3)

Where do these Gases come from?

  • Most of the Greenhouse gases have resulted from the burning of fossil fuels. Everything from power stations, motor vehicles, refrigerators, and factory emissions
  • However, CO2 also results from deforestation which releases carbon locked in the soil when trees are felled.
  • CH4 is released from agriculture such as sheep, cattle and manures and places such as tips, sewage treatment plants and mines.

Fossil Fuel contributions
Due to the nature of carbon to hydrogen ratio, different fossil fuels emit different levels of CO2.

Fossil Fuel Carbon to Hydrogen Ratio

Approx. 1:1
Approx. 1:2
Natural Gas
Approx. 1:4

Table 1: approximate carbon to Hydrogen ratio for various fossil fuels

  • Hence combustion of coal produces twice the CO2 of natural gas

CO2 Levels in the atmosphere

Pre Industrial Revolution
270 ppm
345 ppm
>355 ppm

Table 2: Levels of CO2 in ppm (parts per million)

  • By measuring bubbles of gases trapped in polar ice, scientists have shown that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere prior to the Industrial Revolution was about 270 parts per million (ppm).
  • A special monitoring station established atop from the mountain Mauna Loa in the Hawaiian Islands showed that by 1957 CO2 levels in the atmosphere to 315 ppm, an increase of 17%.
  • By 1988, it had passed 345 ppm. A rise in 31 years of another 11%. An increased total of about 30% since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
  • Expert's further forecast that CO2 will reach a level of 500-700 ppm by the year 2050, a doubling inside 200 years.

Percentage Contribution of Greenhouse gases to the Greenhouse Effect

CFC (F-11/F-12)*

Table 3: Percentage contribution of various Greenhouse Gases to the Greenhouse Effect

* Please note that CFCs have been phased out since the mid-nineties

To stablise atmospheric concentration of various gases at present day levels, the following reductions would be required instantly

CFC (F-11)*
CFC (F-12)*

Table 4: Reductions of Greenhouse Gases required to stablise atmospheric concentrations

Remaining Scientific Uncertainty
There is no doubt that increasing concentrations of heat trapping gases will lead to an increase in average temperatures world-wide. However there is an argument about the extent in some cases of various positive and negative effects.

1. Uncertainty in effects of clouds

Cumulus- negative cooling effect-reflect incoming sunlight
High Altitude clouds- positive effect by trapping infra-red radiation from earth

  • This uncertainty explains variation in temperatures from 1.5 degC to 4.5 degC.

2. Combustion of fossil fuels e.g coal to Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) has cooling effect.

3. Variations in sun's output are responsible for temperature increases.

4. Ocean levels will naturally increase due to thermal expansion of surface ocean water and melting of glaciers.

  • An increase in temperature will lead to increased precipitation, which will increase ice thickness at poles, thus reducing sea level.

5. Natural regional climatic changes, such as deforestation and bushfires, as opposed to global changes.

Policies for Greenhouse Emission Reduction
1. Different countries emit vastly different CO2 levels per capita
2. Countries have very different per capita incomes
3. Very difficult to work out the warming potential for each Greenhouse Gas in terms of CO2 equivalent.
4. Emissions of gases from various countries are not known with certainty

1. Each country can reduce by the same percentage

  • Existing emission levels are uneven per capita are taken as standard
  • Poor countries want to increase fossil fuel usage

2. Each country gets the same emission quotas on a per capita basis. These countries sell quotas to rich countries.

3. Rich countries could reduce emissions by 20% with no reductions required by poor countries.

  • Not all rich countries have high emissions of CO2, and not all poor countries are low emitters because of deforestation.

4. Assume Australia which is high income and high Greenhouse Gas emitter per capita is required to reduce emissions by 20%.

  • How should it be reduced? By: a) each state? or b) each industry section?

Some methods of reducing CO2 emissions that have negative impact on our lives

  • Better managing of natural resource;
  • Reducing waste in manufacturing;
  • Find alternative end uses for waste (recycle and reuse);
  • Buying less junks and goods that we don't need (In Australia, estimated to be worth AUD$10 billion per annum);
  • Buying quality goods that don't need replacing as often;
  • Recycling more (e.g. it takes about 8 times more energy to convert bauxite to aluminium than it does to recycle it)
  • Reduced use of motor vehicles;
  • Increased use of public transport;
  • More efficient lighting, heating and cooling;
  • Better insulation;
  • Less reliance on electricity and electrical goods and machines;
  • More efficient electrical appliances;
  • More efficient cars;
  • Alternative technologies from natural sources such as wind, thermal and tidal;
  • Converting landfills and sewage plants into methane plants;
  • Bio-fuels such as bio-diesel, methanol and ethanol production from organic sources
  • Reduce large scale deforestation and land clearing;
  • Increase tree planting;
  • More efficient agriculture including No till and Conservation agriculture methods;
  • Organic farming.

In an upcoming edition we will examine the Kyoto Protocol (2001) and explain the implications.


CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research Australia.

Hewat T. (1989) The Greenhouse Effect: The Answer, Wrightbook Publications

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Rising acidity levels are affecting reef systems around the world.

Acidity level increases in the world's seas are affecting the production of calcium carbonate (limestone) in reef systems around the globe.

Due to an increase in carbon dioxide, from motor vehicles and industrial emissions, the world's seas are becoming more acidic after more than 10 million years of stable evolution. Although the changes are miniscule, whole ecosystems are in danger of dying out, if the reduction is not reduced drastically.

Scientists studying the phenomena in the Red Sea and the English Channel are worried that it is only a matter of time before the reef ecosystems begin to crumble, and as reefs around the world the are already in an unhealthy state, its not good news.

In the English Channel scientists from the Plymouth laboratories are studying the effect of increased acidity on keystone species such as the Starfish and the effects on its calcium carbonate shell.

[Source: ABC News ]

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Australian researchers are developing a way of reducing methane, a major source of Greenhouse gas emissions, in livestock.

Fact #1: Two-thirds of Greenhouse gases that are produced from agriculture come from livestock. The balance comes from fertilisers, manures and effluent ponds.

Fact #2: Agriculture is Australia's second largest greenhouse gas polluter after the energy sector, methane from sheep and cattle accounts for about 14 per cent of Australia's greenhouse emissions.

Researchers are using Angus steer cattle to help look into reducing the contribution of methane production in ruminants as a major source of Greenhouse Gas emissions in Australian Agriculture.

The Angus steers are helping NSW Agriculture researchers understand why cattle fed a common diet can produce wildly different amounts of methane. Roger Hegarty, of NSW Agriculture, says there is a strong link between cattle that use their feed efficiently and cattle that produce less methane. "So that's what we're exploring as a first goal," he said. "Our main interest is finding some animals that we know are low methane producers and some animals that are high methane producers and try to say, even within a breed, there's this big variation in how much methane is produced. "We want to try and capitalise on that as a general tool rather than just a breed specific thing."

Using customised vacuum canisters, the researchers have estimated cattle produce an average of 250 litres of methane a day.

But according to Mr Hegarty, who is a ruminant nutritionist, more importantly, it represents a 15 per cent loss in potential energy. "It's an opportunity lost because there are millions of days of feed energy that go up as methane each year from the Australian herd and flock," he said. "So we're losing the opportunity to be productive with that energy. It's wasted as methane and I guess the negative side is that if we don't do something about methane perhaps before too long someone will notice that agriculture is quite a large emitter. "Until now we haven't been at all proactive about reducing those emissions. "Largely that's because we don't have the tools and we don't have the tools because we haven't been driving a research agenda that can come up with those solutions that agriculture will need."

For many producers methane has been seen as just another costly problem, but recent advances in microbiology point to solutions, which can reduce methane and boost production at the same time.

At the CSIRO's livestock research centre in suburban Perth, custom-built methane chambers are testing sheep that have been immunised for methane resistance. The CSIRO'S Andrew Wright describes the layout: "There are four chambers here in this lab. You can see the animals can see each other, they're quite content, they have their feed, they have their water, and there's an adequate supply of air flow, roughly 200 litres per minute."

Mr Wright says they are trying to use the animal's immune system to target microbes that live naturally in their gastro-intestinal tract. "The vaccine work we're doing is quite novel indeed," he said. "It's the first time vaccines have been used in a non-disease prevention cause and CSIRO has the patent in Australia, New Zealand, parts of the European Union as well as North America so we're the only laboratory in the world currently doing this type of research."

Mr Wright, project leader, says improved molecular technologies have helped scientists better understand the complex ecosystems within the guts of ruminants like sheep and cattle.

"The microbial activity in the rumen is highly diverse and extremely complex. In a single millilitre of rumen fluid you expect to see a thousand million bacteria, a hundred million methanogens, and a hundred thousand protozoa cells per one millilitre," he said.

Although another three years from full commercialisation, the Perth team believes immunisation will be a low-cost solution with each inoculation costing producers about 25 to 50 cents per sheep and up to a dollar for cattle. The team expects its newly commissioned methane chambers to confirm its earlier ground-breaking results. "We're confident the vaccines will work," Mr Wright says.

"Our latest study which was done at Rockhampton in Queensland, where we used respiration chambers there that were initially designed for cattle, we ended up getting roughly a 13 per cent abatement of methane after vaccination in animals compared to control animals. "This was about 10 weeks after vaccination. We've also been able to show in the laboratory in test tubes that we can reduce methane emissions in the neighbourhood of 40 to 60 per cent.

"At this stage in our research we're certainly focussing on the abatement aspect and once we are able to fine tune the vaccine work we would hope to see some productivity benefits after that."
At the Department of Primary Industries Animal Research unit in Queensland, researchers have developed a low-cost feed supplement to protect cattle from the toxic pasture shrub lekeena.

Athol Klieve, from the Queensland Department of Primary Industries, says the whole idea of the fermenter is that it mimics what's going on in the rumen so it's continuously kept anaerobic by bubbling through with an anaerobic gas, carbon dioxide in this case, and it has artificial saliva run through it to keep the PH at the right level similar to the rumen and it's kept at the same temperature as the rumen," Athol Klieve, Queensland Department of Primary Industries said.

The fermentation machine will soon also be used to test another potential world first solution for methane abatement.
The Queensland team is studying why kangaroos do not produce methane even though they mostly eat grass like sheep and cattle. "We have a great advantage looking at kangaroos because even though they have a similar system for utilising plants for what sheep and cattle do, they've evolved entirely independently and separately over many millions of years and so the microbes that do similar jobs are actually extremely different and we've found that 50 per cent of the microbes we've isolated are totally new in terms of comparison to known species in this area," Mr Klieve said. Mr Klieve says rather than producing methane, kangaroos produce acetate, which aids digestion. He aims to harness the bacteria which causes this reaction in kangaroos to produce a drench or feed supplement, which would work like acidophilous in yoghurt.

"What you're doing is selecting bacteria that you want to do a specific job and you're putting it into that new ecosystem, we'll be looking for bacteria that are able to out compete methanogens that are present in the rumen and instead of methane they'd be looking to produce acetate which is an energy material then available to the animal," he said. Mr Klieve is confident the research will have a major impact on methane abatement. "Well at his stage we couldn't say exactly what percentage it will reduce but it is possible that we could reduce it by a very large amount including up to totally eliminating it," he said. "So that would mean there's between 10 and 15 per cent more energy available to cattle and sheep to be able to use for productive purposes than there is now and that they wouldn't need any more feed to get that from, that would come from the feed they're having now."

The Queensland research is also about three years from commercialisation. In the meantime, a more immediate challenge for Australia's livestock industry is how to incorporate greenhouse friendly management into production systems.
Mr Hegarty says just about any good management decision will help an animal grow faster or grow to have more calves in a lifetime will reduce the amount of emissions per unit of product. "But they don't necessarily reduce the total amount of emissions from the sector because a cow will grow faster but it will also produce a little more methane per day," he said.
"If we're really talking about how can we reduce the amount of methane coming out of the livestock sector we don't have a lot of tools at the moment short of running less animals and there's a few manipulations we can do but there's not many we need to come up with some solutions."

Since the Australian Greenhouse Office was established in 1998 the Federal Government has invested a billion dollars in greenhouse gas abatement. So far though, the percentage of that money that has gone to agriculture could at best be described as token. The Australian Greenhouse Office's David Ugalde says the focus of the Greenhouse Office has been on energy and transport and is now increasing its program on agriculture.

"There'll be a considerable research program allocated over the next four years possibly $1.5 million towards a research program to be able to address greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture," he said.
The Australian Greenhouse Office admits agriculture has not been specifically targeted until now, but it is spending more than $20 million over the next four years on a comprehensive new strategy. "It's a coordinated program the entire program is not just research it's a matter of being able to work with industry, it's a matter of being able to capitalise on advantages for industry," Mr Ugalde said. "If we're able to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gas from farming, we need to be able to produce productivity and profit benefits for farmers as well, so it's a win-win situation." It's a win for industry, a win for the environment and a win for Australia's research effort.

"It's a fantastic time really we're just coming into a great era for research," Mr Hegarty said. "I guess because we think we can actually deliver something in a reasonable time frame for industry to make a difference.
"Most of us are paid as public servants so we'd like to do something helpful and I think with industry and the Greenhouse Office coming on side I think Australia's got a great science team to do the job but we need to get in now because it'll take us some time to come up with solutions but I think it's a real possibility."

[Source: ABC Landline Report: By: Sean Murphy]

Australian Greenhouse Office
Ph: 1300 130 606

NSW Agriculture Beef Industry Centre, Armidale, NSW, Roger Hegarty
PH: 02 6770 1806

Queensland Department of Primary Industries
Ph: 132523

CSIRO Livestock Research Centre, Andrew Wright
08 9333 6417

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Coral cannot swim or fly across vast oceans, so how do new and remote islands become surrounded by exotic species of coral?

According to a recent theory, it's all down to volcanoes. What is the connection between an explosive volcano and a tranquil coral reef? At first sight, they may seem to have little in common, but it turns out that some violent volcanic eruptions, such as that of Krakatau in Indonesia in 1883, have been responsible for breathing fresh life into coral reefs that live many thousands of miles away.

The spectacular coral reefs around Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean benefited particularly from Krakatau's fireworks in 1883, while the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, owes much of its dazzling diversity of coral species to undersea volcanic eruptions near the Tonga Trench, north of New Zealand. Linking these explosive volcanoes and magnificent coral reefs are the ocean currents that act like highways across the ocean.

For the past 20 years, Paul Jokiel from the University of Hawaii has been studying coral reefs and pondering how coral can spread around the world. Coral cannot swim or fly across vast oceans, so how do remote islands become surrounded by exotic species of coral? Living in Hawaii, Jokiel was well placed to study the arrival of new corals and one day he noticed a clue, close to the beach. "I found corals attached to floating volcanic pumice and this made me wonder where the pumice had come from," he explains.

Pumice is the lightweight rock produced by fizzing volcanoes that contain lots of gases. These volcanoes spew out frothy magma, which cools into a light, spongy rock. Because of its bubbly texture and low density, pumice can float on water. If the pumice gets swept into one of the ocean's surface currents, then it can be towed along for thousands of miles. Could it be that coral hitch-hikes across oceans on floating lumps of pumice? To test this idea Jokiel realised that he needed to be able to trace the origins of the pumice that washed up on the beach in Hawaii.

Volcanoes differ in the chemistry of the magma that they erupt. Some volcanoes contain more iron oxide, others more potassium oxide. "Geologists can 'fingerprint' magmas from different volcanoes by comparing their chemistry," explains Jokiel. To identify the different chemical elements making up a piece of pumice they use a technique called X-ray fluorescence. The rock is bombarded with X-rays, causing the electrons around each atom to become so excited that they jiggle about. As the electrons settle back down again, the extra energy is re-emitted as an X-ray again. Different elements re-emit different X-rays of characteristic wavelengths. Using this information, geologists can calculate the proportion of each element and compound inside a rock.

Jokiel started collecting pumice from all over the world and used X-ray fluorescence to "fingerprint" its origins. He has identified eruptions from many different places and has built up a sizeable record of the voyages that some of these pumice flows experienced. For example, the pumice from the 1883 eruption of Krakatau was particularly adventurous: after the eruption, pumice drifted both west - across the Indian Ocean - and east - through the Sunda Strait. Ten months later, Krakatau pumice was washing up on the shores of Zanzibar over 6,000 miles away, and after one year, it had reached Durban in South Africa. Much of the pumice going east got caught up in large eddies and swirled around the Maldives and Sri Lanka for two years. Eventually some of the pumice escaped and travelled out into the Pacific, reaching places like Hawaii and Christmas Island.

Part of the reason that the pumice from the Krakatau eruption spread so far and wide was because it was a huge eruption that produced an enormous volume of pumice. But another important factor is that Krakatau was located close to lots of ocean currents, allowing the pumice to disperse in all directions very quickly.

Having realised that pumice is quite capable of crossing oceans, Jokiel, and his colleague Fenny Cox, wanted to see if coral could survive the ride and if there was a pattern linking the species richness of coral reefs with their proximity to pumice trails. During the last two years they have been collecting pumice samples from both Hawaii and Christmas Island and working out where it has come from. They have also been experimenting with growing coral on pieces of pumice to see if the coral can manage to cling on.

Christmas Island lies about 1,000 miles south of Hawaii and its beaches are littered with pieces of pumice. "We identified that the pumice on Christmas Island came from the western Pacific Ocean (Krakatau), the south-western Pacific Ocean (Tonga Trench), the east Pacific Ocean (Mexico), the South Atlantic Ridge and one other unknown source," says Jokiel. By contrast pumice is fairly rare on Hawaii and they could only identify three sources: the South Sandwich Islands, Mexico and Krakatau.

Back at the outdoor aquaria at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology they discovered that coral was just as happy to grow on pumice as it was to grow on its normal bedrock of carbonate. This showed that theoretically there was no problem with coral hitching a lift across the ocean on a piece of pumice.

Next they investigated the diversity of coral species around each island. The reef around Christmas Island is bursting with different colours, shapes and sizes of coral, reflecting the 81 species that live there. Meanwhile, Hawaii has a much more restricted range with only 50 different species of coral.

Piecing this evidence together has led Jokiel and Cox to believe that the increased diversity of coral around Christmas Island reflects the fact that the island lies in a confluence of oceanic currents, allowing new species of coral to hitch across the ocean on miniature rafts of pumice. Christmas Island sits at a "spaghetti junction" of ocean highways, while Hawaii, by comparison, sits right out in the marine equivalent of the sticks.

And pumice is not the only form of transport that coral colonies use to move around the globe. "Coral can raft on to many different types of floating objects, from pumice to large drifting trees and logs and even man-made flotsam such as discarded shoes," says Jokiel. "Nature has given us a major natural experiment, putting large amounts of drift tracers [pumice] into the ocean so that we can study the currents."

Given that pumice can be reliably traced to its origins, it may even be possible, using pumice, to study how ocean currents moved in the past. As the pumice floats away from the volcano, its bubbly structure becomes waterlogged. The smallest fragments sink first, followed by larger pieces later. "There is a pattern of pumice contained in the deep-sea sediments that could reveal the pattern of pumice-drift prior to sinking," explains Jokiel.

Downstream of the volcano, a pumice trail is laid across the ocean floor, with bigger and bigger pieces sinking down as time goes by. Geologists often discover particles of pumice in sediment cores drilled from the sea floor. Dating and chemically analysing the source of these pieces of pumice could reveal the direction of ancient ocean surface currents.

Where was the spaghetti junction of ocean currents in the past and has Hawaii always been off the beaten track? These are the kind of questions that are important to climate scientists and pumice could help to answer them all. As well as transporting pumice, driftwood and flotsam, ocean currents are responsible for moving heat and influencing the weather. Understanding precisely how ocean currents moved in the past will help climate scientists to unravel weather patterns and produce better climate models for the future.

It is perhaps some consolation to think that something worthwhile results from these destructive volcanoes. The 1883 eruption of Krakatau generated terrifying tidal waves and a gigantic ash cloud that blocked out the Sun for several days. But now the pumice from that deadly eruption is providing a map of ocean surface currents and is helping us to understand the workings of our planet a little better. And although Krakatau was bad news for humans at the time, it was fantastic for corals. Ocean currents swept coral colonies all over the world on their pumice rafts. Many of the dazzling coral reefs that we admire today owe their existence to the corals that arrived on pumice and driftwood rafts in the past.

Source: Robert Scott

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What are the most important factors to consider when starting a small business?

Want to know how to run your business better? Find out what small business owners and operators consider the most important tips for helping your business succeed.

Here is our selection of the top 18 business tips received from entrants to the recent ninemsn Small Business/Microsoft competition.
1. Concentrate on your core business, use the most efficient tools available and be the best at what you do!
2. Cash flow management is paramount. Always overestimate your expenses and underestimate your income.
3. Do not commit to the impossible and always, always, deliver on promises - an unreliable provider will not get return business.
4. Plan well ahead. Think outside the square with care. Back up any financial risk you take with a safe fallback position.
5. Write a detailed business plan and review it regularly.
6. Concentrate on your core business, use the most efficient tools available and be the best at what you do.
7. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
8. Always have a smile on your dial. Treat the customer as you would expect to be treated.
9. Love what you do and continue to learn as you earn.
10. It takes weeks to gain a customer, but seconds to lose one.
11. Believe in what you are doing and never lose sight of your goals.
12. Know your clients' needs well and understand the value your service/product adds to their business and how to constantly improve it.
13. Begin with the end in mind. Your dream and vision is what will motivate you and inspire others onward and upward to your business success.
14. Your own clients are your best sales tool. Look after them and they will look after you.
15. Don't be scared to change the direction of your business.
16. Have sufficient working capital to sustain the business for at least 12 months, only draw the minimum to live off in that time.
17. Take advice from those who are where you want to be and ignore negativity from those who are not.
18. Be determined, be focused, never give up, take negative feedback and turn it into a positive, never let anyone steal your dream.

Source MSN Small Business Network

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Considering starting a business? Here is an essential guide to get you started.

If you are considering starting a business, then having a proper business plan is essential. It provides a roadmap for your business. If you were going on a long distance journey to somewhere you haven't been before, common sense would dictate that you take a map with you. So why wouldn't you do the same for your business? It's surprising how many people carry out a new venture without the essential tool of a business plan, which provides their road map. Then again, it's not surprising how many businesses fail.

Having a business plan gives you a realistic and better understanding of what is required and what you may be up for. It can also give you a professional approach to starting a business.

There are many variations on writing a business plan however they all must essentially have the same information. They must answer the what, where, why and how's of the business. If done correctly, the business plan can be a formal tool for your business which is essential for attracting investors or applying for business loans from your bank. It will give you more credibility when approaching bank managers and potential investors.

The following is a guide for the layout of a business plan, which helps you focus on your marketing and sales effort, which is essentially 90% of your business:

Executive summary
Begin your plan with an executive summary, which you should write last. The executive summary condenses your main points in preferably one to two pages.

Give a brief introduction to your project, how you got the idea, where you may want to take it

Table of Contents
This is an essential part of the business plan that will help the reader find the required information easily. This can be easily generated in Word using: Insert --> Index & Tables -->Table of Contents.

1.0 The Industry and the Company and its Product(s) or Services(s)
This will provide information about your industry, your business including such things as your mission, vision, goals, business objectives and strategies, key success factors, entry and exit strategies, SWOT [Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats] analysis, risk assessment, organisational structure and management team. It will also provide information on your product and services and will be the first section a potential investor or bank manager will read to find out about your business.

2.0 Market Research and Analysis
Market Analysis and research should be essentially carried out by a professional, because this gives credence and impartiality to your market proposal. Essentially you need to ask the following questions. Do you have a market, who is likely to buy, how big is the target market, what is the best way to communicate to your market and how much is it going to cost to reach them?

3.0 Marketing Plan
This is where you develop and analyse your marketing strategy based on your market research and analysis, including your 5P's of marketing, image branding, advertising and promotional strategy, website strategy and annual marketing budget.

4.0 Sales Development
This is an analysis of how you intend to sell your product or service your customers and build your customer base based on your marketing plan. It should include your sales forecast, sales strategies and your sales team and tools.

5.0 Operation Plan
This section addresses such issues as how you are going to run your business, [methodology], your facilities and should include your day to day procedures.

6.0 The Economics Of The Business
Essentially the operating cost, from start-up costs, operating costs and margins to Break-Even point and return on investment and loan payback.

7.0 Quality Plan
All aspects of quality related to your product or service, including systems and standards, benchmarking, warranty or guarantee, defects, returns, handling customer complaints etc.

8.0 Financial Plan
This is most likely the fourth place the investor or the bank manager will look after the industry and company information, market analysis and research, and operating costs.
This will include your financial/cash flow assumptions, cash flow projections for at least the first three years and your balance sheet.
Again, this should be done with professional assistance such as an accountant.

9.0 Timelines of Operation
A timeline of your operations is essential. This is a project schedule outlining your business activities and their estimated time at which they will occur. It can be as simple as a table or as complex as an MS Project chart.

10. Bibliography and References
It is essential to have a record of all the information sources and references to clarify any points of fact, upon which the business is based.

Any auxiliary information should be put here, such as charts, tables or extra research not directly relevant to the business plan.

For further information contact Tobi Nagy:

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