Switch on to our e-news! Switch off fossil power.

It’s been a white-knuckle ride here at MASG, with the newsletter coming out on a different day of the week for about the past three issues (ok, so we don’t get out much and have to look for excitement by altering our work schedule).

Bear with us! We’ve had a few teething issues, but we’re getting back into a regular groove.

The next e-news will be published on Thursday, 6 November, so get your contributions in to us then, by 11am. And Thursdays thereafter.

Coal is good for humanity

‘Trouble at mill’

And our headline? Courage writ large?

Last week our Prime Minister said coal was good for humanity. This prompted Doctors for the Environment Australia to write to the PM, strongly rejecting his statements.

‘There is no justification for the pronouncement that “coal is good for humanity”.

It is in direct contradiction to all the available public health evidence,’ they wrote.

Increasingly fossil fuels are failing: even as an investment. 

Read on to find out about the extraordinary, courageous actions of Pacific Islanders against this filthy and desperate industry in terminal decline – and a lot more besides: sustainable house day, renewables demos at the Show, retrofitting your home …

 

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Biochar and Biodiesel at the Castlemaine Show

soybean-biodieselWe’ve been working hard to bring demos of biochar and biodiesel to this region. With the Show weekend coming up, we have two demos we’re delighted to invite you to – biodiesel and biochar.

“The Prime Minister has recently tied all Australia’s future horsepower to fossil fuels, but most people know renewables are running a much different – and a winning – race,” said Mick Lewin, Chair of the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group.

“MASG has been mapping Mt Alexander Shire for potential renewable energy projects, and biochar and biodiesel have exciting potential locally.”

He said the visiting biodiesel specialist would demonstrate producing a viable fuel from canola and other seed, and a byproduct of that was a stockfeed and fertiliser.

“We are very excited to be trialling these two projects here. If local farmers start picking them up they have the potential to turn this shire into a renewable energy powerhouse, concurrently improving farm incomes,” Mick said.

We’ll look forward to seeing you at the Show on 31 October and 1 November!

I want more!

On Friday night 31 October, 7.30pm on the Balcony at The Hub, our demonstrators will hold talks and show slides about their projects. $15 for food platters and buy your own drinks – this is a great opportunity to find out more about these potential on-farm income streams. Call 5470 6978 by Wednesday, 29 October, to book your place now.

 

Sustainable House Day

IMG_4595Sunday, 30 November 2014, 10am-3pm

MASG’s popular tour of environmentally progressive homes is back! Be inspired by what locals have achieved and find out how they did it. This year’s theme is “Old For New” and features:

  • a high-tech upgrade of a 1940s town house, complemented by food garden, beehive and ducks
  • the stone bush cottage repurposed for “paddock-to-plate” cookery courses with an innovative commercial kitchen extension the new-tech family home, built in weeks not months, using high-performing Structural Insulated Panels, and sited in the backyard of the owner’s former residence, a modern take on the “flat above the shop”.
  • A family dwelling built within a huge shed, from materials sourced from the owners’ on-site salvage yard.

Register your attendance by calling MASG on 54706978 or on our website at masg.org.au/housetours

Cost: $30 individual, $20 MASG member/concession, $50 couple/family. Covers house tours, printed notes and morning tea. Numbers strictly limited.

Interested to volunteer? Call Kate Orr to register on 0423 087 030.

 

 

Retrofit Your Home Sustainably

houseHave you recently bought a house that needs a little help?

This eight-hour course covers the principles of retrofitting including passive solar orientation, air movement, insulation, renewable energy solutions, water storage, energy use auditing and power bill reduction.

Good for anyone thinking of renovating, owner-building, or reducing the cost of running your home.

Where: Ray Bradfield Room, Victory Park Castlemaine
When: Thursdays in November 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $120 full/$100 concession & MASG members. Call MASG to enrol on 5470 6978 or email coordinator@masg.org.au

 

Waste heroes awarded

An old caravan from the Maldon Caravan Park is being renovated at The Food Garden to extend their cafe

An old caravan from the Maldon Caravan Park is being renovated at The Food Garden to extend their cafe

Three local residents who have turned waste materials from businesses into innovative creations were awarded this week as part of MASG’s Waste Less initiative.

The competition winners are:
1st Prize – $300 gift voucher for The Salvage Yard
C. Meave (The Food Garden) – Shop was built using waste materials from local businesses.
2nd Prize – Worm farm from The EnviroShop
M. Rodnight – Re-used business waste materials in permaculture garden.
3rd Prize – Screwdriver set from Home Hardware and kitchen bench compost bin.
D. Button – Re-used pallets to create base boards around perimeter of house.
 
The Waste Less website lists what waste items local businesses have to give away and how individuals, community organisations and schools can access them.
For more information, visit www.masg.org.au/wasteless.

Electric Bikes and Conversions

Electric Bikes for facebook

Free Community Event

Need a helping hand when pedalling around the Shire? Come to the Ray Bradfield Room and learn about the electric bike revolution!

Saturday 25 October, 10.30am-12.30pm, Ray Bradfield Room, between Victory Park and the IGA car park, Forest Street, Castlemaine. Presented by the Bike Vault

Bookings: Dallas Giles, Healthy Environments Administration Officer 5471 1768

d.giles@mountalexander.vic.gov.au

And while we’re talking bikes…

 

R2W bike parking at the event 15 Oct 2014Ride to work a great success

Last week MASG jointly hosted a successful Ride to Work day with the Hub Foundation.  Riders came from out of town including from Bendigo to celebrate and enjoy the delicious free brekkie.

Thanks to our 10 volunteers who helped make it such a hit!

 

 

Farmland not Gasfields – the struggle against new coal and gas in Victoria

Pledge_for_soc_mediaMovie night, Wednesday, 29 October, 6.15 at The Comma

In Victoria, our government wants to open up new coal mines and shut down renewable energy across much of the state. But throughout regional Australia a new movement is building power and starting to win against the coal and gas companies and their friends in government. FoE want to share this good news story.

Across regional Victoria more than 70 communities have organised to oppose proposed coal mining and gas drilling. Already, 25 towns in southern Victoria have declared themselves ‘coal or gasfield free’. On average, the declarations have received 95% support.

Please join Friends of the Earth on Wednesday October 29 to hear about the growing community resistance. 6.15pm for a 6.30 start.

At the Comma, 16 Hargraves St, Castlemaine. Free event. Gold coin donation welcomeThe kitchen is open from 6pm. Please ring the Comma directly if you’d like to book a table 5472 2205.

Presented by Friends of the Earth, with the support of Mt Alexander Sustainability Group.

RSVP: cam.walker@foe.org.au Further information

 

Sleep under the Stars at Hepburn

webflyer_ghostpatrolCome along to sleep under the stars, a family-friendly camping event on Saturday, 15 November. Hundreds of locals and wind farm fans can enjoy a beautiful and positive sensory experience of art, entertainment and clean energy at Australia’s first community-owned wind farm.

Register now!

Gates open at 3pm for campers to set up, and the official event will run from 4-10.30pm.

 

Outside the Square – Kitchen Table Conversations for Change

Come along to Outside the Square and join in kitchen table conversations about creating an even better Bendigo. Hear from special guest speakers and locals how change has happened as a result of kitchen table conversations. Special guest speaker Alana Johnson of Voice for Indi.

$10 entry fee, includes supper. Presented by Make a Change Australia and Bendigo a Thinking City.

Thursday 30 October 7pm, Old Church on the Hill Community Hall, cnr Harkness and Russell streets, Quarry Hill, Bendigo.

 

mouseclimateactionSlacktivism

Climate action with a mouse

Behind closed doors

This is it. Right now the future of solar is in the hands of only six politicians – and yours.

In the coming days three government ministers will sit down with three Labor ministers deep inside Parliament House in Canberra to decide the future of the Renewable Energy Target.

They’re meeting behind closed doors to discuss Australia’s most successful policy for solar and renewables – and with them preparing for discussions right now, we want you to show them Australia will be watching.

SC_Negotiators_SM_Graphic_v03_mediumTell our negotiators that you want them to stay strong for Aussie solar – take a minute to write your personal message on their Facebook pages:

You can send your Facebook messages by posting on each politician’s page or by sending them a direct message. When they see our messages popping up on their pages, there will be no doubt that our eyes will be on them when the negotiations get underway.

Now we need to make ourselves heard again so these negotiations result in protecting, not undermining, the Renewable Energy Target.

When it comes down to it, this decision is about the livelihoods of solar workers, the right of Australians to go solar and take control of their energy bills, and for Australians to take the power back from the government and big energy companies.

 

Pacific Islanders face off Australia’s coal exports

newcastle-1The people of the Pacific are not drowning, they are fighting. And the biggest threat to their homes is the fossil fuel industry.

Newcastle houses the largest coal port in the world, shipping around 560,000 tonnes of coal a day.

If the port were a country, it would be the 9th highest emitting country in the world.

On Friday, 17 October, the Warriors in hand carved canoes and dozens of Australians in kayaks, prevented 10 scheduled ships from passing through the Newcastle coal port. But most importantly, the warriors stood tall and their message was heard loud and clear: they are not drowning, they are fighting.

Milan-Loeak-Marshall-Islands-IIThe action continues this week, and you can hear the story first hand from the Pacific Warriors this week – at one of the speaking events: in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

For the hundreds of people who joined the Warriors, we thank you. As the Warriors continue their journey, help us tell their courageous story – share the Warrior’s story with your friends and ask them to stand with the Warriors. The Warriors will continue to fight, but they can not do it alone.

The courage of the Pacific Warriors was on full display as they came face to face with the fossil fuel industry threatening their homes.

 

 

Sign the pledge to vote for our environment

The Sunday Age reported that the Napthine government has been forced to further delay its plans to open new coal fields in the Latrobe Valley. But only until after the state election.

We’ve had a win, but we need to remain vigilant.

The Coalition remains determined to pursue this if re-elected, and we still haven’t had Labor declare a clear position on new coal mines.

That’s why it’s so important that we reclaim the environment this election and let politicians know that you care. Have you signed the pledge to vote for our environment yet?

 

 

Last Word: courage

Our last word this week is not words but photos.

It’s courage, writ large, of Pacific Islanders confronting the coal industry that is threatening their homes.

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