Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Mount Alexander Sustainability Group News Digest Friday 1st August

Posted on 1 August 2008 by e-news

For more information call 5470 6978 or email

MASG News and Events

Farmers Market Sunday 3rd August
See the new marquee in use! Renew your membership or sign up a friend. If you’re interested in joining our friendly Market Stalls team and could help with setting up or packing, email or ring 5470 6978

Fundraising Up-date
Recent letters to members inviting donations have brought a great response. To date, 64 individual donations have been received, ranging in amount from $5 to $8000, making a total of $22,820. All donations are greatly appreciated as they help to pay for important project work as well as basic items like telephone,
insurance and administration. A big thanks to all concerned.

Renewal reminders. For those who have forgotten or been too busy to renew their membership, email reminders will be sent out, starting at the end of this week. If you have any queries, ring 5470 6978 or email

Dean attended the Hepburn Wind launch on Friday last week and was very impressed by the enthusiasm of all those attending. For a more in depth report see the article in events organized by others.

Focus on Community – Arts and Action Workshops
A successful introductory workshop was held last week. The workshops aim to inform local community members how the visual and performing arts as a message stick can inform, engage and activate the community around sustainability and climate change. Project ideas that came out of this workshop include:
Matt Wobbly: Large billboard advertisements featuring local community action messages and web links.
Dorothy Wright: Local garden/orchard project inclusive of all community groups of any ability.
Sharee Mangan: Collecting organic waste ingredients from local cafes/restaurants to return to local farmers as good, nutritious compost.
Cheryl Jakab: Establish a ‘Public Environment Centre’ which features information and documentation on sustainability projects, stories and actions addressing climate change.
Jac Semmler: Local youth-focused activities to explore community transition from oil dependency to local resilience.
More to come!
Next Focus on Community workshop Thursday 4th September, 1-5pm. $15. Bookings essential or register your interest in future workshops to This is a MASG action project.

A MASG member has recently donated a brand new Trishaw made by Trisled in Dromana. Already decked out with the MASG logo, the Trishaw is in effect a bike-powered rickshaw, able to carry two people. Whilst we don’t envisage it becoming a major part of the Castlemaine transport scene partly because of our hills, we hope it will be a prominent symbol of the sort of change we need to make – more human power whether for walking or cycling, more fitness for obvious reasons and fewer emissions of greenhouse gases. We have obtained permission to use it for fare-paying passengers in the Castlemaine CBD and at special events, such as festivals. Now we need energetic, enthusiastic drivers prepared to undergo some training. Please contact Neil on 5472 3094 if you would like to embark on a new part-time career! Also, as the insurance (that difficult topic again) is $2,000 per annum in advance, regardless of how often it’s used, we are going to need plenty of passengers or perhaps a kindly soul to help out. Our donor is prepared to pay the lot if needed but would love to have some assistance. So if you believe in the Trishaw you might like to help by contributing to the Back the Trishaw Fund c/- the MASG office. The Trishaw will be launched soon. Watch this space!
Committee members beyond the call…
It’s not often that we draw attention to the contributions of particular committee members, but two members have worked particularly hard lately. In the past month Treasurer Heather has completed the accounts for the last financial year and had them audited. Our turnover is now running at $330,000pa and increasing so it’s now a rather big and strange task for a person whose passion, apart from doing something about climate change, is the life and work of Thomas Hardy! Felicity has also been working long hours as she has taken responsibility for the Solar Display Home, helped to recruit Fran Woodruff to be the Project Officer for it, revised the budget and renegotiated the contract for the Sustainability Victoria funding and done a lot of work as MASG’s representative on a committee for the Diamond Gully development. This development will involve the building of around 400 houses and we are trying to make sure it will be at the cutting edge of sustainability. Thank you to both Heather and Flic.

Farwell to Ian “Thanks to everyone for their warm wishes and support. I am looking forward to meeting you in my new role at Greenstreets. Committee member, Tony Smark, made a lovely speech at my morning tea.

New staff member
We warmly welcome Fran Woodruff on to the staff. Fran will be working one day per week as Project Officer on the Solar Display Home. She has a strong and successful background in environmental work and in community facilitation and has worked as for several local Councils (most recently Surf Coast Shire) and as a consultant in her own. There will be a welcome morning tea for Fran advertised in next week’s E News.

Volunteers Needed for Festival of the Wheel, Oct 25th and 26th
A big thanks to the 15 members who have put their hands up to be volunteers for the Festival. We’re now well on the way to finding the 50 volunteers we need to make the Festival a great success. Preparations for the Festival are in full swing – full details will be on the web in the next day or so, along with some great photos given to us by the Shire.
On October 25th and 26th we’re expecting over 500 of cyclists to descend on Castlemaine for a great weekend’s cycling and related activities. There will be 7 different rides from Castlemaine (or Muckleford) to Maldon on the Saturday, ranging from 9km to 90km. On the Saturday night we’ll have Cycling’s Big Night Out at the Theatre Royal. On Sunday morning there will be fun Duathlons at the Sunken Oval and then from 11-30 Free Family Day in the Park with all sorts of bike-based entertainment. Details will be on the website soon.
The Festival is both a major fund raiser for MASG and an awareness raising event about the important role of bikes in a sustainable transport system.
Volunteers can work as marshals in the bush and on the road, provide advice and ID when people arrive, serve pancakes on Sunday morning, help us with Early Bird registrations and pre-event organising and drive support vehicles. Training sessions will be held in Sept/Oct and there will be a huge thankyou party after the event! If you’d like to help, please email: with your details.

MASG Forums for Members: Don’t forget to come to the first Forum which will take place on Wednesday August 6th in the Anglican Church Hall between 7 and 9pm. This will provide an opportunity for members to ask questions about current projects, make suggestions and, we hope, decide which MASG events or projects they would like to get involved with. It will also be an opportunity for the committee to explain MASG’s aims and plans, as well as the challenges it’s facing. We hope to see you there.

Statewide Schools sign…. help MASG help our schools
Dean is helping organise schools in our region take part in a statewide human sign project on Wednesday 20th August. Schools in Geelong, Surf Coast, Bendigo, Portland, Gippsland, Ballarat, Riddells Creek amongst others are taking part and we want to enable schools in our shire to do the same, but need some help
If you are interested in helping see and contact Dean on 54 70 6978 or email

Climate Code Red: MASG has sold out! If you’re still interested, we’re currently ordering more copies so ring 5470 6978 or email to reserve one.

Events organized by other organizations

Share Offer launch
Hepburn Wind hosted a very successful launch of their share offer, at Daylesford Town Hall on Friday 25th July. The keynote address presented by former minister John Thwaites was well received by the crowd of over 150 people and lively media presence. The project to build two, community owned wind turbines is now ready for investors and copies of the share document can be downloaded at . The share offer will be open for the next three months. The event received unprecedented press coverage, featuring on the ABC 7pm news, offering a welcome note of optimism in the midst of climate change related stories. To check out some of the media coverage try the following links
GetUp Torch Relay: GetUp is an independent, grass-roots community advocacy organisation giving everyday Australians opportunities to get involved and hold politicians accountable on important issues. With the opposition still debating their stance on the Government’s Emissions Trading Scheme, GetUp have launched the next stage of our Climate Action Now campaign calling on bold leadership to tackle climate change. In honour of this campaign GetUp are organising an Olympic torch relay to cross Australia and have designed a solar and wind powered torch for the event. Register your interest in supporting the relay or just go online to check out the cool torch!

Footprints to Sustainability: free training in July and August on offer from Mount Alexander Shire Council in partnership with Continuing Education. Sessions include running carbon neutral events, becoming a ‘low-carbon’ business, botanical drawing, responsible landscaping, composting, permaculture, etc. Bookings and Info: Continuing Education on 5472 3299.

Northern Bendigo Landcare Group is having a Sustainable Living and Land Use Field Day on Sunday 3rd August from 1-4pm. Topics include straw bale building and increasing the diversity of your property. Further info email:

Beyond Zero Emissions Discussion group– Monday 4th August – Peak Oil and Climate Change
The speaker is Phil Hart, who presents a coherent and robust explanation of why peak oil is near at hand and delivers a sober assessment of some of the alternatives to oil. This discussion group will take place at Kindness House, 288 Brunswick St, Fitzroy. Further info at:

Garnaut, the Green Paper and Climate Change:
What happened in July 08, what does it mean, and what is the role of the public?
A Seminar-Workshop on Emissions Trading and Climate Change
Tuesday 12th August 2008, 1-4pm Meeting room, Ground floor, 60L, 60 Leicester St, Carlton. Organised by the Climate Action Network Australia and Environment Victoria

Steps to Securing Your Financial Future seminar and workshop program as part of the first ever Women and Money Month in September 2008. See the following link

Climate Emergency Network General Meeting Saturday September 13 1.15 to 5pm
Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford VIC Further information:

Interesting Information and Links

Food retailers doubt climate change science
Retailers are warning the price of refrigerated food will rise under emissions trading. At the same time, they’re questioning the scientific evidence of climate change. The Rudd Government is planning to have a carbon pollution reduction scheme up and running by July 2010. Modelling in a green paper released by the Government last week estimates the cost of electricity would rise 16 per cent if the scheme opted for a carbon tax of $20 a tonne.

Giant chunks break off Canadian ice shelf OTTAWA, July 29 (Reuters) – Giant sheets of ice totaling almost eight square miles (20 square km) broke off an ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic last week and more could follow later this year, scientists said on Tuesday. The ice broke away from the shelf on Ward Hunt Island, a small island just off giant Ellesmere Island in one of the northernmost parts of Canada. Ellesmere Island was once home to a single enormous ice shelf totaling around 3,500 square miles. All that is left of that shelf today are five much smaller shelves that together cover just under 400 square miles. Further information
Comment on Green Paper and Forestry:
By restoring healthy natural forest cover by 200 million hectares, Australia could biosequester 25% of the world’s annual carbon emissions. Is this too gentle, too green? Is it too difficult to admit that nature knows best?

Making Climate Change exciting – our pollies need to cut out the doom and gloom.

Bike sharing in Melbourne
Interesting wind energy maps

Peak Oil Simulation Game
More info.

Green tips:

Having problems with ants?
Place a trail of eucalyptus oil (or lemon juice, crushed mint, apple cider vinegar, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, crushed cloves, bi-carb soda, borax or alum) along ant highways, to deter their pathways, and nest entrances to deter progress.

Quote of the week:

“When it comes to the problem of how to deal with the piles of waste we produce, the focus is typically on where to bury it – not here it came from. The long term solution to mountains of waste is not more landfill sites but fewer shopping centres.”
From Affluenza: When too Much is Never Enough, by Hamilton and Dennis 2005 p111.

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