Zero Net Emissions by 2025

News Digest, Friday 6th February 2009

Posted on 6 February 2009 by e-news

Key Dates – Summary

* Saturday 06 February – Low Solar Energy Display Home open 10am – 3pm, free work shops at 11am and 2pm. NB: These arrangements will be cancelled if the temperature is forecast for above 38 degrees..
* Sunday 07 February – Low Solar Energy Display Home open 11am-3pm

MASG News and Events

An Information Forum on the Emissions Trading Scheme (Refered to as the CPRS). There is mounting concern amongst community sustainability groups and industry over the recently announced Federal Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS). We are organising an open forum with a guest speaker to help put us all in the picture, and to discuss positive ways forward for MASG and other sustainability groups in this region. This will be an open forum for all interested parties, with an opportunity for a question and answer session. Date to be announced. Stay tuned!

MASG at Canberra Climate Action Summit
Dean attended the recent Australian Climate Action Summit held in Canberra over the weekend which was attended by over 500 people from 150 different groups.
Dean said “It was a wakeup call regarding the speed and severity of climate change, a call to arms for groups to mobilize and a massive vitamin shot to be in the presence of, and working with so many inspiring people from all over Australia”.
The summit saw the formation of a national network of climate action groups to coordinate campaigns and policies. A national policy document was drafted and will be circulated to all groups for consideration, and a national campaign created centered around:
• Preventing the CPRS (Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme) from becoming law as it will fail to make emission cuts necessary to stop the climate emergency.
• Building community-wide action to demand green jobs, a just transition for fossil fuel industry workers and 100% renewable energy by 2020.
• Demanding action to return to a SAFE CLIMATE with stabilization of atmospheric Co22 at 300ppm and strong international agreement in line with what science and global justice demands.
MASG will evaluate the policy document and campaign proposals in the coming weeks to determine our response to the changed circumstances and summit recommendations. For more information contact Dean on 54706978 or

Sustainable Saturday workshops at Low Energy Solar Display home
Start this weekend on Saturday with a workshop at 11am on Energy and one at 2pm on waste. The workshops are free and you don’t need to book, at the Display Home, 19 Midland Hwy, Campbells Creek. Please note that if the weather is extreme and above 38 degrees, the house will not be open as we do not expect our volunteers to work in such conditions.

Otesha Project Cyclists for Sustainability, are currently cycling around Victoria, raising awareness about environmental sustainability. They have invited MASG members to join them for a shared meal at Winters Flat Primary on Tuesday 17th February at 6pm. BYO food, drink to share and chairs or rug.

Sustainable Castlemaine – is it all that green? Thursday 19th February from 9-1pm, gold coin donation. Inaugural Regional Event of the Sustainable Living Festival is to be launched by our Mayor, Cr. Phillip Schier at 9.40am at the Ray Bradfield Room, Victory Park, Castlemaine Thursday 19th February. Come on a fun ‘sitting ‘tour’. Pick up information. Participate in interactive panel conversation about transition to resilient sustainability. Sing along with live music. BYO lunch – performances still continuing in Victory Park. Afternoon: use our self-directed activities leaflet and take the ipod tours (refundable $20 deposit). Great sustainability ideas, enormous fun, very educational and recyclable into your homes and communities.
Information, bookings at project partner, The Down to Earth Store, 54725032,, down from MASG. Hosted by Transition Mount Alexander, participants including MASG, supported by Mount Alexander Shire Council. See for our events in Melbourne and Daylesford.

Last year MASG assisted the Castlemaine Library and the Uniting Church to successfully apply to both the state and federal governments for funding for the installation of 2kW solar PV systems. The Mount Alexander Shire Council provided extra financial support to the library to enable the size of their system to be increased to 3kW. Both systems were installed late last year by the Solar Bloke, Stuart Jamieson and have been generating large volumes of renewable electricity ever since, and at the same time, reducing power bills and carbon emissions. The data communication equipment that comes with the systems to assist with education and communication activities has recently been installed and both organizations now wish to publicly launch their solar PV systems. All MASG members are invited to come along and celebrate the launch of the Uniting Church solar PV system at the Uniting Church Hall at 4.00pm on February 20th Feb and the launch of the library solar PV system at 5.30pm on Wed 25th of Feb.

Like to find out more about the Low Solar Energy House? Why not join our dedicated team of volunteers, update your skills, learn about or share your knowledge about sustainable design, meet the not so usual suspects who are coming to the house and learn about what is making people take notice of this house. You also have a tremendous opportunity to be a part of a successful project that is influencing the general public to take up sustainable practices and principles. To sign up now, email:

Solar Hot Water purchasing and Membership Cards:
Using the sun to heat all or at least part of your hot water requirements helps reduce your carbon footprint and your energy bills. Remember if you are looking at purchasing a solar hot water service the following dealers in Castlemaine support the work of MASG: Terry Robinsons, Solar Direct, Solar & Sustainable Solutions, Printz Plumbing and Auscorp Alternative Energy. You can find out more about this and the offers they have available from our website page If you are thinking of purchasing a solar hot water service we ask you to collect your membership card and show it to your hot water service provider.
Please get your MASG membership card from our office – drop in to 233 Barker St or ring Jill on 54 706978.

CRAGs – How does it work?
MASG has a simple template that calculates last year’s carbon emissions from your electricity, gas, personal car and plane travel and information on some aspects of food consumption. Just contact Deanna to discuss the basic information available on your bills, estimates of your last year’s travel and a brief summary of your meat and dairy consumption.
Why last year’s data?
Because we appreciate that you have been working long and hard with MASG and C500 and made personal efforts and sacrifices to achieve significant reductions already. By estimating your emissions from last year you will be able to see how those changes and any new changes you adhere to are making a difference by measuring against this year’s recordings.
Getting started
Contact Deanna at MASG and let her know you’re interested in the CRAG project. And she will get in touch with you about the basic data collection, find out what your key priority areas are, and what sort of target you would like to fix.
Does anyone have? … this new e-news section is a one-line space for members seeking contacts, information, details etc. to help get those emissions down!
Here are some further questions:
* Does anyone have any info on paper brick-making for fuel use, including emissions generated? Jacqueline B-H
* Have been trying for a year now to get a list of local green architects and builders. It’s been surprisingly hard to get the information! Any suggestions? Joyce S
* A townie friend gave up her compost heap because of rodents, and wants to know if the eco bucket bins work, and do they smell, and can they be used in the kitchen? Solway
ITSR – Information, Tips, Suggestions or Recommendations
Contributions from members to take the stress out of trying to find out which products work, local service recommendations or innovations tried and tested by you! Comments not endorsed by MASG. Send your brief emails to
Here’s some tips and suggestions from Craggers:
* I have solved the problem of the hot brick south wall by using recycled herb drying frames with shade cloth on them and in between slung other recycled shade cloth – Carol Mc
* Try taking a light shower on low water pressure – it’s as refreshing as high pressure but uses much less water. Rose L
* Some hot-cold shared water taps have a central setting that is actually a ‘warm’ setting, and therefore will turn on the gas burner just to fill a glass or wash your hands. Martin

Events organised by other groups

Water is life Mt Alexander (WILMA) meeting this Friday 6th February at Castlemaine community House, Lyttleton St, 12;15 for 12;30 start. This community meeting will feed into a council initiated Water Futures Workshop. Tea coffee and cool water provided. BYO lunch if you wish.

Econo-Space Framing this Saturday and Sunday, 7th and 8th February. Building a small and green sustainable mini- shelter.
Hands-on workshop with Irish architect Peter Cowman. Practical learning. Fee: $150. Still a few places available! To book:

Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC) at Castlemaine Community House through Semester One this year, starting Wednesday 11th February. Permaculture provides solutions for sustainable living – this course will provide you with the tools for designing sustainable gardens, farms, towns and communities. Cost $485 and $60 concession. Details: 5472 4842.

Seminar re Alternative Water Supply options for Melbourne. Thursday 12th February, 6:00pm onwards for refreshments and a 6:30pm start at the Banking Chamber Theatrette, Ground Floor, KPMG, 147 Collins St, Melbourne. Disabled access via 161 Collins St. Costs: $15, $10 for ATA members (ATA couples $15).
RSVP: email or ph: 9631 5407.

Produce Exchange: Saturday 14th February, 10 -1pm, 61 Main Rd, Campbells Creek (just past Book Heaven on the way to Daylesford). To reserve a space for your scrumptious goodies, ring 5472 2605 before the above date.

Ma LETS – Mount Alexander Local Exchange Trading System Exchanging local goods and services without cash. Trading days once a month:
* Castlemaine Community House, 5pm – 7pm. Friday February 20
* Maldon Minglers, for Maldon & Newstead ring: 5475 1112 or 5475 2891.

BudaFest 09, a festival of presentations, workshops and events around the theme‘Re-thinking Gardening- as a personal response to climate change’ will take place between 11th – 14th September. Their first fundraiser is a Wine-tasting and Winery Tour at the biodynamic Bress Winery at Harcourt. Saturday 21st February, 6.00 – 8.00 pm. Cost: $15 and bookings essential by Wednesday 18th February. For more information: 5472 1032 or email

Green Steps @ Work: Professional Development in Organisational Sustainability
This program offers a 50% discount for participants from not-for-profit organisations, plus Green Steps and VCOSS Clearing House are offering one FREE place for a participant from a community sector organisation. Highly interactive and intensive, Green Steps @ Work, with generous support from the Victorian Government Sustainability Fund, brings together motivated people with a passion for creating positive environmental change in their workplace and beyond. For further info:

Interesting Information and Links

Comments on the CPRS by Richard Dennis

Insulation package: finally some green jobs for Australia. The government’s plan to insulate 2.7 million houses is a welcome step towards creating green jobs in Australia while helping to cut greenhouse emissions and household power bills. The Clean Energy Council is pleased the government has heeded its calls to direct spending towards smart energy solutions that help to stimulate domestic manufacturing while saving money, energy and the environment. CEO Matthew Warren said “The government is to be congratulated for taking a big first step towards delivering energy savings across Australian households. Insulation saves energy, money, jobs and the environment – so it’s a win-win-win-win.”

Old couch available for recycle? Cath Ryan, from the Barking Owl theatre, would like to hear from you on: 5473 4407 or 0419 102 516

Aborigines to suffer worst impacts of climate change
The Age has reported that Australia has been described by experts as being in the midst of accelerated climate change and Aborigines living in remote parts of Australia will feel the impact of climate warming more than other Australians according to a report in the Medical Journal of Australia. With temperatures in the tropical north and interior tipped to rise by three degrees Celsius by 2050, worsening already searing summer heat, researchers called on the government to urgently improve Aboriginal health and housing.

Melbourne Making a DifferencePreparatory event for Parliament of world’s religions, Sunday 8th February from 4-8:30pm at Melbourne Town Hall. For further info: 1300799 691 or email:

Seed awards for 2009
For information about the SEED Awards: , Calling entrepreneurs in sustainable development. Applications close 16th March 2009

A pedal bus??

Interesting information re household food storage for 12-18 months:


The global population tripled in the twentieth century, but water
consumption went up sevenfold. By 2050, after we add another three billion to the
population, humans will need an 80 percent increase in water supplies just to feed
themselves. No one knows where this water is going to come from.
Source – Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the
Coming Battle for the Right to Water, 2007

MASG’s E News is compiled by Jill Bryan. If you would like to advertise an event or comment on any items, please send to: or PH: 5470 6978

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