Zero Net Emissions by 2025

News Digest – Friday 10th Aug 2007

Posted on 26 July 2007 by e-news

A summary of news and events: for further details follow the links; or contact the office (03) 5470 6978

MASG – recent and coming events
Challenge To Change: Jim Norris launched the pilot program “Challenge to Change” (C2C) at Castlemaine Art Gallery on Wednesday night. Once again central Victoria is hosting an “Eco- first” thanks to a partnership between Terry White & Associates, Sustainability Vic & MASG.

C2C will work intensively with most schools and many churches, homes and businesses in the Shire over the next four weeks to help them (a) accurately measure their current energy use, and (b) reduce it through monitoring and actions during the first week of September. This project combines the great skills and knowledge of some of Australia’s leading sustain-ability experts and the most up-to-date computer programs. Schools will be able to compare their per student energy use with other schools and with a base-line ‘green school’

These sustainability gurus can be seen and heard at the following venues:
• Wednesday 15th Aug at 7pm, main building, at Winters Flat Primary School
• Thursday 16th Aug at 7pm at Chewton Primary School
Call/sms Janet on 04 000 50 399 if you plan to attend either of these meetings

School staff, students and school council members will also meet this team at day time sessions during next week. More details from Ian on 5470 6978 or

Saturday stall: MASG info table will be at the IGA near the Theatre Royal Castlemaine on Saturday morning. Please stop and say hello and/or give a hand. We always need more volunteers to be on our info tables.

MASG news:
Theatre Royal: Dean was one of 5 presenters at the ‘Sustain Me’ theme night last Friday. A full house were entertained by Bron Machin of the CVGA, John Sanderson from CSIRO, Aldo Pembroke from Peppergreen Farm and Jacinta Walsh from Castlemaine 500. Many thanks to Nathaniel Muller for organising the nights.

MASG in prison again: Last week, MASG chair, Neil Barrett, and Peter Sansom convener of our Local Food Production Working Group, visited Loddon Prison at the invitation of management. The prison, with almost 400 inmates, has recently joined MASG and has begun to explore ways to become more sustainable in its practices. Energy use was cut by replacing incandescent globes in the whole prison. Now there is a real possibility of extending the prison walls to accommodate a large veg and fruit growing area. We are excited at the prospect of working with prison officers to come up with a proposal.

Schools in solar hot water!? Federal initiative for schools who want to get into solar how water and water tanks.

Our Watermark: “Australians Making a Difference in Water Reform” published by the Victorian Women’s Trust based on 5 years of research, community dialogue and scientific input. A pioneering and unique new resource on the big picture of Australia’s water. Available from MASG and all libraries; tel 9642 0422.

Ian is back at his MASG desk with a wealth of information about sustainability in the UK. Transition towns, zero carbon Britain, biofuels, and permaculture demonstration projects are amongst his resources. Contact Ian for more.

Opportunities in the renewable energy sector: A national conference: Bendigo, Victoria, Sept 16-18, 2007. This timely conference will outline: The latest in wind, waste wood, hydro, solar and geothermal and biofuel developments; Presentations by renewable energy sector companies; An investor’s perspective on renewable energy from the boss of one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds; An update on renewable energy regulation from the National Energy Regulator; An outline on the investment and development pros and cons of biofuels ; How venture capitalists identify renewable energy projects ripe for backing; An update on renewable energy target schemes.

Carbon Sequestration – Hands on offer: One of our members is looking for a property to demonstrate his soil carbon sequestration technique. The idea will be to have a small field day at the property and invite all MASG members to attend. The field day offers the opportunity to get together for an interesting learning experience.

• Organic beats no-till in building quality soil: A new study by the US federal Agricultural Research Service has demonstrated that organic farming builds soil organic matter better than conventional no-till farming, challenging the belief that no-till is the best farming option for soil health and carbon sequestration.

WANTED – MASG Volunteer team: We have some big events coming up in the spring and need your help for:
Challenge to Change: multiple presentations to schools and the wider community during August and in depth monitoring and evaluation of this program in September. Assistance required with many small but important jobs. Offers of help to Ian, 5470 6978 or .
Events team: we will be running a renewable energy expo in late September, then a forum in late October and need some help with the lead up and actual running of them. Call Jayson on 5470 6978 or if you want to help.

• Canberra is on the brink of a solar revolution. The Canberra Times, 06 August 2007. The ACT Government will soon introduce one of the most generous solar power rebates in the world. The new scheme will give much more money back to people who feed solar power into the electricity grid, so solar will become more economically attractive. Canberra would join Japan and Germany at the forefront of solar power.
• Over-consumption: Anne Manne has written a great article on ‘Enough Already‘, [‘A2’ section of Saturday’s Age]. It cleverly brings together interesting ideas and info. As our Shire Council and MASG are seeking to bring about a reduction of the Shire’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2010, reducing food miles and consumption of unnecessary goods and services is one of the ways to get there.
• Cycling: last Saturday’s Age also has a page devoted to the need for better cycling facilities in Melbourne in the main section of the paper. It should inspire us. MASG is currently trying to get Council to alter its budget so that there is something in it to improve conditions for cyclists and encourage more people to ride. If you have the time, you could help support this effort by contacting councillors you know, or looking at the budget on the Council’s website.

End quote:

“we are so preoccupied with avoiding nightmares of the future that we have pretty much given up on offering our dreams of a better world today.”

Jonathon Porritt: Capitalism As If The World Mattered

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