Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Fortnightly News Digest, July 8, 2009

Posted on 10 July 2009 by e-news

Key Dates – Summary
MASG Special General Meeting and Members forum. 6.30pm, August 7th, Uniting Church Hall, Castlemaine. Followed by Mark Diesendorf talk and book launch. 7pm
‘Earth Matters’ Climate Change Forum. Ballarat, sat. 8th August, 12 to 515pm.

MASG News and Events

Thankyou to our generous donors!
Thankyou to those who responded to our request for donations in June. With the support of members and donors we can keep up the good work that so urgently needs to be done!

Successful advocacy campaign. Feed in Tariffs: Victorian Govt. announcement
Following the co-ordinated and concerted efforts of the MASG and many other climate change groups, the Brumby Government has agreed to some improvements to the solar feed-in scheme. The scheme proposes to pay 60 cents per KWH fed back into the grid, from small business, schools and community buildings, not just households. The system size has also been increased from 3.2 to 5 KW’s. While it is not the Gross FIT that we have been calling for, it is a significant improvement on the original scheme. It is significant to note that we were not only listened to by opposition state ministers and their advisors, also our well researched points were taken on board and used in the discussion of the legislation. This is in large part due to support of you as members, to those who came to the initial protest, to Deans ‘inner geek’ for detailed research and modeling, and to the solution focused political acumen of Jim Norris. And we are only just getting warmed up! (No pun intended)
See this Age article for more details.

We also met with the Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water, Mr Greg Hunt last week. While the federal coalition are not proposing anything substantially new with regard to climate change action, it is significant that they are supporting the 20% MRET target, and urging the Government to enact this legislation immediately, to give some certainty to the renewable energy industry. We expressed our disappointment at the weak targets of the CPRS, and also the urgent need to transition to a low carbon emission economy by 2020. It is once again obvious that it will take enormous social pressure to get our leaders to take the radical action that is required to achieve this outcome! We will continue our work to build the awareness and motivation to create that pressure. (See event below)

MASG Special General Meeting and Members Forum (Combined).
We are holding this event to propose some constitutional changes about membership categories, and to give an update to members on the achievements of recent months, and our plans for the next 12 months! We have decided to combine this with the visit of Mark Diesendorf, who will be giving a talk on climate change activism to launch his latest book on the subject. (See below for details). We hope you can join us on Friday August 7th at 6.30pm at the United Church Hall for the Special General Meeting and Forum. Please RSVP to, or call us on 5470 6978.

FRIDAY AUGUST 7TH 7-30pm Uniting Church Hall.
(Following MASG Special General Meeting at 6-30pm)
One of MASG’s most successful events was the public talk by the Uni of NSW’s Dr Mark Diesendorf way back in 2007. Over 200 people attended. Many became involved in other climate action activities as a result and Diesendorf was very impressed with MASG’s programs and member involvement.
Since then he’s been researching local action groups. The result is an inspiring book, Climate Action – How Citizens Acting Together Can Save the Planet.
We are fortunate to have Mark back here for the launch of his book.  But this will be no ordinary book launch as it will be a call to non-violent action by one of Australia’s leading thinkers, an academic who is committed to action to reverse the slide towards climate disaster.  

MASG members are urged to attend this important function.
Details of the book are available at

CRAGS update: On-line launch of resource guides. Available Now!
Deanna has put together an extensive resource guide to help you pinpoint the myriad of local food, retro-fitting and transport options available in our Shire, to help you reduce your ‘carbon footprint’. These have been compiled from contributions by MASG members and CRAG’s participants, so products are not directly endorsed by the MASG. You can now access these guides from the MASG website. Then browse the CRAG link to the Local Guides section. Your contributions are also welcome to These will also be distributed in hardcopy at some local business outlets in due course.

House Ceiling Insulation Rebate: You can apply now for the $1600 state govt. rebate to insulate your house ceiling. The rebate has now officially started. This means you may be able to have the installation done with no upfront cost! However, the rebate for insulation excludes you from the rebate for a solar hot water system. As heating and cooling are the biggest energy users in the home, this is a great way to cut your energy bills, enjoy a warm home, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, all in one hit. Peter Gow 0407 532 678 and Felix Baker 0432 618 496 are accredited installers in this area. Call to find out more or get a quote done.

Office opening Hours: we are open from 1.30pm- 4.30pm on Mondays then 10am – 2pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays. We are closed on Fridays. To make an appointment outside of those hours ring 5470 6978. Reminder, we are now located in the back office of the Anglican Church Hall, between Moystyn and Forest streets.

Renewals Reminder.
Reminder to those who have been sent a renewal letter in the last few weeks, Jill and our team of keen volunteers are just waiting to process your forms! Please return with cheque to PO Box 1043 Castlemaine, or enjoy a stroll up to the Anglican Church hall during office hours. Thank you in advance.

Events organised by other groups

Community Reps needed for Council Walking and Cycling strategy.
The council is pulling together its draft Footpath (Walking) and draft Cycling strategies into one ‘Health Transport Plan’.  A steering committee including council and community representatives is being established for a intensive period over July and August, meeting fortnightly to set the direction of the writing of this plan. The Health Transport Plan will go to council and extensive community consultation at the end of this period.
The four community representatives will have local knowledge and community connection in at least one of the following areas:  cycling as transport,  cycling for recreation,  walking as transport and walking for recreation.
If you or others you know would like to put names forward to be on this steering committee please contact Joel Meadows on 5470 5313 ASAP, as the make-up of the committee will need to be finalised by the end of this week (11-7-09).
Joel Meadows
The Green Hand Institute
10 Prendergast St 
Castlemaine 3450
(03) 5470 5313

Workshops with leading social ecologist Professor Stuart Hill.
A workshop for farmers on Thursday July 23rd that aims to assist farmers in these very difficult times to find some practical ways forward while at the same time giving support for their present position. This event had been sponsored by the Hepburn Shire through a Sustainability Grant.
As this event is specifically for farmers and there are a limited number of spaces available we are holding another workshop with Stuart Hill which is open to the general public on the following Sunday on 26th July. Both of these events will be held at the Daylesford Town Hall and both will run the full day. The first costs $25 and the second costs $40. Lunch is included for both workshops. Bookings: Su on 5348 3636 or email

Early bird tickets are now on sale for BudaFest 09
This is a major sustainable gardening festival being held from Friday 11th – Monday 14th September.  It includes Presentations, Workshops, Displays, 100 km Dinner, Film night, a Schools’ Gardening Challenge, Garden visits and much more.  Presenters include *Rob Gell  *Michael McCoy  *Richard Barley  *David Holmgren  *Greg Moore  *John Arnott  *Andrew Laidlaw   *Kevin Walsh  *John Rayner  *Penny Woodward  *Helen Tuton  *Jim Norris and many more horticultural and permacultural professionals and experienced, practical gardeners.  Details at  Enquiries and bookings p. 54721032  Fundraiser film-night at 8.00 pm on Saturday 8th August at Theatre Royal.  Coco avant Chanel.  $15.00

For over 40 years, architect Michael Reynolds has been teaching the world how to live sustainably, promoting a holistic way of living that involves natural and recycled materials, renewable energy and self-generated food and water supplies.
Reynolds is also a highly successful author, inspired the documentary The Garbage Warrior and has initiated three off-grid communities.
State of Design Festival presents this rare opportunity to hear Michael Reynolds speak about Earthships and his sustainable principles during his first visit from New Mexico to Australia.
DATE: Saturday 25 July
TIME: 3pm
COST: $30 + GST
VENUE: Capital Theatre, 50 View Street, Bendigo
Tickets available online at or phone 03 9650 3963

Plant some trees!
It is a good time to add a few fruit and/or nut trees to the world. It is even more fun to plant with others. How about organising a site for National Tree Day, Sunday 2nd August. Planet Ark has useful references and support. Find out more at Register a site and let us know so that we can support you and help promote the event.

Are you a scientist or engineer looking for an outreach opportunity?
Scientists in Schools is an Australian Government initiative, managed by CSIRO Education and designed to bring together scientists and teachers with the aim of providing current, contemporary science for the classroom. It is completely voluntary for both parties. The style of partnership varies from hands-on activities to long distance relationships using computer technology. In each case, students are engaged and motivated in their learning of current, contemporary science and develop an increased awareness of the types and variety of exciting careers available. There are currently over 1200 partners across Australia and each one is different. SiS uses a broad definition of ‘scientist’ that includes professionals working in or retired from a science or engineering-related area (ie: research, environmental science, applied science, engineering, mathematics).
There are currently a large number of rural and metropolitan schools around Australia who are registered but not currently matched with a scientist. A full list of schools is available on the website at If you have would like to be partnered with one of these schools seeking your expertise, please register!
There are no fixed hours – it’s up to you and the teacher to decide how you can contribute. To register or find out more information visit or contact the Victorian Scientists in Schools Project Officer, Lyn Airey on 03 9252 6502 or

If you are interested in walking for transport and making neighborhoods better for walking:
Have a look at the fantastic Victoria Walks website from Victoria Walks— a new walking-for-transport health promotion body that is initially funded and supported by Vic Health.
The website has an extensive array of resources and tools to assist people to work together to make their neighborhoods better for walking (both socially and physically).
Victoria Walks encourages groups to have their own pages (mini websites) on the website.
Groups can be a few friends and neighbours informally getting together or they can be attached to existing groups (residents’ action, climate change, Neighborhood House, etc). If they join in, groups will:
Be part of something new, exciting and unique.
An increased chance to bring about real change in the community.
Get a public profile and web site at no cost.
Connect with and share experiences with other groups.
Gain access to lots more!
Your neighborhood is at your feet: step out and explore. Make your streets safe, attractive and fun. You never know who you might meet in walk-friendly streets! 

More information
Please contact Ben Rossiter or Brendan O’Keefe at Victoria Walks on:
Phone: (03) 9667 1326
Email: Global Day of Action October 24th
A worldwide movement and action day is building, to learn more and to view a great animation see

Interesting Information and Links

The global wind energy industry has launched a new public awareness campaign called “Wind Power Works. Pass it on” which aims to catalyze wide spread support for wind energy and call on policy makers to commit to significant carbon emissions reductions to combat climate change.
As the countdown to Copenhagen continues and fears grow that the Climate Summit will not make the deep cuts in carbon emissions required, the new campaign sounds a more positive note.
Launched on the Global Wind Day (15 June), the campaign urges people all round the world to generate the power of change and to send a message to world leaders that they can make the deep cuts needed and still power the world.
The ‘Wind Power Works. Pass it on’ campaign involves downloading a virtual wind turbine onto users’ desktops to show their support for wind energy and deep emissions cuts. These turbines will demonstrate how many homes can be powered and how much CO2 can be saved through wind energy.
The more wind turbines downloaded, the stronger the call to world leaders to agree the reductions necessary to avert climate change and to make wind energy part of the solution.
Wind power is the only clean technology which is ready now and which can be immediately and rapidly deployed virtually anywhere in the world. It is already the fastest growing new generation source both in Europe and the US, and has the capacity to provide up to 12% of the world’s energy needs by 2020, saving over 10 billion tons of CO2 in the process.
Pass it on here

Safe Climate Transition Plan to be developed for Australia: Nobel prize-winner Al Gore will be the keynote speaker at an event launching the development of a bold transition plan for Australia to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Safe Climate Australia has been formed by a group of concerned climate scientists, community and business leaders with a shared understanding of the need for emergency action to restore a safe climate. Mr Gore will help launch Safe Climate Australia to 1,000 of Australia’s key stakeholders at an invitation-only breakfast on Monday July 13 in Melbourne. For more information:

The Science.
Carbon level the highest in two million years: variations in CO2 concentration that used to take several million years to occur are now happening in a few decades, scientists say. The CO2 concentration ranged between 181 and 297 parts per million. It may be necessary to go back as far as 2.7 million years to find carbon levels similar to todays, the study concluded. “What’s remarkable is how little CO2 concentration changed in the past,” said Jerry McManus, a paleoclimatology professor at Columbia who participated in the study. “What we’re seeing now is the same magnitude of natural variations happening in only a few decades.” See

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

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