Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Fossils, as you know, are so last century

Posted on 13 February 2013 by e-news

This week there’s exquisitely bad news for coal. The news just keeps getting worse, and if the politicians – and we, the great unwashed – don’t divest ourselves of our addiction to cheap fossil fuels, the market is now looking certain to do it for us.

The smart money is with renewables. Fossils, as you know, are so last century!

bbqSummer Solar BBQ in Castlemaine

A celebration of the power of solar energy is being held at the Castlemaine Goldfields Soccer Club, Chewton Soldiers Memorial Reserve, on Sunday 24 February at 11am. It’s part of a nationwide series of solar barbecues organised by the 100% Renewables Community Campaign.

Over 300 solar photovoltaic systems have been installed in Castlemaine in the last few years with the help of the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG). The owners of those systems and people who want to know more about solar panels and solar power are invited to attend. Soccer starts at 9am. BYO food and drinks chairs/rug. The soccer club canteen will be open.
The Castlemaine Goldfields Football Club would like to thank their sponsors Steve Breheny, Maldon Community Bank and Maree Edwards.


sunglassesSolar Forum

The next meeting of the Solar forum is 3 March, 3-4.30pm at 5/23 Campbell Street, Castlemaine (between Barker and Hargraves just above the Colonial Motel). The focus is to work out our aims and therefore what MASG’s next steps could be. Please ask anyone else you think would be interested.


sloganFun MASG slogan competition

Come up with a slogan for us! Mount Alexander Sustainability Group is descriptive all right, but it doesn’t roll easily off the tongue. We’re keen to have a form of words that says something – recognisable, exciting, even – about us.

We can offer a great prize to the one who comes up with the winning words. We want it to be bright, about the future, (and not including big words like ‘sustainability’ or even ‘green’).

Are you the wordsmith we’re looking for? Send your entries, with your contact details, to by 28 February and you could be our lucky winner.


Hub Plot Garden Group

Each Monday at 9am, with cuppa and produce exchange 11am @ The Hub Plot. All welcome. For more info about The Hub Plot have a look at the or call Heather on 0409 327791 or Peter at or simply drop in on Monday mornings.


produceThe Hub Plot Jottings

Lots happening in the garden at the moment:

  1. seed planting under our hessian shade protectors
  2. harvesting our beans, onions, tomatoes, beetroot, lettuces and plums
  3. and of course ensuring the plants are being watered adequately is our main focus

We are also busy planning our first workshops for the year with a day of Garden Round Robin at the Hub Plot, 13 April. There will be lots of workshops to attend, activities for children and a seasonal lunch.

At this stage workshops look like being: worm farms, composting, seed raising, moon planting, wicking beds, chook care and more.

Watch this space as more details become available.

If you wish to join our produce exchange table on our regular Monday gardening session we stop for a cuppa and produce exchange at 11 am.


Grow what when around Castlemaine

The Hub Plot vegetable planting guide for Central Victoria

Based on over 30 years of local observations the Guide is aimed at helping gardeners be more successful at growing their own food in central Victoria.

The handy 24-page, A5 booklet includes a seasonal planting guide listing the planting times of a wide variety of vegetables and herbs.

Plus information on:

  • planting methods
  • how to make seed raising and potting mixes
  • how to protect plants from the weather and invaders
  • how to make compost successfully
  • how to make worm farms and integrate worm farms into your vegetable garden
  • year round planting notes.

All for only $20 – great value! Available at:

the HubPlot (Mount Alexander Sustainability Group Community Demonstration Food Growing Garden, Rear 233 Barker Street, Castlemaine 3450, on Monday mornings — contact Heather on  0409 327 791, or email Peter or

MASG office (Suite 7, 203 Barker St, Castlemaine, 10am-4pm Tuesdays to Thursdays. Please call 0448 327 791 for other times)


chickenFree keeping chooks workshop

The second workshop in Council’s Sustainable Home Workshop Series will inspire you to venture into another aspect of sustainable living. This workshop covers all the basics of chicken care including day to day care and maintenance, housing, feeding, health, predators and living with other pets.

Thursday 28 February, 6–8pm, Newstead Community Garden (rear Anglican Church), 26 Panmure Street, Newstead.

Information: Ben Bowman, Sustainability Officer, Mount Alexander Shire Council on 5471 1736 or email


Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge




For coal

Time for change: China flags peak in coal usage

China is burning nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined, but its decade-long boom in coal-driven heavy industry is about to end.

“Coal consumption will peak below 4 billion tonnes,” said Jiang Kejun, who led the modelling team that advised the State Council on energy use scenarios.

This has huge implications for the rest of the world. Producers – such as Australia, India, Colombia and others – will be competing in a smaller market. The price will fall, making large-scale investment in coal ever more risky. The smart investors, and the smart banks, will not be investing in a contracting industry.

Australia is unlikely to build new coal-fired power stations because of tumbling prices for renewable energy, and the rising cost of finance for emission-intensive fuels, according to research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

coalmineEven without a carbon price, wind energy is now 14 per cent cheaper than a new base load coal-fired power station, and 18 per cent cheaper than a new gas one.

The gap widens further when the carbon tax is added. Wind farms can now generate electricity at $80 per megawatt hour, compared with $143 per MHz for a new coal power station and $116 for a new base load gas power station.



Do wind turbines reduce the value of nearby properties?

Many people concerned with wind turbines have a specific fear: that the equity in their properties will be reduced or eliminated.  How real is this?  What is the actual impact of wind farms on nearby property values?
Four major studies by different independent organisations in different countries spread over a decade have found no correlation between operating wind turbines and negative property values (two found positive impacts in fact).

Read the full story


Energy Saver Incentive Scheme seeks submissions

The Department of Primary Industries has prepared an Issues Paper for public consultation investigating policy options about the possible inclusion of Project Based Assessments (Peas) in the Energy Saver Incentive (ESI) scheme. ?The issues paper is available at

Newstead Community Planning Project Committee 

A Newstead Community Planning Project Committee has formed to integrate ideas and information gathered from a broad spectrum of individuals and groups using a range of techniques such as questionnaires, local networking, workshops/forums and dialogue to produce a comprehensive, dynamic and flexible Community Action Plan that the community will own.

The Project Committee is organising a community planning day, titled ‘Our Town, Our Say’ , which will be held on Sunday March 3, 2013.

Full details

kimberley-rock-art-chairSave the Kimberley Benefit in Castlemaine

The Castlemaine Kimberley Action Group presents a fundraising concert at Lot 19 on Saturday 16 February from 3pm.

The concert will feature performances by Kutcha Edwards, Bunna Lawie, Stephen Cummings, The Exit Crowd, Kinja, Carl Panuzzo & Penny Larkins, Ghouls Gambit and more!!

Money raised will support the Wilderness Society and local Goolarabooloo community in their legal battle against the WA government to stop inappropriate development within the Kimberley .

Food and drinks available at Papas Bar and Mamas Kitchen. For more information visit the Castlemaine Kimberley Action Group Facebook page.


Waste forum

Interested in behaviour change programs? Check out this conference on waste and behaviour change.


Environment Victoria’s ‘Paid to Pollute’ Launch @ Sustainable Living Festival – this Sunday

Richard Denniss and Environment Victoria explore the case for removing fossil fuel subsidies – FREE ENTRY!

Every year Australian taxpayers foot a $10 billion bill to subsidise polluting activities. Fossil fuel subsidies are such a big problem that the International Energy Agency has said that phasing them out could provide half of the carbon savings needed to stop dangerous levels of climate change.

More information


retro_kick_your_plastic_bag_habit_kicking_it_tote-p149421012511040071bfn55_400Fremantle the first council to ban plastic bags?

The City of Fremantle has become the first council in Australia to ban the use of non-degradable plastic bags in shops.?


Call for speakers at Government Sustainability Conference 7-8 October

Australia’s national conference for public sector environment professionals

Super Early Bird Registration Closes Feb 28



Ontario first North American jurisdiction to shut down coal

Canada’s Ontario province will burn virtually zero coal by the end of 2013, marking the first time a North American government has shut down an entire coal fleet, and proving a powerful point that ending coal use can save money and lives. Read the full story


African Archbishop calls for Carbon Fast for Lent


Last word

D.FanelliA kilogram of steak could be responsible for as many greenhouse gases as driving a car for three hours while leaving all the lights on at home (Daniel Fanelli, New Scientist)







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