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World Environment Day: Jewels in the Crown at Risk

Posted on 5 June 2014 by e-news

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The next e-news will be published on Thursday, 19 June, so get your contributions in to us then, by 11am. This week, on World Environment Day, a number of Australian environmental groups are warning that the ‘jewells in the crown” of the Australian environment are at risk.

But there’s plenty of good news on the environmental front, even if it’s tinged with the need for us all to act, whether it be signing a petition, donating money or, as at least two Castlemaine residents did recently, put ourselves on the environmental line.


gbreefWorld Environment Day statement from Australian environment groups – Jewells in the Crown at risk

… the jewels in Australia’s World Heritage crown are at risk.  The UN’s World Heritage Committee has continued to express serious concern about Australia’s management of the Great Barrier Reef since 2011. This year’s decision to approve the dredging and dumping of three million cubic metres of sludge in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is a further blow to the reef and to everyone who loves this renowned natural wonder of the world.  There is a strong and disturbing possibility that, within the next 12 months, the World Heritage Committee will decide to downgrade the Great Barrier Reef’s status to ‘in danger’.

Read the full statement on our Media page.




Castlemaine couple charged at Whitehaven

Castlemaine couple Nada and Tony Smark were charged last week at the continuing protest against coalmining in the Leard State Forrest, site of Whitehaven’s Maules Creek coal mine. It is the largest coal mine in development in Australia, located in the Namoi Valley of NSW.

Nada said she and Tony were driven to join the protest after years of activism – writing letters, donating money, joining demonstrations and protests and lobbying politicians.

“What changed for us was being inspired by the actions, idealism and sense of purpose of the young people at,” Nada said.

Read the full story on our media page, and read below for a call to everyone to join the Maules Creek protest.



We need to charge up our stand-alone solar system batteries with our 5kva petrol generator, and are looking to borrow or hire a battery charger to do this. We’ve been told that it would be most efficient to use one of up to 120 amps – but that anything from around 30 amps would still do the job.  If any members have one that they’re happy to loan/hire to us we’d be most grateful. Call Cath or Daydd on 5473 4407 or 0411 836 396 or 0419 102 516.  Thanks!

And if there are any others in the same boat, who might be interested in discussing the possibility of a communal purchase of one (it’s a big expense for something used so little) then please be in touch too.


064274-climate-authority-puts-ret-review-on-iceRET review – submissions published

The government-appointed panel reviewing the Renewable Energy Target has started publishing submissions it has received.

Not all submissions have yet been published but will be added in the coming weeks. Read them here.





Our Solar – at risk

At a time when nearly 200,000 homes in Victoria are running on the sun, the Federal and Victorian governments are looking to change policies that will deliberately penalise and scapegoat solar owners.

For the first time, large numbers of Solar Citizens will be coming together in Melbourne. You’ll hear from solar experts, who will bust solar myths and explain how we can act together against the rapidly growing threats to solar.

Come along to “Our Solar at Risk,” a free public meeting to defend solar, in Melbourne on 19 June.??When: 6:30pm-8:30pm (arrive from 6:00pm), Thursday 19 June, at RMIT University Design Hub Multipurpose Room, 150 Victoria St, Carlton, VIC?Read details and RSVP here: are free but limited!


Climate change could turn our food into junk food

Climate skeptics like to point out that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stimulates plant growth, suggesting that ever-growing fossil fuel consumption will lead to an era of bin-busting crop yields. But the best science suggests that other effects of an over-heated planet – heat stress, drought, and floods – likely overwhelm any bonus from CO2-rich air. Overall, it seems, crop yields will decline.

Read the full story


One trick to fix farms forever?

A farmer in Ohio has learned lessons to ‘fix’ the world’s agriculture.


Debunking Lord Monckton’s bunkum

If you ever thought Lord Monckton had holes in his arguments, here is the proof.

And for a little light relief

First Dog on the Moon, with Ian, the Climate Denialist Potato


MacR News

cecCommunity Energy Congress

MacR members will attend the inaugural Community Energy Congress in Canberra on 16 and 17 June, with representatives from the renewable energy industry, environmental groups, community organisations, academia and government. The Congress will bring together for the first time all the main players in the emerging Australian community energy sector.

Keynote speakers have been drawn from community energy groups active in Australia, including Hepburn Wind, along with representatives from the Clean Energy Council, ARENA and selected international agencies.

The conference will include a community-industry nexus program, designed to bring industry and community representatives together to examine new modes of partnerships and collaboration.

MacR will be represented by the chair, Mick Lewin, working group member Deane Belfield, and Project Officer Dean Bridgfoot. A report on the outcomes of the conference will be produced for the next edition of MASG e-news.

Further information about the conference can be found at

The 2014 Community Energy Congress aims to create a new approach to energy in Australia – to decarbonise, decentralise and democratise our energy system! Register NOW .

china-emissionsThe US and China – reducing carbon

Obama update’s Clinton’s formula with a target of a 30 per cent cut in carbon emissions on 2005 levels by 2030. Much of the reduction will come from power plants, which are already on the way to meeting the new EPA standards.

First the US pledges to cut emissions by 30 per cent, now China agrees to limit total emissions for the first time. Is this a new platform for upcoming climate talks in Bonn?


64357455-2dea-49b8-8587-c69b4af0d7d8National Climate Restoration Forum

We have no carbon budget left for burning fossil fuels – emergency action is now the only viable path.

Get the full story on the real ‘budget emergency’. Join this critical forum exploring the science, economics, politics and community action for achieving safe climate restoration.

21-22 June 2014, Melbourne CBD. Register now:



Two million stories of people power

Never underestimate the power of slacktivism! Signing petitions can change the world.




leardDonate to Black Hole

One mining company, a protest camp running for over 570 days, 159 voluntary arrests and counting, a State Forest home to 396 Species of native fauna and flora, 34 of which are endangered. What is this all about?

Black Hole explores the fight to stop the clearing of the Leard State Forest, transforming it into an open cut coal mine.

Black Hole is a feature documentary that aims to tell the Maules Creek story through the voices of the many characters including the local farmers, Indigenous Elders, scientists, community supporters and more.

You can donate to help make this movie be made.


Women-locked-to-excavators-hanging-from-trees-in-Maules-Creek-mine-protest-649643-lThere’s never been a greater need for your presence at Maules Creek than now

Whitehaven Coal has begun clearing the Leard State Forest. They plan to destroy the endangered ecosystem to dig deep for dirty coal. The alliance against this mine must also dig deep to build a strong peaceful resistance on the frontline and from the cities.

It’s now or never. If you’ve had an inkling to travel to the blockade but haven’t had the chance, these next days and weeks are critical. Or if you’re an old friend of the blockade, now is the time to return with a friend or two.

1. Travel to the blockade camp ASAP

Click here for details about travelling to the forest.

2. Join the Convoy Against Coalruption

Click here for details and to register for the trip

3. Tell the NSW Environment Minister that this is out of line

EMAIL Minister Stokes now:

4. Spread the word

We need this red alert to reach as many people as possible. Please consider:

As this call for help goes out, already the blockade has swung into action. This morning a young woman held up the bulldozers and protect the forest. We hope you can join us up at the camp soon to build the blockade and bring more energy to the camp at this crucial time.

If you are ready to take the trip, click here to prepare.


Johnson & Johnson and other companies: Remove microplastics from your products!

Our oceans are choking with plastic, reducing vast parts of the seas to toxic gyres of swirling trash that will last for thousands of years. Now, personal product conglomerates like Johnson & Johnson and others have unleashed “microbeads” – tiny shards of plastic used as exfoliants in beauty products – designed to be washed down the drain where they flow right past clean-up systems out to sea.

These plastic pellets chemically attract and absorb toxins in the sewage, and are often mistaken for food by fish, allowing the pellets – and the toxins along for the ride – to work their way up the food chain. Many microbeads are so tiny that they show up in the bloodstreams of the animals that eat them, where they’ll be lodged in the host until it dies.

Tell Johnson & Johnson to remove microbeads from its products now


volcano-eruption-264x300Last word

Forget ‘saving the Earth’ – we’ve woken an angry beast

The task of environmentalism can no longer be to “save” or preserve the planet, for the planet we wanted to save has already become something else. Our task now is to do what we can to pacify, or at least not aggravate further, something vastly more powerful than we are.

If we have wakened the slumbering beast by poking and prodding it, the prudent course is firstly to stop. But we cannot put it back to sleep.

If we are inclined to think of the planet as Gaia, we would do better to regard it not as the all-loving, all-nurturing Mother Earth of the romantics, but more like the half-crazed, bloodthirsty and vindictive goddess of the original Greek tales …the Earth does not want our love. Instead of talking restitution, would we perhaps be wiser to be preparing for retribution?

Clive Hamilton





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