Zero Net Emissions by 2025

MASG News, 25 July 2012

Posted on 25 July 2012 by e-news

I’ve just taken over the reins and am filling Ian Lillington’s excellent shoes. I intend to give a similar coverage as Ian did: local events, campaigns you can be involved in, and some environmental news from here and abroad.

No doubt you know we’re at an important point in history. There’s plenty of bad news, but many of us are working with determination to turn it around.

We’ll check over our shoulder occasionally, but we’re not Channel 9 News, focused on disasters. We are inspired to work for change, and it happens with us.

We want to hear from you. What’s working in your home, how are you saving power or money or water or growing tomatoes in winter? Call us, email us or drop in to our new home, Office 7 on the first floor of George Clarke Place, opposite the Post Office in Barker St.

All good wishes,

Andrew McKenna, Editor.


Music, and food, and … Megawatts!

On Saturday, 11 August at the Big Hill Vineyard, 3 Belvoir Park, Big Hill, 10am-4pm, we will celebrate innovative and quirky new renewable energy technology at the Megawatt Fair.

Victoria could capture enough energy from the sun to meet twice its electricity needs, says the national Climate Commission.

We’ll celebrate that, so come and help us make merry over innovators in electric vehicles, LED lighting, solar energy and much more.


Celebrate at Bendigo’s Inspiration Café

Make a Change Australia will host an informal and fun gathering in Bendigo on Wednesday, 1 August for anyone involved in social or environmental change. If you are fundraising for a cause, running a community project, volunteering at a not-for-profit, or part of an environmental campaign, then the Inspiration Café is for you.

The first Inspiration Café promises to be a great evening of conversations and sharing. Be inspired by each other’s great work. Invite all the others you know working to change – it’s time to celebrate!


Detox your home … tox the environment?

They’re bad news when they leak

The Victorian Government provides a Detox your Home service, and on Saturday, 11 August Mount Alexander Shire residents will be able to ‘throw away’ our old cleaning products, left-over paint, dead batteries and weed killer stored under the stairs. It happens on Saturday 11 August 2012 at Castlemaine Landfill at Sluicers Road, Castlemaine, 1.30-4.30pm.

But if we consider that there’s no ‘away’, then disposing at landfill sites simply shifts the problem. Reconsider what you buy in the first place and recycle your batteries and globes through us. Leave them in the boxes provided at the MASG office at George Clarke Place, and please leave a gold coin to help cover our costs. For further information contact Kate at MASG on 5470 6978 or email


Check out the campaign from Four Years Go, for inspiration!


Electric buses and carbon neutral beer

Windmills on Samso Island, Denmark

Jarra Hicks, MASGs Community Wind worker and director of the Community Power Agency, has returned from a three-week study and speaking tour of community renewable energy in Germany and Denmark. The tour was a fantastic opportunity to gather international success factors to share with the Community Wind project here and with others across Australia.

Jarra attended and spoke at the World Wind Energy Conference in Bonn with 500 wind energy proponents from 45 countries. See the PDF below for a transcript of her paper ‘What is a community approach to renewable energy?”

Click here for the conference paper

The main messages from the conference were:

  • Community involvement and ownership (in whole or part) plays an important role in the social acceptance and successful uptake of wind power.
  • Many hundreds of communities across Europe have between 25-100% of their electricity supplied through community-owned wind power (and supply is coping fine with demand).
  • Many positive technology coupling options, supply/demand management systems and grid arrangements can easily deal with the intermittent and distributed nature of renewable energy generation.
  • More community renewable energy projects are being initiated around the world, including in poor nations, such as Mexico.
  • The notion that wind turbines cause ill-health has no credibility and no evidence in Europe.

Jarra also visited three regional communities that have 100 per cent renewable energy, all through community effort and ownership.

‘It was exciting because these communities show that it is possible to be 100% renewable,’ she said.

‘On Samso Island, for example, the community has invested in 11 x 1MW windmills and three biogas plants fed by local crops and crop waste. This is enough for the Island’s 4,000 people and vibrant tourism and fishing industries. I like that I could sit down and drink a locally produced, carbon neutral beer!”

You can learn more about the 100% renewable energy villages Jarra visited on her blog  and more about Samso.



If you haven’t renewed your MASG membership, why not do it now? We’d love to hear from you. And there’s any number of ways to do it:

Call us on 5470 6978; email us at; come in to Suite 7, 203 Barker St; or mail us at PO Box 1043, Castlemaine, Vic 3450.


Grafting workshop

Save Sunday, 9 September, 10am-2pm to learn the ancient art of grafting variety fruit trees onto rootstock. Local expert orchardist and grafter, Merv Carr (Mount Alexander Fruit Gardens), will guide you through techniques to graft your own fruit trees to take home.

To reserve your place, email: or call Community House on 5472 4842.


Anger in the Wombat

The owner of a mine in the Wombat State Forest has refuted claims that it plans to develop an open cut gold mine near Bullarto.

Nevertheless residents have been protesting over DPI’s approval of a four-hectare open cut mine. And protesters allege that early on Saturday morning, 8-10 men raided the Central Highlands Action Group camp, damaging the camp tent and truck, assaulting two protesters and stealing their cameras. Daylesford police are allegedly investigating threatening phone calls. Read more and add your support to the cause if you’re on Facebook.


Sign the petition

Help stop HRL, the new coal-fired power station for the Latrobe Valley, and put Australia on the path to a clean energy future. HRL depends on government grants of $150 million to keep their project alive, and they have failed to meet the conditions of their grant. Take your views home to the government and sign the petition.


A price on carbon in five easy steps

A video from Getup on Youtube



The Post Carbon Pathways website

Post Carbon Pathways aims to promote ways for a quick transition to a just and sustainable post-carbon future. Check out interviews with Paul Gilding, Roy Neel, Jenny Clad and Mark Ogge, as well as John Wiseman’s Post Carbon Postcard #2 from New York City.


How global warming is driving our weather wild

Earlier this month the New Scientist ran a story about how climate scientists have long warned that global warming will lead to more heat waves, droughts and floods. And some of these recent extremes, such as the summer in March experienced in part of the US, are beyond the predictions of climate models.


A car running on hot air? Too good to be true

The Mini CAT, soon to hit India’s crowded streets

Of course it is. So try compressed air.

Ok, they’re small. Fibreglass. Glued tubular chassis rather than welded. SUVs they’re not, and they may not handle the Simpson Desert just yet. But they’ll be on-road (in India) soon.

They belch cold air, not CO2. Couldn’t Canberra belch money into a local plant to build Mini CATs, instead of propping up struggling, obsolete, gas-belching dinosaurs?


Wind turbine to protect birds

One myth is that wind turbines are much worse for birds that conventional, fossil-fuel power plants. As an indication that they aren’t, a leading bird protection charity in the UK is planning to have a huge wind turbine for its headquarters. The message is: wind energy is better for birds than fossil fuels.


Last thoughts

Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology towards the organic, the gentle, the non-violent, the elegant and beautiful.

Ernst Friedrich ‘Fritz’ Schumacher, author of Small is Beautiful, 1973.



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