Zero Net Emissions by 2025

MASG news May 5th 2011

Posted on 5 May 2011 by e-news


Download text version here (63kb)  text version enews 12 may 2011

Comfy Homes Tradies’ Mini-Expo – Next Thursday the 12th

The Tradies’ Mini-Expo is shaping up to offer an excellent breadth of local knowledge, skills and experience. Exhibitors include solar evacuated tube hot water systems, sustainable home designers and builders, grey and black water plumbing systems, LED lighting, 6+ star thermal and fire ratings, owner building, renovating and more. Drop in between 3-6pm next Thursday 12th May, Uniting Church Hall, 24 Lyttleton St Castlemaine. Gold coin donation, excellent raffles, dinner free but bookings essential: contact Deanna on 5470 6978 or email

The ‘Green It Yourself’ site we told you about last month has a GIY focus this month on getting your home ready for Winter. There are two new videos to check-out, both on draught-proofing because it is just the most exciting thing to do. And while you are at it, forward this to a friend with a cold house. Go to  See our online local resource guide for local draught-proofing information

Goldfields SolarHub Sunny Sessions – this Saturday 7th

 Bring your electricity bills and you can discuss what size system and feed-in-tariff would suit your situation, ask about particular tariffs, pay back periods, and what to do if you’re in a heritage area.  Mike Reeves,MASG member and Goldfields SolarHub Technical Officer for Castlemaine, will be at the Castlemaine Sunny Sessions and Colin Lambie will be at the Bendigo session.
Friday 6th May 10am-12noon ‘Bcentral’, 45-47 Mundy St, Bendigo
Sat 7th May 10am-12noon Ray Bradfield Room, off Forest St, Castlemaine
Lots more information available on the PV bulk buy in the Newsletter number 3  or 5442 5443 / 0419 006 243

Sustainable Transport Mapping

 this Sunday, 8th May (2-4pm), planning students from La Trobe University Bendigo will be running a sustainable transport mapping exercise in Castlemaine – we are looking for helpers for what should be a fun afternoon!  Meet at the Ray Bradfield rooms at 2pm and then walk OR cycle in small groups on set routes for 10 and 20 minutes, mapping your location and returning for a delicious afternoon tea! 
We will be making a map of the comfortable walking and cycling distances from the centre of town to be published online and used to promote awareness of options for walking and cycling in your daily lives.  This project is supported by Victoria Walks (State Government) and the Castlemaine proposal has been selected to act as a pilot in what is hoped will prove popular throughout the state.   To make sure we have enough vanilla slices it would be great if you could contact us to indicate your interest.  RSVP to Rob Kretschmer or Andrew Butt

Job Opportunity – Goldfields Solarhub Communications Officer

 Bendigo Sustainability Group (BSG) and Mount Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG) are re-advertising for a Communications Officer for two days a week for 12 months to undertake communication, engagement, implementation, and evaluation tasks for the Goldfields Solar Hub project.  For more information and a copy of the position description, please contact Karen Corr on 0419 006 243 or . Applications close Wednesday 11th May.

Farewell to Eleanor King, MASG member

 Eleanor died on Friday 29th April.  Not so many weeks ago Eleanor was actively looking for a way for solar panels to be located on the O’Halloran units where she lived.  Eleanor lived in the Mount Alexander Shire for some twenty years and was an active member in the Towards Self Sufficiency Group and Goldfields PALS (Permaculture and Landcarers) – both precursors of MASG.  She was an active volunteer with the national magazine – “Green Connections” and her commitment to the environment was unstinting – until the last fortnight she was planting local flora at the units “hidden in places” where the gardener wouldn’t remove them!   Written by Joanna Winchcombe

MASG and 100% renewable energy surveying continues…if you can’t survey you could write a letter!

Look at this photo gallery of locals out surveying for renewable energy last weekend, including Carolyn, Chris, Ian, Susie and a cameo from Jim Norris…surveyed as he pulled up in Campbell St.


1  We are aiming to survey 500 people to make a clear and overwhelming message to the federal parliament and our local member Steve Gibbons, so if we all do a few we can get there. Last weekend we were out surveying again and the support from householders was overwhelming. See MASG member Susie here in action.

To help Can you:

Susie in action doorknocking for the 100% renewable survey in Castlemaine

1. survey your household, workplace or street ?
2. Come surveying with us on the National Doorknock Day Saturday May 30th from 2.30pm.
Download the survey recording form, script and other information here  or contact Dean on 0448 327 791 or

2. Write a letter for sustainability – Join the MASG 100% renewables national letter writing group!

In coming weeks our political leaders will be making decisions that will profoundly affect the face of Australia’s energy future.  A strong deal to price pollution with measures to boost investment in renewable energy, could see new renewables projects popping up across the country, while a weak deal that over-compenates polluting industry risks locking in a high pollution future.

Perhaps you’ve noticed the media talking alot about a carbon price at the moment?  In fact if it weren’t for the Royal Wedding and the return of Masterchef, there wouldn’t be much else in your newspaper.  You might also have noticed that lots of attention on the pollution price it has been pretty negative. Industry has been crying poor and the “debate” is being hijacked by special interests and commentators who can only see our future in terms of a bit less coal and lots more gas. Join the letter writing group here.

The Letter writing group will also be meeting Wednesday May 18th @ 7.30pm at The Public Inn, Barker St. Contact Dean on 0448 327 791 or for details.


Growing Abundance films and workshops.

1.  “ Food for Thought” films

The busy folk from the Growing Abundance project are running a series of films as “Food for Thought . Come along and enjoy interesting films, provocative discussions and seasonal soup – all for $5. The series starts with  “ The Gleaners and I (2000, 82 mins)” Sunday 8 May, 5.00pm @ Ray Bradfield Room, Victory Park

2. Preserving Workshops

 Quinces:  What to do with them.  Sat May 7th 10am- 1pm @ Town Hall Frederick St.
Olives: Preserving  & pressing. Sat May 28th 11am-2pm @ Uniting Church Hall Lyttleton St
Apples and Pears: Making juice and cider. Sat Jun 25th 11am-2pm @ Town Hall Frederick St.   Costs $20/30 Bookings essential or 54724842

Cycling for Sustainability

 Otesha is a group of young people passionate about the environment, who organise cycling tours (see their Otesha website ). Their next tour leaves Melbourne on Wednesday 4th May and arrives in Castlemaine on the 11th May before leaving for Bendigo on Monday 16th May, with the intention to arrive in Canberra on Tuesday 21st June. While in Castlemaine they will visit various local schools to perform dramas and hold workshops.  Otesha have visited many times before and it is great to have them in town.  If you want to know more please come to the Castlemaine Uniting Church at 7 pm on Thursday 12th May.   It will not be a long meeting as the cyclists are keen to have an early night.  For more info please contact Michele Lees (Rev) (

Fruit trees … get your orders in NOW.

 Hugh and Katie Finlay at Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens have fruit trees for sale via the website until 20th May, including many varieties we grow on the farm at Harcourt, so we have accurate local info on harvest dates.  The trees are good quality, grown by a reliable nursery in northern Victoria and very affordable, from $12 to $25 (most are $15).  To order, go to the Mail Order button on their MAFG  website, then follow the instructions.

Apricot Pruning Workshop With Katie Finlay from Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens.

 Learn the basics of pruning an established vase-shaped tree, and how you can apply those principles on a backyard tree with Katie Finlay.  This workshop is a practical, hands on opportunity to learn and practise these techniques whilst helping support our local organic orchardist.
Monday 9th May, 10.30-1pm, Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens, 69 Danns Rd, Harcourt, see MAFG website for map and directions.

Bring: Hat, Water, Secateurs, Gloves, Covered Shoes, Loppers, Something to share for lunch.   Meet: 10am at Coffee Basics to car pool.  FREE- just your willing pruning hands.  RSVP to Sas by email or phone 5416 1122


Deckchair climate talks….hosted by sister organisation LIVE on the steps of the Victorian Parliament.  Please come along and forward to anyone you think will be interested. Information re forthcoming talks is at their LIVE deckchair website.

“Monster Tornadoes are climate related” says top scientist Dr. Kevin Trenberth, who studies how greenhouse pollution influences extreme weather, says he believes that it is “irresponsible not to mention climate change” in the context of recent extreme tornadoes. Read the full story in Grist Tornadoes.

Bolivia’s “mother of all laws” –  Bolivia is set to pass the world’s first laws granting nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as ”blessings” and is expected to bring radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry.  Controversially, it will enshrine the right of nature ”to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities”. Read more in the SHM story.

Southern Ocean 1 – Body of explorer floats off Antarctica? – A huge chunk of ice, measuring roughly 80km by 40km has broken off the Mertz Glacier and may contain the body of explorer Xavier Mertz. The tongue of the Mertz Glacier in Antarctica calved in February 2010 when an iceberg pushed up against the tongue and knocked it off.  The waters around Antarctica play an important role in climate, driving currents in the world’s oceans.   The currents influence the storage of heat and carbon dioxide in ocean waters. It is thought the body of explorer Xavier Mertz still remains in the glacier tongue and is drifting in the southern ocean.  More on this story from the ABC science show. 

Southern Ocean 2: For brilliant and accessible expanded information, to show all your kids and grandkids as well, on the science of the Southern Ocean including how they are measuring climate change impacts, biodiversity etc go to the Antartic summer section of the ABC.

Renewable energy target needs some fine-tuningPaddy Manning in the Age writes that ”  Renewable energy, let’s remember, is one thing we do know will work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – quickly, in large volumes, using existing technology at a cost that is not astronomical (in fact it’s falling), and which doesn’t pose risks to water and food security (coal seam gas) or public health (nuclear).  Yet programs to promote renewable energy are copping it from all sides. Last week our mandatory ”20 per cent by 2020” renewable energy target (RET) was attacked by Rod Sims, a climate change adviser to the federal government.  

“Australia’s clean energy expenditure will rival the $35.9bn needed to build Australia’s National Broadband Network,” according to energy market research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance.   Australia’s current policies to promote renewable energy will drive at least AUD 36bn of new investment from now to 2020.  In the new Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast, renewable energy investment will peak in 2017 with more than AUD 5bn to be spent on new large-scale wind and solar farms and smaller scale solar systems on commercial and residential rooftops.  In all, nearly AUD 28bn will be deployed to utility-scale power generation projects to meet Australia’s mandatory Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) and a further AUD 8bn will be invested by households and businesses for rooftop photovoltaics (PV).

Renewable energy and the base-load myth by Mark Diesendorf – To every complex problem there is a simplistic response, which is usually wrong. For instance, to the challenge of generating all of Australia’s electricity from renewable energy, the deniers repeatedly utter the simplistic myth that renewable energy is intermittent and therefore cannot generate base-load (that is, 24-hour) power.  However, detailed computer simulations, backed up with actual experience with wind power overseas, show that the scoffers are wrong. Several countries, including Australia with its huge renewable energy resources, could make the necessary transition to an electricity generation system comprising 100 per cent renewable energy over a few decades.

So a plausible Australian scenario for the next decade is the phase-out of several coal-fired power stations simultaneously with a rapid growth in efficient energy use, solar hot water, wind power and bio-electricity. These clean technologies would buy us time to commercialise solar thermal and possibly geothermal power and then integrate them on a large scale in the 2020s as the remaining coal stations are shut down. Thus Australia could achieve a sustainable electricity system.  More from Mark’s article online.



”There is very little talk about the revenue going towards what the whole thing is supposedly there to drive, the use of the landscape and renewable energy to change people’s practices.”


Tony Windsor Independent MP talking about the CarbonTax and the conditions needed for his support.

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