Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Mount Alexander Sustainability Group Sustainability News 12th September 2008

Posted on 12 September 2008 by e-news

Key dates -summary
Saturday 13th September Garden Working Bee
Wednesday 17th September Volunteer Morning Tea
Friday 26th September members Social Night at the Criterion Hotel
Wednesday 15th October Ride to Work
Sat/Sun 25/26th October Festival of the Wheel

Every day – time to renew your MASG membership. We need you!!

e-news Survey
Thanks to all who responded to the survey. We received 57 responses, which gives us a good sample. We will publish the results next week. If you’d still like to respond, see last week’s e-news.

MASG News and Events

Stall Update
Three stalls were held over the weekend – Muckleford Steam and Wheels, Wesley Hill and the Farmers market. Membership forms and Festival of the Wheel pamphlets were distributed to a wide range of people. In addition, we sold 7 books of raffle tickets, so all in all they were very successful and thanks to our volunteers. With so much happening in Spring we’re looking for another Stalls Coordinator, so if you’re interested in this position, please call 5470 6978

The Grand MASG Raffle, 2008
Raffle tickets are selling quickly so don’t forget to come in to the office and buy your own and/or a book to sell. Great prizes are available: 1st prize is a bike and accessories valued at $700 from The Bike Vault; 2nd prize a dozen quality bottles of wine valued at $260 from Sheer Drop Wines and 3rd prize a solar radio valued at $119 from the Down to Earth shop. Special thanks to the donors – we greatly appreciate their generosity. By the way, the person who sells the most tickets will earn a free ride around town in the MASG Trishaw!

Spring has Sprung ……. It really IS time to get active! Working Bee in the Demonstration Garden at the MASG office – 233 Barker Street this coming Saturday, September 13th from 9am to 12.30pm (or whatever time you can spend). The garden will be open to the public during the week of the Festival of Gardens. The vegies are growing well! Tasks on Saturday will be to repair and complete the watering system, complete the hot house, general weeding and clean up. Please let Peter Sansom know if you can help (5474 2403 or so that we can organise equipment and plan a work program.

Seedy Saturday!If you would like to swap or share any surplus seeds or seedlings you have, or perhaps get some new varieties to try …… come to the garden at the rear of the MASG office – 233 Barker Street, between 12.30pm and 1.30pm on Saturday September 13th – immediately after the Working Bee. Bring “containers” for seeds (labels provided). There will be some clumps of strawberries available. If you have any queries, contact Peter (above).

Morning tea for volunteers at 11am Wednesday 17th September.
We have so many volunteers working in different areas that we’re having a morning tea to give everyone a chance to meet. So, if you’re free at that time, come along and join us in the front office at MASG.

Focus on Community – Projects that support the community in a creative, meaningful & sustainable way
Are you bursting with project ideas that are ready for lift-off? Do you need a hand to move from contemplation into planning and ACTION?
Projects that are creative and engaging are great platforms for informing the community about positive opportunities and messages. Activities using the visual and performing arts can be used to demonstrate themes and links around sustainability and health, increasing social inclusion, particularly with hard-to-reach groups or audiences otherwise less informed or not yet engaged in your intended positive messages. A growing number of exciting and innovative project ideas have emerged from the workshops so far. Book into any of the following workshops to begin developing your own ideas:
EVENING: Tuesday 16th September, 4-8pm
AFTERNOON: Wednesday 1st October, 12.45-5pm
MORNING: Thursday 16th October, 9.15-1.30pm
WHERE: Anglican Church Hall, Castlemaine, COST: $15 (morn/arvo tea/supper provided), BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL: Contact facilitator, Deanna Neville, 0428 751 090 or email This project is partnered by MASG and The Reichstein Foundation

October Bike
MASG is involved in two major bike events in October. Both are aimed at raising awareness about cycling as part of the solution to climate change. The FOW is also MASG’s main fundraiser for 2008.

Ride2Work – Wednesday 15th October – Victory Park
If you would like to help on the MASG Ride to Work Working Group, please contact Jill Gibson on 5472 3098 or

Festival of the Wheel (FOW), 25th and 26th October
Leverne McDonnell is now Coordinator of the Festival, with Neil as Chair. Leverne would love to have a few more helpers in the office and out in the community. There’s a lot to be done and she will appreciate all the help she can get. If you are able to help, please phone her on 54 70 6825 or email at :

FOW Introductory rides
Ten people went on the ride towards Maldon on the rail trail last Sunday and it was a good first outing. This Sunday, 14th September we will again leave from the MASG building at 9am. One group will do an easy, virtually-no-hills- ride out to Wesley Hill on the walking/riding track and the other will make a decision on the day. Inquiries: Neil on 5472 3094

Volunteer Profile
Kevin Vallence is a volunteer helping the Solar Project Officer, Jayson Burhop. He has been sorting and collating the solar PV applications and is often seen passing through the office with a brown paper envelope! He is a “petty bureaucrat” from the TAFE system and enjoys the stimulating work atmosphere in the MASG office!

Low Energy solar home a hit!We now have around 30 volunteers involved with the display home and still need more! This is a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills to become a sustainable house guide. Email Fran on if interested. There will be further training sessions very soon.

Letter from our Low Solar Demonstration House Project officer
I still need more input for the local trade directory for the Low Energy Solar House. I need to find local (and nearby) trades people who 1) understand sustainability and 2) are good to work with or come highly recommended because of their skills, expertise and reliability. I am looking for plumbers, electricians, plasterers, solar hot water distributors/fitters, people/ places to buy source local and or sustainable materials, wood sources, paints/low energy equipment, designers, interior designers, advice givers (only professional of course), places to source solar hot water services, local nurseries with indigenous plants, etc. etc. I would like as much info as possible including: Name, business name, phone and or email contacts, snail mail, location etc. You can email me at: This would be a great help and support! Warmest regards in a changing spring climate from Fran.

The best investment you could make in 2008.Since we told you about the Hepburn Community Wind Park share offer last week, it’s been announced that they have already raised $1M in a short space of time. So things are going well. The prospectus for this great project is available now at or you can obtain a hardcopy by emailing: Applications close on 31st October.

Welcome Frank
We welcome Frank Forster onto the MASG committee. After seeing our call in E News for expressions of interest, Frank let us know he was keen to be involved and was accepted at the August meeting. Frank is a leader in local business through his involvement with She Sells Seafood (the Shire’s reigning Retail Business of the Year). In previous lives, he’s earned two degrees in history and politics from NZ and Australian universities and followed that with extensive experience in marketing and IT. He is currently a member of the committee of the Muckleford Catchment Landcare Group. Frank’s first MASG assignment is helping with sponsorship and marketing of the Festival of the Wheel.

Please borrow the Turn the Tide Visual Petition
MASG now have a visual petition/banner reading C’mon Kevin Peak Carbon by 2010 Turn the Tide. The goal of this campaign ( to have at least 1000 photos to send to Kevin by the end of September. PLEASE BORROW IT if you are having a gathering who would be happy to participate – its easy! All you have to do is take a photo of your gathering holding up the banner. Ring Wendy French 5475 1067

Events organised by other groups

Stuart Hill spoke to a crowd of seventy people in Castlemaine last weekend. His topic was the common mistakes people make when trying to create a better world. An entertaining speaker, Stuart shared many amusing personal stories, along with some challenging ideas and a reframing of the triple bottom line. For those that missed out, his powerpoint presentation can be downloaded at the following address along with many of his previous papers.

Climate Emergency Network General Meeting
Saturday 13th September 1.15 to 5pm
Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford VIC Further information:

Sustainable House Day:
Now in its seventh year, the Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society will be holding Sustainable House Day across the nation on 13th and 14th September 2008. MASG member, Mike Reeves, is opening his house in Elphinstone, so make sure you go along and have a look between 10am and 3pm. $5.00 donation for individuals and $10 for families. Why not go along and take a look?

Sustainable Sunday
Hepburn Renewable Energy Association (HREA) is hosting a Sustainable Sunday forum to bring the community together to plan for a sustainable future. The event on Sunday September 14th at the Daylesford Town Hall will showcase local initiatives and provide an opportunity for everyone to contribute their experiences and ideas. The aim of the event is to support local people to find out what’s going on, how they can participate and how they can make their lives more sustainable. The afternoon session between 1-4pm will be run as a community café, exploring topics as diverse as alternative health and green building. Anyone interested in attending or creating a display for their sustainable initiative should contact Karen MacAloon on Ph: 5476 4495 or email

Stillness in ActionMeditation, Community and the Earth, Seymour, 22nd – 28th September 2008
Further enquiries: Tathra: 0416 743 605 or email: Website

Public Forum – Save Water and the Vegie Patch, 7 -9 pm Wednesday 1st October at Brunswick Town Hall, cnr Sydney Rd and Glenlyon Rd, Brunswick. Gold Coin Donation. We will discuss why we should grow our own food and how we can make sure that future water restrictions allow Victorian gardeners access to enough adequate water, while still keeping water use to a minimum. Speakersinclude: Jane Edmanson, David Holmgren and Helen Tuton from Sustainable Gardening Australia. This forum is being run by Food Gardeners Alliance. For more information

Box Iron Bark Ecology course, Nagambie 13-17th October 2008. Brings together leading researchers and experts to share up to date knowledge and thinking about this landscape in change. For further information email:

Wilderness Bike Ride, Bairnsdale to Orbost in a day, 1st – 3rd November. For further information see the following website.

Bike/Triathlon/MTB Swap Meet on Saturday 15th November 2008 in Laverton, VIC. For further information ring David on 0403 132 965 or email:

Interesting Information and Links

Local permaculture guru, David Holmgren, is featured in CSIRO’s new ECOS magazine: “Real sustainability requires a fundamental rethink about how we design and manage the land and plan our towns and cities. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on using resources efficiently to create a productive and stable living environment.” The full article is: “Living culture whose time has come”.

Monbiot loves fruit and learns you have to wait for it. Intrigued? Check the following website.

City of Sydney achieves carbon neutral status
The City of Sydney claims it has become the first government in Australia to become a carbon neutral organisation. As part of the process of becoming carbon neutral, the council undertook an independent assessment of its carbon emissions. The assessment found that 72% of the council’s carbon emissions were produced through electricity used to power council buildings and street lights. The purchase of 100% accredited GreenPower by the council means that its electricity usage no longer contributes to the organisation’s greenhouse gas emissions. To counter any carbon emissions that could not be eliminated through becoming more energy efficient and using GreenPower, Sydney has purchased carbon offsets generated from a landfill gas flaring project in New South Wales.
For more details.

Green inspiration and innovation.
ABC radio was buzzing last week with the story of Deakin University students, who have designed an air-powered car for the Ford Global Challenge to build a car for the 21st Century. The air-powered motor has been around for a while with two different types being developed; one in France, the other in Melbourne . Running on compressed air, the Melbourne designed motor is the size of a large frying pan, with great potential for future innovation. For more details.

Island states petition to address climate change as a pressing threat to international peace and security will be presented to the UN by the islands’ ambassadors as they introduce their resolution next week.

Peak oil animation:

Green tipsLeave out one car trip for this week! Try Shanks’ pony or pump up the tyres on the old treadley. You’ll never look back!

Quote of the week:
A government that is seriously committed to meeting the challenges of climate change will heed informed scientific opinion on acceptable levels of greenhouse gases and seek to explain to voters why it is necessary to curb emissions accordingly. It would lobby strongly in international forums to help forge the agreement that is now lacking, rather than acquiescing in disagreement. It would be a government that is willing to lead. Unfortunately, that prospect seems to have become all too intimidating for the Rudd Government and its climate change adviser [Prof. Garnaut].– the Age editorial Sept.10th

What about dashing off a letter to Mr Kevin Rudd or Penny Wong, Parliament House Canberra 2600, asking them to be more daring and stand up to the fossil fuel lobby. It could just change the world.

MASG’s E News is currently compiled by Jill Bryan and edited by Neil Barrett. If you would like to advertise an event or comment on any items, please send Closing time for copy Wednesday 3pm. If you would like further information, phone 5470 6978.

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