Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Mount Alexander Sustainability Group Weekly News Digest, Friday 25th July 2008

Posted on 25 July 2008 by e-news

For more information call 5470 6978 or email:

MASG News and Events

Bike Vault thank you: We would very much like to thank the Bike Vault people, Gary, Sherry, Cindy & Peter for the donation of 12 brand new Bicycle Helmets for our bicycle programs within Mount Alexander Shire. What a great contribution to MASG’s work – thankyou so much for your support!

Ethical Investment seminar: MASG is running an Ethical Investment Seminar to be held in the Ray Bradfield Room on Tuesday 29th July at 7.30pm. The night will be a forum to learn more about Ethical Investment. The keynote speaker for the night will be Peter Thompson from the Ethical Investment fund – UCA funds management (a Uniting Church organization) who will outline what the fund does and then answer any questions about the fund and ethical investment in general. RSVP or enquiries to Gordon Bannon – 5470 6007. For further information see Uniting Church funds

Ian’s morning tea send off: MASG would like to invite members along to a morning tea on Thursday 31 July at 11am to celebrate the work that Ian has done as a MASG employee over the last 18months. This is Ian’s last week as an employee and his contributions to our success have been fantastic; the Solar Display Home, State Festival, Challenge to Change, Finding our Power, Renewable Energy Expo amongst other projects all benefited from his efforts, as did all who were welcomed into MASG and briefed by this tea-making maestro.

We wish Ian well in his continued work to help our community move towards sustainability and greater resilience. He will be taking up full time work with the Castlemaine-based business “Greenstreets” where he will be providing services to help businesses become more sustainable.

New Committee Member: We welcome Ron Snep on to the MASG committee. As well as being very involved in the Newstead community, Ron is a well-known local winemaker (Welshmans Reef Vineyards) and a director of the company which operates the Maldon Community Bank. In his own words, he is `firmly committed to promoting and being involved in appropriate projects that will engage and bring success, resilience and strength to the community’.

Calling all MASG members:to come and have a drink and catch up in front of the open fire at Templeton’s Café tonight, 25th July, between 5:30 and 7pm. Hope to see as many of you there as possible!

MASG Forums for Members: At its July meeting, the MASG committee decided to have two forums per year for members. These will be in addition to monthly social nights. The first forum will take place on Wednesday August 6th in the Anglican Church Hall between 7 and 9pm. We expect the AGM to take place in November and then to have another forum not far into 2009. The forums will provide an opportunity for members to ask questions, make suggestions and, we hope, decide which MASG events or projects they would like to get involved with. It will also be an opportunity for the committee to explain MASG’s aims and plans, as well as the challenges it’s facing. We hope to see you there.

Volunteers Needed for Festival of the Wheel: Preparations for the Festival of the Wheel are in full swing. On October 25th and 26th we’re expecting hundreds of cyclists to descend on Castlemaine for a great weekend’s cycling. There will be 7 different rides from Castlemaine (or Muckleford) to Maldon on the Saturday, ranging from 9km to 90km.

On the Saturday night we’ll have Cycling’s Big Night Out at the Theatre Royal. On Sunday morning there will be fun Duathlons at the Sunken Oval and then from 11-30 Free Family Day in the Park with all sorts of bike-based entertainment. Details will be on the website soon. The Festival is both a major fund raiser for MASG and an awareness raising event about the important role of bikes in a sustainable transport system.

For the Festival to really work, we need around 50 volunteers to work as marshals in the bush and on the road, to provide advice and ID when people arrive, to serve pancakes on Sunday morning, to help us with Early Bird registrations and pre-event organising and to drive support vehicles.

We are compiling a register of volunteers for the Festival. Training sessions will be held in Sept/Oct. If you’d like to help, please email: with your details.

Statewide Schools sign…. help MASG help our schools: Dean is helping organise schools in our region take part in a statewide human sign project on Wednesday 20th August. Schools in Geelong, Surf Coast, Bendigo, Portland, Gippsland, Ballarat, Riddells Creek amongst others are taking part and we want to enable schools in our shire to do the same, but need some help to do so. If you are interested in helping see and contact Dean on 54 70 6978 or email

Climate Code Red: MASG still has a few copies of this book available, ring 5470 6978 or email to reserve a copy.

Events organized by other organizations

The Theatre Royal is turning 150! On Saturday 26th July there will be FREE entertainment from 5.30pm (Hargraves Street and Theatre foyer). Thompson’s Foundry Band, Lifon and Team Henderson, Miss Judy Hula Hoop Artist, Roving Acrobats, Emma Sayer, Spoken word performance, Buskers, Pavarotti’s Dog, The Deborah Triangles and more

Footprints to Sustainability: free training in July and August on offer from Mount Alexander Shire Council in partnership with Continuing Education. Sessions include running carbon neutral events, becoming a ‘low-carbon’ business, botanical drawing, responsible landscaping, composting, permaculture, etc. Bookings and Info: Continuing Education on 5472 3299.

CWA is hosting a hands on craft session. This is an opportunity for those who want to learn to knit, crochet, sew, darn socks, jumpers, re make a garment, make up those old or odd scraps, sew up hems, fix that 3/4 tear, remodel or whatever needs to be done to utilise and make clothing/ household items go further. Maybe finish off that item in the cupboard. Learn some of those Nanna skills and yes it’s for blokes too! When and where: Saturday 26th July at the Ray Bradfield rooms 1.30 – 4.30pm. Cost: $3.00. Enquiries: 54 751775 or at Dorothy Mays, 186 Barker St.

Castlemaine Land Care Group. Sunday 27th July from 10:00am onwards. National Tree Day planting, Forest Creek (opposite Castle Motel). Further information: Robin at , 0408 706 630 or 5470 6630. They also have a new website

Northern Bendigo Landcare Group is having a Sustainable Living and Land Use Field Day on Sunday 3rd August from 1-4pm. Topics include straw bale building and increasing the diversity of your property. Further info email:

Interesting Information and Links

Australia lagging in energy efficiency.
The Climate Institute says Australia will squander its opportunities to reduce emissions unless it tackles its poor performance in energy efficiency and productivity. A new report commissioned by the Institute by McLellan Magasanik Associates finds that Australia lags behind other OECD countries in energy efficiency improvements. It found Australia is the second most inefficient of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries for manufacturing, and has the third most energy hungry economy – behind the United States and Canada. The report can be downloaded at

Greenpaper: Last week the Federal Government released its Greenpaper on an emissions trading scheme, calling it a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. At the core of the Scheme is emissions trading, in which the Government sets a limit on how much carbon pollution industry can produce, and then the Government sells permits up to that limit, creating an incentive to look for cleaner energy options. Companies will then be able to trade permits, with the intention of enabling the market to find the most efficient ways to reduce emissions.

The Government will provide transitional assistance in the form of a share of free permits to the most emissions intensive trade exposed activities and also proposes to provide a limited amount of direct assistance to existing coalfired electricity generators. Many people are very disappointed with the issue of free permits and assistance to coal fired generators. Submissions on the Green Paper are required by September 10, 2008. The Green Paper is available at Solar-Hydrogen powered home in New Jersey, USA.

Climate change and agriculture – we can make a difference

Draft organic standard out for public comment: Consumers can soon be confident that the organic products they choose are truly organic as the development of an Australian Standard for the organic and biodynamic industry nears completion. Once finalised, the Australian Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Products will establish one uniform Standard to address industry needs, government needs and consumer uncertainty around marketing and labelling claims on organic products.

Eating Spin The British government is in talks with supermarkets about emergency food reserves “in case the infrastructure of the country breaks down”. The exercise is being spun as a response to possible strikes by fuel tanker drivers, but the more likely explanation is that the precarious state of food systems as a whole has finally registered in mud-free Whitehall. Persuading Tesco to stock 60 days supply of staple foods is of course better than the three days supply contained in today’s just-in-time systems. But sheds full of baked beans are not exactly a long-term solution. A more nutritious form of spin has been developed in the US.

Green tips:

Cleaning soft toys
Non-washable soft toys can be cleaned by dusting bi carb soda (or cornflour) into the material, then brushing clean’.

Quote of the week:

“Students of history could argue that there is not much difference between the action of Western leaders in the 1930’s who ignored the build-up of fascist forces in Germany and Japan and the behaviour of governments today, whose approaches range from environmental symbolists (such as the Rudd government) to the overt deniers (typified by the Bush administration).”

Kenneth Davidson, The Age 24th July ‘08

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