Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Sustainability Group Weekly News Digest Friday 1 February 2008

Posted on 4 February 2008 by e-news

MASG News and Events – For more info call 5470 6978

Congratulations to Wendy French – Maldon’s citizen of the year – announced on 26th January for her outstanding work for the environment. Great to have your work acknowledged Wendy! Wendy and Barry held a successful Open House at 7 Boundary Rd, Maldon last Saturday and Sunday. Wendy says: “Over the past 2 years we’ve made a concerted effort to see just how much we could reduce our energy consumption. Through behavior and ‘retrofitting’, the results have been quite dramatic. The reason for opening the house is for people to get ideas for reducing energy consumption that might translate to their own nest.”

Kelly Stoltz plays Castlemaine – volunteers needed to be front-of-house at a big gig at the Theatre Royal on Sunday 10 Feb. MASG members will ask patrons to audit their energy use through an on-line carbon footprint program. In return, you’ll get to see Kelly Stoltz play for free. To help, contact Sam Johnson on 5470 5985. Stoltz, from San Francisco, claims to have set an industry first: his “Below the Branches” CD was the first record to make an on-package claim about renewable energy use with the Green-e logo. Stoltz tracked his electricity use offset the all the electricity used to make his record [but local musos suggest that they did it first at Barkers Creek… More Stoltz info

Maine’s Power CSIRO/MASG major new project launch: On Friday 15th February, the “Maine’s Power” project will be officially launched. This innovative project is researching how local industry can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2010 whilst increasing the security of energy supply to our region and maintaining productivity. Significant media and community interest is expected.

URGENT Call for volunteers : we still need volunteers to assist with the following jobs at this prestigious and important event:
* Mailout of last minute invites – can you come in this week and ring up people to get contact details, and get them invites out….
* If you’re competent with Excel, come in to set up our RSVP list
* Preparation of promotional pack highlighting our work for participants- sourcing material and stuffing showbags.
* Preparation of participants name badges etc.
* Assistance on the day of the launch
please contact Dean on 5470 6978 sms on 0448 32 77 91 or

Bike ban Update: Jill our super skilled Transport volunteer will be joining representatives from around the State to meet transport Minister Lynne Kosky on Wednesday 6th February at Parliament House. They will be discussing ways to handle the demand for taking bikes on trains.

Garden Tools needed: MASG is developing a model Community Garden at our base in Barker St.  The project needs a small supply of garden tools.  If you happen to have a spare spade, shovel, fork, rake, barrow etc that you are prepared to loan (or donate) to MASG, the people working on the project would really appreciate it.  Enthusiasm and bare hands goes just so far in this world. Any help would be great – donations or loans (suitably identified) could be left at the MASG office.  Thanks.

Low Carbon Fund Survey: MASG needs 5 minutes of your time to complete our carbon trading survey. This survey will form the basis of our new Low Carbon Fund, so the more input you give, the better. Some people had trouble accessing it before Xmas, but the glitches have been ironed out this time. To complete survey Click Here .

Preserving: Are you interested in learning about preserving? Local seasonal food will be processed once a week in the Masg Kitchen using. Preserving Wish list:
1. Do you have anything wasting space in your cupboard that would be of great use: Knives, wooden boards, jam jars, big pots and boilers etc?
2. Do you have excess fruit or veg? We can happily come and pick anything that would go to waste!
3. People! – come and be involved.
4. BETACAM video player to show video of Rain Gardens: growing in dry conditions in Atlanta Georgia, Can you help with a loan of Betacam player?
Please contact Jacqui – t: (03) 5472 2547 or e: 

Local Food Production and the Farmers Market: As we approach our peak garden production time, let’s show people what can be grown locally. We would like to have a MASG Fresh Produce stall at the Farmers Market on Sunday 2nd March. If you might have some fresh produce ready for sale at that time, or would like to be involved in other ways, contact Peter Sansom at or 5474 2403

MASG Competition – Your chance to take part in “a competition with no prize”! “If you had to describe what MASG stands for in about five words … what would those words be?” Either drop your suggestions into the office or email to

MASG Advisory Panel Membership: The Communication and Publicity Sub-Committee wants to establish an Advisory Panel of members with particular skills, especially graphic design and copywriting. If you would like to put your name forward, either drop a note labelled ‘Advisory Panel’ into the office, or email the information to

Coming Events, not endorsed by MASG,

Sustainability Training Course: there are a few places left on the Castlemaine Community House training course. A mix of theory, field trips and practical sessions. Costs only $55 for the whole year if you have a health care or pensioner card. Starts on Wed 6th February. To register, call the House on 5472 4842.

Madame Noir’s soap making workshops: 17th February and 2nd March. Make your own soap and shampoo using traditional cold process method, as sold at the Wesley Hill market. Bookings essential. Contact Jill on 5472 3098 or 0409 404 791.

Climate movement convergence: Saturday 9th February: the latest climate science, ideas on building a strong and vibrant movement, and discussion of what opportunities are now present with a change in federal government. Full program

BREAZE BIG EVENT in Ballarat. ‘Home Insulation – for comfort and lower emissions’ 12th February 2008, 7 – 9 pm, Brewery Lecture Theatre, SMB Campus, Lydiard St Sth., Ballarat Gold coin donation. Hear experts on home insulation and other important topics related to keeping your house cool in summer and warm in winter.  See displays of insulation materials and ideas for home improvement. Organised by University of Ballarat’s National Centre for Sustainability and BREAZE.

Transport 1: The Smart Jitney. Globally, there are about 1,200,000 [1.2 million] car-related deaths every year. This document is a proposal for “The Smart Jitney” – a mass transit system using cars and people movers. Could it work here? For a summary of world transport data and more info on a private/public demand led transport system click.

Transport 2: In London, in the 1980s, the Greater London Council (GLC) achieved a switch from private to public transport through reduced fares and improved services. The GLC and many of its progressive approaches were abolished by the Thatcher Government. The then leader of the GLC, Ken Livingstone, is now Mayor of London, and 25 years on, some of those policies are re-emerging. “The importance of walking and cycling will be recognised by increasing budgets to £62m for 2008/9, [up from around £13m] – close to a fivefold increase. This builds on London’s recent cycling renaissance and position as the only major city in the world to have achieved a shift from private car use to public transport, walking and cycling.”

Conference: Community Development and Ecology: Engaging ecological sustainability through community development. 26 – 28 March 2008, Melbourne. Keynote Speaker Dr Helen Caldicott – The single most articulate and passionate advocate of citizen action to remedy the nuclear and environmental crises. Conference Earlybird rate finishes on 8 Feb.

Free workshop series on farm planning and management! DPI and North Central CMA are offering landholders free workshops on farm planning in Autumn 2008. More information: Mark Walker – 5430 4800 or 0409 800 215 by 22nd February.

Rich countries “owe poor a huge environmental debt”: The environmental damage caused to developing nations by the world’s richest countries amounts to more than the entire third world debt of $1.8 trillion, according to the first systematic global analysis of the ecological damage imposed by rich countries. Quote: “At least to some extent, the rich nations have developed at the expense of the poor and, in effect, there is a debt to the poor … That, perhaps, is one reason that they are poor. You don’t see it until you do the kind of accounting that we do here.” Prof Richard Norgaard, an ecological economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study.

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