Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Weekly News Digest – 15 Feb 2008

Posted on 15 February 2008 by e-news

For more info call 5470 6978

MASG News and Events

Launched last Friday [15th February] Maine’s Power: A major new project partnership between the CSIRO and MASG. Did you see the great coverage in The Age last Saturday [16th], Bendigo Advertiser [18th] and Midland Express [19th February]. We can send you pdfs of these articles if you wish. 75 representatives from government, local businesses and non-government groups attended the launch, to hear speeches from John Wright, Director of CSIRO flagship “Energy Transformed”; Jacinta Allan, Minister of Regional Development, and Mt Alexander Mayor, Councillor Alan Elliot. Along with CSIRO, KR Castlemaine, Victoria Carpets, Flowserve, the Mount Alexander Hospital, the Shire Council, MASG and a dozen other partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

Ms Allan, Minister of Regional Development, said: “We have an historic opportunity now to work with the new incoming Federal Government, with climate change at the top of their agenda, and Mt Alexander Shire has also been a key leader. The costs of climate change will be disproportionate in regional areas, and this project will help secure economic viability and livability.” She congratulated the shire, MASG and the four big employers, and finished with “Good luck with your project.”

MASG project co-ordinator, Dean Bridgfoot said: “we are demonstrating collaboration, innovation, and leadership in taking action on climate change in this nationally significant project.” and the Mayor summed up this project saying: “This project is a great illustration of the willingness of people and businesses in the community to work together to address one the major issues of our time”.


Climate Code Red: MASG member Wendy French attended a climate change convergence in Melbourne last Saturday [9 February]. Climate activists will meet again in Melbourne on 1 March – more details here soon. Wendy writes: “The sense of both optimism and urgency at the Climate Convergence could only be described as tangible. I’d say about 80% of the 300/400 people attending were under 40, articulate and passionate. The very ‘tight’ format was speakers in the morning and workshops in the afternoon and the launch of Climate Code Red by David Spratt and Phillip Sutton.”

This new report starts with the Bali climate summit in November 2007 and the massive Arctic ice melt of 2007: “[the ice melt] … reinforced our supposition that global warming is a global emergency which now demands an emergency response… one in which we put aside “business as usual” and “politics as usual”, and devote our collective energy and capacity for innovation, and all necessary resources, to establish a path to a safe-climate world before it is too late. The issues of global warming, water shortages, peak oil, ecosystem destruction, resource depletion, global inequity and threat of pandemics intersect and intertwine. Together their threats and risks constitute a sustainability crisis or emergency.” Summary ; and full report.

Glad to be Sorry: We welcome the bi-partisan support given to the Sorry Celebrations last Wednesday, and thanks to MASG members who helped to organise the Mostyn Street event that attracted about 400 people. We hope that similar leadership will be shown in facing climate change. This will be critical to addressing issues as highlighted in next para.

MASG website updated: feel free to browse around, and tell us if changes needed. Website. Feedback to

Bike Lane update – Jill Gibson has been liaising with VicRoads, and cyclists will be pleased to know that the remade section of Midland Hwy (Castlemaine to Guildford) has finally been cleared of the large area of loose stones. Jill will be meeting staff from Vic Roads shortly to do an inspection of the Barker St bike lane in Castlemaine. Initial discussions will concentrate on maintenance to the bike lane and later consideration will be given to improving the laneway.

Wash Against Waste (WAW) Trailer – Supervisory Team Recruiting Now: As you may be aware, MASG is planning to build a WAW Trailer.  Once on the road the WAW Trailer will need a trained volunteer to accompany each outing to supervise its safe and efficient operations – particularly where first-time hirers are using it. Can you be part of a team of WAW Supervisors – to be rostered on in turn when the trailer is hired out. The first event is the Taradale Mineral Springs Festival on March 9th. On that Sunday (Sunday of the Labor Day long weekend) we will need a couple of volunteer supervisors to oversee the operation of Taradale volunteers, and gain valuable experience with the WAW system.   Attendance at an induction meeting prior to the day will be required. – please express your interest to Rex Odgers at MASG, 5470 6978 or

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

Growing the Harvest – Festival – 12-13 April 2008. MASG, in partnership with the Uniting Church and the Anglican Church. Growing the Harvest Festival aims to inspire people to grow more food themselves rather than rely on transported food; to be aware of the abundance of food produced locally and to celebrate the growing of it, the preparation of it and the eating of it … and to give thanks for this. At Growing the Harvest you may find compost making, bread baking,  worm farming , scone eating,  a Church Harvest Service, displays of wonderful home grown produce, harvest singing and much much more. We are still in the planning stages of this and anyone wishing to help is most welcome.  Please contact Heather on 54 723 094 or Peter on 54 742 403 or

Coming Events, not endorsed by MASG

Sustainable Living Festival, Entry free, all weekend: 15 – 17 February, Federation Square Melbourne.

Madame Noir’s soap making workshop: 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.

Australia 2020 SUMMIT – a task force is being put together by Kevin Rudd that you can apply for. Applications are due by mail by close of business Monday Feb 25 so don’t delay.  Details . Please apply to attend, or at least make a submission, which are due by close of business on Wednesday 9 April 2008.  We each have a very important perspective to contribute to Australia’s future!

Other news

Living with climate change: are there limits to adaptation?” What is stopping us from preparing for climate change? The Tyndall Centre convened a two day conference of 250 international scientists and experts on 7 and 8 February. “We are interested in those places around the world that are preparing for and adapting to climate change, those that aren’t, what is stopping them, and how they can overcome barriers to action” says Professor Neil Adger of the Tyndall Centre at UEA.

New, unlikely ally in the fight against global warming: A document signed on Monday by three of Wall Street’s largest banks – Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley – requires anyone seeking money for new fossil-fuel power plants in the US to consider the effect this will have on the global climate. The document, entitled The Carbon Principles, states that power companies that want to build new plants will be asked to consider renewable alternatives and carbon-trading schemes. Even if legal emission limits are not yet in place, the document requires power firms to consider future legislative changes and budget accordingly.

Doctors can no longer ignore climate change, says Royal College of Physicians’ President, Professor Ian Gilmore, who sent out a stark warning to the medical profession about the dangers of climate change at a one-day conference saying the consequences of apathy are unthinkable, and doctors should play as big a role in championing green issues and sustainable development as they would in the clinical care of their own patients. London, 29th Jan 08.

Human causes of Climate Change: Sir John Houghton, former UK Met Office chief executive and first chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s scientific assessment said: “Climate change shows us that our energy-hungry lifestyles are harming our poorer neighbours across the world now. …….The moral imperative for us to act is unquestionable and inescapable.” The UK Government are now unequivocal that humans are creating climate change. “Climate change, driven by human activity, is the greatest long-term threat facing the world today.” [The Cabinet Office, London February 2008]. Here is their four page summary. Having recognised that we are part of the problem, how do we change? The UK government are taking the job seriously with a major discussion paper on changing culture of voters: [a 3MB document – we can print you a copy at MASG if you don’t have broadband]

Dubai is “Going Green” in 2008, with plans to build a city for 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses within 8 years. In partnership with the WWF, and Australian-based company Ecospecifier International, Dubai claims it will be the first Middle Eastern city to place strict environmental standards on all new building. How much oil will it take to build?


“Strange as it may appear, an impression seems to be prevailing in these communities that our forests have to serve no other purposes but to provide wood for our immediate and present wants, be it fuel or timber. For even after the warning of climatic changes, and after the commencing scarcity of wood, no forest administration (at least, none adequate, or regularly organized) has been initiated in any portion of Australia”. Baron von Mueller as Government Botanist for Victoria and Director of the Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, in the first paragraph of his lecture 1871 (published as “Forest Culture in its Relation to Industrial Pursuits”)

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