Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Weekly News Digest, 23 February 2008

Posted on 25 February 2008 by e-news

MASG News and Events

MASG social this Friday. Join us for our first monthly gathering of the year on Friday 29th Feb., 5.30pm to 7.30pm in the back garden. Drinks and nibbles and the chance to talk with other MASGers. As it is 29th February, wear/bring/do something odd!

Re-located farmers’ market opens in Castlemaine this Sunday 2 March Market opens at 9am. MASG will have solar cookers, information, and a fruit and veg display. The sustainable piano will also be there, which, according to Neil, will be “playing all the great tunes from 1905 to 1965 when music lost its way…”

MASG welcomes the interim report from Government’s climate change adviser Ross Garnaut, [released 21 Feb] which warns that climate change is occurring faster than previously thought, and the Federal Government should be considering a 90 per cent cut in emissions by 2050. The Government is standing by its pre-election target of 60 per cent. ABC coverage

SIGN THE PETITION: Climate ‘Code Red’: to the Legislative Assembly of Victoria. The petition of residents of Victoria urges the Legislative Assembly of Victoria to commit Victoria to greenhouse gas emission targets that facilitate the large-scale and rapid transition of Victoria to a post-carbon economy and society.

A copy of the petition is available in the MASG office and is being coordinated by Wendy French of MASG Tarrengower. Finished petitions will then be handed to Bob Cameron MP, by Wendy. You have until 31 March. If you can take a petition sheet to get it filled in that would be greatly appreciated. Contact the MASG office 5470 6978, or download the PDF petitionParabolic Solar Cooker: This exciting project is ready to go. The materials are all there and now we need is a group of interested MASG folks to do the job.  You don’t need any particular skills as we will all be learning ‘on the job’.  The 1.5 metre parabolic satellite dish (from the tip) will have small mirrors glued on to make a concave shaped dish mirror, which will concentrate solar rays on to a cast iron cooking plate.  If you would like to try your hand at this little experiment, call me, Grace 5472 1128. We will meet at 9am on Thursday 28th February at rear of 233 Barker St., Castlemaine.

Wash Against Waste (WAW) Trailer Supervisors – to be rostered on in turn when the trailer is hired out.  We need a couple of people for the first use of the trailer: at the Taradale Springs Festival on March 9th. A one-hour induction session is available on either Tuesday 4th or Thursday 6th March [times to suit you] – please express your interest to Rex Odgers at MASG, 5470 6978 or .

CSIRO launch – 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. Thanks to Deb Taylor (event organiser extraordinaire); Mike Wolfe and Peter Sansom (brochure design); and our great team of volunteers, Laura Levetan, Sarah Austin, Genevieve Barlow, Julie Odgers, Rima Truchanas, Terry Gaetcher, Marie Molan, Christine Henderson, Ella Barrett, Heather Barrett, Mick Lewin, Jacqueline Brody-Hans & Peter Watts.

Growing the Harvest – Festival: 12-13 April 2008. MASG, in partnership with the Uniting Church and the Anglican Church. 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 more. Planning help is most welcome.  Please contact Heather on 54 723 094 or Peter on 54 742 403

Finding Our Power follow up – it has been good to see some of the action groups continuing to meet, and featured in media. Background

Coming Events, not endorsed by MASG

Scene From the Air: Landscape Change in Mount Alexander 1946-2008: What’s been happening in the landscape of our area in the last sixty years? This exhibition has been organised to help viewers understand what is happening to our landscape. In the late 1940s aerial photos were taken of this district from Air Force planes. We have selected four of these, and paired them with photos taken in the last ten years. From February 20th to March 12th in the foyer of the Phee Broadway Theatre Castlemaine. You are invited to the launch, on Saturday February 23rd at 11.00 am.

Paul Tebo, sustainability theorist, seminar 4 March, EPA Victoria invites you to meet with someone who has successfully instituted sustainable business practice in small and large corporations. RSVP by 27 February. Info:

Taradale Mineral Springs Festival Sunday 9th March 10am-4pm; features the new Wash Against Waste Service.  Fresh in-season produce;  Fine handcrafted local wines;  Specialty foods and gourmet cuisine; preserves and puddings; garden craft and plants;  alpacas and alpaca wool items; local craft; live music; activities for the young at heart; free workshops and circus demonstrations; sand mandala by Tibetan Buddhist Monks 

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.

Good news

From the State Minister for Water; $10 million in water grants up for grabs, for new stormwater and recycled water projects. The first round of the Fund is open to all non-residential water customers that use more than 10 million litres per year. Another round of funding will be available for businesses, community groups and sporting clubs for smaller, localised projects. Business and local councils have until April 24 to register an expression of interest for the Stormwater and Urban Water Recycling Fund. Details can be found at or by calling 136 186.

Retired actor Dennis Weaver builds an earthship: may need broadband

Ideas about what works and what does not… and also here;  

Hydrogen first – have they solved the enigma?? A business park pioneers green hydrogen as an energy store. They may have the first commercial hydrogen mini-grid in operation by the end of the year.

Vacancies exist on Coliban Water Board. For information and application pack call Department of Sustainability and Environment on 136186. have your voice heard by applying.  Applications close 6 March 2008.

Community Development and Ecology: 26 – 28th March 2008. Mount Alexander Shire “day” at the conference is Thursday 27th March. Jacqueline Semmler talking about Food Sovereignty; Dean Bridgfoot, Lucy Mayes and Carol McDonough [hopefully] will be presenting a new DVD made by Lucy and Bill Irwin after talking with many of you [how we are building sustainable community here]; the MASCAN team will be work-shopping their DVD about single focus action for effective community empowerment and negotiation using cooperative processes. More info.

Maybe not so good news …

Does green travel really work? “Regardless of how hard we try, all travellers have to face the facts: we’re eco-vandals. We’re destroying the world for our own self-indulgent pleasures, and no amount of “carbon offsets” are going to change that. We fly in planes, we drive cars, we ride in buses, we trek through jungles, we climb sand dunes, we trample over coral reefs, we litter, we use too much water … The old “take only photographs, leave only footprints” adage went out the window years ago. We’re dedicated consumers. What can be done? Can you really travel “green”? Or should we just all stay at home?

and Forest destruction or Flying? The aviation industry has become public enemy number one for environmental groups, says Martin Wright. But, he argues in the BBC’s Green Room, they should focus their efforts on “the real elephant in the room” – forest destruction.

National security threatened by climate change: A new UK report is very relevant to Australia as well. It argues that national security has been too narrowly defined. A new strategy must address the full range of threats and risks facing [the UK] such as:
* Climate change: through disruption caused to important security installations by unpredictable weather, tension and conflict caused by water stress in parts of Asia and Africa, or through environmentally induced increases in migration;
* Energy insecurity: The UK is moving from being an exporter of energy to an importer. This will increase vulnerability;
* Critical national infrastructure: The interdependence of key elements of our national infrastructure such as power, water, transport and communications, means that weaknesses in one area could have a cascading effect leading to breakdown in others
* Disease and bio-security;
* Global poverty;

Bio-crude oil? Energy from waste is not new, but maybe more viable now. See this link about an Australian project.
Bio-crude may be more sustainable than other bio-fuels – read about the palm oil debate here: The two faces of tropical palm oil

And: “Biofuels deemed a greenhouse threat”: almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the full emissions costs of producing these “green” fuels are taken into account, two studies being have concluded:

QUOTE: “Apart from used chip fat, there is no such thing as a sustainable biofuel. Even capitalists now admit the oil crisis is real. But their solutions border on lunacy as they avoid the obvious answer” George Monbiot at his scathing best on the moral bankruptcy of biofuel usage: from The Guardian, 12th February

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