Weekly News Digest Friday 23 May 08
Posted on 23 May 2008 by e-news
For more information call 5470 6978
MASG News and Events
World Environment Day celebrations: Thursday June 5th at the Theatre Royal. MASG will be celebrating the enormous energy and inspiring achievements of our community on World Environment Day in partnership with the Mount Alexander Shire Council, Landcare, Mamunya, Castlemaine 500 network and others. The celebrations, awards and entertainment start at approximately 3pm and continue on into the evening. A full event guide will be printed in the local papers and available on our website so get ready and watch for more news.
MASG takes to the road: Dean presented the Maine’s Power project as a case study to senior Regional Managers at the Loddon Mallee Regional Managers Forum last Friday. Jane and Dean both attended the gathering of Victorian Climate Change Groups in Melbourne on Wednesday where they both ran sessions for participants. Fourteen groups from Victoria and NSW attended, representing over 3,000 members. A media release on behalf of the groups calling for a revision to the proposed feed in tariff is available from our website.
Here is a picture of some of the delegates relaxing and having fun!
MASG Wind Farm Tour: Still a few seats available on the bus for the MASG tour of Pacific Hydro’s Challicum Hills wind farm near Ararat on Friday 30th May. The bus will be leaving from the Castlemaine Buslines at 9.00am and returning around 4pm. Make sure you book early as there are only 25 places available. The tour costs only $5 per head and there will be stops along the way for purchasing lunch and refreshments. Please contact Jayson at MASG to register your interest – 5470 6978 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Transport Working group met last Sunday and generated much enthusiasm. The group is creating a vision for transport in the Shire, and we want you to write a paragraph on your vision as well. Send contributions to email@example.com. Notes of meeting are available to MASG members. Next meeting Sunday 1st June at 7pm.
Challenge 2 Change – this is ‘GO’ week and schools, cafes, council offices and individuals are trying to use less energy than they did the week before … water chillers have been switched off and heaters turned down. Extra layers are being worn on these cold mornings! Schools are entering their daily meter readings on a specially created website and will be able to compare savings from school to school. We will report the savings made in future newsletters as they become available. Remember we need the support of MASG members through completion of the home energy assessment questionnaire. All entries receive a free CFL light globe, kindly donated by Sustainability Victoria.
MASG monthly members social: This month we will hold our members night on Thursday June 5th to coincide with the World Environment Day celebrations. Look for further details next week!
CAN YOU HELP? The MASG Information Stall team is looking for a volunteer to help at the next Farmers Market on Sunday 1st June, ideally from 8.30 am until 1.30pm, or any two hours during that time. Not only will you be helping to get important sustainability information to the public, you’ll join a fun team at a great community event. Contact Jill on 5470 6978 if you can help
Events organized by other organizations
Unused CDMA mobile phones lying around? Mobile Muster and Landcare will plant a tree for every phone recycled between now and World Environment Day. Pick up a free recycling satchel at participating Australia Post outlets and to find out your nearest collection point visit
The Food Garden presents “The Future of Food” and a speaker from Gene Ethics, on 27th May and 3rd June at 6:45 pm, 61 Main Road, Campbells Creek. For further information ring Cathy on: 5410 0564
David Holmgren public talk: Permaculture Solutions for the Energy Descent Future. Friday 23rd May, 6 – 8pm, Daylesford Town Hall, Entry by donation ($5). U3A members free entry. For more info see
Interesting Information and Links
Solar Policy Announcement – Feed in tariff: Last week the Victorian government announced that it would require electricity utilities to pay householders with photovoltaic solar systems on their roofs 60c for every Kwh exported to the grid. For many householders the proposal is an improvement but still falls significantly short of other international Feed in tariffs. The proposed feed in tariff could see households earning around $500 per Kw per year, an increase over the current $250pa per KW installed. However, the exact amount earned will depend on the proportion of solar production which is exported to the grid and may be difficult to predict. This is an improvement over the current poor support for solar and means the rate of return on existing and new solar installations could increase markedly and as such, MASG welcomes this improvement. However we believe a more considered feed in tariff is warranted if we are to take climate change seriously. One of the major shortcomings of the current proposal is that it only applies to small systems of 2KW or less and excludes churches, community buildings, schools and businesses.
Land and Biodiversity at the time of Climate Change White Paper will be released by the Department of Sustainability in 2009. This document will set the direction for the Victorian Government policy and investment priorities in natural resource management, land health and biodiversity for the next 20 -50 years. Victorian Government is requesting input from all Victorians. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve the policies that guide the way we manage land and biodiversity. Submissions by June 30th 2008. Copy of the Green paper here or call 136 186
New wave of sustainable living: “Sustainable Retailer” Todae in Sydney says the store and head office are entirely solar powered. All lighting is from energy-saving bulbs, all paper is recycled and so is most of the office furniture, and there is a staff incentive not to drive to work. Owner Danin Kahn says: Staff get a bit extra each week if they catch public transport. We also have an arrangement with a local cafe to supply meals on crockery, which is later returned, rather than using plastic containers.
Global food habits u-tube: and why they are not sustainable. May need broadband, but give it a try: .
Urban Food Production: It’s not all bad news. See the Luscious Lane zappy video clip on an unusual food garden in Melbourne. Great for the younger viewer! ; and a Californian response on Jules Dervaes website: . Also useful facts & figures and information on yields at and video clip of a news item on the Dervaes’ suburban farm which was on US ABC news: (7 minutes)
Hydrogen Cars Won’t Make a Difference for 40 Years. “As a climate strategy, it’s not very good,” says Dr. Joseph Romm, “We don’t have the time.” Romm is executive director of the Centre for Energy and Climate Solutions and author of The Hype About Hydrogen: Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate.
http://www.cool-companies.org/hydrogen/inthenews.cfm . There is a lot going on in the world of alternative vehicles. Have fun looking
Tim Flannery has proposed a radical solution to climate change which may change the colour of the sky, and called on the Government to remove the means test on the $8000 rebate for domestic solar panels introduced in last week’s budget. Prof Flannery said while the Rudd Government was doing more to tackle climate change than its predecessor, it was still “nowhere near enough.”
Quote of the week
Following on announcements on feed in tariffs and means testing of Solar PV rebates: “Our dependence on fossil fuels amounts to global pyromania, and the only fire extinguisher we have at our disposal is renewable energy”.
Hermann Scheer, Author of the German Feed in Tariff laws, President of EUROSOLAR; General Chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE); President of the International Parliamentary Forum on Renewable Energies; Member of the German Bundestag; Author. Honoured with the Right Livelihood Award 1999, with the Solar World Prize 1998, the World Prize on Bioenergy 2000 and the World Wind Energy Award 2004.
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein