Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Weekly News Digest – Friday 7th March 2008

Posted on 7 March 2008 by e-news

For more information, call 03 5470 6978.

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Major events:
more details appear in main newsletter as we near the next event

12 – 13th April: “Growing the Harvest” Festival.
5 June: World Environment Day

MASG News and Events

MASG Solar Display Home approved by Council! Planning permission has just been received for the new display home, designed by Lifehouse Designs and to be built by local builder Trevor Butcher in Campbells Creek. This project has been in design and approval phases for the last 12 months and site works will begin very soon.

WANTED for major MASG fundraising effort: Sellers of raffle tickets, especially at Taradale Springs Festival this Sunday. Thanks for offers of help so far. Please contact Lorna 0419 108 847. Taradale Festival also includes trial run for the new MASG Wash Against Waste service that will help reduce disposable plate and cup waste. More volunteers needed for Sunday. Contact Rex on 5472 5082.

Sustainability Raffle has 5 great prizes: 5000 litre tank courtesy of Kelly Plumbing (value $1395), organic food harvest basket (value $200), 5 bare rooted fruit trees of your choice courtesy of Bold Garden (value $125), Eco-Bokachi bench-top compost bucket courtesy Down to Earth Store (value $100) and 2 years’ subscription to Digger’s Garden Club plus Digger’s fruit and vegetable book (value $90). Tickets are $2 each or 3 for $5. Available at Down to Earth shop and the health food shops. Are you able to sell tickets in their workplace, to family/ friends or at markets in the next 5 weeks? Contact Lorna on 0419 108 847 for tickets or for more information.

Farmers’ market in Castlemaine, last Sunday. Thanks to the people who supplied fruit and veggies for MASG’s stall at the Farmers Market. It was a very successful little enterprise, showing that despite the water problems, it is possible with a bit of effort, a good-sized backyard and a dash of ingenuity, to grow a range of produce in excess of a family’s needs. This Sunday, we are doing a similar stall for the Taradale Market. If you have a surplus, Neil would be pleased to hear from you on 54 72 3094. And thanks to the volunteers who made a great show at the MASG stall at the market. ABC coverage – story, pictures and audio. See also Forbidden Fruits in “Other News” below, for a US perspective on farmers’ markets and other food news.

Didgfest 15-16 March. MASG is working with Didgfest to help them go carbon neutral. It will be a great event. More info

We don’t need any more old computers [thanks] but we are still recycling old mobile phones. Also bring in the phone charger if you have no other use for them. We get $5 per phone that we divert from land fill. Must be received before 31st March.

Electric Car: Congratulations to local business Blade Electric Vehicles who handed over their first commercial electric car. New owner, Alan Gray of Earth Garden magazine said it is “the most ecologically advanced car in Australia”.

Wind and Weather station erected. The owners of Ellimata (the building that houses the MASG office in Castlemaine) have installed a weather station on the roof, to log weather patterns and measure the prospects for micro wind in the town. Photos taken at the moment the station was commissioned, late last week. You can see it from the street if you are looking up.

Offers and requests:
WANTED: We need a vacuum cleaner for the heavy duty dust around the MASG office. Has to be a powerful beast!
OFFERED: for donation – printers, scanner, electric typewriter with correcting ribbon

MASG Social: Fri 28th March – film night at Theatre Royal – details to follow

Growing the Harvest – Festival: 12-13 April 2008. Will now include workshops on processing and preserving local foods and harvest dance and singing. Organised by MASG, in partnership with the Uniting and Anglican Churches. Please contact Heather 5472 3094, or Peter 5474 2403 or email

Coming Events, not endorsed by MASG

An invitation to Friends, Colleagues and Wellwishers of Carol McDonough, including children. Come along to MASG garden, Templeton Street [rear of 233 Barker], on Tuesday March 18th, 4.30-6pm. We will celebrate that Carol, nominated by MASCAN, has been inducted to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women for her life-long work in human rights, environment and community. Bring your own glass, some drink and nibbles to share. Some folk might like to flow on to The Royal 5472 1196 for you-book-in-advance pizza, 6ish to 7.15pm. more info: Solway Nutting 5474 3224.

OzGREEN’s Youth LEAD program – Helping people move from overwhelm to action
An innovative eco-social leadership and action training program giving young people the skills, motivation and opportunities to lead the way to a sustainable future. For 15-25 yr olds (with some flexibility). Melbourne Youth LEAD 25-27 March 2008. Also a similar program for adults of all ages called Leading with the Heart – For more information please contact Wendy on 9341 8104, read the attached information &/or visit the website

ALL ABOUT BEES: A full day workshop on Saturday 5th April from 10am – 3pm.
Conducted by Jim Sansom. Cost $30 per person. Proceeds to Newham Hall Restoration Fund. For information or enrolment ring 5427 0408.
* Learn about what goes on in a beehive and bees’ roles in our world
* See honey being extracted from the comb
* See what a beehive looks like inside
* Taste different types of honey

Other News and Information

De-salination: Your Water Your Say (YWYS) has produced a press release in response to Government’s release of the Draft Scoping Requirements (available at the DSE office or at YWYS says the scoping ignores concerns that they expressed in previous submissions, and confirms that Government’s intent that the EES not block the project. Responses needed by March 13th. Website or phone Chris (0419 556 381) or Andrea (04 0006 5253).

Submissions to Garnaut Review: There is an opportunity to make submissions on issues related to low emissions technologies. This could be a great opportunity to get some grass roots thinking into the Garnaut Report. Further information, go to: website

Local buses to Campbells Creek, Elphinstone, Taradale and Harcourt need increased patronage. Please consider using them. Timetables

Sustainable Olympics? The London 2012 Sustainability Plan has been produced as a framework for how London 2012 and its partners intend to address sustainability including measuring the carbon footprint of the Games. They say they will establish a new methodology for carbon emission measuring and environmental management for major events. Is this green-wash? Read for yourself.

Closer to home, EPA Victoria has produced an events calculator:

and there are some interesting presentations on the footprint methods from University of Oslo:

1. Painting all roofs white could nudge the Earth’s albedo from 0.29 towards 0.30. According to a very simple “zero-dimensional” model of the Earth, this would lead to a drop in global temperature of up to 1 °C, almost exactly cancelling out the global warming that has taken place since the start of the industrial revolution. A zero-dimensional model, however, excludes the atmosphere and, crucially, the role of clouds. [But!] It would be interesting to see if more sophisticated models predict a similar magnitude of cooling.

2. Wendy French writes about “Renshade”. At our recent ‘open house’ one product that created a lot of interest was Renshade, a perforated silver foil which reflects 85% of that scorching western sun if you have exposed windows to the west. Because of the perforations you can still see through it and it’s easy to attach to the glass with Velcro dots. For winter you just roll it up carefully and store it under the bed! Renshade is now available at a hardware shop close to you.

3. Local company to use roadway heat for electricity in California. An American company, TXL is developing small, high-efficiency thermoelectric cells, which can be imbedded in the roadway pavement and can convert solar heat into energy. This year it plans to do a pilot project using the technology to light raised pavement markers.

The Rudd Summit … Is there a Third Way? Interesting reading

Car travel ‘cut by 80 per cent’.
OVERSEAS trips may become a once-in-lifetime experience and car travel needed to be cut by 80 per cent if we have any hope of avoiding “dangerous” climate change, experts say. Article from:
Related info at: Public Transport Users Association –

My Forbidden Fruits (and Vegetables) by JACK HEDIN a farmer in Minnesota.
IF you’ve stood in line at a farmers’ market recently, you know that the local food movement is thriving, to the point that small farmers are having a tough time keeping up with the demand. But consumers who would like to be able to buy local fruits and vegetables not just at farmers’ markets, but also in the produce aisle of their supermarket, will be dismayed to learn that the federal government works deliberately and forcefully to prevent the local food movement from expanding. You can read the full story in the New York Times: Published: March 1, 2008

Non GM seed protected: In 2002, Jude & Michel Fanton of the Seed Savers Network in Byron Bay NSW established over 60 local seed networks all over Australia in anticipation of catastrophic events such as those described in the following article.  It was decided at the time that the only way to safeguard what remains of our agricultural biodiversity was to have it growing in a million backyards all over the country, in addition to ex-situ storage in 60 or more local seed banks, where locally grown, organic, heritage or other open-pollinated seeds are available for sharing within local communities of seedsavers.  “Kind-of-like insurance except you get value for no money.”

“After months of extraordinary publicity, and with the apparently unanimous support of the international scientific community, the “Global Seed Vault” was officially opened today on an island in Svalbard, Norway. However, this “ultimate safety net” for the biodiversity that world farming depends on is sadly just the latest move in a wider strategy to make ex-situ (off site) storage in seed banks the dominant. It gives a false sense of security in a world where the crop diversity present in the farmers’ fields continues to be eroded and destroyed at anever-increasing rate and contributes to the access problems that plague the international ex-situ system.”

Food and the Spectre of Malthus: report from the United Nations’ world food program last week says that it might have to ration food aid. Global food prices have now risen by more than 75 per cent since their lows of 2000, jumping more than 20 per cent in 2007 alone – the news revived fears from a much earlier era, conjuring up the Reverend Thomas Malthus. More

After food, comes drink: “one quarter of all Australians say they are willing to buy products that are more environmentally friendly. But, just how green are these products?” Listen to Fran Kelly quizzing the breweries about “Green Beer” {are they getting ready for 17th March (St Patrick)!!}

QUOTE:Environmental sustainability has long been important to Cascade Brewery. We’ve made improvements to our operations over the last ten years and we’re committed to doing more. We’re really excited to be launching Cascade Green and in doing so, provide Australian drinkers with a greener beer choice that tastes great,” said Cascade Marketing Manager, Ben Summons.

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