Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Weekly News Digest – 18 Jan 08

Posted on 18 January 2008 by e-news

Summary of MASG News and Events. For more info call 5470 6978


Challenge to Change (C2C) is a 4 year, community change program which aims to demonstrate that households, schools, businesses, councils and churches can rapidly reduce greenhouse emissions to zero net (carbon neutral) by 2010 by working together. The program aims to empower people to switch from a climate-damaging to a climate-protecting lifestyle.

In August/September 2007, the C2C project pilot targeted the Mount Alexander community and:
• Sought rapid change (over 4-5 weeks) through concentrated community effort
• Targeted homes, schools, businesses, churches and council
• Provided supportive materials, tools and networks
• Encouraged learning by doing
• Led by example

This project is the second iteration of C2C in Mount Alexander and will be delivered in March and April 2008 over a period of 10 weeks. During this period participants will again:
• Participate in workshops introducing climate change and monitoring tools
• Be introduced to ways they can change their behavior
• Monitor their gas (MJ) and electricity (KWh) consumption for a week
• Commit to action plans for reducing this (and transport emissions) to zero net by 2010

The C2C Project Manager will liaise with the MASG Coordinator to ensure that the project will complement existing MASG project activities


The project manager will be responsible for undertaking the project workplan within both the timelines and the project budget to deliver the following outcomes:

For Mount Alexander, this would again involve facilitating participation in, and commitment to the program by:

• Mt Alexander Council staff
• Staff and students of the 16 Mt. Alex schools (public and private)
• Congregations of the Anglican, Catholic and Uniting Churches,
• At least ten businesses
• At least 30 households. (with adequate resourcing and planning it is likely that church, business and household numbers could be markedly increased)

Again, the condition of entry for participants would be commitment to the long term C2C goal of carbon neutrality by 2010. Participants will again be encouraged to adopt short term voluntary project targets of 15%-20% reductions in stationary energy consumption and the purchase of 100% Greenpower to cover electricity consumption (generally 80% of stationary energy use)

In this second iteration, C2C participants would be going beyond stationary energy targets and aiming to reduce their transport emissions by 20% and to develop strategies for the transition to zero net emissions transport. It is the project’s aim in this phase to facilitate the increased level of participation and commitment to greenhouse reductions.

The project Manager will also need recruit skilled volunteers to assist in the delivery of the project especially with regard to the schools and businesses aspects.


The project will take place over a 10 week period commencing in mid February. The C2C project manager who will be appointed in early February and will work from 11 Feb-20 March and 7 April-30 April (10 weeks)


The project Manager will be accountable to the MASG Project Coordinator. The C2C Project manager will be based at the MASG office with access to a desk and phone. (Providing your own personal computer preferred).

Bike Ban Binned?? Latest ABC coverage

and from The Age, 22 Jan 08:
“On her first day back at work, Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky ordered an immediate review of the rush-hour ban that started only three weeks ago. The move to ban bikes on Connex and V/Line services sparked heated debate, questioning the Government’s own commitment to more Victorians using sustainable forms of transport. Ms Kosky told The Age the review would begin immediately, and she would meet cycling groups to find some middle ground.” “I’ve had a chat with Connex and V/Line, and we’ve decided to review the full implementation of it,” Ms Kosky said. “The last message I want to send is that we don’t want people to cycle.”

“Organiser Jill Gibson said she was ecstatic about the review, and looked forward to meeting Ms Kosky. Ms Gibson said more had to be done to improve regional rail services for all passengers. “I’m glad she’s opening the book,” she said. “There should be no ban, there should be full access for everyone.”

Bin the Bike Ban gathering, this Wednesday 23rd Jan, from 7am. Bring your symbolic bike made from cardboard to Castlemaine station and tell your cycling story with others. Come share a cuppa and then board the 7.49am train service to Bendigo to get the message across to V/line that they must withdraw the ban. We expect 100 or more cyclists and supporters to be gathering in Central Victoria that morning! See website for info and ideas. Cardboard can be found at bike shops or the tip. Go recycle to cycle!!!!!!

TWO positions vacant at MASG:

CHALLENGE TO CHANGE PROJECT MANAGER (SHORT TERM CONTRACT). To manage the development and growth of the second phase of the “Challenge to Change” program in the Shire. Part of a longer term program which aims to involve churches, schools, businesses and council in reducing greenhouse emissions through working together. This is a short term position for 10-11 weeks commencing in mid February. The position calls for the following skills:
* Good understanding of greenhouse issues,
* Demonstrated ability to engage people and organizations and to co-ordinate a large number of stakeholders,
* Capacity to recruit and work with skilled volunteers,
* Ability to work independently and as part of a team, to set priorities and meet objectives and timelines,
* Strong communication and organizational skills,
For info contact Terry White 5461 5001, and for a detailed project description see the foot of this page or click on link: masg website. Applications close Friday 25th January.

ADMINISTRATION MANAGER (ONGOING) – a skilled person to assist with administration, membership and volunteer coordination and some financial aspects of the organisation. The Administration Manager’s work will complement the projects and activities being undertaken to achieve our goal of a carbon neutral community by 2015. 38 Hour week, $40-45,000 p.a. (plus super). For a Position Description visit our website or contact Dean on 54 706 978. Applications close 31st January.

Bike Ban Update: V/line’s decision to ban bikes on peak services has been covered extensively in the media. At a meeting at MASG on 14th January, 20 cyclists agreed to ask V/line to: 1. reverse the current ban, and 2. open the doors to ongoing discussion and consultation on public transport, commuting and ways to improve services for bicycle users. The action plan includes:
1. Emails, letters, petition and deputations to local and state Government reps and departments.
2. An invite to a V/Line representative to a public forum/consultation on the issue.
3. Ongoing long term campaigning and meetings to look at the longer term issues and discussions with Vline and Public Transport officials.

The group will be meeting again at MASG offices, 6.30pm, Monday 21st January.

FRUIT – surpluses required. MASG volunteers will collect and process excess fruit and veg over the next few months. Some will be bottled/canned for future use in events like our “Growing the Harvest” festival (12-13 April) and/or eaten on special occasions. MASG office can be used as a drop off point, but call Ian first on 5470 6978. Clean jars with or without lids also needed at MASG. If you’d like to help collect and/or process fresh produce, call Grace on 5472 1128.

Clearing out the cupboards? MASG is still collecting old mobile phones for recycling and every phone brings $5 to our fundraising efforts too!

Wanted to buy (1) – second hand piano in good working order. If you have a piano sitting around that is no longer in use and would be happy for it to go to a good home, please contact Jayson at MASG on 5470 6978.
Wanted to buy (2) – second hand bikes in good condition. At least 2 required, to suit medium size adults. Please contact Ian at MASG on 5470 6978
Wanted to buy (3) – good quality second hand steel string acoustic guitar. Please contact Dean at MASG on 5470 6978

Other News And Events, not endorsed by MASG

Sustainability Training Course: Castlemaine Community House is offering 100 hours of training in sustainable living. The course is a mix of theory, field trips and practical sessions. The course is 10 hours per month over 10 months, starting 6th February. Most sessions will take place on a Thursday morning in Castlemaine, with a once-per-month evening session on a Wednesday. Costs are only $55 for the whole year if you have a health care or pensioner card, and $400 for the year [full fee]. Low cost is thanks to a subsidy by Victorian Government. To register, call the Community House on or after 24th Jan on 5472 4842.

Re-opening of Templeton’s Café: MASG members Sue Turner and Margarita Adler are pleased to announce the re-opening of Templeton’s Café and Accommodation, on 26th Jan from 10am. Located at 31 Templeton St, Castlemaine, Templeton’s will offer local seasonal foods wherever possible, and will run on sustainability principles, seeking to minimise its carbon footprint. Off street parking provided for bicycle users. Local fine wines all from central Victoria. Accommodation also on offer in 2 suites. Guests are offered free use of bicycles for the duration of their stay. 5472 5311.

Climate movement convergence: Saturday 9th February. This will be an inspiring day of workshops, open space for discussions, an overview of the latest climate science, ideas on building a strong and vibrant movement, and the opportunity to ponder what opportunities are now present with a change in federal government. See link for the full program

Peak Oil accepted by the world’s biggest car maker (though they still plan to keep making cars…) : “General Motors believes global oil supply has peaked and a switch to electric cars is inevitable. In a stunning announcement at the opening of the Detroit motor show, Rick Wagoner, GM’s chairman and chief executive, also said ethanol was an ‘important interim solution’ to the world’s demand for oil, until battery technology improved to give electric cars the same driving range as petrol-powered cars.

article in The Business Age, almost missed in pre-Christmas rush: “Diesel option doesn’t hold water: In its obsession with PPPs, the State Government is ignoring taxpayer value.” Kenneth Davidson, The Age 10th Dec, 2007

Nitrogen Fertiliser Depletes Soil Carbon
Researchers at the University of Illinois have released the results of a review of a 50 year agricultural trial that found synthetic nitrogen fertiliser caused virtually all the carbon in crop residues to vanish and, very possibly to further rob the soil of residual carbon. The more synthetic nitrogen fertiliser used, the greater the quantity of soil carbon lost as to the atmosphere as CO2. This is just the latest of a number of recent studies that are proving the old ‘Soil Association’ or ‘Lady Eve Balfour’ view of the soil is not far from the mark, and that organic growing can contribute significantly to environmental sustainability. It also explains why conventional agriculture results in a decline in almost all measurable soil characteristics, including soil carbon.

Sanyo has built an ark for the solar century – an impressive 630 kW solar-collecting building that boasts over 5,000 solar panels and kicks off over 500,000 kWh of energy per year. Even more outstanding is the fact that most of the mono-crystalline modules used on the Solar Ark were factory rejects headed to the scrap pile. Located next to Sanyo’s semiconductor factory in Gifu, Japan, the Solar Ark stands as one of the best examples of building integrated PV design to date.

Nano-foods – coming soon to a supermarket near you. A brief introduction to nanotechnology – what it is and how it works

Final word: in response to VECCI’s call for a new coal fired power station for Victoria: “Fossil fuels should be treated as a capital item not an income…and we should do everything in our power to try and minimize their current rate of use…so as to get off the collision course on which we are moving with ever increasing speed.” EF Schumacher “Small is Beautiful: a study of economics as if people mattered”. 1973


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