Archive for August, 2007

Local Action & Resource – Spring Seed Swaps/Website/Newsletter

Posted in Events by Ferne Edwards on August 31st, 2007


Get your seeds ready and jump into a seed swap this spring! EVERY SATURDAY IN SEPTEMBER at the CERES MARKET, between 11-1pm!

Seed swapping is an important means of exchange which maintains our plant diversity protecting sustainability while fostering community. The Seed Savers group based at CERES, East Brunswick, welcomes people to swap their seeds for free on a regular basis throughout September. Make sure you have labelled seed appropriately with variety, scientific name (if possible), date of collection, and your name.

The Seed Savers group also have a new website;

There is also a mobile seed bank: The propagation boys at CERES have started a mobile seed bank. So if you have properly labelled seed (seed passport) you can exchange it or take seed as a serious grower to grow out varieties and return the seed for preservation.

And a Newsletter! Visit the website listed above for more information.

Seeking scholars – Scholarships available for study on Smart Green Schools

Posted in Events, Models, Movements, Research, Seeking by Ferne Edwards on August 31st, 2007

Smart Green Schools – 2 PhD Scholarships available in Architecture, Sustainability and Education, University of Melbourne

Applications are invited for two PhD scholarships funded by the Australian Research Council. You will work as part of a diverse team of academics and industry partners including the Department of Education (Victoria), the Office of the Victorian Government Architect and a number of award winning architecture firms. The research aims are to better understand the integration of pedagogy and sustainability in the architectural design of schools.

The scholarships are valued at AUD $30,000 tax free p.a. for three years. This is an opportunity for you to develop cutting edge knowledge about how space, form, education and sustainability are interlinked.

The deadline for applications is 20 September 2007. Applicants should respond to the position description available on the Faculty website or by contacting CIs Clare Newton on (03) 8344 6439 or Dr Dominique Hes (03) 8344 4230.

Update – “Greening the University Workshop”, University of Melbourne

Posted in Events, Visions by Ferne Edwards on August 30th, 2007

The “Greening the University Workshop” (see previous entry) held at the University of Melbourne on 14 August was a massive success with a full house! According to the organisers, people who attended included academics from the University of Melbourne and RMIT University, postgraduate and undergraduate students and many more. The evening “workshopped” various issues important to the University of Melbourne – while also serving as an excellent model for others to take ideas onboard. Outcomes from the evening will be placed on the Postgraduate Environmental Network website;, who were also the organisers of the event.

Resource – Looking for financial support for your environmental project?

Posted in Research, Seeking by Ferne Edwards on August 30th, 2007


The recent edition of SustainaBulletin titled “Round up of government funding for innovation & sustainability“, Issue 18, 17 August 2007, by showcases a national sweep of such opportunities! Visit their website at is an online resource that showcases organisations in Australia that are committed to sustainability and innovation and are adopting an array of smart initiatives that are delivering social, environmental and economic benefits.


Research – The Viability of Domestic Wind Turbines for Urban Melbourne

Posted in Models, Movements, Policies, Research, Visions by Ferne Edwards on August 29th, 2007

The ATA’s latest report The Viability of Domestic Wind Turbines for Urban Melbourne prepared for Sustainability Victoria investigates the feasibility of small-scale, grid-connected wind turbines for urban Melbourne. The findings of the research and the issues which may face the emerging market will be available to download after the launch (on 13th September) and the audio from the launch of the event will be available on the ATA website a couple of weeks after the event. Visit the ATA website at:
ATA – Alternative Technology Association: A not-for-profit organisation promoting renewable energy, sustainable building and water conservation since 1980.

Research – Food Miles in Australia: A preliminary study of Melbourne, Victoria

Posted in Models, Movements, Research by Ferne Edwards on August 29th, 2007

Report below from CERES website:

“Food Miles in Australia: A Preliminary study of Melbourne, Victoria” researched and written by Asha Bee Abraham and Sophie Gaballa estimates the distances travelled for food items found in a typical Melburnian’s shopping basket and the resulting greenhouse emissions from this transportation.

CERES Chairperson Robert Larocca said that the community understands the link between greenhouse gas emissions and personal transport and energy use, but is only now coming to understand the amount of emissions that result from the production of our food.

“Food Miles is a term now commonly used to measure the transport distance traveled by food products between production and consumption. Food miles are an important part of a larger full life-cycle assessment required to compare the sustainability of individual items within food systems.”

“We see the growing awareness first hand at our biweekly organic market where shoppers can choose food based on the location it was produced or grown. People appreciate knowing where their food comes from. Food that has been organically produced and travelled less ‘food miles’ not only is better for the environment but often tastes better too,” Mr Larocca concluded.

The study aims to open discourse in Australia about the sustainability of our centralised food systems and food production and take a proactive stance on forecasting future emissions. Co-author of the study; Sophie Gaballa said; “With the current urgency required to respond to climate change and peak oil challenges, the study highlights the need for Australia to respond accurately to the role our current food system plays within these issues.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Event – Sustainable House Day 8 & 9 September 2007

Posted in Events, Research by Ferne Edwards on August 29th, 2007

Information below about the Sustainable House Day. Visit their website for more information.

The national Sustainable House Day event aims to demonstrate how good design can virtually eliminate the need for heating and cooling and thus save money and the environment. Its a great opportunity to see houses utilising rather than exploiting natures natural energies and to talk to homeowners, architects and designers who have created sustainable living environments, often on modest budgets.

Formerly known as Solar House Day, the name change reflects the fact that most participating houses also include water saving design features. The new and renovated homes on show all have examples of passive solar design and many also feature active solar measures such as solar hot water and solar electricity.

The 5 key issues in passive solar design are:
* orientating the house correctly
* gauging the appropriate levels of insulation
* correct glazing with appropriate shading
* correct use of thermal mass, and
* natural ventilation

After space heating and cooling, water heating is usually the single largest ongoing use of energy. Electric hot water systems are the most inefficient of any option.

The event has been organised for the past six years by the Australian & New Zealand Sustainable Energy Society. The chair of ANZSES, Arthur Zawadski says that if more Australians adopted sustainable practices, our power demands could be met within existing resources and there would be no need for talk of nuclear power alternatives. Sustainable House day is all about encouraging and
empowering people to act locally, namely at home. The need to address the issue increases daily.

The Australia-wide list of houses will be available online at or contact the National Coordinator Julien Lacave on 02 9282 6944, julien[at]

Event – Free talk on “Using Solar Energy for Water Desalination”

Posted in Research, Visions by Ferne Edwards on August 29th, 2007

Aliakbar Akbarzadeh will talk about “Using Solar Energy for Water Desalination”, Thursday 30 August.
Cutting trees as well as improper water irrigation has resulted in the rise of the salty underground water tables in many parts of Northern Victoria. As a result several thousand hectares of land has been contaminated with salt. Based on his research, Professor Akbarzadeh will present and discuss renewable energy systems that he and his research team at RMIT have developed as part of the Salinity Mitigation Schemes. These systems, called “solar ponds,” can produce thermal energy which can be used a source of renewable energy for local salt industries.

Professor Aliakbar Akbarzadeh is the Leader of Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Group in the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at RMIT University.

Time & Venue: 6:15pm to 7:30pm – Council Chambers, 699 Doncaster Rd, Doncaster
Bookings: Kay Toussaint 9840 9348 or
Cost: Free

Event – Reminder about “Shopping with a Conscience” Supermarket Tours this Friday!

Posted in Events, Uncategorized by Ferne Edwards on August 29th, 2007

“Shopping with a Conscience” Supermarket Tours – Food miles, genetic engineering, multinational ownership, packaging…. and much, much more
Join us to find out more about the products, companies and related issues that are part of your weekly supermarket shopping adventures. Time to share questions, experiences, and to feast on some positive alternatives. We’ll explore practical ways to help you in making more ethical choices and lighten
your impact.
Dates: 6pm – 8.30pm, Friday 29th June, 27th July, 31st August, 28th September.
Cost $6. Light supper provided. Meet at Footscray Baptist church, 60 Paisley Street, Footscray. More info: Nick Ray on ph:0500 868 498 or info
Your Dollar is your vote. Find out who (and what) you voted for today!

Ethical Consumer Group meetings and movies
The Ethical Consumer Group meets monthly to discuss aspects of living out sustainable alternatives in a consumerist culture.
Wednesday 15th August “Robert Newman’s History of Oil” – living beyond oil
Wednesday 12th September “Blowin’ in the Wind” – uranium now?

Local Action – Time to have your say on Melbourne 2030

Posted in Events, Policies, Research, Seeking by Ferne Edwards on August 28th, 2007

Public submissions are now being accepted as part of the first audit of Melbourne 2030.

“Constructive feedback will help us take positive steps forward to fine-tune the way we plan for the future and manage growth,” Planning Minister Justin Madden said. “This process is about listening to the wider community and learning how we can improve the implementation of Melbourne 2030. The Government will maintain the basic principles of Melbourne 2030 but we want the community’s input into how we implement this crucial policy.”

A user-friendly electronic guide to submissions and the submissions process is available online. Submitters are encouraged to use the forms provided on the website when making submissions.

“Our commitment to a more prosperous, liveable and sustainable city is as strong as ever. We want to listen to what the community has to say about Melbourne 2030 so far and learn from the first five years of its implementation,” the Minister said. “The audit is an excellent opportunity to take stock of the implementation process and how we can do things better so that Melbourne remains one of the most liveable cities in the world.”

Submissions can be made until 24 September 2007.

An independent auditor, Audit Expert Group, will review submissions from the community, local councils, industry and key stakeholders, to ensure all interested parties have their say about the ongoing implementation of Melbourne 2030. The expert group is expected to submit its report and recommendations to the Minister in early 2008.

For more information about the Audit process and the user friendly guide to submissions, visit