Archive for September, 2007

Local action – A “Sustainable Living Centre” Project for Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs!?

Posted in Seeking by Ferne Edwards on September 30th, 2007

A “Sustainable Living Centre” Project for Melbournes Eastern Suburbs!?

The City of Whitehorse have just approached the Premier seeking assistance to return some of Victorias rarest bushland, the endangered “Valley Heathy Forest” part of the fragile Gardiners Creek/Blackburn Lake eco-system, to public hands.

Community Group BLEEP (Blackburn Lake Environmental Education Park) have proposed that an exciting “Sustainable Living Centre” project be established on the sites existing buildings.
The project is based around four key themes: – Community Learning, Biodiversity, Community & Business, Community Development, and aims to provide a regional focal point for community based sustainable living education and activity for the people of Melbournes Eastern Suburbs.

The project will provide a platform for Business, Government and the community to come together in a range of ways and is based around the following features:-
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Event – The 2007 Engineers Without Borders National Conference, 29 November to 1 December

Posted in Events, Movements by Ferne Edwards on September 28th, 2007

The 2007 Engineers Without Borders National Conference: 29th November – 1st December
Melbourne University ( Parkville, Victoria)

In 2005 EWB held its inaugural conference; Engineering a Better World. National and international speakers presented to nearly 200 people from all over Australia on the theoretical, practical and technical aspects of international development, focusing on the roles engineers can play.

I thought the conference was an AMAZING success and I had a great time. I raved about it for a solid week afterwards; to anyone that would listen” .
– 2005 Conference Delegate

Again bringing together a dynamic mix of diverse speakers and delegates, the Engineers Without Borders National Conference 2007 will ask how we go about ‘Laying the Foundations’ for sustainable human development. Delegates will learn about and debate ideas for improving the knowledge and physical resources of people in need, discuss how to best educate the Australian community on issues of sustainability, and hear presentations on appropriate technology, poverty reduction and human development.

Day 1: Engaging with Community
As development practitioners our challenge is to achieve the best possible outcomes for communities. Although this is a simple mission statement, achieving it requires constant reflection and deliberation. To help us lay the foundations for productive engagement with communities, day one of the conference will focus on participatory approaches, valuing local knowledge and aspirations, the role of appropriate technologies and how we evaluate impact.
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Event – “Get your dirty hands off me!”, Understandascope series, 3 October

Posted in Events, Research by Ferne Edwards on September 27th, 2007

The Understandascope @ Fed Square Series – Wednesday 3 October 2007
#4: “Get your dirty hands off me!” – Antibiotic resistance and the politics of hand-hygiene in health institutions.

An article in Public Health Reports estimates that in 2002 almost 100,000 deaths resulted from Healthcare-Associated Infections in US hospitals. The total number of infections was 17 times that number [Klevens et al., March-April, 2007, pp.160-166].

Behind the individual misery of the infection experience itself is an even more serious matter and it is the rise of antibiotic resistant microorganisms. Antibiotics are losing their clout and our capacity to find new ones is not keeping pace with that loss of effectiveness.

It is vital therefore that the cycle of infection and resistance-inducing use of antibiotics be broken. One simple way of doing this effectively is to improve hand hygiene.

Inadequately disinfected hands are understood as a primary source of these infections. Our hospitals and government departments are committed to improving this situation. The existence of gentle-to-hands alcohol “washes” has dramatically improved the ease, speed and effectiveness of hand-disinfection however, the incidence of dirty hands touching patients, their medications and other infection-inducing procedures is still way too high.
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Event – Engineers, Water and Social Responsibility, 27 September

Posted in Events, Models, Research, Visions by Ferne Edwards on September 26th, 2007

Engineers, Water and Social Responsibility
Lecture organised by the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology

Speaker: Professor Chris Ryan, University of Melbourne
Where: Jim Potter Room, Old Physics Conference Centre, University of Melbourne (for a campus map, go to
When: 6pm, Thursday 27th September, 2007
Admission: Free of Charge

In responding to the current and future demands for water within a city such as Melbourne we are already witnessing a change of paradigm about the engineering of water systems. Strategies to reduce demand, by technology and behaviour change, are complemented by new approaches to supply. Within the ‘old paradigm’ expansion of supply is the only engineering solution. However this approach is challenged by the general trends of climate change, particularly reduction of rainfall. In this circumstance the only apparent solution is desalination.

Climate change has other challenges as well. Firstly, any expansion of the water supply that adds significantly to CO2 production is becoming politically unacceptable. Secondly while global warming points to a rising average temperature, the ‘average’ change may prove less significant than the other feature of the models: rapid and unpredictable swings in climatic events.
The pattern of the last decades – increasing water consumption and decreasing supply – and the implications of climate change supports a ‘new paradigm’ based on distributed systems. Water is a typical distributed resource, yet we have traditionally designed our water engineering systems around three classes of water: first class of ‘natural rain-water supply’ (for human consumption); second class of storm water (‘un-natural rain water supply, broadly not for consumption); third class of waste water (post human consumption). This classification system, which made sense historically is no longer appropriate for current and future conditions.

The new paradigm of ‘distributed water systems’ is slowly emerging at the same time as a similar paradigm in energy. Advances in information and communications technology (ICT) provide practical models and new solutions for economically viable, decentralised, systems of production and consumption.
This talk is intended as a provocation. It will broadly introduce the new paradigm model, discuss some of the current projects and programs which have sprung from it (“Melbourne as Catchment” and “Combined Water and Power”) and raise some big questions and challenges for future water engineering systems.

Chris Ryan is Professor and Co-Director of the Australian Centre for Science Innovation and Society at the University of Melbourne and Director of the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab. He holds a PhD in Physics/engineering from the University of Melbourne.

He was foundation professor of Design and Sustainability at RMIT University, in Melbourne from 1996-2004 and Director of the National Centre for Environmental Design at RMIT until 1997. In this position he directed the Australian EcoReDesign program, working with 20 Australian companies to develop new greener products for the market and a new eco-design methodology. He left Australia in 1997 to work in Europe, as professor and Director of an international research Institute in Lund, Sweden, working with industry and government to design new sustainable systems of production and consumption. He returned to work in Australia in 2002.

Chris has collaborated with many eco-design related research groups in Europe, including the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands and the UK Design Council. He was consultant to the UN Environment Program writing the Global Report on Sustainable Consumption for the Johannesburg world summit in 2002.
He is joint editor of D4S, a forthcoming UNEP Global Guide to Ecodesign. His recent book with Helen Lewis, Imaging Sustainability was published by RMIT press in January this year.
He is an Adjunct Professor in Design Architecture and Building at the University of Technology Sydney and Visiting Professor in Eco-innovation and Ecodesign at Lund University and the Cartesuis Institute in the Netherlands.

He is a member of the Editorial Board of the MIT/Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology and of the International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development.

The IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology
The IEEE is a voluntary organisation with more than 350,000 members. The IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology has about 2000 members in 56 countries worldwide and growing. The Society focuses on the impact of technology on society, including both positive and negative effects, the impact of society on the engineering profession, the history of the societal aspects of electrotechnology, and professional, social and economic responsibility in the practice of engineering and its related technology. SSIT publishes a quarterly journal, IEEE Technology and Society Magazine (free with your Membership), and sponsors periodic conferences entitled The International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS).

Resource – Sustainable Melbourne featured on other green blogsites!

Posted in Models, Movements, Visions by Ferne Edwards on September 26th, 2007

We received news this week at that we’ve recently featured on National Geographic’s Intelligent Traveller blogsite!

The Intelligent Travel blogsite is “about exploring the intersection of authentic and sustainable travel. The site showcases the essence of place, what’s unique and original, what locals cherish most about where they live. They want to highlight places, practices, and people that are on the front lines of sustainable travel — travel that preserves places essential uniqueness for future generations.”

Intelligent Traveller’s recent feature, “Carnival of Cities“, showcased a range of inspiring, green city -based or -related sites – including us! Others in our league included:
ArchitectureThe Dirt, Inhabitat and BldgBlog
Best PracticesBoingBoing, Wired, Blogto and …. us!
Energy SolutionsEarth2Tech, Urban Core Blog
Green SpacesEcoGeek and more!

Check out the Intelligent Traveller blog for more information at

National Geographic Intelligent Traveller Website

Event & Model – Community Food Systems With Chris Ennis, CERES, 7 October

Posted in Events, Models by Ferne Edwards on September 26th, 2007

Community Food Systems With Chris Ennis

What is a community food system? Explore local food projects here and around the world and their environmental, economic and social benefits. This workshop would be of benefit to organisations and individuals looking to create sustainable food projects.

Sunday 7th October 2007
1 session 10am—4pm
Location: CERES Market Gardens
Fee: $88/$77 CERES members or concession

What to expect
Social Enterprises
Community Markets
Community Supported Agriculture
Market Gardens
Farmers Markets
Food Co-ops
Food Security
Food Miles

About the Teacher:
Chris Ennis manages CERES’ Organic Farm and Training Programs including 2 market gardens, organic fruit and vegetable market. With a background in Permaculture and a focus on food growing in cities; Chris has initiated projects such as Seven Stars Catering Project, OM Mushrooms, The Urban Orchard and the Merri Creek Market Garden. In 2005 Chris spent 4 months travelling in Brazil, Canada, USA and Europe researching community food systems.


'apples and pears' by 2757

Event – Melanie Holmes speaks about “Water Recycling & Reuse”, 27 September

Posted in Events by Ferne Edwards on September 26th, 2007

Thursday Sep 27 Melanie Holmes speaks about “Water Recycling & Reuse”
Recent water restrictions in Melbourne have increased interest in water recycling and reuse for various applications. This presentation will discuss how recycled water is currently being used and managed in Melbourne as well as its future direction. It looks at the issues associated with recycled water and other alternative water sources and how these fit into an integrated urban water cycle.
Melanie Holmes of Melbourne Water has worked in water recycling for two years.

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

Seeking participation at the Sustainable Cities Round Tables

Posted in Events, Models, Movements, Research, Seeking, Sustainable Cities Round Tables, Visions by Ferne Edwards on September 25th, 2007

The topic of sustainable cities is one of real currency due to the concentration of people in cities globally and the implications of climate change. Melbourne is a hub of sustainable city activities as reflected by our architects designing sustainable cities, ICLEI and many local councils greening our neighbourhoods, the flourishing of universities sustainability-related research programs, and the emerging industry that develops innovative products in the critical areas of water, energy and transport.

The blog,, was recently established to showcase this local activity and to build networks, research, and action in Melbourne. The Sustainable Cities Round Tables are the face-to-face component of These themed events are free and are held every 6-8 weeks throughout the year. They each represent approx. 7 speakers who present their initiative – within 3 minutes – to the audience followed by discussion. We are now calling for participation – as presenters, sponsors, supporters or attendees – at these events.

Future themes are:
31 Oct 2007 – Big visions of change in a sustainable Melbourne
This Round Table explores Melbournes future possible sustainable scenarios. It asks the questions:
What does a/ our sustainable city look like?
What is the value of future visioning in sustainability?
Is it carbon neutral/ car free/ planned differently?
How do we live our daily lives in this new world?

February 2008 – Networks of change
How do networks facilitate sustainable change?
What types of networks currently exist?
How can we extend and strengthen existent networks?
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Model – “Westwyck” presented by Mike Hill at the Sustainable Cities Round Table/ Future Melbourne forum

Posted in Events, Models, SCRT Videos, Sustainable Cities Round Tables by Ferne Edwards on September 25th, 2007

Mr Mike Hill, Director of Westwyck, spoke about “The sustainability of distributed water treatment systems in urban development” at the recent Sustainable Cities Round Table/ Future Melbourne forum. This presentation of applied knowledge of water systems in an urban setting provided a lovely rounding-off of the presentations during the evening.

WestWyck is an eco-property which occupies the building and grounds of the former Brunswick West Primary School in inner suburban Melbourne. From this no-longer used resource, the WestWyck developers aimed to bring the building to new and vibrant life as an urban demonstration showpiece of sustainable development and good design. As discussed on the Westwyck website:

“The key sustainability principles that justify WestWyck being termed an ‘ecovillage’ are ‘materials efficiency’, ‘energy efficiency’ and ‘water efficiency’. The new dwellings are designed to high standards of energy efficiency. The water management regime is pushing new boundaries in reducing reliance on mains water and minimising the discharge from the site of water via the stormwater and sewerage systems. The construction phase has reused and recycled where possible making careful decisions about the sourcing of other building products and reducing the amount of material going to landfill. The apartments and townhouses are built as healthy homes with careful application of benign materials and finishes.” To find out more about this development, visit their website at See footage of Mike’s presentation and the accompanying powerpoint slides below.

Mike Hills powerpoint presentation

Resource – Carolyn Lewen & Neil Stanyer, Monash University & Photography Studies College, Sustainable Cities Round Table/ Future Melbourne forum

Posted in Events, SCRT Videos, Sustainable Cities Round Tables, Visions by Ferne Edwards on September 25th, 2007

Ms Carolyn Lewen and Mr Neil Stanyer from Monash University and the Photography Studies College spoke about the value of water as conveyed through their installation art at the latest Sustainable Cities Round Table/ Future Melbourne forum. This artistic interpretation of water beautifully complemented the other speakers’ presentations, further endorsed by the installation of their artwork at the event itself. See below for footage of their presentation and their accompanying images.

artwork 2
artwork 3