Archive for December, 2008

Sustainable Melbourne and VEIL wish you a Happy Christmas and a fantastic New Year!

Posted in Visions by Ferne Edwards on December 24th, 2008

Sustainable Melbourne and the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab would like to wish you a Happy Christmas and a fantastic New Year! Sustainable Melbourne will be on hold from 25 December to 12 January. We look forward to working with you all to achieve significant sustainable change in 2009!

Ferne Edwards
Sustainable Melbourne moderator

Should we charge people to attend the Sustainable Cities Round Tables?

Posted in Events, Seeking by Ferne Edwards on December 22nd, 2008

The Sustainable Cities Round Tables (SCRTs) are a series of regular events that feature a variety of speakers who talk about their environmental initiatives on urban sustainability themes, in addition to holding short workshops to engage the entire audience, ending with networking and drinks. There are often also sustainability-related exhibitions held at these events and the outcomes – a series of videos and information about the projects – are posted online at There have now been nine SCRTs held over the last year and a half and they have all been free with people from government, community, academia and industry welcome to attend. However, although we request people to RSVP to these events and people do this, many people do not show up on the night, creating a lot of waste in terms of material resources, in time for additional organising, and in terms of space as the venues we’ve chosen may no longer be best for the event size. We still welcome everyone to attend these events but I am now wondering if we charged an amount – say $10 – that people would then commit to attending on the evening? I would like to hear your thoughts – do we need to charge a fee to encourage people who RSVP to show up? Should we try other tactics? Would you yourself be more likely to attend (or not) if we charged $10 per event? I understand that many people who read Sustainable Melbourne may have experienced similar things and have some knowledge to share. Please place your comments below or email me at fedwards@

Ferne Edwards
Sustainable Cities Research Officer, VEIL

The Car as a Modern Nightmare

Posted in Policies by Devin Maeztri on December 22nd, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #88, 2 December 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar newsletter provides an excellent commentary on local sustainable transport issues in Melbourne.

“Offering a type of adventure, the motor car is violent. Whatever images may recur in modern nightmares, the real contact individuals have with objects and situations powerful enough to maim them will almost entirely involve motor cars. They may turn pale when their jumbo jet takes off, or swim with trepidation because of the thought of sharks. But if they die violently, it will almost certainly be in a car. If they see seriously injured bodies in the flesh, it will be near car wreckage. As a consequence, the important civic discussion of how, and in which situations, the law ought to protect citizens against violence ought to take a special interest in automobile traffic and its movement. … Drivers imagine that they are insulated from the potential violence that surrounds them. Their car shields them, and this shielding is one of the factors contributing to the relaxation they experience at the wheel, in their air-conditioned cabin, listening to music.”
Ref: John Carroll, The Age 18/10/08 Extract from ‘Ego & Soul published by Scribe

And Also
“Motor cars are the new wombs – perhaps explaining why people retreat to them.” Ref: Frank Fisher, 14/10/08

A new look to the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab website

Posted in Visions by Ferne Edwards on December 22nd, 2008

The Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL) has recently launched a new look to their website. Beautifully designed and easy to navigate, the new website features news about VEIL activities, showcases the VEIL visions, reveals the present at VEIL in terms of project work in current sustainability initiatives and has heaps of resources for public access such as publications and videos. The parent of Sustainable Melbourne and Sustainable Cities Net, the ongoing outcomes of the VEIL project are beautifully presented for all to enjoy. Visit the new look VEIL website here.

Office for Environmental Programs – The University of Melbourne

Posted in Seeking by Devin Maeztri on December 19th, 2008

The University of Melbourne offers the M Env (Master of Environment) and Postgrad Diploma in Environment. Students generally take two core courses as part of the Masters, and the rest of their degree is made up of taught options and possibly a research projects from across the university. ‘Streams offering specialisation are also available – there are ten of these at present. For environmentally qualified applicants (those with 2 years research experience or relevant degrees), 100pts (One year full time masters study) is possible. For those making a career change to environmental areas but lacking expertise, a two year (200pt) course is available. Over 200 students are currently registered and the degrees are coordinated by the Office for Environmental programs. See Office for Environmental Programs for all the details.

Centre for Sustainability Leadership seeks applicants for the Future Sustainability Leaders program

Posted in Seeking by Devin Maeztri on December 18th, 2008

The Centre for Sustainability Leadership have achieved much in a short amount of time. An awesome opportunity for people to skill up in sustainability in a professional and effective way, the Future Sustainability Leaders program will be also launched in Sydney next year. The Melbourne program is still running and applications are now open for next years program. If you know anyone who you think would be great for the program please encourage them to apply. All the details visit Centre for Sustainability Leadership.

Research project / blog on sustainable gardening in Melbourne

Posted in Research by Ferne Edwards on December 17th, 2008

A research project by Daniel Moss discussing sustainable, self-sufficiency gardening in Melbourne has found an increasing trend toward sustainable, self-sufficient gardening and highlights broader influences impacting on this, and uncovers a variety of community gardens and educational opportunities. The research involved consultation with many participants at the forefront of community and self sufficient garden solutions. It includes a holistic consideration of the topic and explores a diversity of options available. This project could also be of value to compare to other cities and highlights some innovative activities to develop local community food security through growing our own food, herbs and beneficial use plants.
Click here to view the full report.
Read the rest of this entry »

Safety Jackets on Motorbikes?

Posted in Policies by Ferne Edwards on December 16th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #89, 9 December 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar, This newsletter provides an excellent commentary on local sustainable transport issues in Melbourne.

“Legally, motorcyclists are only required to wear an approved helmet. There is no requirement for protective gloves, jackets, pants or shoes. But the Victorian Road Safety Committee and medical experts say helmets alone are not enough protection in an accident. Twenty-eight riders have been killed so far this year – three more than at this time last year – and the latest Transport Accident Commission figures reveal riders are 34 times more likely to be severely injured than car drivers. Inflatable jackets are becoming increasingly popular overseas.

Motorcycle police in Italy, Spain, Japan and Brazil now wear them as part of their uniform. … In most of the styles available in Australia, the airbag – linking neck, torso and lower spine cushions – is concealed between the outer motorcycle jacket and the lining and is connected to the bike via a rip-cord. When a rider is thrown from a bike, the rip-cord triggers the airbag, which inflates within half a second to protect the rider before he or she hits the ground. Yvoir Hingee, from inflatable jacket manufacturer Hit Air, said only a few hundred had been sold in Australia compared with more than 4000 each year in Japan. He said many riders either did not know the jackets were on the market or did not think they needed them. ‘The problem is motorbike retailers and manufacturers strongly prefer not to make riders aware of the riding dangers and  need for airbag safety as obviously it affects their sales, he said.”

Ref: Mark Russell & Georgina Dimopoulos, The Age, 14/9/08

2009 Premier’s Sustainability Awards now open

Posted in Seeking by Ferne Edwards on December 15th, 2008

Now in their seventh year, the 2009 Premier’s Sustainability Awards recognise and reward Victorian businesses, communities and individuals that demonstrate outstanding leadership and contribute to a more sustainable future for our state. Sustainable organisations do things better, smarter and more productively while reducing their everyday environmental impacts.

Visit the Sustainability Awards website for more information and to download a submission kit.

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s Tips for a Green Xmas!

Posted in Events by Ferne Edwards on December 12th, 2008

Want to enjoy Christmas without trashing the planet? The Australian Conservation Foundation has put together a list of some of the simple things to remember over the Festive Season. Suggestions include:

  • Provide recycling facilities at events and ask that food waste is collected for composting. Use recycled toilet paper.
  • Discourage the use of individually wrapped candy canes/lollies and the use of bottled drinks to minimise waste.
  • Discourage use of any disposable products – such as plastic plates. Where possible source only reusable, recyclable or compostable products.

To read the full list visit the Australian Conservation Foundation’s website.