Archive for February, 2009

The Sustainable Cities Round Table on Sustainable Sharing is on TONIGHT!

Posted in Events, Sustainable Cities Round Tables by Ferne Edwards on February 26th, 2009

The Sustainable Cities Round Table on Sustainable Sharing will be held tonight from 6-8pm at Shed 4, North Wharf Road, Victoria Harbour, Docklands. The venue is quite tricky to find (basically its near the end of Bourke Street in Docklands) – please check out the directions below on how to get there. I’d also recommend you leave a bit early – the exhibition will be open before the event. Also, you are welcome to bring promotional materials about your sustainability initiatives with you to share with others – tables will be provided for this. The evening is shaping up mighty fine – we are holding the event as part of the ECO-CITY Melbourne Exhibition and have lots of inspiring speakers and a great musician. It will be great to see you there!
Best, Ferne
Ferne Edwards
Sustainable Cities Research Officer
Victorian Eco-Innovation Laboratory (VEIL)
Australian Centre for Science, Innovation and Society (ACSIS) and the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL) proudly present
6-8pm Thursday 26 February 2009
Shed 4 North Wharf Road Victoria Harbour, Docklands VIC 3006. Melways Map: 2E 7D (see detailed directions below)

It may seem strange that weve highlighted sharing as a sustainability issue. Yet as the West has become more industrialised weve also grown more individualised producing more products per person. At this Sustainable Cities Round Table we explore how we can learn to share again. Topics include shared spaces, such as composts and co-houses; shared products and materials, such as the renewed retro world of no longer daggy hand-me-downs, and shared services, such as permablitzes and group purchasing power.

Speakers are:
Kate Luckins, Founder of The Clothing Exchange – Releasing fashion waste from closeted detention; the tale of The Clothing Exchange
Christian Ferrante, Director, Green Hanger – The story of a well hung Aussie
Adam Grubb, Co-ordinator, Permablitz network, Director, Very Edible Gardens – Permablitz: Eating The Suburbs
Joanne Hay, Co-creator of – an online solution for share farming animal foods – Herdsharing for the future
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Communes not such a far-out idea

Posted in Models, Sustainable Cities Round Tables by Ferne Edwards on February 25th, 2009

This article below was published in conjunction with the announcement of the ECO-CITY Melbourne Exhibition which is launching at Docklands tonight. The article below describes some of the speakers who will be presenting at the Sustainable Cities Round Table on Sustainable Sharing tomorrow evening. Places are still available – RSVP to rsvp@ To access the full article click here.
Communes not such a far-out idea
Natalie Craig, The Age, 25 February 2009

THE quaint idea of “sharing nicely” could form the economic and social backbone of tomorrow’s eco-city.

Groups that are already encouraging people to share their wares – from clothes to kitchens and fresh cow’s milk – will talk tomorrow in a “sustainable sharing” roundtable as part of the Melbourne Eco-City exhibition, at Shed 4 in Docklands, from 6pm.

Iain Walker will represent the Banyule Co-housing Project – a proposed development in which residents would have their own bedrooms and bathrooms, but share kitchens and the occasional meal. Read the rest of this entry »

Eco suburb plan unveiled for city

Posted in Visions by Ferne Edwards on February 25th, 2009

The article below announces the ECO-CITY Melbourne Exhibition – an outcome of the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab. To read the full article click here.

Eco suburb plan unveiled for city
Jason Dowling and Natalie Craig, The Age, February 25, 2009

A VISION for a suburb of the future with no cars, an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions and the ability to grow its own food has been unveiled by a State Government-funded thinktank. And it could happen on a site just two kilometres from the centre of Melbourne.

A 20-hectare site for the new green suburb has even been identified on land owned by VicTrack, the government body that owns the state’s rail assets. The lease on the site known as E-Gate, just off Footscray Road, expires in 2014 and Major Projects Victoria has been working with VicTrack on possibilities for the land.

Now, the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab, a university-based thinktank funded by the Government, has come up with ideas for a new environmentally friendly suburb at the site.

An exhibition of the proposals from 200 university students, known as Eco-City Melbourne, will go on show from tomorrow.

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Report on “Smart 2020: Enabling the low carbon economy in the information age”

Posted in Research by Ferne Edwards on February 24th, 2009

This report was recently published on Australian Policy Online. To view the full text of the document click here.

Transformation in the way people and businesses use technology could reduce annual man-made global emissions by 15 per cent by 2020 and deliver energy efficiency savings to global businesses of over EUR 500 billion (AUD 980 billion), according to a new report published by independent non-profit The °Climate Group and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI).

The report – SMART 2020: enabling the low carbon economy in the information age – is the worlds first comprehensive global study of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sectors growing significance for the worlds climate. The reports supporting analysis, conducted independently by international management consultants McKinsey & Company, shows that while ICTs own sector footprint – currently two per cent of global emissions – will almost double by 2020, ICTs unique ability to monitor and maximise energy efficiency both within and outside of its own sector could cut CO2 emissions by up to five times this amount. This represents a saving of 7.8 Giga-tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) by 2020 – greater than the current annual emissions of either the US or China.

To read the full report click here.

How inventive or entrepreneurial are you? Enter the Next Big Thing Award!

Posted in Seeking by Ferne Edwards on February 23rd, 2009

Innovators and inventors are being offered up to $60 000 in cash and prizes by INNOVICs Next Big Thing Award – a promotional award including a six week exhibition of finalists at Melbourne Museum.

The award categories include:

  • sustainability/green
  • innovation excellence
  • community benefit
  • peoples choice

To enter visit: Apply by 16/03/2009.

ECO-CITY MELBOURNE – building a low carbon future

Posted in Events by Ferne Edwards on February 20th, 2009

Wednesday 25th of Feburary until Saturday 28th Feburary
Shed 4, North Wharf Road, Victoria Harbour, Docklands.

An exhibition of designs for an Ecological Business District neighbouring Docklands. Visions from the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab.

* An eco-city of the future beside the CBD
* 6000 -10000 residents and workers
* low-carbon living now: 2050 in 2020 :
* diverse life-styles and built form,
* resilient – socially, culturally, physically
* A model of sustainable prosperity: ‘living better – consuming less
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Drive Slowly and Prosper

Posted in Models by Ferne Edwards on February 20th, 2009

Please find below a partial transcript of an interview between John Whitelegg (a recent guest of’s at the Sustainable Cities Round Table) interviewed by Peter Mares on ABC Radio National (more details below). This article was also republished in a Going Solar Transport Newsletter, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar newsletter provides an excellent commentary on local sustainable transport issues in Melbourne.

Drive Slowly and Prosper - partial transcript
John Whitelegg: “…. 80 per cent of the motorists say, when they look at the evidence, that they are very happy to go with lower speed limits when they see the impact that the higher speed limits have on child fatality, child serious injury. Motorists are not evil monsters. In the main, they’re very reasonable people and they’re very happy to drive at a lower speed when they are presented with the information of the severely damaging consequences of higher speed. And by the way, there’s detailed research on the loss of time when you’re making a journey to lower speed. If you’re doing a journey by car of, say, six, seven, eight kilometres and you’re driving at, say, 40 kilometres an hour rather than 50 kilometres an hour, you lose two minutes. You know, the time impact – put it that way – is trivial. And people can try it for themselves. Traffic moves more smoothly at lower speeds; traffic makes better use of the highway capacity. People don’t drive in a way where they accelerate aggressively and decelerate rapidly. You know, there are many advantages. I actually trust drivers to look at the evidence and arrive at a view. And the problem we’ve got is that politicians behave like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a passing car. They really don’t know what to do and they’re frightened of upsetting the electorate…. All it is saying is ‘Look, do we want a society where we’re likely to squash children over the roadside because they have the temerity to try and cross the road between parked cars and are hit by a car going at 55 kilometres per hour? Do we want the kind of society that creates children-unfriendly cities and elderly unfriendly cities (and we’re running into so called demographic time bombs with more of us, including me, going to be over the age of 55, than ever before)? Do we want a friendly city for those kind of people or not? And really, really, what are the consequences of lower speed limits – and they are trivially insignificant, apart from reducing the number of dead children? And what’s wrong with that?”

Peter Mares: “I don’t think anyone would argue with reducing the number of dead children and I guess people would say ‘No, it doesn’t necessarily have to be anti-motorist. But it is anti-car. I mean, it is saying the car having everyone getting about in their own individual car, that’s not going to make for an ideal city.”

John Whitelegg:
“It’s not anti-car at all. The car is a wonderful thing for many kinds of journeys, many kinds of situations; it should be used responsibly and intelligently. But Australian cities, for example, very often have (what’s the percentage?) around 30 per cent, 35 per cent of all the car trips are less than two kilometres – two kilometres in length. That’s generally recognised around the world as not an intelligent use of cars. You know, we have to go for smart use, intelligent use of vehicles, appropriate use of vehicles and, again, I find in my work, whether it’s in Germany or Denmark or Sweden or the UK, or wherever, the people say, ‘Yes, yes, we agree. And then we have to look for ways of implementing the changes in things like road design, speed limits, enforcement of speed limits and other things that reward the responsible user of the vehicle and punish the irresponsible user of the vehicle.”

Peter Mares: “Let’s now turn to perhaps the other benefit that there is to be had from this, and that’s the broader environmental benefit, particularly as we try to deal with climate change.”

John Whitelegg: “The climate change connections with a discussion of speed and health and child friendly cities are very strong, limiting speed of vehicles in cities. What it actually does is create a very attractive environment where people are more likely to reduce the use of the car from their own choice, from their own thinking. They work through it themselves and they switch to walking and cycling and public transport – they change their behaviour. If they do change their behaviour that way, there’s an immediate, very significant reduction in greenhouse gases in carbon dioxide. So, we actually have one of those classic win-win situations: we create healthy cities, safe cities more walking or cycling, more child-friendly cities, carbon-reduced cities, we deliver carbon dioxide reduction targets to sort out climate change.”

Ref: The National Interest, ABC Radio National, 12/12/08
See the full transcript at:

Media Release – Melbourne Designer wins significant USA Design Award!

Posted in Models by Ferne Edwards on February 19th, 2009

Melbourne Designer Mark Watson, Director of Design Providence has won the “Design Green” Award in “Design Green” Project Award competition from the USA. Mark has developed the concept of a collapsible Shopping trolley that uses detachable shopping bags. Developed as a concept through a ‘Design for the Environment project in conjunction with the former EcoRecycle Victoria, the Design Institute of Australia and the Centre for Design at RMIT, Mark has been perusing funding for a ‘proof of concept trial with the City of Melbourne at the Queen Victoria Market.

The trolley is designed to be collapsible for use with motor vehicles in managing the process of moving groceries from ‘store shelf to pantry, but it has been realised that the trolley can actually obviate the need to take the car shopping. The main aim of the trolley concept is to reduce the use of the plastic (singlet) shopping bag as well as addressing the interminable manoeuvring difficulties with the conventional shopping trolley.
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Sustainable Living Festival this Friday to Sunday, 20-22 February

Posted in Events by Ferne Edwards on February 18th, 2009


Two Fires Festival 2009 – Bringing the arts and activism together!

Posted in Events by Ferne Edwards on February 18th, 2009

Flyer for Two Fires Festival 2009

Flyer for Two Fires Festival 2009