Archive for August, 2009

Psychological inhibitors for climate reaction

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on August 31st, 2009

Source: Greenleap

From “Psychological Factors Help Explain Slow Reaction To Global Warming“, retrieved August 17, 2009, from ScienceDaily

Image of “Reduce”, Yair Engel, by kimberlyfaye via flickr

While most Americans think climate change is an important issue, they don’t see it as an immediate threat, so getting people to “go green” requires policymakers, scientists and marketers to look at psychological barriers to change and what leads people to action, according to a task force of the American Psychological Association.

Scientific evidence shows the main influences of climate change are behavioral – population growth and energy consumption. “What is unique about current global climate change is the role of human behavior,” said task force chair Janet Swim, PhD, of Pennsylvania State University. “We must look at the reasons people are not acting in order to understand how to get people to act.”

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Training: Water audit tools for designs and approvals

Posted in Events by Clearwater on August 28th, 2009

Monash MUSIC graph
Image: ISWR, Monash University.

Clearwater Training: MUSIC (Model for Urban Stormwater Improvement Conceptualisation) is a software tool to assist you in planning stormwater treatment and WSUD (Water Sensitive Urban Design) projects for your site.

This one and a half day workshop will familiarise you with the MUSIC software to support you in designing to meet Victorian Government Planning regulations for green field and retrofit sites (clause 56). This workshop will also introduce you to Melbourne Water’s Auditor Tool and the online STORM (Stormwater Treatment Objective Relative Measure) calculator. A free copy of MUSIC V3 is available for local councils in the Port Phillip and Westernport catchment who complete this course.

Thursday 3rd & Friday 4th September 2009

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National Electric Vehicle Festival

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on August 28th, 2009

Source: Going Solar Transport Newsletter


The Festival is hosted by the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA). There will be vehicles old and the new, including: a 1917 Detroit Electric and an ultra-new Tesla Roadster electric super car, plus old and new production and converted cars and bikes on display, stands, displays, fun for the kids – and lots, lots more. The event will coincide with Canberra’s annual floral festival, ‘Floriade’.

Date: 4th October, 2009 9 am – 4 pm

Venue: Old Parliament House Lawns, Canberra

More Info: or contact: billgresham@

Source: Going Solar Transport Newsletter

Climate Disobedience

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on August 27th, 2009

Source: Greenleap

Extracts from “Climate disobedience: Is a new “Seattle” in the making?“, Mark Engler, via grist

Image: Hazelwood Power Station by kingey1971, via flickr

In the early morning of October 8, 2007, a small group of British Greenpeace activists slipped inside a hulking smokestack that towers more than 600 feet above a coal-fired power plant in Kent, England. While other activists cut electricity on the plant’s grounds, they prepared to climb the interior of the structure to its top, rappel down its outside, and paint in block letters a demand that Prime Minister Gordon Brown put an end to plants like the Kingsnorth facility, which releases nearly 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each day.

In the end, the fatigued, soot-covered climbers were only able to paint the word “Gordon” on the chimney before, facing dizzying heights, police helicopters, and a high court injunction, they were compelled to abandon the attempt and submit to arrest.

The case took on historic weight after the Kingsnorth Six went to court, where they presented to a jury what is known in the United States as a “necessity” defense. This defense applies to situations in which a person violates a law to prevent a greater, imminent harm from occurring: for example, when someone breaks down a door to put out a fire in a burning building.

In the Kingsnorth case, world-renowned climate scientist James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, flew to England to testify. According to the Guardian, he presented evidence that the Kingsnorth plant alone could be expected to cause sufficient global warming to prompt “the extinction of 400 species over its lifetime.” Citing a British government study showing that each ton of released carbon dioxide incurs $85 in future climate-change costs, the activists contended that shutting the plant down for the day had prevented $1.6 million in damages—a far greater harm to society than any rendered by their paint—and that their transgressions should therefore be excused.

What surprised both Greenpeace and the prosecution was that 12 ordinary Britons agreed.

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Selecting and sizing raingardens and stormwater systems

Posted in Events by Clearwater on August 26th, 2009

STORM calculator

Clearwater Training: STORM (Stormwater Treatment Objective- Relative Measure) is a free online calculator provided by Melbourne Water to assess the performance of stormwater harvest and treatment systems for developments of less than one hectare. STORM provides a robust and consistent approach to help you quickly assess water sensitive urban design (WSUD) features, and anticipate the flows and water quality outcomes needed to meet regulatory standards.

Friday 4th September 2009

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Food Farming & Health Conference

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on August 25th, 2009

Source: Rural Climate Network
Image: SMH

‘Nurture the land, nourish the people…’

The Food Farming & Health Conference is a one-day investigation into future farms and food chains. Join experts to examine the way we grow, distribute and share healthy food. Get into grassroots networking and strengthen the links between farmers, food processors, consumers and health professionals. Explore regional development and business systems to get healthy food to the community.

October 6th
Warragul Arts Centre, Warragul, Victoria.
Register by RSVP 31st August

Keynote speakers include Andrew Campbell (author of the 2008 ACF report ‘Paddock to Plate’), Veronica Graham (State Health Nutritionist for Victoria), Kirsten Larsen (Victorian Eco-Innovation Laboratory), and Bruce Kefford (Dep. Sec. R&D, Dept of Primary Industries).

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Transition to Sustainable Housing

Posted in Events by Mark Ogge on August 24th, 2009

Source: Beyond Zero Emissions
Image: “House of Ruins” by NRJA Architects, via inhabitat

Guest speaker: Richard Denby
Monday 7th September 2009

Richard Denby is a Melbourne-based architect and environmental design researcher with extensive experience in sustainable and energy efficient building and infrastructure projects. He has studied and worked professionally in Australia, Malaysia and the the UK.

He is a key contributor to the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 project, where his focus is on the residential building sector, developing sustainable design strategies for retrofitting the existing housing stock and developing higher standards for new dwellings. His combination of practical experience in leading environmental design architectural projects and his broad understanding of of sustainability and planning policy issues make him ideally placed to examine the exciting possibilities for transitioning Australia’s residential housing stock to a sustainable future.

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Employees’ Project Saves 2 Million Litres

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on August 21st, 2009

Source: Smart Water Fund

Nestle Water Tanks

Nestle Pakenham’s Smart Water Fund project has saved nearly two million litres of water in just six months, thanks to a team of environmentally minded employees. Two years ago, the Pakenham factory switched to mains water leaving two large water treatment tanks unused. The Pakenham Water Wise team, which is open to every factory employee, came up with the idea of using the 5,500 square metre factory roof for rainwater harvesting. The group recognised the 1.2 million litre capacity water tanks would be ideal for storing the rainwater.

“Recycled water cannot be used in food processing for hygiene reasons, so the challenge for the Water Wise team was to devise an innovative use for the rainwater collected,” says project manager Graham Ellils. The rainwater is used to supplement mains water for factory’s cooling towers, which are used for freezing ready-made meals and consume 11 million litres of water a year. The project also included the development of a HACCP plan for rainwater re-use in cooling towers. The project captured 1.765 million litres of water in six months last year during a period of below average rainfall, and during a non-drought year has the potential to capture and save up to five million litres of water.

Source: Smart Water Fund

Soil & Organics Recycling in Gippsland

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on August 20th, 2009

Source: Smart Water Fund


A new waste plant that will process 3000 tonnes of contaminated soils, 13,000 tonnes of organic waste and up to 20 megalitres of liquid waste a year has opened in Gippsland.

The Soil and Organic Recycling Facility (SORF) at Dutson Downs, 20km south-east of Sale, will manufacture high-quality compost that will be used for pasture improvement, land rehabilitation or beautification projects.

Contaminated soils retrieved from disused petrol stations or gas works can be treated and recycled at the SORF as an alternative in many cases to landfill disposal. Other wastes, including animal fats and petrol-based pollutants, will be converted (using naturally occurring microbes) into their component parts – carbon, water and beneficial soil organics. The plant will also recycle liquids such as waste oils and washdown water from factories, food processors and machinery plants – including car washes.

Gippsland Water Managing Director David Mawer said: “Contaminated water is a valuable resource that previously has gone to waste. This new plant can now take 20 megalitres a year. That’s water that once it is treated, can be reused for agricultural purposes.” “We believe industry will soon recognise the usefulness of this facility and it has been planned to further increase in capacity as demand grows.” Mr Mawer added. The SORF is within Gippsland Water’s existing Resource Recovery Facility, which occupies 250Ha of the 8000Ha Dutson Downs site.

Source: Smart Water Fund

Food & Seed Swap at Slow Food Farmers’ Market

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on August 19th, 2009

Source: Friends of the Earth Melbourne

Image: Andy Ciordia via Flickr

On Saturday August 22, Sustainable Gardening Australia (SGA) will be holding their first ever fruit and veg/seed swap at the Abbotsford Convent Slow Food Farmer’s Market. If you’ve had a bountiful crop this winter and ended up with more fruit and veg than you know what to do with, they’d love you to come along and take part. Not only is this a great opportunity to show off your skills, but to also chat with with like-minded individuals and to have fun. The aim is to get members like yourself talking and discussing the successes (and failures!) of your efforts in sustainable gardening while sharing your produce as well as your knowledge. It’s also a great opportunity to swap some seeds as Spring approaches.

There will be SGA volunteers heading along to give you the latest happenings on the PODs project – Productive, Organic and Diverse gardening groups. If you have a passion for gardening, want to connect with your community, meet like-minded people and make a genuine difference to the environment, why not get involved? This will be a fantastic opportunity to network and get your own POD up and running!

Date: 22nd Aug 09
Time: 8:00am – 1:00pm
Venue: The Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford VIC 3067