Archive for November, 2009

Melbourne to Copenhagen: A Melbourne Conversation

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on November 30th, 2009

Source: Melbourne Conversations

Melbourne to Copenhagen: What’s our responsibility for climate change?

With the Copenhagen conference unlikely to produce binding agreement on lower Co2 emission targets, urgent and ongoing local action on climate change mitigation efforts and adaptation measures is even more important. Catch up on the latest science on climate change, hear what is being done by organisations and individuals, and learn what needs to be planned for in the future and what you can do to help. Join in with the panel and have your say!

Time: 6 to 7.30 pm
Date: Wednesday 9th December
Venue: BMW Edge Federation Square

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Green Cities 2010: People, Places, Performance

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on November 25th, 2009

Source: Green Building Council Australia (GBCA)

greencities copy

Green Cities 2010 – People, Places, Performance – is now taking bookings.

“Join us in Melbourne from the 21-24 February 2010 at the largest and most influential green building conference in the Asia Pacific region. Bringing together green building innovators and leaders from around Australia and internationally we will explore new ideas and share practical knowledge in the expanding sustainable building industry. ”

  • Hear from renowned global green building experts including: Malcolm Smith – Director of Integrated Urbanism, Arup UK;  Jerry Yudelson – Principal, Yudelson Associates USA
  • Learn about the latest industry developments, techniques and strategies
  • Network with global and domestic sustainability leaders
  • Visit some of Melbourne’s latest Green Star certified buildings including CH2, The Gauge and Goods Shed North
  • Brush up on your professional development at a Master Class

Houses, Homes & Hope: A Melbourne Conversation

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on November 24th, 2009

Source: Climate Action Calendar

Image: davef3138 via flickr CC

Houses, Homes & Hope: Creating Neighbourhoods That Are Better Places To Live – An event to discuss housing and safe neighbourhoods.

A range of local and international panellists will consider how affordable housing can give hope for low-income individuals and families trying to create safe homes. The panellists will also discuss the challenges of better designed neighbourhoods, health improvement, the future of the young and the changing nature of the “home”. Come along and have your say.

Thu 26 Nov 6pm to 7.30pm. Entry from 5.30pm

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Finish Line: Run for a Safe Climate

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on November 23rd, 2009

Source: Climate Action Calendar


Run for a Safe Climate is a unique and powerful project aimed at protecting life, property and the great natural icons of our country from a slide towards catastrophic global warming.  The run is being performed by active and serving members of Australia’s emergency services– firefighters, paramedics, police, military and emergency services workers – many of whom were directly exposed to recent climate-driven disasters in Australia such as the 2009 Victorian bush fires.

Our running group feels very strongly that global warming presents an unprecedented threat to our food bowls, cities, water, health, security and great natural icons, and has become motivated to run 6000 kilometres across Australia to raise money for an essential scenario and risk-management planning exercise for Australia — the Safe Climate Australia Transition Plan.  A team of 25 trained runners from the various emergency services will run in a relay over 6000 kilometres to link Australia’s unique, world-renowned natural icons, most of which will be devastated if atmospheric greenhouse gas levels are not brought back to a safe climate threshold. We will also visit some of the great climate solutions that are the key to a low-carbon and clean-energy future – solar thermal and wind plants, geothermal and clean marine-derived energy sources and research facilities.

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Diversifying our water supply system: meeting Melbourne’s needs locally

Posted in Opinion by Kate Archdeacon on November 20th, 2009

Source: Alternative Technology Association

Image: Scootie via flickr CC

From “A land of droughts and flooding rains: it is time we adapt to this reality” by Anjali Brown, Water Policy Manager ATA

The single most commonly used rationale for the Wonthaggi desalination plant has been the fact that we do not have enough rainfall. A lesser quoted fact is that even in years of drought, 400-500 Gigalitres of rain falls on Melbourne, only to be lost down stormwater drains and flushed out, via our waterways, into Port Philip Bay.

500 gigalitres is more than the city’s total water use and it is double the amount the desalination plant, at maximum capacity, can produce.  We cannot and should not be misled by the low rainfall argument or that desalination is our only option.  Desalination is a last resort in a long line of alternative technologies that, if implemented, would go much further to securing our water supply.  Climate change has reminded us that we live in a country of droughts and flooding rains. In order to respond to these weather patterns, Victorians require a diversity of options. In an uncertain climate, having a range of options is a strength: if one fails there are multiple back-ups.

A crucial area to improve is what happens in the home. Householders with a variety of water supply sources are less vulnerable to the extremes of drought or flood than those who rely solely on the mains water network. This is not simply because they have multiple sources to fall back on in case one goes bad or becomes too expensive, it is also because the experience of using water wisely in the home increases the householder’s understanding of and control over their water supply.  In a recent study completed by the Alternative Technology Association, householders who installed greywater systems found their wasteful water habits changed dramatically. They became more aware of what the weather was doing and used their water system accordingly. As their awareness increased, householders relied less and less on mains water.  Diversity of household water supply options is key to our water security.

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Thinking In Systems: A Primer

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


From “Straight Talk for the Planetary Era: A Trio of Book Reviews” by Edward Wolf

Thinking in Systems reflects Prof. Donella Meadows’ lifelong effort to understand systems at all scales – their resilience, their pathologies, their response to perturbations, their capacity to defy prediction.  “A system,” Meadows writes, “is a set of things – people, cells, molecules, or whatever – interconnected in such a way that they produce their own pattern of behavior over time.”  Systems thinking can reveal interconnections, explain behavior, and anticipate outcomes.  Changing outcomes – slowing climate disruption, spreading new crop varieties, containing an epidemic – requires action to change a system’s elements, the interconnections among them, or (more likely) both.   A reader seeking to understand the anomalies of our time and to prepare mentally for the likelihood of disruptive change needs this book.

The book’s final section, “Creating Change – in Systems and in our Philosophy,” sheds welcome light on topics covered in The End of the Long Summer and Whole Earth Discipline. Chapter 6, “Leverage Points – Places to Intervene in a System” (first published in essay form in Brand’s Whole Earth Review) outlines twelve points of influence over the behavior of complex systems. Chapter 7, “Living in a World of Systems,” takes a step toward an ethics for a new human story, offering a humble acknowledgment that the systems view entails new responsibilities exercised in unfamiliar ways.

“Systems thinking by itself cannot bridge that gap (between understanding and action), but it can lead us to the edge of what analysis can do and then point beyond – to what can and must be done by the human spirit.” Just past that edge is where the activism, politics, diplomacy – and innovation – of this century really begins.

Read the full article by Edward Wolf.

Women in Climate Change: Forum

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on November 18th, 2009


1 Million Women Campaign presents – Women in Climate Change, a national forum series.

Leading women of Australia offer their perspectives for climate policy, practical programs and activities that will mobilise women from all backgrounds and cultures to join in cutting CO2 pollution.

• How do we successfully change deeply embedded behaviour?

• How can women harness their power to lead and drive change?

• How can marketers effectively reach female consumers?

• What do women want from policy makers?

• What tools can be used by individuals, organisations and communities to just ‘get on with it’?

We will explore these issues through the lens of women in society.  The series is for everyone – women and men – who need to drive change in their organisations and communities.  Share in a dynamic and fresh dialogue ahead of the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen in December and gain the tools to empower you and your organisation to take action now.

Sydney 20 Nov, Brisbane 24 Nov, Melbourne 3 Dec

Visit the site for more details.

NSW Payment for solar: collective climate-change action

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on November 17th, 2009

Source: Alternative Technology Association

Image: Jeff Kubina via flickr CC

From “NSW solar homes to receive generous payment for generating solar electricity

The NSW government has introduced one of Australia’s most progressive payments for household solar power.  The NSW government’s shift away from previous plans for a net feed-in tariff, in line with other states, is a clear signal the Rees government is committed to building a green collar workforce in NSW, says Damien Moyse, ATA’s Energy Policy Manager.  “We welcome the decision to pay households for all the clean energy they contribute to the state’s electricity supply. It is a win for families who are taking action on climate change and for green jobs in NSW” says Mr Moyse.

The feed-in tariff will pay solar households 60 cents per kilowatt hour for the clean energy they generate, on systems up to 10kw.  Other states opted to minimise the cost of their schemes by only paying solar homes for the energy they feed back to the grid after subtracting the household’s electricity use.  Mr Moyse says NSW and the ACT have shown real leadership in the move to a low carbon economy.

“This feed-in tariff recognises that solar households, irrespective of whether the electricity they generate is being used in their own home or powering the neighbour’s air conditioner, can make a significant contribution to reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

“With a significant amount of additional investment in small-scale solar likely under this scheme, we now look to the Rudd Labour Government to ensure that the emissions saved by each of these new solar installations is accounted for under his Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.”  Mr Moyse says the announcement also highlights the importance of getting the design right for new smart electricity metering technology being developed under the National Smart Meter Project.  “With both NSW and the ACT now committed to gross feed-in tariff schemes, and other states opting for net feed-in tariffs, electricity metering technology that can facilitate gross tariffs will need to be deployed in these jurisdictions.  We also call on the Federal Government to assist this process and harmonise the nation’s feed-in tariffs to a single, gross feed-in tariff scheme that will make conversion to solar simpler for installers, households and electricity retailers,” says Mr Moyse.

Read the full article.

The Big Green Idea

Posted in Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on November 16th, 2009

Source: GreenRazor, the GreenPages Newsletter


An innovative funding scheme for eco-visionary Australians

Got a big green idea? Need money to help it grow? Then the British Council wants to hear from you. The Big Green Idea is a new funding initiative from the British Council designed to help put eco-visionary ideas into action. For the first time, in 2009 we’re offering five project grants of AU$10,000 each to people who will make a real contribution to Australia’s environmental future. The Big Green Idea is designed to assist in initiating new projects that motivate people to minimise their own climate change impacts. We’re looking for eco-entrepreneurs with savvy ideas to address some of the biggest sustainability challenges faced by urban communities.

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Cultivating Sustainability – Behaviour Change Training for Sustainability Advocates

Posted in Events by timc on November 16th, 2009

Cultivating Sustainability is a 1-day workshop which provides sustainability advocates with insights, models and tools to trigger the psychological drivers of sustainable behaviour, presented by Tim Cotter, a psychologist specialising in behaviour change in an organisational and environmental context.   This workshop will assist you to

* Identify what people need in order to embrace sustainability

* Target your efforts and resources to the points of most leverage

* Incorporate psychological principles to your sustainability programs

* Communicate about sustainability more effectively

* Meet others who are dealing with similar challenges and share ideas and success stories

Nov 24th 9.30am-4.30pm

Melbourne – Abbotsford Convent (Community Room)

$120 Individuals/Community Groups – $200 Not for profits/Govt – $250 Corporates/For profit

Visit or email for more information