Archive for February, 2010

Zero Carbon Australia: Stationary Energy Plan

Posted in Events by Mark Ogge on February 26th, 2010

Beyond Zero Emissions Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan (ZCA 2020)

Preview presentation of our work detailing how Australia could go to 100% renewable electricity by 2020. ZCA 2020 is a project to develop a blueprint for the transition to a decarbonised Australian economy by 2020. It is a costed, detailed plan that utilises only existing, proven, commercialised technologies. The Stationary Energy Sector plan is the first sector plan of ZCA 2020. The Project draws on the enormous wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise in the community and has been a collaborative effort. ZCA 2020 shows that the technology to achieve zero emissions already exists, we just need to get on with it! Come along for an opportunity to discuss this inspiring and empowering project.

When: 6.30pm, Monday 1 March
Cost: Gold coin donation
Event location: 2nd Floor, Kindness House, 288 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, VIC.

Sustainable Living Space Users’ Guides: March

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on February 25th, 2010

Source: Sustainable Living Space

Image: rubenerd via flickr CC

Users Guide to Solar Hot Water

Presenter : Kevin Fregon

Heating Water for domestic use represents a large part of our home energy use. By installing a solar hot water system, we can make substantial savings to our energy bills as well as making a difference to our ecological footprint. This session will explore a range of issues concerning installing solar hot water systems on your home or apartment.
Wednesday March 3, 7.30pm – 9.30pm

Users Guide to Water Tanks

Presenter: Jenny Francis

Are you considering harvesting rain water by installing a water tank? This is the workshop for you. In this session we will explore the reasons for catching rain water, how to choose the right tank for you, where to locate your tank, as well as installation and flow maintenance issues.
Wednesday March 10, 7.30pm – 9.30pm

Users Guide to Grey Water

Presenter: Jenny Francis

We can reduce our water consumption by reusing our grey water in our garden. There are some limitations to the use of grey water. In this workshop, we will explore the reasons for reusing grey water, the composition of Greywater, Garden friendly grey water, distribution techniques, as well as your plants and grey water.
Wednesday March 17, 7.30pm – 9.30pm

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Smart Grids for Distributed Power

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on February 24th, 2010

Source: Stock & Land

Image: blyzz via flickr CC

From The changing face of rural Australia’s energy supply, by Matt Cawood

THE nature of the power grid is about to fundamentally change, analyst Paul Budde believes.

Instead of a central power station pushing energy out to homes, farms and business sites around the grid, many sites will become capable of generating renewable power and sharing it around the grid via a “smart” management system that uses computer analysis to trigger switchgear. The United States government has just allocated US$20 billion to developing such a grid, and the Australian government is seeking tenders on a more modest $100 million grid linking 10,000 houses.

Mr Budde, whose company BuddeComm has recently released an analysis of smart grid trends and opportunities in Australia, regards the move to smart grids as “absolutely inevitable”.  Currently, nearly a third of all energy generated is wasted because of inefficiencies in the delivery system, he said. “About 10 per cent of all power just disappears. We can’t afford to waste electricity in such a way.”

The cost of fossil-fuel generated electricity continues to climb. A system that helps use power more efficiently—by, for instance, switching on dishwashers in the early hours of the morning instead of during peak load—patterns of energy delivery can be smoothed out and the infrastructure needed to supply energy refined. And then there is the surge in renewable energy generation.   “If we want solar energy, we want it to be efficient. It is not very efficient for everyone to have their own solar panels but not utilising the combined power of what is effectively a giant solar panel if you join them all together. A smart grid does that, and makes the whole system more efficient.”

Farmers have a big role to play in a world of smart grids, Mr Budde said.  “Already in Europe, in places like Denmark and Germany, lots of farmers have windmills—thousands of them. It’s not just for their own properties: they are pumping energy back into the network.  In Australia, solar power generation should be a very useful farming activity.”

From The changing face of rural Australia’s energy supply, by Matt Cawood

New framework to guide sustainable cities: GBCA

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on February 23rd, 2010

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has released a new national framework for sustainable communities at the opening of the Green Cities 2010 conference.

Launching the new Green Star Communities framework, GBCA Chair Tony Arnel said that the framework would establish an independent, national language to guide the development of sustainability communities and precincts.  “The framework – and its guiding principles – provides a dual purpose. It is a national resource for those creating sustainable communities and it establishes the context for the GBCA’s Green Star Communities tool, which will commence development in June.”

The national framework has been developed by the GBCA and its partner VicUrban, in collaboration with industry and government, and outlines five national principles for sustainable communities:

1. Create liveable communities

2. Provide opportunities for economic prosperity

3. Enhance environmental quality

4. Design great places

5. Promote good urban governance.

According to the GBCA’s Chief Executive, Romilly Madew, launching the framework at Green Cities 2010 reflects the evolution in the GBCA’s focus – from individual buildings to communities, precincts and cities themselves.  “The GBCA is confident that the construction and property industry now has sufficient momentum and interest to keep driving forward on both an individual building and community basis. While the GBCA expands its influence beyond the building envelope, Green Star continues to advance to ensure we have the right tools – and the right skills – to push the boundaries of best practice sustainability benchmarks,” Ms Madew said.

The new framework complements the Australian Government’s new reforms which will require states and territories to develop capital city strategic plans by 2012 that meet national criteria for transport, housing, urban development and sustainability.  “This framework will provide valuable support for, and complement, the federal government’s sustainable cities agenda, and we expect everyone from planners and designers, through to builders and community neighbourhood groups will find the framework useful,” Mr Arnel concluded.

Visit the website to download the draft framework and read more information.

Bindarri Public Meeting

Posted in Events by bindarri on February 23rd, 2010

Source: Bindarri

You are invited to our first public meeting to discuss the future of the bindarri website. Our aim is to build and strengthen the community of creatives working for positive change and we want to open up the site to this community.  Bindarri is a website that includes a regular blog, links directory, events and features on inspirational Australian creatives. Bindarri is independent and not for profit.

Come along if you want to:

  • get involved
  • meet the people involved
  • discuss our strategy, direction and frameworks
  • share your ideas
  • meet other like minds
  • partner your project or organisation with Bindarri
  • learn about social and sustainable design
  • learn how you can use Bindarri to promote your projects, business or career
  • or you are just curious or have questions

For more information visit
Venue to be confirmed. Send us an email to RSVP or to be notified of the venue.

Wednesday, the 3rd of March

Out of the Scientist’s Garden: Australian Urban Agriculture

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on February 22nd, 2010

Source: Cleanfood, the Future Climate newsletter

Out of the Scientist’s Garden — a story of water and food by Richard Stirzaker

From the Book Review by Andrew Campbell

There are few more fundamental issues facing humanity than how best to feed ourselves in an increasingly crowded world, and — in Australia especially — what that means for scarce water resources.  Richard Stirzaker has written a fascinating exploration of the realities of turning water, sunlight and nutrients into food. Out of the Scientist’s Garden — a story of water and food is published by CSIRO Publishing.

This elegant, lucid book starts in the Stirzaker family garden on a 877m2 block in suburban O’Connor, ACT. It works from that very local scale through large-scale industrial agriculture to national and global food security issues and back again, always grounded in a profound understanding of the challenges facing food producers at all levels.  In our quest for more sustainable options, the Stirzaker garden should stimulate the Australian consciousness as Walden Pond did for Americans — an evocative lens through which to examine and better understand big issues of our time.

In his day job, Dr Richard Stirzaker is a Principal Research Scientist with the CSIRO. He has an outstanding track record in science and innovation as the inventor of a uniquely simple irrigation wetting front detector and CSIRO’s ‘Clever Clover’ kit for vegetable gardens.  First and foremost, Richard Stirzaker is a gardener with a lifelong passion for growing food.  This book unites the scientist and the gardener beautifully, blending the rigour of the scientific method with the sensuality of planting in rich soil and tasting perfectly ripe fruit and fresh vegetables. When Stirzaker suggests that the best way to experience an apricot at its most perfect is to lie under the tree with your mouth open, it is easy to imagine him doing just that.

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2010 Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on February 19th, 2010

Source: Ethical Consumer Guide

The 2010 Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping is now available. To help you navigate through the issues connected to your everyday purchases, we’ve not only updated company information, but also added a more detailed rating system, new blurbs, and two new categories — Alcohol and Office Supplies. Order here.


The Ethical Consumer Guide has come out of a shared concern that many people although eager to make changes in their buying habits for the better, do not have access to information to make informed choices. The website and accompanying guides, provide information on companies and brands, drawing from existing sources. The information allows evaluation of the social and environmental impact of companies on the earth and our society, and gives insight into the ever-increasing concentration of company and brand ownership.
The guide is specific to Australia. We hope that this ethical buying guide can allow people to not only make wiser choices in their purchases and open up a dialogue with companies, but also come to more fully understand the connection between how we act and what is going on in the world around us.

It is our aim to:
* inform shoppers of more ethical or less ethical choices in their buying
* empower people and create awareness about consumer power
* provide a means for consumers to give feedback to companies and government, and so encourage change

In doing this we seek to make all information:
* freely accessible
* transparent and well sourced
* easy to use for the everyday shopper

Sustainable Transport at SLF

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on February 18th, 2010

A reminder: the Sustainable Living Festival is on this weekend.  See below for a selection (courtesy Going Solar Transport Newsletter) of talks and film screenings on sustainable transport at the Festival.

Transport for Sustainable Cities

Come and hear Professor Ross Garnaut, eminent economist and author of the Garnaut Climate Change Review and the Hon Greg Hunt, Shadow Minister for Climate Action speak on sustainable transport. Commentary by Kelvin Thomson MP, Federal member for Wills.

How Car Dependence Is Turning The Suburban Dream To Nightmare

Using never before published data, the Institute for Sensible Transport has mapped the level of oil vulnerability across Melbourne’s local government areas. Dramatic differences in income and travel distances were found, with the inner city earning more and driving less, while the outer suburbs drove over four times the distance, with considerably less income. Should the CSIRO prediction of $8 per litre be seen (or even half that), Melburnians will have great difficulty meeting their mobility needs.


AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE The worldwide economy is utterly dependant on oil, but resources will only last for some more decades at best. How to escape the impending crisis? On his travels through the US, Melbourne-born filmmaker Josh Ticknell explores the potential of biodiesel to replace oil and reduce the world’s addictive dependence on fossil fuels. This captivating demonstration of how everyone of us can help stopping climate change won the coveted Best Documentary Audience Award 2009 at the Sundance Film Festival, one of the world’s biggest festivals for independent films.

The Tao of Cycling

Cycling offers the most energy efficient and pollution-free form of transport known to humans. In Australia the smallest group of cyclists is the relaxed commuters, mainly women, cycling around their neighbourhood on various errands, shopping and going to work. This group dominate cycling in the Netherlands and other cycling countries, and have the greatest growth potential for Australian cycling. Diane Kraal and Alex Merory present their experience of relaxed commuting by bicycle: one beginner-cyclist commuter and the other experienced. This will be followed by an audience and panel discussion with Frank Fisher and Elliot Fishman.

Transition Towns – From Oil Dependency To Local Resilience

Light on talk and heavy on action, Transition Towns is an international movement that has swept the globe since its inception in 2005. Today there are 245 ‘official’ involved communities and over 1000 mulling it over! Central to the idea of Transition is that re-localising our basic needs and wants is inevitable given the realities of resource depletion (especially oil), water shortages and Climate Change. This presentation provides a context illustrating why we desperately need to Transition as well as drawing on global and local examples of Transition Towns. Described as “more like a party than a protest march” Transition Towns have been incredibly effective in attracting ‘non-greens’ and engaging wider audiences than traditional sustainability approaches.

CycleWise – Tips for Surviving and Thriving on the Roads

Designed for novice riders who’d like to ride more, ride to work, ride for transport but don’t feel confident on the roads. The talk covers: choosing the right bike and accessories, bike set-up and safety checks, cyclist rights and responsibilities, route planning, tips for avoiding car doors, being seen and safe at intersections, what to do if you have a crash and more. Also includes info about courses available, if people want to brush up their skills. There will be an opportunity for people to ask questions.

Zero Emissions Transport by 2020: How Do We Get There?

Fast trains, bicycle freeways, 100% electric vehicles. Find out from Beyond Zero Emissions how we can make our transport future a safe climate future.

BSRT Post-Copenhagen Lunch

Posted in Events by fkotsiaris on February 17th, 2010

After months of preliminary work and 2 weeks negotiations, world leaders produced a three-page non-binding political declaration in the ‘Copenhagen Accord’ that does not provide a successor to the Kyoto Protocol and failed to clarify the means by which we are to achieve the nebulous aim that global emissions must be reduced ‘to hold the increase in global temperature below 2°C’.

While I am satisfied that we sealed a deal, I am aware that the outcome of the Copenhagen conference, including the Copenhagen Accord, did not go as far as many would have hoped. Nonetheless they represent a beginning – an essential beginning. We have taken an important step in the right direction.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UNHQ – 21 December 2009

How should we respond? What can we do at the local level to mitigate the risks to businesses posed by political and climate uncertainty? What were the major lessons learned from COP15?  These questions and others specific to your business interests will be answered at the Business Sustainability Round Table (BSRT ) luncheon by a specially selected panel of experts who attended the COP15.

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After Copenhagen: MSSI Public Forum

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on February 17th, 2010

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