Archive for March, 2010

Zero Carbon Moreland Business Program

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on March 31st, 2010

Source: Moreland Energy Foundation

Last year the business arm of Zero Carbon Moreland (ZCM) ran a range of successful environmental programs in collaboration with some of Moreland’s flagship organisations including RMIT and Yarra Trams.  This year, Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd (MEFL)  is putting the focus on small business and community organisations. Over 50 local businesses have already signed up to reduce their carbon emissions and we’re looking to recruit more. If you own a business in the Moreland area now is the time to take action, sign up and receive support to reduce your emissions and save money.

Check out the case studies of some current ZCM businesses. For more information and to join the ZCM business program contact Jason Cox on 9385 8585 or email jason@mefl.com.au


Shining Lights: Showcasing Sustainable Urban Development

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on March 30th, 2010

Source: Moreland Energy Foundation

MEFL’s members and friends are invited to an inspiring evening of discussion and presentations “Shining Lights – showcasing sustainable urban development, here and overseas”, to be held at WestWyck – where the old Brunswick West Primary School site has been transformed into a model of urban sustainability.

Speakers:

Peter Steele – MEFL Urban Development Coordinator on the lessons for Moreland from communities in Europe.
Mike Hill – MEFL Chairman and WestWyck developer will share the inside story of WestWyck’s creation.

When: 6.30pm, Wednesday 14th April 2010.
Where: Westwyck, 4/44A Hunter St, West Brunswick.
RSVP: to info@mefl.com.au or call 9385 8585.
Light refreshments provided.


Made In The Whitsundays: Seasonal Food Awareness

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on March 29th, 2010

The Made in the Whitsundays regional branding initiative aims to promote the Whitsundays by supporting products grown and made in the region to locals, visitors and to broader consumer markets.

The Whitsundays is the heart of the Great Barrier Reef: a land of plenty in a sea of opportunity.  It’s a region that prides itself on fresh products, a lush tropical atmosphere, fertile soil and thriving industries. The lifestyle encourages quality that can to be experienced by all.  The Made in the Whitsundays regional brand aims to signify quality and link awareness of local produce to this magnificent region, promoting products, linking industries in region and benefit everyone through promoting long-term sustainability.

The Whitsunday region is better known for its rolling hills, pristine rainforest, scattered islands and diverse marine life.  Did you also know the Whitsundays is the largest winter growing region of fresh produce in Australia?  There is much more to Bowen than mangos, more to Proserpine than sugarcane, more to Collinsville than coal and more to the Whitsundays than islands.  The region supplies Australians with an abundance of delicious fresh fruit and vegetables from the dry tropics salad bowl which include the famous Bowen mango, melons, tomatoes, corn, capsicum, passionfruit, lemon myrtle and so much more. Whitsundays agriculture industry contributes over $219 million worth of produce to the nation agriculture industry and is the fastest growing sector in the industry. Expanding alongside our growers of fresh produce is a thriving ocean and farmlands of livestock. The Whitsundays providing a multitude of goods for your table from sugar cane, coffee beans, salt and macadamia nuts to meat, poultry, farm-fresh eggs and seafood. Restaurants offer local flavours with culinary distinction. A number of restaurants have achieved award winning recognition from the Queensland Hospitality Awards. One in particular Capers has introduced ‘localvore’ dishes to their menu sourcing seasonal ingredients from local suppliers. Talented individuals and businesses in the region produce a range of products from artwork, design and clothing to furniture and fishing hooks.

Visit the website for more information.


Australian Food Labelling Review: Respond by May 14

Posted in Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on March 26th, 2010

Source: Climate Action Calendar


Image: allaboutgeorge via flickr CC

Australian food labelling is currently under review. The initial round of submissions closed in November last year. Although the review was only open for one month and received minimal publicity 6000 people responded to it. The Review panel has released an Issues Consultations Paper along with 39 questions for the next round.

Unfortunately the paper brushes off concerns about GM, irradiation and nanotechnology in food and is misleading:

  • Section 3.1 of the paper states that GM food must have a label. In fact loopholes in the current food standard means that most GM food escapes labelling.It is estimated that up to 70% of processed food contains GM ingredients. How many GM food labels have you seen?
  • Section 3.11 implies that GM, nano-technology and irradiation have no public safety concerns
  • Section 3.16 implies that labelling GM, nano-technology and irradiation will cause these technologies to be “inhibited”. This truly bizarre statement prompted MADGE (Mothers Are Demystifying GE) to issue a media release saying “If, as this review suggests, GM, nanotech and irradiation only have a future if they are hidden, consumers need to be extremely concerned.”
  • Section 2.5 lists the objectives of FSANZ, our food standards agency responsible for food labelling, as:
    • (a) the protection of public health and safety;
    • (b) the provision of adequate information relating to food to enable consumers to make informed choices; and
    • (c) the prevention of misleading or deceptive conduct.

It appears to be failing on all three accounts in reference to GM food, irradiation and nanotechnologies.

There are concerns that if GM food labelling does emerge it will in fact be “non-GM” labelling. This means that ordinary food would need labelling (GM free – 0% GM or non-GM – some GM contamination allowable if accidental) while GM ingredients would be seen to be the norm and so escape labelling. The costs of testing, labelling and also the liability for being sued if food labelled either “GM free” or “non-GM” is contaminated, would lie with any farmers, food manufacturers or retailers trying to produce GM free food.

Please consider putting in a submission to the labelling review. Public hearings are being held throughout Australia from March to May. Sign up to attend one.

MADGE will be studying the review and putting out suggestions. If you would like to help or have any comments on what you want to see on food labels please email info@madge.org.au


Switch Off for Earth Hour: Saturday 27

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on March 25th, 2010

Source: Climate Action Calendar


Image: Perth Skyline by EarthHourGlobal via flickr CC

Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Approximately 2.2 million people and 2,100 businesses took part in the first year.  In 2008, Earth Hour involved between 50 and 100 million people in 370 cities and towns around the world, including Chicago, Toronto, Copenhagen, Dublin, Atlanta and Bangkok took part.  An independent survey found that 58 per cent of people in Australian capital cities joined in by switching off their lights.

In 2009, the concept truly went global, with Earth Hour triggering people to “switch off” all over the world – from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to Times Square in New York. Millions of people in over 4,000 towns and municipalities in 88 countries took part.  2009 was also an important year for the UN climate negotiations. In December 2009, world leaders and climate negotiators gathered at UN climate talks in Copenhagen to agree to a deal to follow the Kyoto Protocol, which Australia ratified in 2007.

Switch off your lights for an hour at 8:30pm this Saturday, March 27

Visit the website for more information on actions in Australia & around the world.


Electric Cars in Australia: MyElectricCar Website

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on March 25th, 2010

Source: GreenRazor, the GreenPages Newsletter


Image: Mitsubishi Mirage conversion via MyElectricCar

A new information website has been launched in Australia to inform motorists about electric cars. MyElectricCar.com.au has been created to bring Australians up to date information on the global and local Australian electric car market.

This non commercial site is a resource centre to bring Australians the latest information on the global surge in electric vehicle development. It provides videos, photos and information on the vehicles currently in production or due for release over the next two years and covers issues surrounding the transport fleet such as health, air quality, battery technology and other environmental concerns. There is a fuel savings calculator which compares petrol vehicle running costs to electric vehicle running costs as well as CO2 emissions outputs.

The site has been developed and built by former CEO and founder of not for profit Carbon Neutral Ltd., Leo Kerr who has been driving an electric car for the past year.

“It is important for Australians to have current information on the global surge in electric car development and its implications for Australia. I couldn’t find any local sites which gave an overview of the developments in electric vehicle technology and covered the issues surrounding the electrification of the fleet. Electric vehicles are the future of transport over the next five to ten years for a whole host of reasons. It’s important the Australian public is educated and prepared for the changes that I’m convinced are inevitable,” commented Leo.

MyElectricCar features videos and roundups on electric vehicles such as the Mitsubishi Miev, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Roadster, GM Volt as well as information on vehicles converted from petrol to electric.


Sustainability Week at the University of Melbourne

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on March 24th, 2010

The Sustainability Week program provides a week of lectures, workshops & activities, including a Sustainability Fair that will showcase a range of new and emerging NGOs and innovative social and ethical enterprises. A central part of the week will be a series of three public lectures based around the major aspects of sustainability: the social, ecological and economic. Sustainability Week aims to provide students with an opportunity to learn more about sustainability and how they can take action in their own lifestyle and in the broader community. Organised by the Sustainability Collective to promote and enhance awareness of a global ethical sustainability, Sustainability Week aims to educate and inspire students, staff and the broader public to adopt sustainable ideas and practices.

Social. Simplicity, Equity & Action for Humanity

Wednesday 24th March – 1:00pm – 2:15pm
Basement Lecture Theatre, The Spot – Economics and Commerce Building

Facilitated by Jess Fritz – CEO, Victorian Council of Social Services
Samuel Alexander, (Phd Law) – Editor, Voluntary Simplicity: The Poetic Alternative to Consumer Culture
Peter Singer – Laureate Professor, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics – The Life You Can Save – Acting Now to End World Poverty
Rebecca McNaught – Red Cross / Red Crescent – Climate Centre

Economy. Design, Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Thursday 25th March – 2:30pm – 4:00pm
Lecture Theatre D, Old Arts Building

Monique Conheady, CEO – FlexiCar
Leyla Acaroglu, Director Eco Innovators Pty Ltd
Dominique Hess – Lecturer – Sustainable Architecture, Building and Planning
Visit the Sustainability Collective to see the full week program.


Sustainable Healthcare Clinic in India: Screening

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on March 23rd, 2010

Source: Climate Action Calendar

Active Melbourne Film Series 2010: Independent Documentaries addressing environmental and social justice issues.

In 2008, two volunteer acupuncturists visited a remote village in Northern India. They were amazed at what they encountered, immediately inundated with patients who had never received medical treatment before due to isolation, poverty and desolation, they carried out their work in a dilapidated hut. The need for a healthcare clinic in the area was all too evident.

After seeing the benefits of the temporary clinic, these two acupuncturists created a dream and a promise to bring acupuncture and healthcare permanently to the village. From this dream came the creation of Traditional Healthcare clinics, designed on the principles of permaculture and sustainability, with educational rooms, renewable energy and water conservation.

“Come and join us for a viewing of a 20-minute short of our three part series on The Making of a Sustainable Healthcare Clinic in India.”

Thursday 25 March 2010 @ 6pm

Hayden Raysmith Room
Level 4 Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Entry by donation
Drinks and snacks available
All proceeds go to: Traditional Healthcare


Feral Fruit Trees: Melbourne

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on March 23rd, 2010

Feral fruit trees are fruit trees growing in or overhanging public spaces that are accessible to the urban hunter-gatherer. The Feral Fruit Trees Melbourne website seeks to promote localized [sic] food gathering in cities where food is being obtained from increasingly distant sources. The current system of food delivery into urban centers poses unnecessary strain upon both the economy and the environment due to transportation costs. Feral fruit tree harvesting transforms our current food distribution system into a more sustainable alternative and promotes a consciousness of the ecology within our urban environments. Urban hunter-gatherers can also enjoy the benefit of fresh fruit that is often organic and not to mention free.

Fruit lying outside the boundary of private property for instance on a branch hanging over a fence is considered to be public property and therefore anyone can legally take the fruit. Please don’t take any fruit that is over someone’s fence even if it is in close reach as this is technically stealing. It always pays to just ask the owner, usually they won’t mind no one is really going to eat a whole tree of figs or loquats. Some people may be sensitive about having the fruit from their tree taken even if it is hanging into public space; therefore even though you are within your rights to take the fruit, common courtesy should be employed. eg. Please don’t make some old Greek guy angry by taking fruit when he doesn’t want you to.

Furthermore a few easy guidelines should be followed in order to ensure the sustainability and fair distribution of this precious public resource.

1. Do not be greedy. Take only as much fruit as you need as there may be other fruit pickers in the area who wish to eat the fruit as well.

2. Try not to damage the tree or the area around the tree. It would be wise to use a proper cutting tool to ensure clean cuts that do less damage to the tree. Try not to rip any leaves, branches or trample any plants below. I was told one story about a Mulberry tree that everyone used to plunder, the owner got so sick of people trampling his other plants from eating the berries that he unfortunately ended up cutting down the tree.


Yellow Feet: Encouraging Behaviour Change

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on March 22nd, 2010

Source: Victoria Walks

From the Case Studies section on Victoria Walks:

Living Streets Aotearoa Inc, together with the Wellington City Council in New Zealand, designed some bright yellow, self-adhesive feet bearing messages about the need to keep footpaths clear for pedestrians.

Then the group started work – wandering around the local streets sticking the feet on cars parked across footpaths.

The Reclaim the footpaths – please don’t park on the footpath campaign graphically demonstrated the route walkers would take if the car was not parked on the footpath. The clever campaign attracts media attention and gets a much better reception from drivers than harshly-worded notes or punitive measures such as parking fines.