Archive for November, 2010

Electric Vehicle Rally & Racing Car Competitions

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

12 December , 2010
10:30 amto4:00 pm

Photos courtesy ATA EVIG

The ATA‘s Electric Vehicle Interest Group is holding their inaugural rally, The Future of Transport, on Sunday December 12, in conjunction with the Formula SAE competitions where both Swinburne University and the RMIT University will be competing with their electric racing cars.  Everyone is welcome.

What is Formula SAE all about?

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is an international organisation that encourages Universities and Colleges to build a racing car each year to a specific formula – Formula SAE. The event is now into its 10th year with the first being held in 2000. This year there will be 27 teams from Australia, New Zealand, America, India, Japan and South Korea attending.. Two teams have entered electric cars (Swinburne University & the RMIT University) and 3 teams will be using E85 (ethanol blend). The cars are judged on a number of criteria including endurance and fuel efficiency – not just speed!

The rally will include electric vehicles (EVs) on display, food stalls and vehicle charging stations, so take your own EV along if you have one (let the organisers know ahead of time if you need access to a charging point, please).

Displays will include:

* A variety of electric bikes, mopeds and several high powered registerable electric motor bikes (including one of 8kW)
* Numerous Retro-fit vehicles where you can talk to the owners
* The Aurora solar race car
* Several Blade electric cars
* An electric quad bike
* An electric go cart
* Information on a home grown electric hill climb car
* An electric 4 wheel drive Kawasaki Mule
* Several EV charging stations ( petrol stations of the future )
* A trailerable biodiesel generator
* A demonstration PV charging station
* Crown Coaches electric hybrid bus
* An ATA stand with goods for sale

Bring your EV to show it off.  Invitations are open to anyone who has an electric vehicle (car, bike, truck etc) to come along and be a part of the experience.

How to Get There

1. Electric car or electric bike
2. Electric hybrid bus (see below)
3. Electric train – $3.10 Sunday Saver all day full fare ticket – when you get to the Hoppers Crossing station call us on 0433 187 702 to be picked up by the electric hybrid bus or another electric vehicle)
4. OR – heaven forbid but if you really want to stay in the last century – use a fossil fuelled vehicle

Sunday 12 December 2010, 10:30am to 4pm
Victoria University (Werribee East campus), Hoppers Lane, Werribee (Melways 206 J6)

More details on the website, including maps, contact details and an opportunity to make the entire trip in an electric coach.

Heinz Dahl: presenting offshore wind energy for Australia

Posted in Events by Mark Ogge on November 29th, 2010

6 December , 2010
6:00 pmto8:00 pm
6:00 pmto8:00 pm

A monthly discussion group hosted by Beyond Zero Emissions focusing on energy solutions to climate change.

August guest speaker: Heinz Dahl, managing director, NexTgen Wind.

Next month, Heinz L Dahl will speak about offshore wind energy and its prospects for Australia. Heinz is the managing director of NexTgen Wind, a leading edge company that is focused on the cost reduction of renewable energy from wind – both on & off shore. The company is currently under going registrations of six international patents.
Heinz has previously held executive positions at Acciona Energy and the Australian Trade Commission.

Time: 6:30- 8pm Monday 6 December 2010

Fritz Leowe Theatre (entry via level 2)
McCoy Building
University of Melbourne
Cnr Elgin & Swanston Streets, Carlton

Thank you to the University of Melbourne, Melbourne Energy Institute
for supporting us in bringing you this event.

Entry: Gold coin donation

Further reading:

Buy Nothing Day: This Saturday

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on November 26th, 2010

27 November , 2010

Source: Victorian Climate Action Calendar

Image: mikelehen via flickr CC

Don’t just stop buying for 24 hours, but shut off your lights, televisions and other nonessential appliances. Park your car, turn off your phones.  From sunrise to sunset abstain en masse, not only from shopping, but from all the temptations of our five-planet lifestyles. And if you’re feeling rather mischievous, join us for some crazy but cool stunts on the day. Info/contact: nick More at

Saturday November 27

Guide to Wicking Beds: SGA

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 25th, 2010

Source: cuttings, the Sustainable Gardening Australia (SGA) newsletter

From “Fully Wick Mate – Wicking Beds Explained“:

What Is a Wicking Bed and Why Would I Want One?

So, what in the world is a wicking bed? Well, as I explained to a colleague of mine, it’s essentially a giant “self watering pot” in the form of a garden bed. Okay, there is a fair bit more to it then that, but the idea is a garden bed designed to draw water up from a reservoir below, hence “wicking” through the soil directly to the roots. A system devised by Australian engineer Colin Austin, wicking garden beds (and wicking worm beds) are gaining popularity as a wonderfully water wise garden bed alternative.

Drawing water from a reservoir below the growing medium, wicking beds operate on the concept of capillary action, with the soil and plant roots drawing this water upwards as required. Essentially, this means that a properly constructed and maintained wicking bed should have nice, moist soil most of the time, with the roots accessing the water as they require it.

Wicking beds have a number of benefits, both environmentally and horticulturally. Firstly, it’s a fab set up for thirsty gardens (like vegie patches) in areas that have lower rainfall, or are affected by water restrictions. Wicking beds also deliver the water were it’s needed (the plant roots), which minimises water wastage, and can also help to reduce the risk of funky fungal foliage issues. Also, wicking beds are said to be more effective at sequestering atmospheric carbon then many other traditional types of garden bed set ups, meaning it’s a win for us, and the planet.”

Read the full article from the SGA to find out more – including diagrams and feedback in the comments section.  Also check out Sustainable Cities Net for container & vertical gardening in Mexico City.

Coming Home: Changing the World – Around Us

Posted in Events by IanMcburney on November 25th, 2010

3 December , 2010
9:00 amto4:00 pm

Coming Home: Changing the World – Around Us!

A meaningful, fun and inspiring professional development experience that will rock your world, delivered by Ian McBurney.

Discover how we learn and why we change, think deeply on ecological sustainability and begin to take your workplace or community on a cost positive journey into the fast approaching future.

Why conversations beat solar panels
How we learn and why we change
What we can learn from nature
How to learn, plan, do & dream together
How to win in the new economy
Why every decision we make matters
Why converting naysayers is a green herring

When: Friday December 3, 9 – 4

Where: Abbotsford Convent


For: 25 people from corporates to community groups: thought deeply about ecological sustainability, learning & change yet?

Solar Power: Taking a Long Term View

Posted in Opinion, Research by Kate Archdeacon on November 24th, 2010

Source: Moreland Energy Foundation

Image: sk8geek via flickr CC

Moreland Energy Foundation have published a considered perspective on the solar power debate on their advocacy blog, outlining current criticisms and sensible responses:

“People interested in solar power may have noticed an increase in media attention to solar recently, following the NSW Premier’s decision to dramatically reduce the NSW feed-in-tariff.

Some media reporting has drawn a link between solar and other renewable energy policies (including feed-in-tariffs) and electricity price rises, and some reports have gone so far as to suggest that solar schemes are heading the same way as home insulation. This article attempts to explain the costs, benefits and objectives of solar energy policies, and dispel some of the myths surrounding these policies.”

Read the full article at

Melbourne Bikefest: Celebrating Bikes in Everyday Life

Posted in Events, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on November 23rd, 2010

24 November , 2010 6:00 pmto28 November , 2010 12:00 am

Bikefest is a community initiated celebration of bikes in everyday life.

Through partnerships with cultural, industry and community organisations, Bikefest places bikes at the centre of life in the city, offering a broad program of events addressing ideas around transport, health, sustainability, design, safety, planning, youth and cultural engagement.  Our goal is to improve conditions for bike riders on the road by positioning bike riding as a high status, desirable and above all, enjoyable activity. We recognise bikes   as important tools for change and celebrates the optimism, creativity and diversity within Melbourne’s bike riding community.

Bikefest aims to normalise bike riding in Australian culture by providing an accessible, non-competitive and celebratory event for bike riders of every ability and riding style.  By showcasing the breadth of bike culture in Melbourne, we want to break down stereotypes around bike riding and celebrate it for what is really is – a fundamentally good way to get around.

Bikefest features art, design, forums, workshops, markets, music, screenings, bike rides and more. It is a non-competitive, celebratory event for bike riders of every ability and riding style.

24-28 November, 1000 Pound Bend, 361 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne

(see program for details including venue variations)

Small Scale Wind Workshop

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on November 22nd, 2010

26 November , 2010
2:00 pmto4:30 pm

Source: Victorian Climate Action Calendar

Image: mgifford via flickr CC

The Clean Energy Council is hosting a workshop on small wind power to look at ways to encourage and develop this growing sector of the clean energy industry. Topics include:

• the financial incentives currently available for small wind technologies,
• an outline of the CEC’s small wind endorsement program and
• current and future research being undertaken.

Followed by networking drinks.

Fri 26 Nov 2pm – 4:30pm

RSVP by Fri 19 Nov MELB Baker & McKenzie, 19/181 William St

The Real Forest Debate

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on November 20th, 2010

24 November , 2010
6:00 pmto8:00 pm

Source: Victorian Climate Action Calendar

Image: DSE Victoria via flickr CC

Come and hear your political leaders present their parties’ policies on the future of native forest logging in Victoria.  To incite healthy debate, politicians will be joined on the panel by forest campaigner Luke Chamberlain and Conservation Lawyer Vanessa Bleyer.


• Hon Gavin Jennings, Labor Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Innovation,
• Peter Walsh, Coalition Shadow Minister for Agriculture,
• Brian Walters, Greens state candidate for Melbourne;
• Luke Chamberlain, The Wilderness Society’s Forest Campaigner and;
• Vanessa Bleyer, Conservation Lawyer.

Facilitated by Brendan Sydes of the Environment Defender’s Office.

24 Nov 6pm
RMIT University, City Campus, 340 Swanston St Melbourne (Building 8, Level 10, Room 22) All welcome
Gold coin donation

Info: Pia Perversi-Burchall, 0412 739 201 or

Sustainable Cities Net: posting from Mexico City

Posted in Events, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on November 18th, 2010

17 November , 2010 10:00 amto26 November , 2010 6:00 pm

Centro Historico, photo: K Archdeacon

On behalf of Sustainable Cities Net, I (Kate) am attending and blogging on the United Cities and Local Governments Congress and the World Mayors’ Summit, held this week in Mexico City. The content will appear on Sustainable Cities Net and also on a site created by Siemens, who provided a similar service at COP 15 and will do so at COP 16 next month. Over three thousand delegates from around the world will attend the presentations from city mayors on the pressures and responses they meet in their own city. The opportunity to expand the discussion and learn about pressures, models, scales, successes and failures in other cities is unique, and the material from Sustainable Cities Net and Sustainable Melbourne will make its way into my perspective and reports. Bloggers from other countries will be there too, so keep an eye on all the sites for a diversity of opinion!

Please keep adding your content, activities and events to Sustainable Melbourne – we’ll be publishing as usual, but the time difference might slow it down a bit.

Muchas gracias!