Archive for December, 2010

Growing Abundance: Community Harvest Group

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on December 30th, 2010

Source: Mt Alexander Sustainability Group Inc (MASG)

Image: chris-sy via flickr CC

The Castlemaine Community House with MASG, Transition Mount Alexander and Castlemaine Permablitz is managing Growing Abundance in 2011.  The project will look at creative ways of strengthening our local food network and access to local food as a way of reducing our carbon foot print as a community.

Every year in our area, hundreds of fruit trees growing on both public and private land go unharvested either because people don’t notice them, aren’t physically able to harvest them or there are just too many fruits ripe all at once.

Through the Growing Abundance project, a Community Harvest Group is being formed to harvest the seasonal glut of local fruit and make it available to the local community. The Harvest Group is a team of volunteers who will find, harvest and maintain neglected fruit trees around town, sharing the harvest equally between the fruit tree owners, the harvest group and local community organisations, cafes, charities etc who can make good use of the produce. We will also be preserving the damaged fruit and turning it into chutneys, sauces, ciders, jams etc which can be sold to support the project (and ourselves).

Contact Sas Allardice at the Castlemaine Community House – or 5472 4842

Melbourne 2032: Short Films at Fed Square

Posted in Visions by Kate Archdeacon on December 27th, 2010

The Victorian Eco Innovation Lab (VEIL) has a series of short films currently showing on the big screen at Federation Square.  Images from the work of students and their lecturers from four Melbourne universities show what a low-consumption, sustainable life could be like in Melbourne 2032.  Films currently screening are “Urban Food: Neighbourhoods“, “Urban Food: School Gardens“, “Future Trams” and “Slow Travel Connects to Fast Rail“.

Check them out over summer, or visit the VEIL website to see many more student works:

Planet Ark’s Festive Season Green Guide

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

Download the Guide or visit the website:

Sustainable Urbanisation : A resilient future

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

16 February , 2011 5:00 pmto18 February , 2011 2:30 pm

An international one-off conference for inter-disciplinary researchers and practitioners to advance the knowledge and create pathways to resilient, sustainable cities. This 2011 Sir Mark Oliphant International Frontiers of Science and Technology Conference is hosted by the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne and Swinburne University of Technology. The conference is intended to be:

CREATIVE: engage in TEDxCarlton public forum with international speakers, facilitated workshops and city tour with other disciplines and early career professionals
PURPOSEFUL: workshops to create a leading-edge book on sustainable urbanisation, to develop new theory, research agendas and practical proposals for public policy.

You should attend if you are interested in working with other disciplines and solving the real world problem of sustainable urban development, specifically:

• Early career researchers and professionals
• Professionals engaged in urban planning, design and development
• Land and park management
• Urban Researchers
• Government at all levels (local, state and federal) from sectors as varied as planning, environment and community services

We look forward to your input, attendance and enthusiasm.  Please email your name and organisation to to receive conference updates.

The program in a snap shot :

Visit the website for more information and to register –

Social Traders: Gifts with Impact

Posted in Research by Rob Eales on December 18th, 2010

The Social Traders’ Gifts with Impact catalogue is full of purchasing ideas for the festive season that deliver community benefit to those in need – ideal for family, friends or colleagues.

Download the catalogue or visit the website for more information –

50 Ways to Give to the Community this Christmas

Posted in Models, Opinion by Rob Eales on December 17th, 2010

From “50 Ways to give to the community this Christmas”, courtesy of

#4 Get your kids involved. Talk to your kids about scaling back your own family’s Christmas present-giving to one gift per child. Encourage your children to think about the community groups that make a difference in their lives by donating a few coins, or by doing a few jobs around the house in exchange for a donation to a group. Ask them to pin-point toys they have outgrown that they would like to contribute to a community group that works with children, or that can sell the toys to help fund their work.

#5 Swap gifts for donations. Instead of giving out Christmas presents yourself, make a donation on your friends’ behalf to an appropriate community group. Give your friends a card telling them that you have made a donation and provide the receipt. Again, the benefit will last longer than a pair of socks, a packet of soaps or box of chocolates.

#6 Sponsor a native animal. Tragically, more and more of our unique Australian fauna are becoming endangered. Icons like Tasmanian Devils, koalas and other great creatures are under threat from disease, introduced species or diminishing habitat. Consider sponsoring a Tasmanian Devil, a koala, a grey nurse shark or a native animal through Our Community’s Giving Centre.

#16 Buy your Christmas tree from a community group. Consider buying your Christmas tree this year from a local scouting group or community organisation selling trees. Real trees smell better than plastic ones, and after Christmas they can be recycled by being cut up for garden mulch (remember to take off the decorations first!). Think Green. Think Community. Try the list of community groups selling trees at Often scout groups, service clubs and CFA brigades sell Christmas trees as fundraisers, so if there isn’t a local group on Our Community’s list, approach one of these organisations to see what they are doing.

#23 Help by having a party. If your workplace, family, neighbours, friends or others are getting extra festive this festive season and having a party, think about who you’re going to get to cater it. The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s Catering Service not only produces great food, but uses the money it generates through catering to support asylum seekers and their families. See if there’s a similar group in your area that can cater for your party.

#40: Attend a local Christmas concert. Many schools and community groups hold concerts at this time of year – lend your support by going along and clapping loudly. You could also offer to help make costumes or sell tickets.

Read the other 44 at, or visit — a commission-free website listing thousands of good causes and creative ways to give.

National Urban Policy: Open for Public Comment

Posted in Policies, Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on December 17th, 2010

“Our Cities – building a productive, sustainable and liveable future” is open for comments and feedback. This discussion paper is accompanied by a Background and Research Paper “Our Cities – the challenge of change”Our Cities sets out the Australian Government’s thinking on a national approach to urban development and the challenges we must address for our cities to become more productive, sustainable and liveable.  The purpose of the discussion paper is to frame the Australian Government’s policy approach to cities as the basis for a National Urban Policy to be released in 2011. It will establish national directions and objectives for our cities as we prepare for the decades ahead.  The discussion paper outlines the Australian Government’s aspirations under the themes of productivity, sustainability and liveability, and recognises the importance of good planning and governance. It aims to stimulate a national discussion on the outcomes we need for our cities.

Your feedback will guide how we make our cities more productive, sustainable and liveable. Following consideration of your comments, the Australian Government will set out the policy and program actions that are needed to achieve what we want for our cities.  The Australian Government has prepared a list of 28 questions in the discussion paper. You can respond in two ways:

1. Download and fill out the Discussion Paper Feedback Survey, fill in your contact details and press the ‘submit’ button at the bottom of the form, or
2. Register your details and upload a written submission. This option will be available from Tuesday 4 January 2011 until the consultation period ends.

Open for Public Comment until 1 March 2011

“Control Your Carbon Dioxides”: Future Shots Winning Film

Posted in Movements, Visions by Kate Archdeacon on December 16th, 2010

Eleven-year-old Cara Thomas of Deepdene has taken out the Sustainability Victoria Award for Best Film at Future Shots 2010, along with two other major awards on the night.  Cara’s film Control Your Carbon Dioxides was named the best sustainability-themed film by a young Victorian at last night’s Future Shots awards, held at ACMI Cinemas.  The Carey Baptist Grammar Junior School student won $2000 for the award and also picked up the best film in the under 12 category ($350 cash prize) and the Smart Energy Film Award, which includes an energy audit of her school.  Cara spent hours painstakingly moulding and filming her claymation tale of the green, beret-wearing EnviroMan who refuses to be devastated by people’s overuse of CO?.

Other films featured a talking can who desperately wants to be recycled, a raindrop whose mission is to be treated preciously by the school it lands in, and a moving documentary about a man whose dying wish is to be buried naturally (not cremated), encouraging a return to sustainable burial.

Twenty-six of Victoria’s best young filmmaking teams gathered at ACMI cinemas for youth environmental filmmaking’s night of nights.  Among the awards presenters were Faustina “Fuzzy” Agolley from Video Hits, Chris Judd (Visy Environmental Ambassador and Carlton Football Club captain), and the CEO of Sustainability Victoria, Anita Roper.  “All of the entrants showed great passion and knowledge of sustainability. I was very inspired by the filmmakers’ creativity in expressing their hopes about our future,” Mrs Roper said. “It was a fantastic night.”

For the second year running, Future Shots challenged Victorians under 25 to make a film of under three minutes addressing the theme of sustainability. Winners received over $10,000 in cash and prizes with films received by young animators, documentary and fiction filmmakers from across the state.

Visit the Future Shots website to watch the award-winning films.

The Ethical Christmas Resource Kit

Posted in Movements, Opinion, Research by Kate Archdeacon on December 13th, 2010

Source: Ethical Consumer Group

Do it differently this Christmas!

I buy. I wrap. I give. I get. I get caught up. It’s easy to become lost up in the busyness, anxiety and the frenzy of over-consumption at Christmas time.  So how do we reclaim the essence of Christmas? One that reframes relationships as being more important than possessions and quality time more significant than the rush. One that recognises that all our purchasing choices are connected to wider issues in the world and there is a story behind all the things we buy and receive.

This resource kit explores some things you can do to make a difference with the way you celebrate this Christmas. There are many positive choices you can make for the health of the planet, your community, and yourself.  It may be buying a ham that hasn’t travelled halfway around the globe to get to you, or choosing a non-factory farmed turkey. Perhaps you could choose coffee where the owner of the company has guaranteed a fair wage to the plantation workers, or seafood that has been fished in a sustainable manner. You can also avoid companies with a negative track record, and find good gift alternatives that minimise waste.

‘With every meal, we have the opportunity to support a different food production system – one based on producing vibrant, healthy food with the well-being of people, animals and the land at heart.’ from Beyond the Supermarket, page 5, the Guide 2011

There are options for better buys within the supermarket and department store. Yet at the same time, the real answers are in supporting alternatives beyond. We’ve tried to give you a sense of what to look for, but also outlined some resources to help you where to find local, free range, organic, sustainable and waste free options.  Remember to focus on one issue at a time. Your choices do make a difference, but at the same time it’s no use being overwhelmed. Do what you can with the resources available.

This resource kit divides information into three sections, covering food; gifts; and decorations, lights, trees. It is designed as a companion to the 2011 edition of the Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping and referenced throughout with links to the website and the guide itself.  We recommend you grab some print copies of the guide to give to friends and family this Christmas. It’s a good way of speading the message and equipping people to make a difference in the preparation for Christmas.

All the best in having a great day and making it count this Christmas.

Taking Stock of 2010: Carbon Innovators Network

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on December 10th, 2010

15 December , 2010
4:30 pmto6:30 pm

Throughout 2010, our response to climate change has often felt like being on a roller coaster. But is it all bad news? To examine the implications of the past years’ events, the Carbon Innovators Network is hosting Taking Stock our end of year event that will look back on 2010 and consider what next year might achieve.

Taking Stock will include a panel of leading practitioners with scientific, regulatory, policy, business and communications backgrounds to stimulate a moderated discussion chaired by Kinesis Director Nick Rowley.

The panel for Taking Stock will include:

• John Merritt: CEO of the EPA Vic, Victoria’s environmental regulator.
• Rebecca Falkingham: Director Policy and Projects, Victorian Office of Climate Change and one of the leading contributors to the development of the Victorian Government’s Climate Change White Paper.
• Liz Minchin: author of the book Screw Light Bulbs: Smarter Solutions for Australia’s Future, which offers positive, credible answers to how Australia can get serious about tackling climate change.
• Mike Raupach: Fellow at the Australian Academy of Science and one of the lead authors of the Academy’s The Science of Climate Change, Questions and Answers publication.
• Bruce Donnison: General Manager of Sustainability at Fonterra, the world’s leading exporter of dairy products responsible for more than a third of the international dairy trade.

We want to hear from you too! To help guide the event, we are seeking your response as a Carbon Innovators Network member to a series of questions about climate change in 2010. Your response to these questions will help guide and inform the session – check out the online forum for the questions.

15 December 2010 – 4:30pm – 6:30pm, The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Website for more details and to RSVP: