Archive for January, 2011

Easy Tips on Solar Power from the ATA

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on January 31st, 2011

Image: Solar Panel and Charger by sridgway via flickr CC

Easy Tips on Solar Power:

Solar panels are springing up on roofs across Australia as thousands of people make a commitment to lower power bills while helping the environment.  Over 100,000 solar power systems were installed in 2010, more than for the entire previous decade, according to the Clean Energy Australia 2010 Report. Solar power has become more affordable as prices for panels and installation have dropped steadily in recent years.  The Alternative Technology Association (ATA), in the latest issue of its magazine ReNew, has compiled a 10-page Solar Installation Special, providing easy tips for consumers on every aspect of buying and installation.  The ATA is Australia’s leading not-for-profit, consumer-based organization promoting renewable energy, sustainable home design and water saving.

In his article in ReNew, Aaron Hodgson, who spent six months researching before buying solar panels to cover his home’s power usage, shares his advice on the potential traps and pitfalls for first-time solar buyers. Here are brief excerpts of some of what he says:

  • Home efficiency first – Before installing solar electricity the most important thing is to make your house as energy efficient as possible.
  • Full site analysis – Ensure the installers inspect your property first as there might be issues with shade from trees and buildings, extra wiring and installation costs, space constraints or roof angles.
  • Fix your roof – Before installing a system, inspect your roof for leaks, cracked, damaged and shifted tiles, recapping or rusty tin.
  • Rebates change – Be aware that state and federal government solar panel incentives, feed-in tariffs, RECs and any other rebates can chop and change, sometimes with little notice.

For expert comment on solar power, contact ATA energy projects manager Damien Moyse on (03) 9631 5417/0439 900 692;

Get Energy Smart at the Eco-Centre

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on January 28th, 2011

12 February , 2011
9:00 amto12:00 pm

Source: Victorian Climate Action Calendar

Image: Kai Hendry via flickr CC

Get smart with your energy bills to take a load off your hip pocket and the environment. Join us for this fun and informative community workshop to uncover:

  • What all those figures on your energy bills actually mean
  • Why every household is getting a Smart Meter by 2013 and how you can use it to your advantage
  • How to save energy at home through low/no-cost actions
  • See solar electricity generation and easy energy saving in action.

Damian Moyse from the Alternative Technology Association and Cate Lawrence from Green Renters will guide you through simple steps to get smart, get green and bust your energy bills.  A delicious morning tea will be provided for all workshop attendees, as well as a tour of the Port Phillip EcoCentre.

RSVP: To book your place, contact our Sustainable Programs team on 9209 6548 or email (Free for Port Phillip residents).

Saturday February 12, 9am – 12pm at the Port Phillip Eco-Centre

Fast Track Transport for Sustainable Cities: Forum

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on January 27th, 2011

16 February , 2011
4:45 pmto7:00 pm

Source: pt4me2

Website: pt4me2 blog
Website: Metropolitan Transport Forum

Our Food Future: Local More Important Than “Ugly”

Posted in Models, Movements, Opinion by Kate Archdeacon on January 26th, 2011

Image: beccaplusmolly via flickr CC

Reprinted with permission from Greenleap:

Dear Greenleapers,

See the article below – the big Australian supermarket chains are thinking of importing food on a very large scale, rather than selling flood/weather blemished stock.

Wouldn’t it make more sense if we had to live with the consequences of severe floods/extreme weather events and had to buy the local less than cosmetically perfect food? It’s a bit like having to cut water consumption in droughts.

If we import food on a big scale we will drive up international prices and in the end this will cause more poverty and even starvation overseas (as we push out problems onto others who have less purchasing power).

Maybe this is a campaign the Transition Towns and sustainable living movements could take up?

Cheers, Philip

Supermarkets, consumers face food price rises by Kirsty Needham, The Age, January 24, 2011

BIG supermarkets are contemplating the mass importation of fruit and vegetables — and are already stocking shelves with damaged produce from local growers desperate for cash after the floods.  In what looms as a dilemma, Coles and Woolworths are weighing up whether to support Australian producers — and sell their water-damaged crops — or favour imports and keep prices down.

Coles is already selling so-called ugly fruit, which has blemishes, relaxing its quality classifications to keep shelves stocked. Woolworths said it would do the same with some products. Treasurer Wayne Swan yesterday warned households they will ‘‘inevitably see a spike in prices at the checkout’’, particularly fruit and vegetables, after flooding wiped out large parts of eastern Australia’s food bowl.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Thin Green Line at Melbourne Sustainability Drinks

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on January 25th, 2011

2 February , 2011
6:00 pmto8:00 pm

Our next Sustainability Drinks event is on Wednesday 2nd February 2011.

Sean Willmore was a Victorian park ranger, now documentary maker, festival director, author and Director of The Thin Green Line, a foundation that supports the families of Park rangers killed, and prevents further ranger deaths, on the frontline of conservation around the world.

The Thin Green Line Foundation’s mission is to share the stories of park rangers from around the world and in doing so support conservation projects and the families of rangers killed, whilst protecting wildlife, in their selfless fight for conservation globally.

Sean will talk about how to stay sane and proactive in the environmental movement based on his experiences with The Thin Green Line, with much expectation, little funding, the challenges of bureaucracy and a constant need for hope. Why should we keep going?

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday the 2nd February from 6 – 8pm. Please note that it is essential to RSVP every month. Due to the ever increasing popularity of the event, it may not be possible to accommodate people who do not RSVP.  This is not a sponsored event; i.e. you buy your own drinks, as we choose to come together in the spirit of a shared interest.

River Terrace Yarra Building
Federation Square
Melbourne VIC 3000

As space is limited it is essential to RSVP. Spaces go quickly, so respond now:

This month’s door prize is kindly donated by The Thin Green Line: fighting to preserve our planet’s tomorrow.

Transition Brunswick Picnic

Posted in Events, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on January 24th, 2011

30 January , 2011
3:00 pmto6:00 pm

Source: Zero Carbon Moreland

Transition Towns are grass roots community initiatives that build networks for moving to a low carbon, energy efficient society. Transition Towns are made of ordinary people who want to actively respond to the two big issues of our time; peak oil and climate change. The aim is to connect people and organisations in the community to share ideas and skills to build a more connected, resilient and adaptive community.

Picnic in the Park

We’d love you to join us for the first Transition Brunswick picnic! This will be an excellent opportunity to meet up with other locals, get inspired, share some ideas and exchange stories. We will also have a special guest. Tammy from Moreland Council promoted a “Zero Waste Week Challenge” for Moreland residents last year and will give a short talk on great ways to reduce your landfill waste. Come along, bring some friends and join us for afternoon tea. Please bring some fruit, cake or biscuits to share. Looking forward to seeing you there!

When: 3 pm, Sunday 30th January
Where: Warr Park (Albion Street/ De Carle Street Brunswick)
Visit the Transition Brunswick Site for more details.

Resource: ACF’s GreenHome Website

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on January 21st, 2011

Every day, Australians make choices at home that have a significant impact on our environment.

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s GreenHome Program is a pioneering environmental education program that works with communities to find individual and collective solutions to environmental issues.

Australia’s beautiful and diverse natural environment is increasingly affected by rising levels of greenhouse gases and many other forms of pollution. Climate change is the most pressing issue confronting us, but the washing of chemicals into our waterways, growing rubbish tips and habitual over consumption that strains our natural resources are all contributing to the degradation of our wonderful environment. And in the wake of our dwindling rivers, our overfished oceans and the unhealthy legacy of our heavy industries comes unwanted economic and social hardship.

Fortunately, there is a solution – YOU.

By understanding the consequences of your daily decisions, from how much energy you use by leaving appliances on standby, to the amount of water lost from a leaking toilet, you can begin to make more informed choices. Taking environmentally friendly action in your own home is often easy and can save you money in the long run. Better yet, the benefits are far-reaching, extending not just to you and your family, but also to the people in your community and to the country as a whole. You can improve your own wellbeing and at the same time inspire positive change all around you.

Check out the new GreenHome website:

Suburban Walkability: Successful Campaign for Pedestrian Crossing

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on January 18th, 2011

Source: Victoria Walks

From “How did the children cross the road?

With the green man!

Until recently, locals faced the treacherous Burke Road North roundabout on their walking journeys. East Ivanhoe Walking Action Group formed in 2009 and successfully campaigned for a pedestrian crossing to make this area safer for walkers. Since its installation a few weeks ago, locals have been happily wandering and strolling across this roundabout with their families and four legged friends!

Visit Victoria Walks for more details of the Burke Rd North Roundabout campaign.

Climate Change Public Lecture: Ross Garnaut

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on January 17th, 2011

3 February , 2011
6:00 pmto7:00 pm

Source: Victorian Climate Action Calendar

Register your attendance at

Open Every Weekend in 2011: Port Philip Eco Centre

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on January 14th, 2011

Photo: Phooey Architects

The Port Philip Eco Centre in St Kilda will be open every Saturday and Sunday in 2011 with a Duty Manager on site, all day. There will be a wide variety of activities – workshops on making your rented or owned home more resource-efficient, daily tours of our retrofitted building, community gardening, regular guest speakers, sustainability markets, bicycle maintenance workshops, the EcoShop (selling a range of products from worm farms to insulation), workshops for kids, artistic workshops with a green theme and even musicians/bands to help create a good vibe. We will have tea and cake available on weekends too. Please make a plan to visit us on at least one weekend in January as we launch this exciting new 2011 weekend program – check out the Calendar for January’s activities and come and say hello.

This “Open on Weekends” strategy will enable us to access the “Residents” market more effectively.

However, we are expanding our market strategy and will also be targeting employees who come to work in the region. We will take the message TO them, at their offices or at excursion sites. We will do this by offering companies opportunities to:

* provide their employees with volunteering excursions (which we will set up and manage),
* sponsor research (and even participate)
* sponsor our sustainability education projects at partner schools,
* learn about food security by having us mentor their staff in establishing a small vegetable garden, on site, at their office
* hear presentations (at their offices) on living more sustainably at home and at work.

All of these programs will be offered to corporates for a fee. This approach will have the additional benefit of diversifying our sources of funding. Click here for more information on this program or, of course, give us a call if you know someone who might be interested.

Phone (03) 9534 0670

55A Blessington St, St Kilda