Archive for April, 2011

Composter’s Composium with Costa

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on April 29th, 2011

7 May , 2011
11:00 amto1:00 pm

Smith Reserve, corner of Alexander Parade and George St, Fitzroy, next to the Fitzroy public swimming pool.

Yarra City Council
Cultivating Community

Saltwatch Week: May 8-14

Posted in Events, Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on April 28th, 2011

8 May , 2011to14 May , 2011

Source: Sustainability News, Darebin City Council

Saltwatch is an environmental monitoring program that helps communities understand the salinity problem in our waterways. Saltwatch week this year is from Sunday 8th May – Saturday 14th May 2011.

Saltwatch began in 1987, and is Australia’s longest running community monitoring program. During Saltwatch Week (the second week of May), schools and community groups from all over Victoria can learn about the effects of salinity on water quality in their local catchment by collecting local water sources and testing with a salinity meter to determine salt content. Snapshot monitoring provides a terrific opportunity to assess the condition of our waterways at a particular point in time. The collaborative efforts of many registered groups creating a picture of salinity across the state can show changes in salinity ’hot spots’ over time, illustrate the effects of climatic changes such as the current drought, and may even pick up long term trends.

Go to the Saltwatch website to find out more.


Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Public Lecture

Posted in Events, Opinion, Research by land-environment on April 27th, 2011

3 May , 2011
5:30 pmto7:00 pm

Image: lizkdc via flickr CC

Climate change is not “a problem” waiting for “a solution”.  It is an environmental, political and cultural phenomenon that is reshaping the way we think about ourselves, about our societies and about humanity’s place on Earth.

Based on some of the ideas contained in Prof. Mike Hulme’s recent book, Why We Disagree About Climate Change, this lecture dissects this idea of climate change – where it came from, what it means to different people in different places and why we disagree about it.  It also develops a different way of approaching the idea of climate change and of working with it.  Rather than seeing “stopping climate change” as the universal project around which the world must be mobilised at all costs, the idea of climate change gives us new resources – new insights, new vocabularies, new myths – which can be used creatively in our bewildering diversity of human projects.  We must use the idea of climate change to open up new spaces for innovation, change and diversity, rather than try to align the world in search of one unattainable utopia.  And we must accommodate disagreement by adopting a plural approach in our responses to climate change.

Mike Hulme is professor of climate change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA).  He was the Founding Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research from 2000 to 2007.  His work explores the idea of climate change using historical, cultural and scientific analyses, seeking to illuminate the numerous ways in which climate change is deployed in public and political discourse.  His two most recent books are Why We Disagree About Climate Change: understanding controversy, inaction and opportunity (2009) and, with Henry Neufeldt, the edited volume Making Climate Change Work For Us (2010) which is a synthesis of the research findings of the EU FP6 Integrated Project ‘ADAM: Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies’.  He is editor-in-chief of the new review journal: Wiley’s Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs): Climate Change.

Tuesday 3rd May
Time: 5.30pm

Speaker: Professor Mike Hulme
Professor of Climate Change
School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

Location: Lower Theatre, Melbourne School of Land and Environment Building, University of Melbourne

To register, visit:

Yarra Energy Foundation Launched

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

From “The Yarra Energy Foundation launches with energy smart public housing ‘revolution’ and unique web hub“:

The Yarra Energy Foundation, an independent non-profit organisation set up by the Yarra City Council, to make the municipality carbon-neutral by 2020, [launched on April 14] at the Richmond Public Housing Estate, announcing its first project – the High- Rise Revolution. The project, a roadmap for permanently reducing residents’ electricity usage at the Richmond, Fitzroy and Collingwood public housing high-rise estates, will make living in these estates cheaper and reduce overall carbon pollution.

Alex Fearnside, Yarra Energy Foundation (YEF) CEO said: “More than 8,000 people live in these estates and over the years small steps have been taken to make them energy efficient. However this project is about identifying a big step – a revolution – that will not only help residents but also contribute to the Yarra Energy Foundation’s target of carbon neutrality by 2020”.

Yarra Mayor Alison Clarke said she was particularly pleased that public housing was the first project for the new Foundation, which had been set up to make the Council’s ambitious target of carbon-neutrality by 2020 a reality. “Soon after the election of the current Council we realised we did not have the resources or expertise to hit that target in time and needed help to get there. We knew a community-minded organisation with a sole focus on delivering local sustainable outcomes was needed,” Cr Clarke said. The Council has already provided $600,000 to set up YEF and intends to double it over the next two years. “In under a decade, the City of Yarra will be truly carbon neutral. Our focus is on projects that can expand and deliver benefits to the community and business.” Mr Fearnside said.

In another first, the Yarra Energy Foundation is using the Thinking Daily network, on the Quango platform, as the basis for its website – a world first. Quango enables organisations to rapidly form communities around their core mission because visitors are both content creators and commentators. It seamlessly links with the most popular social media sites; and unlike comments on newspapers or blogs, fully visible to search engines.  “Our website is like a public forum, a wiki, a website and social media combined. It’s a like borderless online gathering dedicated to enabling zero-carbon communities here in Yarra and worldwide,” Mr Fearnside said.

The High-Rise Revolution project is supported by the Victorian Government Sustainability Fund, managed by Sustainability Victoria.


Sharing Government and Community Facilities: BSL Lunchtime Seminar

Posted in Events, Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on April 20th, 2011

28 April , 2011
12:00 pmto1:00 pm

Image: via flickr CC

A Lunchtime Seminar presented by the Research & Policy Centre at The Brotherhood of St Laurence:

A public inquiry investigated the sharing of government and community facilities in Victoria, for example using school buildings after hours or local council neighbourhood houses. A cost/benefit framework was explored. Some 20,000 facilities exist in Victoria, but what is the role of government in managing benefits and costs? What governance and commercial principles apply? There is potential for increasing the sharing of facilities and the associated social inclusion benefits but control from the top would be unwise. The (then) government accepted most of the inquiry recommendations. The conclusions provide community organizations with a basis for pursuing their expectations of government.

Robert Kerr is an economist working as an Honorary Research Fellow at the Brotherhood of St Laurence. His career was in the Commonwealth Treasury and the Productivity Commission, and latterly as a Commissioner of the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission. He is a graduate of Cambridge University and the Royal College of Defence Studies.

Thursday 28 April 2011 12.00 pm – 1.00 pm

Brotherhood of St Laurence, Fr Tucker’s room 67 Brunswick Street Fitzroy
Visit the website for more details and to RSVP.

Cultivating Sustainability: Workshop

Posted in Events by timc on April 19th, 2011

3 May , 2011
9:30 amto4:30 pm

Cultivating Sustainability is a 1-day workshop which provides sustainability advocates with insights, models and tools to trigger the psychological drivers of sustainable behaviour.

This workshop will assist you to…

  • Identify what people need in order to embrace sustainability
  • Target your efforts and resources to the points of most leverage
  • Incorporate psychological principles to your sustainability programs
  • Communicate about sustainability more effectively
  • Meet others who are dealing with similar challenges and share ideas and success stories

Presented by Tim Cotter, a psychologist specialising in the psychology of sustainability.

Melbourne, May 3rd, 9.30am – 4.30pm

$140pp Individuals/Community Groups – $225pp Not for profits/Govt – $275pp Corporates/For profit
Further details at

“The workshop provides you with simple practical tools to engage around sustainability and behaviour change”. (Cathy Crawley Leader, Arup Sustainability, Brisbane”

“I found the experience valuable in reigniting my passion and belief that I can effect change by taking responsibility myself. Also gathered valuable tools and concepts which resonate with me a lot more from this experiential format than text and seminar”. (Briony Pomplun, Environment Manager, Operations, SunWater)

“A useful, challenging and worthwhile workshop. It will give me lots of new techniques and ideas to follow up”. (Tracy Fulton, Project Officer, Sustainability, City of Okaparinga)

Eat With Me

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

Our idea is simple. We want people to eat together, not alone.

Eat With Me is a social networking site that allows you to meet new people in your neighbourhood by organising and attending events and sharing a meal together. We are four food lovers from different parts of the world who are passionate about people sharing food and eating together. Eat With Me is designed and developed by Liisa Vurma, Jaanus Torp, Thomas Vaht and Bethany Jones. We are all members of Eat With Me and we invite you to eat with us.

Visit the website to find out more or to sign up:

-Imagine setting up a network of people to share leftovers or veggie-box cook-ups using this social network. KA

“The Economics of Happiness”: Film Screening

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on April 15th, 2011

Both hard-hitting and inspirational, the film ‘The Economics of Happiness’ reveals some uncomfortable truths about today’s global economy, which is creating divisiveness, financial instability and environmental breakdown worldwide. But it also shows how people around the world are already engaged in exploring alternative visions of prosperity: uniting around a common cause to build more ecological, more human-scale, more local economies. The film features a chorus of voices from six continents, including Vandana Shiva, Zac Goldsmith, Bill McKibben, Khyentse Norbu Rinpoche, and Clive Hamilton.

Join us for a special, free screening of ‘The Economics of Happiness’ followed by an opportunity for discussion with producer and director, Helena Norberg-Hodge.

Please RSVP:

Tuesday 3 May 2011, 6.30pm-8.00pm
Basement Theatre, ‘The Spot’, Business & Economics 198 Berkeley Street (cnr Pelham St) [Building 110] The University of Melbourne, Carlton

This event is proudly cosponsored by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI), and the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL).

Suburban Water: Water Capture & Storage Trial in Kingston

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on April 13th, 2011

A Sustainable Melbourne report from the 2011 Water Innovation Day, co-hosted by the Smart Water Fund and Siemens:

© Suburban Water

From a presentation by Jim Townsend, CEO Suburban Water, “Remote Storm Water Management”

Suburban Water was established to actively test and develop storm water harvesting technology in Australian suburbs. The premise of the project is that captured storm water doesn’t need to be treated to potable levels – between 30 -35% of current urban water use could be directly replaced with storm water.

As the recipient of a Round 3 grant from the Smart Water Fund, the company was able to install a pilot harvesting system in the city of Kingston, Victoria. Using the local aquifer, telemetry and a combination of existing and new infrastructure, the system allows water to be captured and shared between two separate sites, and increases each site’s ability to prepare for and capture heavy rain.

The System:
Storm water captured at Southern Road Reserve is fed into concrete tanks, where it is treated and returned to the aquifer as part of a managed aquifer recharge system.  It is held there until needed either at Southern Road Reserve or at Parkdale Secondary College, just over a kilometre away. Parkdale Secondary College captures its own storm water and stores it in rainwater tanks, which provide toilet flush water and irrigation for the grounds. When these tanks are nearly half-empty, a monitor alerts the remote control at Suburban Water in Adelaide. The subterranean tanks at Southern Road Reserve pump water up into the existing Melbourne Water drain, and the water arrives to be treated and pumped into the school’s tanks 90 minutes later.
When significant rainfall is expected, the tanks at Southern Road Reserve empty into the aquifer in order to capture as much new rainfall as possible.

Key Outcomes:
The project is well into its prototype and testing stage, and while there have been significant challenges, CEO Jim Townsend emphasised the importance of being able to put a price on storm water capture and reuse – excluding the cost of installation but including regular running costs such as pumping and monitoring, the price is approximately $0.4/kL.

Further information available through the Smart Water Fund

Discussion Group: Sustainable Design in Denmark

Posted in Events by Mark Ogge on April 12th, 2011

18 April , 2011
6:30 pmto8:00 pm

Source: Beyond Zero Emissions

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

Birgitte Hoffmann is Associate Professor at the Technical University of Denmark’s Department of Management Engineering. Birgitte will join us in person for a special mid-month discussion group on sustainable transitions within water management, energy production and consumption, sustainable urban development and the social and political aspects of achieving a 50% wind energy target in Denmark. She has published reports on energy efficient buildings, urbanising facilities management, built environments, teaching and implementing sustainable design and regularly presents at conferences.

Note: This discussion group will replace the May discussion group previously scheduled for 2 May

Time: 6:30- 8pm Monday 18 April 2011
Entry: Gold coin donation

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

Further reading:…

Thank you to the University of Melbourne Energy Research Institute, our Zero Carbon Australia project partners for joinig us in bringing you this event.