Archive for July, 2011

Sustainable Homes Expo

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

6 August , 2011
10:00 amto4:00 pm

Come along to the Sustainable homes Expo 2011! The Sustainable Homes Expo is held every second year, and is a major local environmental event.

Residents can learn about the many ways to make their home more sustainable at our family-friendly Sustainable Homes Expo. Come along to the expo and hop on your bike to try to generate enough energy to run the Expo at the Future Spark Power Trailer.

This major local environmental event is free to attend and can help you learn how to:

  • make smarter decisions by better understanding the range of home sustainability products and services available in this ever-growing market
  • more effectively reduce your energy and water use at home, saving you money
  • create a chemical-free home
  • make the most efficient use of your property
  • know what features and orientation to look for in an older home to make future sustainable renovations more effective
  • build using eco-friendly materials

The event will feature:

  • live music by The Right Brothers
  • a range of sustainable food options for purchase, as well as fresh coffee from the Friends of Baucau
  • the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies (CERES) energy trailer with fun, interactive displays about how energy is created and used by household appliances
  • sustainability presentations from Water Watch, about the good, the bad and the ugly water bugs that affect the health of our waterways

Children’s entertainment will include:

  • face painting
  • craft making
  • environmental performers, The Connies

The expo will feature a range of exhibitors showcasing everyday sustainable alternatives from eco-friendly cleaning products to reusable nappies.

Saturday August 6, 10 – 4

Plenty Ranges Arts and ConventionCentre
35 Ferres Boulevard
South Morang (Mel 183 A10)

Visit the website for more information.

Greening a Changing City: Urban forest, health, liveability

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

28 July , 2011
6:00 pmto7:30 pm

Image: stevendepolo via flickr CC

Greening a changing city: urban forest, health, liveability:

As Melbourne inevitably grows, central to its environmental and economic sustainability, is its capacity to have green spaces that can be the lungs of the city. Appropriate tree planting can serve to reduce the heat island effect, as climate change affects our city. The benefits of an enhanced urban forest and green infrastructure will be part of the solution to future changes, as we grow and old trees need replacement. Commentators will discuss how a future urban forest might evolve. Better places and spaces, healthy trees and water storage contribute to human health, wellbeing and economic sustainability.

Panellists include: Dr Cecil C. Konijnendijk, Danish Centre for Forest, Landscape and Planning, University of Copenhagen; Dr Kate Auty, Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Melbourne; Rod Marsh from Net Balance, Joy Murphy AO a Wurundjeri elder and traditional owner and GP Dr Dimity Williams the Secretary of Doctors for the Environment Aust.

Thursday July 28, 6 – 7:30 pm

Melbourne Town Hall

No RSVP required

Peak Food? Arena Forum

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on July 26th, 2011

27 July , 2011
7:30 pmto9:30 pm

Image: dane brian via flickr CC

Peak food? Escalating threats and emerging possibilities in the production and distribution of food

Many of us share a growing awareness that we are on the threshold of social, ecological and political transformations as encompassing as the scientific and institutional shifts of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. The escalating risks of climate change, peak oil, nuclear technology and economic meltdown are only some of the most obvious consequences of a world dominated by neo-liberal institutions and underpinned by a dangerously seductive faith in the capacity of technological innovation to drive boundless economic growth and consumerism.

In this public forum Kirsten Larsen, Ben Fallon and Adam Grubb will lead a discussion about

  • the accelerating risks and threats to global – and local – food security
  • the inequities and waste of current food production and distribution systems
  • the relationship between food choices and healthy ecosystems
  • alternative food production and distribution approaches and practices
  • innovative and holistic farming methods including comparisons between regenerative integrated farms and agricultural monocultures
  • the potential of city spaces to produce food including through urban scale permaculture strategies

Where: Arena Project Space, 2 Kerr St Fitzroy (b/n Brunswick & Nicholson Sts)

When: Wednesday July 27, commencing 7.30 pm

Further information: 9416 0232 or

All welcome: gold coin donation at door

Fire and Rain: Social Innovation and Community Leadership

Posted in Events, Research by Kate Archdeacon on July 26th, 2011

1 August , 2011
2 August , 2011

Image: bootload via flickr CC

Fire And Rain: Social Innovation And Community Leadership In Natural Disaster Management And Emergency Services

This national conference will explore innovative community responses to Australia’s ongoing vulnerability to natural disasters and need for effective disaster risk management and emergency services. Its emphasis is on community-based innovation, self-help and leadership, with the aim of identifying and strengthening effective grassroots community responses to the ravages of fire, flood, drought and wind. The conference will identify cases around the country where social innovation and self-help are being implemented in creative ways. The conference will bring together community innovators and leaders, service practitioners, researchers, policy makers, social entrepreneurs and workers in community agencies who are interested in furthering social innovation and community self-help in these areas.

August 1 & 2

Angliss Conference Centre

Visit the website for more information

Dr Frank Neumann: Wind Turbine Placement Optimisation

Posted in Events by Mark Ogge on July 25th, 2011

1 August , 2011
6:30 pmto8:00 pm

Dr Frank Neumann is Senior Lecturer at University of Adelaide’s School of Computer Science. He is working on wind turbine placement optimisation in collaboration with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr Neumann has developed computer algorithms that maximise the energy generated, given a particular terrain, turbine type, wind direction and area of land.  These are called “evolutionary algorithms” because they are inspired by biological evolution. An evolutionary algorithm is a mathematical process where potential solutions keep being improved a step at a time until the optimum is reached.

Time: 6:30- 8pm Monday 1 August 2011

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

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

Entry: Gold coin donation

Further reading:

A Wildlife Experience in St Kilda

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on July 22nd, 2011

30 July , 2011
2:00 pmto5:00 pm

A Wildlife Experience in St Kilda (for parents and kids) on Saturday 30 July

Aimed at kids, together with their parents, this workshop is designed to stimulate interest in native animals and birds. It also provides kids and their parents with a project that they can tackle together at home i.e. constructing a nesting box and then attracting owls, birds, etc. to their home, school or neighbourhood. Gio, a local 14 year old boy, is a keen naturalist and has built and deployed nesting boxes all over St Kilda and even as far afield as Phillip Island (where the hospital there has attracted a barn owl into one of his boxes). Marian is a PhD student specializing in a local bird, the tawny frogmouth.

2.30 pm : Gio, (14), will teach parents and their kids how to make a nesting box to attract birds and animals.

3.30 pm: Marian Weaving will explain how to do wildlife surveys.

4.30 pm: A walk around the St Kilda Botanic Gardens with Gio & Marian to observe wildlife and to illustrate the best way to conduct a wildlife survey.

Date: Saturday 30 July; Cost: $20 per family

Bookings essential – phone 9534 0670.

For more information, contact Bede Doherty (GM at Port Phillip EcoCentre)

2011 ‘Dig Your Dinner’ Schools Competition

Posted in Movements, Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on July 22nd, 2011

Make a stand against the bland! Celebrate good food, as it should be with all its bumps and imperfections. Grow it for real, from budding seed to brimming plate and join in on the quest for taste!

Following the success of last years “Dig Your Dinner” competition, the Organic Expo & Green Show are delighted to announce we are running this fun and inspiring competition again as part of our commitment to encourage future generations to lead a healthier and more sustainable life. Schools across VIC are invited to join in the challenge and “Dig Your Dinner” – A fun and easy competition to show how simple it is to grow your own food, free from artificial nasties.

There are two categories in which to enter:

1. Pre-schools/Primary Schools
2. Secondary Schools/Colleges (dependent on entry numbers these may be split further).

Your school will grow your favourite seasonal vegetables and herbs and nurture them into a bountiful crop in time for the Organic Expo & Green Show. You will then bring the best of your produce to the show creatively displayed in a wheelbarrow (competition to be judged on Saturday 15 October 2011).

• Celebrity TV gardener Vasili Kanidiadis will be there to meet your school and judge the best vegetables
• Vasili will use the winning veggies in a cooking demonstration showing how you can create a delicious, healthy and inexpensive family meal
• The winning schools will become the Dig Your Dinner Champions VIC 2011 and Vasili will present you with a trophy and prizes

Entries Close September 23

Think Global, Act Rural: MIFF Screening

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on July 21st, 2011

24 July , 2011
12:00 amto11:00 pm
5 August , 2011
6:30 pmto8:30 pm
Source: Permablitz Designers Guild

“Alarm-raising and catastrophist films have been made, and they have served their purpose. Now the time has come to show that there are solutions, to give a voice to the farmers, philosophers and economists who are inventing and experimenting with new alternatives, while explaining why our society is mired in the current ecological, financial and political crises.” Coline Serreau

Going beyond merely denouncing an agricultural system that has been perverted by unreasonable growth imperatives, Coline Serreau invites us in “Think Global Act Rural” to discover new farming systems, successful production techniques which not only produce better yield, but also repair the damages and offer better life and health to the communities, while ensuring perennial food security. Coline Serreau travelled the world for over three years, armed with a handheld camera, to meet women and men in the field – thinkers and economists – who locally, successfully, are trying out solutions to mend our long ill-treated earth.

Pierre Rabhi, Claude and Lydia Bourguignon, the landless workers of Brazil, Kokopelli in India, Mr. Antoniets in Ukraine… Meet the resistance fighters in love with Earth.

In turn funny and touching, assertive and inspired, they are granted a speaking platform in Coline Serreau’s documentary. The series of unbelievably concordant interviews proves that there are options, that an alternative is possible. It is responding, with concrete elements, to the ecological challenges and, generally speaking, to the civilization crisis, we are currently going through.

Looking beyond the disastrous effects of agriculture’s mass commodification, Think Global, Act Rural investigates the way forward, profiling organic farming techniques that may offer hope for the future.

Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Screenings:

  • July 24, 9pm
  • August 5, 6:30pm
Read more or make a booking for Think Global, Act Rural

From Car Park to Food Garden

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on July 20th, 2011

From “Winner: 2011 Yarra Sustainability Award in the Home and Garden category” by Sally MacAdams:

Frank Fisher lives in a flat in Clifton Hill. Like all the other flat owners he has a single parking place for a car, a valuable asset in the inner city – but not in Frank’s case. Because of his passion for sustainable transport and his commitment to public transport and cycling, Frank’s parking lot has stood empty for decades. Until recently, that is.

With the help of friends, Frank has transformed his parking space into a productive and attractive vegetable garden. The team installed several recycled timber apple crates that, once lined with weed matting and filled with potting mix, make excellent raised beds. Because of the height of the crates, people in wheel chairs or with limited mobility can still happily potter. Creating a wicking bed system reduced the amount of water required in the garden. The wicking system relies on a reservoir at the bottom of the crate fi lled with loose pieces of scoria (a type of rock). This allows water to seep up by capillary action to the roots of the vegetables through a weedmat to the compost and topsoil containing the vegetables. When it was time to unveil Frank’s car park garden, the team invited all of the neighbours to a barbeque. Everyone was interested to learn about the construction of the beds and the benefits of the wicking system.

Frank’s project shows that it is possible – in fact not hard at all – to transform our dead concrete parking lots into environmental enhancing, life giving, community vegetable gardens.

The latest edition of Earth Garden Magazine has an article on the transformation – with much better pictures! KA


Footprint Flicks: Sustainable Gardening Films

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on July 19th, 2011

Last week, Sustainable Gardening Australia (SGA) launched their series of Sustainable Gardening short films, Footprint Flicks. Jane Edmanson of ABC’s Gardening Australia launched the films, drawing the connections between gardening for health as well as gardening for local action in response to climate change, and the role of technology in supporting people who want to get involved in gardening.

Helen Tuton from the SGA co-wrote the films with Suzi Taylor from Fingerprint Productions.  Helen says that the films are designed to inspire younger people to garden in a way that benefits the planet, while being fun, informative and appealing.  We were lucky enough to watch some of the films during the launch, and it’s fair to say that they have achieved what they set out to do – the audience roared with laughter, while taking notes on topics such as “DIY Compost: Lord of the Bins”, “Renters’ Guide to Sustainable Gardens”, and “How to be a Good Parent to Your Worms”.

The films will be available to buy on DVD very soon, but in the meantime visit the SGA site for a sneak preview of three of the films; Renter’s Guide to Sustainable Gardening, How to be a Good Parent to Your Worms and OMG I’m Going Grey.