Archive for October, 2011

The Gemasolar Plant Reaches 24 Hour Solar Power: Concentrated Solar Technology (CST)

Posted in Events by Mark Ogge on October 31st, 2011

7 November , 2011
6:30 pmto8:00 pm

Santiago Arias is the Technical Director O&M of Torresol Energy which constructed the 19.9MW Gemasolar plant in Seville, Spain. Gemasolar is the world’s first plant to apply the salt thermal-storage system in a configuration with a central tower and an array of heliostats. Gemasolar reached 24 hours of uninterrupted production in June 2011.

This is the baseload concentrated solar power technology modelled by the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan to supply 60% of Australia’s stationary energy requirements.  Mr Arias will join us via Skype.

Time: 6:30- 8pm Monday 7 November 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:…


The Tankulator: Rain Harvesting Calculator

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on October 28th, 2011

Photo by AWWS via flickr CC

The Tankulator is a free online rain harvesting calculator that can help you plan for a new rainwater tank or improve the performance of an existing tank.

The Tankulator has been developed by the Alternative Technology Association, Australia’s leading not-for-profit organisation promoting sustainable solutions for the home. Click on the Get Started button, fill out the online questionnaire then click on the Get Tankulating button. An interactive graph will appear that will display your calculations.

Once the calculation is complete, you can compare different scenarios to find the best match for your circumstances. Will you run out of rainwater in a dry year if you live in Canberra and plumb a 10,000 litre tank to your toilet and laundry?

Buying a rainwater tank?
  • Tank Materials: Compare the cost, environmental impact, life span and other specs of different types of tank materials. Hear what ATA members say about the tanks they have chosen.
  • Tank Siting and Installation: What will fit on your property and where to put it? Pros and cons of different approaches to placement and installation of your tanks.
  • Tank Filtration: What kind of filtration do you need on your system? What degree of maintenance are you willing to undertake?
  • Pumps: Most rainwater systems will need a pump; what do you need to know? Also, pumps can use a lot of energy but there are ways to design your pumping system to reduce energy use.
Visit the Tankulator website to find out more.

A free online seminar on rainwater harvesting and greywater will be held by the ATA on Tuesday, November 8 at 11am. Visit for more details.

Big Spring Food Swap: St Kilda

Posted in Events by EcoCentre on October 27th, 2011

30 October , 2011
10:30 amto11:30 am

Photo by kiri73 via flickr CC

The Big Spring Food Swap is happening at the Port Phillip EcoCentre.

Are you a bit of a gardener? Do you love fresh food? Bring some delicious goodies from your pantry and swap them for something else you like.

What can I bring? Fruits and veggies from your garden, seedlings, seeds, flowers, cookies,preserves, ginger beer, compost, mulch, recipes, eggs and million other things. Meet your neighbours, have a cuppa, chat and socialise and don’t waste your weekend on shopping!

Sunday 30.10.11 from 10.30am to 11.30am
Port Phillip EcoCentre by St Kilda Botanical Gardens, 55A Blessington St, St Kilda

For more info please call: 9534 06 70 or e-mail:

Attracting Wildlife to Your Backyard

Posted in Events by samgreen on October 26th, 2011

9 November , 2011
12:30 pmto1:30 pm

Endangered: Regent Honeyeater.  Photo by marj k via flickr CC

How we garden makes a big difference to the health of our local environment – water conservation, growing our own chemical free food and creating wildlife habitat all help keep our environment healthy.

In this session you will learn how you and your community can create food, water, shelter and nesting sites for birds, bees, frogs, butterflies and other wildlife in your garden and local neighbourhood.

Date: Wednesday 9 November 2011, 12.30-1.30pm
Location: Reception Room, Maribyrnong Council Offices, cnr Hyde & Napier Sts Footscray

To register please visit or contact Council’s Sustainability Officer on 03 9688 0357 for more information.

Go Wading to Help Melbourne’s Freshwater Turtles

Posted in Events, Seeking by earthwatch on October 25th, 2011

17 November , 2011
8:30 amto5:00 pm
19 November , 2011
8:30 amto5:00 pm

Volunteer to protect Melbourne’s freshwater turtles – 17 & 19 Nov

Very little is known about Melbourne’s freshwater turtles and the impact that this growing city is having on their health. As one of the top predators in the food chain, a healthy turtle population points to a healthy ecosystem, and globally, freshwater turtles are in decline.

With special waterproof clothing, you’ll wade through the city’s freshwater lakes and creeks to capture turtles, assess their health and review the condition of their habitat.

Join a Turtles on the Move team
• Help scientists understand how urbanisation is affecting Melbourne’s turtles
• Discover the city’s hidden wetlands
• Do your bit for the environment

To join a one-day team for $69, call 03 9682 6828 or email or visit

Team info
Thursday, 17 November 2011
Saturday, 19 November 2011

Starts 8:30am and finishes 5pm.
Costs include lunch and transporttation to locations as well as pickup/.drop off to rendezvous location in Melbourne University

Location: each expedition visits two wetland sites in the greater Melbourne region
*Funds will go towards continuing this valuable research

Do we have a Plan B? Exhibition: Fishmarkets in Japan

Posted in Events, Opinion by chardman25 on October 24th, 2011

27 October , 2011
6:30 pm

“Scientific paper, after scientific paper that I read all seem to present the simple statement – that our oceans are dying and we are killing them. The oceans are the life force that keeps our planet alive – yet it has been predicted that we will have wiped out all the life in the oceans by 2049.  This is within my lifetime – and this is just one of those things which keeps me awake at night.  I wonder: Do we have a plan B?  What shall we humans do, once we fish the last fish?” Georgia Laughton

In February 2011, Georgia went to Taiji Japan for a month to photograph the annual 6 month-long dolphin slaughters.  Planning to return in September 2011, the day prior to her arrival back in Kii Katsurra, a typhoon struck this area – with a death tally of more than one hundred people. With the town in crisis, a plan B for her time in Japan was launched – and time was spent in Tokyo exploring and photographing the fish market there.

Do we have a plan B? is graphic and confronting images of Georgia’s exploration of fish markets in during her visits to Japan – and she poses the question: Do we have a plan B for when we kill the ocean?

Do we have a Plan B? is showing at one hundredth gallery between 26 October and 6 November.

Opening night October 27, 6:30pm

one hundredth gallery is located at 49 Porter Street Prahran (between greville and commercial) and is open Wednesday – Friday 11-7  and  Saturday – Sunday 12-5.

Camp Out and Help Melbourne’s Microbats

Posted in Events, Seeking by earthwatch on October 21st, 2011

4 November , 2011 6:30 pmto5 November , 2011 9:00 am
12 November , 2011 6:30 pmto13 November , 2011 9:00 am

Dusk till dawn – an overnight eco adventure with Melbourne’s Microbats.

This year Melbourne Microbats research teams will be treated to a complete dusk till dawn experience sleeping overnight inside the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne – something usually unavailable for the general public – while also being able to enjoy the Ford Fiesta Moonlight Cinema in the gardens while waiting for the microbats to come out.  Working directly with researchers Dr Rodney van der Ree and PhD students, you will survey bats using harp traps and record ultrasonic bat calls with hand-held bat detectors and GPS equipment. You and your team will also investigate the diet of urban bats by using light traps to sample nocturnal insect fauna.

We have a number of Family Teams that are open to parents with children aged 10-17 (these run on Saturday nights only).

Costs: $89 per adult and $59 per child (includes snacks, refreshments, accommodation and breakfast)
Times: 6:30pm-9am
All funds go towards keeping this valuable research alive.

To make a booking call  Earthwatch on 03 9682 6828   or email

Dates 2011
Fri 4th Nov
Sat 12th Nov (family team)
Fri 18th Nov
Sat 26th Nov (family team)
Fri 2nd Dec

Dates 2012
Feb 3rd Feb
Sat 11th Feb (family team)
Fri 17th Feb
Sat 25th Feb (family team)
Sat 3rd March (family team)
Sat 3rd Feb (family team)
More information and bookings can also be made via the website


Social Isolation and Older People: National Roundtable Forum

Posted in Events, Policies, Research by Kate Archdeacon on October 19th, 2011

14 November , 2011
9:00 amto5:00 pm

This National Roundtable Forum will seek to develop a common understanding of the problem and identify key areas for action.  Social isolation amongst older people is known to lead to poor health outcomes and to increased demand for services ranging from home help to residential care. We are seeking to identify strategies to reduce or prevent social isolation. The forum will facilitate dialogue between decision makers and service providers while engaging older people in the policy development process. Successful approaches should be identified, supported and replicated. The forum will have a focus on evidence based best practice and developing ongoing collaborations between participants. Topics to be covered that impact on social isolation of older people will include:

  • Mental Health
  • Housing and Urban Development
  • Technology
  • Age-Friendly Cities
  • Late life learning
  • Social Participation, Intergenerational Opportunities and Community Services
  • CALD community issues

Monday 14 Nov 2011 from 9:00am to 5:00pm
ZINC at Federation Square, Melbourne

Conference fee: $190 Concession: $140

To register, visit

Practically Green Festival: Eltham

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on October 18th, 2011

23 October , 2011
10:00 amto5:00 pm

Come down to Eltham and celebrate sustainable living and everything green at Council’s Practically Green Festival this October!

First held in 2008 at Council’s Environmental Education Centre in Eltham – Edendale Farm – the Practically Green Festival continues in 2011 to offer practical and simple ideas to help you and your family live sustainably. The Festival showcases the very best in sustainable building technologies– all in a fun festival-style, family atmosphere. Come and enjoy the food, free children’s entertainment, music and free workshops!

As the Festival is all about sustainability, we encourage you to travel there sustainably too! Edendale Farm is conveniently located on the Diamond Creek Trail and is just a short walk from Eltham train station. Think about jumping on your bike, catching the shuttle bus from Eltham station or popping your walking shoes on – and come and experience the Practically Green Festival!

Sunday 23 October 10am-5pm

Edendale Farm Gastons Road, Eltham (Melway 22 A1)

Download the Festival Flyer or visit the website for more information.

My Smart Garden: Sustainable gardening workshops

Posted in Models by kheffer on October 17th, 2011

The My Smart Garden program helps residents use their back yards, balconies or courtyards to live more sustainably by growing their own food, shading their home, recycling wastes and using water wisely.   Now that the weather’s warmed up, we’ve got some great FREE spring gardening workshops to really get you going!

Read more about our upcoming spring workshops [here] and register for workshops by emailing

As well as access to workshops, Moonee Valley and Hobsons Bay residents who sign up to the My Smart Garden program receive sustainable gardening information, discounts from local garden suppliers and can win great prizes every month. You could win a rain garden worth $500 in October and a Fowler’s preserving kit worth $250 in November.

If you live outside these council areas, you’re still welcome to attend workshops and sign up for the program, but ineligible for prizes.