Archive for January, 2012

Speed Date a Sustainable Designer

Posted in Events by sashashtargot on January 30th, 2012

19 February , 2012
1:00 pmto3:00 pm

Are you renovating or building? Do you have plans and ideas you’d like to discuss with green architects or building designers?  The Alternative Technology Association (ATA) would like to invite you to Speed Date a Sustainable Designer.

When: Sunday 19th February

Time: 1-3pm

Where: The Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne

Speed Date a Sustainable Designer brings together Australia’s leading sustainable architects and building designers so that you can discuss your plans in a relaxed ‘no obligations’ environment.

What to Bring

Bring your sketches, plans and photographs on your tablet, laptop or good old hard copies! The designers will offer solutions, ideas and alternative viewpoints.

You can watch the short YouTube video from the last event here:

Supported by bankmecu

A free event. Limited spots available!  Bookings are essential. Go to

Home Harvest Regional Feast: Seeking Growers

Posted in Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on January 27th, 2012

Source: Sustainable Gardening Australia (SGA)

We are looking for volunteers to grow and supply produce for the first Home Harvest Regional Feast. The feast will be held in Eltham (Victoria), so anyone who can get there is welcome to take part. Sign up as a grower and receive a free seasonal meal created using Grower’s produce at the feast. All registered growers will receive a small gift of vegetable seeds.

When: 22nd April, 2012
Where: Edendale, Gastons Road Eltham, Vic
Who: All growers are welcome, no matter what your level of experience or the size of your garden.

To register head to or phone (03) 9433 3206.

Even if you are not from around the area, you can still click here to download your FREE Home Harvest Booklet of practical information on how to grow delicious, healthy produce in the temperate zone and connect with your local community.

Download a pdf with all the Feast info.

Thriving Neighbourhoods 2012: Call for papers

Posted in Models, Research, Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on January 26th, 2012

Thriving Neighbourhoods is a conference on emerging approaches to the planning, design and management of local neighbourhoods that are set to radically improve health, social engagement, environmental quality and productivity in communities.  Thriving communities have the resilience needed to adapt creatively to unexpected challenges such as climate change, population change, rapid technological change, social upheaval and economic crises.

The complexity of the systems involved in creating thriving communities poses difficult and challenging issues for planners, developers, managers and researchers. But the potential returns on the invested effort and resources are massive.  Capturing these returns requires professional collaboration across policy sectors including health, planning, design, infrastructure, IT and the built and natural environments. Communities must also be engaged from the outset, recognising diverse cultural and individual needs.

We invite papers and presentations on research and practice related to the challenge of creating and supporting thriving neighbourhoods and communities. Work to be presented may be related to the areas represented in the diagram below, on: the challenges; the processes of change and development; the specifics of place; the measurement of outcomes.

2 April 2012: Deadline for Abstracts (400 words)

28 May 2012: Abstracts acceptance notice

Find out more about submitting a paper.

Veggie Growers Competition

Posted in Events by EcoCentre on January 25th, 2012

11 February , 2012
11:00 amto2:00 pm

Port Phillip Urban Food Network – PPUFFN – is hosting its first ever veggie growers competition

We’re searching for the best offerings from edible gardens right across Port Phillip. As well be as well as local food growing entrants,  we need spectators to help us decide the winners!  There are 5 entry categories, including best-tasting tomato variety, monster veg &  most unusual edible plant. Plus an honorary award for the most weird and wonderful looking contribution!

$450 prize pool / winners by popular choice / swap tips with other food gardeners.

So,  get ready for some horticultural muscle flexing and  join us on the day!

Full competition entry details

Full prize details

Saturday 11 February, 11am

St Kilda Youth Service Training Site, Cnr Pickles & Richardson St, Port Melbourne
(only 5 mins from Bay St shopping st)

Enquiries: paula – 0417 501 383  /

Design Your Edible Oasis: Workshop

Posted in Events by kheffer on January 24th, 2012

11 February , 2012
1:00 pmto3:00 pm


The 10-12 session is now booked out, but there is a second session from 1-3pm available.  The workshop is aimed at Moonee Valley and Hobsons Bay residents. If space permits, other people may be able to attend.

Transition Darebin hosts Nicole Foss (The Automatic Earth)

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on January 20th, 2012

19 February , 2012

Nicole Foss is one of those big picture people who understands and explains the links between the converging pressures affecting the globe (peak oil, climate change, financial crisis) and the implications for our everyday lives. Nicole explains why a period of deflation is likely and discusses household and community preparation strategies. Nicole is a systems analyst who lives in Canada and blogs under the name Stoneleigh with writing partner “Ilargi” at The Automatic Earth.

Transition Darebin is cohosting an all day workshop with Nicole and Steve Keen on Sun 19th February.

>>Flyer and Booking details

Check out the Transition Darebin post for information about other Nicole Foss events in Melbourne.

Environment Victoria’s Flemington Green: Project Update

Posted in Movements, Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on January 19th, 2012

Photos from Flemington Green

From “Flemington women showing the way” from Environment Victoria:

Recruited by our Community Consultant, Iman Barabiaa, another group of Flemington residents have just completed their Flemington Green sustainable living training. The 16 women are from East African countries (Eritrea, Ethiopia and South Sudan), Turkey and Yemen and all reside on the Flemington public housing estate. The women have attended workshops on saving energy and saving water (with a guest presentation from City West Water), held by Environment Victoria at the Flemington Community Centre in November 2011.  The group also visited SKM Recycling in Coolaroo to learn about waste and recycling – and we enjoyed a lunch of Turkish kebabs together in Broadmeadows.

They’ve told us they’ve learn a lot. Many participants, being new to Australia and having lived in countries where water and sanitation conditions are quite different, were very impressed to learn that Melbourne’s tap water does not have to be boiled before drinking, and said they’d keep that energy saving tip in mind.  The visit to SKM showed the sheer scale of recycling that happens every day in Melbourne and the vast amounts of energy these processes require. Many participants said they’ll be talking to their friends about the need to recycle carefully and to reduce the amount of rubbish we throw away. Not all Flemington residents have the luxury of being able to recycle at home, but with the new recycling pilot program on the estate continuing to progress well, more and more will gain the opportunity.

After the energy saving workshop, each participant told us she went home and started taking action, such as switching off appliances at the wall; unplugging the mobile phone charger when it’s not being used (it still draws power even when it’s not charging); talking to her sister in her home about energy-guzzling down-lights and giving a presentation about ways to save energy in her English class.

New knowledge and motivation, and new environmental action – these Flemington women are showing the way for their community to take green action.

>> Find out more about Environment Victoria’s Flemington Green project.


Sugar Palms for Biofuel and Ongoing Community Benefit

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on January 18th, 2012

(L) Masarang’s ‘Village Hub': a modular processing plant for sugar palm fuel.

Climate Spectator have posted a great article from china dialogue about the work of Willie Smits on the potential of sugar palms for the biofuel industry.  The growing environment of the sugar palm means that its cultivation can provide regular local work and that production can stay in the control of small co-operatives.  The sugar palm is a highly regarded plant in Indonesia and other areas of South-East Asia, with multiple benefits during its growing cycle and after harvest:

“We met in Hong Kong, where Smits had been talking to potential investors. He opened up his laptop to run one of many PowerPoint presentations that chart a 30-year voyage of discovery. When he married his Indonesian wife in 1980, Smits was surprised to learn that the expected dowry in North Sulawesi was six sugar palms. “I wondered why,” he told chinadialogue, “and I discovered that just six sugar palms could support a young family.”

After years of research, Smits today is a sugar palm evangelist, eager to list the tree’s virtues. “It doesn’t need pesticides or fertiliser, and once it starts producing, it has to be tapped twice a day, which gives employment to local people,” he explained, “so it creates 20 times more permanent jobs per hectare than oil palm. It is highly efficient in converting sunlight to energy and, because it cannot thrive in monoculture, it preserves biodiversity. It has very deep roots, so it never dries out, and it improves the soil by bringing nutrients up. It stores carbon very deep, and it only needs half the water of similar trees because of its waxy leaves. And, it produces 60 useful products, including a wood that is harder than oak.”

As if that were not enough, he continued, it survives fire and volcanic eruption, flood and salt water, can prevent landslides by stabilising slopes, and improves conditions for agriculture downstream. Perhaps most importantly for the global climate: one tree can produce enough ethanol each day to keep a car running year round.”

Read the full article by Isabel Hilton to find out more and check out Willie Smits’ website.

If it’s broke – Fix it!

Posted in Events, Movements, Seeking by ecoApril on January 17th, 2012

19 February , 2012
11:00 amto3:00 pm

Photo from the 2011 Repair Workshop by Fernando De Sousa


A free, friendly workshop to repair (or reimagine) broken household items will be staged for this year’s Sustainable Living Festival at Melbourne’s Federation Square.

Collaborative Fix it! repair sessions are hosted by community members who believe there are better options than sending broken objects on a one-way ticket to landfill.  Fix it! was founded by locals April Seymore, Renae Crosthwaite and Chandra Sundareswaran with the support of Sustainability Victoria and Metropolitan Waste Management Group. The friends want to share skills and build public confidence for repairing items that otherwise literally go to waste.

“We hear so much about our current ‘throw away society’ and we want to change that thought process,” said April.  “Part of the Fix it! philosophy is to inspire participants to host fixing get-togethers in future. So while we will repair items at the Festival at no charge, we will also demonstrate how repair is achievable, affordable and help everyone feel capable.  Helping people hem their garment or gain the self-assurance to repair a basic electrical item could make a huge difference to the amount and types of things that are clogging up landfill, dumped on nature strips, or donated broken to Op Shops who don’t have repair capacity.”

Recent repair, creating and upcycling events in Melbourne have met with enormous success. Artists and technicians at the July 2011 Repair Workshops rescued 3 tonnes from landfill, and this year’s Mini Maker Faire® sold out tickets almost immediately.  Repair novices and gurus alike are welcome to drop into the festival workshop to sample repair projects. To BYO project, register your lamp, clothing, or woodworking repair request via email. Or simply share your fixing photos or questions with the Fix it! team via Facebook (Fix It Community) or Twitter (@FixItMelbourne).

There will be three themed Fix it! areas: Stitches—focusing on textiles; Switches—examining electrical appliances; and Splinters—woodworking with hand tools.

Get Involved: Fix it! is looking for skilled volunteers (Fixers) to assist in each of the focus areas at the Sustainable Living Festival. If you can lend a hand in the stitches, switches or splinters areas contact the team at

The Sustainable Living Festival runs from 11-26 February, with Fix it! held from 11.00 am – 3.00 pm on Sunday the 19th at Federation Square in the city.

For further information and photo opportunities email

The end of suburbia: and the beginning of what?

Posted in Events by EcoCentre on January 13th, 2012

23 January , 2012
7:00 pmto9:00 pm

Join us for a FREE Film & Discussion Night. Monday 23 January 2012, 7pm @Port Phillip EcoCentre

The urban sprawl of Melbourne is reaching further and further, taking habitat for wildlife and prime land for growing food. It makes us more and more dependant on cars and doesn’t provide a space for a thriving neighbourhoods and engaged communities. With growing Australian population we all need a space to live but why instead of being more resourceful are Australian houses are getting bigger and bigger?

How do we deal with all these tensions? What is our outlook for the problem for the upcoming years?

Before solving all these issues let’s step back and watch a documentary: ‘The End of Suburbia’ (2004, Gregory Greene) that provides us with the historical background on how suburbs came to being in the USA and what are the challenges that face these places and their habitants.

After the screening join us for a snack and fun activities during which we will explore alternatives to a typical suburbian urban sprawl. Share your experience about the challenges of current housing realm.

Address: 55A Blessington St, St Kilda

Contact us:

To get the gist of what we will be talking about see this amazing short animation An Urban Sprawl Thinking Piece: