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Archive for January, 2013

BZE presents David Spratt: climate change and extreme weather

Posted in Events by Mark Ogge on January 31st, 2013

4 February , 2013
6:30 pmto8:00 pm

climate_code_red_cover_lr-774923

Monthly discussion group hosted by Beyond Zero Emissions focusing on energy solutions to climate change. Featuring David Spratt, co-author of the ground breaking Climate Code Red.

 

Time: 6:30- 8pm, Monday 4 February,  2013

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

Entry: Gold coin donation

Co-author of Climate Code Red, David Spratt will present the latest climate science and its links to increasing extreme weather events worldwide. Australia has experienced record high temperatures, heatwaves and bushfires already this year with the Bureau of Meteorology adding two new colours to its weather forecasting chart to take the highest temperature up from 50 to 54 degrees. In 2012 climate science observations saw a record summer Arctic sea ice melt, record Greenland ice sheet melt, record permafrost warming, as well as increasing floods, cyclones, droughts and heatwaves. With climate scientists predicting more extreme events, David also shows what we can expect at the 2 and 4 degree warming scenarios. David is also an experienced activist and will talk about the urgent action we can take to tackle the climate emergency.

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

For those outside Melbourne: LIVE streaming of this event in HD720 video is available.  For further reading follow the links to these articles: Climate Code Red,  Temperatures off the charts as Australia turns deep purpleThe 2013 climate change wake-up call,  Heat waves exacerbated by climate change.


Local EV conversion: building knowledge and negotiating hurdles

Posted in Movements by Jessica Bird on January 31st, 2013

Source: The Age

Photo courtesy the Age article.
Photo from
The Age article.

From “Hey, charger – an electric Capri that’s full of spark” by Deborah Gough.

MARIO Giannattilio’s dream to convert a petrol car with his son Michael has become an electric reality. The pair set themselves a goal to convert a clapped-out, petrol-thirsty Ford Capri into a silent, emission-free electric car. In its infancy, the project was featured by Fairfax Media last year, as the Giannattilios worked on the conversion in their home garage at Glen Iris. They are part of a small but growing number of backyard technology and environment enthusiasts who are converting petrol cars to electric power in their sheds and garages.

Armed with advice on potential pitfalls from the Alternative Technology Association’s electric vehicles interest group, the Giannattilios set themselves a deadline of 100 weekends to complete their project. The car itself was ready in 96 weekends and, after a few bureaucratic hurdles, it is now registered for the road. ”I think it’s because authorities are used to dealing with petrol cars and used to dealing with hybrid cars, but not with fully electric cars,” Mr Giannattilio said. ”There was a lot of head scratching because it is unusual to have a fully electric car.” When new cars are built, manufacturers place a serial number on a combustion engine, but replacing the original motor with an electric motor poses challenges with the number. ”We were aware that it would come up as an issue and kept the [electric] engine’s serial number, which was accepted as part of the registration,” Mr Giannattilio said.

The last hurdle was at a VicRoads office, where Mr Giannattilio tried to claim $100 off the registration cost, a benefit hybrid car owners enjoy. ”They weren’t going to give me the $100 off, which is ridiculous because my car uses no petrol and a hybrid still uses some petrol,” Mr Giannattilio said. He eventually got the discount, but only after registering the car as a hybrid.

Michael, 13, hopes to be an engineer and will study physics at high school next year. Mr Giannattilio said the project gave his son hands-on experience of how physics is applied in the real world. Michael will already know about LED refracted light, used in newer BMWs, after the pair put it into their Ford Capri’s bumper bar. ”Michael can’t wait to drive it, but he is only 13, so it will have to be on a track,” Mr Giannattilio said. He said he was close to his son and the joint project gave them an opportunity to talk about much more than electricity and mechanics. ”When you are working together and talking about the work you are doing, you get to talk about things that happen in life outside the garage. The bond obviously becomes stronger,” he said.

>>> You can read the original article on The Age website.
>>> You can learn more about the Alternative Technology Association’s electric vehicles interest group on their website.


Planning for Low Carbon Development

Posted in Events by Jessica Bird on January 30th, 2013

6 February , 2013
6:30 pmto8:00 pm

"Minegolia"
Photo by Al Jazeera English via Flickr CC.

The twin challenge of poverty eradication and emissions reductions.

In developing countries, where most of the world’s population lives, the daunting challenge for governments and policy makers is to reduce both poverty and greenhouse gas emissions. Professor Harald Winkler from the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre will offer his perspective on how this challenge might be tackled in South Africa, a country that, like Australia, has a heavy dependence on coal-based electricity generation. Prof Winkler argues that taking more ambitious action to reduce emissions can result in socio-economic advantages, or ‘co-benefits’, which should be considered primary rather than secondary benefits.

Professor Winkler will be joined by panellists, Tony Wood and Malte Meinshausen, to discuss the Australian parallels to South Africa’s experience.

Date: Wednesday 6th February, 2013, 6.30pm – 8.00pm.

Venue: Carrillo Ganter Theatre, Sidney Myer Asia Centre,
Corner Swanston Street and Monash Road,
The University of Melbourne.

Hosted by the Grattan Institute.


Plasticized: Outdoor film screening

Posted in Events by EcoCentre on January 21st, 2013

28 January , 2013
7:30 pmto11:00 pm

plasticized

Outdoor film screening at the Port Phillip EcoCentre – ‘Plasticized’

A documentary about the massive amounts of unseen plastic pollution in our oceans. An immeasurable amount of plastic pollution of all sizes is floating throughout every major ocean in the world. Aboard the research vessel the Sea Dragon, an intrigued cameraman shares his experience following the 5 Gyres Institute across the South Atlantic on the very first expedition studying the alarming amount of oceanic plastic pollution.

This will be an outdoor movie in the EcoCentre gardens. Please bring along something to sit on. BYO snacks.

When: Monday 28 January, 7.30pm

Where: Port Phillip EcoCentre
55A Blessington Street
(corner of Blessington & Herbert Streets)
St Kilda

Bookings essential, see the Port Phillip EcoCentre website.


Coffee for crops: Cafes joining the swap movement

Posted in Models, Movements by Jessica Bird on January 11th, 2013

Source: Good Food via GreenNationAus

Photo by Joseph Feil (Good Food)
Photo by Joseph Feil (from the Good Food article)

From ‘Swapping herbs for lattes in the new suburban good life‘ by Justine Costigan.

When Helen Howard drops into Melbourne’s Lady Bower café for a coffee, she’ll sometimes ask for a free bag of coffee beans to take home. No, she’s not being cheeky – Lady Bower co-owner Vanessa Nitsos is happy to oblige. It’s an informal trade for the bunches of herbs Howard drops off to the cafe regularly. A coffee, breakfast, maybe even a three-course dinner, are some of the trades regularly made between local gardeners and savvy café owners with both a desire to source local products and an eye on the bottom-line. After all, what could be better than sourcing fruit from a garden just down the road? Usually harvested the day it’s eaten, trading excess fruit, herbs, vegetables and flowers for a meal, or coffee or a jar of jam, is a deal that seems to work beautifully for both the local gardeners and the restaurants.

James Hird, co-owner of Buzo and Wine Library in the Sydney suburb of Woollahra, keeps an eye on what’s growing in his local neighbourhood. If he knows it’s a good year for lush rosemary, plump backyard lemons or juicy mulberries, he’ll put out the word to his customers that he’d love to have any excess from their gardens. As well as sourcing locally, he also has his own rooftop garden and a beehive. Hird says his garden, plus local backyard produce, can only ever supplement his stockroom needs. But he says the effort to source produce which doesn’t require anyone to get into a car is worth it. “It’s a huge untapped resource. We go through about six market bunches of rosemary a day. To take out the cost of this alone has an effect on the bottom-line.” There’s a benefit for the growers too. Hird always offers something in return, but says there are no hard-and-fast rules to the exchange. “I might offer dinner for the harvest from a whole mulberry tree – that’s three months worth of jam for us – or it might be an offer of coffee or breakfast. It’s pretty fluid.”

In Melbourne, Nitsos alerted locals to her interest in local produce before the café even opened, and by the time it was ready for business in February 2012, she already had a couple of nearby gardening enthusiasts willing to share. When Helen Howard started dropping in bunches of herbs from her garden, Nitsos would always offer a cup of coffee in return. “When I started bringing in stuff, Vanessa would ask me to stay and have a coffee, but as I was usually on my way to work, I couldn’t stop. So I asked them if I could have a 250g bag of coffee every couple of weeks in return. It’s a handy arrangement. I (wouldn’t) do it for money, but it’s good to do a trade.”

Kate van der Drift donates figs and lemons from her garden to Lady Bower and loves to see “Marchant Avenue figs” on descriptions of the café’s jam. “It’s just giving for the pleasure of giving. Plus, I like seeing the things that Lady Bower does with my ingredients – it’s often something I would never have thought of.” Nitsos says that in the hospitality game, every little bit helps. “The local produce helps us to put things on the menu we couldn’t usually afford, such as micro-herbs. And it reinforces our commitment to seasonality. Although, a customer did come in once and asks us why every cake we had was made with orange.” […]

Cafes are only now catching on to a trend that has been quietly flourishing in Australian suburbs for decades. Canberra nurse and blogger Bec Pollock swaps fruit and vegetables with other members of the Urban Homesteading Club. At its monthly meetings a swap table is filled with produce, homemade preserves, seeds and seedlings to share. “We also trade details of potential urban foraging sites, including blackberries, quince and apple trees, and have been wanting to develop a local Food Foraging Map,” she says. […]

>>> You can read the full article and discover cafes already swapping produce on Good Food.