A reminder that the Benalla Student Climate Rally takes place tomorrow, Friday 21st May at the Benalla Ceramic Mural from 4-5pm.
It would be great for many of us to be there and show strong support for the students, and bring a placard with the theme of "Fund Our Future - Not Gas".
This just became even more relevant in the light of Wednesday’s announcement of $600 million going to build a gas power station at Kurri Kurri. It is critical that we send a strong message that this is just not acceptable, especially when the energy sector itself is questioning why????
Hope to see you there,
Only a few seats were left at the Benalla Town Hall on Friday 26 February when two very experienced Climate Scientists, Dr Lynne Bettio and Dr Leanne Webb, addressed the subject of Climate Change. They presented facts relating to rising temperatures in Benalla and the world at large, as well as future projections, especially for our local region. Their projections for where we will be if we stay on the same course weren't pretty! However, they also presented alternative solutions which require massive change around the world, including moving to renewable energies, electric vehicles and developing new technology to reduce the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.
MP Helen Haines, who attended the meeting, updated the Benalla community about introducing a new bill, the Local Power Plan, to Parliament House that week. The Local Power Blan is a blue print for everyday Australians to benefit from the coming renewable energy boom in their local area. Helen's passion for renewable energy is contagious. “In the 21st century we can build a new generation of prosperity by catching the suns rays and surfing the prevailing winds.”
Lastly Jenny O’Connor, the Mayor of Indigo Shire, addressed the gathering with a motivating speech about her commitment to implementing strategies to create a greener future.
Photographs and story - Heath Whiley
Media Release: Article Published in the Benalla Ensign, Wednesday 30 September, 2020
Sent: Friday, 25 September 2020 8:53 PM
Subject: School Strike for Climate
Students lead Australian action on climate
On Friday 25th September, over 630 separate actions were organised around Australia in support of Students Strike for climate change. In Benalla, a planned gathering with adherence to strict Covid protocols, was denied permission at the eleventh hour, but small groups of supporters still gathered to take photos of the messages they wanted to send to politicians, displaying their rejection of the so-called gas led economic recovery proposed by the Federal Government.
These plans, which include the development of five large unconventional gas fields (fracking) have been opposed by environmental groups, scientists, and health professionals, as detrimental to the future health and safety of the Earth. It is well documented that fracking destroys the groundwater systems in the country around the gas drilling sites, both through the large volumes of water required to operate the drills, and the pollution of the water from the chemicals used. There is also documented evidence of serious health issues occurring in communities close to the gas fields.
From an economic point of view, claims from the government that gas will keep power prices down, are blatantly untrue. Wind farms and large solar farms are now producing electricity at a wholesale cost of $40 per MWh, compared to base load gas power generation costing $90 per MWh. Even renewables plus storage (large batteries) costs approximately $60 per MWh. These figures were determined by a recent CSIRO study into the electricity generation industry.
The students are also opposing the government’s plans to use public money to fund the gas industry, on the grounds that it is an option which will only exacerbate the climate crisis by contributing even more greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide and methane), and reduce the possibility of preventing global warming from exceeding 2 degrees. This will make the future living conditions they face incredibly difficult, climatically, food production wise, and from a health perspective.
Is this the future we really want for our children and grandchildren?
Peter Holmes, President – Benalla Sustainable Future Group
"On 25th September, small groups of supporters gathered to take photos of the messages they wanted to send to politicians, displaying their rejection of the so-called gas led economic recovery
proposed by the Federal Government"
This coming Friday has been earmarked as a day of Australia-wide protest at the Federal Government's proposals to fund the expansion of the gas industry in Australia, firstly by trying to open up major gas fracking operations in the Beetaloo Basin of the NT and the Pilliga region of central western NSW, and secondly, proposing to build a gas-fired electricity generator in the Hunter Valley of NSW.
Any increase in our use of fossil fuels is counter-productive to the fight against climate change, as it only leads to additional greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) being released into the atmosphere.
The theme for this week's student action is "Fund our Future - not Gas". There will be a press release in this week's Benalla Ensign about the action.
BSFG is holding a brief event at midday at the Ceramic Mural next to Lake Benalla, to support that theme. We will be adhering to strict Covid protocols - you must wear masks, and be in groups of no more than 10, and socially distance within each group.
Please bring a placard/poster voicing your message to politicians around the above theme. Photos will be taken and published in the Ensign and on the BSFG website, and sent to local politicians to deliver the messages.
If the weather is wet, we will gather under the Benalla Library in the carparking area.
Please email or text Peter Holmes re your intention to attend.
Considering that as from Monday there will be a banning of non-essential gatherings to contain the coronavirus the committee has unfortunately had to postpone the Climate Change Public meeting scheduled to be held at BPACC this Thursday March 19th.
President Peter Holmes has also had confirmation from the guest speakers of their difficulty in attending the meeting.
We will advise you as soon as a new meeting can be arranged.
0418 135 330
Note: This event has been postponed after the banning of non-essential meetings from Monday 16 March 2020 to contain the coronavirus . Details.
Benalla Sustainable Future Group, invite you to attend a public presentation at BPACC on Thursday 19th March, 6.45pm for a 7pm start, on the subject of Climate Science – what the current data is telling us, and what the trends are predicting for the future.
Our guest speakers are Dr Leanne Webb from the CSIRO Climate Research Institute in Aspendale, and Dr Lynette Bettio from the Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne.
Dr Webb has been a Climate Scientist for over 15 years, since completing her PhD at Melbourne University, and has worked for much of her career with Professor David Karoly, recognised as one of the world’s foremost Climate Scientists. She currently works as a Climate Change Knowledge Broker at CSIRO, and has extensively researched the impacts of climate change on the agricultural industry, and in particular the wine industry. Leanne was part of the team that prepared the most recent climate projections for Australia, released in 2016, and funded by the Commonwealth Government’s Planning for Climate Change Fund.
Dr Bettio is a Senior Climatologist with the BOM, has a PhD in Climate Science, and is a former resident of Benalla, and student at FCJ College. She examines and communicates on changes to Australia’s climate including long-term trends in rainfall and temperature and the interaction with extreme events.
Rarely do we have the opportunity to hear about Climate Science first hand, from scientists at the forefront of climate research, together with an opportunity to ask them questions.
After the Q & A a light supper will conclude the evening.
This is a free event and seating is unreserved.
Benalla residents will also be able to sign our Petition calling on Benalla Council to Declare a Climate Emergency,
Download the event flyer.
0418 135 330
"First, governments and energy ministries could remove fossil fuel subsidies, or redirect those subsidies towards renewables and low-carbon energy. At the same time, they could encourage decentralized energy production and storage. These efforts would erode the advantages that current policies afford to fossil fuels, and hasten the day when low-carbon energy production is more profitable than fossil fuels.
Second, governments could build carbon-neutral cities or other large-scale demonstration projects, while grass-roots efforts could help existing towns and cities move toward being carbon-neutral. These actions would help spread information and build consumer interest in fossil-fuel-free technologies, until they become the first choice for new projects.
Third, divestment from fossil fuel assets and withdrawal of insurance support for fossil fuel projects would help burst the ‘carbon bubble,’ making it unprofitable to develop remaining fossil fuel reserves.
Next, activists and opinion leaders could emphasize the moral implications of fossil fuels – that is, the idea that burning fossil fuels in ways incompatible with the Paris climate targets is immoral. This has the potential to shift societal norms and, consequently, widespread patterns of behavior.
Fifth, a massive climate literacy campaign to strengthen education about the climate in schools and universities, resulting in a generation of workers and leaders who are focused on stopping climate change.
And finally, better education of the general public by disseminating information about the carbon impacts of consumer and lifestyle choices – basically the climate equivalent of nutrition labeling."
Extract from an article by titled Here are half a dozen nudges that could bring about rapid decarbonisation in Anthropocene January 21, 2020 which draws from recently published research by Otto I.M. et al. “Social tipping dynamics for stabilizing Earth’s climate by 2050.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2020.
'Welcome to Benalla' - Shannon Loughnane takes a break on his Extremely Long Walk for Climate Action - Saturday April 27
Shannon Loughnane takes a break in Benalla on his 'Extremely Long Walk for Climate Action' - Shannon is pictured with Benalla Mayor, Scott Upston and John Lloyd and Peter Maddock from BSFG. (This picture from Benalla Ensign replaces excellent but now deleted video segment from Win News - 22 Sept 2020).
Update Benalla Arrival Event--Shannon Loughnane's Extremely Long Walk for Climate Action--Saturday 27 April 2019
This is an update on Shannon Loughnane's Extremely Long Walk to Canberra and his visit to Benalla on Saturday April 27th.
On the morning of Shannon’s arrival we are having a stall at the Lakeside Market from 9.00am until 1.00pm to collect signatures for Shannon’s petition to Parliament, and to display BSFG and REB information.
Mayor Scott Upston will attend a Welcome event for Shannon at the John Cooper Hall, the Benalla Uniting Church from 4.00pm. At this event we will hear from Shannon about his project and also John Lloyd who will talk about local climate change actions and renewable energy developments, and hear from other people about local climate actions. Finger Food and Tea/Coffee will be available at this event. BSFG acknowledges a Benalla Rural City Sponsorship Grant which is supporting this event.
Shannon is inviting people to walk with him. A good way to follow and join his walk is through social media. The attached flyer also has live links to Facebook, twitter and Instagram.
While Shannon would appreciate your company on his walk he is particularly interested in getting your signature on his petition. The opportunity to do this in Benalla will be at our Lakeside Market stall from 9.00am to 1.00pm or the Welcome event at the Uniting Church from 4.00pm. The Food Co-op also has the petition if you wish to sign it on one of the shops open days.
One of our members is hosting Shannon on Saturday night before he continues his walk to Wangaratta on Sunday.
Peter Maddock Secretary 0418 135 330.
Recently Shannon Loughnane of My Extremely Long Walk for Climate Action contacted the Benalla Sustainable Future Group seeking support on his walk from North Coburg to Canberra from April 20 to May 14 2019.
Described as a Low-Carbon, Community-Powered Solo Walk, Shannon plans to arrive in Benalla on Saturday April 27, staying overnight & leaving for Wangaratta the next day.
Shannon expects to arrive in Benalla at about 4.00pm and proceed to a Welcome to Benalla event at the John Cooper Hall at The Uniting Church, Carrier Street Benalla, opposite the Cole's Car Park. This event is open to the public.
Shannon is collecting signatures on a petition which he will deliver to Parliament in Canberra. The walk will be low carbon, and community-powered, culminating in the delivery of the community’s messages to politicians in the capital. The petition will be available to sign.
Shannon will tell us about his project then hand over to BSFG, Renewable Energy Benalla and other interested people to hear about and share local actions on climate change.
After the meeting finger food and tea/coffee will be available providing an opportunity to talk about local climate change actions.
Contact Peter 0418 135 330 for details.
Download the flyer.
"Happy New Year!
The Climate Council has been putting out some great stuff lately, including New Year's resolutions on climate change; the 8 biggest moments in climate change and 'talking energy' a summer bbq guide.
8 New Year's resolutions on Climate Change
2018: The 8 Biggest Moments in Climate Change
Summer Barbecue Guide - Talking Energy
The Annual General Meeting of Benalla Sustainable Future Group was held on Thursday 28th June at the Benalla Uniting Church, Carrier Street Benalla. After accepting the minutes of the previous AGM and presentation of reports all elected positions were declared open by Councillor Scott Upston and the election of Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary plus a minimum of four committee members and a nominated member from the Food Co-Op was proceeded with.
As there was no nomination for President, Wendy Sherlock, who is continuing in as Vice President, will proceed in this role in the interim. As most of you know, John Lloyd has resigned as President after many years to focus on the work of Renewable Energy Benalla. Councillor Upston made particular mention of the valued work John has played working with the Council in relation to environmental sustainability and renewable energy.
Our guest speaker for the meeting was Leigh Ewbank who has worked as an activist with Friends of the Earth for six years and is the current Act on Climate coordinator for Friends of the Earth. He has also worked on the Yes 2 Renewables campaign and was very much involved with campaigning against the anti-wind farm lobby. Yes 2 Renewables was the driving force behind the campaign to restore fair wind farm laws in Victoria, and spearheaded the case for a Victorian Renewable Energy Target. Leigh has a Bachelor of Social Science (Honours) from RMIT University, Melbourne. He has been engaged in climate and energy debates for years and more recently has lectured in the Urban Planning and Energy and Energy Policy and Management courses at RMIT University.
Leigh presented a most engaging slide show to accompany his talk, highlighting many case studies of FOE's grass roots involvement with communities concerned about climate change issues. He spoke of his current concern at the absence of climate change policy in the State's Liberal Party policy platform and recent backward steps in some aspects of previously very positive Labour Party policy.
Leigh then organised us to work in groups to develop responses to questions relating to our concerns about climate change. The 'scribe' for each group then read back the responses - these are being collated by Leigh, working with BSFG's Cath Marriott, for inclusion in a letter to be sent to local politicians which we will inclorporate into this post when available.
A delicious supper, the signing of postcards as part of an advocacy campaign and convivial discussions concluded the evening.
This is our fifth festival and we have another great line up of speakers and films for you. It follows the same format – three sessions with guest speakers and films to match, separated by afternoon tea and an evening meal served up by the fabulous Swanpool Catering Team. The cost this year is $25 per head (cash please), and a reminder that bookings are essential for seating and catering, phone 0498 007 988.
Julian Cribb spoke in our district back in 2012 about food security and sustainability, courtesy of GBCMA. The title of Julian’s talk this time around, ‘Surviving the 21st Century’, is the title of his most recent book. According to his book summary, ‘This book brings together in one clear, easy-to-read work the principal issues facing humanity – and what we can do about them’. The film to go with the talk, ‘The Age of Stupid‘, starring Peter Postlethwaite, was Julian’s own selection.
When Dr Richard David Hames heard the title of Julian’s talk he had to opt for ‘Burying the 20th Century’. That’s the title of his own second book. The film ‘The Age of Consequences‘ was a popular choice of our Landcare members and fits well with Richard’s talk theme.
So, somewhat by chance, we’ve ended up with ‘Burying the 20th Century’ followed by ‘Surviving the 21st Century’ … and ‘The Age of Consequences’ followed by ‘The Age of Stupid’.
Our final speaker, Prof Sharon Beder, comes from an engineering background but her interests have moved more to the humanities and environmental matters. We’re at a critical time in our social history and we look forward to her talk ‘Business- Managed Democracy’. It’s followed by the film ‘The Bentley Effect‘ which provides a positive ending to the evening.
Last year’s SEFF was a resounding success with people going home saying, “Can’t wait for next year’s”. Well here’s your chance and do please bring your friends along. It would be nice to have a full house for these eminent speakers and top-rated films.
Don’t be disappointed, bookings essential phone 0498 007 988. $25 ticket includes afternoon tea and dinner by the Swanpool Catering Team.
The flyer and program downloads below have more details about the 2017 Swanpool Environmental Film Festival.
BSFG Visit to “Xiuhtezcatl Martinez; Why I Sued the US Government” with young people from Benalla, 11 February 2107
On Saturday Feb 11 BSFG members Peter Holmes and Peter Maddock accompanied a delightful group of young Benalla people to Melbourne to attend the event "Xiuhtezcatl Martinez: Why I Sued the US Government" at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image at Federation Square in Melbourne.
We travelled to Melbourne by train and had time before the afternoon event to look around the CBD; several of us took the opportunity to look at the 2017 Sustainable Living Festival being held on the banks of the Yarra River. Peter Holmes' family and friends also met us at ACMI to see Xiuhtezcatl Martinez.
At the well-attended ACMI event Xiuhtezcatl (“Shu-tez-caht”) was introduced and interviewed by a young local poet and during the interview both gave us some poetry/rap pieces. Xiuhtezcatl has been involved with the Earth Guardians for many years and spoke of several issues he was involved in during his short activist career. The Earth Guardians link has a short video on Xiuhtezcatl titled Kid Warrior.
Xiuhtezcatl spoke of how many people already feeling the impact of climate change are both indigenous and coloured. He gave encouragement to both young and old who might be feeling overwhelmed at the thought of tackling climate change by saying do what you can, even the small things count. This can lead to other actions. As he says in the Kid Warrior video young people are seen to be the future and will one day do something about climate change; however, they aren’t going to wait, they are going to do something now! See Xiuhtezcatl delivering a TedTalk here.
Suing the US Government over climate change is based on a constitutional challenge that through “the governments affirmative actions in causing climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources”.
For such a young person Xiuhtezcatl has thought through many of the environmental issues facing us on the planet and is determined to encourage a youth led activist movement to change the direction from the path we are presently on. Although quietly spoken he is assured of his position on the issues and determined to do something about them.
After his presentation Xiuhtezcatl welcomed people to meet him outside the theatre where many asked for an autograph or to have a photo taken with him.
BSFG wish to thank our members and contacts who were able to offer sponsorship to enable the young people from Benalla to attend the event. And thank you to Peter Holmes who saw an article in The Age about Xiuhtezcatl and was inspired to suggest BSFG organise our visit.
BSFG President John Lloyd has surveyed candidates for the Benalla Rural City 2016 Council Election to find out about each candidate’s attitude to taking action on climate change.
The survey questions were;
Q1. Do you support an urgent transition away from polluting fossil fuels towards clean energy?
Q2. In order to address dangerous climate change, how will you use your position on council to ensure council moves quickly towards zero pollution?
Q3. Do you personally care about cutting pollution, supporting clean energy and addressing dangerous climate change?
The survey was emailed to all candidates who provided email addresses and posted to the others.
Responses to the survey will be made available to our members and people on our mailing list. A letter to the editor of the October 5 Benalla Ensign will also inform readers that full responses can be found on the BSFG website.
Some candidates have responded by commenting below in this News item . Edited comments have been included in the following response file.
Click here to view and download the responses so far. This file will be updated when further responses are received.
Regular updates on sustainability issues of concern to BSFG members in Benalla and North East Victoria and on key events in the BSFG calendar.
BSFG on Twitter