Rather fittingly, last week BSFG showed the movie 'Kiss the Ground' which is just one of many suggestions as to how to Celebrate World Soil Day! Check out the World Soil Day website for lots of ideas, or simply get out into your garden or farm and till the soil for a while! #4Soil
Vermont Farm to Plate - Planning for Sustainable and Secure Food and Farming Systems Webinar Series commencing Dec 2
This December, we will, for the first time, have the opportunity to learn directly from the leaders of the organisation responsible for the implementation of the Vermont Farm to Plate plan—by many accounts one of the most comprehensive and long-term food and farming system programs of its kind. Across three weekly webinars, Director Jake Claro and Network Manager Sarah Danly will discuss how the decade-old program has successfully increased employment, business creation and food security through collaborative, whole-of-system actions and networking, aligned to a shared agenda of a better food and farming system for Vermont.
Register for the webinars here. The first webinar is free.
Brought to you by SUSTAIN, the Australian Food Network. Download Media Release.
Click the image below to download the flyer.
Interested in tackling transport emissions? Join a community panel of 450 like minded Victorians. Expressions of Interest open.
Infrastructure Victoria is inviting 450 Victorians to participate in a series of engagement activities to explore how we can move away from petrol-and diesel-powered vehicles to meet the state’s emissions targets.The transport sector is Victoria’s second most emission intensive sector, accounting for around 20 per cent of the state’s total carbon dioxide emissions (22.3 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2e) from a total of 113.9 Mt (CO2e) in 2016).
Cars are the biggest contributor, generating 56 per cent of our transport emissions. Unless Victorians adopt low or zero emission vehicles at a faster pace than current trends, we will not reach the state’s legislated target of net zero emissions by 2050.
Infrastructure Victoria is inviting participants to meet in a state-wide online community panel which will inform recommendations to be included in Victoria’s updated 30-year infrastructure strategy, to be finalised mid next year. Participants will also be compensated for their involvement through a $60 payment on conclusion of the events.
Infrastructure Victoria is an independent advisory body responsible for preparing a 30-year infrastructure strategy for Victoria. We encourage public debate about infrastructure needs, issues and preferences to help inform planning and solutions that will better meet the needs of Victorian communities.
Invitation to community members:
Infrastructure Victoria is inviting 450 Victorians to get involved in a series of online activities, between 25 January and 19 February 2021, to explore how Victorians can be supported to reduce transport emissions. We want to hear from people of different ages, genders, jobs, cultural backgrounds, accessibility needs and postcodes to ensure the panel participants and solutions are broadly representative of the Victorian population.
The expression of interest form is available online on Infrastructure Victoria’s website at www.infrastructurevictoria.com.au/communitypanel
Community panel members will hear from a range of subject matter experts and learn why we need to transition to low or zero emission cars. Participants will also take part in online activities where they can ask questions, discuss key themes, share their views and ultimately provide advice and feedback to Infrastructure Victoria.
Key dates and details
Expression of interest nomination period
9 November – 11 December, 2020
Notification of successful participants
14 – 18 December, 2020
25 January – 19 February, 2021 with approximately 15 hours total commitment. The majority of this time is self-paced.
Are you interested in becoming a panel member?
For more information and to complete a panel expression of interest application, go to www.infrastructurevictoria.com.au/communitypanel
Finally, on Thursday 26th November, we will be able to have our first "real" live BSFG meeting for 2020! As this is also our last scheduled meeting date for the year, the committee felt it would be good to have something special, and a little less formal, to end the year.
We have obtained approval to screen a recently released film, "Kiss the Ground", which examines the effects of industrial farming practices on the world's agricultural land, and the potential benefits of regenerative farming techniques, not only to heal the land, but in assisting the drawdown of carbon from the atmosphere, to reduce the effects of climate change. https://kissthegroundmovie.com/
The film showcases some amazing examples of restoration projects from various parts of the world, and how they have transformed landscapes, and restored hope in the ability of the Earth to heal itself.
As this is a film about the future of the Earth's food production capability, I urge you all to attend, and to invite a friend who may be involved in food production, be it meat, grain, fruit or vegetable.
As usual, we will conclude with a cuppa and something to eat, and a chance to chat about the film, and of course, the year that was!!
We hope to see you all at the John Cooper Hall, Benalla Uniting Church, 7.30pm on the 26th.
As we may have limits on numbers attending, please RSVP to email: email@example.com or simply reply to this email with names attending.
Of course, covid protocols will need to be followed: stay home if unwell, wear facemasks, sanitize hands on arrival, and observe correct social distancing.
In September, the new BSFG Committee was elected at our special zoom AGM. The members are as follows:
Peter Holmes - President
David Blore - Vice President
Judy Schwarzman - Secretary
Wendy Baker - Treasurer
Christine Holmes - food Co-op rep
Many thanks to each of these members for agreeing to serve on the committee, and we look forward to achieving some of our (deferred) goals in the very near future.
This is a reminder that starting this Tuesday 13 October at 8.30pm on ABC and iView is the new series Big Weather, https://iview.abc.net.au/show/big-weather-and-how-to-survive-it.
Join Craig Reucassel in this three-part series, Big Weather delivers an urgent and entertaining message of how our weather is changing and what we can do to survive it.
With unique access to Australia's emergency services, first responders and local communities, Big Weather (and how to survive it) is an emotionally gripping series filmed over one intense summer.
What a year it has been. Big Weather is a reminder of how much of Australia was feeling the effects of widespread bushfires before the Covid pandemic.
Benalla Rural City Council Elections
In the next few days, you will be receiving the postal vote forms and candidate statements in the mail for this year's council elections.
Benalla Sustainable Future Group urges all voters to prioritise those candidates who show concern about climate change and sustainability issues.
We believe that all levels of government have a duty of care for the future wellbeing of their citizens. It is recognised by most people that climate change and sustainability will have profound implications for our future wellbeing, and to this end, approximately 100 local government jurisdictions in Australia have already expressed their concerns by declaring a Climate Emergency.
BSFG acknowledges that people are concerned about many localised issues, when it comes to choosing their preferred councillors, but we firmly believe that decisions made, and actions taken, at a local level have a significant impact on the wider community. Bearing this in mind, we believe that Benalla Rural City urgently needs councillors with the vision to not only develop plans to adapt to climate change, but also to be proactive in formulating plans to mitigate climate change, and actively support measures that are more sustainable in the long term.
On behalf of BSFG,
Peter Holmes (President)
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"
The Benalla Food Co-op currently has just over 70 members and 118 different products. All products are chosen very carefully with environmental and ethical considerations, along with supporting local and regional producers where possible. The co-op has been running for nine and a half years.
The prompt implementation of COVID 19 safe procedures at the Benalla Food Co-op, has meant we were able to keep operating through-out this disturbing time of uncertainty and lockdowns. I had many consultations with Callum Morrison, BRC Public Health Officer, fine-tuning the procedures for the Food Co-op, to continue serving our members. Keeping people safe was of prime importance. We were reassured by Callum's comment that “we are providing an essential service". Numerous procedures have been implemented, along with the basic hygiene principals such as washing hands, physical distancing, not coming in to the food co-op if you are unwell and limiting the customers to three at a time, which was well under 4 sq metres per person. Earlier on, I think we might have been the only place in Benalla that didn't run out of toilet paper!
A short video was produced illustrating our procedures. I would like to thank Sonia Bourke for putting this together.
The Benalla Food Co-op currently has just over 70 members and 118 different products. All products are chosen very carefully with environmental and ethical considerations, along with supporting local and
With the advent of COVID 19 it became a priority to have and encourage the preferred digital method of online payment. Each member who operates the computer system has been trained up to do this. I would like to thank Tanya Walker and Peter Holmes for overseeing this transition.
A number of weeks ago I put a number of options to the committee as to how we could continue running the coop in the advent of worsening outbreaks of COVID. Each committee member contributed thoughtful and suggestive responses ranging from how we currently manage to the use of online ordering and the use of paper-bags. The majority of committee members were happy with the current procedures as long as COVID numbers remained low in Regional Victoria.
I would like to acknowledge there have been a few general members who have chosen not to shop at the food co-op during this time. Other than that, during the COVID restrictions, the food co-op has been busier than the same period of time last year, and we have had fourteen new members join the co-op, which is quite astonishing.
If you would like to check financial statements refer to the treasurer's report (BSFG Annual Reports, when published).
I would like to thank all the duty managers and computer operators who do a wonderful job carrying out extra responsibilities. We have had a number of new members take this on.
I would like to thank Julie McPherson who has the relentless job of organising the roster, Rhona Rose who keeps you up to date on a weekly basis, Loren who sometimes takes delivery of our orders along with Sonia who takes delivery of special items such as Tradewinds and dried fruits from Mildura.
Lastly, I would like to thank all our amazing dedicated committee members, who are committed to the well being of the food co-op and for me personally are a truly wonderful group of people who offer support, make suggestions and are prepared to work through any arising issues. I am profoundly grateful to be working with you all.
Benalla Food Co-op Coordinator
Attribution of the source of bush-fires is often a 'hot topic' at the time of major bush fires. New urban planning development and greater attention to bushfire prevention in new urban planning developments and periurban areas generally are also required according to Associate Professor Janet Stanley, Principal Research Fellow - Urban Social Resilence at Melbourne University's Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) and Professor Brendan Gleeson, Director of the MSSI, who participated in a Webinar 'How Urban Planning can help prevent bushfires' on Thursday 24 September at 12 midday..
How can Urban Planning help prevent bushfires?
Bushfires pose unprecedented challenges for Australian cities and towns. Climate change and continuing urban sprawl see more and more Australians impacted by increasingly catastrophic fires. The frequency of bushfires is higher in the urban fringe areas, with about 40% of maliciously lit fires linked to youth.
These suburbs often suffer from a lack of infrastructure – services, transport and jobs. The outcome are social problems such as high youth unemployment, early school leaving and an inability for youth to travel to and from work and recreation. What role does urban planning have to play in breaking up this combination of climate, geographical and social factors?
Associate Professor Janet Stanley is a Principal Research Fellow - Urban Social Resilience at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI). She focuses on the interface between social, environmental and economic issues in climate change and sustainability, across policy, system design, and at community levels. In conversation with Professor Brendan Gleeson, Director of MSSI and a specialist in urban, social and environmental planning and policy, Janet will discuss her research and findings into how urban planning can help prevent further bushfires.
Janet Stanley spoke of the need for forward planning to prevent, eg. piling up of rubbish; leaving of old vehicles; in periurban areas. Her research area clearly incorporates a focus on arson, and she spoke compellingly about the need for involvement from a wide range of group members including police,and urban planners, in working to prevent arson, especially with children and young people. She also spoke earnestly about the need for environmentalists to be part of any community response, with 'Gippsland Arson Prevention Association' a lighthouse example which she felt could be replicated elsewhere.
Last summer a number of fires began close to Benalla - with one, for example, near the golf course, starting when a car with a trailer swerved and became disconnected from the vehicle towing it, igniting a small fire which got away. There are of course preventative approaches to eg. fires caused by farm machinery in rural areas, especially during periods of increasing fire risk, but Janet's work focuses more on urban areas, particularly urban fringe areas. For me, this is a hot topic, as I have two gum trees I'm particularly fond of on my property in town. With increasing risk of bushrfires with climate change, worry that they may form a conduit for across town spread of bushfires. While this wasn't covered in her talk, it did raise issues for me to think about.
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.
Benalla's Community Gardens - the Central Benalla Community Garden, Carrier Street (behind Uniting Church, opposite Coles)
What an abundant crop of vegetables greeted me during a spontaneous visit to the Central Benalla Community Garden in Carrier Street while visiting Benalla's local Food Cooperative recently. Community Garden members Pip Rigby and Rhonda Manning proudly showed me full to over-flowing beds of snow peas, lettuce, silver beet, sprouts, parsley and more. Chewing happily on freshly picked snow peas while chatting, they encouraged me to try a snow pea, to pick vegetables to take home and to share the news with BSFG members that we are welcome to visit the gardens and pick fresh vegetables..
Benalla's Howard Bartlett is participating in Sustainable House Day again this year, with his Solar Skillion Sleepout featuring in 2020's on-line event . Developing a video presentation was part of the requirement this year, and it is with pleasure we launch Howard's video on our website! There is also a most informative article by Simon Ruppert in the Shepparton News and Benalla Ensign, and of course past posts on our website.
The online program for Sustainable House Day looks excellent - so many sessions to choose from, you just need to register, choose a stream and enter the online webinars you wish to attend. .
There is also an Extension Program of six webinar sessions over the next 10 days at a minimal cost per session.
You can check out the Shepparton News article here (you just need to register), or, if the link has expired by the time you read it, email us through the Contact page and we will send you a pdf copy.
T read more about Howard's house - Bartlett, Howard (2017) 'Changing Households' The Owner Builder 201, July/August 2017 p48 - 51
Established in 2001, Sustainable House Day is a national event that allows the public to see and learn from the best environmental homes in Australia. It aims to inspire people to live sustainably, showing them how to lower energy bills, live comfortably and help the environment through good home design, practices and technology.
Explore a program of over 30 free sessions happening on Sustainable House Day, offering practical advice and guidance on a range of topics relating to sustainable house design including new buildings and renovations.
In light of COVID-19, this year’s event is completely virtual. Participating homes have created video tours and can be asked questions about their homes on the Sustainable House Day website. Selected homeowners will also be taking part in information sessions happening throughout the day, accessible to anyone through Zoom. These sessions will be hosted by sustainability experts, designers, and architects, and allow a valuable opportunity for participants to seek guidance from those who have already completed their home. The program for these sessions can be found on the Sustainable House Day website: https://sustainablehouseday.com/program.
To view house tours and take part in the sessions on the day, registrations to the Sustainable House Day website are necessary. Register at https://sustainablehouseday.com/register.
BSFG member Howard Bartlett is again part of Sustainable House Day, displaying his Solar Skillion Sleepout.
A reminder that our 2020 AGM is also online via Zoom at 7.30pm on Thursday September 24th.
0418 135 330
Due to Covid 19 restrictions the committee has decided to conduct our AGM online this year. The Zoom meeting will be held at 7.30pm on Thursday September 24th.
The AGM will be limited to the basic requirements of ratifying any reports and electing the new committee. Reports will be circulated to members by email prior to the meeting.
Prior to the election of the new committee all positions will be declared vacant. Positions available are President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary, plus four committee members. Nominations for the new committee should be submitted to me by email by 5pm on Tuesday 22nd September.
We will email the link for the Zoom meeting on Sunday 20th, and again after 5pm on Tuesday 22nd, listing the nominations for the committee.
We expect the AGM could be conducted withing the 40 minutes available on our Basic Zoom plan. However, should extra time be required our meeting may be resumed by using the same Zoom link to continue the meeting again for another 40 minutes, perhaps after a short break for coffee.
Yesterday we received advice for Consumer Affairs that we need to send a Proxy form with this notice of the AGM. We have also decided to send a Nomination form to assist with the election of Office Bearers and Committee. We need to receive Proxy forms at least 24 hours before the meeting. These forms were attached to the email sent to members and can be sent on application if necessary.
Last week I sent a reminder to some members about renewing their membership for 2020/21. Only financial members can vote at the AGM.
We look forward to seeing you online for our 2020 AGM.
0418 135 330
The next meeting of the Benalla Local Food Network will be held online on Wednesday September 16th from 4pm until 5pm. Join the meeting from your computer by clicking on this link, https://vcc.healthdirect.org.au/t/benallahealth/room/team-meeting.
Download the Flyer.
I hope every has been well in safe in these COVID times! There has been a lot of work in the food space recently;
I would love to catch up with everyone in Benalla about what is happening with our local food. Anecdotally I have heard of more families getting back into gardening and home cooking during lockdown which is great. Our local Benalla businesses are also doing food deliveries to our local community.
Date: Wednesday 16th September
Hope to see you all there (virtually!)
On Wednesday 13 August we held our first general meeting for some time, this time over Zoom. It was, (just quietly), an adventure for most of us, but it worked! The first of four weekly meetings following Craig Reucassell's The Fight for Planet A' series, it provided us with an opportunity to share our impressions of the show and begin to explore ways in which we can reduce our own emissions and contribute to the reduction of commissions in our neighbourhoods and broader community. Thank you to John Lloyd for hosting the meeting, and to Peter Maddock for facilitating the process.
If you are watching the series, please consider joining our Zoom 'Fight for Planet A' follow up discussion group - the next session will be on Wednesday 20 August at 8 pm.
If you have not used Zoom before we suggest you join the meeting 10-15 minutes before 8.00pm as there will be a small program to download and install before you can join the meeting. Once the program has installed you will then have an opportunity to test and adjust audio and video settings. To assist you with this I have attached John’s document with details about Joining a Zoom Meeting for the First Time.
The meeting will be held with a 10 minute coffee break between two 40 minute sessions.
Please contact BSFG's Peter Maddock on 0418 135 330 if you would like to become involved and he will send you out the link to the meeting so that you can join us on Zoom.
Here are some of the links and resources recommended in the first discussion session:
We'd like to recommend a new series relating to a sustainable future commencing this coming Tuesday on ABC TV. The ABC's new show to inspire our thinking and challenge our behaviour on climate change, Fight for Planet A: Our Climate Challenge premieres on August 11th at 8.30pm.
Over three episodes Craig Reucassel takes on a climate challenge to reduce our carbon emissions and understand where our energy comes from, how transport and travel emissions affect our health and just what is the carbon footprint of the things we eat? If you're motivated to get involved in solutions to reduce our carbon emissions there is an online personalised plan which will provide you with useful tips, tools and advice, https://fightforplaneta.abc.net.au/solutionsplan.
The series features Coalition for Community Energy members and will showcase how individuals, families, schools and businesses can help reduce our carbon footprint by making practical day-to-day changes, especially in our homes. Far from taking the pressure off governments and industry, Craig will check in to see if they are doing all they can to make the changes we need and challenge them to do better.
The ABC has suggested this is an opportunity to host an online conversation about climate change and has provided a toolkit to assist us with this. It has been suggested we arrange a Zoom event possibly at least the day after the screenings to enable this conversation with BSFG members. More information about this will be sent to you once we have finalised the details.
Also, of interest this Monday 10th August at 8.30pm on ABC 4Corners is Plastic Wars: Recycling spin in the plastics industry, a PBS Frontline production presented by Craig Reucassel.
0418 135 330
Hot Topics - Peter Maddock asks 'do large scale renewables continue and perhaps exacerbate human domination of the planet and its resources?'
I have been struggling recently with continuing my involvement with BSFG and I have advised our President Peter Holmes I wish to relinquish my position as Secretary.
In part this has come to a head during discussions between some members of our group about the film ‘Planet of the Humans’ which has been freely available online since the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22. The film was strongly criticised by environmental groups and groups representing renewable energy.
The film did use outdated information to criticise the performance of solar and renewable energy in general which was a disservice to the films other message about our overpopulation and overconsumption of resources, often without much, if any consideration for the ecological space occupied and required by nonhuman species on the planet.
I have now come to the position of seeing large scale renewables as a continuation and potentially an exacerbation of the human domination of the planet and its resources. While we have been mining the solar energy in coal and oil for some centuries, the proposal that Australia now becomes a Renewable Energy Superpower will result in using our landscape to mine solar energy directly. At the large scale proposed I can only see such infrastructure as an encroachment on the ecological space required by the non-human species of our planet.
Although I am concerned about the impact of largescale renewables, I do think there may be an opportunity for local community energy which would most likely be rooftop solar. More generally I support the ‘Localisation Movement’ which hopes to reduce our emissions dramatically, for instance by reducing transport emissions, particularly food emissions.
Over the last few years I have been developing an Ecocentric world view which was probably reinforced by a number of books I have read and also from my reading of the freely available online publication ‘The Ecological Citizen’, confronting human supremacy in defence of the Earth: https://www.ecologicalcitizen.net/.
Some authors equate the Anthropocene, the human created epoch to Human Supremacy.
Looking for some information on the Ecocene I came across this Huffington Post article From Anthropocene To Ecocene by 2050? which became the title for my article.
The author Richard Steiner writes, ‘It is inevitable that the current Anthropocene era will evolve into an ecologically sustainable era - which can be called the ‘Ecocene’. The current trajectory of environmental and social decline cannot continue much longer. Indeed, the Anthropocene will be gone in the blink of geologic time. The real question is: What will be left of the biosphere at the dawn of the Ecocene, e.g. what species, including H. sapiens, will survive the Anthropocene evolutionary bottleneck?’.
Richard Steiner has a website from where you can freely download his book: OASIS EARTH: Planet in Peril: Our last best chance to save our world: https://www.oasis-earth.com/oasis-earth-planet-inperil .
The book begins with the Dedication, ‘In honour of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day (April 2020) and the United Nations World Environment Day (June), Oasis Earth is dedicated to our extraordinary Home Planet-for nurturing and sustaining the evolution of life over billions of years; for being patient with H. sapiens while we learn to control our destructive impulses; and for the remarkable resilience that will restore Earth in the coming Ecocene, with or without us’.
Over the past couple of months, I have read various commentaries regarding the relationship between the Covid-19 pandemic and carbon emissions, and the potential positive effect on climate change, due to less traffic on our roads.
The downside, however, is that we have become even more of a ‘takeaway’ society, and the proliferation of throwaway coffee cups and polystyrene food containers, is a disturbing outcome. Try as I might to convince coffee baristas to accept my keep cup, explaining that they could make my coffee in a china mug and pour it into my keep cup, logic and common sense had gone out the window, as they all insisted Covid health regulations required them to use takeaway cups - which they handed to me with ungloved hands!!
This all might seem trivial, but it is actually symptomatic of a more wide-reaching problem that concerns me in this current period of crisis. Have we become a society that is totally compliant to expert advice without question, worn down by the enormity of all the problems we face? Have we lost the will to question decisions of government thrust upon us, either because of the uncertainty of where this is all heading, or because of the threat of the penalties for non-compliance?
Please understand that I am not questioning the dangers of this Covid-19 pandemic. Rather, I am concerned about the type of society that may be evolving from the pandemic. There are extreme reactions already in evidence around the world, ranging from the desperation of poor people deprived of health care and essential supplies, to the arrogance and selfishness of those people (politicians, elite sports people, beach revellers, etc.) who either don't think or care about the effect of their actions on others. These are not new issues, but my concern is that they will become more prevalent and extreme, the longer the pandemic continues.
As for the effect on climate change, the reduction in carbon emissions has helped, but the proposals to lead us towards economic recovery in Australia will not, especially if Scott Morrison's gas-weighted committee has its way. Whichever way I look at gas as a means of providing energy, it is still burning a fossil fuel, producing carbon dioxide and methane, and certainly not alleviating the problem of climate change. Renewables create emissions in their manufacturing phase and in the mining of the construction materials, but that is the end of the story, unlike gas and coal.
Finally, if you missed the last episode of ‘Road to Now’ on ABC TV (30th June), try to watch it on iview, as it dealt with natural disasters, and in particular, those associated with climate events - a stark reminder of the need to take urgent action on climate change.
This year's Swanpool Environmental Film Festival could not go ahead because of the Corona Virus Pandemic, leaving quite a gap for many of us. We've retrieved a section of our website which provides a summary of what has happened over the past four years, including links to trailers of past films, some of which are now available on line. Perhaps you'd like to search for and 'cast' them on to your television and have your own 'Film Festival' while socially distancing!
"BSFG partners with Swanpool Landcare and the Gecko CLaN in running the annual Swanpool Environmental Film Festival at the Swanpool Cinema.
The 2016 Festival featured three thought provoking films - 'Polyfaces', 'Anthropocene' and 'Tarkine In Motion' - alternating with presentations by inspirational guest speakers, Prof Kate Auty; 'Polyfaces' co-Director Isabella Doherty and Cinematographer Andreas Overdahl; Dr Kerryn Higgs' on ‘Collision Course: The Growth Delusion’ and Prof Michael Clarke's on ‘Ecological Literacy, ambivalence and inspiration’.
The 2017 Festival featured 'The Age of Stupid' featuring Peter Postlethwaite; ‘The Age of Consequences‘ and ‘The Bentley Effect‘. The films were interspersed between guest speakers Julian Cribb on ‘Surviving the 21st Century’; Dr Richard David Hames on ‘Burying the 20th Century’ and Prof Sharon Beder, on ‘Business-Managed Democracy’
The 2018 Festival on 16th June was a sell out, with 195 bookings! The festival featured Dr Samuel Alexander and film ‘Living in the Futures Past’: Dr Charles Massy, author of 'The Cry of the Reed Warbler' and film ‘Living the Change’; a Guest Panel chaired by Kate Auty featuring Dr Ian Herbert; Bertram Lobert, Shirley Saywell and speakers from the Strathbogie Forests group who took action at the Barjarg coupe and the film ‘Paper Trail’.
The 2019 Swanpool Environmental Film Festival 2019 (PG) was held on Saturday 15 June from 1pm to 9:40pm.:
Session One: Dr Tilman Ruff and film ‘System Error’
Session Two: Professor Samantha Hepburn and Short Enviro Film Fest
Session Three: Professor Tim Reeves and film ‘2040’.
Read more about the 2019 festival...
We missed this year's Festival, thoroughly appreciating the thinking by Ian Herbert and his team which goes in to creating a festival to expose us to the vanguard of current thinking in relation to sustainable futures. We also missed the catering by Swanpool Catering Team volunteers which sustained us during breaks between Sessions which provided opportunities for audience members to network and catch up with friends.
Hopefully we'll be able to meet up again in June 2021!
Designing projects to boost the regional food economy in North-East Victoria
The Open Food Network's Farmers & Eaters NE Victoria Project involves bringing together local food producers, distributors and eaters to develop projects to activate short and direct supply chains to boost viability for farmers and resilience of the regional food economy.
It will build on existing regional strengths and projects, and collaborate to ensure efforts align with existing initiatives and strategies.
Due to COVID, d the plan for delivery of this project has been rejigged!
Have a project idea or want to learn more? – Webinar 17 June 6.30-8.30 pm
Short and Direct Food Supply Chains: Opportunities and Challenges for Farmers in North East Victoria
Webinar: 17 June, 6.30-8.30pm.
Register at eventbrite: https://bit.ly/ofn-ne-event
Background paper: https://bit.ly/ofn-ne-backgrounder
Submit a project idea: The aim of the project is to develop actionable projects to help more North East Vic farmers get more of the retail dollar for their food! Following the webinar, we will select project ideas for support from July 2020. There is more information and a form at the end of the Background Paper.
Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org or 0411878063
Community facilitation | Sector development
Open Food Network Australia
Sign up to our newsletter
It’s hard to fathom the complexity of the globally challenging time COVID-19 has delivered to us all. As to the running of the Benalla Food Co-op, we were questioning ourselves - How will we manage the running of the co-op? Customers by appointment? Reduce open hours? Should we close?
Keeping people safe was of prime importance. Emails were flying around between committee members who were diligent and supportive of keeping it going if we could. After consultation with Callum Morrison, BRC Public Health Officer, we fine-tuned the procedures for the Food Co-op to continue serving our members. Many of our customers have been shopping for nearly nine years, so it would be a grave shame if we had to shut altogether. I was reassured by Callum's comment that, “We are providing an essential service". Callum was very impressed with our efforts and at no time indicated a necessity to close the co-op.
Numerous procedures have been implemented, along with the basic hygiene principals such as: no one entering until hands have been washed in hands free basin, no touching of body, not coming in to the food co-op if you are unwell and limiting the customers to three at a time, which was well under four square metres per person.
Any points of possible direct contamination between customers, customers' containers, duty members, and food co-op products has been eliminated by wearing gloves and thoughtful procedures that might look bizarre, if not dealing with a pandemic crisis. We have also had to tell our customers that children must remain home.
Another idea that came up was to make a short video. If you wish to view the video outlining our procedure, Ctrl and Click on the following link: Benalla Food Co Op COVID-19 procedures.mp4
The committee had also been looking into an electronic payment system at the food co-op. With the advent of COVID-19 it became a priority as this is now the preferred method of payment. This required purchasing a new iPad and Square card reader, downloading the Square app on to the iPad, and transferring a lot of data to the new system as well as sorting through some teething issues. Cash or cheque payments are also still available, as we are using an inand-out cash tin system to avoid cross handling of cash.
Members have been patient, supportive and as committed as always to continue shopping at the food co-op.
Benalla Food Co-op Coordinator
We recently received information from the Australian Conservation Foundation about the online School Strike 4 Climate this Friday 15 May. You may be interested in following this.
"As for many of us, this year has been tough for the young leaders in the Australian School Strike 4 Climate movement.
In March students made the difficult decision to cancel all the in-person strikes they were planning for 15 May, due to COVID-19. Their education was also disrupted as schools closed down. Many of them have spent weeks learning from home, with all the challenges that involves.
But throughout, the students have come together with incredible care and resilience. They have re-grouped, reflected, and collaborated on solid plans to keep their movement strong and thriving.
That’s why on Friday 15 May, School Strike 4 Climate is hosting an online interactive livestream, to envision a better future on the other side of this crisis, and start taking action to make this vision a reality. Will you join them?
During this event you will:
You might notice that this event isn’t called a “strike”. Learning from home hasn’t been easy, and with so many students struggling and schools slowly re-opening, the opportunity to attend class is one that the students don’t want to miss.
So this event will be held outside most school hours, from 4pm to 8pm AEST (that’s starting at 4pm in VIC, NSW, TAS, ACT, QLD; starting 2pm in WA; and starting 3.30pm in NT and SA.)
JOIN THE LIVESTREAM
The students’ demands hold true, now more than ever. As Australia rebuilds from this major disruption, we need our elected representatives to ensure Australia rapidly cuts emissions with: no new coal, oil and gas projects, including the Adani mine; 100% clean energy generation and exports by 2030; and funding a fair transition and job creation for fossil-fuel industry workers and communities.
And in recognition of how interconnected we are with each other, and how our health depends on the health of our communities and our planet, the students’ have set three new objectives: show solidarity with impacted communities; connect with one another; and educate the network.
The students do not take a crisis lying down. So let’s back them in as they call for a better future.
See you online to #BuildaBetterFuture.
P.S. Can’t make it to the whole livestream? That’s okay – you can still RSVP and join for the time that you can. And if you have some spare time this week, the students would really appreciate you helping to get the word out about the event. They’ve created this handy promo guide with images, posters, templates for emails and text messages, and more ideas to help you invite your friends, family and colleagues to join.
P.P.S. Some students are running local online events on or after 15 May. To see if there’s an event run by your local student group, see their list of community events.
John Lloyd, convenor of Renewable Energy Benalla, a BSFG action group, has been liaising with and sharing information about Indigo Power as it has developed to become our local community provider. Community Energy Hubs and Indigo Power were launched online via a Covid-19 required webinar a couple of weeks ago.
Hint - the webinar begins five minutes in; prior to that people begin arriving.
John responded to Indigo Power's suggestion during the webinar that people to compare their rates with their current energy retailer and was agreeably surprised to find that Indigo Power rates were very competitive.
Would you like to find out more? Check out the brochure on Indigo Power and the Benalla Community Hub below. Considering joining? Check out the following information...
Join Indigo Power today
Electricity generation is the largest driver of climate change and bills take over $160 million out of our region each year. Together we can change that. We employ local people and will invest half of any profits in renewable energy projects in our communities.
So every time you pay your bill, you’ll be making a difference.
As a customer, you’ll be connected to your community energy hub where you can keep track of the energy generated and shared between you and your neighbours. We’re also building local clean energy generation and storage for extra supply.
Find out more at indigopower.com.au
email@example.com or 1800 491 739
Retail energy provided by Indigo Power Services. Indigo Power Services is a trading name of Energy Locals Pty Ltd, ABN 23606408879, a licensed energy retailer.
Regular updates on sustainability issues of concern to BSFG members in Benalla and North East Victoria and on key events in the BSFG calendar.