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? email@example.com or 0411878063
Community facilitation | Sector development
Open Food Network Australia
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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
firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
A one-day workshop on resilience thinking at Chesney Vale on Thursday 23 April 2020 is one of three being held across the Goulburn Broken Catchment for interested community members. It is being held at the Mokoan Hub and Cafe, 652 Lake Mokoan Road, Chesney Vale from 10am to 2.30pm.
Resilience is the capacity of a system (people and the environment) ‘to absorb a shock or setback and to flourish in spite of it, maybe even because of it’ (Outback, Apr/May 2017), Participants will learn how communities and organisations can prepare and manage change (including shocks and disasters), while creating opportunities towards a positive future. Course presenter Paul Ryan will share the latest resilience thinking from across the globe and practical examples from our own backyard. The course will also cover the seven key principles for resilience: 1. Develop a ‘complexity’ view of the world 2. Plan for change 3. Foster cohesion, self-organisation and local responsibility 4. Design for flexibility 5. Manage connectivity 6. Value, retain and build diversity and redundancy 7. Orientate towards slow variables, leverage and tipping points 8. Learn for change.
The workshop is open to all interested community members, including Traditional Owners, youth, business owners, farmers, tourism operators, natural resource management professionals, environmental volunteers, health professionals and government agency staff.
If you’re interested in change management and developing your ability to increase the resilience of your local community, environment, business and/or industry then this free one-day course will provide you with new knowledge and skills to achieve this. For further details or queries contact: Ashley Rogers by emailing email@example.com or phoning 0488 196 216.
The workshops are free thanks to funding from the Victorian Government’s Our Catchments, Our Communities Program and the Goulburn Broken CMA.
National Climate Emergency Summit - Melbourne 14th, 15th Feb 2020
The Melbourne Town Hall was filled to capacity last Friday and Saturday, as 2000 people, representing all age groups, all walks of life, most States of Australia, and across the political spectrum, attended both plenary and workshop sessions, over the two days. Delegates included representatives from Benalla Rural City Council and Benalla Sustainable Future Group
They were addressed by over 100 speakers - climate and other scientists, business leaders, social justice advocates, health professionals, lawyers, engineers, journalists, economists, indigenous leaders, student climate leaders, and politicians - both past and present, Liberal, ALP, Greens and Independents.
The key messages that came through to all delegates at the Summit, were that the World, and in particular developed countries, and most essentially Australia, must urgently tackle the existential threat of climate change, with a government of national unity, and a Cabinet of experts who can utilise all the resources of knowledge and materials that we have to defeat this "enemy of climate change", rather like the free world did to mobilize itself in the world wars.
Why? Because, as the science has been showing us for decades, the Earth has been warming at an increasing rate, principally due to human activity, and it is rapidly approaching critical climate "tipping points", from which it will be impossible to prevent a human and ecological catastrophe.
All speakers were extremely critical of Australia's weak emission reduction target of 26-28% by 2050, describing this as just "kicking the can down the road" for future generations to deal with the problem. The reality is that Australia contributes over 5% of the Earth's greenhouse emissions through its own domestic activities, and its exports of coal and gas overseas - not just the 1.3% claimed by the government. This makes Australia the fourth highest polluting country in the world, with just 25 million of the 7.5 billion people who live on Earth!
Setting targets of zero net emissions by 2050 were also described as hopelessly inadequate - climate scientists warned a few years ago that we have until 2030 at the latest to reach that target.
If the world continues on its present path of burning fossil fuels and releasing even more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it will not meet the Paris Climate Agreement objective of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but will instead heat up by 3 to 4 degrees by mid to late this century, making life impossible for billions of people through drought and famine, diseases, rising sea levels, and resulting in the mass extinctions of much of the Earth's flora and fauna.
This is not the future that the 2000 delegates want to see inflicted on our planet. The urgency of the crisis has been demonstrated quite clearly to Australians this summer and in recent years through prolonged drought, catastrophic bushfires, severe hailstorms and flooding rain events - and all of these have been exacerbated by just one degree of warming!
So what solutions did the Summit propose?
Of primary importance, Australia must be a world leader in rapidly restructuring its economy, away from its reliance on fossil fuels, as it is blessed with the natural resources of sun, wind and waves to power its entire economy, and export surplus power to Asia. Communities that currently rely on fossil fuel industries must be financially and socially assisted in this transition. The electricity network grid in Australia requires enormous upgrades to cope with the influx of renewable energy, and part of this upgrade is the installation of large-scale battery storage facilities. The transport sector must be redeveloped with electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles. Agriculture must play its part too, as there are serious ramifications for the Earth if vegetation clearing continues unabated, and soil degradation leads to decreasing food production.
The Summit was told that not only do we need to stop emitting more greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, but we need to draw down carbon dioxide which we have already sent there. Various speakers from science and engineering fields detailed the techniques that are already available, or that could be utilised in the future, in order to do this draw-down, so that the Earth could cool again.
At the final plenary session on Saturday evening, delegates were addressed by 3 speakers. The first was 14 year old schoolboy, Zel Whiting from Adelaide, reporting on the student workshop that had been held during the Summit, at which it was determined to continue fighting for action and justice on behalf of future generations. One could not help but be moved by the clarity of thought, and the desperation of the message that these young people bring to the world. The second speaker was Cr. Trent McCarthy from Darebin City Council in Melbourne, the first Council in the world to declare a Climate Emergency in 2016. Over 100 delegates representing 77 local government jurisdictions in Australia met on Saturday morning, and resolved to "commit to work together as a partisan group" to find solutions to the climate emergency.
The final speaker was Ian Dunlop, former chair of the Australian Coal Association and CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Mr Dunlop, along with Dr John Hewson (former leader of the Liberal Party), Carmen Lawrence (former WA Premier), Dr Kerryn Phelps (former head of AMA and Independent MHR for Wentworth), and Tim Costello (former CEO of World Vision Australia), co-authored a Declaration of Climate Emergency to the Parliament of Australia, calling for a government of National Unity to tackle the climate crisis, and outlining a course of action that will be required if we are going to save the world from a looming humanitarian and ecological disaster. It is a rallying call to all Australians to confront and overcome the enemy that is climate change.
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
Since the week commencing Monday January 27th 2020 BSFG has been collecting signatures from Benalla Residents requesting our Councillors Declare a Climate Emergency.
The wording on the petition is;
CLIMATE EMERGENCY DECLARATION PETITION
We, the undersigned residents of Benalla Rural City, request our Councillors to:
The main location to sign the petition is outside the Bendigo Bank in Bridge Street Benalla and this was done during the following two weeks. There may be other opportunities to sign the petition here. The petition is also available to sign at North East Artisans in Bridge Street Benalla.
Additional times and locations to sign the petition. Bendigo Bank from 13th until 27th February 9.30pm until 4.00pm, the Food Co-op, Swanpool Cinema, the Lakeside Market on 22nd February, and at the Public Meeting “Climate - Present Facts and Future Predictions”at BPACC on March 19th (see below and more details to follow).
Download our climate change flyer.
Presentation of Petition to Council Wednesday March 25 2020.
BSFG will present the Climate Emergency Declaration Petition to Benalla Rural City Councillors at the Council Meeting on Wednesday March 25th 2020 from 6:00pm at the Council Meeting Room, Mair Street Benalla.
Public Meeting “Climate - Present Facts and Future Predictions” Thursday March 19 2020.
Prior to the presentation to council BSFG is hosting a public meeting titled “Climate-Present Facts and Future Predictions” from 7.00pm until 10.00pm on Thursday March 19th 2020 at the Benalla Performing Arts and Convention Centre.
Our guest speakers are Dr Leanne Webb from CSIRO Climate Research Institute in Aspendale, and Dr Lynette Bettio from the Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne. This is a rare opportunity to hear about Climate Science first hand, from scientists at the forefront of climate research, together with an opportunity to ask them questions.
State and Federal Members of Parliament (Steph Ryan, Jaclyn Symes and Dr Helen Haines) have also been invited to attend. There will also be a brief talk by the Mayor of Indigo Shire, Jenny O’Connor, related to her Shire’s declaration of a Climate Emergency, and their proposed actions related to that declaration.
We will be publicising more details about this most important event through the BSFG website and newsletter, social media, the Benalla Ensign, Benalla P-12 College, Benalla FCJ College, and elsewhere.
0418 135 330
Sign BSFG's Climate Emergency Declaration Petition to Benalla Rural City Council outside Bendigo Bank, Tues, Thurs & Friday!
The BSFG Committee is preparing a Climate Emergency petition requesting Benalla Rural City Council Declare a Climate Emergency, joining in excess of 80 in Australia and 1,315 jurisdictions and local governments globally covering 810 million citizens.
Benalla Rural City residents are invited to sign the petition next week on Tuesday (28th), Thursday (30th), and Friday (31st) between 9.00-12.30 and 12.30-4.00 at our table outside the Bendigo Bank in Bridge Street.
The BSFG Committee is preparing a Climate Emergency petition requesting Benalla Rural City Council Declare a Climate Emergency, joining in excess of 80 in Australia and 1,315 jurisdictions and local governments globally covering 810 million citizens.
The petition is for Benalla Rural City residents to sign and we are seeking assistance from BSFG members to go on a roster to collect signatures and hand out our flyer, initially next week on Tuesday (28th), Thursday (30th), and Friday (31st). Hours would be from 9.00-12.30 and 12.30-4.00 i.e. 2 separate shifts preferably with 2 people on each shift.
Peter Holmes has permission to set up a table and small A-frame outside Bendigo Bank to collect signatures for the CE petition.
We also need to organise the delivery and collection of the card table, chairs and sandwich board on each day – again by roster.
Please contact Peter on 0438 625 6358 to be added to the roster.
"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.
Regular updates on sustainability issues of concern to BSFG members in Benalla and North East Victoria and on key events in the BSFG calendar.