Green sustainability is the ultimate blue

“Sustainability is actually an extreme right wing philosophy,” explains our guest in The Sustainable Hour on 7 May 2014: Tim Adams.

Tim Adams is the principal of F2 Design. He is also the Immediate Past President of the Building Designers’ Association of Victoria, the creator of the BDAV’s ‘10 Star Challenge’, and a Member of the Alternative Technology Association. His home is acknowledged as ‘The House With No Bills’.

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“Confusion about categorising self-sufficient folk who embrace lifestyle choices leading to sustainable consumption patterns are creating havoc for political parties in Australia.”
Tim Adams

Green sustainability is the ultimate blue

When we talk about ‘green cities’, we think of cities which are improving energy efficiency and implementing clean technologies, using an increasing amount of pollution-free, renewable energy sources, planting lots of green trees, encouraging cycling and walking, and similar initiatives which benefits health, economy and climate, all at the same time.

Smart. Modern. Common sense. These are words you’d think would be associated with being ‘green’.

Why is it then that in Australia ‘green’ is often referred to as ‘the new red’? Why are Australians talking about ‘greenies’ as if it was a new word for ‘hippies’?

Setting up a big wind turbine in a rural area ticks all the boxes of what conservative politics used to stand for: it creates revenue, energy independence and business opportunities for the local farmers and business-people.

Yet the conservative Australian government seem to hate renewable energy. They have asked a committee to review the country’s Renewable Energy Target once again, because they consider it too ambitious, and in particular wind farms have been derided. Last week it was by Treasurer Joe Hockey who called them “utterly offensive” and they have often been referred to as “blights on the landscape” by Premier Tony Abbott.

These politicians have never before raised the aesthetic aspects of the myriads of electricity wires and poles which scar the Australian landscapes many places, not to mention the various fossil fuel mining, refinery and power plant sites. So why is it suddenly important for them to talk about aesthetics when it comes to renewable energy technology?

Energy independence and economic sustainability are straight-forward ‘blue’ trademarks, but currently the lobby group of the fossil fuel industry seems to have a stronger voice and political influence than principles, moral and plain common sense. There are many vested interests and representatives from the fossil fuel industry in Australian government.

So-called ‘blue’ politicians on the right wing appear to have been so blinded by the short-sighted profits which the fossil fuel industry is producing that they have lost grip of what ‘blue’ and conservative philosophy, principles and values used to be all about.

Or is there something we have completely misunderstood here?

Listen to this Sustainable Hour with Tim Adams who will tell you what is going on.
And then leave a comment below to let us know how you see it!

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Building Designers’ magazine

Building Designers’ Association of Victoria publishes the magazine BDAV News. The April issue had a range of interesting articles. Headlines included:

‘Vale, Car Industry – Welcome New Opportunities’
‘Evaluation of the 6-Star Energy Efficiency Standard’
‘Pros and Cons of Solar Energy’
‘Energy Efficient and Sustainable New Paarhammer Glass Façades’
‘Australia’s First Certified Carbon Neutral Bricks’

» As of 9 May you can still download the April 2014 issue of BDAV News as PDF:  www.bdav.org.au

This link may soon be removed, though, since public access to BDAV News is restricted to the current edition. Members have access to back issues through members login.


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Self-sufficient 7-star energy efficient home

Tim Adams and Pip Watt live in a sustainably built, energy efficient house that is warm in winter, cool in summer and has no bills all year round.
» www.farmrealestate.com.au



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“Sustainability – an extreme right wing philosophy”

“Sustainability is such a radical right-wing concept that most conservatives have failed to comprehend how it is the ultimate manifestation of life without government interference. There seems to be some confusion about defining the line between anarchy and taking total responsibility for one’s needs. Some members of the community who behave as the pinup examples of Joe Hockey’s new generation of selfsufficient, independent types who reject government hand-outs are often not sufficiently recognised because they are not necessarily high wealth individuals.” (…)

“Confusion about categorising self-sufficient folk who embrace lifestyle choices leading to sustainable consumption patterns are creating havoc for political parties in Australia. The old divide between labour and capital becomes much less well defined than it was in the past. For some time the downward slide of the ALP can certainly be attributed to defection to the Greens for those where environmental concerns are allocated a high priority.

Less obvious is the political leaning of a growing class within the community that is becoming less reliant on a raft of commercial services and government programs. Personal responsibility for renewable energy production, water supply, waste water disposal, food production and distribution all conspire to skew reactions to traditional spending promises targeting marginal seats. Issues of social substance become more important than the ephemeral sugar hit of a fist full of dollars in the lead up to elections.

All levels of government have roles that influence energy efficiency, waste, renewable energy generation and resource utilization. One of the first indications of a vision for where we are heading will become apparent this year in Victoria. The election cycle in Victoria is reaching its crescendo with the scheduled election in November.

It will be interesting to see whether the comprehension of the mudding of the definitions of the right/left, conservative/progressive posturing in the sustainability space is gaining informed acknowledgement. The test will be, whether the initiatives of all the political aspirants indicate that the issues considered here become part of their concept for our future or if we will be restricted to business as usual and low brow pork barrelling as staple election fare.”
Excerpt of a think-piece by Tim Adams, published in BDAV News

» You can read the full think-piece on page 9 in  the May 2014 issue of BDAV News (available for download only in May 2014)


» Duke Today – 6 November 2014:
Denying Problems When We Don’t Like the Solutions
Duke study sheds light on why conservatives, liberals disagree so vehemently

“There may be a scientific answer for why conservatives and liberals disagree so vehemently over the existence of issues like climate change and specific types of crime. A new study from Duke University finds that people will evaluate scientific evidence based on whether they view its policy implications as politically desirable. If they don’t, then they tend to deny the problem even exists.”



The study, ‘Solution Aversion: On the Relation Between Ideology and Motivated Disbelief’, appeared in the November 2014 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology:



» www.today.duke.edu



Topics related to the interview with Tim Adams

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Retrofitting Buildings Event in Geelong on Wednesday 21 May 2014:

Three pillars of sustainable building retrofitting in Geelong

Thinking of retrofitting your building to make it run more efficiently? Want some tips on where to start?

The Cleantech Capability Team and Cleantech Innovations Geelong invite you to learn about retrofitting buildings to improve efficiency.

The event will feature case studies, and showcase suppliers, to help you understand more about energy efficient lighting, improving thermal efficiency and alternative sources of energy.

Whether you’re a building owner or an occupant of a building which could run more efficiently, this event is for you.

» Confirm your attendance by emailing  futureproofinggeelong@geelongcity.vic.gov.au before Friday 16 May 2014.


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Book which relate to this topic:

‘The Blue Economy’

‘The Blue Economy: 10 years – 100 innovations – 100 million jobs’ is a book by Gunter Pauli. The book expresses the ultimate aim that a Blue Economy business model will shift society from scarcity to abundance “with what we have”, by tackling issues that cause environmental and related problems in new ways.

» www.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blue_Economy


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Web pages which relate to this topic:

ReNew: Technology for a sustainable future

In June 2012, ReNew magazine took a comprehensive look at how to save money and greenhouse emissions, showcasing some inspiring homes along the way, such as:
‘The house with no bills’ – “Tim Adams pays no bills at his 7-star home in country Victoria thanks to solar panels, rainwater tanks and lots of creative design and appliance choices.”

‘The house with no bills’ 2012

A zero emissions house won the HIA GreenSmart Home Awards in 2012.
» news.domain.com.au

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UN: Climate change is a huge business opportunity

“Climate change is a huge business opportunity. How are we not seeing that?” said Ms Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, charged with brokering a global deal to curb climate change in Paris in December 2015.

Speaking to the newspaper The Independent, Christiana Figueres said it is critical for political parties across the ideological spectrum to put aside their differences and unite in the battle to prevent catastrophic climate change.

“Addressing climate change in a timely and effective fashion actually means a huge new side of industry will be created that is going to bring jobs and income,” she said.

» www.independent.co.uk


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Greener Ideal – 30 June 2013:
5 Principles of Sustainable Architecture
What makes architecture sustainable varies widely and can include anything from a building which is constructed entirely of recycled materials to being one which is powered completely by the sun.


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Australia to pilot new power plan

One of the largest solar companies in the world has chosen Australia as the proving ground for a new model of power production that promises to give householders more control – and cut bills.

Householders have the potential to disconnect from the grid under the new system proposed by Sunpower. According to their president Tom Werner on a recent RN Breakfast Show, Sunpower’s model could be a game changer.

“What’s good about this is that the consumer will be their own generator and then they’ll use things like storage and energy management to control load. When you combine the control of load – or when you use electricity and how much you use – with generation and being able to use storage … the combination of those two becomes really, really powerful,” Tom Werner said:

“We see Australia as a market where we can do that early on, learn from that and do that in other parts of the world. Think of transitions like wired phones to cell phones to smart phones – it’s going to take a while, but in the next 10 years the way we get electricity will be considerably different.”

» For more detail on this go to ABC Environment – 1 May 2014:  www.abc.net.au




Topics we also talked about in The Sustainable Hour

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Protesting choir singers arrested at coal mine

This week, Miguel Heatwole, 54, Dallas de Brabander, 60 and Andrew Lenart, 51, from Ecopella choir joined the ongoing protests to protect Leard State Forest, the surrounding Maules Creek community and the planet from coal mine expansion by locking themselves onto the gate of Whitehaven’s Tarawonga Coal mine, blocking vehicles and preventing any coal from being transported out of the mine.

Director of Ecopella, Miguel Heatwole said “for 16 years our choir has been raising its voice for the environment, but we feel that our voices are no longer enough and we are now backing up our songs with non violent direct action.”

He added, “We are proud of our track record of bringing harmony to the environment and are therefore opposed to Whitehaven coal causing harm to it.”

Ecopella choir members were later the same day cut off and arrested by police, but remained in good spirits, proud of having their voices heard and holding up access to Whitehaven’s toxic and destructive coal mine. This brings the total number of arrests at the Leard blockade to 155 this year.

As long as Whitehaven continue ripping down forest to dig up dirty coal, destroying habitat and adding to the global climate crisis, Australian’s from all walks of life will continue to take a stand and stop work.

» For the complete story of what happened and more images and videos, see:  www.frontlineaction.org/news

» www.frontlineaction.org/choir-blocks-whitehaven-coal-transport

» www.facebook.com/FrontLineActionOnCoal



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Over 1,000 people took part in the first Australian Divestment Day

The Ecopella choir action comes in the wake of 350.org’s National Divestment Day on Saturday 3rd of May which saw over 1,000 customers of the big four banks withdraw their money and switch to an environmentally responsible bank.



Over 200 million dollars have now been moved away from these banks which are investing heavily in the destruction of our planet and the climate. On Saturday, the over 1,000 people shifted their money to banks and other financial institutions who have refused to support such ventures.

» To find out more on this go to:  www.350.org/divestment



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Divest it like its hot

The following song is very appropriate here:

‘Divest it like its hot…’

‘Divest It Like It’s Hot’ may be a mouthful, but rapping Santa Clara University students are up to the task. The coeds in Fossil Free SCU want their college to drop its investments in the top 200 oil and gas drilling businesses, following in the footsteps of schools like Green Mountain College, Hampshire College, and College of the Atlantic.

If you invest in fossil fuels
Divest it like it’s hot (x3)
If Big Oil tries to get at you
Park it like it’s hot (x3)
If a business gets an attitude
Drop ‘em like it’s hot (x3)
I got McKibben on the phone and I’m gonna protest,
Gotta stop climate change; you know it’s time to divest

Did we mention there are tearaway pants, a slo-mo sequence of people ripping off their vests, and references to Ray Bradbury and Thomas Pynchon? Just watch it!

» www.grist.org



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Biannual arts event in Geelong

There was a two page feature in the Geelong Advertiser on Wednesday on this weekend’s M~M2014 “extreme arts event”.

If you live in Geelong, then this event is something you really should consider participating in on Friday and/or Saturday:

The ‘M to M’ – mountain to mouth (of the Barwon river) – is a walk which starts on Friday afternoon. It is about our connection with the land we live on, about planting trees, slowing down and taking in the environment, just like the Wathaurong people have done for thousands of years before the white invasion.

Greening Australia and Deakin University are involved, and lots of schools and environmental groups as well.

When you sign up and pay 5 or 10 dollars (or 20 dollars for a family), you support a great project for Geelong with a vision to create an 80-kilometre walking route which will be eventually lined with trees.

From Big Rock, the You Yangs Mountain range, M~M2014 takes you across grasslands, industrial nightscapes, the city centre, rural landscapes and beaches where you experience the many facets of the City of Greater Geelong. The walk creates a contemporary ‘songline’ across the expanse of the City of Greater Geelong. It is about welcoming and sustaining what is real and true for this place, Geelong and its surroundings seen from the ground up.

288 ambassadors take the lead on the walk and more than 300 participants have signed up so far.

Also remember to check the Geelong After Dark which kicks off from 6pm Friday evening

» Sign up via  www.karingal.org.au/events/?event=8905

» More info here:  www.geelongaustralia.com.au/mtom
– or contact the organisers on phone: 03 5272 4703, e-mail: mouthtomountain@geelongcity.vic.gov.au



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New free publication:

FOOTSTEPS TO THE FUTURE

Collected thoughts on the sustainability of resources, people and community in SouthWest Victoria.

Ideas and visions for the future – brought to you by RMIT University and the The Ian Potter Foundation.

» Download the free publication in PDF-format:  mams.rmit.edu.au/sqjgnh2a9ybdz.pdf



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“Without urgent action [on climate change] all our plans for increased global prosperity and security will be undone.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, speaking to over 1,000 leaders from the worlds of politics, business, finance and civil society in the Abu Dhabi Ascent. » Read more


Is a breakthrough in climate change governance on the horizon?

The recently released IPCC report highlighted again the urgency of addressing climate change and the international community has pledged to devise the next international agreement on climate change by 2015. The EU has forged ahead with Scandinavian countries in particular advancing a variety of policies to respond to climate change. Regions, municipalities, and private actors across the world are also contributing to climate governance.

Have we reached a tipping point where a breakthrough on climate change governance is near?

In light of the review of findings from the Fifth Assessment IPCC Report and recent scholarly research on urban, regional and networked climate governance: Will the existing governance inroads make available pathways for climate action that lead to a more effective global response to climate change?



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UK: Whitehall’s community power–up

Locally-owned energy projects have received a refreshing injection of cash with the launch of the UK government’s first ever community energy strategy, supported by several million pounds in extra funding. Westmill Solar Co-operative operates the first community-owned solar farm in the UK, on the Wiltshire–Oxfordshire border

» See page 9 in this issue-document:  www.issuu.com


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24 sustainable hours of listening online

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