Babysteps on the cusp of an energy revolution

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On the cusp of an energy revolution: Meet Countrywide Energy’s director Geoff Drucker who is building two large solar farms in regional Victoria. He is joined by Andrew Lucas from Geelong Compost who is organising a half-day seminar in Geelong about Soil Action.

We altso talk with musician Simon Kerr who is coming to Geelong with a climate change performance on 11 March 2016, with Dan Gosher, an analyst from Market Forces who has looked at how much money superannuation-holders are losing on investments in fossil fuel companies at the moment, and with Karina Donkers from City of Greater Geelong Council’s Environmental Youth Action Group. More info below.


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Geoff Drucker

Director, Countrywide Energy

Geoff Drucker wants to assist regional communities in taking control of their energy. In The Sustainable Hour, he talks about his vision for Point Henry which has brought him to Geelong his Wednesday for a meeting with Alcoa. ‘An Innovator, Disrupter, Networker & Empowerer’, Geoff Drucker says he seeks to protect the interests of society, the economy and the environment by cooperatively working to minimise the burden of being an energy user and investing in the Earth’s energy sources to enjoy natural, free and non-polluting energy.

Countrywide Energy courrently works on starting a 12.5MW solar farm in a regional town, and a 10MW solar farm in a township in central Victoria. Cooperative community best describes Countrywide Energy’s philosophy.

» www.countrywideenergy.com.au


 Energy seminar in Colac on 5 March 2016 at 1pm–4pm: 

Cheaper energy: where to now

Come along to this free community seminar. Panelists include:

• Phil Hapgood, Solar Consultant, Radiant Energy Systems
• Ben Walsh, Electrician and installer of Tesla-type batteries
• Richard Leith, Owner-Builder, Off-the-Grid Home at Stonyford
• Tim Forcey, Chemical Engineer, Academic and Energy Analyst

Following afternoon tea take advantage of the free consultations with either Panel Members or Display Vendors including:
• Bendigo Bank, Representative who provide Green Loans
• Nick Frcek, Relationship Manager, Apricus Australia, Solar Hot Water installer
• Dan and Ben Walsh, Walsh Electrical Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, solar hot water product displays.

The event takes place at Colac Neighbourhood House in Colac. It is organised by the Colac Otway Shire Sustainability Group, a not-for-profit and non-political organisation. For further information please contact Tony Brown, President on 0401764114

» www.facebook.com/events


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Andrew Lucas

Geelong Compost

Andrew Lucas is a Geelong based permaculture activist, sustainability educator and former garden specialist with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. He studied Sustainability at Ballarat University. In 2008 Andrew Lucas initiated Transition Town Bell, organising Solar Hot Water Bulk Purchasing, discounted fruit tree promotion, film screenings, Backyard Wood Oven workshops, Slow food workshops and more. Andrew Lucas is the driving force – the brains and the brawn – of Backyard Harvest.

» www.geelongcompost.com.au




 Half-day seminar in Geelong on 3 March 2016: 

Soil Action

Three of the compost industry’s top soil health experts discuss how to improve productivity during dry conditions.

After such a dry year in 2015, Camperdown Compost thought it would be a good idea to have a look at soil health and viability for future dry conditions.

Dry springs and hot summers don’t necessarily spell disaster and there are ways to improve your soil’s viability, maintain productivity and retain moisture for longer.

Camperdown Compost have put together a half-day seminar in Hamilton, Camperdown and Geelong with three of the industry’s best speakers to show you ways to combat the dry and better manage soil nutrients.

This will be one of the best opportunities to hear from three highly respected soil experts and get solutions to maintain productivity in the dry.

Tickets are $45 including GST or $55 at the door and are on sale now.

» See more on www.camperdowncompost.com.au/events


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Dan Gocher

Analyst, Market Forces


» Right-click to download the audio file (MP3)

Dan Gocher holds a Bachelor of Commerce and has worked in various financial institutions for over 15 years – investment banking, asset management and insurance. He is primarily focused on divestment within the superannuation and insurance industries.

» Contact

In the interview, Dan Gocher talks about Market Forces’ new report ‘Burned’ which analyses 15 of Australia’s largest superannuation fund options, estimating they have lost $5.6 billion on their fossil fuel investments over the past two years.

The new report highlights the urgent environmental and moral need for super funds to divest their coal, oil and gas holdings.

“This ought to make an impression on anyone who’s got their money invested in dirty energy companies – especially if you are a member of a superannuation fund and up til now blindly trusted that your pension fund and its board of course would be in control of things and know what is going on as they decline proposals to sell off the fund’s investments in air polluting, climate damaging energy companies.
Here is a report that tells you that, clearly, they do NOT have the slightest clue about what is really going on. Pension funds, (including yours?) are being gushed out at the moment.”

» Read more on www.marketforces.org.au

» Read the full report: download a copy (PDF)



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Karina Donkers

City of Greater Geelong Council, coordinator of the Environmental Youth Action Group.


» Right-click to download the audio file (MP3)

The Environmental Youth Action Group meets fortnightly at 4pm at Waurn Ponds Library.

On Tuesday 5 April 2016 – during school holiday – the group encourages you to participate in a day of fun activities in the gardens at Ceres.

On World Environment Day on 5 June 2016 the group will take part in a planting day for young people in the Bellarine Peninsula

For any of these events, register your interest with Karina Donkers at kdonkers@geelongcity.vic.gov.au

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Act Up for Sustainability 2016
In the cross-curricular program ‘Act Up for Sustainability’, students from year 4 to year 8 explore a range of sustainability issues through workshops and research activities and present an outcome that reflects their learning in drama theatre, culminating with a performance at GPAC on 15 June 2016.

» Last year’s Information Sheet

» Booking Form 2016





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Environmental Youth Action Group

“Want to be a leader of sustainable change in your community? Passionate about the environment? Keen to volunteer? Want to meet like minded people? We are listening to you!

Young people in the 3216 area have said that they want to see more opportunities to be involved in environmental groups and activities. Here is your opportunity! Open to young people aged 12–25 years old. No experience or knowledge needed – just enthusiasm to get involved!”

If you think you would be interested or just want to learn more please contact Karina Donkers on 0419 504 329 or email on kdonkers@geelongcity.vic.gov.au

» www.youthcan.vic.gov.au

‘Never doubt that a group of thoughtful committed citizens could change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has’
Margaret Mead



 Musical performance in Geelong on 11 March 2016: 

Music for a Warming World

Stunning visuals and original folk and world music telling the biggest story of our time.

A one hour multimedia music performance called ‘Music for a Warming World … and a Requiem for Coal’ is going to be put on in All Saints Anglican Church, 113 Noble Street, Newtown, on Friday 11 March 2016 at 6pm.

$15 at the door. The concert is followed by a short address and tea/coffee.

Interview with Simon Kerr:


» Right-click to download the audio file (MP3)

Dr Simon Kerr plays guitars and sings, backed by Kylie Morrigan on violin, Tiya Beggs on vocals, and Scott Lewis on piano and keyboards.
Simon Kerr is a science research administrator and a songwriter, guitarist and climate thinker. Christine Parker – a professor of law at Melbourne University – has produced the images and video.

The performance is a musical reflection as a way of focusing on socially important issues, particularly climate change. A challenging, entertaining and warmhearted journey into climate change, speaking honestly about the science, the inevitable changes that will come and what we can do. It is also about the joy of being human in the face of humanity’s greatest challenge, enjoying this moment of music, community and hope for the future

The song ‘Leave them in the ground’, which we played an excerpt from in The Sustainable Hour, is one of their new songs. It is a call to leave the dead, the ancient fossils that were once living, where they fall, and not dig any more fossil fuels. Simon Kerr will be crowdfunding to create a high quality video for it and then launch it. So it is not officially released yet.

Quotes about the performance:

‘A new way of thinking about climate change’
~ Professor Rod Keenan, Forest and Ecosystem Science, The University of Melbourne

‘If you’ve been in despair, thinking what the hell can I do about climate change .. see Simon Kerr’s ‘Music for a Warming World’
~ Mal Webb, Australian music icon

‘So fresh and innovative, I can’t speak highly enough about the show’
~ Fan from a recent Brisbane show

‘They tackle the overpowering zeitgeist of climate change, turning it into climate courage. See it and your hope and energy could be restored’
~ Professor Adrian Evans, Faculty of Law, Monash University

» For more information, see: www.simonkerrmusic.net

» Twitter: twitter.com/climate_music

» Facebook: www.facebook.com/simonkerrperspective



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Re: Waste to energy

» ABC – 16 February 2016:
Contract inked for $400m Kwinana thermal waste facility in Western Australia
A contract for the construction of what is expected to be Western Australia’s first thermal energy to waste facility has been signed. The facility will aim to generate approximately 35 megawatts of electricity, which is the equivalent of powering around 35,000 homes.




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Re: Climate

January NASA data is out, and it is stunning new record: Globally, this was the hottest January, with biggest increase over previous record and hottest anomaly for any month ever measured.

Seas are rising at fastest rate in last 28 centuries – in 2,800 years – scientists reported on 22 February 2016. They said that flooding in coastal communities was largely a result of greenhouse gas emissions, and likely to grow worse.

» Read more: www.nytimes.com



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Re: Fiji’s climate change driven cyclone

Tropical Cyclone Winston was the strongest storm ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, with reports that it has killed at least 29 people and destroyed hundreds of homes. Communities flooded and power and freshwater was cut off. The grief for the nation is raw. On behalf of the 350 Pacific team, Koreti wrote:

“It feels like only yesterday I was writing to you to tell you about the destruction that Cyclone Pam, another record breaking storm, delivered to our brothers and sisters in Vanuatu. Every day, our weather is breaking records in all the wrong ways, and the people of the Pacific are living the realities of a world being warmed by fossil fuels. (…)

The relationship between climate change and more severe tropical storms is well understood, and extreme weather like Cyclone Winston reminds us what is on the line in the struggle for climate justice. But that is not what is at the front of our minds – right now the people of Fiji need our help to recover from this disaster.

For the latest developments from the ground — check the live blog here.”

You can help by donating to the Red Cross’ Cyclone Winston Appeal so that they can deliver relief to the people who need it.

Cyclone Winston a rallying cry for countries to ratify Paris deal

As Fiji reels from the strongest storm ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, leaders from across the globe are faced with yet another rallying cry on the urgency of taking climate action.

Coming just two months before the UN’s signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement, and just days after Fiji became the first country in the world to formally adopt the agreement, the category five Cyclone Winston brought winds of over 320km/h and waves of up to 12 metres, and left over 40 dead, with 8,500 more still sheltering in evacuation centres as the island nation faces a month-long state of emergency.

55 countries – representing 55 per cent of global emissions – need to ratify the Paris agreement for it formally take effect and this latest tragedy is a stark reminder of why leaders must follow in Fiji’s footsteps, urgently adopt the deal and turn their national pledges into definitive actions.


Key points



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 Event on 9 April 2016: 

Surf Coast Trek

The inaugural Surf Coast Trek is a 40 kilometre walk for charity along the Surf Coast Walk from Aireys Inlet to Torquay – bringing together fitness, fun and fundraising for a good cause.

Surfcoast Trek will be held on 9 April 2016. Open to individuals and teams of four, the Surfcoast Trek will involve a walk from Aireys Inlet to Torquay along the Surfcoast Walk. You will pass through a diverse range of landscapes including cliff scenery, scenic Ironbark bushland, and long sandy beaches.

Event Date: Saturday 9 April 2016

Walk Distance: 40 km
Coastal Walk
Location: From Aireys Inlet to Torquay, Victoria
Funds raised: On 28 February 2016, $55,187.73 had been raised so far.

www.surfcoasttrek.com.au



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