Hemp-based road to plastic freedom

Guests in The Sustainable Hour on 28 March 2018 are Bernadette Uzelac, Chief Executive Officer, Geelong Chamber of Commerce, and Charles Kovess, Marketing Director, Textile and Composite Industries.

They describe their vision of how Geelong could reinvent itself as a plastic-free fiber-textile region and reestablish the former wool industry centre as Australia’s textile capital, growing, processing and producing hemp textile for clothes, including army uniforms, and bags. More info below.


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 209 on 94.7 The Pulse:

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It’s not common sight in the Herald Sun to see positive mention of renewable energy – and an ad for hemp
Austeng’s hemp decorticator

Industrial hemp’s exciting benefits

Industrial hemp. You can build magnificent homes with it. Noise barriers along high ways can be made out of ‘hempcrete’ instead of concrete. Hemp mulch is an effective weed suppressant. It sequesters carbon – 10-100 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year, while the hemp plants’ roots – four tonnes of root-matter per hectar – builds the soil.

The story of hemp’s beneficial potentials doesn’t end there.

There are environmental benefits in using hemp for paper and biomass and it is a good source of protein for animal fodder. Hemp’s growth rate is four times more productive than timber, which makes it an effective carbon sequestration plant. For every ton of above ground biomass, 1.83 tons of CO2 are sequestered in the soil. With carbon emissions rising higher on the political agenda, the carbon sequestration potential for hemp products could be of great benefit.


From law to hemp

Charles Kovess graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Laws with Honours in 1973, and gained his Master of Laws from Monash University in 1980. Today, he is secretary in the Australian Industrial Hemp Alliance and Textile and Composite Industries’ CEO and international marketing director. He is also founder, CEO and chief speaker of Kovess International.

» Charles Kovess’ Linkedin profile: 
www.linkedin.com/in/charleskovess

» Charles Kovess’ home page: 
www.kovess.com


Voice of Geelong business

Bernadette Uzelac was the CEO of People @ Work for 23 years, having established the Geelong recruitment agency in 1987. In 2010 she was appointed executive officer of the Geelong Chamber of Commerce, which has well over 900 members in Geelong, and in 2017, she was appointed chair of the Victorian Small Business Ministerial Council.

Bernadette is well known and connected within the local business community and is a highly regarded business leader holding a number of senior board appointments, including G21, Geelong Business Club and Deakin University Academic Advisory Board for Commerce Programs. She is also former Deputy Chair of Committee for Geelong.

Bernadette’s wealth of experience includes consulting throughout Australia and internationally. She has been involved in significant human resources projects for multinational companies in Singapore and Hong Kong over many years.

» Bernadette Uzelac’s Linkedin profile:
www.linkedin.com/in/bernadetteuzelac

» Geelong Chamber of Commerce’s home page:
www.geelongchamber.com.au

» Geelong Chamber of Commerce on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/geelongchamber



The Decorticator from Geelong

“Hemp is only useful as a raw material or feedstock before the fibre (bast) and the core (hurd or shives) have been separated without damage to the fibre. Then and only then, thousands of products can be made from it,” explains this video from Textile and Composite Industries.

To separate the fibre from the core, Textile and Composite Industries and the Geelong-based company Austeng has developed this industrial hemp Decorticator – a one-pass hemp processing machine.





International hemp conference in Geelong

In March 2018, an Australian industrial hemp conference was held in Geelong, attended by growers, researchers, processors and end-market buyers who presented and discussed concepts, key issues, hot topics and the latest findings in growing, producing, and the marketing of all types of industrial hemp products.

This aim of the conference was to assist in a future expansion of the industrial hemp industry and its community. The conference was launched as the first biannual conference of many to come, aspiring to become the ‘go-to hemp event’ for anyone around the world interested in industrial hemp. 

Bernadette Uzelac was an opening speaker at the conference, and Charles Kovess was MC.

» Read more on www.australianindustrialhempconference.com.au


» Geelong Advertiser – 20 April 2017:
Hemp firm eyes Geelong for major expansion of growing industry
“D-DAY for the future of Australia’s edible hemp industry looms next week, with rising confidence that it will finally get approval”

» ABC News – 27 May 2017:
Eighty years after hemp cultivation was banned in Australia, the industry is enjoying a second coming
“Australian hemp growers ready for good times as industry expands”


“There are many economic benefits in production of hemp products both locally and on a global scale. With increasing populations and pressing climate issues, the efficient production of more healthy food products is of great benefit to society and should be encouraged by governments.”
~ Anson Allen in The Solutions Journal, ‘The Enormous Potential of Industrial Hemp’

» Swedish hemp study by Erin Young, Lund University – 2005:
‘Revival of industrial hemp: a systematic analysis of the current global industry to determine limitations and identify future potentials within the concept of sustainability.’

» Hemp foods web shop and blog:
www.hempfoods.com.au




“Hemp is not a drug”

Industrial hemp and the cannabis plant are two different things. In The Sustainable Hour, Mik referred to this news story from Western Australia:

AAP – 26/03/2003 10:50:00 AM
NSW man charged in major WA cannabis bust (PERTH)

“A man from Sydney’s southwest, accused of cultivating more than 1,000 cannabis plants in an elaborate greenhouse set-up in Perth, has been charged. The Organised Crime Squad found the crop, along with about 200kg of cannabis and more than $10,500 in cash, during a search of a semi-rural property on March 13 in the Perth suburb of Oldbury. A 26-year-old man from Cabramatta appeared in Armadale Magistrates Court on March 14 on drugs charges and was remanded in custody until April 10.”

“Hemp is a god-given plant that can solve so many problems for us. It is government interference which has made us think of hemp as a drug. Please eliminate that thought for ever more. Hemp is not a drug – only one tiny proportion of it can be used as a drug,” explains Charles Kovess.






 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Other content of this hour

Links, excerpts and more information about things we mentioned in this Sustainable Hour


FORMIDABLE VEGETABLE SOUND SYSTEM:

Quirky family friendly entertainment

Come along to a fun, social, family friendly evening and be entertained by Charlie McGee and his high energy permaculture-funk band.
Western Australia’s Formidable Vegetable Sound System are the world’s most triumphant experiment in ecological electro-funk-swing, busting out energetic, quirky mashups of speakeasy-style antique-beats with live ukulele, hyperactive horns and the principles of permaculture.

This event is supported by The Farmers Place, Geelong Sustainability and the Transition Streets network.  
Tickets $15 at the door. Food and drinks will be available for purchase at the event.

5:30–9:30pm on Friday 13 April 2018
The Farmers Place, 675 Anglesea Road

» For more information about the orchestra, see www.formidablevegetable.com.au




 ADDITIONALLY: 

In other news

From our notes of this week: news stories and events we didn’t have time to mention but which we think you should know about


Community renewable energy investment project in Geelong

After over two years of complex project development, Geelong Sustainability has announced that ‘CORE Geelong One’ is now ready and about to open for community investment. This will be Geelong Sustainability’s first Community Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) investment project.

CORE Geelong One is an investment which offers a unique opportunity for investors to achieve environmental, as well as financial returns by investing in a community developed and funded renewable energy project within Geelong.

The project is a 149kW community solar installation at Multicultural Aged Care Services (MACS) in North Geelong. $150,000 must be raised from investors in the community to fund the solar system installation.

A new company CORE Geelong One Pty Ltd has been established as a special purpose vehicle. Through this company, a maximum of 20 (a requirement of the Corporations Act) community members will be able to invest and earn returns from this community solar project. As a result, GS can only accept a maximum of 20 applications each of $7,500 or more.

Geelong Sustainability will be hosting an Investor Briefing Session at 6pm on Tuesday 17th April. The information evening will cover details of the project and the investment opportunity, including:

• Overview of the project and how it works
• Information about the host site, MACS
• The investment offer and how it is structured
• The investment application process
• A chance to ask questions

By attending the event you’ll be the first to learn about the details of the investment and, if interested, have the opportunity to invest. To attend the information evening, you must register below.  You must also be a current member of Geelong Sustainability.
 
Investor Briefing Session & Offer Launch
When: Tuesday 17 April 2018 at 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Where: Waurn Ponds Library, 230 Pioneer Road, Grovedale VIC 3216
Register: RSVP – Note: this event is for GS members only



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Community attitude survey for pedestrians

Monash University, on behalf of VicRoads, is conducting research into pedestrian safety within our community. You are invited to take part in this study. 

What does the research involve?
In this survey, you will be asked a series of questions regarding your experiences and behaviours as a road user in the area where you have been approached, as well as your general attitude to local amenities, public safety and proposed pedestrian safety treatments within your community. The survey is expected to take less than 10 minutes to complete.
 
Project funding
This project is undertaken on behalf of VicRoads as part of the Safe Systems Road Infrastructure Program (SSRIP) Pedestrian Investment Plan (PIP).

Consenting to participate in the project and withdrawing from the research
Participation in this research is entirely voluntary, and you are free to withdraw at any time and for any reason prior to the end of the survey, or avoid answering questions that you think are too personal or intrusive.

Participants who do complete the survey will have the opportunity to enter a draw to win a $50 gift voucher. Entry into the prize draw will be conducted using a secondary survey and your entry details will be stored separately from the main survey data to ensure that your participation in this research remains anonymous.

Results
The results of the study will be reported to VicRoads in as aggregate findings and it is unlikely that the findings will be made publicly available.

» Read more and fill the survey





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Acknowledgement

We at The Sustainable Hour would like to pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land on which we are broadcasting, the Wathaurong People, and pay our respect to their elders, past, present and future.

The traditional owners lived in harmony with the environment and with the climate for hundreds of generations. It is not clear – yet – that as European settlers we have demonstrated that we can live in harmony for hundreds of generations, but it is clear that we can learn from the indigenous, traditional owners of this land.

When we talk about the future, it means extending our respect to those children not yet born, the generations of the future – remembering the old saying that…



The decisions currently being made around Australia to ignore climate change are being made by those who won’t be around by the time the worst effects hit home. How utterly disgusting, disrespectful and unfair is that?




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“Participation – that’s what’s gonna save the human race.”
~ Pete Seeger, American singer