Thursday, August 18, 2011

Environmentality 17 August 2011

Dear Environmentality listeners.

With Jaime away on holiday for five weeks and Peter leaving the show after today for his move to Benalla today's show was the last until about the 21st of September. Assisting us in the studio today was Alicia who does all the guest research and organisation to get them on the show and was a great help today in getting our guests on the phone during the show.

Our first guest was Sarah Day from Ross House and eco-shout. Our second guest was Damien Moyse from the Alternative Technology Association who brought us up to date with the ATA's concerns about possible moves by the Victorian Government to change the premium feed in tariff for grid connected solar photo voltaic systems.

Sarah told us about Ross House and its influence in supporting over 50 small non-profit groups working towards environmental and social justice by providing affordable, accessible office space. The heritage listed building is situated at 247 - 251 Flinders Lane in the heart of Melbourne. It is easily accessible by the many groups who use its facilities. Ross House also offers affordable meeting room hire and other resources to anyone who might like to use them.

The Big Picture film nights presenting social justice and environmental docos are back at Ross House. Held on the first Tuesday of the month the next film is Tapped which investigates the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil. Hosted by DO SOMETHING on Tuesday 6 September at the Hayden Raysmith Room, 4th floor at Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Entry is by donation and all proceeds go towards environmental campaigns.

Ross House is part of the Melbourne City Councils “1200 Buildings” sustainability initiative. See Sarah and Michael Griffiths, the Facility and Sustainability Officer talking about Ross House sustainability actions on you tube.

Sarah is also runs her own Ross House organisation called eco-shout which is a catalyst to action for anyone who wants to be part of creating environmental and social justice in Australia. See herstory about eco-shout. You can use Eco-shout any way you can to lighten your footprint and get involved: from ethical shopping to joining a group, to launching your own campaign.

The eco-shout active groups search engine is a listing of groups searchable across nearly 30 categories from active spaces to wetlands. You can promote your own group by being added to the active group directory.

Anyone with a sustainable product or service can be listed on the eco-shout green directory. All listings are scrutinized to ensure listings meet sustainability criteria to avoid green washing.

Visit eco-shout to learn more about environmentl issues and see how you can help environmental and social justice organisations or get help for your own actions.

Thanks to Sarah for telling us about Ross House and her own organisation eco-shout.

Our second guest was Damien Moyse energy projects and policy manager from the Alternative Technology Association which is Australia’s leading not-for-profit consumer-based organisation promoting renewable energy, sustainable building and water saving. The ATA understands the Victorian Government is on the verge of making an announcement to slash the feed-in tariff, which has supported the boom in solar power systems across the state and is calling on the Victorian Government Coalition to honour its 2010 election commitment and hold off on making major changes to the Victorian feed-in tariff for rooftop solar systems before an independent review is held. See the ATA's media release on this issue.

Damien spoke to us about how the feed in tariff works and its use in assisting the development of a renewable solar energy industry. The early phasing out of the tariff would be a blow for the industry reducing the incentive for people to install home pv systems and pushing out the time when solar generated renewable power is on a price parity with fossil fuel based non-renewable power.

In keeping with our tradition of asking our guest to select some music Sarah provided us with two songs to choose from by two Melbourne based bands; Qwest by Combat Wombat, and Moment of Truth by Blue King Brown. Unfortunately we could only play Moment of Truth which Alicia brought into the studio.

With Smokey’s selections you got to hear:

  1. Can’t Be Sure by Sundays
  2. Moment of Truth by Blue King Brown
  3. Gold Lion by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  4. Cowboys by Portishead
  5. When I First Met Your Ma by Paul Kelly
  6. Chills by Ben Lee

Another great show with two interesting guests. Thank you to Alicia for coming into the studio and assisting Smokey and Peter produce today's show.

Listen to or download the show!

Remember the show is in recess until about September 21st.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Environmentality 10 August 2011

Dear Environmentality listeners.

Our guest today was Chris Ennis the Manager of the Organic Farm and Fair Food project at the CERES Environment Park.

CERES is situated on a reclaimed quarry and landfill site on the banks of the Merri Creek in Brunswick. The park is 30 years old next year.

CERES is funded from a number of sources including philanthropic and government support but also the day to day efforts of its own enterprises such as a nursery, organic market and shop, fair food project and restaurant.

Chris told us about how the Fair Food system works. Produce is seasonal, organic and resourced locally mostly within Victoria except for a couple of months in spring when interstate produce might be sourced. CERES packs the produce into a range of boxes which can be ordered online and picked up from one of about 50 local distribution hosts in Melbourne. There are up to 3000 customers and CERES packs about 600 to 700 boxes per week.

Seven different boxes are produced; small ($35) medium ($49.50) and large ($68) mixed vegetables and fruit, and four $30 boxes; fruit only, veg only, a basic box and a juices box. At each host there is a swap box where you can leave produce you might not use and exchange it with something left by other customers.

An additional benefit of the system is that you might get to meet some neighbours!

Read The Age review of CERES Fair Food.

CERES aims to get produce for the best price it can directly from organic farmers. Profits support the organisation. CERES uses people from disadvantaged backgrounds to pack the boxes which can improve their employment prospects and assist engagement with the community.

Another CERES project Chris told us about is Aquaponics which produces vegetables and fish by growing plants on waste from fish. Not unlike hydroponics except that nutrients for the plants come from the waste produced by fish. Led by CERES Green Technology Designer Stephen Mushin and Biologist Dr Wilson Lennard, construction of the first prototype aquaponics system began in June 2010 and is now in the final stages of testing. It is hoped that the systems can be produced as a unit which could even be run by schools and provide income from the sale of produce.

Finally Chris told us about the CERES organic farm. CERES has two certified organic market gardens located over two sites, Honey Lane Market Garden and the Merri Creek Market Garden. Volunteers assist with the gardens. The gardens are also used for training purposes by students doing Certificate II in both Horticulture and Hospitality. They get to grow and harvest the food and cook it!

Thanks to Chris for being on the show and providing us with a great insight into the work CERES is doing around food production and distribution. Click on links in the blog or go to the CERES website to find out more.

Smokey provided us with another selection of music which began with a 60’s song dealing with anarchy, its selection being influenced by the recent mob riot outbreak in the UK.

You got to hear;

Big A Little A by CRASS

Gigantic by The Pixies

The Red Telephone by Love

The Stars of Track and Field by Belle and Sebastian.

Our listener challenge for today was “what is the title of Chris’s position at CERES?” Correct answers sent by SMS during the show to 0447 777 989 receive a $10 gift voucher from the EnviroShop or answers can be left on our blog at

The show closed after a short discussion about organic foods, peak oil, and the impact of reduced consumption on our economic system.

Listen to the show!

Northwest FM is now streaming online so you can listen to the Environmentality broadcast on your computer. Go to for instructions about listening online.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Environmentality 3 August 2011

Dear Environmentality listeners.

Unfortunately the guest we had organised for today was unable to make it to the show. Instead Jaime took the opportunity to discuss some of the issues around the proposed carbon tax from the Australian Governments Clean Energy Future document “What a carbon price means for you” which many of us received in the mail yesterday. You can download this and other documents in the series from the Governments Clean Energy Future website.
At the end of the show Jaime presented a surprise guest we often hear about near the end of the show but today we invited into the studio to hear from personally.
During the week we had an email from Allison Fogarty the Shop Manager at CERES Community Environment Park, who we recently had on the show on July 6th advising us they were judging the winner of their market and shop logo competition this Tuesday with Marc Smith editor of the Moreland Leader. They are going to announce the winner at a special celebratory Market this Saturday the 6th of August. There will be live music and face painting for the kids. The market is on from 9 am to 2 pm.

The listener challenge question proposed by Jaime was “in what decade was Smokey born”? Correct answers sent by SMS during the show to 0447 777 989 receive a $10 gift voucher from the EnviroShop. Answers can also be left on our blog at

Jaime proceeded to highlight information from “What a carbon price means for you” with input from Smokey our resident economist.
Why is Australia cutting its carbon pollution?
  • Australians generate more pollution per person than any developed country.
  • Climate change is happening and risks damaging Australia’s environment and way of life.
  • The world is moving to a clean energy future.
  • The Government has a comprehensive plan to build a clean energy future which includes:
  • Introducing a carbon price.
  • Promoting innovation and investment in renewable energy.
  • Encouraging energy efficiency.
  • Creating opportunities in the land sector to cut pollution.

The proposed carbon price is $23 per ton and will be paid by 500 of our largest polluters. This provides an incentive for these companies to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. The tax will increase the cost of operation for these companies which will lead to increases in consumer prices such as electricity costs.
However the Government is going to use the tax to compensate many in the community so that pensioners and low to middle income people will be fully compensated for cost increases expected from the tax. These cost increases are also expected to provide a cost signal to householders to save on their bills by reducing the unnecessary consumption of electricity for instance. Millions of household will be better off when the carbon tax is introduced.

Some of the revenue from the tax will be used to fund tax cuts for millions of people. The tax free threshold is to be increased from $6000 to $18,200 which means wage earners in this bracket get to keep all their pay packet and may not need to lodge a tax return.
In general the panel felt the idea of using the carbon tax to compensate people and to fund projects to improve energy efficiency and develop renewable energy was a good way of reducing carbon pollution.
In addition to providing some economic insights behind the carbon tax Smokey also played another great selection of music during the show.
We got to hear:
  1. Harmony in my head by the Buzzcocks
  2. Cannonball by The Breeders
  3. Starbright Boy by Bis
  4. Troubled Waters by Cat Power
  5. I found a reason by Cat Power
  6. Sweet Disposition by Temper Trap
Our surprise guest was Andrew from Spending Some Time With Andrew, the show which follows Environmentality running from 1:00 to 4:30 pm each Wednesday. Andrew introduced us to his own special guest Gareth Kegan who has appeared in the Rocky Horror Show, Jersey Boys and Next to Normal. Andrew gave us some of his own environmental observations on how we are already dealing with environmental issues, such as waste, recycling and changing light bulbs.

Another great show providing some commentary on the soon to be legislated carbon tax.

Listen to the show!

Northwest FM and Environmentality can now be listened to online. Go to the stations website at for instructions on listening live online!

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