Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Environmentality April 18 2012

Dear Environmentality Listeners,

Jaime and Danielle enjoyed ‘quiet conversation’ over the course of today’s show.   They discussed some current news items and also took the opportunity to reflect on the many inspiring and thought provoking interviews and radio programs aired by Environmentality in 2012. 

Firstly, Jaime commended Bob Brown on having done a ‘terrific job’ in advancing the environmental movement in Australia.   Bob Brown has been a very important figure in Australian politics.  Yes, the Greens are growing in numbers, but Jaime (who is also a Greens Party member) believes it will be tough act to follow in leadership.  We wish Bob all the best!

The team also give credit to Ted Ballieu in maintaining the mandatory 6 star energy rating scheme for new houses and renovations.   This is despite other Victorian Liberal members hoping to see the scheme scrapped.  Commentators thought it was a done deal.  In the end, common sense prevailed, as the program is about energy efficiency.   And ultimately energy efficiency is about saving money, which makes sense from a Liberal perspective!

Following from last week's discussion on the Murray Darling, the submission date for the draft Murray Darling Basin Plan has now passed.  The Murray Darling Basin Authority will now prepare a report based on the submissions made.  Let's hope for a successful outcome and a sustainable future for the Basin.  

Jaime and Danielle provided listeners with highlights of the Environmentality show from 2012.  Environmentality has been fortunate to have interviewed a number of exceptional people working in sustainability and the environment.  This has included representatives from Sustainability Drinks, Friends of the Earth, Gavin Webber (award winning blogger), Hume City Council, Engineers Without Borders, Environment Victoria, Climate Institute, Renew Magazine, Australian Conservation Foundation, Hepburn Wind and others.  A summary and a podcast can be found on all of these interviews on this blog.

As you can see, we have been busy and have grown the Environmentality team to include several volunteers.  Whilst on the topic of the blog, if you haven’t noticed already, we have attached an application to the right of this page that shows how much CO2 is in the global atmosphere.  Sustainable, safe levels are around 350 ppm, so we are well above that rate.

The Environmentality team welcomes feedback and ideas on any aspect of the radio program.  Potentially, you yourself could be a guest on the show!  SMS 0447777989 or leave a message on the blog.  

Listen to the show!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Environmentality 11 April 2012

Dear Listeners,

Today there were four!  Smokey, Jaime and Bridget are expanding their Environmentality team to include the addition of a new co-presenter, Danielle.  Together they were thrilled to interview Denise Boyd, Campaigns Manager of the Australian Conversation Foundation (ACF) and found out more about ACF’s campaigns.

The Australian Conversation Foundation was formed in the mid 1960s, a dedicated organisation to environmental conservation and protection, focusing on rivers, trees, wetlands and oceans.  ACF also campaign on sustainability and energy, for example, against tax subsidies that encourage the use of fossil fuels.

Denise talked about ACF's Murray Darling River campaign.  Over the last century, water usage of the Murray Darling has increased by 500%. There is an urgent need for basic common sense in the management of the basin, and the need to find a sustainable flow of the river.

Upper Murray Valley, image courtesy of ACF

Recently ACF organized a public meeting in Adelaide with 500 people, including the Federal Environment Minster, to discuss the future of the Murrry Darling basin, and determine what needs to be done to restore the basin to health.   

ACF have an online submission form you can send on the Murray Darling River: https://acf.good.do/help-murray-darling/make-a-submission-to-the-murray-darling-basin-plan-2/

ACF are continuing their work towards protecting Tasmanian forests.  ACF are assisting all sides of the Tasmanian forests ‘conflict’ come to a sustainable agreement.  There have been decades of war over the forests, everyone is exhausted.   The forestry industry has also been negatively affected by a declining international market for wood chips, and communities are suffering from the downturn. 

North George River, image courtesy of ACF

ACF are hopeful that transition packages can deliver a good outcome for communities, with a newly reserved 500,000 hectares for future generations.  There is an opportunity to write to the Environment Minister on the ACF website in support of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement:  http://acf.good.do/Tasmanian-forests/stop-logging-what-you-promised-to-protect/

The Environmentality team also had a lively discussion with Denise about the confusing level of commitment from various sides of politics towards climate change.  Unfortunately political views on climate change and the price of pollution are superseding the science.   Like in the case of the Liberal Victorian Government winding back the 20% carbon reduction target after coming into office. 

Yet most Australians know that we need to take action on climate change.   Denise made the very important point, that the longer we leave it, the harder it will be. Taking action is not an option, it is a given.

Thankyou to Denise for being such a fantastic guest.  Listeners, you may have a special guest you would like to hear on the show, or have a question.  Please feel free to provide feedback via this blog or SMS 0447777989.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Environmentality 4 April 2012

Dear Listeners,

Smokey and Bridget had the pleasure of interviewing Dan Cass, Director of Hepburn Wind, Australia's first community owned wind farm.  Dan talked about the wind farm, and gave listeners a snapshot about what is currently happening in the renewable energy sector.

The community of Daylesford originally opposed having a wind farm in their area.  Yet they were still concerned about climate change and wanted to see action.   The shift occurred when the locals realized they could be active in the planning of the wind farm and form a community owned initiative.  There are now 1900 members, the majority of whom are local.

The two wind turbines are situated at Leonards Hill, just south of Daylesford.  The farm produces 12,200 MWh of energy, enough for 2300 homes, which is actually more than the number of homes situated in Daylesford.  In fact, since Hepburn Wind has been so successful, there are currently more than 50 communities around the country starting to discuss similar projects, including in solar and hydropower.

The award winning Hepburn Wind is an example of how successful renewable projects can be.  This is very important given Australia is starting to lag behind poorer countries like Egypt and Brazil in investing in renewables.  This is despite 80-90% of Australians wanting to see more investment in solar and wind energy.   

Dan also explained to listeners that renewable energy is now cheaper than coal based energy.  ‘Smart money’ around the world is now being invested in renewables, and away from coal.  For example, Google and General Electric and others are investing billions into solar.

We also heard about the need to shift to a new energy ‘Smart Grid Model’, based on a mix of wind, solar and other energy sources, organized by technology and computers.   The new model will cut down on waste, lower costs and increase reliability.  This is in contrast to the current grossly inefficient coal-based model (where coal stations are not turned on or off at night for example).  

It certainly is an exciting time for the energy sector, especially in solar.  Solar has the advantage of being relatively straightforward to find sites for, and being made of units, can easily be scaled-up from small to large initiatives. 

Bridget commended Dan on being a courageous leader in renewable energy and the environmental movement.  Listeners were able to hear Dan's selection of music for the show, including songs by Otis Redding and The Smiths.  Thankyou Dan!

There are opportunities to be involved with Hepburn Wind in volunteering, investing or even simply visiting the farm.  You can visit their website on www.hepburnwind.com.au 

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