Welcome to the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group (MRSG)
2016 Annual Report
President’s Report by Ralf Thesing
This is the 6th Annual Report I am collating as President and I keep observing that each year is bigger and busier than the one before. The most challenging project this year was getting the $100,000 Community Solar Park up and running at the Woodend Black Forest Timber Mill Site. This certainly stretched the Committee and all volunteers involved. But it will be a great asset and income stream for many years to come.
As part of our Macedon Ranges Renewable Energy Fund (MrRef) we provided guidance, project management and an interest free loan to the Woodend Cricket Club for their Solar Project.
There is a lot happening in the Renewable Energy space with the Woodend Windfarm being the biggest item on the board. You can view the position of the wind mast on google earth here
Our Sustainable Living Festival in February took on a new format over two days. Instead of the “Ride for Renewables” we helped organise the Sustainable House Day in the Macedon Ranges.
The Woodend Community Farmers Market is now well established with the new layout and the central marquee.
Too many initiatives to mention, I encourage you to read the reports of the various active groups which are part of this report. Go to mrsg-annual-report-2015-2016-full-version
Visit by Professor Kate Auty
Professor Auty, Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment in the Australian Capital Territory toured the Macedon Ranges on October 11 with members of MRSG to view renewable energy projects accomplished by the MRref Scheme. Professor Auty was “blown away” by the scope and innovation of what has been achieved and what is being planned. The projects include the proposed community run wind turbines near Woodend, solar panels installed for the Woodend Cricket Club at the Gilbert Gordon Oval and Woodend Primary, a wind turbine at Heskett Primary School, and the solar project at the Woodend Black Forest Timber Mill. Professor Auty enjoyed an informal dinner at the Vic Hotel and then on to give her talk at the AGM. More news about her talk will come soon.
More Australian Solar Homes
Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group is proud to support MASH. MASH is a community solar bulk-buy scheme that helps make rooftop solar and storage easy and affordable. The MASH team does the legwork of finding high quality solar and battery systems that you can trust and consolidates the buying power of MASH participants to negotiate heavily discounted bulk-buy prices.
There are many information sessions rolling out in central Victoria right now!
Kyneton’s Session was on October 4 at The Albion Hotel.
Gisborne, October 27, 6 pm – 7.30 pm at the Gisborne Senior Citizens Hall, 8a Hamilton St
Sessions for Bendigo and Mount Alexandra Shires are: Maiden Gully October 7, Maldon October 11, White Hills October 12, Newstead October 12 (solar battery storage), Kangaroo Flat October 18.
Find out much more about MASH at http://mash.org.au/. Register now or to find more information go to events.
MASH inquiries: Phone: 1300 466 274 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: PO Box 311, Castlemaine, Vic 3450
Movies that Matter feature a broad number of topics related to sustainability from alternative agriculture to modern day challenges across environment, economic and social dimensions.
Finding Inspiration, Ideas and the Key to Sustainable living
There were over 19,000 visits to the inspiring 154 homes which were opened for this event around Australia (4 in the Macedon Ranges) . Organised by the Alternative Energy Association. Supported by the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group, The Federal Department of Environment and Energy Your Energy Savings and Bank Australia
MRSG Annual General Meeting
Tuesday 11 October 2016
Speaker: Professor Kate Auty
ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and Environment
Many people make for change
Time: 6.30 pm
Woodend Neighbourhood House
47 Forest St Woodend
Everyone is welcome.
A Forum for Democratic Renewal presented its last one for the year at Gisborne Masonic Centre on August 21 with special guest speaker Iain Walker, Executive Director, newDemocracy. He spoke about the ‘not for profit’ organisation which aims to introduce democratic reform and how they are doing it.
If you missed it then you’re in luck – video and photos will be placed on the website soon.
Go to: A forum for Democratic Renewal website or call Rob 54 22 1808.
VISIT BY SHADOW MINISTER
On Sunday 12 June Mark Butler MP Shadow Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water visited the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group with Lisa Chesters MP (Member for Bendigo) with the intention of talking with the group and visiting the renewable projects that the group has supported over the last 2 years. He is seen here looking over the site of the planned community owned wind turbines. He also visited Woodend Primary School, Cricket Club on the Gilbert Gordon oval and Blackforest Timber Mill. He is seen here at front wearing scarf with Lisa and MRSG members.
MR VEG blog is here: https://mrvegblog.wordpress.com/ for all information about vegetarian eating and recipes.
“As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful will do as they please and those that survive will be left to contemplate.” Noam Chomsky
The Great Debate
Has democracy failed us or have we all failed democracy?
What can we do about it anyway?
These questions will be debated around the Macedon Ranges at five forums for Democratic Renewal.
April forum speaker was Adam Jacoby from MiVote at Riddells Creek Primary School.
May forum speaker was Professor Lyn Carson from Sydney University at Lansfield
June forum speakers: Annie Bolitho (facilitator of “participatory budgeting at Darebin Council) and Sebastien Klein (President Victorian Local Government Association) at Woodend Primary School.
August Speaker Steb Fisher at Kyneton Secondary College
You get a chance to have your say about local issues that are important to you in group discussions after hearing from the keynote speakers.
A forum for democratic renewal will give more information or call Rob on 54 22 1808.
The 2016 Macedon Ranges Sustainable Living Festival was held on February 27 & 28. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped on the day. You were fantastic! Thank you to our supporters. Your support is important to us.
Some photos of the 2016 Festival – Thank you to photographer Bruce Hedge
CARBON MYTHS. CLIMATE TRUTHS. WHAT TO DO.
by Jim Sansom
Myth 1: That fossil fuels are the cheapest form of energy.
They’re not. They are only regarded as cheap when the full cost of using them is not accounted for. Up till now humans have not costed the rubbish that is put into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels.
Myth 2: That substitution of gas for coal burning eliminates emissions.
It doesn’t. Gas like coal is a hydrocarbon and when burnt produces CO2. It is true that less emission results from the burning of gas for the same useful energy output when compared with coal, but it still produces emissions.
Myth 3: That carbon dioxide (CO2) is the biggest green house gas.
It isn’t. Water vapour is far more prevalent in the atmosphere but its amount varies with temperature. The warmer the atmosphere the more water vapour it can hold and this warmth depends on green house gases trapping energy around the Earth. This is known as a ‘feed-back loop’ and is the cause of great concern for climate scientists. A relatively small increase in a green house gas (eg CO2, N20, CH4) leverages a proportionately larger atmospheric absorption of water vapour thus boosting the temperature even further and so the cycle goes on. ‘Runaway’ temperature increase is the result.
Click here to join or renew your membership online -
Paris Pledge for Action Boosts Paris Climate Agreement
L’Appel de Paris, or the Paris Pledge for Action, is a call to action in support of the Paris Agreement which brings together a multitude of voices on an unprecedented scale.
A successful 2015 march was held in Kyneton to show the local support for a definite and lasting global response from the Paris talks for combating climate change. People want change now. A picnic lunch with community singing their very own climate songs was held at Quarry Reserve and climate marchers headed off along Piper Street and Mollison St to the Kyneton Mechanics Institute in the centre of town, where many speakers were heard. Further details at: https://www.facebook.com/Macedon-Ranges-Green-Energy-Coalition-299880123541228 Contact Rob 54 221 808 or Marcus 54 235 254 or email robbakes(at)mudbrickcircus.com.au if you want to join the movement for change.
MACEDON RANGES SHIRE COUNCIL CLEAN ENERGY PETITION with a whopping 3,537 signatures was presented to the Macedon Ranges Council meeting by Mayor and Councilor Jennifer Anderson in November 2015
For more information go here
My Green Home Program
We are proud to announce MRSG collaboration with ecoMaster’s My Green Home Program and we invite you to get involved too.
As official partners of the program, we have our own dedicated page where you can register FREE. Visit: http://my-green-home.
The My Green Home Program is a brilliant initiative designed to empower communities like ours to take the expert approach to making our homes as energy and thermally efficient as possible. – Enjoy education resources offered by trusted industry leaders – Learn about the best energy saving solutions, tested and approved by experts – Take advantage of exclusive special prices – Watch instructional videos for ease of installation – Take meaningful action to achieve lasting carbon reductions As a group, we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity as we work towards a greener future. Visit: http://my-green-home.
Marching for Action on Climate Change