Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Examining the scientifc consensus on climate change

Interesting article looking on research around this topic - how is the scientifc consensus viewed by various groups in society?


Friday, 27 March 2009


The lights were on, but no-one was home . . .

Today at 10.30, Lighter Footprints took part in a nationwide action to highlight the woeful inadequacy of the goverment's action on climate change.

We'd contacted Senator Jacinta Collins before the event to inform her of the intended action and a request for a meeting to discuss our issue. The Senator informed us that she would be unable to meet us during the demonstration, but would meet us at another time. Still, this a national action and we need to play our part . . .

On arrival at her office today, not only was the Senator 'missing in action', but her doors were locked. They'd posted a sign saying that they'd closed the office due to the planned protest.

Hmm, what good is a protest if the politician won't hang around to see it? What does this say about listening to voices in the community? It probably reflects the government's response to climate change.

We are now looking forward to meeting with Senator Collins.

A climate and energy (and cost) saving tip from Lighter Footprints: turning off your lights when you're not using them is highly recommended.

click on the photos for larger versions

Monday, 23 March 2009


Media Release
20 March, 2009


Whitehorse and Boroondara residents will demand strong action on climate change from Senator Jacinta Collins at a protest at her Boxhill Office on Friday March 27. Members of the local climate action group, Lighter Footprints, will meet with Senator Collins to voice their anger at the weak targets set by the government’s newly released carbon trading scheme. Protesters with banners and placards will congregate outside the Senator’s office to loudly and clearly send the message that we face a climate emergency and that deep cuts in carbon emissions are required.

This action will be repeated across the country at the offices of Labor politicians. Lighter Footprints is part of a national climate change movement which is seeking to bring concerted pressure on all levels of government to act on climate change. Lynn Frankes, member of Lighter Footprints said, “As a parent of young children I cannot stand by and watch this government drop the ball on climate change.

Climate scientists tell us that the government’s 5% reduction target for 2020 will not stop dangerous climate change. We need to achieve reductions closer to 60% by 2020 to ensure a safe climate future.”

Friday 27 March, 2009 at 10:30 am

The electoral office of Senator Jacinta Collins
1013 Whitehorse Road, Boxhill

To protest against the government’s carbon trading scheme

Carolyn Ingvarson,
Convenor, Lighter Footprints
9836 0925/0411 115 186
carolyn (at) lighterfootprints.org

Lynn Frankes
Lighter Footprints member
9816 9697/0425 843 685
lynn (at) lighterfootprints.org

See also our Events calendar.

How many tonnes of GHG emisisons do Victoria's coal-fired power stations release each week?

The answer?
"The average weekly emissions from coal-fired power stations [in Victoria] was 1.236 MILLION tonnes."
With a population of 5.34 million (at the end of Sept 08), that's 231kg per person, per week, for every inhabitant of the state. That's around 4,600 of those black balloons we see on the TV ads for each of us, every week.

Bear in mind that these figures only include emissions from coal fired power stations and do not include other major emissions sources like burning gas, petrol, diesel, nor agricultural emissions nor deforestation.

96% of our electricity in Victoria comes from coal-fired power stations. These burn brown coal which make them some of the worst GHG polluting power plants in the world - here in our own back yard. Every kWh they produce causes 1.31kg of GHG emissions (CO2-e) (27 black balloons worth) to be released to the atmosphere.

Look at your last electricity bill to see how much electricity you used last quarter and multiply that by 1.31kg*.

For more in depth information on Australian GHG emsisions at a state level, pls see The Climate Group's Indicator web page or its 08/09 Summer Report.

*This figure is nearer 1.0kg for other Australian states since they do not burn brown coal. It's also much lower in Tasmania where a lot of their electricity comes from hydro generation.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Government's Chief Scientist: 'Act on climate or kill future generations'

One of the country's top scientists has told politicians to act quickly on climate change or devastate the lives of unborn generations.

Penny Sackett, the Government's Chief Scientist, delivered her blunt message to politicians at a dinner at Parliament House on Tuesday night.

Professor Sackett warned the actions of this generation "may deny the next generation the prosperity that we have enjoyed and endanger the lives of millions". "If we do not act, and act quickly and decisively, the effects will be devastating," Professor Sackett told the large audience.

"So what are we waiting for?"

Story from the SMH.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Consumption and Growth

Economic growth and the concomitant growth in waste, destruction of habitat etc is fuelled not by excess supply but excess demand.
The current downturn is through less customers not less stocks in stores.
There has been a small decrease in employment but a huge decrease in purchases. Why?
Not because people suddenly have less equity or less assets but they have less credit and less confidence(?)

So why is credit the key?
Because it allows us to buy (with misplaced confidence) what we cannot afford.
Because with credit we can borrow against the future.
There’s the rub! What future is there if we keep eating it? (Flannery)

Which way forward?
Smash the misplaced confidence generated by advertisers who encourage us to buy, with money we don’t have, the stuff we don’t need! (which is why landfill is choking and so is Fort Knox storage).
Lack of confidence should lead to a little humility in regard to the flagrant way we currently wield power over our world.
The Amerindians watched in shocked disbelief as white folks shot out 99.9% of all the buffalos in one generation.
When will we develop the shocked disbelief that befits us in our current circumstances. Aren’t we still shooting faster than ever?

Of course we must attack the consumption end! The KISS principle is very lucid.
The more we buy, the more we encourage the bastards who are never satisfied. They want permanently accelerating growth.
All the while they tell us it’s good for the economy, and the workers.
So why did our parents get by with just one wage and we need two? Because we need to pay in blood.
If this is so good for workers why is the disparity between rich and poor widening so fast? It’s always been a lie.
Why does the land of the free incarcerate 1,000,000 people? For many, crime is the only way to find a meal or a meaning.
Qui bono? Who does it benefit?
The middle class gets a little bit as a sop so they don’t complain as the oligarchs plunder the whole world.
And you thought Caligula eating his own child to rob him of his incipient power was ancient history.
Take a walk in any city store any day and watch as Caligula eats your grandchildren.
Permanent growth is ipso facto a pyramid scheme!
It worked well with the currency in Zimbabwe. The bigger the notes the less they are worth. A bread loaf now costs 10,000,000,000 dollars.

Here is the magic!! If we consume less it will be worth more!!!
Since when did we value the ephemeral, commonplace, expendable, cheap, trashy, fast and fattening.
If ‘cheap and affordable’ is so ‘democratising’ why do the big CEOs reject this democracy? Something to think about?!
If life is so good for workers why is Sol Trujillo not wearing overalls?
After all Adam Smith, his hero, basically regarded managers as parasites.
What are we all waiting for??? It is simple! CONSUME LESS.
General Motors is on its knees. Just don’t buy a GM car for another six months and the bastards will cark it. The others will learn.
We are the best educated and stupidest generation ever. We used our ‘smarts’ to conquer the earth and it has lost and so have we!
‘Graduated reform’ will be a slow failure because it will be a disingenuous and corrupt rearguard action (more likely a sham, e.g.CPRS) overseen by vested interests.
This is the long promised and inexorable collapse that will rid us of our confidence and force us to confront the planet’s limitations.

The conservation movement has a unique opportunity.
We don’t need to grow in power.
We just need to pull out the rug on growth, right now, as it’s wobbling at the knees.
Industry and consumption will shrink.
Done and dusted!
We will thus still have the savings left to rebuild.

Robbert Veerman

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

To cut emissions start by capping windy economists

An article in The Age on the 14th March . . .

by Ross Gittins

According to a growing band of economists, we'd be better off using a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, not the emissions trading scheme the Rudd Government introduced to Parliament this week.

My opinion? Don't believe it. It may be a case of the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. But what worries many, I suspect, is the knowledge we're dealing with reform that limits economic growth rather than promoting it.

Read more here.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The Big Ask

A 'to the point' video:

If you can't see the video, click here to download the Flash plugin for your browser.

Sustainable Living Week - Whitehorse 2009

City of Whitehorse - Celebrate Sustainable Living Week 2009

Whitehorse’s popular Sustainable Living Week features something for everyone, with nine days of activities featuring 13 free events with a sustainable emphasis.

The premier event of the week is the Earth Hour Celebrations at the Box Hill Gardens on Saturday 28 March, which includes a Sustainable Transport Expo, classy clothes swap, organic cooking demonstrations, children’s activities and performances, and concludes with an Earth Hour Countdown Concert.

Other activities planned for Sustainable Living week include a ‘Save Water, Save Energy Extravaganza’, Council Nursery Family Day, outdoor family film night, bus tour of sustainable houses, visit to St Kilda’s EcoCentre, an author talk and night tour of Blackburn Lake Sanctuary.

The Whitehorse Sustainability Awards will again be held to reward and recognise members of the local community for their efforts in living sustainable lifestyles. Award winners will be announced at the Whitehorse Sustainability Awards Night on Thursday 26 March.

Download the full program of events for Sustainable Living Week 2009.

Join Lighter Footprints at the Living for Our Future Expo

The mayor and council staff at last years Expo.

Lighter Footprints will be exhibiting at Boroondara council's Living for Our Future expo.
Come along for a chat, pickup some literature, join the group.

If you'd like to help with the stand, please contact Lynn - lynn (at) timsbookshop.com.au

Government's emissions trading plan criticised (extended interview)

Guy Pearse (author of 2007's 'High & Dry') appears on ABC Radio National's Breakfast.
"Former Liberal Party insider Guy Pearse has used the Quarterly Essay to take a swipe at the government's proposed emissions trading scheme, suggesting it is a dud which fails the key test and won't reduce Australia's carbon emissions."

Guy's latest publication, the Quarterly Essay - Quarry Vision.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Australians will not be put off solar

This very interesting peice from the Alternative Technology Association (who do some great work in this area) covering some lesser known or understood aspects of domestic solar installations.

Bottom line - if at all possible, please do not sell the renewable energy certificates (RECs) which you recieve as part of the package when installing a home solar system (hot water or electricity generation).
Solar-homes are selling-off their clean power to electricity retailers without knowing it, becasue they don’t understand the government’s solar policies, says the Alternative Technology Association (ATA).
Here's the article in full.

They conducted a survey here which may be useful in discussions with/submissions to policticians.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

"Scientists have lost patience with carefully constructed messages being lost in the political noise."

In what was described as a watershed moment, more than 2,500 leading environmental experts agreed a statement that called on governments to act before the planet becomes an unrecognisable – and, in places, impossible – place to live. At an emergency climate summit in Copenhagen, scientists agreed that "worst case" scenarios were already becoming reality and that, unless drastic action was taken soon, "dangerous climate change" was imminent.


Switch off the CPRS: switch on renewables: Actions at MP's offices

On 27 March 2009 people concerned about climate change around the country will be taking action at the office of their local federal Labor politician to tell them we need to reduce greenhouse emissions, not pay polluters. JOIN IN!

Friday 27 March, including:
  • Office of Lindsay Tanner, Member for Melbourne, 280 King St, Melbourme at noon. Info: Pablo on pabs101@hotmail.com
  • Office of Kelvin Thompson, Member for Wills, 3 Munro Street, Coburg at 10am. Info Ellen on ellenmroberts@yahoo.com.au
  • Office of Martin Ferguson, Member for Batman at 8am, 159 High Street, Preston. Info: Carol on caride@bigpond.com.au
  • Office of Jenny Macklin, Member for Jaga Jaga at 10am, 149 Burgundy Street, Heidelberg. Info: Bridgit on bbattova3@bigpond.com.au
  • Office of Peter Costello, Member for Higgins at 10am, 1343 Malvern Road Malvern, contact Sue on 0411885126
  • Office of Nicola Roxon, Member for Gellibrand at 10am, 1 Thomas Holmes Street Maribyrnong. Info: Shaun westsax@westnet.com.au
  • Office of Maxine McKew. rydegladesvilleclimate (at) gmail.com
  • Office of Jacinta Collins, 1013 Whitehorse Rd, Boxhill, 10.30am. Delegation to visit Senator and report back. Contact: Carolyn Ingvarson 9836 0925
Download a how-to kit about organising your own action: www.stepitupaustralia.wordpress.com

Info: Louise on morris.lv (at) gmail.com

Friday, 13 March 2009

Climate Change Articles

HSBC's Climate Confidence Monitor 2008

Melbourne Climate Action Centre and Carbon Equity's Climate Reader

On vegetariansim . . .

A reponse found in a discussion group about whether kangaroo meat was better than beef. It was written by "Aileen Wuernos".

The most environmentally and economically cheap meat, is simply to not have any. Fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains with the odd bit of tofu or textured vegetable protein (mock meats) is actually remarkably cheaper than eating another animal. Especially when you consider:

An area the size of ten football ovals (10 hectares) can produce enough;

meat to feed 2 people.
maise to feed 10 people.
grain to feed 24 people.
soya to feed 61 people.
If you take 7kg of vegetable protein and feed it to a cow you end up with just 1kg of meat protein at the end.

38% of the world´s grain is fed to farmed animals.

The growing of animals for meat in Australia uses twice the water of rice production here annually. Dairy production uses even more water again while grain production uses a mere fraction of the amount of water.

Much of the water involved in the meat industry ends up seriously polluted and needs treatment. Abattoir waste water and piggery effluent is some of the most highly polluted water in the world requiring extensive treatment before release or reuse.

Livestock produce up to 85 million tonnes of the total 4-600 million tonnes of methane produced every year. Methane is a greenhouse gas and is 20 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.

From http://www.brightside.org.au/asp/content.asp?articleID=431 here.

Try taking the switch for thirty days. Meat’s kind of like junk food really (well, considering it IS most junk food), you stay off it for a short period of time and eat a balance diet? You’ll never want to go near it again.

Just remember, that every single veg*n in the world once said: "I could never give up meat."

Just a thought.

Wake Up, Freak Out - Climate Change Redux

A great short film (animation) on climate change. Well worth the 10 minutes it takes to watch.

Simply put, with a great message.


Wake Up, Freak Out - then Get a Grip from Leo Murray on Vimeo.

If you can't see the video, click here to download the Flash plugin for your browser.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Crunch Time - Australia's Policy Future

Be part of the first major conference of Australia’s leading progressive think tanks.

At the halfway mark of the Rudd Government’s first term, and a year on from the 2020 Summit, we invite you to join us in considering the principles and values that should guide progressive policy making into the 21st century.

For the past three decades governments have relied heavily on market forces to achieve their
goals, favouring short-term economic considerations over long-term public benefit. But the global financial crisis raises serious questions about the balance between economic growth
and social and environmental sustainability.

This event presents a rare opportunity to discuss the challenges that governments in Australia now face.

Will be held in Sydney on 22nd and 23rd April, and will feature an impressive list of local and international speakers including Ann Pettifor from Advocacy International in the UK. Ann has written extensively on debt and finance, climate change and international development and was one of the authors of the UK national economic foundation’s Green New Deal.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Sustainability Matters - Monash University


Monash Sustainability Month
16 March to 9 April 2009

This month highlights the University's commitment to sustainability in education, practice and research. Join sustainability experts and take part in an exciting program of activities. Help us move towards real environmental change.

Full event listing.

Presentation to Frankston Bypass EES Inquiry

A submission by Ian Hundley,


A submission made by Ian Hundley to the City Council of Boroondara.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Human Sign - St Kilda Beach, Melbourne - 17 May 2009

LIVE (Locals Into Victoria's Environment) is inviting families, schools, other community groups, and individuals to register to participate in forming a Human Sign.

The sign will be formed by thousands of people, on St Kilda Beach, at 11 am on Sunday 17 May 2009.

For more details please see the posting on the LIVE website. Use the Register Interest form to register your interest in participating in the Human Sign. If you are interested you could offer to become involved in organising it.

Here's a video from the last one . . .

If you can't see the video, click here to download the Flash plugin for your browser.