Wednesday, 14 December 2011

End of year Lighter Footprints dinner

Thirty of us had a great dinner together on Wednesday night December 7th. A highlight was the range of comments made as we went round the room sharing what had stuck with us as memorable from the past year of working with Lighter Footprints.

Here are the comments made on the night by Carolyn (convenor), followed by a piece from Sue King.

This year 2011-
So what have been the highlights for Lighter Footprints
  • Ok it has to be the year of the carbon tax – I am still finding it hard to believe it actually got through, having braced myself for disappointment – I just knew something would happen which would blow it out of the water. I have been convinced for a very long time now that a price on carbon is key to reforms which are required to change the levels of carbon emissions we have come to see as normal, and I cannot agree with those who believe that because this step is insufficient in itself to turn us around, we should work to see it brought down. This issue will raise itself again in due course when we address the matter of the rollover to an emissions trading scheme. I see a year’s reprieve next year when the reforms will begin to bite, before we need to address the ETS matter.
We contributed to the drive towards this carbon tax in several ways:
  • we ran our forums –having direct or indirect relevance to the issue of reform- these still reverberate because of the recordings on the website – thanks to Peter Campbell ‘s videos and photos and to the slides we wrested from the speakers, and Simon Grosser’s persistence in getting them upon our site.
  • we ran stalls and some street handouts aimed at support for the carbon tax in the face of the extreme hostility being mounted. We had close to 1000 letters signed and forwarded to members of the multiparty committee on CC to add strength to their arms. And we let the opposition know these numbers.
  • we joined the earth ball relay became part of the montage presented to the parliament prior to the passage of the carbon tax package. – also still getting hits on our website – maybe because of the rather nice song we sang.
  • we supported several campaigns directly and indirectly related to the carbon tax- the Getup action, the Yes Campaign, and 100% renewables campaign, the EV letter writing campaign – where we continued our commitment to getting letters into papers. We’ve had more success at having letters published than any other CAG in Australia - or so I believe!
  • we got a mention in Hansard via Anna Burke who has continued to support us as the kind of local action group that changes the game by being out there supporting the policy for reform.
  • we joined the deckchair month of speakers on the steps of parliament– set up by LIVE
  • we were invited to speak about ethical leadership at a community level at Melbourne University leadership course at Mt Eliza.
What else have we done?
  • we ran our monthly meetings with speakers at most of them- - variety being the key! – Plants and CO2,; Planning for cities here versus US; latest BZE plan and a run down on their stationary energy approach; The Pacific Islands dilemma with CC, and one of the very nice outcomes from that being Yea High school connection with one of the islands schools; how do we go about working with our local Council and possibly assisting candidates who want to stand; and more
  • we also ran monthly small group meetings which became the drivers for what we asked of the rest of our group – the key to our success is the work of these beavers the Fed/State Politics group and the Local gov/ community group (the latter tending to be more ad hoc)
  • we helped to run the national climate action conference which was held at Melb Uni in April this year
  • we joined CANA
  • we improved the website
  • we made good links with Boroondara Council, and the Whitehorse Council
  • and lots more! – like our recent Kris Kindle stall, and the general wonder of finding friendships with people of like mind.
Overall a big year. An unforgettable year.

So let’s now go round the table and hear from others about the things they have gotten out of belonging to this group this year – give us an example of something you have enjoyed doing and felt was worthwhile – that had an impact. Can be quite small, and it doesn’t matter if it has already been mentioned – if it was true for you too, then tell us. Tonight we’re not going to explore the “how might we have done this better theme”- we have an strategic planning day coming up to air some of the things we’d like to improve. This is our celebration time. What did we get out of this year.


It was a time to revisit what we have achieved and to remember where we came from.

Five years ago we set up Lighterfootprints with Carolyn at the helm. Carolyn wrote a letter in the Surrey Hills Neighbourhood news expressing her despondency at Al Gores Inconvenient Truth and sending out pleas to like minded individuals in a call, albeit a quiet call, to action.

The group is not run as a traditional association, with committees etc handing down the next years plan, it is a collective of people bringing their own passion and ideas and allowing them to follow their interests motivated to make their footprints and those of others lighter than they are. Carolyn is the hub of all of this and with her, the spokes of our wheel turn.

At our annual dinner everyone got to chance to articulate to the group what they had felt were the successes of the year. This ranged from the carbon tax and our efforts to support it, kids activities at Maling Road, letter publishing in the Herald sun, local government engagement, forums allowing politicians to articulate their position, a talk about low lying islands, talk about urban deforestation, , joining the climate action groups network, becoming well known, and markedly improving our website.

It is our individual and collective actions which are going to drive us forward, with our passion forged together I believe that we can all do great things and small things, the more that we try, the more that we will discover within ourselves what we are capable of and whilst the impact of our efforts might never be quantifiable if we stay true to the principle of a lighter footprint then every action might reduce the momentum of this greatest threat, not only to humanity but everything living which shares this earth.

People have gone on to do bigger things like setting up a climate health alliance, designing a carbon management diploma, lecturing in sustainable energy policy writing magnificent songs and surely others, it is hard to keep track of exactly what people end up doing, in our free spirited and passionate group.

Since Al Gores call to action 5 years ago the face of our Earth has changed in its attitude to climate change. Every action we take slows the momentum of this moving force, we hope that it is enough. What we do know is that the more of us that are on this side, the side of hope, the more we can achieve to save our beautiful Earth

Sue King
Member of Lighterfootprints

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Lighter Footprints joins CANA

CANA (Climate Action Network Australia) is a network of over 70 Australia non-government groups working for action on climate change. It is the Australian arm of Climate Action Network International.

In November this year CANA approved Lighter Footprints as a member, which gives us access to the latest climate change science and policy and campaigning in Australia and internationally. CANA has access to the civil societies activities at the international climate change negotiations.

In addition we became part of the processes established to work on joint domestic and international advocacy with other CANA members, and can participate fully in the annual conference.

Our membership means that we support the objects of CANA:
  1. To provide a forum for members to work together on campaigns and projects to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to ecologically sustainable levels; 
  2. To formulate and promote policies to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and to ensure that Australia is part of the international agreements to make the pollution reductions necessary to avoid and mitigate climate change; 
  3. To encourage co-operation and develop strategic alliances to help advance the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; 
  4. To encourage the active involvement and interest of the Australian community in campaigns to reduce Australia’s impact on the atmosphere; 
  5. To represent Australia and contribute to the objects and purposes of the Climate Acton Network International as documented in the CAN Charter
For further information on CANA see

Friday, 11 November 2011

Why do people reject science?

Excerpt from an article by Stephan Lewandowsky:

"What does Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity have to do with the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV)?

What does acid rain have to do with the fact tobacco smoking causes lung cancer?

What does Reye’s syndrome have in common with the CFCs that caused the hole in the ozone layer?

And what do all those issues have to do with the fact our climate is rapidly changing due to human greenhouse gas emissions?

The answer is that in all those cases, solid scientific evidence was met with vociferous opposition.

The historical evidence is overwhelming that some of that opposition has been organised by vested interests, often successfully delaying political and regulatory action that posed a perceived threat to corporate profits. The peer-reviewed literature has clearly identified the subterfuge, distortion and manufacture of doubt with which vested interests delayed the control of tobacco, CFCs and sulphur emissions."

Lewandowsky is principally looking at the reasons why people tend to resist the science of climate change. Read the rest of this very interesting article at Climate Spectator.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

HRL Court Challenge

Several of us attended the demonstration outside the high Court in King St this week in support of the case being run by Environment Victoria and others challenging the EPA's support for the new HRL coal fired/gasfired power station

Below is the EV email on the event 23/10/2011 and links to their website:

Legal Challenge against HRL started today

At 10am this morning, the legal challenge from Environment Victoria, Local’s Into Victoria’s Environment, Doctors for the Environment and individual Mr. Martin Shields against the EPA got underway in earnest.

Thanks to those of you who made it along at lunchtime today to show your support for this challenge by environmental groups. With people coming from Ballarat to Wonthaggi, it was a fun, positive reminder that all parties challenging the EPA approval of HRL on environmental grounds are joined in their actions by supporters from across the Victorian community.

Check out the pics here today >

Thank you also to everyone who has been helping with the petition. We are about half way to the goal of 10,000 hard copy signatures, so please keep ‘em rolling in!

If you would like to keep you up to date with the case as it unfolds over the next four weeks. EV will be writing blogs, facebook and twitter. You can help us build the momentum of this campaign by sharing info and comments about the case online (please tweet using the hashtag #stopHRL).

Get the thrills and spills from today’s proceedings - check out today’s blog from EV’s Safe Climate Campaigner >

Thanks again for your support thus far… and wish us luck!

Josie Lee
Safe Climate Campaigner
Environment Victoria

OFFICE HOURS: 9am-5pm Mondays, Tuesdays & Thursdays
PHONE: (03) 93418118 EMAIL:
RECEPTION: (03) 93418100 FAX: (03) 93418199

STREET ADDRESS: Level 2, 60 Leicester Street Carlton, Victoria 3053
POST: PO Box 12575, A'Beckett Street, Melbourne 8006

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Say Yes Earth Relay

Say Yes Earth Relay: Melbourne
Launched on Thursday, 15 September

Over the coming few weeks, as the price on pollution is debated in Parliament, Victorian communities will come together to take part in the Earth Relay - a series of actions to symbolise support for action on climate change.
Melbourne, Environment Victoria and friends
Like the passage of the Olympic flame to the site of the Olympic Games, communities across Victoria will be passing a human sized earth globe from suburb to suburb and town to town. And after travelling across the state, the globe will be taken to Parliament House, Canberra to send the Victorian community’s message of hope for the future.

So get involved in this important moment in history. Hop here to find out when the Earth Relay is coming to a suburb or town near you
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Canterbury, Lighter Footprints hold 'the Earth'
Lighter Footprints were a link in the Earth Relay heading for Canberra organised by Environment Victoria. We had it for one brief hold on the afternoon of Tuesday, 11 October.

The purpose was to support the passing of legislation to begin the process of reducing our carbon emissions. This piece of legislation is the crucial start to a long process, without which we will struggle to change the direction of growth of emissions and global warming - with its devastating consequences.

Jade Invargson-Favretto accompanied us with her inspiring song 'Beautiful Earth'.

Jade Ingvarson-Favretto sings 'Beautiful Earth'

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Here are more photos from the Earth Relay (11 October) which was organised by Environment Victoria, photos below taken for them by Rodney Dekker (see our collection of his photos from the Pacific Islands on our blog dated 14 September).

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Plant responses to global change: consequences for food security

A presentation from Ros Gleodow Assoc Prof from Monash University, at the August Lighter Footprints meeting.

Ros outlined her research into the impact of climate change (increased CO2, temperature and reduced water) on certain plants.

In general in high C02 conditions, the plants produce more woody growth, and fewer leaves, and those produce less protein (associated with the ease of producing carbohydrate so less enzyme required) and a slowing of the expected growth as the amounts of CO2 increase, as plants adapt.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Climate Change in the Pacific Islands

The Oxfam Photographic Exhibition of the Pacific Islands
was launched at Q.P.O. in Kew, Victoria Australia on September 14.

Named 'Land is Life,' the exhibition contains photos taken by Rodney Dekker of Tuvalu and Kirabati. It was MC'ed by Carolyn Ingvarson of Lighter Footprints.This exhibition demonstrates that climate change is already having an impact on daily life.

As part of the program, Jade Ingvarson-Favretto sang her original song 'Beautiful Earth'. Jade's song matched the mood of this occasion, watch the video below. Other special guests included Josh Frydenberg (Federal Member for Kooyong) who launched the Exhibition, and Oxfam CEO Andrew Hewett who sponsored it.

From left: Andrew Hewett CEO of Oxfam, Josh Frydenberg Federal Member for Kooyong, MC Carolyn Ingvarson Convenor of Lighter Footprints, Ethan McGrath and Emeretta Cross Representatives of the Pacific Islands.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Public Forum: How to live well with a price on carbon

Lighter Footprints Forum

A panel discussion on why and how we can live in these changed times.

Wednesday, August 10th
Chandelier Room, Hawthorn Town Hall, Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

The forum was opened by:

Cr Nicholas Tragas - Councillor for Maranoa Ward and Mayor of Boroondara 

Three speakers brought different perspectives: government, climate/energy expert, and community leader, they then responded to questions.

Anna Burke  - MP for Chisholm
Alan Pears - RMIT, Sustainable Solutions
Dr Brett Parris Monash University
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Carolyn Ingvarson

Cr Nicholas Tragas

Anna Burke

Alan Pears

Dr Brett Parris


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Thursday, 23 June 2011

Lighter Footprints meeting - Voices from the Pacific

Our next Lighter Footprints meeting on Wed June 29th
7.30 pm
Guide hall
Faversham Rd

Voices from the Pacific
We have a speaker, Nic Maclellan. He is well known for his work on climate change and the the impact on our neighbours in the Pacific. We are lucky to have him.

Australia is currently debating the introduction of a carbon tax - but there is little public discussion of how government climate change policies are affecting people in neighbouring Pacific countries.
Join us for a discussion with journalist and researcher Nic Maclellan, who will talk on the impacts of global warming in the Pacific islands. Nic has recently visited island nations - including Kiribati, Tuvalu, Niue, Fiji, New Caledonia and Solomon Islands - to talk with communities that are responding to the challenges of global warming, peak oil and financial crisis.
As the world prepares for more climate negotiations in Durban next December, join us to discuss how global warming is affecting livelihoods for people living in our region and what we can do in Australia to work with our neighbours for a sustainable future.

Nic Maclellan works as a journalist and researcher in the Pacific islands. He has conducted research on climate change impacts for UNICEF Pacific, Oxfam International, the Lowy Institute and other organisations, and has written widely on environment and development in the Pacific region.

The first half of our meeting will be a presentation from Nic and discussion, before a break and then reforming to discuss other issues currently on our agenda.

We open the hall at 7 pm with drinks and nibbles and will start at 7.30pm.
Guide Hall on corner Faversham rd and Shierlaw Ave, Canterbury

For further information on either of these events contact me on 0411 115 186
Carolyn Ingvarson

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Public Forum: Moving to clean energy options for baseload power

Lighter Footprints Forum

Can we live well without coal?
  • Can renewable energy provide continuous, reliable power?
  • Can we escape our dependence on carbon polluting fossil fuels?
  • Is it nuclear or nothing?
Watch the three speakers on these issues at the Lighter Footprints’ public forum held on 8 June.

Matthew Wright, Executive Director of Beyond Zero Emissions

Josh Frydenberg,  Federal MP for Kooyong

Lane Crockett, General Manager - Australia / Pacific, for Pacific Hydro

[please click on the image below for a larger version]

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Public Forum: Sustainable suburbia

Lighter Footprints Forum

Sustainable suburbia – what do we need to do?

Time: Thursday 28 April 2011

Venue: Holy Trinity Church Hall, corner Union Road and Montrose Street, Surrey Hills

  • The forum discussed how we can create sustainable suburbs and take responsible action on climate change while enhancing our quality of life through a sense of local community.
  • It was an opportunity to be informed about local council actions and to engage in conversation about those actions.
  • Welcome and introduction to LighterFootprints, and invitation to get involved
  • Rob Gell, Environmental scientist and communicator, set the scene
  • five 10-minute presentations:
  1. Jane Monk, Director of State Planning Services, Department of Planning and Community Development outlined the key issues and challenges with a metropolitan perspective.
  2. Sustainability officers from Whitehorse Council (Ian Goodes) and Boroondara Council (Adam Hall) outlined Council solutions to meet the challenges.
  3. Mayors of Whitehorse Council (Ben Stennett) and Boroondara Council (Nick Tragas) outlined partnership engagement of Councils and citizen.
  • Rob Gell commentary, led to questions and discussion
  • 40 minutes of questions/discussions with the presenter’s panel
  • Informal chat over a cuppa at the end.
Brochure (click for a larger version)

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Rob Gell

Jane Monk - Director of State Planning Services DPCD

Ian Goodes - Manager Engineering & Environmental Services
Whitehorse Council

Adam Hall - Manager Environmental & Sustainable Living
Boroondara Council

Ben Stennett - Mayor of Whitehorse Council

Nick Tragas - Mayor of Boroondara Council

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Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Five books on solar power

Blog entry from The Browser has an interview with author Bob Johnstone about solar power. In this interview he lists and briefly discusses five books on the topic. Several of the books by Hermann Scheer (the architect of the German solar power initiative) are available in the Boroondara Library system.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Lighter Footprints Monthly Meeting

Please note as of this year the Lighter Footprints monthly meeting will be on the last Wednesday of each month.

This means the next meeting will be next Wednesday on the 30th March.

Friday, 25 March 2011

March 2011 climate action and carbon price rally

This is a link to the SMH article discussing the difference between the turnout for the anti climate action in Werribee and the huge carbon price rally turnout at Treasury Gardens in Melbourne.

It also includes a video of the Treasury Gardens rally.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Saturday 12 Rally imperative

In response to an attempt to persuade Julia that the general public does not want to support a price on carbon,  deniers will rally  in front of her electorate office in Melbourne this Saturday. Getup and others have determined to show that a greater number of people do support it. 

The support rally is at 11 am on this Saturday 12, at Treasury Place.

This is the first public demonstration of support in the face of Tony Abbott's campaign to undermine the  confidence of the community in the tax. If a significant number  turn out in support of the government's position to move on a price for carbon, then we can begin to turn the tide of the media focus on the negative.

If it becomes the norm to question this move, and community confidence is lost, then the chance of the government losing the vote on this is great.
This must surely spell the end of any attempts to act on pricing carbon or taking any significant action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for years to come - and our time for action is already so short.

Please consider making this the one rally you wouldnt miss

Here is the Getup invitation with  an RSVP so they can assess numbers.

Carolyn Ingvarson
Lighter Footprints
0411 115 186