Sunday, 9 December 2012

Kris Kindle Maling Rd Dec 7

The usual fun and games ensued on Friday from about 4.30 to 9 pm, and although the numbers felt less this year, it didnt seem to take from the enjoyment of those who plodded up and down the street, making things, having their faces painted, listening to music and eating all manner of tasty foods
Lighter Footprints stall was full of colour for decorating bikes for kids, and we handed out diagrams of a proposed new off-road bike track following the railway line from Boxhill to Hawthorn, as well as information about Lighter Footprints.
Here are some photos of our stall and some of our supporters talking to people and making cards and handle bar decorations with the kids.
(I will put these up when I have learnt how!)

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Global health and medical community call for urgent action on climate to protect health

The international health and medical community have released a Declaration at the global climate change negotiations in Doha, Qatar, calling for health to be a central priority in national and global responses to climate change.

The Doha Declaration on Climate, Health and Well-being, whose signatories include the World Medical Association, International Council of Nurses, and Royal College of Physicians (UK), says "human health is profoundly threatened by our global failure to halt emissions growth and curb climate change."
The Doha Declaration calls for health to be central to climate action, and highlights the opportunities to improve health through emissions reductions - pointing out that reducing fossil fuel consumption and moving to low carbon energy systems can deliver many benefits to health worldwide. 

"The impact of climate change on health is one of the most significant measures of harm associated with our warming planet. Protecting health is therefore one of the most important motivations for climate action," the Declaration says.

The drafting of the statement was led by Australia's Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA), and signatories include Public Health Association of Australia, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, Australian Association of Social Workers, the School of Public Health at Curtin University and many others.

To view the Declaration, visit:

To sign a petition as an individual to support the Declaration, visit:

Visit Maling Rd Friday Dec 6

Join us at Kris Kindle this Friday
We are near to Tim's Bookshop and all the kids will be working on bikes
Please come from 5 pm to 9 pm

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Lighter Footprints monthly general meeting

Wednesday 28 November starting at 7pm

Carol Ride will talk on the topic - " We are just human - a discussion of some of the impediments to engaging with climate change"

Carol is a psychologist, psychotherapist and climate activist. Co-convenor of DCAN and Convenor of Psychology for a Safe Climate.

We will spend an hour and half on this topic as it involves some engagement during the session. The last part of the meeting will address reports of action groups and plans for our strategic planning meeting in February (planned for Feb 10 )

Wednesday 28 November starting at 7pm
Canterbury Guide Hall
1 Faversham Road

Monday, 26 November 2012

A major public meeting in Kew to challenge the actions of this state government on the environment during the last two years

Here is the most important thing you can do now to send a strong message to Ted Baillieu and his government that their climate policies are missing in action, and that their throttling of the wind industry and ludicrous, irresponsible plans for brown coal exports are disastrous.

Let them hear loud and clear that these failures plus the never-ending wind back of protections for forests, green wedges and endangered flora and fauna will cost them at the next election.

A powerful alliance of environmental groups - the Victorian National Parks Association, The Wilderness Society, Environment Victoria and Friends of the Earth - are running a public meeting on our patch on Tuesday 27 November to highlight these failures on the anniversary of the second year of the Baillieu Government.

On Tuesday 27 November, it will be exactly two years since this government took office. It's time for people like us to act, to make sure the next two years are better than the last. Please be there and bring friends (and alert your networks)

Speakers include:
Professor David Lindenmayer, a highly respected ecologist.
Two daughters of Sir Rupert Hamer, the former Liberal Premier of Victoria and the architect of Victoria's green wedges, speaking about their father's legacy.

Date, time and place:
Tuesday 27 November
6.00 -7.30pm
Kew Heights Sports Club (bowling club near Carey, and right next to
Preshil), 397 Barkers Rd, Kew (Mel.Ref 45 H9)
Please be there and swell the numbers.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Boroondara Council 2012 Election Candidate Survey

Press Release October 10

Council candidates use wonky “Winky Pop” to dodge questions

A wonky excuse is being used by council candidates to evade stating their policies, says local climate action group Lighter Footprints.

Many candidates have responded to a Lighter Footprints survey, asking candidates’ policies on climate change, environmental health and sustainability. Six candidates have claimed that a precedent set in the “Winky Pop” legal case prevents potential councillors from expressing views on specific issues prior to election.

This excuse is preventing voters from knowing those candidates’ policies on climate change and sustainability - one of the biggest issues facing Council. And this is not the only community group whose survey has been spurned.

“Voters are being denied their right to know where these candidates stand on important issues,” Lighter Footprints Convenor Carolyn Ingvarson said.

“It is clearly absurd and undemocratic to use the Winky Pop legal case to avoid being open with voters. Winky Pop related to a councillor making a formal independent objection to a planning committee and then sitting on that committee when it ruled on his objection.

Using such a ruling to avoid answering broad policy questions when standing as a candidate for election is not supported by the Victorian Local Governance Association.*

Their advice on this issue is to follow proper processes and to be open to arguments rather than closed. It does prevent candidates or councillors outlining their own views.

Candidates all round Victoria including in Boroondara have been answering community surveys, and behaving professionally in doing so. One might be forgiven for asking whether there may be other reasons for not answering these surveys.”

Fourteen of the 38 candidates (26%) have completed the Lighter Footprints survey. (The full results are available on

Those who answered the survey were supportive of a range of strong actions to improve sustainability and environmental health in the city. There were significant differences between candidates in the ways they showed a commitment to these principles through what they had done to date.

Best responses on climate change action, environmental heath and sustainability from candidates in each ward were:

Bellevue – Jim Parke
Cotham - Theo Bila
Gardiner – Coral Ross
Glenferrie – James Searle
Junction – Meredith Butler
Lynden – Heinz Kreutz
Maling – Peter Campbell
Solway – Kevin Chow

No responses from Studley or Maranoa

Six candidates cited the Winky Pops case as the basis for not responding - Philip Healey(Studley), Jack Wegman(Junction), Simon Phipps(Bellevue), Judith Voce(Cotham), Erika Wilke(Solway) and Steve Wolf (Gardiner).

More information on the case, as presented by the Victorian Local Governance Association, can be found at:


Here are some summaries from our survey:

Where the respondents came from.

Strong support for climate change issues and Council playing its part.

We are all agreed! Efficient use of energy and renewable energy sources are important to us.

Transport has an important role in emissions reduction.

Question 8 in the survey was in seven parts and relates to aspects of renewable energy, denser living and sustainable community living:

In Questions 9 and 10 we asked candidates how they had demonstrated commitment to saving the environment and also any further comments they might wish to add.

A little bit of analysis helps us to see where priorities lie across all respondents.

A summary of how we rated candidates from their responses.
Candidate Name Strong Response Q's 3-7 Strong Response to Sustainable Boroondara Environmental Commtiment
Jim Parke 5 5 5
James Searle 5 5 4
Heinz Kreutz 5 5 5
Peter Campbell 5 5 5
Michael Nolan 5 5 4
Maree Williams 5 5 1
Theo Bila 5 4 4
Geoff Hayes 5 4 3
Coral Ross 5 4 4
Meredith Butler 5 4 4
Kevin Chow 5 4 4
Steve Hurd 4 4 5
Jane Addis 4 4 2
Jacob Rodrigo 4 3 3

We thank all of those candidates who chose to respond to our survey. They showed a strong commitment to environmental health and sustainability as drivers for addressing issues as they arise for Boroondara. Those who chose not to respond either didn't want their views recorded, or didn't value the opportunity to convey them to the public. The Winky Pop case cited by six candidates is a very different situation from answering a few broad policy questions in a survey, and we regret that this case was used as the reason for not responding.

If you would like more information, such as candidates specific responses, please contact Carolyn Ingvarson 0411 115 186. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Community proposal for a 'food forest' in Winton Road Reserve

The Food Forest Ashburton (FFA) Group, made up of motivated community members with support from the Craig Family Centre, are requesting Council approval to establish a sustainable and communal 'food forest' on public land in Ashburton

In December 2011, the Craig Family Centre sent a letter and survey to residents living close to three potential sites. Following overwhelmingly positive feedback from survey responses, Winton Road Reserve was selected as the preferred site for the initiative.

The concept
The proposed food forest involves planting a range of fruit and nut trees with supportive understory in a portion of the reserve. A proposed first stage would see around 12 trees planted, with potential for additional trees to be planted in a future stage. There would be an all-abilities gravel path and the draft landscape plan also allocates a space for a potential park shelter in the future. The planted area would remain open to the public, and the plantings would be maintained by the FFA Group and interested community members, with Council support.

Have your say
Council is now seeking feedback from local residents on this community proposal.
To provide feedback, you can:

• Add comments and suggestions to the FFA Group blog.
The survey closes on Sunday 29 July 2012.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Wednesday 25 July at 7pm
At the July Lighter Footprints monthly meeting we are delighted to have
Hannah Aulby who will talk to us about the very exciting Australia wide campaign to 
Repower Port Augusta: a solar future for South Australia 
Repower Port Augusta... a detailed blueprint for two of Australia's dirtiest coal plants to be replaced by solar and wind. 

Port Augusta has the opportunity to make history by securing Australia's first solar thermal power plants, while capitalising on the associated employment, health and environmental beneifts. By building 6 solar thermal plants and 95 wind turbines South Australia could benefit from:
 + 1800 jobs
 + Millions of tonnes of CO2 saved
 + Lower electricity prices, energy security and no dependency on gas
 + Eliminate serious health impacts of coal and gas
 + Support jobs, health, energy security and lower emissions. 
About Hannah:
Hannah is the Director of Fundraising and Development at Beyond Zero Emissions. She is an award winning community organiser and has been working on the Repower Port Augusta research and campaign for the past 6 months. She has a background in International Relations and Economics and has worked in a variety of environmental organisations

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Candidate Responses

Question 9 Responses - What have you done to demonstrate your commitment to saving our environment?
Maree Williams - Response
Water tank

Jacob Rodrigo - Response
As a young person running for council I am acutely aware of the need for sustainability within council's work: it is why I have made sustainability of of the key issues of my campaign.

Coral Ross - Response
As the Gardiner ward councillor I have always supported and promoted sustainable programmes at all levels – both within and outside council. As Mayor, I chose to have a Prius as the Mayoral vehicle to not only set a good example but also raise awareness about vehicle emissions. I also held a community forum about the environment. I believe strongly in Co-generation and changing our street lighting to energy efficient globes, promoting sustainable forms of transport and green travel plans. I was behind Council holding a sustainable expo at the Boroondara Farmers’ Market and Councils’ Sustainability awards for houses and gardens. I have also promoted cycling. Gardiners Creek Trail runs through Gardiner Ward and I have pushed for upgrades and was part of the team which successfully lobbied for a bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Gardiners Creek to the east of Glenferrie Road.

Kevin Chow - Response
Building a sustainable future is the key economic, social and environmental challenge facing our community today. During my term as a councillor I have strongly supported initiatives to improve sustainablity both by Council as well as by our local community. Some of these initiatives have included: improved bicycle and walking trails (completing the missing link in the Gardiner's Creek Trail, Warrigal Road underpass, Solway Street bridge, solar powered lights) to make it easier for people to walk and ride; the Ashburton cogeneration plant to supply renewable energy to the Ashburton Recreation Centre and nearby community buildings; energy efficient street lights throughout Ashburton and Glen Iris, requiring new Council buildings to be built to a 5 star energy rating.

Michael Nolan - Response
Co-founded Green team at local Primary School, and particpant for 4 years; collaborated to get Solar panels on school; taken own house from 1 star to 5 star with solar PV, solar HW, indigenous plants, insulation . Attended numerous Walk against Warming, Human signs, Canberra National Climate Summit, submission of proposals to Council on Low Carbon, Council Budget, headed up application for Grant to Council for east-west off road bike trail (BBUG, LF, Surrey Hills Neighbourhood Centre); avocated for protection of open space at Hays Paddock, and redevelopment of Pavilion rather than demolition; lobbied Federal and State Politicians on a 'price on carbon', spoke at local Church on climate change.

Jane Addis - Response
I would be interested to learn more about this. So far I have not personally done a great deal as I am yet to be convinced that actions on an individual level are likely to have a great impact. Such actions need to be at a government level and to be backed by strong scientific evidence of their validity and usefulness.

Theo Bila - Response

I have attended regular council meetings in regards of : preserving our green existin enviroument by rejecting inapropriate developmentswhich is replacing the green area with concrete; preserving the significant trees; parks etc. I have sugested to the council where appropiate to redirect rain water into parks and sport grounds as well as complte redisign of new dwelings to be more self contain by riusable water as a closed system. I grow my vegitable.

James Searle - Response

I refrain from driving unless it's absolutely necessary and I participate in campaigns promoting sustainable initiatives.

Heinz Kreutz - Response

My track record as Councillor and mayor speaks for itself. Boroondara is now considered a leading local government in sustainable living. We have a low carbon strategy, won the KABV Most Sustainable City Award, the best waste transfer station in the country award , storm water management award, introduced a low carbon strategy etc.

Steven Hurd - Response
Since age 16 I joined what was then the bicycle institute of Victoria and now bicycle Victoria to promote bike paths and lobbied extensivley for the yarra path. I worked as a young lawyer on the constitutional case around the Franklin river as well as have been on several state parliamentory committees around public transport. However while there are still people sleeping on the streets in Hawthorn and 80% of people with disabilities out of work I see other moral challanges as important as climate change and I think enviro groups need to take a broader view on what sustainability means.

Jim Parke - Response
As a community, environmental sustainability is one of the biggest challenges facing us today. Motivated by a desire to reduce our carbon footprint and minimise recurrent costs, I committed my business to operating in accordance with principles of sustainability. We are presently refining our Environmental Management System to achieve sustainability through best practice as outlined in ISO 14001. On a personal level, I travel to work through a car-pooling arrangement and have installed LED lights, solar power panels, sensor lights and insulation at home.

Meredith Butler - Response
We choose to live where we can walk, ride and use public transport daily. How we live is about sustainability, reducing our footprint. We eat locally grown, fresh food, avoid packaged food and foods utilising packaging. We buy from local green grocer and butcher who source locally. I was chairman of the Metropolitan Transport Forum and co-edited and created a book "creating the transport web", setting out sustainable transport options to be built in order for the community of Wider Melbourne to be able to be given the choice of mass transport. I was instrumental in council putting in place water tanks for parks and sporting ovals. I have studied Sustainability at Swinburne and received a HD (99/100). I had one of the first hybrid cars in Australia as Mayor in 2002. As mayor I implemented a major tree planting program adding thousands of additional trees to council's annual tree planting program, for our nature strips across Boroondara. Have continuously encouraged water tanks and solar panel usage for developments for both new and existing properties.

Peter Campbell - Response
We completed a sustainable renovation of our Surrey Hills home in 2001 while maintaining neighbourhood character, and won the Sustainable Homes Gold Award in Boroondara in 2012.

Geoff Hayes - Response
cycle to work use public transport

A late Response from Philip Mallis of Maranoa:
First off, I use a car very rarely, perhaps one round trip per week on average. For all other travel, I use public transport, walk or cycle. My house has had energy-efficient halogen lightbulbs fitted for over 12 years and we are now replacing them with even more efficient LEDs (our house was purpose-built to accommodate these changes). We also recycle all that can be recycled, we have a compost bin and we have only one small portable air conditioner and one small portable 1000W halogen heater.

As for my campaign, I am strongly supporting three specific sustainable transport policies:
Construction of the Doncaster Rail Line;
Extension of the Route 48 tram line; and
Upgrading bus routes.

Question 10 Responses - Any other comments you would like to add.

Jacob Rodrigo - Response
The decisions the coming council makes will have ramifications for future generations. I will ensure that council preserves the natural beauty of Boroondara's parks, open-spaces and tree-lined streets though sustainable, green decisions wherever I can. However, I cannot commit myself in this survey to any specific actions, for fear of removing myself from the vote due to current Victorian law.

Coral Ross - Response
I am the only candidate who lives in Gardiner Ward - the other candidates would have to travel to get to the ward! I an unsure what question 7 means. Would be happy to discuss.

Michael Nolan - Response
I am a strong advocate for Sustainability generally, with action on Climate Change as a pressing issue. We have the technology, but not yet the will at all levels of government. I accept the findings of every major science body on the world, e.g. CSIRO, IPCC, NASA, etc as to cause and effect of greenhouse gases, Ultimately weaning ourselves off fossil fuels will create a much more healthy and resilient economy. Failure to act will create the opposite, and runs the risk of significant unpredictable damage to the global ecosystem.

Jane Addis - Response
Your "forced-choice" questions do not provide a proper format for answers that accurately reflect my views. I do have a strong commitment to protecting our environment, but do not necessarily agree with the way in which you have presented the issues in your questionnaire.

Theo Bila - Response
I do believe that the enviroment is crucial to our future and CO2 reduction is one component of it, however I do believe in good fundamental science and not in ones politically motivated. I do believe that more trees and green will be beneficial to our climate so protection of them it is important.

James Searle - Response
The questions that I have answered as 'unsure' are because my support would depend on the specific location. In principle I support all of the proposed sustainability actions however dense developments are not always appropriate.

Heinz Kreutz - Response
It's important that council council to evolve and embrace sustainable living initiatives.

Steven Hurd - Response
I totaly support green ideas around making Boroondara energy sustainable bringing back a co-op task for local government. I would fully engage with ideas round local food and power production and creation of a business incubator forlocal people developing these ideas. I wouldlike to invest in electric transport options. Small cars on rails shuttling people around Glenferrie shops or what I call Green Cabs golf cart type of electric transport to assist people to transit long precincts. These things would be installed after reducing motor traffic through legislation I would be happy to work to develop.

Jim Parke - Response
Council must become genuinely committed to environmental principles and ensure this is reflected in its policies, practices and operations. Response to climate change is a shared responsibility that requires partnerships across the community so individuals, businesses, communities and governments can respond effectively.

Meredith Butler - Response
An Age journalist said I have more green values than the Greens.

Peter Campbell - Response
We need a safe and family-friendly shared bike and pedestrian trail through Boroondara from Hawthorn to Box Hill. Any developments around railway station must be carefully planned in close consultation with local residents.

Geoff Hayes - Response
6 star energy efficient buildings are important

Maree Williams - Response
No Response

Kevin Chow – Response
No Response

A late Response from Philip Mallis of Maranoa:
As our local, national and world populations continue to grow at record rates, we need to find more sustainable ways of living. Local government is where much of these initiatives need to start, as this level of government is closest and most accountable to citizens. Even seemingly small things like sustainable transport policies for staff, renewable energy use on council buildings and tree planting can set precedents that affect areas beyond council boundaries.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

The untold story: health benefits of the carbon price

By Fiona Armstrong
An edited version ran in the Canberra Times and Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday 26th Jun 12, as “Carbon Price's Health Bonanza” .

The birth of Australia’s carbon price legislation is predictably being heralded by the chorus of criticism that has accompanied its gestation, despite the early distribution of handouts as the government attempts to buy its way through the noise.

While the #cashforyou compensation might muffle some of the clamour, it certainly can’t be countered by the mysterious silence about what the carbon price is for and what it will do, other than line the pockets of Australians.

The decision by the government to label the carbon price package the ‘clean energy future’ represents a pragmatic reading of the political mood, as well as the need for a positive ‘frame’ with which to 'sell' it, but there remains an ongoing failure to describe the point of the legislation – or what it can deliver.

There is however an untold story of good news associated with this, the beginnings of our national emissions reduction strategy, which has been completely overlooked in government communications and in other commentary – and that is the improvements in public health and economic savings that accompany emissions reductions.

While there may be environmental and climate benefits implied by the term ‘clean energy future’, the words 'climate change' have been conspicuously absent from the conversation about the carbon price, and that’s a shame, given that it is (presumably) the motivation for taking action in the first place.  

For while there will indeed be climate benefits, they are far off in the future and will only be realised by a considerable ramping up of emissions reductions, far beyond a 5% by 2020 target or a $23/tonne carbon price.

The health benefits however are available much sooner than that. Health economists have evaluated the health benefits associated with emissions reductions in Europe, China, India and the UK, and the findings suggest improvements for health are available immediately - and can amount to billions of dollars saved annually from avoided ill health and productivity gains. For example, in 2010 it was predicted that cleaner air from an emissions reduction target of 30% by 2020 in the European Union would deliver savings worth €80 billion a year due to reductions in the incidence of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases (associated with air pollution from burning fossil fuels).

So, contrary to the popular myth in Australia, emissions reductions can actually offer a win-win-win -  that is, improvements in population health as well as economic savings as well as a reduction in climate risk.

Much of the conversation to date about emissions reductions however has focused on 'cutting carbon pollution', for which the benefits appear to many people to be mainly available for future generations, and therefore possibly less urgent, not realising that there are substantial and important benefits available immediately for public health - that will also deliver considerable economic savings.

The European and US modeling on the health benefits of emissions reductions (from which we must extrapolate potential benefits for Australia since this work has not been done here, yet) suggests that the savings from avoided ill health can substantially offset the costs associated with cutting emissions - and may even exceed them. For example, studies of the adverse impacts on the community's health from the coal industry in the United States suggests that industry's impost on human health outweighs the national economic benefits of the sector - in other words, coal is costing the US more than it earns due to the illnesses and deaths caused by the harmful mix of particulates, chemicals and carcinogens produced by the processes of coal mining, transportation and combustion. Who would choose to continue to support such an industry?

The costs to Australia from the coal industry are clear enough in the communities that live and work in proximity to coal mines and coal fired power stations. Respiratory diseases, intellectual development delays in children, and lung cancer are all implicated. Again, we lack the thorough studies to understand the full extent of the harm being caused to Australia and Australians from this industry; a human impost the NSW, Victorian, Qld and WA governments appear all to willing ignore in the face of lucrative royalties paid to those governments from industry.

It is clear however that moving to cleaner, safer, healthier energy sources would bring significant gains for public health in Australia. This applies to the transport sector as well, where the air pollution created by the use of fossil fuels is also causing considerable harm. A (too) little known fact is that air pollution kills more people in Australia each year than the road toll - the combustion of petrol and diesel causing harmful pollutants such ground level ozone and carbon monoxide as well as tiny particulates which not only cause respiratory disease but also enter the blood stream, causing heart attacks and stroke.

But where are our national campaigns for cleaner air?

The good news from all of this is of course that the direction in which we are tentatively moving, with our tiny step towards a low carbon future, is that it's not just about the climate - it's about us and how we can protect the environment and ourselves by adopting low carbon lifestyles, energy options and transport choices. This is an opportunity to achieve better health for ourselves, for the community, by taking advantage of our existing natural advantages of the sun and the wind, and supporting technologies and industries that are clearly in the national interest, not only in the interests of mining shareholders.

Fiona Armstrong is the founder and convenor of the national coalition of health care stakeholders, the Climate and Health Alliance

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Next Lighter Footprints Meeting - June 27th

The next Lighter Footprints meeting will be held on Wednesday 27 June at 7:00pm for a 7:30pm start.  The meeting will be held at the Faversham Road Guide Hall, 1 Faversham Road, Canterbury. Our topic is Renewable Energy - Community Energy Projects and the 100%  Renewables Campaign. Richard Johnston from Energy Matters and Dannae Bolger from the 100% Renewables campaign will be our speakers. Everyone is welcome to attend. Please email any queries to

Thursday, 14 June 2012

State / National Action Group Meeting

The next meeting of the State / National Action Group will be held on Wednesday 20 June at 7:30 pm.  Anyone interested in joining this working group is welcome to attend.  We will be focusing on the Hazelwood campaign, community energy projects and preparing a leaflet on the Victorian government's environmental policies.  For more details email

Thursday, 17 May 2012

What did Nick Minchin teach Anna Rose about climate change denial?

Anna Rose, the feisty young climate activist who shaped up to Nick Minchin in the Q&A  TV special "I  Can Change Your Mind on Climate Change" will be a welcome and intriguing guest at our next monthly meeting. Can she shed any light on what it would take to change a climate change skeptic's mind? If scientific facts won't do it, what will?
Anna will take part in a panel discussion with local people on issues related to climate change and denial and will also be promoting her book "Madlands - My journey with a climate sceptic".
The meeting will take place on WEDNESDAY 30 MAY at Guides Hall, 1 Faversham Rd, Canterbury, 7 for 7.30 pm. All welcome. Gold coin entrance.
We hoped to be joined by new faces as a result of our forum last night (Wednesday 16 May) on renewable energy. If you missed it, watch this space for photos and video of the proceedings.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Renewable Energy Forum

Lighter Footprints Public Forum
Flicking the Switch to
Renewable Energy
Victoria's opportunities

Wednesday 16 May 2012

7.00 - 9.30pm    St Aidan's Uniting Church
17-21 Duggan St, Balwyn North, 3104
Mel. 46, F3  map
Mark Feather: Acting Executive Director, Energy Sector Development Division, Department of Primary Industries

Tony Wood: Grattan Institute

Program Director, Energy

Victoria McKenzie-McHarg: Environment Victoria
Safe Climate campaigner

Dan Cass: Hepburn Wind director
Industry consultant

For more information call 0411 115 186

Climate Action Summit - April 2012, Sydney

The Climate Action Summit was held in Sydney on April 27-29, 2012.
There were many outstanding speakers and their slides are progressively being made available on the website   Do check them out.
One presentation that made a particular impact was that of Professor Peter Newman from Curtin Univeristy, see below. It shows (amongst other things) some remarkable shifts in the overall levels of investment in renewables over fossil fuels and the drop in the use of cars, and indeed the use of fossil fuel.
As this has largely gone unreported in the media, we are placing it here for your information.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

What is Victoria's renewable energy future?

Energetic Lighter Footprints members handed out hundreds of leaflets over the weekend mainly at the Burwood festival advertising our renewable energy forum. We encountered considerable enthusiasm for renewable energy, with many members of the public telling us they had already installed solar panels or were about to.
Does the Victorian Government share this enthusiasm? Does it have a renewable energy plan that will hasten the transition from coal to renewable energy? Find out at our forum, THIS WEDNESDAY 16 MAY (see invitation and details above). Everyone welcome.

Monday, 16 April 2012

State National Action Group Next Meeting 23 April

The State National Action Group ("SNAG") met on 15 April.  The meeting focused on organising publicity for the upcoming renewable energy forum "Flicking the Switch to Renewable Energy: Victoria's Opportunities" which will be held on Wednesday 16 May.  All speakers are firmed up other than a representative of the Victorian Government.  The next meeting of SNAG will be held on Monday 23 April. Contact for more details.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

State National Action Group meeting: Date Change

The State / National Action Group meeting date has been changed from Tuesday 17 April to Sunday 15 April at 4:00pm.  For more details contact:

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

State National Action Group meeting

The State and National Action Group met on 3 April 2012.
The meeting focused primarily on the upcoming renewable energy forum which is now taking shape nicely with some exciting speakers booked in.  The forum will be held in May with more details to follow. Other topics discussed included our successful stall at the Kew Festival and plans for our next stall at the Burwood Festival, visits to politicians, letter writing campaigns and support for Environment Victoria's campaigns.
Our next meeting will focus solely on preparations for the renewable energy forum and will be held on Tuesday 17 April.
For more details contact:

Friday, 30 March 2012

Lighter Footprints Local Group swings in behind cycling’s “Missing Link”

Middle and Inner-east cyclists lack a bike friendly and safe cycling route through the ‘heart of Boroondara ‘. Of four significant radial routes in the Principal Bicycle Network (greater Melbourne), this route remains largely un-developed.
The Lighter Footprints Local Action group believes the time is right to remedy this lack of strategic action. We are joining with Bicycle User Groups and relevant local Council stakeholders to mount a concerted campaign to get the ‘missing link’ (Eastern rail trail) back on track.

If you would like to take part in planning and action on this campaign, please come along to a Lighter Footprints Local Group “Missing Link” Campaign Planning night
on Thursday evening 6.00 pm, 12th April at Elgin Inn (Hawthorn).
Please email:   for details.

A detailed proposal for the Eastern Rail Trail was prepared in June 1996 by the Cities of Boroondara and Whitehorse and the Department of Sport and Recreation Victoria. Such a pathway was planned in 1996 connecting the Yarra bike paths in Richmond to Hawthorn, Camberwell, Surrey Hills through to Box Hill to the east. While cyclists from Doncaster have a safe route to the City along the Eastern Freeway, Glen Iris and Malvern residents, the Gardiner Creek trail, commuters from Surrey Hills, Canterbury, Camberwell, Mont Albert, Balwyn and Hawthorn, lack a safe friendly cycling route to traverse the City of Boroondara.
The missing east-west bike route through Boroondara, now referred to as the “Hawthorn to Box Hill Trail” is not progressing. On-road route development is progressing slowly, but for most residents, schoolkids, and commuters this is too hazardous to be a viable alternative. The Hawthorn to Box Hill Trail or ‘missing link’ would be mainly off-road – utilising sections of the Box Hill to Hawthorn railway line easement where feasible.

The route would also provide an important link with the Box Hill to Ringwood bike trail that is currently in planning.
The Hawthorn to Box Hill Trail was previously identified as an important link in the Principle Bicycle Network for Melbourne. The route was specified as one of the four radial routes identified by the State Bicycle Committee to link the outer suburbs with the City. Unfortunately, this proposal has not been implemented to date.

The route has been very well documented on the links below:

East-West link information and map:

Project proposal and detailed maps:


Thursday, 29 March 2012

Local Actions Group priorities for 2012

The Local Actions Group met on 15 March and agreed the following 2012 Priorities:
  • Continue to liaise with Council Officers
  • Input to 2013-14 Council Budget
  • East-West Cycleway campaign
The next meeting of this working group will be held on Thursday 12 April 2012.
Please contact Jenny for further details.   

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Lighter Footprints stall at Kew Festival

Our active team of stall volunteers were busy again at the Kew Festival on Saturday 24 March, this time accompanied by a large thermometer and inflatable globe to highlight the issue of dangerous global warming.

We collected letters addressed to State Premier Ted Baillieu deploring Victoria's move to open up new mines to export brown coal to India. The state government was urged to turn its attention to renewable energy instead.

Lighter Footprints will run a renewable energy forum in May, which will include scrutiny of Victoria's performance, details of which will be announced soon on this website.

We also informed those who added their names to our fast growing email list that David Spratt, co-author of Climate Code Red, would be the guest speaker at our monthly meeting this Wednesday 28 March. David's informative website of the same name, which includes the latest scientific findings about climate change, can be found here (click here). His book, co-authored with Philip Sutton, can be obtained through good bookshops.

The public is welcome to attend David Spratt's talk. See the Events page of this website for details of our usual venue and starting time.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

State National Action Group meeting 20 March

The State National Action Group met on 20 March 2012.
The meeting again focused on a proposed forum on renewable energy to be held in early May. Speakers are still to be finalised. We discussed the stall we will have at the Kew Festival on Saturday 24 March in Victoria Park, Adeney Avenue, Kew. We also initiated planning for our first politician visit of the year. Letter writing campaigns were also planned. We had a wide ranging discussion on renewable energy and the recent moves by the state government to expand coal mining in Victoria.
The next meeting of this working group will be held on Tuesday 3 April 2012.
Please contact Lynn for further details.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Climate Action Summit

Here is the poster for the upcoming Summit for climate action groups
to be held in Sydney on the last weekend of April.

The draft program is to be found on their website.
Please consider printing this poster and placing it on relevant notice boards.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Ashburton Community Festival stall

With a hot northerly blowing and temperatures in the mid-thirties, Lighter Footprints was out and about on Sunday 26 February spreading the message about climate change at the Ashburton Community Festival.

This followed a similar effort at the Sustainable Living Festival in Auburn Rd, Hawthorn on the previous Saturday. Hundreds of leaflets were handed out at the two events, with more than 70 new people added to our email list.

The most gratifying experience was coming across people delighted to find there was a local climate action group in their area. We hope to see some enthusiastic new faces at our monthly meetings.

We used both occasions to alert the local community to our Renewable Energy Forum which will be held later this year. Details will be posted on this website once date, venue and speakers are confirmed.

Friday, 24 February 2012

State/National Action Group meeting 22 February

The first meeting for 2012 of the State/National Action Group was held on 22 February.
The first project of this working group will be a forum on renewable energy in Victoria to be held in May 2012.  Discussion at the meeting focused on the format of the forum and speakers to be invited.  We also discussed various areas of responsibility in the State/National arena including stalls, letter writing campaigns, publicity and lobbying politicians and business.
Volunteers were sought to take responsibility for coordinating activities in each these areas and most areas were covered. We are in particular need of someone who has graphic design and or marketing expertise.
If you are interested in participating in any aspect of the work of this group please email

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Global warming and European winter

Over dinner last week, someone at our table was querying why, if the climate is warming, the current European winter is so severe. I found a good blog post with some great graphics explaining why.

New study of public opinion about climate change

"A must-read study published Monday in the journal Climatic Change debunks some pervasive myths about public opinion and climate change. [ ... ]

Here are some of the key findings from “Shifting public opinion on climate change: an empirical assessment of factors influencing concern over climate change in the U.S., 2002–2010″:

  • “… media coverage of climate change and elite cues from politicians and advocacy groups are among the most prominent drivers of the public perception of the threat associated with climate change”
  • The greater the quantity of media coverage of climate change, the greater the level of public concern.”
  • New York Times mentions of An Inconvenient Truth significantly boosted the public’s perception of the urgency of climate change (P≤.001). The number of mentions in the New York Times is a proxy for the extent of overall media attention to this film.”
  • “Articles in popular scientific magazines do reach significance” in terms of influencing public concern, but it is a modest effect."
The above was excerpted from the Climate progress blog. Unfortunately the study isn't open access (although people at RMIT and other institutions with a SpringerLink subscription can read the full text). However, the blog article is quite extensive.