SOLID, SENSIBLE ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE . Alice Aird and Jim Sansom

To Contact this group phone Alice on 0400 068551 or email aida@bigpond.com

FORUM FOR DEMOCRATIC RENEWAL WOODEND PRIMARY SCHOOL Sunday December 4 2016

SOLID, SENSIBLE ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE – A NOISE FROM THE GRASS ROOTS”

Group: Jim Sansom, Alice Aird, Natasha Gayfer, Jenny Grounds, Heather Potter, Lyn Hovey, Julie MacDonald, Phil McLean, Ros Hall, William Hall (+ others who joined the discussion, names not collected)

Issues of interest to bring before the new Macedon Ranges Shire council:

The group recognizes that policy about climate change lies with State and Federal governments. However much can be done at the local level.

The Macedon Ranges could become a vibrant cell for agitation and action for climate change at the grass roots. The group feels that the people must lead.

Recommendation (from Jim Sansom and Alice Aird):

After writing up the notes from our discussions, we realised that further climate change focussed meetings need to happen for us to act strategically on climate change in the Macedon Ranges.

Therefore we recommend that a new group be established:

Macedon Ranges Climate Change Action Group”

  1. This idea is included here at the top because more people read the top than the bottom of documents!
  2. Maybe have a more catchy name – sayMacedon Ranges Caring for Climate
  3. Position the group under the umbrella of MRSG (MR Sustainability Group), as they are incorporated and for connectivity.
  4. Group to meet and strategically develop goals and time-based priorities and actions around this topic, including the areas/ideas listed below.

We want and appreciate feedback and/or expressions of interest from all who read this.

WHAT DO WE WANT TO MAKE HAPPEN? (Notes from the discussion on Sunday December 4)

  1. Lobby for official letters from Council, on behalf of the citizens of the Macedon Ranges, to higher levels of government about issues with serious climate change consequences.
    1. Start with a letter to the Queensland Govt. objecting to approval of the Adani coal mine in the Bowen Basin.
    2. Carry more weight than private letters.
    3. On behalf of current and as yet unborn citizens of the Macedon Ranges.
  1. Council actively promoting and supporting initiatives towards a clear goal of making the Macedon Ranges Shire carbon neutral.
    1. Encouraging the ‘Solar Neighbour’ program; giving real support to a community based/owned wind tower (this initiative is already started but needs a big push);
    2. Adopt procedures within the Council’s own operation that show leadership in reducing greenhouse emissions.
  2. Transport – reduce car use where possible. (Bill : “get people out of cars’’)
    1. Apart from Vline to Bendigo and some local bus services using large vehicles, transport within the shire is car-based. Current settlement patterns dictate this.
    2. (Heather – How ?) Suggestions:
      1. What about a flexible fleet of mini-bus/taxi type vehicles with computer controlled routes. Such systems operate overseas, though in situations of denser settlement.
      2. Another suggestion was a vastly improved network of bike tracks. Eg New Gisborne to Riddells Creek.
      3. The Sunbury, Romsey, Lancefield corridor drastically needs an up-graded public transport system.
      4. Could Council agitate for a rail link?
      5. Could the Council sponsor a campaign extolling the virtues of ‘car-pooling’? (It’s cool to pool!)
      6. Establish charging stations in the shire for electric cars and E bikes linked to renewables generation.
  3. Sustainable Residential planning alternatives.
    1. Put Sustainable Development Guidelines in place. (Jenny)
      1. A new requirement that any proposed development would have to meet strict ecologically sustainable guidelines.
    2. Links with Rob Bakes Sustainable Living Zone idea
    3. Develop a culture/zone in the Shire where more sustainable ‘medium density’ housing is allowed/encouraged/mandated
      1. comprising up to two storeys and perhaps terrace style
      2. Allowing maximum open space for playgrounds, community gardens, mini forests within a village context.
      3. Possibility of a mini sewerage facility in conjunction with gardens.
      4. Shared energy facilities even… share battery storage for solar electricity etc etc
  4. Facilities across the Shire for sustainable handling of compostable (kitchen) and combustible (green) wastes (Alice)
    1. a bio-char facility in conjunction with waste transfer stations.
      1. combustible material (green waste) could be charred, limiting greenhouse gases like CO2 and CH4 and returning valuable carbon back to the soil.
    2. Some system to collect and compost food wastes is needed
      1. Use to build soil for food growing
      2. Reduce greenhouse gases from landfill – methane in particular.
  5. Education/Transformation. Building Awareness, Hope, Conviction and Action around what is happening to our climate as a result of human activity. (The whole group supported this idea).
    1. The issue is complicated for us as lay people and a concerted effort is needed to explain it and engage people positively – must not be swept under the carpet.
    2. Need to base our efforts to influence change on the human psychology of climate change as well as the scientific evidence.
      1. George Marshall’s book “Don’t Even Think about It – Why our brains are wired to ignore climate change” mentioned as highly useful, needs detailed study, along with others.
    3. Use many avenues to inform, engage, influence: the Shire News, Sustainable Living Festival (add a year-long focus), websites, school visits, media releases and occasions such as the recent “Megafauna Festival’ in Lancefield etc etc.
    4. Develop strategies to make people want to change. (Phil)
      1. Price on carbon essential.
      2. Financial enticements need to be worked out. Agitate for this.


(Report prepared by Jim Sansom and Alice Aird)