Kai Sawyer, peace activist, student of nonviolence, and permaculture educator from Japan, shares his story of exploring the world of “peace” and “sustainability” in a 2-3 hour presentation on Wednesday the 22nd of February at Abdallah House in Seymour.
Please join us at 6pm for a Pot Luck dinner (bring food to share) before the presentation which will begin at 7:30pm. Space is limited to around 30 guests, so please call Richard on 0402 503 763 if you want to come. Kai will be requesting for a donation, so please consider contributing.
“From the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to living in the jungle of Costa Rica with no running water or electricity, to my visits to various amazing permaculture communities. My story focuses more on people and relationships (social permaculture), social change and empowerment, rather than food production. I conclude with how I am cultivating the cultural soil to plant radical practices of peace and ecology through my project called Tokyo Urban Permaculture.
Renewable energy continues to be the main thrust of the Sustainable Seymour group.
Pumped Hydro: The pumped hydro feasibility study is under way, led by Roger Dargaville from the Melbourne Energy Institute. On 25 November, a meeting in Seymour with Roger and six staff from Goulburn Valley Water was followed by inspections of the two project sites at Trawool and Euroa. The meeting was attended by Jeff Wilmot, Richard Telford, Julie Mitchell, Malcolm Green and Bob Brown from Seymour and Shirley Saywell, Andi Kofler and Charlie Brydon from Euroa. Jeff reports:
Due to the low head and large amount of water needed, the capacity of the Strathbogie project, utilising Waterhouse and Abbinga reservoirs, is about 2 MW, which is the capacity of the diesel generator now used at peak times. But at such time,s the water demand for other purposes is also high so may not be available for hydro-generation. New pipe is also needed which could cost $4 million.
At Trawool the head a(290 metres) and volume of water (5o megalitres) being considered equate to potential energy of 40 MWh. Generator capacity could be 4 MW or more depending on the time required to run. The potential income from “arbitraging”, ie buying cheap power to pump and generating at times of expensive power, could be $1 million per year. The granite wall would withstand the daily cycling involved as it is impervious. There would be no safety issues as the water level would change slowly, but some kind of cage would be required over the outlet pipe. The reservoir would still be available for recreation. Another possible purpose for generation could be to level the output of the Cherry Tree Range wind farm across the river.
Rivers and Ranges Community Leadership Program (RRCLP) is the newest of Victoria’s many leadership programs. The program covers the municipal areas of Mitchell, Murrindindi, Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Yarra Ranges. The program is based on community capacity and resilience building for the purposes of creating leaders connected to their local regions. As such, they are well placed to identify local issues and needs and identify solutions. Leaders are a good resource in building resilient, connected and thriving communities.
The program takes a group of up to 24 diverse participants through a ten-month learning experience and exposes them to leaders at all levels of government. At the completion of the project the participants are expected to participate in community leadership and service.
Each cohort of RRCLP completes an environmental or art project as part of their learning. This year’s cohort split into two teams to complete separate environmental projects.
Team Bravo have chosen to tackle the problem of plastic in the environment. We are working with the Flowerdale Men’s Shed to produce a song about the 5 ‘r’s – refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle. This song will be released via social media and we will attempt to measure the project’s impact via this platform also.
As a complimentary addition to the project, we have printed reusable calico bags which we will distribute at the November Tallarook Farmer’s Market complete with information regarding the dangers of plastic and ways to reduce its use. These bags will also contain either a reusable keep-cup or reusable plastic drink bottle.
Children at the Flowerdale Primary School decorated some of the bags during a session where they learned about the 5 ‘r’s. We have surveyed the children on their use of the 5 ‘r’s and will measure the impact, if any, at the completion of the project via a follow-up survey. We are hoping the final survey will show a decreased use of plastic and a better understanding of the issues. The children were very engaged during their session.
Collaboration with other community groups was another strong element of our project and we will be creating a map to show connections between community groups both before and after the project’s completion. BEAM Mitchell Environment Group was very supportive of our project and have produced a flyer with tips on reducing plastic use for inclusion in the bags. Many other groups offered support along the way.
All involved groups will be acknowledged by use of the bags.
You can follow our progress on our facebook page by the name of Plastic Not So Fantastic.
Ten tips to reduce plastic
Take your own shopping bags (don’t accept single use plastic bags)
Drink from a reusable drink bottle or keep cup
Choose items with less packaging
Shop at the farm gate or at Farmers’ Markets
Buy in bulk
Say no to plastic straws
Take lunch to work or school in a reusable lunch box (without added plastic wrapping)
Grow your own veggies
Don’t line your bin with plastic (easy if you have chooks to eat messy scraps)
Shop second hand or at op shops
And now here’s Charlie Mgee with his song Plastic! from his new album Grow Do It.
Trent McCarthy will be presenting ‘From Little Things New Jobs Grow‘ at our AGM on the 20th of August. How regional local governments and communities can drive the clean energy economy and create thousands of new jobs.
Trent will share his insights and experiences about to create local prosperity and employment through connecting new and old technologies, the sharing economy and grassroots sustainability initiatives, drawing upon successful programs in Australia and overseas. Are we ready to take up the challenges and opportunities?
Trent McCarthy is CEO of Central Ranges Local Learning and Employment Network, a dynamic not-for-profit working to improve the outcomes for young people in the Mitchell, Macedon Ranges and Murrindindi Shires. Trent brings to the role his unique background as a strategic facilitator and educator, specialising in leadership, creativity, entrepreneurship, communication and sustainability. Trent has also worked as a director and comedian, performing in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival since 2005.
In his spare time, Trent serves as a local councillor in Darebin, where he has championed the award-winning Solar $avers program and various community solar initiatives. An Executive member of the Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action, Trent is a former Vice President of the Victorian Local Governance Association. In 2011, Trent was a finalist in the Australian Human Rights Awards as the co-founder of the Whitelion Bail Out, working with over 1,000 business leaders to raise $5 million to support youth at risk. A third generation game show winner, Trent believes we create our own luck.
Hear Peter Lockyer and Trent McCarthy on Earthchat
Listen to the EarthChat interview with local recycling innovator Jan Flook with your host, Irene Telford. Friday 22nd July at 10:30am on Seymour FM – 103.9
Jan Flook is an inspiring designer with a fascination for light, beauty, symmetry and fun. He has dedicated his life to the pursuit of beauty within the mundane, functional objects that surround us, transforming the everyday into practical works of art. Contemporary chandelier and furniture designer, passionate recycler and advocate of modern materials, Jan believes that “It is the hidden shapes that catch us by surprise and on closer inspection reveal their humble beginnings.”
Mitchell Shire Council is moving to the next stage with an emerging ideas paper for the Seymour Structure Plan. As we have said before, this is a great opportunity to create the Seymour we want. It includes some activities you can participate in. We encourage you to read the information, attend a session and make a submission – even if you are travelling overseas during June. Note the 3 July deadline.
We are planning a workshop to stimulate ideas that can be developed into submissions from the group and from individuals. The workshop will be at Chittick Place in Seymour at 12:30 for a 1:00 start. Phil Bourne will be convening the discussion. The discussion will be based on the Emerging Ideas paper at so it would be useful for your input if you have read or at least browsed through the paper. We are designing the workshop around obtaining your ideas and developing submissions from you and from the group. We will end the afternoon with afternoon tea and update on other Sustainable Seymour projects.
Everyone is welcome but please give us an indication that you intend to come so we can structure the workshop to hear and accommodate everyone’s ideas. We will also have an update and discussion on other Sustainable Seymour initiatives. And of course afternoon tea – please bring a plate as well as your ideas to share.
for the Sustainable Seymour Network
0468 795 954
It’s been six years since Richard and his family moved into their owner built home, just 1km from central Seymour. ‘Abdallah House’, is an urban rebuild and permaculture demonstration site on a small 580m2 block (1/7th of an acre). The house was constructed with a mix of reclaimed and new materials using passive solar design principles under the direction of builder architect Peter Lockyer.
The households uses less than a fifth of the energy of a typical home, thanks mainly to solar and wood heating of the house and hot water system. A 1.5kW solar system provides more than enough energy to run their home, with excess sold back to the grid.
Fruit trees and grape vines are now well established, and along with the vegetable gardens and chooks, provide for most of their fresh food needs. Solar drying, ferments and Valcola pasteurising help preserve the the harvest and a freezer converted into a super efficient fridge, cool cupboard, and cellar are used for food storage.
Meet Richard and Peter at Abdallah House on Permaculture Day, Sunday the 1st of May, for tours at 2, 3 & 4 o’clock at 1a Abdallah Road Seymour. Cost is $5, which includes a Permaculture Calendar. Under 16 free. Booking not required, for more info visit www.abdallahhouse.com