Author Archives: Richard Telford

2017 Presidents Report by Richard Telford

I recognise that there are few other independent groups in our region that have a voice, and stand up for issues that affect our environment. We, as a group, fill a vital role for our wider community. We are facing a very interesting time in our region as we transition to renewables, especially up here in Seymour, with the pumped hydro, wind farm and community solar on the cards.

Looking back over the past year I was surprised to see how much we have taken on and achieved as a group.

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Community owned renewables at the BEAM AGM

We hope you can make it for this years AGM where you can catch up with the BEAM members, our committee and share a delicious locally sourced meal. Renewable energy expert Gavin Ashley will be speaking about the exciting opportunities for community owned renewable project in our region.

Gavin has a lead role at the Moreland Energy Foundation in community energy reduction and renewables strategic work. He is currently working on the feasibility of a 99kW solar system on the Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre with the Mitchell Shire and local representatives.

Local chef Jonathan Murphy will be preparing two delicious soups and a vegetarian main using predominantly regional seasonal produce. BYO drinks along with nibbles, side-dish or dessert to share.

Saturday 16th September 2017 from 6pm till 10pm
Anglican Parish Hall in Anzac Ave Seymour –

(located opposite the big black steam train).

Numbers limited so you MUST book in before 9th of September to avoid disappointment.
For bookings contact Peter on 0468 795 954 – email: beam.inc@hotmail.com

Cost: $25 (incl. main meal), children & students $10 – bookings essential. PAYMENT by either: Direct Deposit to BEAM Mitchell Environment Group BSB: 633-000. Account number: 1330-59139 – Include surname and “AGM” in direct deposit payments please!
OR: Cheque made payable to BEAM Mitchell Environment Group. Post to: PO Box 310 Broadford Vic 3658

More about Gavin Ashley

Gavin is an experienced practitioner who has worked in the development and sustainability sectors for well over a decade. A planner by qualification – he holds a post-graduate diploma in Social Science (Planning and Environment). Gavin has a senior role at the non-for-profit Moreland Energy Foundation heading up their consultancy operations and taking a lead role in community energy reduction and renewables strategic work. Gavin project managed the Zero Net Energy Town project, participated in the development and workshop component of the Community Energy Guide for Victorians, is a member of the C4CE Steering Committee and Surf Coast Renewable Energy Taskforce.

Download the BEAM AGM 2017 Invitation

 

Clean up Kilmore

Councillor and long time BEAM member David Atkinson and a small group of locals teamed up for the first Clean Up Kilmore day on Sunday the 28th of May. David gives this wrap up of the event:

The day started out cool but sunny. We decided to clean up along the Kilmore Creek from the back of the fish and chip shop [Union St] and went north to the back of foodworks. The rubbish mainly consisted of plastic bags which you can see from the attached photos.

It was disturbing to see three of the shopping trollies l pulled out of the creek and put in one area for ease of pick up at the corner of Patrick and Mills St [with coles advised to pick them up with the pick up location etc] had been thrown back in the creek in the same location.

There was also a lot of packaging material [wrap and Styrofoam] at the back of the furniture store. We were doing so well [although the long wet grass made it difficult to get real close to the creek] we decided to cross the creek and return back via the other side. We made it back to Union rd and decided to keep going back to mill st when the skies opened up with rain and hail. We shortly thereafter, pulled the pin and decided not to worry about lunch as a hot shower seemed more inviting for some!

There was a competition for the strangest/most interesting thing found. It was a thong and not the type you put on your feet!

Overall, we picked up over a dozen bags of rubbish and recycling. This time [to my surprise] it was mostly rubbish due to plastic bags and packaging. In summary, the trial event was very successful even though it was not advertised and so we hope it may become a monthly event. Next time we are looking at picking up, as suggested by Marie, on East street near the golf course.

David Atkinson

Clean Up Kilmore Co-ordinator
BEAM Mitchell Environment Group

Make sure you check out the War On Waste on the ABC

 

Social change projects from around the world with Kai Saywer

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.

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Sustainable Seymour Projects on the go!

Sustainable Seymour Update February 2017

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.

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End of Year Get Together at Tahbilk

Please join the BEAM committee, along with Euroa Environment Group and Strathbogie Voices at our annual end of year celebration at Tahbilk Winery, Nagambie.

Come along and bring your friends – it should be a great day out. See details below, and a map to the venue here. Please RSVP to book your spot! email: beam.inc@hotmail.com or call Caro on 5784 1177 or 0400 831 3302016-beam-end-of-year Download the PDF of the flyer here.

Plastic is not so Fantastic

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.

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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.

Linda Kennedy


Ten tips to reduce plastic

  1. Take your own shopping bags (don’t accept single use plastic bags)
  1. Drink from a reusable drink bottle or keep cup
  1. Choose items with less packaging
  1. Shop at the farm gate or at Farmers’ Markets
  1. Buy in bulk
  1. Say no to plastic straws
  1. Take lunch to work or school in a reusable lunch box (without added plastic wrapping)
  1. Grow your own veggies
  1. Don’t line your bin with plastic (easy if you have chooks to eat messy scraps)
  1. Shop second hand or at op shops

And now here’s Charlie Mgee with his song Plastic! from his new album Grow Do It.

Who is Trent McCarthy?

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 McCarthyTrent 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