Zero emissions

Lessons in Resilience from New Orleans, the Pacific and Indigenous communities

This show was broadcast on Mon 5thSeptember 2016

Listen here to the podcast

The Sydney Alliance and WWF Australia brought Rev Willie Bennett here to energise our resilience building. 

How can communities prepare for heatwaves, floods and climate disruptions?
What can the Hurricane Katrina Survivors Network teach us about building up community power and leadership?

How can we connect with indigenous defenders in the Gulf country and Galilee Basin as climate changing coal and gas projects loom?

Rev Willie Bennett - Hurricane Katrina Survivors Network
Rev Seforosa Carroll - Church partnerships Pacific,UnitingWorld
Cassandra Goldie - CEO of Australian Council of Social Service
Murrawah Johnson - Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network

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Dr Stephen White

Dr Stephen White is CSIRO's Program Leader for the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) talks about the EnergyFit Homes Project research, which is a collaborative approach to unlocking the value of energy efficient homes for buyers, renters and investors.  The EnergyFit Homes Project proposes a national voluntary home energy efficiency disclosure system, designed to empower consumers to rate and value homes with lower running costs and health, comfort and sustainability benefits.

Further reading:

CRCLCL Media Release: Consumers want energy-efficiency facts on homes – new research shows

Chris Cooper

SunCrowd - the home battery movement from SunCrowd on Vimeo.

SunCrowd is Australia’s first bulk-buy for solar storage solutions. Let’s use our bulk purchasing power to make batteries affordable!  Join the movement at www.suncrowd.com.au

 

An entrepreneur in renewable energy

Chris Cooper is Chief Energy Officer and co-founder of SunCrowd, who are helping communities run local bulk-buy campaigns to make rooftop solar and storage easy and affordable. Chris Cooper became a keen clean energy student whilst at high school studying Economics and Geography and he was encouraged by gaining a Winston Churchill Fellowship scholarship which took him overseas to U.K., U.S. and Europe.  He favoured working for a practical change rather than joining academia and to concentrate in a local area.  To achieve this, he co-founded SunCrowd mainly situated in Shellharbour, Nowra and recently launched in SunCrowd Newcastle, NSW, although he has received calls from places as far afield as Alice Springs, Broken Hill and Melbourne. He finds people are keen for information on dispatch and storage of power.

Specialising on local communities seems to resonate with Germany where ownership of power has been returned to local communities. And of course in Australia with the development of rooftop solar despite the drop in feed-in tariffs. At the same time he has found problems in achieving grants and government funding and has found ARENA rather bureaucratic compared with the US which has provided millions in Government grants. ARENA seems to favour large organisations such as AGL.  Hopefully he says his submissions will change this but there is certainly room for that considering the present Prime Minister speaks regularly of "innovation"!

(Summary written by Bev McIntyre)

Miriam Lyons

Miriam Lyons is Senior Campaigner - Renewable Energy at GetUp! She is co-author (with Nicky Ison) of the new report by GetUp! and Solar Citizens called Homegrown Power Plan, which shows how we can repower Australia's homes and businesses with 100% renewable power by 2030.

Tom Quinn

Tom Quinn on the future of food 

Tom Quinn is Executive Director of the Future Business Council which represents innovative, sustainable and resilient businesses that will define our future economy. He has also worked in the Sustainability area at the  City of Melbourne. Tom joins the Beyond Zero radio team talking about his early upbringing on a farm which he attributes his interest in wildlife and his subsequent choice of occupation. His interests have broadened to include issues such as 'green' buildings, organic food production, health and nutrition, sustainable irrigation and afforestation, to mention a few.

Tom points out that Australia has a "unique opportunity" with the approach of the end of the mining boom in considering "what comes next". He stresses that there are numerous vested interests and lack of bipartisan support which result in "missed opportunities". However, "there are lots of smart people here" in Australia who are able to transform environmentally sustainable ideas into commercially viable projects. One of the important aims for the future is "carbon draw-down", i.e. taking carbon out of the atmosphere. There are many ways to do this, one of which is reforestation.

Tom announced an event on the future of food security in Hobart on 8th June in conjunction with the University of Tasmania Business School, and hopefully engaging with the Tasmanian community on issues of sustainability and productivity.

The Future Business Council has released The Next Boom report which has found compelling evidence that sustainability should not be seen as a cost, but a business opportunity. Tom also talks about the climate policies we would like to see for the upcoming federal election. 

BZE's Michael also mentioned the Coral, Coal and Climate Change forum on 16th June at Box Hill Town Hall which is sponsored by Lighter Footprints, an active local environmental organisation. Comedian Rod Quantock will be present, as well as local and other candidates, including Shadow Environment minister Mark Butler and local member Josh Frydenberg.

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Brendan Condon

Positive moves towards a sustainable society

Brendan Condon is Managing Director and co-founder of Australian Ecosystems, an integrated company specialising in ecological land restoration. He is also Director at The Cape sustainable housing project and Biofilta Stormwater Solutions

Brendan Condon believes we have been "sitting on our hands" regarding matters relating to climate change for too long and ignoring the urgent need for a serious vision for the future. Who could argue with that? Certainly the P.M. would agree that this is an "exciting time"  but they would have amazingly different paths. Brendan has chosen to develop the means of capturing and re-using the storm water that we see flowing down our gutters carrying all the rubbish into the Bay, instead to capture the pollution by means of a plant filtering system. One of the largest of these systems of returning and re-using this water is in the Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne.

Another of his areas of challenge and developed expertise is the development of good design in sustainable housing (e.g. The Cape Paterson sustainable housing project). He points out that apart from environmental grounds there are marked improvements economically with the rise in the price of gas coupled with the drop in the price of solar.

Other projects of interest include the development of vertical and horizontal gardens useful for city dwellers for urban food production, community gardens, autonomous electric vehicles (probable in the next decade), when one can read a book on the way to work!

All this should be of interest to anyone planning a home, living in the city or merely caring about the importance of food and water and waste management for the present and the future.  

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Dr Stephen Bygrave

Dr Stephen Bygrave

Dr Stephen Bygrave on "Empowering Local Communities" 

BZE radio's Laura, Kay and Michael talked to Dr Stephen Bygrave, CEO Beyond Zero Emissions, who described Australia as a "solar paradise" and rated as third globally on the availability of renewable resources but of course rated most extreme when it comes to emissions per capita. Yet as Stephen says the coal industry is "static" and the COALition is "stuck in the old ways". 

This writer is often inclined to feel depressed at the criminal lack of progress and disinterest displayed in the development of renewables so Stephen feels like a breath of fresh air - somewhat equivalent to that of Tasmanian air being sold to China in tins! Travelling widely it seems, Stephen's plans include developing blueprints for  change  across different states and sectors. Addressing the welcome drop in the cost of batteries he says not to forget the importance of agricultural emissions frequently not so recognised, but no less important than renewables (which he described as "more sexy"). The agricultural sector of course includes land use, land clearing, production and wastage of food, water, transport etc. all of which mainly driven by local communities as it seems are most such progressive movements.

On closing Michael mentioned the Newcastle demonstration. which was held the previous weekend where they were watching some of the coal ships depart and estimating each ship to be the equivalent to 100, 000 cars on the road!  So much for Adani v the Great Barrier Reef!

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Dr Sara Bice talks social licence

Need for understandable data on increasing prevalence of unconventional gas and its impact on sedimentary basins

The BZE team talks to Dr Sara Bice with a history of journalism, sociology and now research fellow at Melbourne School of Government, University of Melbourne. 

Dr Sara Bice spoke of the need to create a regulatory basis and need for management of underground resources considering sedimentary basins comprise to a great extent  Australia's primary energy and water for agriculture and general rural population needs - in particular relating to CSG. This will have major effects on environmental economy and communities.  There is of course a need for a baseline for the effects of CSG and fracking in particular and with a moratorium such as that in Victoria.  The growth in CSG wells in Queensland alone has amounted to possibly 40,000 from 3000 in 2003! There is in particular a need for a better connection between University research, industry and policy makers and for the use of social media to provide a strong platform and despite for example, AGL giving the reasons for withdrawal as being financial with no mention relating to the power of protests. Reference to  AGL and "the license to operate" was also made by Green's Jeremy Buckingham. Is "social license" controlled by companies?

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

Coal seam gas debate is more than hot air: Did community opposition have a role in AGL’s decision to quit exploration of natural gas?

The Sustainable Sensibility - Blog by Sara Bice

Sara Bice on The Conversation

Do mining companies have a "social licence" to operate?

Dr Sara Bice Awarded Research Fellowship

Alexander Greig - Architect Green Magic Homes

Image result for green magic homes nz jpg

Beyond Zero speaks to Alexander Greig, Architect in New Zealand and Australasian dealer for Green Magic Homes. This technology provides arched structures made of fiber reinforced polymer modular components to build earth-sheltered green homes.

Zero emissions goal must be included in climate change deal

By Stephen Bygrave. RenewEconomy, April 10 2015

In December this year world leaders will hopefully agree a meaningful international agreement on climate change. Pressure to deliver is significant following the failure at Copenhagen 5 years ago.

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