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WO R K I N G T O G E T H E R P R O T E C T I N G V I C T O R I A ’ S E N V I R O N M E N T

Australia’s largest Walk Against Warming 50,000 Victorians demand real action on climate change

Land and Biodiversity White Paper Environment groups call for more funding

Gifts That Give Back Help Victoria’s environment this festive season


THIS ISSUE Green Action News Issue 2, Summer 2007 Design 2Fish Productions Print PrintBound Contributing writers Kelly O’Shanassy, John Sampson, Louise Morris, Dawn G Lee, Mark Doggett, Vicki Kyriakakis, Candice Feuerring; Meg Mundell; Paul Sinclair; Kate Stevens Editor Vicki Kyriakakis (03) 9341 8215 Advertising sales enquiries (03) 9341 8215 Membership enquiries (03) 9341 8124 Green Action News is an Environment Victoria publication. For more information, visit Environment Victoria would like to thank PrintBound for its in-kind support.


Australia’s biggest Walk Against Warming


Stories from Victoria’s Big River


Hattah Lakes project calls for stories

Environment groups call for more funds as biodiversity crisis deepens

Walk Against Warming: Photo Essay

Saving the Earth’s dwindling resources Sustainable Festive Season Guide

Successful program ready to meet new challenges

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‘Carbon crunchies’ line up to get dumped Give a green gift for Victoria’s future

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Season’s greetings AS WE COME TO THE END OF A PARTICULARLY EVENTFUL TWELVE MONTHS, I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF ENVIRONMENT VICTORIA’S CRITICAL CAMPAIGNS IN CLIMATE CHANGE, ZERO WASTE, HEALTHY RIVERS AND SUSTAINABLE LIVING. 2007 HAS BEEN a watershed year for environmentalism, with climate change finally reaching mainstream awareness and becoming a fixture in our national dialogue. It has also seen a changing of the guard in federal leadership and new directions in environment policy for the country. For EV, the culmination of a year’s hard work came on November 11 with Australia’s biggest Walk Against Warming when 50,000 people swarmed onto the streets of Melbourne to demand real action on climate change. Organised in partnership with Greenpeace, it was the single largest community rally on any issue during the federal election, drawing over


150,000 people nationally. And, as we celebrate the festive season, it is a good time to take stock of this past year and consider the path that lies before us. EV is preparing for an even bigger 2008. I’d like to thank the many people who responded to our call for feedback in the recent affiliate group and individual surveys. The results of those surveys will be available in the next edition of Green Action News and will set the stage for EV’s work as we enter a critical time in Victoria’s environmental history. The stakes have never been higher but our collective will-power has also never been as great. Our health as a

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community lies hand-in-hand with the health of our environment and in the new year, we’ll be working even harder to ensure that the environment is centre stage of the state government’s decisions on Victoria’s future. Together we can create a more sustainable future for Victoria. I wish you a prosperous, safe and happy festive season and a green and sustainable new year. Kelly O’Shanassy, CEO PS. The Earth’s mineral resources are quickly running out and it is critical that we speed our move to sustainable consumption. In this newsletter you will find an order form for EV’s GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK. Buy your loved ones a Gift that Gives Back this festive season and help us preserve and protect Victoria’s environment for future generations.


Australia’s biggest Walk Against Warming > Louise Morris, Walk Against Warming Coordinator, Victoria

WALKED AGAINST WARMING? WANT TO DO MORE? If you care about climate change and you’ve thought about making a difference, turn your thoughts into actions with The Big Switch. Visit The Big Switch at to find out more about the problem, solutions, and where your leaders stand. “Switch On” clean energy solutions at home and at work, and urge your local politicians to lead with vision.

WALK AGAINST WARMING ON SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11 SAW 50,000 PEOPLE TAKE TO THE STREETS OF MELBOURNE IN AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST AND MOST SUCCESSFUL NATIONAL PUBLIC EVENT IN THE 2007 ELECTION CAMPAIGN. ACROSS AUSTRALIA OVER 150,000 people Walked Against Warming to show they want real action on climate change. Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision, spoke to the amassing crowd in Melbourne about the issue that had finally shifted in mainstream opinion over the past year. “Lest we forget, as we honor those who have fallen on this eleventh of the eleventh. We gather to honor a fragile, frail, even fallen planet. We know that the planet is not well; we know it’s not well because of us. We know that we can do something about this. This (climate change) is no longer just an environmental issue, it’s become a political issue and politics, at least, is a renewable resource.” The massive turnout, which included noteables such as Missy Higgins, demonstrated that Victorians are prepared to take the necessary action to avoid climate change, making it one of the most inspiring days of community action in recent times. In particular, support from the

community action groups that work closely with EV, local clean energy groups, unions, education groups and individuals in helping to promote and organize the event was overwhelming. And Melbourne was not the only place in Victoria where people turned out on the day to show their support for a healthier planet. Walk Against Warming events were also held in regional centres such as Sale, Hamilton, Wodonga and Ballarat, demonstrating that climate change is something country and city folk alike are concerned about. With the final installation of their climate findings, the IPCC continue to produce evidence that human caused climate change is one of the most urgent issues we face, giving us five to ten years to act to avoid dangerous climate change. Overwhelming scientific evidence now shows that climate change poses a very serious threat to the planet and our way of life, while the solutions to this problem are readily available. From energy efficiency,

renewable energy, and sustainable land management practices to ratifying The Kyoto Protocol: the choices for a clean, green renewable future lie ready for us to embrace. The people of Australia made it clear both at the walk and at the polls that climate change was a key issue influencing votes and preferences. And, as we head into a new year under a Labor Government, the campaign for real action on climate change continues, with one important step forward: Australia ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. The job is still in front of us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions with strong reduction targets in both the short and long term and make the transition to a truly renewable energy future. Tim Costello framed the mood of the crowd and much of Australia on the day: “This is the issue that claims a global ethic from a generation that I think is represented here today. A generation that says count me in for those yet born. Count me in for those that are suffering the ravages of climate change. Count me in not to give up on this and dig deep into my soul and values…Lest we forget.”

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Successful program ready to meet new challenges > Murray Irwin & Michele Burton, Sustainable Living Team

2 0 0 8 W I L L H E R A L D I N A N E XC I T I N G N E W P H A S E I N E N V I R O N M E N T V I C TO R I A’ S YO U T H E N V I R O N M E N TA L T R A I N I N G A S T H E R E G I O N A L S U S TA I N A B L E L I V I N G P R O G R A M M OV E S I N TO C E N T R A L V I C TO R I A .

EV WILL RUN two Youth Eco Challenges in the first semester of next year in collaboration with community education providers in the regional towns in Central Victoria. The program will provide training in sustainable living for young people aged 15-17 as part of their accredited VCAL course. VCAL is an alternative education stream for students for whom mainstream education does not meet their needs and are otherwise at risk of leaving the education system. EV will deliver the nine modules of training in partnership with the local education centres through a number of half day classes and practical based sessions, as well as full day field trips. The students will have the opportunity to develop their own six week environmental challenge. The aim is to increase environmental and sustainability awareness and to foster the participant’s individual personal development. On completion of the challenge the knowledge and experience gained will be showcased in their local communities and be used to help promote local sustainable solutions. Sustainable Living manager, Annette Salkeld, said EV’s programs did more

than just provide information on how to live more sustainably. “They are unique in Victoria,” Annette said, “We work with communities often missed by other organisations and groups.” Past successes include the Nha Dep program with the Vietnamese community in western Melbourne, which saw over 120 people save over 950 tonnes of greenhouse gas and 25 megalitres of water. The lessons from programs such as this have proven invaluable. “We found when engaging with the Vietnamese community that they had not been receiving the environmental messages being communicated to mainstream Australia,” Annette said. “Mostly this was because of language and cultural barriers.” And subsequent research uncovered similar issues in many other communities, prompting EV to adopt a more targeted approach. “We found we needed to take in many factors, including language, culture, age, income and social issues. No-one else was doing this.” A key element of EV’s work is the use of community ‘champions’ — participants who are enthusiastic and have time to devote – who can take the

MLS celebrate Seven young leaders from migrant and refugee backgrounds graduated from the first Multicultural Leaders in Sustainability program at a formal celebration at 100 Mile Café last month. EV congratulates Ochitha Karunaratne, Huong Truong, Ivano Cascone, Toruna Luxmi Ujoodah, Wesa Chau, Juliana Rudewych and Surein Arulananda on their success. MLS is funded by the Victorian Government through the provision of a Victorian Community Support Grant from the Community Support Fund, Yarra Valley Water, Metlink and Fouress Foundation. The program will run again from January 2008. Contact Charlie Davie on (03) 9341 8108 for more information.


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environmental messages they’ve learned back to their community. “We establish relationships with individuals, groups and organisations that are part of those communities to build trust and draw from their knowledge and expertise. Involving them closely with the process means that while funding for our programs may run out, there are trained and informed people who can continue to take the message into their communities.” EV is currently running sustainable living programs with four hard –toreach communities including the Vietnamese business community in Footscray, low-income families in Ballarat, Senior Citizens in Bendigo, and young people from migrant and refugee communities in Melbourne.

For more information on EV’s Sustainable Living program, contact Annette Salkeld on (03) 9341 8118 or


Environment groups call for more funds as biodiversity crisis deepens > John Sampson, VNPA

THE ENVIRONMENT DEFENDERS analysis breaks down the more than 350 submissions made to the first stage of the government process, a consultation paper called Land and Biodiversity at a Time of Climate Change that was released earlier this year. The EDO’s principal solicitor Brendan Sydes said there was overwhelming support among the submissions for strong action from the State Government to turn around Victoria’s biodiversity crisis through a range of mechanisms including improved funding for small, on-ground conservation groups. The report says the need for increased, ongoing and long-term funding is the most recurrent issue in the submissions, and quotes the Benalla and District Environment Group, which makes it very clear that it wants to see the inquiry come up with dollars to match ideas. “There are too many documents that have not been implemented within government organisations,” it says in its submission. “Many existing documents provide ‘answers’ for what needs to occur to conserve biodiversity…but no funding has been provided, nor staffing levels adequate, to implement the required actions. We need to stop reinventing the wheel and actually implement the programs.” Although submissions addressed a broad sweep of issues Mr Sydes said the need for large-scale habitat restoration projects were mentioned in the majority of submissions, with a strong push to reconnect Victoria’s national parks, reserves and remaining patches of native vegetation through

Photo: Dean Inwersen


Habitat restoration projects in regional Victoria are showing that it is possible to bring back the Grey-Crowned Babbler, currently listed as a threatened species strategically-placed habitat corridors and large-scale ‘biolinks’ The incremental loss of native bushland through illegal clearing, weed invasion and urban development was recognised as a major problem in Victoria. There were also frequent calls for a moratorium on the logging of old growth forests. Twenty-four councils made submissions with those closest to Melbourne identifying urban expansion as the biggest threats to biodiversity while regional shires were more concerned with the impact of weeds and pest animals. Many submissions also warned that invasive species continue to have devastating impacts on native plants and animals and a number listed weeds as the greatest threat to Victoria’s biodiversity. One of the few groups to use its submission to tackle problems in Victoria’s marine and coastal environments was the Victorian National Parks Association, warning that “in the marine and coastal environment often the biodiversity crisis goes unnoticed and species may become extinct before they are even identified.” Environment Victoria pointed out that aquatic biodiversity is under as great a threat from climate

change as terrestrial, particularly as inflows to river systems decline. EV wants to see the final White Paper put equal emphasis on conserving all kinds of biodiversity: terrestrial, freshwater and marine. Launched in April this year the Land and Biodiversity White Paper inquiry is a response to calls from the Victoria Naturally alliance, which is led by the VNPA and includes Environment Victoria, for action on the state’s biodiversity crisis. The alliance wants to see a massive boost in conservation efforts from the State Government with clear, sciencebased targets for biodiversity, a roadmap to reach them and sufficient funding to back up those targets. The next step will be a Green Paper, which is due for release in March next year. The Government is promising an “extensive community consultation period” with feedback “considered” for the final White Paper, expected out in early 2009.

To keep informed of the process join the Victoria Naturally alliance’s monthly ebulletin by emailing your name to To download EDO’s report on submissions to the Land and Biodiversity at a Time of Climate Change consultation paper visit

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v i c t o r i a’s r i v e r s

Stories from Victoria’s big river

The health of Victoria’s biggest river hangs in the balance.

> Dawn G Lee, Media & Communications Volunteer



THE GOULBURN IS Victoria’s biggest river. It rises in the mountains near Woods Point and flows over 550km to the Murray at Echuca. It is a crucial source of water for wetlands and floodplains throughout its catchment and the Murray Darling Basin, to which it belongs. It supports billions of dollars worth of agricultural production – notably dairy production – and is home to an array of threatened species, including the Crimson-spotted Rainbowfish, the Great Egret, the Brush-tailed Phascogale, the Murray Cod, and endangered plant communities such as Riverine Grassy Woodland. Dairy farmer Russell Pell, who grew up on the farm he now owns and sees the river as an old family friend, remembers this lush abundance and recalls checking crayfish nets with his dad as a kid.

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“I drove our pony gig with the crays in the back,” he recalls. “It was always chock-a-block.” The noticeable decline means that the children growing up along the Goulburn River today have a very different experience of it to their parents, though they nonetheless treasure it and recognise its intrinsic value. To the kids at Toolamba Primary School, for example, near Shepparton, the Goulburn River is many things: a family picnic and camping spot, a local hang-out, a place to swap stories and go exploring with friends. “The river means a lot to people round here,” says 12 year old Jayden Archie. “It’s so close we can always ride our bikes down for a swim. When it’s hot our whole family goes down there.” Having grown up along the Goulburn, Jayden and his friends are tuned in to the river’s changing moods: seasonal

“WE NEED THE RIVER, BUT WE ALSO NEED OUR LIVELIHOODS. IT’S A BALANCING ACT.” shifts, safe swimming areas, the health of the water and the local wildlife. Like many Toolamba residents, he realises that taking his beloved river for granted would be detrimental to its health, and takes a hands-on approach to protecting his waterway. Jayden says, “We’re lucky to live so close to the river. It’s a pretty special place. I hope people realise what we’ve got sitting right here, and look after it.” It’s a sentiment that 16-year-old Sheridan Kennedy shares. When she needs quiet time, she heads to the river. “I’ve spent countless hours sitting in one of my favourite trees – reading novels, sleeping, singing a tune that’s stuck in my head. It’s so peaceful. It sounds dramatic, but my life wouldn’t be the same without the river.” The Goulburn has many friends, like Jayden and Sheridan, who are not prepared to see their river die. It is vitally important to the communities who live along it and who depend on it for their livelihoods and their future – both of which feed into the nation’s

economic well-being with the dairy farming industry the region’s biggest user of the Goulburn’s water. THE GOULBURN BROKEN catchment, which includes the Goulburn’s tributary, the Broken River, is part of the Murray Darling Basin. It is the foundation of Victoria’s and the Basin’s water resources and economic prosperity. Although it covers only 2 per cent of the Murray Darling Basin’s land area, the catchment generates 11 per cent of its water resources and 26 per cent of Victoria’s rural export earnings. This comes at a cost to the river, which supplies more water for consumptive use than any other river in Victoria. DAIRY FARMER PELL has witnessed big changes in both the Goulburn River and attitudes to water, with a growing realisation that a healthy river system is essential to the region’s prosperity. “In the early days the environment was just seen as a resource. We never thought it would come under threat,” he says. Balance, he knows, is the key. “If the river wasn’t healthy I wouldn’t live here – but if the dairy industry doesn’t do well I won’t be here either. We need the river, but we also need our livelihoods. It’s a balancing act.” Russell’s attitude is recognised and endorsed by the Goulburn Broken CMA’s Regional River Health Strategy, which has a vision for “healthy rivers,

16-year-old Seymour High School student, Sheridan Kennedy, says her life wouldn’t be the same without the Goulburn.

streams, wetlands and adjacent land that support a vibrant range and abundance of natural environments, provide water for human use, sustain our native flora and fauna and provide for our social, cultural and economic values”. To that end, new technologies in agriculture tapping on the river’s resources will be based on natural systems, adapted to low water, nutrient and energy inputs. The landscape mosaic will also include large amenity, lifestyle and ecosystem service areas, typified by residents with off-farm income, which are very attractive to people from outside the area for relaxation and recreation. ALISTER PURBRICK, CEO of Australia’s oldest winery Tahbilk, is one of these residents. Part of the land he owns is a thriving 700-acre wetland managed as a reserve, a safe haven for native wildlife. He admits that while planning for the reserve was not environmentally-driven, the choice seemed natural. “We’re not saints. We had this wonderful piece of land and water, and thought – what else can we do here?” he recalls. Since the reserve opened two years ago, annual visitor numbers have doubled. “Ecotourism plays an enormously important role for us, and it really seems to have struck a chord,” Purbrick adds. In a world where increasing numbers of people are living and growing up in cities, connecting people with nature helps protect it. That is the observation of John and Cheryl Clark, who own Mareeba, an idyllic property fronting the Murrindindi, a tributary of the Yea River, which flows into the Goulburn. Moving out from Melbourne 25 years ago, they now farm sheep, cattle and olives, and Cheryl commutes to the city for work. “The benefits go both ways, says Cheryl. “It’s psychologically unhealthy to become too disconnected from nature.” John predicts that city-dwellers will be drawn to areas like the Murrindindi: “Over the next 50 years, more people will want to experience the river’s natural beauty.”

For more stories from Victoria’s big river, read Your River Goulburn, available online at or by contacting Juliette Le Feuvre on (03) 9341 8106.

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community action










9 1. Walkers call for an end to the use of the dirty brown coal at the heart of Victoria’s high ecological footprint.

3. The mood of the day was to prove prophetic as climate change became an important election issue.

5. Victorians of all ages voted with their feet in the biggest public event in the lead up to the federal election.

2. Tim Costello said climate change had become a moral and justice issue and that global warming had benefitted those countries that, through industrialisation, had put the most CO2 into the atmosphere.

4. Securing a cleaner and greener future for the planet was top of people’s priorities as thousands turned up to call for real action on climate change.

6. People found colourful ways to make their point. 7. Hundreds of families turned out on the day to highlight the need to protect the environment for future generations.

8. Former national voter and Gippsland farmer, Bruce Beatson, spoke to the crowd about the impact climate change was already having in regional Australia. 9. Urgent action is needed on the political level to combat climate change.

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story telling


The power of story will throw the spotlight on one of Victoria’s most beautiful and most troubled spots.

> Kate Stevens & Meg Mundell, Healthy Rivers Campaign HATTAH LAKES IS a unique wetland environment and popular holiday spot in Victoria’s north-west, where natural forests, sand dunes and lakes provide a safe haven for native birds, fish, plants, and many other living creatures. It also holds particular meaning and special memories for locals, as well as the 70,000 annual visitors to the area. In a new initiative, ten selected participants will learn new skills under the guidance of acclaimed filmmaker Malcolm McKinnon, in an allexpenses-paid, four-day workshop to create their own digital story (short film). The project will capture people’s stories about anything from local legends, school excursions to natural wonders in an effort to throw the spotlight on this unique natural asset. “They could reflect a multigenerational connection to Hattah


Lakes or a brief but intense experience. Whoever you are, we’re keen to hear your Hattah Lakes story”, says Leonie Duncan, Acting Manager of the Healthy Rivers Campaign. Drawn to its natural beauty and abundant wildlife, generations of visitors have enjoyed the attractions of this tranquil place. Hattah is home to more than 120 species of native fauna, many of which are rare or threatened, and over 1000 Indigenous archeological sites, including scar trees, artifact scatters and cooking hearths. Set in national parklands where the Murray River meets the Mallee, these internationally recognised wetlands depend on natural flooding to stay vibrant and healthy. Today, the Murray River’s flow has been reduced by 75 per cent primarily due to the extraction of water for agriculture. Drought and climate change are also taking their toll. Under natural conditions, most lakes in the Hattah system would contain permanent waters; many have now been dry for several years. In October 2007, the Murray Darling Basin Commission reported that “the health of Hattah’s floodplain vegetation is of serious concern, with only 5 per cent in good condition.” Emergency water pumped into select lakes has helped restore some of Hattah’s magnificent river red gums.

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And the watering was good news for waterbird breeding too. Over 30 waterbird species and thousands of individuals have been noted at the lakes since, including at least eight threatened species. A number of native fish species have also been recorded. Restoring Hattah Lakes, however, relies on support from those who love and care for this special place. Inspired by the personal memories and meanings of Hattah Lakes, storytellers will help ensure the survival of this amazing place by showing the world why it is worth protecting and restoring. Workshop participants will have their stories featured on a special DVD collection, to be screened in their local communities and beyond, and invited to attend a formal launch of their production in Melbourne.

For an application form or further information, visit Environment Victoria online at or phone (03) 9341 8120. Entries close: 7 February 2008 | Workshop dates: 29 March–1 April 2008 | Workshop location: Sunraysia Institute of TAFE, Mildura. Funding for Environment Victoria’s Hattah Lakes Storylines project has been provided by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission through the Living Murray program. Environment Victoria is also grateful for the support of project partners Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Parks Victoria, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Sunraysia Institute of TAFE and Victorian Outdoor Education Association.

e nv iro n m e n t al c ham p io n

Paul Sinclair: River advocate IN SEPTEMBER 2007, PAUL SINCLAIR MOVED ON TO A NEW POSITION WITH THE AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATION FOUNDATION AFTER SIX YEARS AS DIRECTOR OF EV’S HEALTHY RIVER CAMPAIGN. IN THIS EDITION OF GREEN ACTION NEWS, WE PAY TRIBUTE TO A TRUE CHAMPION OF THE RIVER, AS PAUL BIDS US A FINAL FAREWELL. Celebrating the successes I have had a great time at Environment Victoria, and been consistently inspired by the network of volunteers who stand up for the interests of their local rivers, creeks, wetlands and estuaries. We’ve had frozen European carp thrown at us, been abused by members of parliament from both sides of politics, and dressed up in a Murray cod suit that terrifies children in a shameless attempt to get in the newspaper. And we’re stronger than we’ve ever been! There’s no doubt we’ve made a positive difference to the way our rivers are cared for. Through our work together we’ve increased the amount of government money being spent on river health. We’ve secured commitments to provide environmental flows to rivers like the Murray, Yarra, Barwon and Thomson Rivers - and many others. For the first time in Victoria’s history - thanks to the work done by EV and its network - our Water Act now actually talks about the need

over, and we need to keep pushing hard to get promised flows back into our stressed rivers, and greater protection for our red gum forests and catchments. But we’re further ahead today than we were 10 years ago.

The challenges ahead We have big challenges ahead building the strength of rivers to withstand the shock of climate change being right up there. And governments are still failing to seriously address the overuse and over-allocation of water in irrigated agriculture. Rivers are being hit hardest by climate change, and we

“PAUL SINCLAIR IS LISTENED TO BECAUSE HE SPEAKS THE TRUTH IN A WORLD OF SPIN AND HALF-TRUTHS. HE TOLD THE AGE ONCE: ‘THERE ARE SOME GREAT KIDS’ BOOKS ABOUT PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN DEAD ENVIRONMENTS. YOU’RE NOT GOING TO HAVE A HEALTHY COMMUNITY. TREES DIE, THE WIND BLOWS, PEOPLE GO MAD.’ EXACTLY.” —Melissa Fyfe, The Age state news editor to protect aquatic ecosystems amazing, but true. It even sets out how governments should go about protecting rivers! OK - the fight’s not

have to get a more equitable share of water for them - even in dry years. There are more people than ever from irrigation industries, cities, the

environment movement and business who want to do more to use water wisely and create water supply systems for agriculture and cities and towns that contribute to the restoration, rather than the destruction of clean water and healthy rivers. That’s something to celebrate, even as the big dry wrecks havoc on our communities and rivers.

A final word EV takes great pride in the fact that we punch above our weight in the media and political process. That’s because of the quality of people involved in our work. Healthy Rivers Campaigners like Sue Phillips, Natalie Jamieson, Anne Martinelli, Leonie Duncan and Juliet Le Feuvre have done, and continue to do great work for our beautiful rivers. Our volunteers, people like Cameron Steele and Silvana Predabon, are passionate, articulate and intelligent defenders of clean water and healthy rivers. It’s been a great pleasure to work with you, and I look forward to building new partnerships with you in my role at the ACF.

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zero waste

Saving the earth’s dwindling resources Auditors estimate that we would have just 21 years of mineral resources left if the world started consuming at the rate of the US. At the current rate of consumption,gold will run out in just over 45 years.

> Mark Doggett, Director Zero Waste

AN INDUSTRIAL ECOLOGY IS THE ONLY WAY FORWARD AS OVERCONSUMPTION OF THE EARTH’S RESOURCES THREATENS TO LEAVE US HIGH AND DRY WITHIN ONE GENERATION. FOUR YEARS AGO a struggling writer in Manhattan, New York, found a colourful painting lying in a pile of rubbish on the street. The picture turned out to be an abstract painting by Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo, and when it went under the hammer at Sotheby’s on 20 November, it was expected to fetch in excess of US $1 million. The idea that there is treasure in someone else’s trash is not new. But it’s an idea with a new and stunning global dimension following a recent audit of the life-span of some of the world’s most important industrial metals such as aluminium, uranium, tin, silver and zinc performed for New Scientist magazine.


The audit concluded that untapped reserves of the Earth’s key industrial metals are fast running out. The auditors say that if the world consumes metals at today’s rate, we have, at best, 58 years worth of reserves. But this ignores the looming industrial giants of India and China, which will soon start to consume at developed-world levels. The auditors estimate that if the rest of the world were to immediately start to consume metals at the rate of the USA, the world will exhaust its mineral reserves within 21 years. But what does this mean for the health of our environment? As the rarity of these resources increases, a few things are likely to occur. The first

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is increased exploration for new reserves - the mineral-rich Artic and Antarctica are especially vulnerable to this pressure. Second, conflict over access to resources, like those in the middle-east (oil) and West Africa (diamonds) are likely to multiply, and with it, the inevitable trail of severe environmental degradation alongside human misery. But these scenarios are not inevitable. Every economy in the world currently wastes huge amounts of those same vanishing resources. The usual pattern is the mining of minerals and products made only to be thrown into landfill a short time later. Australia is only too-typical. The solution is to develop an industrial ecology in which all resources are routinely re-used and recycled, just as in the non-human world. In this scenario, a discarded product is not a waste but is merely in transition to another product. This sharply reduces the need to take new materials from the earth. It is also the concept of ‘zero-waste’, and Environment Victoria’s zero waste campaign is part of a world-wide movement to develop a global zero waste economy. The good news is that we are making head-way, with government and key Victorian business groups now committed to practical ways to implement it. The challenge for the zero waste team now is to convince Victoria’s consumers that there is a sustainability fortune lying hidden in their waste.

zero waste

Australia’s favourite spread is on the shortlist as the EV’s DUMP awards panel prepares to announce the worst packaging offenders for 2007


‘Carbon’s crunchies’ line up to get dumped > Mark Doggett, Director Zero Waste IF YOU NEED any evidence that the packaging genie is out of its bottle and wreaking havoc on our shelves, look no further than the on-going mania for wrapping small amounts of fruit and vegetables in reams of plastic and selling them for a high cost both to consumers and our environment. It’s a prime indicator of the perverse mindset in the packaging industry that nothing succeeds like excess. Over-packaging damages our environment. It needlessly consumes fossil fuels, paper, metals and water, directly adding to the burden we place on the planet. Over-packaging is also a prominent symbol of our every-day willingness to waste the Earth, and that’s why it matters. Fortunately, Environment Victoria’s Zero Waste team is on the ball with its annual DUMP Awards, with results set to be announced this month. The DUMP Awards is an annual event that targets Damaging and Useless Materials in Packaging. It haunts packaging designers and marketers as the real environmental test of their packaging’s attributes, and helps to empower consumers with knowledge about the goods on their shelves. This year, our panel of expert judges has created a short-list of some prime packaging wallies from some of

Australia’s biggest-selling brands. Next time you’re in a supermarket, take a close look at some of these: • Woolworths Apple Snacks • Nescafe Short Black (a 2006 DUMP winner) • Wiggles Baby Wipes • Big M and PURA IC flavoured milk • Cadbury Drinking Chocolate • Campbells Country Ladle Soup • Equal Café Sticks • Latina Pasta / San Remo Pasta • Gillette Fusion razor • Vegemite Snack-Abouts • Woolworths Homebrand Styling Mousse • Heinz Little Kids Sundried Tomato Pasta There were many others that our expert judges considered troublesome, but the short-list exposes the type of bad packaging lurking on our shelves.

You can read more about the DUMP Awards on-line at just visit the Zero Waste page for a link to the DUMP Awards site and updates, including the 2007 winners. In the meantime, take the advice of the British Local Environment Minister, Ben Bradshaw, who in 2006 advised UK shoppers to remove unnecessary packaging once they paid for their goods, and leave it behind.

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$20 could provide a Senior Citizen with an attachment for their tap that would help to reduce the water flow from 16 litres to 9 per minute and a low energy light globe which would help them to make significant

environmental savings as well as help their pocket.

$40 can support a community training session on letterwriting to corporations that over-package their goods or refuse to

recycle their electronic waste.

$60 could pay for a training session on water or energy conservation in the home for 4 young leaders from migrant and refugee backgrounds, who can

then pass on that knowledge to their own communities.

$100 can provide 10 people with skills on how to engage people on climate change by funding a community climate training session.

$150 could pay for information brochures on sustainable living activities to be translated into languages appropriate for one of Melbourne’s many migrant and refugee communities.

$500 could provide a weekend intensive training course in sustainable water management for two Environment Victoria volunteer representatives .

PART ONE – Your Details and Payment First Name: _____________________Family Name: ________________________________________ Address: ___________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________State: _____ Postcode: _____________ Email: _______________________________________________________ Tel: __________________

 money order  payable to Environment Victoria, OR please debit my credit card:  Amex  Mastercard  Visa I have enclosed a cheque

Cardholder’s name: ______________________________________________________________________ Signature: ____________________________________________________________________________ Expiry date: __ __ / __ __ Card number: | _ | _ | _ | _ |


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PART TWO – Selecting your cards GIFT CARD Water and energy savings



Community training session


Chemical rescue


Community climate change training session


Muticultural information brochures


Community education event

$500 plus postage and handling T OTA L $




$2.00 .00

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Postage will take approximately 5 days Please forward your order(s) as soon as possible. You will receive a recycled card with the relevant gift explanation and space for your name and the name of the person you are giving it to. A gift purchased through the Gifts that Give Back range is a tax-deductible donation that will help support practical projects that build capacity, raise awareness, train and help Victorians to make changes in their lives and voice their concerns. Please complete all details to ensure you receive your tax-deductible receipt. HOW TO ORDER YOUR GIFTS: Visit and follow the links on the homepage to the Gifts that Give Back page, here you can use our secure Pay Pal system to order your gifts online. Complete and post this form to Environment Victoria PO Box 12575 A’Beckett Street, Victoria 8006 Or Fax this order form to 03 9341 8199 Or email

w h a t ’s n e w

Sustainable festive season guide WITH OVER-CONSUMPTION EATING AWAY AT THE EARTH’S PRECIOUS RESOURCES, YOU CAN CELEBRATE THIS FESTIVE SEASON THE GREEN WAY WITH ENVIRONMENT VICTORIA’S NEW SUSTAINABLE FESTIVE SEASON GUIDE. To help you celebrate, our guide includes tips, advice and inspiration on how to enjoy a greener, more relaxing and enjoyable festive season. And it comes free of cost!

FOR YOUR FREE COPY OF THE FESTIVE SEASON GUIDE visit Environment Victoria Online at and download your copy now or contact Georgie Coram on (03) 9341 8164 and we’ll send a copy to you.

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YOURS FOR JUST $30! Available in adults and kids sizes through Environment Victoria. Contact us on (03) 9341 8100 to order yours today. All proceeds will go to help support Environment Victoria’s climate change campaign.

WHO’S WHO AT ENVIRONMENT VICTORIA Chief Executive Officer Kelly O’Shanassy OPERATIONS Organisational Services Manager Ivan Kolker Administration Helen Vine Supporter Liaison Officer Candice Feuerring Communications Officer

Vicki Kyriakakis Media Officer Daniel Clarke Finance Officer Despina Giannakis CLIMATE CHANGE CAMPAIGN Director Trisha Phelan Community Campaigner Louise Morris

HEALTHY RIVERS CAMPAIGN Acting Manager, Healthy Rivers Leonie Duncan Community Campaigner Juliet Le Feuvre SUSTAINABLE LIVING PROGRAM Director Annette Salkeld Program Manager (Green Business Program; Eco-Wise Action) Michelle Burton

Project Officer, Families Go Green Murray Irwin Multicultural Leaders Program Manager Charlie Davie ZERO WASTE CAMPAIGN Director Mark Doggett Community Campaigner Georgie Coram Contact Us (03) 9341 8100 or

Green Action News - Summer 2007  
Green Action News - Summer 2007  

Environment Victoria's quarterly publication. Inside this edition: 50,000 Victorians demand real action on climate change in world's larges...