Green Action News MOBILISING PEOPLE TO SAFEGUARD OUR ENVIRONMENT
I S S UE 19 â€˘ AUTUM N 2 0 1 3
Ethical Money: Investing in a greener future PLUS How YOU are paying for climate change. And how together we will stop it.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Lessons from the US coalface
Community in action
Paid to pollute
Green Action News Issue 19, Autumn 2013 Design 2Fish Productions Print Almar Press Contributing writers Alex Merory, Amber Sprunt, Carmela Ferraro, Charlie Davie, Juliet Le Feuvre, Kelly O’Shanassy, Melissa Howard, Mark Wakeham, Victoria McKenzieMcHarg, Tom Hartney Editor Alex Merory (03) 9341 8125 email@example.com Membership enquiries (03) 9341 8100 firstname.lastname@example.org Media enquiries (03) 9341 8127 email@example.com
Green Action News is an Environment Victoria publication. For more information, visit www.environmentvictoria.org.au
The long and winding road to Save the Murray
A very special letter
Environmental Champions of Victoria
Good Money > Kelly O’Shanassy, Chief Executive Officer
Does money really make the world go round? Maybe not, but how we invest it has big consequences for our environment. WOULDN’T IT BE WONDERFUL if scientific evidence and reason were all it took to convince our political leaders to make the right environmental decisions? Like it or not, money talks. The economy is what influences decision-making in this country. That’s why, for some years now, alongside our environmental advocacy and feisty community action, we’ve been developing smart economic arguments around our environmental solutions. We’ve demonstrated that there are over 26,000 new green jobs for Victoria in just five industry sectors. We’ve shown that by giving one million homes a ‘green’ makeover, the state government would knock $2.5 billion off their energy concessions payments. More recently we’ve shown that a brown coal export
industry is economically unviable and that fossil fuel subsidies lead to windfall profits for coal companies. The fact is that smart environmental management is also good for the economy and jobs. And we’ve been working to make sure our politicians understand that. While we talk about how protecting the environment is a good investment, the reverse is true too. The way you and I invest our own personal finances can have a big impact on our environment. We can use our own money to create the future we want through ethical investment. Some years ago I started investing my savings in ethical funds that have strict environmental and wellbeing requirements. In other words, my investments now turn a profit for me
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and for the planet (which is a pretty great feeling!). I did this because of my environmental commitment, but I also wanted secure, long-term investments – and that means investing in companies that are sustainable. And just today, I switched my mortgage and bank accounts to an environmentally responsible, customerowned bank – not only because they offer better rates but because the customer-owned business model is something I support. Now you can make your money work for the planet too. I encourage you to take the Ethical Money Challenge listed on page 9 and if your investments and banking products don’t match your values, change them, and reap the rewards!
S A F E C L I M AT E
Lessons from the US Coalface > Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, Safe Climate Campaign Manager
On a day-to-day basis, the battle against coal – and climate change – can feel overwhelming. How do we turn the tide, and build a movement so strong that even the biggest coal companies in the world can’t stop us? Our Safe Climate Campaign Manager Victoria McKenzie-McHarg visited the US last year to find out.
Polluted water samples from Lindytown, West Virginia. Directly from the town’s drinking water – and courtesy of the new coal mine next door.
LATE LAST YEAR I WAS LUCKY enough to spend three months working with the Sierra Club in the US on their groundbreaking Beyond Coal campaign. The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest environment organisation in the United States, and when it comes to winning the fight against coal, no other organisation has achieved so much. I wanted to find out what it was that set their campaigns apart, and how the environmental groups in Australia could learn from their experience. To say the US has a problem with coal is an understatement. Over 450 coalfired power stations blight the landscape, and new investment in coal exports is growing as we speak. But
The coal-industry-funded Republican campaign was far reaching in West Virginia, but had little effect on the election overall.
equally astounding is what the Sierra Club has achieved. Since the Beyond Coal campaign was formed just a few years ago, it has secured closure or commitment to close from 142 coal-fired power stations across the country. In fact, this move away from coal power has been so significant that America’s greenhouse gas emissions are now at their lowest in almost 20 years and the Sierra Club and their supporters can take a large chunk of the credit for that. Many of their strategies are not immediately transferable to us. First, the Sierra Club has had a lot of money for this campaign -$70 million to be exact. That pays for a team of 40 in-house lawyers, who have been involved in the
campaign against each coal-fired power station. Second, it’s a far more regulated energy market than we have in Australia, meaning these legal campaigns can make a difference that wouldn’t translate at home. Finally, in contrast to Australia, many of these power stations are situated in large cities, among populations who are directly impacted by the dangerous pollutants. The political power of the people suffering from the health impacts of coal first hand is significant. But where the Sierra Club really stands out is in their community campaigning. The organisation has a deep commitment to organising their supporters for action and has worked >>>
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S A F E C L I M AT E
Left: A massive community campaign across Washington state has shut one coal-fired power station, and is now coming after coal export proposals. Below left: The influence of the coal industry is evident in the small town of Sylvester, West Virginia, where the coal industry reigns supreme despite the health and environmental problems they create.
Can you help with talking to people in your community, spreading the word with leaflets and posters, or calling other volunteers to get them signed up? Get involved at environmentvictoria.org.au/volunteer
>>> tirelessly to engage their base to lead strong campaigns in their communities. Their model of community organising, borrowed by the Obama campaign, has delivered lasting success over decades. And this is where Environment Victoria can learn from the Club’s success. We’re starting from a strong base – we’re committed to community campaigning, our supporters are engaged, smart and active, and when we ask you for help we’re never disappointed. Our supporters can mobilise like few others in the Australian environmental movement. But if the backwards steps of the Coalition Government under Ted Baillieu have
shown us anything, it’s that we need more power. We need to ‘organise’ our supporters to build the power to win campaigns and protect our environment over the long term. We need to do it in a way that can create change in our communities at a scale we’ve never seen before. During my three months in the US I saw the best and the worst of the fight against coal. In Seattle, where I spent the month leading up to the US election, I experienced community organising at its best, with thousands of people directly engaging across towns and suburbs to stop a new coal export proposal in the state. In Chicago, I met the volunteer who kick-started the Beyond Coal campaign from her garage. In West Virginia, I saw the devastation caused by Mountain Top Removal mining practices and witnessed what happens when corruption and cronyism allows big mining companies to do whatever they want. But two things stayed with me above all else. One, an organisation with committed supporters, determined to shift the power base for environmental protection, should never be underestimated. And two, while this sometimes feels like a lonely path we’re walking, there really are people just like you and me in every town across the world fighting on their patch to stop the climate crisis. Even in the face of
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unimaginable environmental destruction, people are standing up for what is right with dignity and with hope. Their wins, however big or small, combined with those in communities across the world, including right here in Victoria, hint at the global movement that will one day conquer the climate crisis. We’re not there yet, but we’re on the way.
THANK YOU! Armed with this new knowledge, we’re ready to build stronger, wider and deeper community action than ever before. Big coal won’t know what hit them! And it’s thanks to you. Your support helped make this journey possible, so thank you.
Geoff Boadle opts to be
FOREVERGREEN > Carmella Ferraro
Geoff Boadle and his partner Simone Goeckes have been proud financial supporters of Environment Victoria for more than a decade. The couple, who are now the newly-minted parents of a seven-week-old daughter Zoe Hope, took their support one step further last year, and made a lasting legacy to Environment Victoria in their Will. We spoke with Geoff about what drove him to be Forever Green.
“It’s not our generation that will suffer the consequences of how we behave in the world. I fear for Zoe and what she will see. We named her Zoe Hope, because Zoe means life and we wished a hopeful life for her and the planet.” Geoff and Simone run Sustainable Impact in Trafalgar, Victoria “AUSTRALIA HAS A PRECIOUS AND unique environment that we should be proud of and retain for future generations,” explains Geoff. “We need to see the environment as part of our housekeeping duties. Victoria is our home and if we fail to care for it, we will have nowhere to live.” Geoff’s top environmental concern is climate change. He believes many Victorians care about an impending climate crisis but are naïve about its potential severity. “We live on the driest continent in the world. As custodians, what we need is to better resource and look after what we have.”
Geoff says he and Simone support Environment Victoria because its projects and programs reflect their views about where we, as Victorians and world citizens, should be heading. “Environment Victoria shares our passion for sustainability and is at the forefront of driving real change around actively protecting our environment and educating people about it – which is incredibly important,” says Geoff.
As a result, when it was time for Geoff and Simone to think about their Will, the couple chose to support Environment Victoria. “We thought that it was appropriate to do something wise with our money, so it could have real impact well into the future.” While Geoff is enthusiastic about Environment Victoria’s capacity to “give value for money” to its supporters, he is scathing of the government’s lack of will in leading Victorians towards a sustainable future. As co-owner (along with Simone) of Sustainable Impact, a business that supplies and installs solar power systems in the Gippsland area and one of the longest-running solar operations in Australia, Geoff has firsthand experience of the impact of the government’s negative policies on people and the planet. In fact, the lack of government support for the solar industry forced Geoff’s business to shed jobs a few months ago. “At the moment, we seem to be putting development and growth ahead of the environment,” says Geoff. “The government gives millions and millions to coal-fired power companies. But it withdraws support for solar and wind, and it also undermines public support for green industry by changing their policy direction every six months.” “It’s not our generation that will suffer the consequences of how we behave in the world,” says Geoff. “I fear for Zoe and what she will see. We named her Zoe Hope because Zoe means life and we wished a hopeful life for her and the planet.” In fact, it’s hope that inspired Geoff’s and Simone’s bequest to Environment Victoria, for which we are deeply grateful.
If you would like to join people like Geoff in leaving hope as a lasting gift to future generations, please head to environmentvictoria.org.au/forevergreen or call Amber on 9341 8100.
R E C L A I M V I C T O R I A’ S E N V I R O N M E N T
Community in action > Mick Power, Community Campaigner
If we’re going to get the environment back on the political agenda in Victoria, we need thousands of Victorians standing up to take action.
A MILLION THANKS for your support to Reclaim Victoria’s Environment, especially for giving us the POWER to mobilise Victoria with our new Campaigner Mick!
“Very great change starts from very small conversations, held among people who care.” –Margaret Wheatley
As part of our Reclaim Victoria’s Environment campaign, we’re organising communities in targeted locations across Victoria, recruiting and organising volunteer campaign teams, to build neighbourhood power on a scale that our leaders can’t ignore. In the past six months we’ve: • Doubled our volunteer base. We now have over 500 volunteer campaigners putting up their hands to take action for our environment. That’s double our base from just six months ago, and we plan to be 1,000-strong by the end of 2013. • Reached thousands. Over 8,000 Victorians have signed our petition. More than 2,500 have had a faceto-face conversation with a campaigner. And over 100,000 have received a campaign leaflet. • We’ve already had an impact. We’ve put the spotlight on the Government, prompting them to defend their environmental credentials, and forcing them to release an environment policy at last. And we’re just getting started. It’s all been led by you. More than ever before, our campaign events are being not just supported, but organised and led by our supporters. This is your campaign now. To everyone who has already been a part of this — through street stalls, phone banks, letterboxing, signing and circulating petitions and your generous donations — thank you! To everyone else — what are you waiting for?
Want to get involved? Head to environmentvictoria.org.au/reclaim/volunteer
S A F E C L I M AT E
Paid to Pollute > Mark Wakeham, Campaigns Director
HOW YOU AND OTHERS WILL HELP TO END POLLUTER HANDOUTS It’s only when people work together that we can create systemic change. Thanks to your support, this is how we’ll win it. • Sending thousands of submissions to the Treasurer calling for the removal of fossil fuel subsidies Imagine if your taxpayer dollars were being used to make our most polluting and profitable companies even more profitable. Well that’s exactly what’s happening in Australia and around the world today. ACCORDING TO THE INTERNATIONAL Energy Agency, in 2011 fossil-fuel consumption subsidies worldwide totaled $523 billion, $111 billion higher than the previous year. By comparison, financial support to renewable energy in 2011 amounted to just $88 billion. Removing these fossil fuel subsidies would provide half the carbon savings needed to prevent dangerous climate change. As long as they continue, we are literally paying for climate change. Despite the recent introduction of the carbon price, Australia is no exception. Our federal government dishes out an estimated $11-13 billion annually in fossil fuel subsidies. That’s three times what they spend on public education! Very few Australians know the shocking truth about these polluter handouts. With your help, we’re going to change that. Thanks to the fantastic support of individuals like you, we recently launched an exciting new national campaign, ‘Paid to Pollute’, which aims to strip away the billions of dollars invested in polluting activities and level
the playing field for clean energy. And the timing is perfect, with calls in recent months from the World Bank, the International Energy Agency, G20 and the United Nations for an end to fossil fuel subsidies. Those are some pretty powerful campaign allies! As a starting point, we’ve set our sights on on Australia’s four largest fossil fuel subsidies and are calling on Wayne Swan to remove them in the upcoming Federal budget. And nearly 2000 Environment Victoria supporters have joined our call by making their own submission to the Treasurer! Cutting just these Big Four subsidies would deliver budget savings of almost $9 billion per year, and more importantly, would shift one of the biggest barriers to meaningful climate action in Australia. We know that the polluters will fight with all their might to hang on to their handouts, but we’re confident that with a smart campaign and a plan to mobilise and communicate in key electorates in coming months, we’ll be able to cut off public funding to polluting industries.
TAKE ACTION Want to help overcome one of the biggest barriers to stopping catastrophic climate change? Please fill in the donation form on page 15, or online at environmentvictoria.org.au/paid-to-pollute
• Groundbreaking research showing that polluting coalfired power stations are profiting from carbon tax compensation • Building a national alliance of environment groups and others calling for the removal of fossil fuel subsidies • Researching which mining companies receive the largest diesel subsidies and publicising this in the media • Actions outside key MPs’ offices around the country • A national day of action at petrol stations informing motorists that they are paying more for diesel than mining companies • Massive promotion including billboards in Wayne Swan’s seat and at Canberra airport • The first sustained community campaign to end polluter handouts beyond the federal budget and election
Thank YOU! It’s only because of your support that we can take on such big challenges for our environment and future generations. Thanks for taking action and making this campaign big, bold and effective.
ETHICAL MONEY WEEK
Take the ethical money challenge > Kelly O’Shanassy, Chief Executive Officer
You’re an advocate for our magnificent environment. And we love you for it. You’ve got efficient lights and maybe a rainwater tank at home and even solar panels. You’ve signed petitions and attended rallies, given generously to the environment and you believe in a sustainable future. Sound like you? Then why not take the Ethical Money Challenge to make sure you’re investing your money in line with your pretty amazing values. If you decide your investments are not the right shade of green, make the switch to ethical money by Friday, 3 May.
Is your money harming our environment? How you invest and manage your personal wealth can have a big impact on our environment. The hard-earned savings you deposit at the bank, your super or your investments could be used to finance coal plants, uranium mines or habitat destruction. So without your realising it, your money could be funding the very things you spend so much time and energy working to change. But with ethical money, you can ensure that your money is used to create the future you want.
RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT vs MAINSTREAM SHARE FUNDS 1 Year
Average RI Fund
Average Mainstream Fund
What is ethical investment?
Average RI Fund
Ethical investment seeks to return not just financial but social and environmental value. In other words, it is investment that reaps dividends for people and the planet as well as returning profit. If you care about climate change, resource scarcity or ecosystem decline, you’ll want to invest your money with banks, super funds and investment managers that look for economic solutions and investment opportunities that will help resolve these mounting problems, not make them worse. That’s ethical investment.
Average Mainstream Fund
MSCI World ex Aust. Index $A
AUSTRALIAN SHARE FUNDS
OVERSEAS SHARE FUNDS
Source RIAA. Responsible Investment Report in Australia and New Zealand 2011 (% returns pa to June 2011, excluding management fees)
What about the financial returns? There’s an old misconception that investing ethically means sacrificing returns. In fact, ethical investments perform on par with, if not better than, regular investment. If you think about it, this isn’t surprising. By definition, ethical investments are future focused. They minimise exposure to the financial risks associated with climate change, resource and habitat loss, water shortages and many others. If investing for the future is important to you, then ethical investments are a good option.
Get the right advice If you’re going down the ethical money road, there are a number of different approaches. The most common include screening for negative or positive impacts, investing in the best companies in each sector or investing in a particular theme such as renewable energy or sustainable forestry. Each approach has its pros and cons. 8
There are also over 100 products available ranging from superannuation, to green property, fixed income, renewable energy, or community investment funds, to savings accounts and loans with a responsible bank or building society. And each fund has a different shade of green so it pays to do your homework and get the right advice. But itâ€™s your money â€“ we canâ€™t tell you which fund to go with! So here are some helpful organisations which can give you professional advice on how to make an informed decision to invest ethically: â€˘ The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) rates ASX companies and investment products on their sustainability. www.responsibleinvestment.org â€˘ The Ethical InvestorÂ magazine and website ranks the social, environmental and corporate governance of Australian companies and investment funds. www.ethicalinvestor.com.au
Take the Ethical Money Challenge The first step of the challenge is to take a look at your current investments. Whoever manages your money â€“ whether itâ€™s your financial adviser, your
bank, or your super fund â€“ should be able to tell you how they manage the associated environmental, social and governance factors. If that information isnâ€™t included in their website, the best thing to do is give them a call and ask. Here are a few questions you might want to ask: Q: Do you invest my money in activities that harm the environment like unsustainable logging, uranium or coal mining? Q: Can you tell me which types of investments you make that support the environment like renewable energy and energy efficiency, recycling and restoration of threatened eco-systems, and what percentage of your investments goes towards these activities? Q: Do you have ethical banking or investment products that I can switch to? You might also want to ask about other issues close to your heart such as animal welfare, alleviation of poverty and human rights. Just by asking these questions you can make a difference and encourage action within the organisations you already deal with. But if you are not convinced with the answers given, why not Switch to Ethical Money by Friday, 3 May.
At bankmecu, we believe that the future depends on a healthy planet.
Switch to Ethical Money â€“ Itâ€™s your call So, are you ready for action? Over the next week, weâ€™ll send you an email to check in and remind you to find out more about how ethical your investments actually are. And at the end of April weâ€™ll email you again to Switch to Ethical Money if you are not satisfied that your current bank and investment live up to your values. Remember, itâ€™s your money and your decision. But we know youâ€™re passionate about the things that matter, so why not invest your money in line with your beliefs? Head on to environmentvictoria.org.au/ethicalmoney. Are you up for the challenge?
Why invest responsibly? There are many reasons people choose to invest responsibly, here are the top 4 from the RIAA: 1. Sustainable financial returns 3. To help the environment and climate change 3. To hold companies accountable 4. To put your money where your mouth is
AUSTRALIAN ETHICAL SUPER IS THE ONLY FUND THAT DOESNâ€™T INVEST IN COAL
So we invest our funds responsibly in ways that beneďŹ t you, your community and our environment. Talk to us about our range of green and responsible products today and help make a difference to our world. For more information call 132 888, visit bankmecu.com.au or drop into your local Service Centre.
bankmecu is a true supporter of Environment Victoria initiatives including â€˜Switch to Ethical Money Weekâ€™.
Did you know we achieved carbon neutral operations over 2010/2011.
mecu Limited ABN 21 087 651 607 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence No. 238431 trading as bankmecu. Fees and charges may apply. Terms and conditions are available on application.
We prefer to invest your money in better long term and sustainable products. Your money, your choice. Choose a better future! Go to australianethical.com.au/EV, call 1300 134 337 or join our community at facebook.com/australianethical.
People. Planet. Performance.
Australian Ethical Superannuation Pty Ltd ABN 43 079 259 733 RSEL L0001441. A PDS is available from our website or by calling us and should be considered before making an investment decision. Australian EthicalÂŽ is a registered trademark.
A very special letter > Jack Gostencnik
It’s always nice to receive positive feedback! So we were touched to read the following letter of encouragement from a young supporter. It’s wonderful to know that we’re reaching a new audience and inspiring the next generation of environmental guardians thanks to your generous support.
People like Jack. What keeps us inspired? encouragement Thank you Jack for your the team at and inspiring words. From Environment Victoria.
W AT E R A N D H E A LT H Y R I V E R S
The long and winding road… to save the Murray > Juliet Le Feuvre
In November 2012, the historic Murray-Darling Basin Plan was passed to restore Australia’s greatest river system. Now Juliet Lefeuvre reflects on what’s been achieved.
ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS I DID FOR a Healthy Rivers campaign was to stand on the banks of the Yarra and hand out leaflets to commuters asking them to support their politicians in returning the first 500 gigalitres of water to the Murray River. That was almost ten years ago, and ever since ‘Save the Murray’ has been our catchcry. The Murray is our biggest river system. It supports an incredible array of unique ecosystems and provides water for billions of dollars of agricultural production. And it’s getting into deeper and deeper trouble because too much water is taken out and not enough left in to allow birds to breed, fish to migrate and wetlands to flourish. Ten years ago scientists were saying that the Murray needed an extra 1500 gigalitres. Now with the Darling included the scientists say we need to return at least 4000 gigalitres to the river system to keep the Murray mouth open and salinity levels in check. The Murray-Darling Basin Plan, passed by the Commonwealth parliament in November 2012, will return 2750 GL to
the river with an extra 450 GL promised by 2024. It’s a big moment. For the first time the water resources of the MurrayDarling Basin will be managed as a whole instead of according to the arbitrary lines that are state boundaries. The Plan will not return as much water as the rivers need for their long-term security, but more than they’ve had for a long time. So what made the difference? After all, the management of the Murray-Darling Basin is extremely complex, with four different states (each of whom believes their way of doing things is the best) and the federal government all involved along with a multitude of stakeholders and vested interests, not to mention the 2 million people who live there. The turning point came in 2007, at the height of the Millennium drought and the river system close to ecological collapse. Things were so dire that even the Howard Government recognised that a sick and degraded river was useless to its communities and began a national process to restore the Murray.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS SUPPORTED THE CAMPAIGN TO SAVE THE MURRAY. THIS HISTORIC ACHIEVEMENT BELONGS TO YOU.
This led to the Commonwealth Water Act, the formation of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, and (five years later) to the Basin Plan.The Save The Murray campaign has been a long haul. And our wonderful supporters have been with us every step of the way. Along with our colleagues at ACF and other state conservation councils and environment groups, we've run an incredible range of activities – from mock funeral for our Darling Murray. We’ve written reports, made submissions, appeared before committees, lobbied persistently in Melbourne and Canberra and talked to everyone we could think of. And we’ve had an incredible amount of support from our members and supporters, who have come to our events, toured the Murray with us, made submissions in the thousands, phoned their MPs when it counted and given generously to support our campaign.Of course, there’s plenty of work to be done to get the river all the water it really needs for the future. But right now it’s worth pausing for a minute to reflect on what’s been achieved, and thanks to you, it’s a lot.
Environmental champions Late last year, we held what we hope will become our annual awards recognising some of the groups and individuals that do outstanding work for our environment. Strong community voices have been fundamental to every major environmental outcome ever achieved in Victoria. These environmental champions are truly inspiring.
Moorabool Environment Group
• John Pettigrew John Pettigrew is a farmer from Bunbartha on the Goulburn River and a bona fide river champion. As the Environmental Farmers Network (EFN)’s spokesperson on water and energy issues, John was an invaluable ally in securing the support of the EFN for the Save the Murray campaign. And now in 2013 he’s busy formulating strategies to ensure the hard-earned achievements in securing the Basin Plan actually get implemented to help Save the Murray. John has also recently been appointed President of the Goulburn Valley
Environment Group which is contending with iron-ore mining, thinning of Red Gums in the Barmah National Park, gold fossicking in National Parks, clearing of native vegetation and the exclusion of the public from many of our prime wetlands and lakes to accommodate duck shooters.
• EDO www.edovic.org.au The Environment Defenders Office (EDO) is a not-for-profit, community legal service, specialising in public interest
environmental law. It provides vitally important support to groups, like Environment Victoria, that are working to protect our environment. Last year the EDO was instrumental in stopping HRL’s new brown coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley, through its VCAT challenge to the plant’s approval by the EPA. In 2013, the EDO continues to advocate for strong federal involvement in environmental regulation. It has also been busy advising groups working to protect native forests and helping the community to understand their rights against new mines and coal seam gas facilities.
of Victoria > Tom Hartney, Communications Officer
• LIVE www.live.org.au Locals into Victoria’s Environment (LIVE) is a fast-growing group of Victorians coming together to address environmental problems and climate change through a range of innovative actions. In recent years they’ve spent a month on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament House, held a “Carbon Tax Forum” in support of the carbon price and partnered with Environment Victoria in challenging the EPA’s decision to approve the HRL coal-fired power station. In 2013 LIVE Community Power, will see the new roof of the iconic South Melbourne Market covered with 1000 solar panels to provide power to the 200 stallholders! The project is funded by members of the community, who will receive a modest return on their investment. Check it out at www.live.org.au/live-community-power
• Lighter Footprints www.lighterfootprints.org Lighter Footprints has grown from a local group focusing on reducing their ecological footprint at home, to a group harnessing the power of communities to create political pressure for serious action on climate change. They’ve run public forums and street stalls and sent over 1000 signed letters to Canberra. In 2013 Lighter Footprints will be focusing on the big issues for the Federal election like energy efficiency, renewables and economic reform. Their biggest event this year will be a forum in July on Federal candidates standing in Kooyong and Chisholm.
• Alevi Community The Alevi Community Council of Australia is a not-for-profit voluntary organisation that works with the Alevi community in Australia. Environment Victoria’s involvement with the Alevi Community began in 2008 when they
participated in our award-winning Greentown program. Since then, they have gone on to develop the ‘Looking Towards the Climate Future’ program in 2010 and delivered green home assessments across Turkish speaking communities. In 2012 they continued their great work on our Multicultural Climate Action project, reaching out to Turkish speaking farmers in Mildura.
• Moorabool Environment Group www.mooraboolmeg.org.au Moorabool Environment Group are an example of the community campaigners across the state who are fighting day in and day out against the dangerous expansion plans of the coal industry. Distressed to discover that Mantle Mining was planning exploration drilling on their land, Kate Tubbs and Deb Porter of the Moorabool Environment Group have mobilised their community and held Mantle Mining to account. They’ve since built a strong network of locals committed to opposing new coal mining in their area, and taken their message – along with a load of fresh produce – to the steps of Parliament House in Victoria!
• YCAN www.ycan.org.au Yarra Climate Action Now was formed in 2007 by local people who wanted to take collective – and politically-engaged action against the climate crisis. At the local level, YCAN have helped the City of Yarra introduce and implement their carbon neutrality by 2020 goal as well as initiatives in urban agriculture, waste management and cycling infrastructure. Their famous 43-week protest outside state MP Richard Wynne’s office helped shift the Brumby Government’s climate and energy policies 180 degrees and their Vote Climate campaign has helped create a steady increase in votes for climateaction candidates in inner-Melbourne.
• • ••••
“The Victorian Government seems intent on keeping us busy by eroding much of the environmental protection gained over many decades... but I look forward to joining with likeminded community members to face future challenges.” – John Pettigrew
• MyEnvironment www.myenvironment.net.au MyEnvironment is not afraid to take on the big battles for our forests. They formed in 2002 in response to local community concern regarding the logging of the giant ash forests of the Central Highlands. Their first campaign successfully prevented the logging of a site in Marysville adjacent to Keppels falls. A volunteer-run organisation, made up of over 800 members, it has since had a string of successes protecting important habitat for the Leadbeaters Possum and Baw Baw Frog. In 2011, with the support of the Wilderness Society, My Environment challenged VicForests’ right to log endangered species’ habitat under state and Commonwealth laws and removed Australian Paper’s right to the FSC certification for their Reflex copy paper.
S U S TA I N A B L E L I F E S T Y L E S
Get your money to take Green Action > Melissa Howard and Charlie Davie, Sustainable Living Managers
Money! How, where and how much we spend makes a huge difference to our ecological footprint.
“WHATEVER THE PRODUCT,” WRITES Nick Ray, founder of the Ethical Consumer Guide, “It will have, or has had, some impact on the environment.” With the right choices, you can reduce the environmental impact of your spending and even get your money taking green action for you. We all need to eat, but following some
simple principles when shopping for food can make a big difference for the environment. Ultimately we want to reduce the amount of money that finds its way to the highly-polluting fossil fuel and chemical industries (via transport fuel, pesticides and artificial fertilisers). 1) BUY IT AS LOCAL AS POSSIBLE. This reduces carbon emissions through food transport. And consider how and how far you travel to buy food. This can have a bigger impact than the distance the food travels. 2) BUY IN SEASON. Check out Environment Victoria’s guide to seasonal buying at environmentvictoria.org.au. Food grown in season generally required less resources and is better quality. 3) BUY ORGANIC. No poisons and pesticides, no artificial fertilisers. 4) GROW YOUR OWN! Minimise spending altogether. 5) AVOID THE SUPERMARKET whenever you can. Shop at farmers’ markets and local businesses. The Ethical Consumer Guide, Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide and the Sustainable Table provide simple guides on how to make wise choices about which products you purchase. If you have a hefty chunk of money burning a hole in your pocket, consider purchasing solar power or hot water. This can be an investment that simultaneously returns savings on energy bills, and
HUNGRY FOR MORE INFO? ETHICAL CONSUMER GUIDE www.ethical.org.au AUSTRALIA’S SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD GUIDE www.sustainableseafood.org.au/ SUSTAINABLE TABLE www.sustainabletable.org.au/ THE STORY OF CHANGE www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-change/
“Often you can feel that your small purchase doesn’t really matter. You are one person in a world of six billion. In fact, it is because each small purchase does have an impact and there are six billion+ people that it all adds up to one big difference.” — Nick Ray, Ethical Consumer Guide.
reduces your ecological footprint. Check out the Clean Energy Council’s guide for information on making informed choices on solar products. But there’s a catch – spending the money you have saved through generating your own renewable energy on a jet ski or a flight to Broome equates to a net loss for the environment. This behaviour is an example of a rebound effect, in which positive environmental behaviours are cancelled out by consequent negative behaviours. The best way to ‘spend’ that money may be to re-invest it, or save up for your next home retrofit project. A key Principal highlighted in the Ethical Consumer Guide is ‘Avoid Unnecessary Consumption’. It is up to you to decide what necessary means, but asking yourself ‘do I really need it?’ every time you buy is a better default position than ‘I have the money, so why not?’ “The less we consume,” says Environment Victoria’s Charlie Davie, “The smaller our environmental footprint is. So one of the best ways to take your environmental responsibilities seriously is to limit the amount of money you spend, and the amount of stuff you buy. Working less, spending less and having more time for the family and community activities can be a great antidote to our consumption-dominated lifestyles.” It may be that the last word belongs to Annie Leonard, from her latest movie, The Story of Change : “Of course we need to choose the right products, but it’s citizens, not shoppers, who hold the key to a better world.”
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E S C A P E T O W A R ATA H B AY !
Disclaimer: Environment Victoria does not endorse the cloning of animals or humans.
You’re amazing! You take action to support Victoria’s Environment and climate and you put your money where your mouth is. But you can’t be taking green action all the time. That’s why we need more people like you!
E: An eco- friend ly Waratah Bay, Vi holiday in ctoria. Situated next to the stri king beauty of Cape Liptrap Co astal Park and 100m walk to pristine beach that stretches for 8 km. Sleeps a family of 6 com fortably. Valued at $1,0 00.
SO WHY NOT CLONE YOURSELF? Find some friends and family members, who want to protect Victoria’s environment too, and sign them up as a Green Action Partner. Instant clone. The person who generates the most new Green Action Partners with a monthly gift of $30 or more will win an eco-friendly holiday in stunning Waratah Bay. And if you’re not a Green Action Partner already, you can join as part of the competition. That’s one down already. The sky’s the limit! So go forth and multiply. Have an even bigger impact. Then escape to a private paradise that you deserve! Competition ends on 30 June 2013 so start planning your cloning tactics. THANK YOU to Geoff and Simone Boadle, long term supporters of Environment Victoria, for the donation of their holiday home in this stunning part of our precious environment. Without their generosity this would not be possible.
Fo r m o r e i n f o a n d t o e n t e r t h e c o m p e t i t i o n v i s i t w w w. e nv i r o n m e n t v i c t o r i a . o r g. a u / c l o n e s
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Published on Apr 4, 2013
In this edition we talk ethical money - how to invest in a greener future and how we're paying for climate change. We also share the lessons...