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Welcome to Issue #19

Council elections are coming up in October, and we at PECAN believe that local government can play a vital role in mitigating climate change. We’re supporting and advocating for candidates pledging for more action on climate change. The future is in our hands, so do you want to help out as a volunteer? Contact us to get involved.

 

In some rare good news, the Federal Government has passed its New Vehicle Efficiency Standards law. Here’s why this is important. In related, and possibly, good news the government has released a fact sheet on its Future Made in Australia policy direction that makes very interesting reading.

 

Save the date Electrify Boroondara is holding an Expo on Sunday 8 September. Their 2023 Expo was excellent! Register for the event

 

Some of us participated in the Climate Adaptation Games hosted by the City of Port Phillip on 15 May. Thought provoking and a lot of fun! Register for the next Games on 22 June

 

Are buzzwords just weasel words? Watch this good video explainer of some of the common environmental buzzwords and the problems associated with them. Also, Columbia Law School has produced a good report debunking 33 myths about solar, wind and EVs.

You cannot go through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
Jane Goodall

We are living and working on the unceded lands of the Yalukit Willam people. We pay our respects to the traditional owners of the land and their ongoing connection to land, waters, sky and culture.

 
image: City of Port Phillip

Councillor Voting Trends

In the upcoming October Council election, it is crucial that we get more climate conscious and progressive Councillors, which is why we are looking for volunteers. Contact us to get involved.

 

In a particularly tone-deaf manner, Council officers have proposed cancelling Port Phillip’s private kerbside electric vehicle charging trial. One of our members recently paid $6,000 to get kerbside charging. Thankfully Councillors voted to ask the officers to investigate further and answer several questions regarding this proposed policy change.

 

In another timid and backward-looking decision, Council has decided to prioritise car-parking spaces over pedestrian and cyclist safety on Inkerman Street. There was only a vote on Option B, an on road cycling lane, that Councillors Baxter, Bond, Crawford, Cunsolo, and Sirakoff supported. Councillors Martin and Nyaguy wanted a different solution. See here for full details

 

As noted in this schedule, councillors meet a few times each month to debate and vote on important issues. Residents can speak about their concerns at many of these meetings. Often these sessions are recorded, so if you can’t attend in person check back to see what Council is up to.

 
image: City of Port Phillip

Have Your Say

The City of Port Phillip has public consultations open about:

  • safe crossing of Williamstown Road until 9 June
  • Our Coastal Future plans for adapting our foreshores and coastal areas for climate change  until 30 June

Safer roads with more pedestrian crossings and better cycling infrastructure is always a good thing.

 

We really do need to start planning and spending money to adapt Port Phillip to coming climate changes. It is important for people to complete this consultation survey on Our Coastal Future because it defines our community priorities and expectations to justify the spending needed to adapt our coastline to climate change.

 

As always, we urge you to Have Your Say.

 

During June, July and August the City of Port Phillip is also hosting 4 community tree planting days. Learn more and volunteer here. And Earthcare and the Port Phillip ecoCentre are also hosting community planting events on Sunday 16 June and Sunday 7 July.

 
image: University of Melbourne

40+% tree canopy cover is critical for minimising heat-island effects

Recent research indicates that we now need 30% to 40% tree coverage to fully negate the heat-island impacts of asphalt and concrete. Unfortunately, the City of Port Phillip  does not fare well according to this measure take a look at the red dots on the map above.

 

The draft of Port Phillip’s new Urban Forest Strategy was due for release for community consultation on 15 May, but has not yet surfaced. Once the strategy is released, we need your help letting our councillors know that we support a strong and fully funded Urban Forest Strategy. Removing asphalt is as important as planting trees  and removing asphalt to plant tees is best!

 

Learn more about Melbourne University’s research on heat-island effects.

 

Take personal action

A wide variety of environmental groups ask people to take personal actions to help combat climate change, including signing petitions, attending rallies and other community events. We recommend that people take all the personal action they can.

 

The Australian Marine Conservation Society is asking for people to send emails to politicians to urge them to create the South Coast Marine Park in Western Australia. Learn more and take action

 

As part of its election efforts, Progressive Port Phillip is hosting a series of local Ward Gatherings to identify the issues that most concern residents. Sign up to join a gathering here

 

Independent Senator David Pocock is promoting a Duty of Care Bill in Federal Parliament to ensure that politicians consider the impact of their decisions on young people and future generations. This is a worthy action that you can consider supporting by signing his petition. Parents for Climate have a similar petition running.

 

The Australian Conservation Foundation is busy. They have several campaigns running:

  • Student HECS debt payments generate double the government revenue that gas companies’ Petroleum Resources Rent Tax payments do. Moreover, the government spends twice as much as these revenues on subsidies to coal and gas companies. The ACF want this to stop:learn more and sign their petition.
  • Asking people to send a message to Senator Murray Watt, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, calling on him to stop denying the deforestation problems in Australia’s beef industry. Learn more and send a message.
  • Asking people to sign a Macnamara open letter to Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek and PM Anthony Albanese as a follow up to their Stop the Flaws with Nature Laws public forum.

Tim Forcey, who started the excellent My Efficient Electric Home Facebook group, has published a very good home-improvement handbook. Learn more and buy it Tim will also be speaking about the book at the Albert Park Library, 6:30-7:30pm Thursday 27 June – RSVP here.

 

And finally, Greenpeace are running an email campaign to get Australia’s largest beef buyers to actually live up to their claims of being ‘deforestation free’. Learn more and send an email in support

 
image; abc.net.au

The big electricity consumers in all electric homes are …

It is great to go all electric in your home, but you also should look at reducing your electricity consumption. The main home-energy consumptions are heating/cooling, hot water, electronics, refrigerators, and so on see here for the list.

 

The Australian Council of Social Service has done a very good analysis that outlines how disadvantaged groups could strongly benefit from improving the efficiency and electrification of social housing and adding rooftop solar panels to the buildings.

 
image: greatscience.com

The Great Barrier Reef is in mortal danger

We are worried, sad and angry about this global coral bleaching event, which happened in April. It was only the fourth one ever declared by America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). As this Australia Institute video explains, the government is exacerbating the problem by delaying improvements to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act.

 
Image: MattersJournal.com

Nature’s Blueprint: The Transformative Impact of biophilic design

Since the term biophilic design was coined in 1984, the benefits of emulating nature in design has become increasingly widely recognised. The health benefits of adopting these practices in urban landscape design are well established. This is a practice we need to adopt much more in the City of Port Phillip as we increase our tree canopy to combat climate change. Learn more

 
image: www.theguardian.com

And the climate demons are …

Recent research has identified just 57 major oil, gas, coal and cement producers that are directly linked to 80% of the world’s global fossil-fuel CO2 emissions since the signing of the 2016 Paris climate agreement. As you may have guessed, ExxonMobil tops the list, but a surprising number of state-owned organisations also feature prominently. For details

 

We must add the Australian Federal Government to this list of climate demons on the strength of their new gas strategy, which is a total denial of climate science, economics and good sense. Watch this video for a good explanation of its problems. Josh Burns, our local Federal Labor MP for Macnamara, is talking about the stupidity of this strategy. There is also a good podcast explaining the concerns.

 
image: dezeen.com

Mass timber – a new wonder material, but not if this bridge is the example!

Mass timber is made by gluing wooden sticks together in various ways to make posts, beams and panels that are stronger and lighter, but bulkier, than steel. Plywood is an early example. It can be a great renewable, carbon-negative alternative to reinforced concrete for buildings and other infrastructure. However, we need to properly consider its structural properties, which is something they did not do with this mass timber and steel bridge, which collapsed in 2022.

 

And for a bit of fun…

If you have a spare 15 minutes, watch this video for a humorous analysis of the largely illogical public resistance to wind farms.