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Welcome to Issue #16 

First, PECAN is co-hosting an exciting public forum on the City’s Urban Forest Strategy on 19 March. See the first article below for all the details, and do come along if you can.


Also, our friends at XR Port Phillip are looking for as many people as possible to march in their: Dance against Climate Destruction on 15th March in Carlton Gardens – 4.45pm meet for a 5.45pm start. They also have several other events happening during March, including the Mass Slow March for Climate, starting at Treasury Gardens at 2pm Saturday 16th March..


Other friends at Environment Victoria are holding a free 2-day training summit during 19-21 April at Camp Belgrave to learn about leading climate action in our communities. It looks excellent, if you can afford the time.


We very much welcome the Australian Government’s proposed new sustainability legislation, and especially rejoice that large companies will be held legally liable for greenwashing. But what’s with the proposed three-year moratorium on litigation based on this legislation? These companies have had many years of mandatory sustainability reporting without the possibility of being legally challenged on their claims, so they shouldn’t need a further three-year free pass.


It’s heartening to see the Biden administration moving to press pause and hold reviews on new gas expansion projects. We need to keep up the pressure on our government to do the same here, particularly in regard to the Darwin Middle Arm. And we need to support protestors against the Burrup Hub expansion in WA who are being sued by Woodside – more here.

We are called to be the architects of the future, not its victims. [the challenge is] to make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time, with spontaneous cooperation and without ecological damage or disadvantage of anyone..

R Buckminster Fuller

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.


Public forum on shaping Port Phillip’s future tree canopy

With the Port Phillip EcoCentre and the City of Port Phillip, PECAN is hosting a free forum on our City’s urban forest strategy. The well-known aboriculture researcher, Dr Greg Moore, will talk about how and why we should be increasing our urban tree canopy, and Jen Witheridge from the City of Port Phillip will explain the City’s future urban greening plans. And the naturalist Gio Fitzpatrick will consider related biodiversity issues. There will be lots of time for questions.


18:30-20:00hrs, Tuesday 19 March 2024

Victorian Pride Centre Theatrette

79-91 Fitzroy St, St Kilda


Space is limited so registration is essential. Learn more and RSVP here.

image: Albert Park Lake - photo by Bob T via Wikimedia Commons

Have Your Say…

We always strongly encourage readers to take up opportunities to participate in consultations about local environmental issues, and the City of Port Phillip now has consultations on:

  • Feedback on the Turner and Centenary Reserve’s tree renewal projects (14 Feb-10 Mar)
  • Feedback on the fair access to sport policy roadmap (9 Feb-24 Mar) – we are all for more involvement in sports and healthy living
  • Feedback on the Future South Melbourne Structure Plan (28 March)
  • Review of FOGO service for houses and townhouses (12 Feb-10 Mar)


The City of Port Phillip is also hosting an Adaption Game event on Saturday 20 April, for people to test their climate resilience. It should be fun, and includes a free lunch! See here for details and to register your interest in attending.


Finally, there will be a big consultation coming up about the Council Plan and Budget in April-May. We are hoping to see significant increases on various kinds of environment related spending.


Also, Melbourne Water is hosting community pop-up events about their big Elwood Main Drain Duplication flood mitigation project in late February – early March – if you live anywhere near Elsternwick Park, you should get involved.


13 Interesting Whale Facts

Everybody loves whales, but we often forget how important they are for our global environmental systems. Our friends at WWF-Australia have published some excellent information about the importance of some of the largest animals that have ever existed on our planet.


Somewhat related, our Greenpeace friends are currently running a campaign to stop Woodside drilling for gas at Scott Reef in Western Australia, which is an important home for whale sharks and endangered pygmy blue whales. You can sign the petition here to stop Woodside’s dirty gas plans.

image: Deep Green

Heating pools with data centre waste

Public swimming pools, breweries and other facilities can make good use of the waste heat produced by the computers in our numerous data centres. The London-based Deep Green organisation has developed a containerised data centre that can be co-located with such facilities to reduce heating and cooling costs for both parties. This is an excellent idea that we should look to develop in Australia.
Learn more


How green is green hydrogen?

Clean hydrogen is expensive to produce, difficult to transport, and a second- or third-best clean energy solution in almost all proposed markets. To help drive the global green transition, a realist approach to hydrogen policy must address all these practical challenges. Download this report to learn more


In related news, Shell has just closed all 7 of its Californian Hydrogen pumping stations (that refill hydrogen powered cars there), because of difficulties in getting the gas – see here for details.


Green hydrogen is clearly not going to solve all our climate problems, but it definitely does have niche applications, such as hydrogen direct reduction steel-making, especially if it can be co-located with suitable iron ore mines – which is something BHP, Rio Tinto and Bluescope seem to have collectively realized.


Solid State Lithium Batteries in Cars

Are often proposed as the “holy grail” of energy storage. They are much safer and longer lasting and increase storage capacity by 30+% over existing liquid electrolyte technologies, but they always seem to be “coming “soon”. The excellent Just Have a Think environmental commentator believes that we may actually start to see them in cars in 2024. And you can read more about progress in the development of solid state lithium batteries here.


Nuclear energy is going backwards

Just to maintain global nuclear-generating capacity, about ten new nuclear plants need to come online each year to replace obsolete old plants, but only five started operating in 2023. The nuclear plant construction pipeline is also shrinking, with only six new starts instead of the ten needed. Nuclear energy simply cannot compete with new wind and solar generating capacity. Wind and solar are much easier to design, much cheaper to build, do not use expensive, radioactive fuel, and can be more easily dismantled and recycled at the end of their working lives. Wind and solar can also be built incrementally to closely match supply and demand growth. The future is very clear.


If this topic interests you, then watch Twiggy Forrest’s scathing National Press Club speech about how small, modular nuclear reactors are a distraction that will not help us.


A bit of fun…

Meet NASA’s new US$23 million space toilet. Once the waste is collected by suction, it’s expelled into outer space. Not content with crapping all over our one and only planet, we now pollute the cosmos …


A last word…

It may seem a bit peripheral to our environmental focus, but the City of Port Phillip won Snap Send Solve’s 2023 Community Engagement Award for having the highest percentage of residents reporting problems relative to population size. It is a meaningful metric, and a very useful App for reporting local problems with public spaces that we encourage readers to use.