YOUth LEADing the world Nov 27th, 28th & 29th 2012

3 day Youth Leadership Congress where Youth explore local and global issues of sustainability, measure and understand their own eco-footprint and work on action plans to make change in their lives, schools and communities.

Congresses are held simultaneously, digitally linked across multiple australian and global location. YLTW is now in its 4th year set to run in 50 locations.

Wodonga is lucky enough to be a part of this fantastic opportunity for Youth to focus on global sustainability.  See the flyer  here for details on how to register for this fantastic opportunity being held at The Cube, Wodonga.

Environmental Film Festival – Yackandandah

In 2006 An Inconvenient Truth brought to broad audiences pictures of the potential threats posed by climate change.  Al Gore provided a far reaching examination of likely impacts of a less stable global climate patterns.  It was a disturbing story but also proved one of the most successful campaigns at raising awareness of the problems with not acting immediately to address the human caused carbon emissions.  Moreover it offered hope that with commitment climate change could be limited.

 Sadly,  current research is suggesting this heightened awareness has given way to a drop in concern for climate change, perhaps replaced by global financial uncertainty in finances.  Obviously the global financial crisis has had a role in this refocus.

 The makers of An Inconvenient Truth have produced another film;  Last Call for the Oasis.  This film examines the global challenges we are facing with water – itself the precursor to life.  We of course are well familiar with water and it centrality to life given recent experiences with drought through the 2000’s, floods this year in the North East and the struggle to find an equitable management strategy for the Murray Darling.

 Along with 7 other selected movies Last Call at the Oasis is being shown at the Environmental Film Festival (…Melbourne) scheduled to take place in Yackandandah on the 5th and 6th of October – very soon.  Click   2012 Flyer  for details on where to get tickets.

 The festival provides a broad range of movies ranging from satire and a docu-drama through to case studies of emerging coal seam gas operations and even a solar car adventure.  Festival organizer recognise the potential of movies to both remind us of some of the challenges being with the biosphere but also some of the innovation that is occurring to respond to threats in creative and empowering ways.

 More details are available on the attached flyer.  Well worth a trip to Yackandandah, which itself a great little town largely recovered from its own environmental devastation – gold mining during the late 1800’s!

 Details also available on October calendar page on Ecoportal at; http://ecoportal.net.au/event

National Food Plan

In 1825 Jean Anthèlme Brillat-Savarin wrote in his magnum opus, The Physiology of Taste, that “the destiny of nations depends on the manner in which they are fed.”

Assuming that to be so, you may well be interested in examining two documents that have the potential to alter the direction our ‘food focus’ takes in the foreseeable future.

 The National Food Plan (NFP) describes the framework Government strategy to meet the burgeoning demand for food production.  The NFP suggests that globally, the demand for food will have increased 77% by 2050 over today’s food production levels.  This document then goes on to explore the anticipated role Australia should have in exporting food (sometimes said to be the equivalent of exporting water concentrate).

If you are interested and can put aside the time, then visit the National Food Plan at the link provided below. 

http://www.daff.gov.au/nationalfoodplan/process-to-develop/green-paper/preparing-a-submission

In the interest of an alternate approach and debate, Gene Ethics have developed their ‘People’s Food Plan (PFP) – a democratic counterpoint to the NFP.’  This document can be read here

See you at the Wodonga Sustainable Living Fair on Sunday August 5th, 2012

Preparations are under way for the 5th Wodonga Sustainable Living Fair at La Trobe University, Wodonga this coming Sunday. 

Wodonga Institute of TAFE have a stall and will have brochures available on the courses we are currently offering and ones we hope to run in 2013.

Business, Government and the wider community now consider sustainability issues to be an integral part of their operations.  Therefore, there is an increasing demand for employers and employees to actively engage in a low carbon economy.  The courses that Wodonga TAFE are able to offer will enable you to assist your organization to adopt sustainable business practices leading to increased productivity, reduced costs and improved environmental performance.  The skills and knowledge that you will gain will enable you to embed sustainability principles into your everyday work practices and provide you with an additional high-level qualification that will be an asset in your current workplace.

We look forward to seeing you there on Sunday 10am to 2pm.  See flyer for more details

Rainwater tanks – transparent or opaque?

This is an image of a rainwater tank

Rainwater tanks offer us great advantages – they store water for us and they save us money by reducing the amount of potable water we buy.  Rainwater tanks also offer advantages to the environment, particularly in urban areas.

 Before our urban areas were developed rainwater seeped into the soil and was cleaned by soil organisms while slowly making its way to the stream.  As our urban areas grow rainwater increasingly falls on solid and potentially polluted roofs, roads, car parks and footpaths.  Rainwater can now only rush through the nearest drainage system and into our urban streams.  This rush of water results in what are known as “flashy” flows that cause rapid rises and falls in water level, flooding, bank and bed erosion, vegetation and habitat losses and damage to infrastructure and homes.  These impacts are not only costly for our environment, but also for our economic system.

Limiting these impacts and costs is relatively easy and may even be good for your physical fitness.  How?  Keep your rainwater tank opaque!  A rainwater tank that is full is considered “transparent” with respect to its capacity to limit flashy flows in urban streams, but a rainwater tank that is “opaque” can store some of the rainfall and limit flashy flows.  By plumbing your rainwater tank to the toilet and/or washing machine or if you bucket your rainwater to the toilet cistern and/or washing machine you can help your pocket and environment (as well as your physical fitness if you choose the bucket method).

Relying on keeping your rainwater tank opaque by using it only to water your garden will undoubtedly fail.  When don’t you water the garden and take water from your rainwater tank?  When it’s raining!

 Ali Mitchell