President's August Report

MDThe 6th Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was never going to be anything but bad news, however the findings were worse than many expected, with UN chief, Antonio Guterres declaring it "a code red for humanity." The likely impacts for Australia have been compiled by the ABC. While our nation is already a high achiever when it comes to suffering the worst impacts of climate change, we are destined for more extreme weather events of all kinds, as global warming accelerates. The Climate Council (CC) says we need to cut emissions by 75% before 2030 to stay within 1.5C by 2050. The CC has as an online petition calling on the Australian Government to implement this 75% target, which you might consider signing.

Having just endured our 6th COVID lockdown, it's understandable that many of us are finding life a bit of a struggle both financially and emotionally with the things that anchor us, jobs and social life, in disarray.

 So it's certainly not surprising that 'climate doomism' is on the rise. For those falling to its sway, Anthropologist, Margaret Mead's much quoted summation of the power of citizen action, might offer some comfort: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

Certainly, Mead could not have conceived of a situation like the one we find ourselves in –having endured decades of world leaders, manipulated by fossil fuel interests, ignoring the advice of experts on a matter as fundamental as our very survival. However, by drawing attention to thought and commitment, and literally focusing the mind, her words direct us forward. While Zoom weariness may be setting in, the online platform does enable us to offer events and to meet as members of the BREAZE community. Smart Living Ballarat host, Sam Rodgers and Ballarat Green Drinks new host, Pat Hockey, also BREAZE secretary, have two great events for you coming up later in August and September – the first online and the second hopefully in person, pending easing of covid restrictions. We hope you see these as opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals.

MEMBERS ACTIVITIES

'Sustainable House Day' – 15 September 12:30 pm online – another free talk from Smart Living Ballarat:

Sustainable House Day is an annual event, showcasing sustainable and inspiring homes and offering expert advice, insight and peer-to-peer education about building, retrofitting or renovating sustainably. Looking two Ballarat couples who have made their own sustainable dream homes, we will chat to Jess Higgins-Anderson and Bryan Anderson about their owner-built off-grid straw-bale house in the bush and Peter and Sandra Hawkins about their all-electric, eco-retrofitted 1990’s brick veneer home in Ballarat East.

To join live and participate in the Q+A, please register for the Zoom presentation. This free talk is hosted by Smart Living Ballarat for BREAZE Inc. in collaboration with the City of Ballarat and is part of a free series of monthly sustainability workshops presented every 3rd Wednesday of the month. Log on via https://www.facebook.com/smartlivingballarat

A recording of the event will be available on the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page instantly after the event.

Ballarat Green Drinks is back  -pending COVID restrictions - but let's be optimistic.
'Decarbonising our Transport Network'  Ben Lever, PT Advocate - 14 September 7:30 PM Lake View Hotel.  Come early and join us for dinner 

Convener of the Ballarat Branch of the Public Transport Users Association, Ben Lever, will discuss the key role public transport has to play in a low-carbon future.

BREAZE BOARD ACTIVITIES 

GRE Wrap Up

BREAZE Board member, Peter Reid, who coordinated DELWP's Renewable Energy program (GRE) on behalf of  BREAZE completed his final report on the project this month. Under Peter's management the GRE program exceeded initial estimates of energy installed  by 127kW. In all approximately 400kW was installed on 104 properties across the region. Having previously served on the Ballarat Community Power Hub PCG, which had identified and undertaken feasibility studies on most of the projects, Peter's knowledge and expertise was critical to the success of the project which has delivered thousands of dollars of energy cost savings to not-for-profits and social housing residents in Ballarat and Horsham.

Grampians Community Power Hub (G-CPH)

The G-CPH will be fully operational by early September. The Project Control Group, consisting of three BREAZE Inc. volunteers – Peter Boadle, Paul Duggan and Mary Debrett – plus Hepburn Wind manager, Taryn Lane (Hepburn Branch Partner) and Sustainability Victoria's Grampians regional coordinator, John van Rooden, will shortly be joined by a Project Manager, a position we have just re-advertised with more flexible terms on Ethical Jobs. The G-CPH will have two employees: the Project Manager and a  part time Communications/Administration Officer. The G-CPH will canvas communities across the 11 local government areas of the Grampians region to identify community energy projects. The aim of the G-CPH is to accelerate the region's clean energy transition by developing a pipeline of shovel ready projects.

Climate Change in the Media

Three Worst
  1. The Morrison government wants to bail out coal-fired generators. Guess who’ll pay?  
  2. World to hit temperature tipping point 10 years faster than forecast
  3. Fires Ravage Southern Europe      

 

Three Best
  1. “Get serious”: Eight technologies that could eliminate nearly all emissions by 2035 
  2. More countries hike climate pledges, piling pressure on major emitters
  3. Democrats seek $500 billion in Climate Damages from Big Polluting Companies   

 

Board Meetings

For our August Meeting the Board was able to take advantage of pre-lockdown freedom, meeting over dinner at the Lake View Hotel to listen to guest speaker, Tom Quinn, the recently appointed Head of Research and Policy at the leading Climate Think Tank, Beyond Zero Emissions. Tom, who is also a Ballarat resident, offered many insights into what we can expect in coming years from the renewables sector and some hard headed summation of the politics and hopeful pockets of bipartisanship.

If you have a passion for climate action and ideas about how you can help BREAZE achieve its mission, please note BREAZE members are welcome to attend monthly Board meetings. Any member interested in attending should email me – 

All the best

Mary

Mary Debrett
President, August 2021