History & Archives

BREAZE: THE STORY SO FAR…

November 2006 - The ‘Walk Against Warming’ – “C’mon, let’s do something about it…”

The genesis of BREAZE was at the ‘Walk Against Warming’ on November 4, 2006 where a group of like-minded people who wanted to take direct and local action regarding climate change met together (in pretty ad hoc fashion) and had informal discussions about what could be done within the Ballarat region to lower greenhouse emissions. It was resolved to hold a meeting to discuss forming a community association dedicated to this task.



December 2006 - The Community Forum at Grammar – “What are others doing about greenhouse emissions and how can we learn from them? And by the way, it looks like we need an acronym…”

A Community Forum was quickly organized for December 2, 2006 to bring to hear about what other groups like the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance (CVGA), Hepburn Renewable Energy Association (HREA) and Mount Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG) were doing regarding the lowering of greenhouse emissions in the regions to the north of Ballarat. It was felt that if they could form an association, then Ballarat, with a much larger population, had no excuses! A series of resolutions was taken, one of which was to form an officially incorporated group. Notwithstanding the total absence of a Treasurer, 40 brave and committed people decided, on the spot, to join as members of this as yet non-existent association. As Nick Lanyon’s pockets bulged with unreceipted cash, he was heard to quip, “See youse in the Bahamas”, but somehow this money found its way into a bank account. A group of ‘crazy-brave’ souls volunteered to form a steering committee and in order to get ‘street cred’ amongst the community climate change fashionistas, Acronym v.1 - BREIG (Ballarat Renewable Energy Interest Group) – was born.

CLICK HERE to view the archived ‘Community Forum’ POSTER

February 2006 – The Seed is Sown - “And oooh! I like the look of your new, acronym…”

John Seed, a deep ecologist specializing in community responses to climate change, came to Ballarat to give a presentation on February 8, 2007. His theme centred on how people can use their despair about the ‘big picture’ of global climate change to fuel a local, positive response to addressing it. By this stage, Acronym v.1 (BREIG) had been upgraded, via an online poll, to BREAZE (Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions). Everyone agreed that Acronym v.2 much better encapsulated the broader sense of who we wanted to be, had greater capacity for clever punnery and was generally much more swish. At this first meeting of BREAZE, a vote ratified the association, its constitution and objectives and its committee. Around 170 people attended this combined meeting and presentation and Treasurer Boin’s pen had trouble keeping up with the sheer volume of new membership receipts. After a sometimes feisty open public forum of question and answer, it was resolved to have a purpose-designed ‘Brainstorm’ that captured and extended the ideas generated during this discussion.

CLICK HERE to view the archived ‘John Seed’ POSTER

February 2006 – The Solar Hot Water Initiative – “Here Comes the Sun (even in Ballarat…)”

When asked at the John Seed event, “How many people here don’t have solar hot water systems?” about 150 hands went up. When asked, “How many of you would like a solar hot water system?” about 150 hands stayed up. This was clearly a job for BREAZE. Given that heating water accounts for around 20% or more of a household’s domestic energy use (and emissions expenditure), providing a solution to this issue helped to cement the idea that BREAZE was concerned with providing practical answers to greenhouse emissions reduction. Thus a small group of breazers began to research and source a solar hot water system that would suit the needs of people in the Ballarat region. BREAZE also sought to use its collective strength to get the best possible price out of the solar hot water manufacturers in the form of organising a ‘bulk purchase’. It wasn’t long before those other acronyms, HREA and MASG, joined the new acronym on the block, BREAZE, in providing even larger numbers of interested people

April 2006 – The Big BREAZE Brainstorm – “Creating a Roadmap to sustainability”

After intensive planning, all of it volunteer-based and put together on the thin fumes of membership fees, ‘The Big BREAZE Brainstorm’ kicked off at the Mining Exchange on April 21, 2007. Although the venue left a lot to be acoustically desired, the breazers collectively talked (or, when the rain fell on the tin roof, shouted) with each other in high spirits. Ross Blade gave a talk regarding the prospect of electric cars coming to Central Victoria and there was a presentation about the BREAZE ‘bulk solar hot water purchase’. Many ideas were generated, from building a sustainable house through to setting up a local food co-op and every one of the 6 ‘themes’ reported back that they would set up ‘working groups’ to define, refine and implement ways of reducing greenhouse emissions within the region.

CLICK HERE to view the archived ‘Big BREAZE Brainstorm’ POSTER

Other BREAZE activities and initiatives have included:

Having a stall at Springfest, the Buninyong ‘Gold King’ Festival and the Ballarat ‘Farmers Market’

Registering and cleaning up an area for ‘Clean Up Australia Day’

Presentations post screenings of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ at Talbot and Buninyong

Installing an evacuated tube solar system on a BREAZE member’s roof

Talks to Ballarat Bushwalking Club, the Enfield Forest Alliance and Barkly St Senior Secondary Campus

Making submissions to Ballarat Council Plan 2007-2012 and EnergySmartBallarat

Writing letters to State Ministers regarding the consultation process for ‘Feed-In Tarriff’ rates for photovoltaic cell electricity production

Meeting Catherine King (ALP Fed), Lyn Allison (Dem. Senate) and Geoff Howard (ALP State) to discuss what political parties could be doing to lower greenhouse gas emissions

Making a presentation on climate change and retrofitting at the Ballarat Homeshow