President's Report February 2020

Photo on 19 1 20 at 2.20 pm 2This will be a crucial and challenging year for climate action as we begin the decade which will determine whether or not we are able to keep global warming to within 2°C. In October 2018, the IPCC reported that emissions would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching 'net zero' around 2050.

Thus to reach zero emissions by 2050 we will need to build a pathway with shorter targets—2025, then 2030 and so on.  As a community organisation committed to zero emissions, BREAZE plans each year's activities to hopefully inspire and motivate our members to share and to maintain whatever actions they are taking to contribute to this transition to continue the fight against climate change.

This year we have just begun planning for another collaboration with Ballarat Environment Network (BEN)—a Biodiversity Climate Adaptation Forum, which will run later in the year.  Stay tuned for updates. The terrible loss of wildlife habitat in this season’s bushfires has heightened awareness of the need for radical action to conserve and protect our native species – flora and fauna — and loss of biodiversity will have dire impacts for pollinators, agriculture and food security as well.

The Bio-diversity Forum follows the New Bushfire Reality Climate Adaptation Forum which we ran in collaboration with BEN, DELWP, RSAB and Federation University in November last year.  The Report for the New Bushfire Reality Forum has since been released and circulated amongst key stakeholders including the Ballarat Emergency Management Planning Committee—and will be available on the BREAZE website shortly. 

Next month, in March, many will also be watching with interest how Federal Independent, Zali Steggall’s private member’s bill for a Climate Change Act is received  by LNP backbenchers, when it is tabled in parliament on the 23rd. Ms Steggall is advocating for a conscience vote – surely the only ethical option given the current global climate scenario. It is certainly high time that Australian politicians accepted that climate change is a bipartisan issue and stopped using it for political football. We need those 70% of Australians who want action on climate change to get behind Zali Steggal's bill and help to build that bipartisan support by showing Liberal Party backbenchers that this is what the public wants.  So if you have anytime for letter writing ...

Our ongoing sustainability talks programs, Smart Living Ballarat and Green Drinks are now up and running. You can check out what’s coming up each month in either of these on the BREAZE website or Facebook sites, or in our monthly newsletter.

Also next month, on the 25th of  March, BREAZE Inc is being recognized for its contribution to local climate action with the Wheeler Centre sponsoring a public panel discussion titled, ‘Everyday Climate Action,'  in conjunction with the Ballarat Mechanics Institute. The summary of this event—at which BREAZE treasurer, Peter Reid OAM will represent BREAZE— notes:

With progress on climate action sluggish at the global and national levels, many concerned Australians are turning their attention and energy to local activities. Ballarat is an example of a local community where motivated citizens are making real change happen.  For many years, a local action group named BREAZE has been at the forefront of climate action in the region.  Through various action groups — and through  intervention in residential, commercial, Industrial  and agricultural sectors— they’re working towards a zero emissions 2030.

(The other panel members are yet to be confirmed.)  Keep an eye out for further details on the BREAZE website and Facebook site.

This month BREAZE has continued to explore new ways to raise funds for our social solar program—which contributes to the installation of solar panels on social housing that would otherwise be unable to afford it—by investigating how best to promote our One Dollar One Watt appeal. 

The Board also continues to discuss how to better stimulate public action for climate change to build greater public awareness. 

On 11 February the BREAZE-hosted Ballarat Community Power Hub will be holding a special event to showcase the projects that have been developed under this pilot program. The event has attracted several stories in The Courier in recent weeks:

Ballarat Community Power Hub gives communities control of their own power
https://www.thecourier.com.au/story/5833014/the-beginnings-of-an-energy-revolution-communities-create-their-own-power/Mollongghip and District creating power hub for sustainable community
https://www.thecourier.com.au/story/5846930/meet-the-community-members-working-to-control-their-energy-supply/
Ballarat Cemeteries is switching to renewables as part of a plan to be self-sufficient
https://www.thecourier.com.au/story/6612931/how-a-ballarat-cemetery-is-working-to-become-self-sufficient/

Great community reporting from The Courier and reporter Rochelle Kirkham.

On Saturday 22 February BREAZE will be supporting the Action Day organised by Students Strike for Climate - details will be available on Facebook as they become available. On Sunday February 23 BREAZE will participating in the Buninyong Smart Building and Living E-XPO 10 am – 3:30 pm at Royal Park in Buninyong. This event is a great opportunity to learn about the latest in emergent sustainable technologies and practices. Catch up with us at the BREAZE Inc. stall.

The 2019 BREAZE Inc. Annual Report was released last week and is now available on the BREAZE website.

To all members, please get in touch with us if you have any ideas about what we should be doing, and remember, members are always welcome to attend Board meetings as observers. Our next meeting will be on 16 March in Room K103, Virtual Reality Lab, Ballarat Tech School, Albert Street, 5:30 pm – 7:00pm

All the best,

Digital Signature 

 

Mary Debrett

President 17 February 2020.