President's Report February 2021

 MDOn 24 January the BREAZE Board held a planning meeting to discussion directions for 2021. With the climate emergency intensifying we are committed to increasing our efforts to drive down GHG emissions in our community, in keeping with the spirit of Think global, Act local. Of course what is needed is global action at national level to decarbonise and drawdown GHG emissions. Despite our own Federal government’s failure to act, many parts of the world are taking quite radical action. The newly elected Biden Administration’s commitment to $1.3 trillion to fight climate change must surely make a difference and influence others to follow suit. Clearly the national leadership Australians need on climate action is absent. But what BREAZE stands for is doing everything we can at the local level.

What we can do in Ballarat:

In terms of practical actions we can keep encouraging and promoting the uptake of solar PV; transitioning away from ICE vehicles to EVs; walking and cycling more; installing heat pumps to get off gas-heating along with retrofitting homes with better insulation and double glazing to make them more energy efficient to reduce heating and cooling costs; eating less meat. 

In terms of influencing local policy – write to Council about what you would like to see in the upcoming Council Plan – a few suggestions:

      • Better conservation of biodiversity through protection of native species habitat, and support for LandCare and conservation groups to that end.
      • Extensive tree planting across the un-treed parts of Ballarat 
      • Faster transitioning of the Council Fleet to EVs – rather than hybrids
      • Planned roll-out of initiatives to drive emissions reductions across the community to achieve a xero by 2030 target for greater Ballarat as per clause 5.4 in the Carbon Neutrality 100% Renewables Action Plan
      • Ensuring adequate community green space in greenfield developments in Ballarat West 
      • Make your points personal rather than general if you can. 
      • Complete the Ballarat: Our Future surveys on https://mysay.ballarat.vic.gov.au/ballarat-our-future- closing 28 February. Be sure to check out the ‘Useful documents’ on the right first. 

Community Activities

The Smart Living Ballarat talk this month is Meet your local ECO groups, Wednesday 17 February at 12:30 on Zoom – visit the SLB Facebook site - https://www.facebook.com/smartlivingballarat - to register. Hosted by Ellen Burns, this is a terrific opportunity to learn about the environmental groups we have across this region.

The Ballarat Green Drinks 2021 schedule will be announced shortly. Visit the Facebook site for details in coming weeks for further details. https://www.facebook.com/BallaratGreenDrinks/

 A New Sustainable Social Enterprise – the Ballarat Tool Library

 BREAZE is delighted to announce the launch of another affiliated group. After a year of planning and organising and coping with all the added complications of COVID restrictions the Ballarat Tool Library launched on 6 February. With over 400 tools donated and already in their inventory, BTL will also soon be making new purchases having secured a grant from Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal’s (FRRR) Strengthening Rural Communities Program. Please note: BTL is a membership organisation, so anyone wanting to borrow tools should first register online - https://www.ballarattoollibrary.org

For more about the Tool Library visit their Facebook site.  Or better still check them out in person at 25 - 39 Barkly St, Ballarat East VIC 3350 - Opening hours: Tuesday, 5pm to 7pm and Saturday, 10am to 12pm

 BREAZE Talks to Brett McDonald on Ballarat Today – Radio 3BA

We urge members to tune into 3BA on Friday 26 February at 10:15 am to hear Peter Reid talk to Brett McDonald about BREAZE’s recent Social Solar projects – and how the State Government funded Ballarat Community Power Hub pilot (undertaken by BREAZE 2017-2020) facilitated BREAZE’s major projects in 2020-2021 – administration of $450,000 from the Grampians Renewable Energy (GRE) program. This program involves the installation of 365kW of solar PV across 7 local organisations, 3 social housing providers, 2 not-for-profit community organisations and 2 community sporting organisations. A state government stimulus funding package to help create jobs in the region, GRE is cutting GHG emissions and bringing cheaper electricity to those who need it most – the central mission of BREAZE Social Solar.

To all BREAZE friends and members, please consider supporting the work of BREAZE Social Solar with a donation to One Dollar, One Watt  –- https://breaze.org.au/one-dollar-for-one-watt  All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Please also note that BREAZE members are invited to attend monthly Board meetings. Any member interested in attending the March Board meeting, now held via Zoom, should email me for the link –  

All the best

 Mary

Mary Debrett
President, February 2021