BREAZE eNews: Learning from Covid

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Here is the Latest News from BREAZE

Hello Visitor, here's your latest update on BREAZE activities for December:

President's Report January 2021

MDI suspect I am not alone in finding the traditional Happy New Year greeting rather challenging this year. Now that we are over a week into January 2021 it is clear that the Covid pandemic and its human costs, along with the social constraints of 2020 will remain with us for some time yet. And so we begin the year with bad news and yet more bad news – for despite the traumas and frustrations of Covid, climate action cannot wait. 

As Tim Flannery writes in his latest book, The Climate Cure:

By 2030 the average increase in global temperatures will reach 1.5ºC, and Earth’s climate system is likely to begin to unravel. If we fail to act, dramatic destabilisation will be felt when the temperature rise reaches 2ºC, sometime before 2050. Despair is not an option. Nor is selfish complacency. Instead this is the moment to ask what you will do.

 

What will BREAZE do? 

The BREAZE Board will continue to administer the BREAZE Social Solar Program, to run the Smart Living Ballarat and Ballarat Green Drinks monthly discussions on living sustainably and responding to climate change, and to advocate for action on climate change via various channels. 

The BREAZE mission has long been to achieve zero emissions across the greater Ballarat region by 2030. A relatively distant goal when BREAZE was incorporated back in 2007, it is now in 2021 an urgent imperative. The City of Ballarat’s Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewables Action passed in 2019, committed the City to achieving net zero emissions in Council operations by 2025, and also via Action 5.4a ‘Empowered Communities,’ to setting aspirational targets for the whole of the city and monitoring progress.

What can you do?

Readers moved by Tim Flannery’s final question above, might consider giving feedback to Council re setting a community-wide goal of zero emissions by 2030, and by detailing actions the community could be taking to reduce emissions and how Council could assist? With Council still meeting virtually via Zoom it is now easier than ever for residents to make submissions and ask questions at Council meetings. Councillors need to know what the community’s priorities are. To find out more about how to make your voice heard visit https://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/city/about-us/council-meetings

As noted in the BREAZE December Report, the City of Ballarat will soon be inviting community engagement – initially involving responding to a shortish survey – on the upcoming Council Plan via the Council’s MySay webpage - https://mysay.ballarat.vic.gov.au/ and will end with release of a draft Plan for further consultation around July 2021. 

In keeping with our mission, BREAZE continues to endorse a target of net zero by 2030 and will be advocating for a community-wide campaign for a Carbon Neutral Ballarat, throughout 2021. Situated in one of Victoria’s renewable energy zones, Ballarat is well positioned to show how this can be done. As Committee for Ballarat CEO, Michael Poulton, said last month in an opinion piece in The Courier titled, This is the way of the future and Ballarat needs to get on board :

Let's be bold, curious, innovative and progressive in ways that maximise our opportunity and builds our capacity as a regional leader in renewable energy and the circular economy. So much has been and continues to be done. 
The GNet Roadmap to Zero Emissions, BREAZE's Social Solar program, Hepburn Wind, the Central Highlands Greenhouse Alliance, the Regional Sustainability Alliance are just a few of the examples of great community led initiatives. 
Business, too, is playing its role. McCain, Mars, Federation University, Central Highlands Water, Sovereign Hill, Selkirk and Gekko are just a few of Ballarat's major industries investing in energy efficiency and new technologies …
Ballarat can be a city where sustainable development, renewable energy and the circular economy is positioned at the core of our decision-making, as collectively we plan for our inevitable future growth. 

 

Upcoming Member Activities 

Smart Living Ballarat will hold its first lunchtime talk for 2021 in February. Please check the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook site for details closer to the third Wednesday of the month – 17th February. https://www.facebook.com/smartlivingballarat/

Ballarat Green Drinks will also continue online via Zoom during 2021.  Please keep an eye open for announcements re the next evening talk on the BGD Facebook site - https://www.facebook.com/BallaratGreenDrinks/

2021 Events

This year, pending Covid constraints, BREAZE will be hosting a Climate Adaptation Forum on Biodiversity, a Symposium on Ecologically Sustainable Design, the World Environment Day Children’s Writing Competition and supporting Sustainable House Day. 

2021 Planning Meeting

The BREAZE Board will be holding a planning meeting for 2021 on Sunday 24 January. If you have any suggestions of what we should be doing please forward them by 18 January 2021 to 

To all BREAZE friends and members, please consider supporting the work of BREAZE with a donation to One Dollar, One Watt  

Wishing you all a happy and safe new year.

All the best

Mary                                                         

Mary Debrett, 
President, January 2021

How can the lessons of COVID-19 help with climate action?

Globe ImageThe following article was published on the Opinion page of The Courier on 26 December 2020.

 ‘Going for zero!’ – the headline anyone alert to the climate emergency hopes for, but actually a discussion of Covid-19 elimination versus suppression. Certainly Victoria’s 50 plus donut days are a great achievement. But what about that other zero target – zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050?

Before the pandemic, 2020 was notable as the dawn of the crucial last decade for setting a trajectory for zero emissions by 2050 – a target requiring radical cuts annually. Decarbonising to keep global warming under 2ºC, and as close to 1.5ºC as possible, was agreed at the 2015 Paris CoP21 climate summit. That figure, 1.5ºC, was set by the IPCC as the best possible global case scenario, given time left to stop runaway climate change.

But in 2020, Covid-19 pushed climate change off the media agenda – just when it was finally getting some traction following the horrific Black Summer bushfires – understandable of course given lives lost. But it did crush hopes that community pressure might drive more radical climate action.


Read More

President's Report December 2020

MD

BREAZE ends this terrible Covid-fraught year on a bit of a high with the commencement of another substantial Social Solar project, managing the installation of 68kW of rooftop solar across the roofs of a Ballarat-based not-for-profit. We thank all donors to the BREAZE Public Fund for their contributions to this work. Public donations offer BREAZE the opportunity to apply for grants that require matched funding, whereby the funder requires the applicant to contribute a proportion of the capital costs of the project. Thank you too, to our partners at DELWP in the New Energy Jobs Fund team.

 

November Member Activities

December’s Smart Living Ballarat session was: 3 Happen Films looking at different aspects of modern agriculture including organic, regenerative and city farming. Is this the future of food? The Hidden Orchard’s Ellen Burns, who has taken over from Tim Drylie since he was elected to the Hepburn Shire Council, hosted the post screening discussion. For anyone who missed it you can still catch up – SLB talks remain available on the SLB Facebook site - just click on the ‘videos’ link on the left. https://www.facebook.com/smartlivingballarat/

Council Plan

The City of Ballarat is gearing up development of a new, 5 year Council Plan, with the current Plan 2017 – 2021 set to expire next year. This is an opportunity for the community to make its voice heard regarding environmental priorities. The Council is moving forward with implementation of the Carbon Neutrality and 100 per cent Renewables Action Plan which it passed in 2019. The target is net zero emissions from Council operations by 2025. Since then two Sustainability Officers have been appointed one with a designated focus on Urban Forestation and the other on Carbon Neutrality. However, action 5.4a of the Plan ‘Empowered Communities,’ includes setting aspirational targets for the whole of the city and monitoring progress. Obviously ambition is important here, in terms of targets and time frame. If you feel strongly about this do keep an eye open for the community engagement process which will begin shortly via the Council’s MySay webpage - and will end with release of a draft Plan for consultation around July 2021. BREAZE’s long held aspirational target for greater Ballarat is net zero by 2030.

Planning Day

The BREAZE Board will be holding a planning day for 2021 in January. If you have any suggestions of what we should be doing please forward them by 18 January 2021 to

Climate/Environment News

My take on the three worst and three best – in no particular order – below:

Three worst
    1. The vanishing Arctic
    2. World is in danger of missing Paris climate target, summit is warned
    3. Coalition accused of wasting 18 months on 'nothing' electric vehicle strategy
Three best
    1. Export superpower: AEMO to model even faster paths to net zero emissions
    2. Federal Court upholds Djab Wurrung's Western Highway appeal, overturns Sussan Ley's decision on sacred trees
    3. Australia’s first remote, renewable hydrogen microgrid to be built at Denham

 

To all BREAZE  members and friends, when choosing Christmas presents for loved ones, please consider a donation to BREAZE’s One Dollar for One Watt – the gift that keeps on giving: to the environment and the community.

Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable Christmas.

All the best

Mary

Mary Debrett
President, December 2020

 



  

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