Monday, 5 April 2010

Dates For Doing in April

Meaningful meetings
  • Transition Town Steering Group– Monday 12th April 4-6pm Progress Hall
  • Annual General Meeting of Coal Point Progress Association–Progress Hall & celebratory shindig  Monday 12th April 7-9pm

Toronto Garden Club
Scout Hall, Excelsior Pde, 9.30am-12.30pm
  • Thursday April 15 –Weed Identification and Eradication
  • Thursday April 22 visit to The Wetlands Centre, Shortland.

Landcaring  every Thursday
  • April Gurranba
  • May Burnage
  • June Threlkeld
  • July Laycock St
  • August
  • Stansfield Reserves

Transition Town Movie Festival
  • April 16th Friday- 6-9.30pm
  • May 8th- Saturday Noon-4.30pm
  • June 20th Sunday 11am-4.15pm
  • July 16th Friday 6-9pm
  • August 14th Saturday Noon-5.30pm
  • September 19th Sunday 11-5pm

An Awesome AGM Ahead

There are many things that are celebrated once a year… birthdays, holidays and significant occasions ranging from first kiss to wedded bliss. Alas the Annual General Meeting of a local Progress Association is rarely equated with the same level of enthusiasm and viewed as more of a millstone than a milestone.

This year the tide will turn and there will be fond memories and celebratory fervour for 64 years of beavering away in the community, encapsulated by the Annual General Meeting.

On Monday 12th April from 7pm, the Coal Point Progress Association will be celebrating the past and visioning the future. There have been nominations secured for all the Committee positions so you can come along in confidence that you won’t be seconded on to a sub-committee.

The formal proceedings will include all the tried and true AGM party favourites including The Presidents Pitter-Patter, pin the de-tails on the Treasurer, musical Chairs for the election of office-bearers and Volunteer thanks and Life Membership to the Association awarded to the truly committed. 

Once the new, fresh-faced committee is declared the fun will continue and a vision splendid for the year ahead will emerge from the combined consciousness of those present. If you have an event or an idea you would like to suggest for the year ahead, it would be great to hear about it.

By the end of the evening as the doors swing shut it is hoped that people will leave with a new sense of optimism for the organisation, some take-home activities that they feel excited, enthusiastic and empowered to take on and a warm fuzzy feeling that the world is really a wonderful place, especially our little piece of it.

There will be celebratory platters of food and drinks provided to initiate the party atmosphere but as numbers are uncertain, bring something to share to contribute to the festive fare as well.

Transition Film Festival on Track

The Transition Film Festival is about to roll out. Every month for the next six months some of the most inspiring and mind expanding films will be shown at Progress Hall, discussed by those present, ideas generated for our community and general lots of joi de vie to be had.

The first of the festival films is happening on Friday 16th April, it’s a local night in, catching up with the neighbours, stimulating discussion triggered by two mind expanding films with some light refreshments.
The more the merrier, so if you have some friends who want to find out a bit more about the ‘Transition thing’ they’re welcome to come along as well.

The awareness raising part of the Transition Town process is about sharing information and processes for gathering thoughts about the future as well as connecting like-minded people. There’s been a fair bit of discussion from the local steering group about how far a field to cast the Transition net, and there has been no limit put on the number of people in the process so come one and all.

The movie nights will be running to a reasonably structured timetable so that if you want to come to one film or both, or only the discussion, you can with confidence arrive when you want knowing what will be on.

The Transition town Steering Group meets once a month on the 2nd Monday of the month from 4-6pm at the Hall. The focus for the group over the next few months is on running the film festival and planning for a local festival in October. If you are interested in finding out more or lending a hand at one of the film nights contact Luke on 4959 9401 or email

The Movies
A Crude Awakening: Have you ever thought there was more to the oil economy than petrol at the pump? A Crude Awakening is a revelation, an amazing insight into the world of oil, how it impacts on every aspect of our modern day lives, who’s fighting over it and what the future may hold. Some have called it ‘the best exposition of the Peak Oil argument yet!” It’s well paced, well argued and a great summary of what Peak Oil
is. It is an inspiring film, not a doom ‘n’ gloomer but an insight into the power that greases the wheels of the modern economy and an enlightening 85 minutes of entertainment.

In Transition-The Movie debuted last year, showcasing the Transition Town movement. If you are having trouble getting your head around what it is and why hundreds of communities are going to such lengths to build local resilience, this 50 minute foray will have you feeling enlightened and excited about what a Transition initiative can do for your neighbourhood.

There’ll also be a loan library of movies that you can view at your leisure.

On Friday 16th April the program for the evening's entertainment will be
6.00pm     Welcome Beverages, Biscuits & Bits
6.15pm     Film: A Crude Awakening
7.40pm     Break &World Café- A meaningful discussion of some probing questions
8.10pm     Film: In Transition -The Movie
9.00pm      Beverages & Biscuits and some more quality conversation
9.30pm     The evening finishes

The program ahead

Notes from the National Landcare Forum

In late March 650 Landcarers gathered in Glenelg, South Australia to Celebrate, Communicate & Invigorate at the National Landcare Forum.

They heard about the future challenges of Landcare and celebrated 20 years of the grassroots movement that arose out of a unique commitment between the Farmers Federation and the Australian Conservation Foundation.

The Hunter–Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority offered sponsorship to attend which was enthusiastically taken up by Trees In Newcastle, Hunter Region Landcare Network and Wycare.

Over the two days of talks and discussion some reoccurring themes emerged, the need for an intergenerational handover in landcaring, the changing nature of volunteerism, the impacts of Climate Change on biodiversity, water and food production, how Landcare is supported and funded and the place of Landcare in the Australian psyche.

At one end of the intergenerational debate was the recognition that a significant proportion of Landcarers are retirees, have seen the environment change for the worse and are the first generation of volunteers to be attempting to redress the problem.

At the other end of the age spectrum was the fact that Generation Y and Z have never known the environment as good and it has always been on their agenda as well as embedded in their education. For the younger crew the environment is mainstream and there was enthusiasm that theirs will be the first generation to live in a better environment than their grandparents and also that the seed has been sown, and they’ll be there when the time is right.

The changing nature of volunteerism was also covered. Gone are the multiyear commitments to a cause. Shorter, project focussed volunteer spurts have become the norm in a society that is time-poor. Making volunteering meaningful to address local issues by capturing the hearts and minds of the community, making it easy and enjoyable for all, socially stimulating and engaging, with options for personal development, new experiences and learning were some of the keys to successful volunteer projects.

Climate Change impacts and adaptation featured heavily in many of the sessions, especially in terms of securing food production for a projected populations of 36 million Australians and 500 million Asians as part of the 9 billion global citizens by 2050.

Some interesting facts included Australia is 93% self sufficient in food and farmers manage 60% of Australia’s landmass. The role of Australia as a food bowl for the region was emphasised but also the impacts of water security in a drought ravaged country and a move to higher protein diets as Asian economies grow.
Julian Cribb talked of the ‘coming famine’ with acute water scarcity resulting in not enough water to feed ourselves in 25 years time and global food demand outpacing production by a factor of 27:1.

More doom and gloom was shared in the imminent collapse of the world’s fisheries as the ocean’s capacity has now been reached. This raised the interesting follow-on as to how will the protein sources to feed the world be secured when an area three times the size of North America’s landmass would be required to grow the equivalent beef protein…and then there was the talk about algae.

On our doorstep at Eraring Energy Power Station a little project in bio-sequestration is underway where the CO2 emissions from burning coal are being captured from the stack, scrubbed of heavy metals and pumped in to a pond full of microalgae. The algae double their bodyweight in 24hours as they incorporate the carbon into their body structure.

The algae when harvested are an amazing yield. Thirty-five percent of the biomass can be used as edible oil or jet fuel, the other 65% is a high protein, high omega3 product that can be used as a protein meal or supplement, for either livestock or humans. If fed to cows it produces less methane than current food sources and this is good for the environment too.

But there’s more to the algal wonder story, it can also be used as a fertiliser and as a biodegradable packaging (bioplastics), some of the real problem areas that need addressing in a peak oil world.

Micro algae production is being touted in some arenas as the answer to the global food shortage and an achievable option for meeting the 20% carbon reduction target by 2018. China has already put in orders for 1million tonnes/year to feed its increasing population.

There were other talks about the carbon economy, the new world order where carbon is the tradable unit and therefore biodiversity protection becomes economically attractive as carbon is stored not only above ground by also in the soil. There was quite a bit of enthusiasm for the potential of carbon trading and a farmer suggested perhaps a better description of the negatively framed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme might be a more positively orientated Carbon Resource Optimisation Income Scheme, a cross that might be bearable.

And what would a Landcare forum be without meaningful dialogue about what is Landcare? The Landcare visionaries want to see every Australian relate to looking after the land as landcaring. They want Landcare embedded in the national psyche alongside football, meat-pies, kangaroos and Holden cars.

Landcare was seen as not only something people did and did well but it also contained a spiritual connection to stewardship of the land that has resonated throughout the continent for a very long time.

Lend a local hand landcaring

Local landcaring around Coal Point happens every Thursday. Give Robyn a call on 4959 1507 to find out where the Landcarers will be lurking and what the tasks on the day will be.

Morning tea is provided as well as a merry social time and some physical activity.

There is Landcaring every Thursday around Coal Point featuring a different reserve each month

  • April       Gurranba
  • May        Burnage
  • June        Threlkeld
  • July         Laycock St
  • August    Stansfield Reserves

Lake Macquarie Landcare Inc’s new committee.

In March, Lake Macquarie Landcare underwent a transformation at their AGM with a motivating and inspiring team taking on the challenge of keeping Landcare alive in Lake Macquarie.

Congratulations to Jeff Jansson the new Chair who’s expertise and experience will be a huge asset to the organisation, Anne & Rob Loughran, Warners Bay Landcare stalwarts who will be sharing the Vice chair position, Irene Stanners the Secretary and Gary Stewart the Treasurer.

Committee members from across the city include many long-term legends who have over 100years of combined experience, it is with gratitude that congratulations are given to Nigel McDonald (Blacksmiths), Don Roach (Bangalay), Greg Wright (Belmont Wetlands), Garth Chapman (Wangi Ridge), Zoe Russell (Galgabba) and Coral Allan (Quigley).