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I wrote this opinion piece about Darryn Lyons for The Age recently and it was an interesting exercise to say the least. Had some incredibly positive feedback but also plenty saying I was too cruel. Irrespective, it’s out in the public domain now and I thought I’d post it here for posterity.

Enoy!

Lyons on the loose

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Thanks to Yes2Renewables for sharing this story about Surf Coast Shire’s environmental leadership. Big thanks to Kate Sullivan and the environment team for being champions – generally. All the time.

The Surf Coast Shire Council has urged the Andrews government to lift the level of ambition for the Victorian Renewable Energy Targets.

In its Renewable Energy Roadmap, the government committed to implement Victorian Renewable Energy Targets for 2020 and 2025–including the baseline target of at least 20 per cent renewable by 2020.

The Surf Coast Shire Council has joined Yes 2 Renewables in a call for a greater level of ambition.

“The Victorian Government’s target of 20 per cent by 2020, while positive, is below the current South Australian energy generation of 36 per cent from renewables and the ACT’s target, which aims for 90 per cent of energy generation from renewables by 2020,” said the council in an official statement.

Acting Mayor Cr Eve Fisher says there’s strong community support for renewable energy in the region.

zm2e5ed51havlzl6lciy_400x400 Acting Mayor, Eve Fisher (Surf Coast Shire Council).

“We represent an environmentally conscious community…

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Source: Welcome green shoots come from state govt renewable energy plans

I’ve just spent time in Portugal and Switzerland researching drug decriminalisation. I was lucky to tag along with Australian Greens Leader Senator Richard Di Natale on his quest to discover approaching to drug treatment abroad. I wrote this opinion piece for the Geelong Advertiser.

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This article was originally posted at Climate Progress. View the original article here

The government of Queensland, Australia is just beginning to implement a new energy policythat changes the way businesses are charged for electricity, a policy that the solar industry says is designed to make sure businesses have no reason to install commercial-scale rooftop solar panels.

According to a report in RenewEconomy, the policy reduces the price of actual energy consumption for businesses, but increases the price for energy service in general. That “service fee” has made it so businesses that were originally charged $42 dollars a day are now being charged $488 a day. With the area’s Goods and Services Tax, that amounts to a charge of $533 every day for electricity use. Prices on energy consumption have fallen to 10.4 cents per kilowatt hour from 11.6 center per kilowatt hour, the report said.

This…

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Shadow energy minister Lily D'Ambrosio (Labor) addresses the packed Portland Forum. Shadow energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio (Labor) addresses the packed Portland Forum.

Victoria has got what it takes to grow and maintain a thriving renewable energy jobs sector, but government policy roadblocks are standing in its way, a packed forum of locals heard in Portland on Sunday.

Former Australian Liberal party leader, Dr John Hewson, kicked off the Renewable Energy & Jobs Forum. Dr Hewson said governments need to do much more than we’re doing today to address climate change. “There are enormous opportunities from a sensible response to climate change,” Dr Hewson stated, referring to the jobs that can be created by the growing renewable energy sector.

John Hewson Former Australian Liberal leader, Dr John Hewson thinks a Victorian Renewable Energy Target is a good idea.

Speakers from Portland-based businesses that employ hundreds of locals told the packed audience that renewable energy is a key pillar of south west Victoria’s regional economy. 

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Well, it took a long time to get to this point but I’ve finally finished – and submitted the report from my research trip. It’s pretty long, but it’s terribly juicy and the appendices are all lovely news stories. Please share – it’s really important this information finds its way into the hands of law-makers.

Enjoy and let me know your thoughts, positive or negative.

Eve Fisher MAV fellowship report

GREAT report. Such fantastic information.

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 3.13.54 PM Click here for the report.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) have released a new report detailing the economic and environmental costs of Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws to Victoria.

The analysis shows that anti-wind farm laws introduced by former Premier Ted Baillieu has hit the wind energy sector hard, costing jobs and investment opportunities for regional Victoria.

The findings of the report – The Biggest Losers

  1. Jobs and regional economies – an estimated loss of 490 construction and 64 ongoing jobs (for the life of the wind farm), as well as the numerous flow-on effects lost to these vacancies (an estimated $10.5m worth of economic activity to rural economies).
    Projects worth over $864million in the past three years alone have either been lost or scrapped due to these laws.
  2. Climate change action – 438MW of wind energy generation capacity scrapped or stalled thanks to the TB laws, designating a loss…

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Naturally at the start of a new year every man and his dog takes the opportunity to reflect on what was, is and could have been. It’s great to take stock; great to reflect on the journey and hopefully look upon the experience with gratitude. 2013 afforded me the opportunity to explore far-flung places and learn about an avenue of environmental protectionism that has been revealing itself as my passion. Renewable energy is the “easiest” way we can combat the effects of climate change, save money, make money and live a sustainable existence. I read a great quote yesterday – “if you really think the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money”. Nothing speaks more clearly than those few words. Nothing expresses the sheer madness more … the madness of the coal, oil and the epitome of hell, the nuclear industry.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a tendency to hold the human race in contempt. The bleakness that prevails as I watch Earth’s billions coat the land in the concrete and fill the sky with poison is relieved only by the realisation that while the world is indeed populated by the ignorant  – who don’t care – and the marginalised – who haven’t the energy nor resources to care – it is also filled with those shining lights who know the power of change lies in their hands. It takes just 10 per cent of the population to create a revolution, to build the momentum that institutes change.

In my world, 2014 will be a defining year. After meeting such an impressive array of environmentalists during my journey for the past two months, I know I enter the new year armed with the buds of knowledge those people are keen to pass on. Hour-long interviews with 27 people have not only filled my notebook and sound recorder, but have filled my mind with hope. I’m still to tackle Denmark, the most environmentally sound country on the planet and, according to a poll published just last week, the happiest nation for 2013!

By no means do I think I have even remotely scratched the surface of what I need to know. I have merely started my campaign to collect ideas that can be implemented and adapted within communities. I’m collecting ideas, so everyday people who want to institute change can look at what is out there and have something to work with. Germany has around 800 community organisations devoted to bringing clean energy to their homes. Australia has just a handful of organisations attempting to make the switch to local, clean energy and, to my knowledge, Hepburn Wind in Victoria is the only co-op actually producing energy anywhere in Australia. Just before new year I traversed a large swathe of Germany by train and I passed a town where wind turbines were located quite near houses. Perhaps some hate it but you know what, I bet most love it. And I bet you those turbines were community owned.

I’ve made a pledge to a few people that I’m really going to focus on the positive work being done by our environmental warriors. It’s too tiring and demoralising to constantly focus on the power the coal and oil industries have over our politicians and, in turn, the voters. If people are so foolish that they actually think it makes economic sense to ignore the signals of doom, then so be it. When people like the oil tycoon Koch brothers in Texas can force the withdrawal of a nominee for the role of chief US energy regulator because he is biased towards clean energy, then there is little to be done but continue to spread the message of people power and hopefully, one day, that message will get through. If we want to stop oil and coal being our dominant fossil fuel, then we need to stem the flow of demand.

TED Blog

Holiday-books-mainPacking up for your holiday trip home? For the downtime from eggnog, food and family, consider bringing a couple of these excellent novels from TED speakers whose talks were published this year.

  1. Karen Thompson Walker’sdebut novel, The Age of Miracles, quickly took off when it was published last year. Walker imagines a world in which the rotation of the earth progressively slows down, with serious consequences. In her TED Talk, Walker discusses the creative potential that fear holds. After all, what is The Age of Miracles if not a beautifully written nightmare?
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  2. Babyji, by Abha Dawesar, is a coming-of-age story that follows Anamika Sharma, a student in 1980s Delhi. The 2005 novel, which won the Barbara Gittings Prize in Literature/Stonewall Award from the American Library Association and a Lambda Literary Prize, “achieves an impressive balance between moral inquiry and decadent pleasure,” Publisher’s Weeklydeclared

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