Outside the Square – Curious About Climate was an evening of talks, information and networking to find out the latest on how changes in weather may impact each of us, hear interesting solutions locals are creating in response, have a chance to enjoy a chat with others across the region and share ideas for our own ideas and projects too!
On a cold winter’s night in Rochester, 80 people from regional communities came together to warm up discussion about the weather and climate.
Goodwill was abundant, leaving people inspired to tackle challenges around climate risk.
Through the sharing of stories and projects we heard practical solutions about:
- Adapting to long-term impacts
- Responding more effectively to extreme weather events
- Changing our habits to reduce our impacts
- Implementing community led solutions
- Advocating for change
Innovation, creativity, and human endeavour in the face of change were key themes.
Even those who may have been sceptical could not argue, with the line-up of impressive caring people, sharing knowledge for the benefit of all!
People travelled long distances to a room full of great people doing great things, coming from towns including:
Rochester, Girgarre, Echuca, Gunbower, Bendigo, Inglewood, Wedderburn, Tongala, Castlemaine, Ballan, Shepparton, Maldon, Lockington, Moama, Rushworth, Axedale, Wangaratta, Lockington, Ballarat and Bridgewater.
Here’s who spoke on the night with a brief outline and links to get involved or find out more:
Cr Leigh Wilson, Campaspe Shire Council
Just like we trust engineers who build planes, we trust the 97% of climate scientists who state that human induced climate change is a problem. It’s up to all of us to provide leadership on this. Campaspe Shire is focusing on waste reduction initiatives. Find out more
Sacha Jellinek, Greening Australia
With Victoria’s climate projected to get hotter and drier, plant communities need to adapt locally to avoid being lost. Climate Future Plots is a project to address this, by incorporating different plant species from hotter and drier areas into restoration plantings. Guidelines for Victoria will be available soon and people can get involved to run a trial in their community. Contact Sacha to get involved and access this additional resource
Kezia Talbot, Girgarre Community Cottage
Girgarre, a small agricultural community of 190 people has had it’s fair share of challenges with drought, falling milk prices and factories closing down. With a nursery that has grown to now support and fund community transport options for the town, Girgarre township and the Community Cottage is a great example of what resilient communities can do to make change happen.
Simon Egerton, La Trobe University
The Clever Weather Project is a project that installed 100 weather sensors throughout the city of Greater Bendigo to more accurately measure temperature and temperature variations at a local level. The technology uses the Internet of Things concept and will help make important decisions on how to best manage heat in the city.
Louise Scott, CFA
The Women Chainsaw Club Program, part of the State Government’s ‘Safer Together’ initiative and delivered in partnership with Macedon Ranges Shire. Twenty women underwent accredited training, emergency preparedness and chainsaw sculpting with the goal of building gender equality and resilience in the community. It has received very positive feedback including: “It has been such a fabulous experience to spend time with a divine group of women and watch us all succeed with our newfound confidence and skills. I feel so much more equipped to create a set of plans that will keep my family and I safe and help to connect me with my community.”
Wayne Collins, Ready 2 Go
Ready 2 Go is a community-led disaster resilience program, supporting people who are unable to safeguard themselves against the effects of extreme weather, including heat and other emergencies. This includes carefully matching vulnerable people with registered and trained volunteer community members who can provide information, support, visitation checks and early relocation prior to extreme weather events. Stats like “374 people died from preventable heat-related illness in the two weeks prior to 7 Feb Black Saturday bush fires in 2009” provide the case for programs like this.
Lizzie O’Dwyer, Switch on Sustainability
Making micro change for macro impact includes taking action to reduce food waste one person at a time. Approximately $20 billion food waste goes to landfill each year (5 million tonnes). Greenhouse gas emissions caused by rotting food in landfill is 25 times worse than car emissions. Actions like growing locally, meal planning and running a compost system can make a difference. Find out more with this practical book.
Grant Sims, Pinegrove Farm
A sixth generation farmer running the family farm in North Central Victoria Grant spoke about innovative farming practices, how using different techniques in agriculture can help adapt to a changing climate and be a solution too. Find out more
Chris Corr, Bendigo Community Power Hub
$150+ million per year is spent in Bendigo on electricity. The Bendigo Community Power Hub is creating community owned renewable energy solutions including rooftop solar projects with sports clubs and schools, community solar farms and electric vehicle stations. It’s all about creating opportunities to keep it local, with jobs, business and community. Get involved
Niamh O’Connor Smith & Emilia Vellacott, Student leaders
These inspiring students are being proactive in building a movement across Australia calling for more action on climate change at a national policy level and giving a voice to youth through their involvement in the Schools Strike for Climate initiative.
Also contributing to a ‘Learn More’ mini expo were the following organisations:
- Coliban Water – Saving Water (in the home, workplace, garden, school); Smart Gardens for a Dry Climate; Understanding Your Water Use; Community Rebate Program (includes a free water audit for eligible customers); Water Heroes (Education program for pre-school and primary schools)
- Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning – Loddon Mallee Regional Adaptation Snapshot
- Rochester Community House – looking to create a community garden. Get in touch, get involved.
- Fair Air Fire Masks – the first highly fire resistant, reusable respirator designed specifically for bushfire (wildfire) fighting. Looking to partner with local sewers / sewing groups to help make these masks. Contact Mike Taylor to get involved
- City of Greater Bendigo – check out this Making Homes Climate Ready and Heatwave Health resources
- Shire of Campaspe – information on waste and recycling
- North Central Catchment Management Authority – Climate Adaptation Plan
Many thanks to the generous organisations and people who presented on the night and the participants who left enthusiastic to make a change!
Local partnership support:
- Echuca Neighbourhood House
- Lockington Neighbourhood House
- Echuca Regional Health
- Rochester Community House
- Girgarre Community Cottage
- Inglewood Community House
- Inglewood District Health Services
- Raywood Post Office
- Rushworth Community House
- Kyabram Community House
- Bridgewater on Loddon Dvpt Group
- Wedderburn Community House
- Wedderburn Lions Club
- Goulburn Broken Greenhouse Alliance
- Department Environment Land Water and Planning
- Loddon Mallee Waste and Resource Recovery Group
- Woodvale Progress Association
- Loddon Plains Landcare Network
- Bendigo ACF
Major program partners:
This event is part of Ramp Up Resilience, an initiative being delivered in Campaspe, Loddon and Bendigo Shires from April to October 2019.
Ramp Up Resilience is a series of thoughtful programs about climate, how it impacts us and what we’ll do about it. Find out more about Ramp Up Resilience: https://makeachange.org.au/ramp-up-resilience
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