Port Melbourne Uniting Church have kindly agreed to me printing their application (below) so that other churches involved in the program can learn from their example.
Port Melbourne Uniting Church
Five Leaf Eco-Certification – Basic Level
The congregation at Port Melbourne Uniting Church is a diverse group of people who live and work in and around the City of Port Phillip. During the past few years there has been increasing interest amongst members of the congregation to look at our effect on the environment and how we use resources. We have been moved to consider how we as a Christian community should respond to the call to be stewards of the earth and good neighbours.
Port Melbourne congregation is part of South Port Uniting Church, along with the congregation of Paul the Apostle, South Melbourne and South Port UnitingCare. Port Melbourne Uniting Church Kindergarten is located next to the church
In July 2007 we began an EcoProject to examine our own use of resources and develop a program that will help our community become more sustainable.
The primary aims of the EcoProject are:
- As a Christian community to explore and engage in issues of environmental sustainability and stewardship in our inner urban community
- Develop contacts with other groups in our community who are also tackling issues of sustainability.
- Develop a program which meets a need in our community and contributes to the mission of South Port UnitingCare to strengthen communities
The congregation received a seeding grant which was used to engage a Project worker, Janet Hoare, for five hours per week. A Task Group of congregation members and chaired by Rev Peter Greenwood was also formed to oversee the development of the project.
During 2007-08 the congregation worked through a variety of issues and developed plans and programs. The achievements during this time would be comparable to those expected of a church undergoing the Basic Five Leaf Eco-Certification
A walk-through audit of the church, hall and kindergarten took place in September 2007. Joel Meadows from City of Port Phillip looked at the building and made some recommendations about improving energy efficiency.
The table of comments is attached (Attachment 1).
Energy and water use over an 18 month period was measured, based on gas, electricity and water bills for the church and kindergarten. The report of the results is attached (Attachment 2).
Implementing suggestions for energy reduction:
1. Clear Comfort plastic window glazing was applied to the hall windows to reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer;
2. The paving along the outside of the hall windows was removed and replaced with soil to reduce the amount of sunlight being bounced through the hall windows during summer;
3. The fridge in the church kitchen was only being used to store a very small amount of perishables, so it was turned off. Now it is only turned on when there is a need for it (eg for catering for special occasions). Milk for morning tea is kept in a cooler bag if the weather is warm.
4. Lights in the church were replaced with more energy efficient globes where possible. Some could not be replaced as alternative globes are not yet available for the fittings.
5. Worm farm in kindergartengrounds
Behaviour change campaigns:
Recycling: A worm farm was purchased to be shared between the church and the kindergarten. The worm farm is kept in the kindergarten yard and supplied with the children’s food scraps during term time. Church members keep an eye on the worms during holidays. A new recycling system was set up in the church kitchen with separate containers for food scraps, recyclables and rubbish.
Bike racks – a request was made to the local council to install bike racks on the street outside the church to encourage church members and kindergarten families to ride. This was installed in November 2007. More people ride their bikes now they have somewhere they can safely put them when they arrive.
“Storm”, one of the artworks used during the Season of CreationA number of our church services have had an environmental theme or have included reference to the environment. During September 2007 (and again in 2008) we participated in the Season of Creation. The church decoration for these services reflected the theme each week. The first Season of Creation came soon after the launch of the Eco Project where a net had been set up to lower the church ceiling and hold black balloons which had been part of the launch. Storm clouds and other features were hung from the net on appropriate Sundays. An artist from the congregation also painted a scene for each service.
A copy of the Order of Service for Storm Sunday 2007 is attached (Attachment 3)
Opportunities for church members to take action in their own lives included:
Eco Notes in “News & Notes”, the church newsletter. The Eco Notes ranged from information about practical issues such as grey water systems, energy efficiency rebates and composting to notes about Synod “green” resolutions and the effects of climate change on vulnerable communities.
A Sharing Board and “Green Balloon Book” where congregation members were encouraged to share items of interest about environmental issues and record their personal actions. Some examples from the Green Balloon Book include: taking a rubbish bag on morning walks along the foreshore, planting vegetable gardens, and switching to renewable energy.
See Attachment 4 for sample Eco Notes and examples from the Green Balloon Book.
The Port Melbourne Eco Project Launch in August 2007 was a public event with guest speakers Cath James, Uniting Church Environment Project Officer and Janet Bolitho, then Mayor of the City of Port Phillip and strong supporter of environmental sustainability.
“Think Local, Act Local” panel discussion
In 2008 the congregation hosted a Winter Forum with the theme “Think Local, Act Local”. Four speakers who are actively involved in our local community gave presentations on topics including community food gardens, City of Port Phillip Community Climate Plan, the 7-Star house project in South Melbourne and Locals Into Victoria’s Environment, based in Albert Park.
A summary of the forum, written for the South Port Uniting Church magazine, “Spparks”, Christmas 2008 issue is attached (Attachment 5).
Special Project – Simply Living Community Garden
The Simply Living Community Garden grew out of the Eco project. It brought together a whole lot of ideas and issues:
o making use of the resources we have and inviting our community to share those resources and feel welcome; including using an otherwise unused (and unattractive) piece of ground for a useful and attractive purpose and harvesting and using rainwater from the extensive church roof (although at present we only have a small tank which harvests the water from the hall roof);
o Responding to a need for better access to fresh food by members of our community – especially those who come to South Port UnitingCare seeking emergency food relief; providing a place where people can come and learn together to grow and use fresh food.
o Responding to a general community need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing food miles (ie growing food locally) and recycling organic waste through a composting system;
o Growing community and reaching out to our neighbours through a shared love of gardening – and enabling people to share their gardening skills and learn from each other. Building the garden has brought us into contact with a whole range of people in our community who we would otherwise not have met.
o Responding to God’s world – increasing our awareness of its complexities, our understanding of how we might be called to care for it and responding to God’s love for us by sharing with our community.
o It is also a project that brings people of all ages and backgrounds together – both within the congregation and the wider community.
The garden was funded by a Community Grant from the City of Port Phillip and built in a series of community working bees during October 2008. The garden design and supervision of the working bees was provided by the gardening team at the Port Phillip EcoCentre. Thirty nine people participated in the working bees to help build the garden and others have since come along to help work in the garden.
Planning for the garden began in February 2008; the first vegetables were harvested in December 2008.
Walkthrough of church and kindergarten, Monday 17th September 2007
With Joel Meadows
Area / item
Area outside hall
Large windows with paving outside allows sun in – bounces off paving into room where heats mass from church wall and make the room hot.
Pergola with deciduous vine on outside; lift paving and replace with soft bed or garden next to building
(we noted that the eaves here mean no water for garden – perhaps have a mulch bed instead)
Alternative is use the blind already there and add another blind
No window coverings means huge heat loss at night in winter
Need to put some covering over windows
Best solution is heavy-backed curtains to retain heat in winter and reflect heat back out in summer
Plastic coating of windows – gives double glaze effect for much lower cost but would require some extra beading around windows to install
Seal gaps around doors and windows
This room has the most potential for making more energy efficient and increasing utilization
Make use of gas heater; remove or at least stop using electric heaters
Suggested using hall for winter services as that less area to heat up – but we felt that the space wasn’t really suited (having tried it in the past)
Check insulation in ceiling (but we couldn’t find a man-hole to access ceiling)
Use fans at slow speed to force heat back down from ceiling in winter.
Large open space with huge ceiling area. Heat will be lost up here and too large a space for ceiling fans to be effective in pushing heat down in winter. Also heat loss through pressed tin ceiling; not much can do about these.
Historic ventilation gaps could be sealed to prevent some heat loss
Air lock to prevent cold wind and draught in winter a good idea – but need to assess cost effectiveness
Seal gaps in ceiling area
Check lights throughout and replace with compact fluorescent or fluorescent globes
Check current fluorescents to see if have electronic ballasts; clean covers.
Hanging lights give more light than embedded lights
Get electrician to check all lights and replace where needed; lights with dimmers need special globes (look at usage of dimmers to see if can reduce number of lights on dimmer switches.
Replace hall lights with high intensity fluors – could even reduce to one light per fitting instead of two
Clean light covers
Environment Shop (Northcote) or Beacon Lighting might have specialist globes we need.
Fridge uses a lot of energy for little usage; check energy usage;
Not much hot water used; current water heater OK
Turn off when not in use (bring milk in a cooler bag for Sunday mornings); only turn on when we know that will need fridge space, eg for functions
EEP room need to protect the north wall as it absorbs heat and then radiates it into room – suggest pergola and deciduous vine as for hall; Probably too many lights – don’t need to use halogen downlights.
Most other lighting is fluoro – check for newer ballast
West courtyard – need for shade here too
Winter cold – electric heater used to warm room before children arrive – consider replacing with a small gas heater – much more efficient
Office on south side very cold and use electric heating; gaps around doors and windows let out heat
De-lamp some light fittings
Pergola/shade cloth for noth wall
Shade umbrella/cloth for west courtyard
Check fluoro lighting for electronic ballast
Check ceiling insulation
Seal gaps around doors and windows
Look at replacing electric heating in office and EEP room
Switch off fridge and hot water service during summer holidays
Same effect as installing solar panels – accreditation scheme very robust;
Should be able to reduce energy use by 25% - savings should cover extra cost of Green Power.
Pathway to kinder – truck access
Look at putting in a cross-over at front of church to reduce area needed for path on side – Council more likely to agree if can offset loss of parking by taking out a cross-over on the side.
Most valuable site for gardens is closest to footpath – more sunlight
Gardens – need to decide what type and arrangements for access, maintenance and security
Negotiate with Council re cross-over
Ask Council to install bike rack on footpath outside
Need to think about gardens – type, purpose, location, etc
Need a whole site plan incorporating water tanks, gardens, paths, car parking, etc
Energy and Water Use – Port Melbourne Uniting Church
The Port Melbourne congregation began its Eco Project “Inner Urban Environmental Sustainability and Stewardship” in July 2007. Part of the process of moving towards a more sustainable community was to examine the current use of energy and water within the church site, including the kindergarten. This involved: examining past records (energy and water bills) and a walk through of the buildings and grounds with an energy efficiency expert.
Energy and Water use
Gas, electricity bills and water bills from January 2006 to July 2007 were examined. There was a consistent pattern of use of the church and kindergarten buildings during those 18 months so the trends in energy and water usage were due mainly to seasonal factors rather than increased or decreased use of the buildings.
Figure 1. Daily electricity use, Church and kindergarten March 2006-June 2007
Church use of electricity is mainly for lighting, PA system, fridge and fans for the heaters while the kindergarten uses electricity for some heating and office equipment (computer, photocopier) as well as lighting and fridge. The kindergarten has a greater electricity consumption due to longer hours of occupancy. There is clear seasonal fluctuation (Figure 1) with more heating and lighting used in the colder, darker months and less over the summer. A shorter billing period would show a greater dip over summer when the kindergarten is not in use for 5-6 weeks.
There is also a clear seasonal fluctuation in gas use. Gas is used mainly for heating with a small amount for hot water in both the kindergarten and the church. The dip in the kindergarten curve in October 2006 (Figure 2) is due to an estimated bill with the November actual bill probably including gas used in September-October. Although the kindergarten is occupied for a longer period the heating is deliberately not turned up high whereas the large area of the church requires considerable heating to be at a comfortable temperature during winter.
Figure 2. Daily gas use, church and kindergarten, February 2006 – June 2007.
Water usage is fairly constant throughout the year (Figure 3). The difference between the highest and lowest average daily figures is 39 l/day (or about four buckets full). For the period measured the water meter was shared between the church and kindergarten and half the water use attributed to each. The main use of water is for toilets, with some for hand and dish washing, kindergarten water activities and gardens. Water restrictions introduced progressively during this period resulted in the church garden water feature bring turned off and very little water used on the garden beds.
Figure 3. Average daily water use (l/day). Amount attributed to church (same amount attributed to kindergarten)
September 2, 2007
Setting : Central to this liturgy is a sense of being surrounded by winds and weather, storm clouds and rain, lightning and thunder. Lightning flashes come from the ceiling which is portrayed as rolling rain clouds. Black netting & balloons; rosemary
We worship this Sunday with the storm. We sing with the winds, the clouds and the thunder. We feel the awesome presence of a hurricane. We connect with the stillness before the storm, the fury of the winds and the aftermath of a cyclone. We celebrate God’s presence in the storm.
L: In the name of God, present in the thunder of the storm,
the name of Christ, present in the stillness after the storm,
and the name of the Spirit, present is the winds of the storm. Amen.
P: Holy! Holy! Holy!
Earth is filled with God’s presence.
L Christ, as we come to into this sanctuary today,
we enter your presence even in the storm.
P: Holy! Holy! Holy!
Earth is filled with God’s presence.
PROCESSION AND SONG: Come let us praise our God
Storm soundscape and picture brought in by Leighton Stone
Storm refers to the world of the weather, the gales, the lighting, the winds, the cyclones, the hurricanes, the downpours and the flash floods outback. Storm means both nature in the raw and the weather we need to renew our planet. Storms may be events that frighten us, but they are also events that we celebrate in the weather cycle that sustains Earth as a living planet. Tell us Leighton about a Storm experience you have had.
CALL TO WORSHIP
GLORY TO GOD
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
EARLY WORD:. Story from Jenny “Rain Dance”
Where do you think God is when there is a storm? Waving clouds? Blowing wind? Rolling thunder? Sending lightning? Yes, I suppose. But do you know where God is especially in a storm? (Responses)
Well, what is the point of a storm? To frighten people? To blow trees down?
NO! The storm is to bring rain, to make the grass grow and the trees and the crops. God does not pour rain down from heaven in a bucket!!! Sometimes God sends a big storm to make you think. What? To say, ‘Thank you God for the rain’.
Prayer: Thank you God for sending storms to make us see just how important rain is for us, for the animals and everything on planet Earth. Amen.
SONG: He will listen to you
READINGS FOR STORM SUNDAY
Old Testament: Job 28.20-27 ‘God Discovers Wisdom’
Where can wisdom be found? According to the poet in Job, God discovered wisdom imbedded in nature, even in the elements of the weather, when God was creating the cosmos.
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 1.21-31 ‘Christ, the Wisdom of God’
According to Paul, the wise in the world cannot grasp the message of Christ crucified. Ultimately the crucified one is also the source of life and the Wisdom of God.
GOSPEL: LUKE 8.22-25 ‘JESUS KNOWS THE WAY OF THE STORM’
We are aware that global warming has changed weather patterns around the world.
Some climate skeptics argue that global warming is not happening.
But here is irrefutable proof! Slide (thanks to PB!) Storms ARE on the increase.
The story of the man Jesus “stilling the storm” is becoming more and more relevant, don’t you think? Maybe there is great wisdom in our ‘Southport Uniting’ logo. Slide
The Gospels speak of Jesus controlling a storm that terrifies the disciples. How did he do it? Well many professors and bishops are also climate skeptics so it’s popular for many to suggest that the story is simply an allegory and it never happened. Or they suggest that it was just the Lord’s excellent timing that the storm stopped !!
However, our focus on the seasons of creation and the biblical texts on STORM in the Old Testament encourage us to venture down another path. It’s possible to understand this as supernatural miracle in the light of the WISDOM theme.
This is to argue that Jesus is not so much demonstrating an extraordinary power play like STORM in the X-men, but rather he is connecting with the wisdom in the storm, the inner impulse that governs the storm. We can see, that according to the scriptures, the power of the storm is derived not from a god of thunder and rain, like Thor, but through wisdom by which God the Creator spoke and brought the whole cosmos into being. Wisdom is at the heart of life and is the pulse of all life.
Now according to the eye-witness accounts, it was this man Jesus Christ, who in fact, was this wisdom of God in the flesh. He is the true and pure Logos, the very Wisdom of God!
So it is this Jesus alone, who is able to recognize this wisdom in the heart of the storm and knows how to move that wisdom to produce the calm. Jesus is actually God’s Son filled with God’s Spirit and that is why he is in tune with nature and in tune with wisdom and able to perform such miracles of life…
Perhaps wisdom can be a very fruitful path to knowledge for us, but it isn’t strange, how when the storms of life actually hit us, one can so easily forget it? We find again that one’s disappointment has a way of turning to bitterness, all that seems lost and broken in one’s own life. And I can actually find myself accusing God from a stormy heart, “Don’t you care, don’t you care that we are suffering?”
Isn’t that something we’ve all asked when the whirlwind threatens to destroy us? Don’t we all sometimes align ourselves with Job, and with the waterlogged disciples, as we cry out “Lord, don’t you care that we are drowning?”
But look again at the answers we get: Job also discovered a presence and a voice in the heart of the storm, but a voice that rebuked him to silence —”What do you know? How dare you ask?”
And the disciples, themselves, are rebuked as Jesus rebukes the wind and the waves, with words you’d use for a stray dog, words he uses to silence demons: “Shut up!”
As silence falls, the disciples are terrified. But are they terrified of the storm and the danger to their lives, or are they terrified of him, of Jesus who stills the storm with a casual word and then asks the question “Do you have no faith at all?”
Who is this man?
The disciples are in awe. Amazed not just at his power but with something else. I don’t think it’s just because he stills the storm that they are in awe. I think it’s this: surrounded by storm and raging waters Jesus sleeps. He simply doesn’t notice. They are panicking, shaken, terrified but he rests on a cushion. Slide Rembrandt
The Gospel writers, in telling the story this way, have a message for their own panicked, persecuted community. When the trouble starts, and death seems just around the corner, and you can think of nothing else, … well … just watch Jesus sleep serenely. Jesus will not panic. Jesus will see it through calmly—and so should you
Does he care that we are perishing? Treat it lightly. If he wants to still the storm he will. What’s a little martyrdom here or there?
This story is a call to the community—to us, I’m afraid—to make up in faith what Jesus’ first disciples lacked. To stay there in the storm no matter how strong the urge is to run.
Friends, when we find ourselves in that smoggy, gasping, struggling place asking that panicky question of God, ‘ Don’t you care that we are perishing?’ we might also listen for another voice, the voice of the rivers, the glaciers, the oceans, the ozone, also asking tenderly yet angrily, “Don’t you care that we are perishing?” Not asking God … but asking me. Don’t I care?
Do I care enough to enter the storm and care for the earth?
And do I care enough to stay where the poor of the earth are suffering when all I want to do is quit?
Do I care enough to be where Jesus is and see it through like him?
Do I care enough to be his disciple? Do you want to care?
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH
L If so, then let us affirm our faith together.
Offering Song: See us Lord
INVITATION TO RECEIVE COMMUNION:
Storms are on the increase. Yet, Jesus Christ, surrounded by many fierce forces at the last supper and on the cross, is present also in the stillness after the storm. He knows the way of the storm.
Final Song: Touch the earth lightly
L May the Spirit of God blowing in the wind,
fill you with the knowledge of God’s Wisdom in Earth
and the pulsing of Christ within you.
Go in peace! Serving Christ and loving Earth!
P We go in peace, serving Christ and loving our home.
For you, deep stillness
Sample EcoNotes published in News & Notes
26th August 2007
This week is Keep Australia Beautiful Week. This is a chance for us to look at the waste we generate and where it goes. At the launch of the Eco Project on Friday night we got creative with hard rubbish to build a sculpture. We also introduced our new recycling system. We now have a separate bin for recyclables (paper, glass, etc), a bucket for food scraps that will go to our worm farm (food scraps from the kindergarten will also feed the worms) and a bag for collecting clean plastic bags to be re-used for emergency relief or the Goodwill Shop. Clean office paper with a blank side, cardboard rolls (not toilet rolls) and small boxes are also collected for use by the kindergarten. By re-using and recycling we aim to reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill.
2nd September 2007
Do you have insulation in your ceiling? Insulation can significantly reduce your energy bills by reducing heat loss during winter by up to 40% and heat gain during summer by 30%. This month the Victorian Government has introduced an insulation rebate scheme which can offset the cost of installing insulation. If you live in a house built before 1991 which has never had ceiling insulation you may be eligible for the rebate. For more information about the Insulation Rebate go to http://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/ or phone the hotline on 1300 366 195.
16th September 2007
Last week’s EcoNote was about protecting habitat for biodiversity – but what is biodiversity and why is it important? The habitat of a plant or animal is made up of many different plants and animals which have adapted to that particular climate, soil type, altitude, fire regime. The number of different plants, animals, insects and soil organisms which live in that habitat is its biodiversity. The greater the number of different species living together the healthier the habitat is, the more likely it is that everything is living in harmony and the greater the chance that the habitat will be able to adapt to change over time. The problem now is that habitats are changing at a far greater rate that in the past, particularly due to human activity. Some species can adapt quickly but others can’t change and are lost. The plants and animals which depend on them then become threatened and so on in a domino effect. Once they are lost they cannot be brought back so it is vitally important that we conserve what we have now.
18th November 2007
A simple way to reduce your household water use is to install a low flow (AAA rated) showerhead. These have a flow rate of 9 litres per minute compared to 22 l/min for a standard showerhead. They are designed to have a similar water pressure to the standard fitting. If you are a resident of the City of Port Phillip you can participate in the free Showerhead Exchange Program. All you need to do is take your old showerhead and your South East Water bill to one of the exchange points during their opening hours and you will receive a new AAA rated showerhead in return for the old one. The exchange points are at the town halls in Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and St Kilda, the libraries at Albert Park and St Kilda and the Port Phillip EcoCentre (cnr Blessington & Herbert Sts, St Kilda). Other municipalities have similar schemes so if you live outside Port Phillip please check with your local Council.
9th December 2007
Two terms you may have heard used are “Food Security” and “Food Miles”. Food Security is having enough healthy food to eat. This is already a problem for many in our community and is likely to become a greater issue as food becomes more expensive. Food Miles is the term for the distance traveled by our food from the place it is grown to the place it is eaten. For some of our food this is many thousands of kilometres. We can improve food security and reduce our impact on greenhouse emissions by eating food that is grown locally – including from our own gardens (however large or small) - and eating food that is in season here rather than imported from the other side of the world.
South Port Uniting Church has been invited to be part of a new Food Security Network in the City of Port Phillip. The Network had its first meeting at the end of November and is made up of individuals and groups who have a vision that everyone in the City of Port Phillip will have access to affordable quality fresh food. Part of this vision is turn the City of Port Phillip into a giant community garden. Working groups are being set up to turn this vision into a reality.
The Green Balloon Book
September 2007 Started switching off electrical appliances at the power point
September 2007 Collecting rubbish along the Sandridge Beach and bin it
October 2007 Starting a vegetable garden
November 2007 Halved the size of the front garden bed and paving it
November 2007 Saving shower water for toilet flushWashing machine (grey) water back to gardenChanged shower head
December 2007 Halved our household water use from the same time last year
December 2007 Turning off the light when I’m not using it
December 2007 When I go out of my room I make sure there is no light left on
January 2008 Changed electricity retailer to 100% renewableOld washing machine broke down – replaced with a model which is more energy- and water-efficientReplaced five more light globes with energy efficient globes
January 2008 Discovered putting protective cover on car parked in the street not only protects the car paintwork and minimizes washing but also makes me think twice before using the car when there is an alternative eg tram or for short trips walking or cycling
January 2008 Been using a microfibre cloth for bathrooms – no cleaning agent needed - excellent
“Think Local, Act Local”
Our Eco Project, now called the Simply Living Project, has developed to explore how we can live more sustainably and equitably in God’s world. One of our responses has been to develop the community garden but we also want to continue to explore and engage with our community about the wide range of topics that come under the “sustainability” umbrella.
In August we hosted a forum with four guest speakers who are active in our local community: Wendy van Dort from Port Phillip Eco Centre and the Port Phillip Urban Fresh Food Network (PPUFFN), Julian Donlen, Sustainability Education Officer from the City of Port Phillip, David Robinson, 7-Star House Project and Debra Hart, Locals Into Victoria’s Environment (LIVE).
Why “Think Local, Act Local”? Much of what we as individuals can do to live more sustainably means thinking again about how we operate at a local level. We have heard the “Think Global, Act Local” message, that what we do at a local level will always have an impact on the bigger picture. But acting at a local level means thinking more about just what it is possible to do here and now.
· how we eat – such as growing our own food or buying locally produced, seasonal food
· how and where we travel – how much of our daily business can be done in our local area,
· how far products and materials travel to get to us,
· how much can we re-use or recycle from our local area
· how much energy can we save or generate, and
· how much water can we save or re-use
The forum was a chance to find out what people in our community are doing that can make a difference – to expand our thinking about what is possible literally in our own backyard or back room.
Wendy van Dort is one of the coordinators of the Port Phillip Urban Fresh Food Network (PPUFFN). The aim of PPUFFN is to increase fresh food production within the City of Port Phillip. This is done through community gardens, school gardens, gardens in rooming houses and by encouraging people to grow more of their own food at home.
Two of the reasons for encouraging food production in the City are:
· to improve the food security of residents. Food security is defined as “The state in which all persons obtain nutritionally adequate, culturally acceptable, safe foods regularly through local non-emergency sources”.
· To reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Currently 28.3% of household greenhouse gas emissions is from food, including production, transportation. Food waste sent to landfill is responsible for the emission of methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Wendy gave examples of various community gardens and highlighted their other benefits. One was the St Kilda Youth Service garden which has been re-invigorated by the young people working together to build a chicken shed.
Julian Donlen provided an overview of the many ways in which the City of Port Phillip is working towards a more environmentally sustainable city and the various programs that support residents.
The City aims by 2020 to have zero net greenhouse gas emissions and a 70% decrease in potable water use by Council operations. As Council operations represent only 1% of the emissions and water use of the whole city, Council also aims to help residents and businesses reduce per capita greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2020 and to reduce water use by 50% by 2020.
The Community Climate Action Plan 2008-9 targets households and businesses through a range of programs including: Sustainable Living At Home (SLAH), Challenge 2 Change, Climate Challenge 1000, Building Tune up and VIC1000 for businesses, showerhead exchanges and various Enviro Events.
David Robinson spoke about the 7-star house program which he has helped set up in Albert Park.
The motivation behind the 7-star house program was the number of major renovations happening locally which are high energy users and will be for the next fifty years or more. The project is aimed at the people who build extensive and expensive renovations to show that sustainable buildings can also look good.
A house being renovated in Moubray St. is the model for the program. It is a terrace house, typical of this area. David is taking photos before and during the process to show on a web site. The web site will show the progress of the renovation plus a step by step “How to” find an architect, and so on.
Debra Hart is the founder of Locals Into Victoria’s Environment, a grass roots lobby group which has made some high impact statements, such as the “Climate Emergency” rally and human sign in the Alexandra Gardens and the Mother’s Day 2008 rally at Federation Square. LIVE works by talking to politicians—asking questions and asking for responses. There is also a LIVE website which acts as a portal to other sites, such as Green Energy Watch and has copies of submissions made by LIVE to various government inquiries and panels.
Debra spoke about her motivation to begin LIVE in response to a government decision to expand the Hazelwood Power Station, one of the dirtiest coal burning power stations and the projected effects of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef.
The evening ended with a panel discussion and audience questions which covered a range of issues brought up during the presentations. Overall it was an informative and entertaining evening and much appreciated by the audience.
article published in Christmas 2008 issue of SPPARKS, magazine of South Port Uniting Church
 Approximately, depending in billing date