Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Solar Suburbs Scheme

I received this email from our local council.  It is a great way to get a small Solar PV system at a bargain rate as low as $1600 for a 1kW system!  I wish this deal was around when I purchased my system.

Melton Council is currently participating in a solar panel bulk purchasing scheme - The 'Solar Suburbs' scheme.

This scheme has been led by Brimbank City Council and other participating western region councils include Hume, Moorabool, Wyndham and Moonee Valley.

The scheme represents an opportunity for residents of Melton to take advantage of the $8000.00 Federal Government Solar Rebate (which finishes on June 30th), benefit from the reduced costs associated with bulk purchasing of products, save on future electricity bills and do something positive for the environment. Although the current solar rebate will be replaced with another subsidy scheme after June 30th, the new subsidy will likely be of lower value.

A commercial provider, Clear Solar, has been selected from a list of companies who responded to a call for expressions of interest. Selection was made by a panel of two independent experts.

Melton Council's participation in the scheme is limited to promotion and facilitation so further information should be sought from the provider, Clear Solar. All contracts are between Clear Solar and the purchaser.

For more information click on the link below to access the Clear Solar website, which contains detailed information about the scheme, or contact Clear Solar on the phone numbers below.

The Clear Solar website will also provide updated information about 2 planned information evenings in Melton and a 'signup' day.

    • Malcolm Bish - 0402 413 564
    • Matt Jones - 0425 236 600


Bernadette Power
Environmental Planning and Sustainability Officer

Shire of Melton

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Growing Your Way to Freedom

People often ask me why I grow my own food.  I simply reply that it gives me freedom.  I can eat fresh, wholesome food straight from the garden, in the sound knowledge that it did not come from far away, or was raised using pesticides,herbicides or fossil fuels.  I am providing food for my family’s needs.  What could be more sustainable than that?

Here is a good example.  The Dervaes family who live in Pasadena, CA in the USA that have achieved amazing things on the same sized suburban block that many Australians own.  Theirs is a 809 square metre block and just about every single scrap of land is used to grow food.  It is a very inspiring story.

And a longer video about the family and their Path to Freedom;

Did you notice they they didn’t have any rainwater tanks?  Somehow I think that if any of us went to this extreme, we would have to have a 50,000 litre tank squirreled away somewhere!

Anyway, sorry about the mass of date changes for the next meeting.  I will be so happy when we get a committee together and set regular meeting dates.  Oh well, early days.

Thursday, 9 April 2009


I have just discovered a wonderful source of information.  It is Greenlivingpedia, and is written in the style of Wikipedia.

Have a look at this link,  I think you will all be pleasantly surprised!

Don’t forget that the next meeting is at Gavin’s house at 1500 on Saturday the 18th of April.  I will write up the agenda over the weekend.  I expect the official part of the meeting to go for about 2 hours as we have a fair bit to get through.

See you there.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Peak Oil Primer

I am assuming that most of the members are aware of Climate Change and the possible effects it will have upon us all if we don’t act soon to avert the crisis.  So if anyone wants me to cover it off in a post, let me know.


I will dedicate this post to explaining Peak Oil and what it means to us on a local level.  Peak Oil is basically the end of cheap oil.  The worlds oil fields get to a point that it takes more than one barrel of oil to extract one barrel of oil, therefore the field goes into decline.  When all the oil fields in the world reach this point then we reach the plateau that is know as Peak Oil.  The graph below shows Australia’s oil production and demand predicted out to 2030.  As you can see, our oil fields in this country have now clearly peaked.


After that event, which the International Energy Agency has determined happened in 2007, oil demand outstrips supply and oil gets expensive.  We have seen that happen already, and it was one of the catalysts of the Global Financial Crisis.  Colin Campbell who founded ASPO, predicted the GFC back in 2005.  Have a look at this video to get a better understanding.

So if oil becomes scarce, which it will again as the economy picks up, what does it effect?  Well, I wrote a post not long ago about Peak Oil and what it means to our food supply.  Have a look at “Nine Meals from Anarchy”.  Our transportation systems will slow down dramatically and so will our dependence on someone else providing our food. 

So what can we as a group do about Peak Oil?  Well as it states in our vision statement, we can build resilience in our local community so that the people in it have all the tools at their disposal to help themselves.  One great way of building resilience is to teach people how to grow their own food.  We have quite a few members who to that already, so we will have no shortage of keen and willing gardeners that will be able to help with reskilling.

Permablitz is a great way of changing someone's backyard from a boring old backyard to a food forest in one day.  Have a look at this video to see what you think.

I am sure we can do something like this if the willing home owner provides most of the materials!  I think we could put this form of working bee to good measure around the town.  I wonder if the shire would let us have a small community plot to try out first.  I suppose we won’t know if we don’t ask. 

Hopefully you now have a fair idea what I am talking about know when I mention Peak Oil.  A better movie is “The End of Suburbia” which explains it a lot better than I can.  We will have a viewing at our next meeting.  I am not trying to be a doomsdayer, just prepared for the inevitable.

Our Purpose

Welcome to the web presence of the Melton Sustainable Living Group.  We are a newly formed group in the shire of Melton, Victoria, Australia, who care about our local community.  Here are our vision and mission statements.


The members of Melton Sustainable Living Group believe in changing the world by thinking globally, but by acting locally. MSLG will bring sustainable living to Melton ensuring a cleaner, greener and more resilient community for all.


MSLG will foster positive change by serving the community with communication and education of sustainable living methods in an urban and suburban environment. MSLG will provide practical knowledge about how to lower personal emissions, energy efficiency,
growing your own food garden, renewable energy, frugal living, rainwater harvesting and the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle).
In essence this is a process of relocalising all essential elements that our community needs to sustain itself and thrive. It builds local resilience in the face of the potentially damaging effects of Peak Oil while reducing the community's carbon footprint. In this way,
we can address both Peak Oil and Climate Change.

Contact us at MeltonSustainableLivingGroup (at) or leave a comment via this website.