Sunday, 7 November 2010

DJ Festival 2010

The group had a stall yesterday at the Djerrawarrah Festival, which is the main event of the year in our town.  Our stall had display boards, educational pamphlets, drought tolerant succulents, vegetable seedlings, and buckets and buckets of sheep poo.  Everyone who volunteered had a great time telling people about the sort of things they can do at home to grow their own food, save energy and money, and to green up their lifestyles.  We even had about 6 people express interest in joining the group, which is a fantastic outcome.  Hopefully they will join our merry band of environmentally aware citizens.

Here are some photos and commentary from throughout the day.

David, Jonathan, Caroline, and Amy

David and Renata,

The growing section of the stall

The undercover educational display boards and pamphlets

Gavin holding up the tent, looking friendly in an attempt to entice the crowds in to the display.

Jake manning the displays

Jake, Gavin, Rick and David late in the day.

The raffle prize.  We sold 160 tickets and a local lady from Melton West won the prize.  I know she will have fun setting up the mini vegetable patch!

The sheep poo.  We even met the guy who donated it.  We thought they would be a hit.  They were not.  People did not want to carry the bucket around the festival.

Jiffy pellets that we thought would sell.  They did not.

Herbs and succulents.

Tommy Toe tomatoes.

More succulents.  They were a big selling item as were the vegetable seedlings.

Gavin showing a local all of the things members do around their homes.

Getting tired by now.

Waiting for the final bell to go home.  There was no-one around by this stage.

The pack up crew.  David, Jake, Megan and Gavin.  Rick is taking the picture.

I would like to thank all volunteers who helped out on the day, but a special thanks goes to our Secretary, Kim, who has worked tirelessly for the last two weeks organising everything and keeping the event on track.  Well done to all and thanks for a great day!

Gavin Webber

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Soap Making Demo

On Sunday 23rd of October the group held a Soap making demonstration at Gavin & Kim’s house in Melton West.  It was well attended by 12 members who were keen to learn the basics of cold processed soap making.

Here is a slide show of the gathering.

To learn a bit more about how this process works, have a look at this video tutorial made by Gavin & Kim a few months ago.

For the recipe that we used visit this article titled, “Our Soap Recipe”.

For a pictorial guide and a details step by step guide visit this article titled, “Lather Up Folks”.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to email us via the address on the side bar to the right.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Sustainable House Day 2010 - Radio Interview 97.9FM

Here is a radio interview that I gave over the weekend promoting Sustainable House Day.  I think you will find it entertaining, and it is formatted as an episode of my normal not-so-weekly podcast over on The Greening of Gavin.

Sustainable House Day will be held across the country this Sunday, 12th of September and for more information about houses open in your area, please visit

The Melton Sustainable Living Group hopes to see you all there!

Gavin Webber,
President, MSLG Inc.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Sustainable House Day Community Announcement

The group is proud to present one home in Melton West that will be open to the public on Sunday 12th of September 2010.  Visit for the address closer to the date.

I hope you take the time to visit and get some ideas about how to make your own home just that little bit more sustainable.  The ideas you take away will most probably save you money as well!

Gavin Webber
President, MSLG Inc

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Home Brewing Workshop

On Saturday, the Melton Sustainable Living Group hosted a home brew workshop at my house. 

Kim filmed the workshop, and I have edited it into three parts.  I hope you find the time to watch this educational documentary, courtesy of the MSLG. 

Part One

Part Two

Part Three with Q&A session

The next day, I checked the Cider to see their progress.  The cider was not bubbling, so I took off the lid to ensure that it was indeed fermenting (which it was), so I screwed the lid back on super tight.  This sealed it correctly this time, and the airlock started working ferociously. 

And as for the Cider today, well due to the fact that I only put in 500gm of Dextrose, it looks like it has finished fermenting as well.  I will check it with the hydrometer and possibly bottle it tomorrow night!  I can taste it already.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

WAGA - Future Vision for Western Region

I attended the 3rd ACF GreenHome Community workshop on Tuesday night.   It was a great evening, with many passionate people from Caroline Springs, Melton West, Melton South, Altona, Werribee, and Bacchus March all who want to make a difference to our local communities.

Terry White from Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action gave an inspiring presentation about some of the bigger actions that are possible in the Western region of Melbourne. 

I filmed the entire presentation and managed to cut it into two parts and place them on YouTube.  Terry's presentation was very inspirational, and well worth watching.

Please put your hands together for Terry!

Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action - Part 1

Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action - Part 2

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Solar PV in the local news

David appeared in the Melton Express Telegraph this week hugging his solar PV system!

You can read the article titled "On the path to solar rebates" promoting the latest bulk Solar PV buying scheme for the Melton Shire residence.

Well done David, for promoting the benefits of Sustainable Living!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

David has the Power!

Kim and I visited David on Saturday afternoon.  David is now the proud owner of a 1 kW solar PV system after a very, very long wait.  Here is a shot from the road.

Another view of the system from the backyard.

Of course, I couldn't miss a photo of the proud owner himself!

Look for David and his solar PV system in this weeks edition of the Express Telegraph promoting the Melton Shires bulk PV scheme with EnviroGroup.


Sunday, 18 April 2010

GreenHome Workshops

You’re invited to four FREE workshops

You’ll be able to:
• learn from energy & gardening experts
• meet your neighbours
• tackle climate change and sustainability in new and creative ways with your community.

The Australian Conservation Foundation GreenHome program will help you reduce your environmental impact and take practical steps to save water and energy, produce less waste and grow local food.

Tuesday 11th May
Greening your home - part 1: Becoming energy efficient
Learn more about energy efficiency, workshop ideas and hear from energy experts.

Tuesday 18th May
Greening your home - part 2:
Gardening towards a sustainable future
Special guest: Vasili Kanidiadis – presenter of Vasili’s Garden SBS.
Hear form Vasili and other gardening guru’s about having a water efficient veggie patch, composting and
worm farming.

Tuesday 25th May
Community actions for tackling climate change - part 1
Hear from inspiring speakers and tackle climate change in new and creative ways with your community.

Tuesday 1st June
Community actions for tackling climate change - part 2
Network with your friends and neighbours and discover how your actions can make your neighbourhood a happier, healthier and more sustainable place to live.

All sessions run from 6.30 – 9.15pm

Come to all four workshops for your chance to win a worm farm, compost bin and great energy prizes

Caroline Springs Civic Centre & Library
193-201 Caroline Springs Blvd (Corner of Lake St)
Caroline Springs. Melways Ref. 356 G10
Light refreshments will be provided at each workshop.

Cost: FREE

Book online at or call
Australian Conservation Foundation on 1800 223 669

RSVP by Friday 7th May as places are limited

Please forward to anyone else that may be interested.

Everyone attending will receive a free GreenHome guide and other giveaways.
For more information and ideas on sustainable living visit

P.S.  Gavin will be in attendance at all four workshops as part of his GreenHome Community Leaders commitment.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Local Community Resilience

Being resilient is about being able to withstand a shock to the normal way of life.  Recently there has been a shock in the form of the Global Financial Crisis, however I believe that it was tame compared to what is about to come in the next decade.

Two big issues come immediately to mind.  Climate Change and Peak Oil.

You have probably heard about the concept of Climate Change, and we are already feeling the effects of extreme weather events in our part of the world.  Doesn't it seem strange that we are getting more and more '1 in 100 year events' closer together and they are becoming more like 1 in 10 year events?  Not strange, but normal according the climatologists.  Climate change means more extreme weather, not just getting a bit warmer. Of course the climate changes over time and has many times before in Earth's history, but not in a matter of years or decades, we are talking centuries for these events to occur naturally. You can't take millions of years of trapped sunshine in the form of coal, gas and oil and release it in the space of fifty years or so without some repercussions.

This leads me to the other big issue.  Peak Oil is a term that many might not be familiar with. Don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. There was a time when Climate Change suffered the same lack of media coverage.

Peak Oil is not about “running out of oil” – we'll never run out of oil. There will always be oil left in the ground because either it's too hard to reach or it takes too much energy to extract. Ponder on a fact that the economists conveniently gloss over – regardless of how much money you can make selling oil, once it takes an oil barrel's worth of energy to extract a barrel of oil, the exploration, the drilling and the pumping will grind to a halt.

Peak Oil is about the end of cheap and plentiful oil, the recognition that the ever increasing volumes of oil being pumped into our economies will peak and then inexorably decline. It’s about understanding how our industrial way of life is absolutely dependent on this ever-increasing supply of cheap oil.  To learn more about Peak Oil please read a this previous post titled "Peak Oil Primer".

So why did I start out talking about local community resilience?  Well the two big issues have a lot to do about community resilience, because when they take effect, the outside inputs that supply our town will begin to slow down, and we have to depend upon each other more and more just to get by.

Let me pose this question.  Do you know your neighbours, or at least 10 others in your community?  If you don't it might be a good idea to reach out to others where you live, because soon enough we are going to need each other more than over.

Local resilience begins when like minded people actually care and look out for each other.  People work better in communities, and have done so throughout all of history.  So join a local club to build that community spirit and start to talk about the two big issues that I have articulated in this post.  We have the power to change the way we do things, before the change gets forced upon us!
“Because the best protection isn't owning 30 guns; it's having 30 people who care about you. Since those 30 have other people who care about them, you actually have 300 people who are looking out for each other, including you. The second best protection isn't a big stash of stuff others want to steal; it's sharing what you have and owning little of value.”

- Charles Hugh Smith