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March 2019

Humanity is only beginning to awaken to the true magnitude of the crisis on hand…nothing less than a miracle is needed to heal our world…..The recent convergence of crises – in money, energy, education, health, water, soil, climate, politics, the environment and more – is a birth crisis, expelling us from the old world into a new.

Eisenstein, Charles: Sacred Economics, Evolver Editions, 2011, Introduction p.XX

In this March edition you will find information about:

  • National/International School Strike 4 Climate
  • Mt Alexander Eco-Housing Group
  • Daylesford and Castlemaine Repair Cafes
  • Farm Day Out to support food sovereignty
  • Climate flags
  • Connecting Country- Accessing and sharing biodiversity information
  • Central Vic Climate Action
  • Daylesford Culture Club
  • Milkwood- Introduction to Permaculture weekend
  • Castlemaine State & Fringe Festivals
  • Daylesford Macedon Ranges Open Studios
  • Report on climate, system change and young voices conversation
  • Food for Thought– The Future is Rural; George Monbiot; and Hepburn fire reflections

National School Strike 4 Climate- Friday March 15th

To everyone who cares about a safe climate future, this is your open invite to join our school strike 4 climate – students standing up when our politicians won’t. On March 15, we’re walking out of school & you’re invited!

We are school students from cities and towns across Australia. Most of us have never met before but are united by our concern about our planet. We are striking from school to tell our politicians to take our futures seriously and treat climate change for what it is – a crisis.

Australia is in the thick of the climate crisis. Prolonged drought cripples farming communities. Flash flooding is creating chaos in cities. Catastrophic bushfires and severe cyclones threaten people’s homes. Heatwaves are sweeping the nation.Half the Great Barrier Reef is dead.

Politicians can show us that they care by taking urgent action to move Australia beyond fossil fuel projects (e.g. #StopAdani’s mega coal mine) and get the job done of moving us to 100% renewable energy for all.

A Federal Election is around the corner but our politicians have lost touch with the people they were elected to represent – us! As school students, we’re sick of being ignored. We’re sick of our futures being turned into political footballs. We feel sick when we see and hear about the climate impacts that are already devastating communities here and all around the world.

We’re striking to tell our politicians to take all of us seriously and treat climate change for what it is: a crisis and the biggest threat to our generation & generations to come.We won’t be alone. Tens of thousands of students across Australia and around the world will join us. If you’re an adult, we hope you’ll take the day off in solidarity with us too.There has never been a more urgent time to demand the climate action we all deserve.

Climate change is one of the biggest problems facing the world and it isn’t being addressed quickly enough. In Australia, education is viewed as immensely important, and a key way to make a difference in the world. But simply going to school isn’t doing anything about climate change. And it doesn’t seem that our politicians are doing anything, or at least not enough, about climate change either.

So, as our contribution to the changes we want to see, we are striking from school. We are temporarily sacrificing our education in order to save our futures from climate wrecking projects like the Adani coal mine.

Our Network is: School student led; Decentralised; Grassroots; Non-partisan; Inclusive; Non-violent; Mission-focussed; Ambitious; Creative.

Join a March 15 strike: Across central Victoria there will be strikers gathering in Ballarat, Bendigo and Kyneton as well as in Melbourne– 12 noon at Old Treasury .

Mt Alexander Ecohousing Group

When: Tuesday 12 March, 5.30–7pm

Where: Castlemaine Trades Hall, 127 Mostyn St

David Rigby (a member of CLAN, a local elders’ sharing and mutual support group) will talk about designing a house for shared living.

Also a proposal to become a working group of the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG) will be discussed.

A move under the umbrella of MASG would have several benefits:

  • It is likely to mean that MAEG would be more visible and more likely to attract and impact on more locals.
  • It would be easier to engage in other housing MASG activities, such as the Sustainable House Education Day (SHED).
  • We would avoid the time and effort of having to constitute ourselves as a new separate organisation.
  • We would be able to take advantage of MASG’s free use of council-run venues for meetings and other activities.
  • We would still run with some relative autonomy and require a contact and delegate for MAEG for, say, six months and then handing onto another MAEG member to representing us.

For further information: anitra.nelson@rmit.edu.au

Repair Cafes- Daylesford & Castlemaine

When: Sunday March 17th, 1-4pm

Where: Victoria Park Pavillion, Daylesford

Note: No Castlemaine Repair Cafe in March due to State Festival. Back again on Sunday April 28th, 10am -1pm, at Castlemaine Town Hall

Daylesford Report

Daylesford Repair Cafe’s wonderful fixers and supporters helped repair and/or ensure good working order to 30 items during the February cafe,  keeping 116 kilos out of landfill. Daylesford Secondary College VET stream hospitality students contributed a generous afternoon tea.

Over the course of 4 repair cafes since Daylesford started in October 2018,  89 items have been repaired, and potentially a total of 344 kgs kept out of land fill.
Thanks to Mara Ripani for photos.
Castlemaine and surrounds Repair cafe report
The February Cafe proved to be very busy with people saving up their repairs over the holiday period.
In February 2019, 36 people (15 fixers- 2 visitors ) saved 36.495 kilos from landfill. Since the Castlemaine Repair Cafe started  in April 2017 , a total of 878.465 kilos has been kept out of landfill.

Farm Day Out for food sovereignty

When: Sunday March 17th, 10am – 6.30pm

Where: Jonai Farms & Meatsmiths, 129 Morgantis Road, Eganstown

Cost: Fundraiser for Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance

This farm tour and music event will raise funds for Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) to continue working for ethical and sustainable farmers across Australia and the world. All proceeds support a legal defence fund for small scale farmers; govt submissions on EU-FTA, Sugar Tax etc; lobbying for scale-appropriate regulation; an end to factory farming; global food sovereignty work; and other related issues.

Tammi Jonas, president of AFSA, has just returned from the  ‘Commission on Genetic Resources for Food & Agriculture’ in Rome.The focus was on biodiversity and climate change and the civil society representatives were fighting hard to get a shift agroecology firmly on the global agenda. Read about it here. Amidst a plethora of articles about ‘ecological Armageddon’ and ‘catastrophic climate change’ now is the time for collective action.

Enjoy local food, music, farm tour and more.

Climate Flags in Castlemaine

Climate Flags symbolise community support for action on climate change. One flag is one voice and each voice will be joined to the next in a chorus. Made by the community, for the community, Climate Flags will fly in public spaces around towns where they’re made, stimulating conversation and reflection. They will also be raised at rallies and events.

When we reach a critical mass of flags we will surround parliament house in a striking petition: a national protest and a prayer for action. Raising flags will be a catalyst for change and a declaration that it can no longer be business-as-usual.

The Climate Flag project was founded by a diverse group of residents from Castlemaine and surrounds, who are deeply concerned that communities, businesses and governments are not doing enough to make the rapid shift needed for a climate-safe future. Flags are now being made by community groups, friends, families and individuals around Australia. Everyone is welcome to be involved in the project and to become an organiser.

For more information: climateflags.org

Connecting Country- accessing and sharing biodiversity information

Workshop: Online tools for accessing and sharing biodiversity information in conjunction with the Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation

When: Friday 22 March 2019 from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm

Where: Buda Garden Room, 42 Hunter St, Castlemaine VIC
Bookings: to book online please click here


This interactive workshop is part of Connecting Country’s Habitat Health Check project and will cover two important databases in detail:

  • State Wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams (SWIFFT) – a knowledge sharing network for biodiversity conservation and threatened species
  • Visualising Victoria’s Biodiversity (VVB) – a web portal containing spatial information on environmental values, conservation activities and research.

This project is part of the shift to a monitoring model that empowers our community to conduct robust biodiversity monitoring, and, importantly, to ensure that the data we collect is being shared and used appropriately.

Photo: Hooded Robin, Geoff Parks

The workshop will:

  • Showcase projects run by community groups and researchers
  • Participate in an interactive session about sharing and accessing biodiversity data
  • Explore ways to improve knowledge sharing through online platforms
  • Network with other biodiversity organisations and community groups in your region

Workshop numbers are limited, so please book. For further details  contact Ivan Carter at Connecting Country on 03 5474 1594 or email ivan@connectingcountry.org.au

Central Vic Climate Action

The No More Coal  Letter Writing Cafe continues every second Friday morning, 10 am at North Kitchen, Hunter Street Castlemaine. Next cafe is Friday 22nd March.

March Global School Strike– Friday 15th,12 noon Treasury Gardens, Spring Street, Melbourne, plus regional areas- see first item above for more details.  Adult supporters (as well as parents) are encouraged. Make a placard or banner and catch the 8.06 am train from Castlemaine to Melbourne. The 9.08am train is needed for the students. If you’re a worker, tell your boss why you’re taking the day off. Next train to Melbourne leaves Castlemaine at 9.48am.

March Extinction Rebellion Launch. Friday March 22nd rally, Treasury Place, Melbourne

Climate Crisis film night– 28th March, 8 pm, Botanical Gardens, cnr Downes Rd and Walker St, Castlemaine. Combined CVCA and Fringe Festival event. Wet weather venue: the Tea Room

Bob Brown convoy leaves Hobart for Bowen, Nth Queensland -April  17th

Daylesford Culture Club

When: First Saturday of the month, 9.30 am – 12.30pm

Where: Daylesford Senior Citizens room.

March Culture Club was a celebration of the humble apple and included cider making.

Culture Club is committed to preserving the bounty of the season and embellishing it with probiotic goodness.

Milkwood-  Introduction to Permaculture weekend

When: March 23 and 24

Where: Hepburn Springs

For more info;

Join Nick Ritar with special guest David Holmgren, for 2 days of permaculture design theory and action. You will leave this course with a solid grounding of how you can apply permaculture principles in your home, garden, apartment or farm. You’ll also be in an informed position to further your journey into permaculture design.

This course will give you a comprehensive overview of how to apply pro-active, sustainable design techniques to your immediate environment – whether you live in a small apartment, a quarter-acre block, or a rural property.

In a rapidly changing world, we are all looking for solutions that can aid our community’s stability. We’re talking systems for living, architecture, food production, land management and community:

    • Effective ways of growing healthy, organic food in urban environments
    • Regenerative farming that can both feed a family, earn an income and build soil fertility
    • Retrofitting techniques for existing houses or property that results in lower energy costs and better health for its inhabitants

No chemicals and no excuses. Just good, thoughtful, innovative and effective design for the needs of our species.

Castlemaine State and Fringe Festival

When: March 22nd to 31st, 2019

Where: Assorted venues in and around Castlemaine

The festival is almost here. There’s a remarkable assortment of events ranging from performance, to music, to visual arts to film and to dialogues. Some are already sold out and a number of others are selling fast. There are public and free events, including the opening night street party, which are family friendly. Festival website-

Check out the fringe program as well.

Daylesford Macedon Ranges Open Studios

When: April 13-14 & 20, 21 and 22  (Easter Monday).

24 artists in 21 studios invite you to their diverse working studios, continuing to bring together professional visual artists and the public, in the beautiful surrounds of the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges region. Meet 6 new artists, 18 returning artists and indigenous Artist-in-Residence, Janet Bromley.

A group show exhibiting works by all of the Open Studios artists accompanies the program, to be held at the Convent Gallery in Daylesford – a chance to see examples of all the artists’ works in the one place.

The guidebook listing all of the artists, showing examples of their work and containing a map to help you find which studios to visit, will be out shortly. In the meantime, you can see details on the website at www.dmropenstudios.com.au,

Climate, system change and young voices- a brief report

On February 25th, five Castlemaine students instrumental in the student strikes 4 climate shared their thinking and stories with an enthusiastic and supportive audience from around Castlemaine, including Green Team students at Daylesford Secondary College. The Castlemaine students were Callum Neilson-Bridgfoot, Harriet O’Shea-Carre, Tully Boyle, Milou Albrecht, and Miro Wilkinson. Some of these students, along with several others from around Australia, recently met with Opposition leader, Bill Shorten and Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy. The students put three demands: 100% renewable energy by 2030; no new coal or gas mines; and stop the Adani coal mine.

Creswick resident Elizabeth Boulton connected up the student’s activism with her research focused on reframing Climate and Environmental Change as a new type of security threat, a Hyperthreat.   Elizabeth is currently developing a community model for mobilising climate action and sees young people cutting through rhetoric and calling it as it is.

Here’s the link to the audio recording of the student’s talk and Elizabeth Boulton’s powerpoint images .

Food for Thought

The Future is Rural report, www.postcarbon.org/future-is-rural, by long  time food and agriculture researcher and activist Jason Bradford, is a summary of the urgency and nature of the transition for the food system. The report presents an agroecological overview of agriculture useful for moderating tendencies in permaculture networks to see new ecotechnology as giving us much more productive and sustainable agriculture than our ancestors. The model goes further down that path than David Holmgren in Feeding RetroSuburbia.

George Monbiot shares thinking from his latest book ‘Out of the Wreckage – A new politics for an age of crisis’.George argues that mainstream politics is ruled by a toxic ideology that has little to offer to a world facing environmental collapse and civic breakdown.  He offers a new vision, a narrative that reinvigorates politics from the bottom up, and builds common purpose and hope for the future. Here’s the link:

David Holmgren’s- Reflections on the February fire around Hepburn Springs


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