Living with fire in the Pyrocene

more_it_burns_square.jpgFire has played a pivotal role in almost all landscapes across Australia for millions of years. The continent of Australia is a cultural and natural landscape: it has been shaped by First Nations peoples for many hundreds of generations. Colonisation disrupted this long management and now settler society is trying to understand how fire should be used in the landscape to manage it for biodiversity, asset protection, and human safety.

One key tool used to manage fire risk is fuel reduction (or hazard reduction) burning. While often presented as a panacea for fires, it requires a complex and nuanced application to be safe and effective. But many vocal proponents of fuel reduction burning see it as a blunt instrument that can - and should be - applied across all forested landscapes frequently. As we know, the natural world is a complex place. When using a tool with such large implications as fire, we need an equally complex approach rather than a blanket ‘we must burn the bush’ mantra.

These posts will explore some of the issues at play as we, as a society, grapple with how to respond to and manage fire in a time of climate change.

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Walk 2 #BuildMM2

People walking down a street cheering and jumping in the air

Join a decentralised, personalised, Covid-safe community walk 19-25 October in support of the Melbourne Metro 2 (MM2) rail line proposal to increase sustainable public transport as part of Melbourne’s clean recovery.

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East Gippsland food bowl at risk from mining

Screen_Shot_2020-10-12_at_10.31.18_am.pngKalbar Operations Pty Ltd, a company with no experience operating a mine, is proposing a massive open-cut mineral sands mine at the Fingerboards, 20km north west of Bairnsdale in East Gippsland.

This proposal will come with a large environmental cost, huge impact on local farmland and the local economy, and is strongly opposed by the majority of locals.

The state government has opened up the opportunity to express your opposition to the mine. You can send a submission in response to the Environment Effects Statement (EES) for the project. Submissions must be lodged by 5pm on 29 October 2020.  

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Planning for Safe and Inclusive Public Transport

Melbourne tram with passengers disembarking

This blog mentions violence and death.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers should be aware that this article contains the name of a deceased person.
 

Public transport is contested; to reap the benefits of post-COVID infrastructure investment, we must acknowledge this.

With Victoria irrevocably changed due to COVID-19, it is fair to say that the events of 2020 have laid bare the deep-rooted socioeconomic inequities which underpin our society, and our struggles to overcome them.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Andrews govt funding for community energy is welcome, but must be scaled up to match demand

Friends of the Earth welcomes $1 million worth of grants to support 13 community-energy projects across Victoria, but say the Andrews government must must scale up funding to match the demand. 

"Communities are way out in front of governments when it comes to tackling the climate crisis," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth's climate justice spokesperson.

"The Andrews government's grants for community-energy projects acknowledge this leadership and will create jobs while cutting emissions."

Friends of the Earth say the Andrews government can build on the momentum and create thousands more jobs by establishing a dedicated $100 million Victorian Climate Change Action Fund.

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Infrastructure Vic's ticket reform misses the mark

As we grapple with what a post pandemic public transport system might look like, it is essential we find ways to increase physical space on our trams, trains and buses. We welcome the fact that the government, employees and unions have worked hard to make our PT Covid-19 safe.

Infrastructure Victoria’s (IV) ticket reform proposal Fair Move: Better Public Transport Fares for Melbourne attempts to evenly distribute commuters across our train, tram and bus network, but misses the mark when it comes to priorities of improving our transport network. 

Illustrative per trip prices from the fare reform scenario
(Source: Infrastructure Victoria)

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Vic Murray Floodplain Restoration Projects

Environmental approvals and public consultations are underway for the development of 9 Victorian Floodplain infrastructure projects.   

The Victorian Murray Floodplain Restoration Project (VMFRP) consists of 9 subsidiary projects,
proposed by the Victorian government, that have been included as supply measures under the SDL
Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) in the Basin Plan. They are infrastructure projects, involving
regulators, levee banks and pump stations, and are intended to water small areas of floodplain
forest and wetlands.

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The Significance of the Strzelecki Koala

There are two distinct koala populations in Victoria and South Australia. One is the endemic Strzelecki koala of South Gippsland Victoria and the other being koalas translocated from Victorian island populations throughout Victoria and South Australia.

This is a significant yet little understood phenomenon.

The Strzelecki koalas consist of the original diverse gene pool, whereas the translocated populations have gone through a "genetic bottleneck" resulting in much lower genetic diversity.

The Strzelecki koalas therefore, are crucial to animal's future in Victoria and South Australia. However their numbers are low, possibly as low as 1500 animals.

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NSW New Dams Inquiry - please make a submission

NO_NEW_Dams.jpg

A NSW Upper House inquiry is underway into the impacts of dams in the Murray Darling fast tracked by NSW Government.

The Murray-Darling supports RAMSAR wetlands and critical ecosystems for endangered fish & migratory birds and supplies food for millions. So whether you live near a project, downstream or elsewhere in Australia these projects effect you! 

Make a Submission Today!

 

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MEDIA RELEASE: Green light for Latrobe Valley's first utility scale renewable energy project welcomed

The Latrobe Valley's first utility scale renewable energy project has been given the green light from the Victorian government, with planning approval for the Fraser Solar farm at Toongabbie fast-tracked as part of the Andrews government's economic response to Covid-19.

Friends of the Earth and local community and sustainability groups have welcomed the news, saying that this marks a shift to renewable energy in the region, and will deliver benefits for jobs, regional investment and the climate.

"This is an exciting step forward for the Latrobe Valley, it's good to know we will continue to have a future in energy production by building renewable energy here in our community" said Wendy Farmer President of community group Voices of the Valley. 

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