Welcome to Friends of the Earth Melbourne August news our state-wide monthly update. In this edition, get into action to protect our Snow Gums, help stop South Gippsland forest logging, join our Forest collective for a meeting, check our koala mapping and join SKAT. Support the Barngarla People to have a say on the proposed Kimba nuclear waste site in SA, and RSVP to DrillWatch launching online to resist Vic onshore gas. Add your name to secure Gippsland an offshore wind energy future, and say yes to Latrobe Valley’s first wind farm. Join a new volunteer info session online, and scroll down for a Food Co-op & Cafe covid safe update. Then read about lessons for the next fire season, and listen to the latest 3CR Dirt Radio episodes.
Snow Gums are the classic alpine tree of the Australian High Country. They're now at risk. The species can survive fire. However, climate change driven fire seasons are leading to more frequent fires causing more death of trees and changes to forest structure. We are on the verge of losing the landscapes that we spent decades protecting. A new report, An Icon at Risk, Current and Emerging threats to the Victorian High Country, produced by Friends of the Earth highlights the many risks faced by the Alps, including the potential loss of the Snow Gum forests. You can read the report here. You can find out more, get ideas on action and read the recommendations here. There is an ABC story on our report here. Please send a quick email to the Environment Minister urging her to adopt the recommendations of our report.
Local residents near the Yarram region in South Gippsland, Victoria, are opposing logging operations in their beloved local forest, Alberton West State Forest. This forest sits in a largely cleared landscape and provides habitat for a myriad of species including: Powerful Owls, Southern Greater Gliders, Boobok Owls, Lace Monitors and orchids, including the Supreme Greenhood. There is a petition available here and further information can be found here.
After a long break, we are restarting with monthly meetings. The next one will happen on Tuesday August 17 from 7pm-9pm. At the August meeting we will hear from more regional forest groups and decide what issues the collective will focus on over the next few months. We hope the meeting will be a face-to-face meeting at Friends of the Earth's home in Collingwood, pending lockdown updates. Please register here for Forests collective 17 Aug meeting so we can let you know whether it's happening at the office, via zoom, or a mixture of both.
Koala surveys continued in July, in between lockdowns. SKAT are targeting Mullungdung State Forest in south east Gippsland. This area has little information regarding koalas, with many people assuming that koalas, if they were in the forest, were in very low numbers. FoE has located scats in 24 seperate locations in the southern portion of the forest, check the SKAT mapping here. Whilst scats have been found in areas containing Mountain Grey Gum, it has also been interesting to observe koalas targeting Swamp Gum as well. This is of interest because VicForest intends to start logging in some of these areas in the near future. VicForests are targeting Yellow Stringybark, however at this stage it is unknown how they intend to manage small areas of swamp gum inside areas of Yellow Stringybark. Approximately 70 survey sites have been assessed by FoE at Mullungdung over the past few months. We are interested in getting more people in the South Gippsland region looking for scats and have made this short video to help people to better understand the process. Get involved with SKAT here.
Swamp Gum - a koala "magnet" in some areas of Mullungdung State Forest in Coupe 449-502-0004
The Barngarla People are the Traditional Custodians over much of the Eyre Peninsula, including the proposed site for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) in South Australia. Despite being Native Title Holders, they never received the right to vote in the official ballot, used to assess broad community support. The Barngarla People do not support the building of an NRWMF at Kimba and deserve to have our voice heard by the Federal Government. They are launching a judicial review to have their voice heard in the community consultation for the site. You can support the Barngala Traditional Custodians to have a Say on Kimba by funding the legal challenge here. Thanks for being part of a nuclear free future!
Following the lifting of the moratorium on conventional gas in Victoria at the start of July, community champions across the state have been reconnecting to affirm that resistance to fossil gas in our State remains strong. These champions have worked tirelessly, as well as reconnecting with the team, we are looking to boost the energy with some new reserves. To support communities under threat from gas development, Friends of the Earth has developed a digital resource called DrillWatch. Hear stories of how some extraordinary Victorians secured a permanent ban on fracking, and the moratorium that stopped onshore conventional gas development for years. Hear about the threat we face and how communities can stand up to resist fossil gas. Be among the first to see how DrillWatch can be a platform for resistance, and find out about next steps. You will hear from Gasfield Free campaigners, community members and farmers with speakers Cam Walker, Chloe Aldenhoven, Les Harrison and Ursula Alquier lined up for the event. Stand with the Gasfield Free champions and join us for the online launch of DrillWatch Wednesday 11 August from 6:30pm, RSVP here.
With Parliament returning this week Friends of the Earth joined forces with unions, climate and community groups in Gippsland, delivering an open letter calling on Scott Morrison to kickstart a jobs-rich offshore wind industry in Gippsland to act on climate change. The letter was delivered by our new Yes2Renewables Gippsland campaigner Wendy Farmer to the office of National MP Darren Chester at Traralgon in the Latrobe Valley, currently home to Victoria's ageing coal plants. Over 200 people have already signed onto the letter since it launched. Watch and share the coverage on WIN News and add your name to the open letter to join the campaign here.
The Latrobe Valley has long been home to the state's ageing coal-burning power plants and is on the cusp of securing its first wind farm. But only if we take action! The Victorian government is now taking public submissions about the proposed Delburn wind farm. It's essential for the community to have its say on this project of state significance. If approved, the Delburn wind farm will create 186 construction jobs and 24 ongoing jobs for the region, invest $109 million into the Latrobe Valley's economy, power 135,000 homes with clean renewable energy, cut Victoria's emissions by 640,000 tonnes each year, and overlook the retired Hazelwood coal-burning power plant and mine. Will you help continue the Latrobe Valley's transition to renewable energy and lock in jobs by making a submission here in support of the Delburn wind farm?
19 August 2021 at 5.30pm - 7pm online via zoom.
Please register here.
We are open to the community for takeaway food, groceries and bulk shopping, and we still have the very popular package-free tofu and tempeh plus more during this time. The Co-op is operating at reduced hours Mon-Fri 10am-4pm & Sat 10am-4pm & Sun 11am-4pm. Takeaway only meals will be available daily, your fave organic lunch bowls, pies, pizza Mon-Sat. Bakery goods on Sunday 11am-4pm. Please wear a mask, QR/sign in, practice physical distance and use hand sanitiser provided. Click + collect is also open for online orders shop here.
It’s still winter here, so it might be a strange time to be thinking about fire. But the next fire season will be with us soon enough, and there are some lessons for us from the horror summer currently being experienced in the northern hemisphere. A 1.5 million hectare bushfire is raging in Siberia, and Alaska is burning. So are large parts of Turkey and Greece. The ‘heat dome’ that brought record breaking temperatures to the Pacific NorthWest of North America has been followed by a fire season comparable with what we experienced over the terrible summer of 2019-2020. California is experiencing a fire season that started in their winter. In January, Issac Sanchez, of Cal Fire Sacramento said “we’re not seeing ‘fire season’ any more. It’s just one big fire year, where we can be prepared for and expect a large destructive fire at any point.” What are the implications of longer and more intense fire seasons in the northern hemisphere for us in Australia? Read more here.
Stay safe and warm until next month.