All posts by Carole

Review of YCAN’s Yarra Riverkeeper Event

YCAN’s riverside event with the Yarra Riverkeeper  was informative and inspiring. Here is YCAN member Ewan’s review.

The Yarra and Climate Resilience: Safeguarding our City and the Yarra Valley      On the 28 Feb, YCAN hosted this event at the Fairfield Amphitheatre with Andrew Kelly, the Yarra Riverkeeper. In a wide-ranging presentation, Andrew reminded us all just how significant the Yarra River is for the city.

The forested upper reaches of the river – the source of most of the city’s precious, high-quality drinking water – are in good condition, but water quality declines downstream because of agricultural and urban run-off. About 21 per cent of the catchment retains its natural vegetation, 57 per cent is agricultural and 22 per cent is urbanised. (All figures extracted from the excellent Yarra Riverkeeper Association website.

The New Legislation

Andrew was particularly pleased with the passing of the Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Act 2017; the Bill was passed unopposed and took effect on the 1 Dec 2017. In Andrew’s words: The Bill requires a Yarra Strategy Plan to be commissioned (from Melbourne Water as the lead agency) and this plan begins with building a 50-year community vision for our river … it includes traditional owner ‘caring for country’ management for our river in an urban context.

Key Challenges

While the Yarra will continue to play an important role in a warming climate (balancing the urban heat “island” effect), the ever-expanding urban infrastructure poses a significant challenge. “In the Lower Yarra the erection of huge apartment buildings is the most obvious problem, but just as damaging is the cumulative impact of many developments on single home sites.”

The planned NE Link road project (a six-lane connection between the Eastern Freeway and the M80 Ring Road) between Bulleen and Greensborough, passes just metres from the Bolin Bolin Billabong, a highly sacred site to the Wurundjeri people. Great ceremonies were held there between April and May with more than 1,000 people attending … Wetlands like the Bolin Bolin Billabong are incredibly important to the health of the landscape. More information available here and here.

Given that underground tunnelling for the NE Link will be required adjacent to this Billabong, the Wurundjeri people must be wondering how this route for the Link could ever have been justified.

Andrew also highlighted the need to address other problems associated with our expanding city; these problems included the litter accumulating in our waterways, and the damage caused by intense (off-track) bike use in the Yarra Environs.

In conclusion, this event was a most important reminder of the need for groups like the Yarra Riverkeeper Association, and for effective advocates for this significant resource; thank you Andrew. YCAN acknowledges that funding was received from the City of Yarra, and that the event was part of the National Sustainable Living Festival 2018.

What you can do for the Yarra River

  • Join the Yarra Riverkeeper Association
  • Tell the Victorian Government you oppose the NE Link on the grounds of its proximity to area of significance for the Wurundjeri.
  • Contact the City of Yarra and tell them they must bring forward the construction of Gross Litter Traps in the municipality, to reduce the amount of litter entering our waterways.

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Yarra Riverkeeper Event

YCAN is hosting an event as part of the Sustainable Living Festival, featuring a talk by Yarra Riverkeeper, Andrew Kelly.

Join us as Andrew speaks about the Yarra River’s  key role in the biodiversity and resilience of our city as the climate warms. He will share his passion for the health and history of the Yarra. Within sight of a curve in the river, Andrew will outline how all Melbournians must advocate on behalf of the Yarra.

6.30–8 pm Wednesday 28th February
Fairfield Amphitheatre, Fairfield Park Drive, Fairfield Vic
$5 includes refreshments

Bookings essential via Eventbrite
This event is hosted by YCAN with funding from City of Yarra.

Food scraps are not a load of rubbish

Food_Waste-15YCAN members have a message we want to send to the City of Yarra, and on Sunday we did that with what some people think is a load of rubbish.

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During the week, we collected our food scraps. Then, outside Richmond Town Hall, we wrote our message in cabbage leaves, pumpkin skin and orange peel. And this is the result. We were pretty proud of our work.

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Sending food waste to landfill costs ratepayers a lot of money. Not only that, when it goes to landfill it quickly gets covered and decomposes anaerobically (without oxygen). This process emits methane, a greenhouse gas with 28 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

There are alternatives. Food scraps can be converted into compost, fertiliser or biogas.

 

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We gave these food scraps to some very appreciative chooks. But not everyone in Yarra has access to chickens, or the space to compost. What we want is a system that gives all Yarra residents an alternative to putting their food scraps in the bin. We reckon that if councils and shires around the country, such as Wodonga, Port Adelaide, Colac Otway and Mitcham SA, can recycle their food waste, then so can Yarra.

Food scraps are not a load of rubbish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yarra Sustainability Awards

Last week I was highly commended in the Local Hero category of the City of Yarra Sustainability Awards. I am honoured to receive this award, but I want to point out the obvious — I wasn’t alone. The award is shared with all YCAN members, past and present, who have persisted over the years in our efforts to lobby governments at all levels to do the right thing as far as climate change is concerned.

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Petition to Cut Food Waste in Yarra

food_waste_Dump150% of the City of Yarra’s domestic waste going to landfill is organic waste, including a large proportion of food waste.
Why is this important? Decomposition of organic waste in landfill produces methane, a greenhouse gas with 28 times the global-warming potential of carbon dioxide.
Objective 1 in the “City of Yarra Waste Strategy 2014-18” is to ‘work towards eliminating organics from waste stream’. Current actions will not achieve elimination of green and food waste from Yarra’s domestic bins.
We are campaigning to get Yarra City Council to develop an effective municipality-wide strategy for domestic food waste disposal as a matter of priority.
Please support this campaign and sign our petition.

URGENT ACTION TONIGHT: Urban Ag Facilitator at risk…again

The position of Urban Agriculture Facilitator has been earmarked for axing again in the 2015-16 City of Yarra Draft Budget. Come and help us overturn this decision TONIGHT at the Fitzroy Town Hall, 6.30.
Members of the public will have the opportunity to speak against what some councillors are calling “middle-class welfare”.
See today’s article in The Age
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/guerilla-gardens-yarra-residents-defend-urban-agriculture-officer-position-20150519-gh59r8.html

Bring Out your Bills!

To support the Livewell “Decarb Your Life” program, our next meeting will be a special event hosted by award-winning sustainable architect Ande Bunbury to discuss reducing our carbon footprint in practical ways. We’re asking all those interested to bring along their household bills to the meeting. 7pm, Wednesday 13 May Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre (20 Princes St, Carlton) Please RSVP to Kerry – echberg@netspace.net.au If you can’t join us on the night, you can still sign up to be involved in one of the 10 decarb groups in Yarra.