Have Your Say ~ Armidale Aboriginal Memorial

Aboriginal Memorials from around Australia

A poll has been launched to gauge the level of support for the establishment of an Aboriginal Memorial. Views are invited from both the Aboriginal and the wider community. The proposed purpose for the memorial is to acknowledge and commemorate contributions of Aboriginal people to the Armidale area.

According to Steve (Dugan) Widders, Anaiwan Elder and Community Liaison Officer with Armidale Dumaresq Council, there is currently no memorial which recognises the significant contributions of Aboriginal people to the Armidale community and district.

“Aboriginal people have lived in the Armidale area for 30-40,000 years or more,” says Dugan. “Armidale particularly has been a meeting place for many Aboriginal peoples. In fact Armidale has been a place of education and learning for many millennia. Various Aboriginal peoples would regularly come together in the high country to exchange knowledge.”

Starfish Enterprises have been engaged by Armidale Dumaresq Council to assess the feasibility of creating of an Aboriginal Memorial.

“We are keen to know the views of as many interested people as we can,” said Adam Blakester, the lead researcher for Starfish. “This poll is one of a several streams of research being undertaken. The study is also looking at the lessons from other Aboriginal Memorials around the country, funding opportunities, possible sites as well as the creative design and maintenance requirements for the memorial itself.”

The poll is just a few questions and can be completed online at:

More details about the Feasibility Study can be found here.

Australia’s Second Community Wind Farm is Live

[frame src=”http://starfishenterprises.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/OpenBusinessDenmark.jpg” width=”625″ height=”270″ lightbox=”on” title=”Denmark Community Wind Farm ~ Open for Business!” align=”left” ]

Australia’s second community wind farm ~ Denmark Community Wind Farm ~ has officially started producing energy. Denmark follows Hepburn Wind which was Australia’s first, and both are leading more than five dozen other community energy projects which are under development across Australia. Most of these have a solar focus, however there are also several more wind farms and a few micro-hydro.

Community energy presents an incredible opportunity for rural communities. Locally owned energy brings significant economic and financial benefits, for local shareholders, supply businesses and the energy users. Renewable energy is profoundly more environmentally benign that existing fossil fuel electricity and the social dividends are significant, particularly from the focus on energy affordability and education rather than profit.

Starfish is working on several community energy projects: New England Wind, Farming the Sun, the North Coast Energy Forum and is a founding member of the Coalition for Community Energy (watch this space for news of this new initiative soon!).

Read more about Denmark Community Wind Farm here

Artist Matt Hope adjusts the helmet linked to his air filtration bike in front of the China Central Television (CCTV) building on a hazy day in Beijing, March 26, 2013. Photo: Petar Kujundzic

United Nations ~ Air pollution scourge underestimated, clean energy can help

Air pollution is an underestimated scourge that kills far more people than AIDS and malaria and a shift to cleaner energy could easily halve the toll by 2030, U.N. officials said on Tuesday.

Investments in solar, wind or hydropower would benefit both human health and a drive by almost 200 nations to slow climate change, blamed mainly on a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from use of fossil fuels, they said.

A 2012 World Health Organization (WHO) study found that 3.5 million people die early annually from indoor air pollution and 3.3 million from outdoor air pollution. Toxic particles shorten lives by causing diseases such as pneumonia or cancer.

“The problem has been underestimated in the past,” Maria Neira, the WHO’s director of public health and environment, told Reuters.

“If we increase access to clean energy … the health benefits will be enormous. Maybe the health argument was not used enough” in debate on encouraging a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energies, she said.

Starfish is working on a number of community-owned clean energy initiatives. The combined economic, health and environmental benefits of this model make it one of the most valuable components for rural sustainability.

Find out more…
Source: PlanetArk

Community Ownership Transforming our Energy Systems

Cooperatives Driving the New EconomyCharles Cotton never gave much thought to the fact that he owns a piece of Jackson Energy Cooperative, the utility that delivers power to his home in Berea, Ky. His grandparents used to go every year to the co-op’s annual meeting and cook-out, where member-owners elect representatives and vote on cooperative business, but Cotton himself has never gone. He uses Jackson Energy simply because it’s the only utility serving his region.

But last November, Cotton’s membership paid off in a way he hadn’t expected: The cooperative gave him an energy upgrade, installing a plastic moisture barrier underneath his house and replacing his old furnace with an efficient heat pump. Cotton’s home now feels warmer and his electric bills have dropped significantly, but he never paid a dime up front.

Jackson Energy’s status as a cooperative led directly to Cotton’s retrofit.

Starfish’s community energy initiatives: Farming the Sun, New England Wind, North Coast Energy Forum
Find out more…
Source: Yes!

Shebeen ~ True Responsible Drinking

Shebeen | MelbourneA new Melbourne bar is serving up beer from developing countries with the profits going to projects in the country of origin. Jackie Hanafie puts the spotlight on this emerging social enterprise.

Shebeen takes its name from the illegal drinking dens of South Africa and Zimbabwe that sprang up during apartheid.

The way it works, in theory, is simple. Buy a beer that’s been imported from a developing country and the profit will be funnelled back to projects in that beer’s country of origin.

Cosily tucked away in Melbourne’s Manchester Lane, everything you see in the bar is second hand, mostly sourced from salvage yards. The chairs are made from an old school’s woodwork class while the tables were put together from old hoarding board from construction sites.

Starfish also utilises enterprise to create social change. See our community enterprises here.

Find out more…
Source: ProBono News

Feldheim ~ Germany’s energy self-sufficient village

Nations as diverse as North Korea and the United States have sent delegations to visit a tiny village in former East Germany to see how it has transformed the way it uses energy.

A 60-minute drive south of Berlin and home to about 125 people, Feldheim is Germany’s first and only energy self-sufficient village and attracts both international energy experts and politicians.

“We’re seen as pioneers and the world wants to know whether they can duplicate our success,” said Joachim Gebauer, a 55-year-old former teacher who guides visitors through the remote hamlet.

“No coal or gas is burned here, it’s all clean.”

Instead, Feldheim is powered by a mix of 43 wind turbines, a woodchip-fired heating plant and a biogas plant that uses cattle and pig slurry as well as maize silage.

Local energy costs of 16.6 euro cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) are just a little more than half of the 27-30 cents Germans pay on average, according to the New Energies Forum Feldheim, an information center.

Starfish is working with the New England High Country and NSW North Coast regions to create sustainable energy systems with high levels of local community ownership. See New England Wind, Farming the Sun and North Coast Energy Forum.

Find out more…
Source: PlanetArk

Economics word cloud from ABS analysis of Australia's 55 regional development plans

Australia’s Regional Development Priorities

The Australian Bureau of Statistics have completed an analysis of Australia’s regional development priorities and challenges. This analysis has been based upon the 55 regional development plans prepared from each of the members of Regional Development Australia.

The findings from their analysis include:
– the need to diversify regional economies
– recognition of climate change as a key challenge
– the priority for meeting education and health needs
– youth development being a priority
– infrastructure needs are paramount

Starfish facilitated the large-scale participatory planning for the Northern Inland (NSW) Regional Development Plan.

Find out more…

North Coast Energy Forum: Lismore

CLAIM THE DATE ||| 31 May 2013 |||

The North Coast Energy Forum is back this year and will be holding a day-long forum in Lismore 31 May. The goal of this grassroots initiative, founded in 2010, is to help the North Coast “grow its own” sustainable energy system.

“After two highly successful events in Bellingen in 2010 and Mullumbimby in 2011 we thought it was time to take a step back and see how things developed locally”, said forum convenor Mark Byrne.

Starfish is a long-term partner of the Forum, a member of the Organising Committee and Forum Facilitator.

Read more

King of the Trees

[frame src=”http://starfishenterprises.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/KingOfTheTrees.jpg” width=”300″ height=”IMAGE_HEIGHT” lightbox=”on” title=”King of the Trees ~ Source: Australia Network News” align=”right” ] The 57-year-old Taiwanese entrepreneur made his fortune in transportation and property, but his real mission in life is to reinstate at least some of the forests that once covered most of the island.
“It was just a simple idea I had,” said Mr Lai from a hillside near his native Taichung city in central Taiwan.

“If I was to safeguard Taiwan, I would have to plant trees.”

For the past three decades, Mr Lai has bought and planted thousands of trees every year, often with his own hands.

Today his efforts can be seen in the form of 130 hectares of mountainsides near Taichung covered with 270,000 deep-rooted trees, representing indigenous species such as Taiwan incense cedar and cinnamomum micranthum.

Find out more…
Source: Australia Network News

Starfish to Facilitate EcoArts Australis’ Conference

The arts are uniquely placed to explain the problem of climate change and other environmental challenges to the general public, and to motivate people to work towards solutions and adopting more sustainable lifestyles.

The EcoArts Australis annual conference is an opportunity for you to network and communicate with others who are using the arts in creative ways to foster environmental sustainability.

EcoArts Australis conference
12th –13th May 2013
Innovation Campus, University of Wollongong, Wollongong NSW
and Armidale NSW via web-based connection

Find out more…
Source: EcoArts Australis