eNews February 2020


Hello from Sustainable Living Tasmania

Opportunities to volunteer:





What’s in store for Sustainable Living Tasmania in 2020?
Photo of Shane Bartel SLT President.

Happy 2020 to all our members and partners!  I sincerely hope you’ve had a safe and enjoyable festive season with friends and family.

Perhaps like me, during those moments of quiet contemplation your thoughts were occupied with rationalising some of the extraordinary events that have taken place in our country recently.  There is a renewed call by everyday Australians to shift our lifestyle to a less carbon intensive future in order to decelerate the impact of climate change.  Our current national leadership has not been facilitating this process, however in spite of this, the push from local governments, large organisations, and mums & dads has been significant.
In 2019 we saw an unprecedented shift from industry to source their electricity directly from renewable energy generators with no sign of slowing for 2020.  The excuses we hear that Australia only contributes a fraction of global carbon-equivalent emissions has been refuted by many ASX200 companies and State governments who set courageous RE100 targets last year.  Their shareholders and electorate are telling them in no uncertain terms that carbon neutrality is not just a moral obligation, it’s critical for Australia to achieve in order to participate in future global trade.

I believe 2019 was a turning point for Australia, not out of ideology but necessity, and 2020 has brought with it a momentum for change that cannot be ignored.  2019 also brought the completion of another chapter for Sustainable Living Tasmania in our pursuit to achieve a more sustainable way of life on this beautiful island, and now in 2020 - with your help - we’re seeking to write the next chapter.

Over the coming months, we’re planning growth in Sustainable Living Tasmania’s contribution to Tasmanians.  We are developing long-term programs of work that provide real, transparent and replicable change to our carbon footprint by focussing on the education and lower income sectors of our State.  We have a small and passionate team undertaking this work through our Board, operations team, contractors, volunteers and stakeholders, but we want you to “add your light to the sum of light” by emailing us with suggestions on how we can make a difference.  Whether it’s a late-night epiphany or a two-day workshop, we’re always looking for people to help identify and drive these initiatives.  Please consider what you can offer, and let us know what you feel we should be pursuing for 2020 – we will always listen!

Thank you to all our members, staff and Board for continuing to support Sustainable Living Tasmania.  You are carrying the torch on our 48th year, and I am proud to be working alongside you. Shane Bartel (SLT President)

Electric Vehicle Review
Electric vehicle being charged.

"We have had our 24kWh 2014 Nissan Leaf from The Good Car Company for 3 or 4 months now. And we love it. We are a two car family, and manage to use the EV for ~90% of our driving (as well as the regular use of an electric bike for commuting). The Corolla is now mostly relegated for our long range weekend trips.

The Leaf arrived in immaculate condition and is an absolute pleasure to drive. Our model has a great sound system, heated seats and steering wheel and is comfortable with plenty of head room for our tall family. It has a surprising large capacity in the boot - we are regularly carting bikes in the back. Obviously it is quiet and the silent "sssssss" as we pull in and out of the traffic is always calming (and still surprising). Owning an EV does require a mind shift from relying on a long range tank of petrol, to nightly (or regular) top-ups. However, given that the majority of our driving is short range trips around town, this causes no logistical issues (as long as we remember to plug in when we are home!). 

Our Leaf has a driving range of around 100 km, however our daily commuting and driving needs are less than this and so we usually limit the charging to 80% (for battery preservation). We plug the car in every night and top it up using the Off-Peak rate of Tariff 93, which costs 15 cents/kWh (average nightly cost of recharging is about ~$1.80, so our weekly driving costs for ~350-400 km are ~$12.60). The plug fits in snugly and can be locked into position, if charging outdoors. The charging time is easily set up with the on board timer, so for us it will only charge during Off-Peak times, except when we override this. One of the secret delights of owning an EV is driving past petrol stations and knowing you just don't have to go in!

The energy consumption information is fascinating, and provides interesting insight into how much energy is actually required to haul one and a half tonnes of car around! 

For our family we are so grateful to have access to an affordable EV, as driving was our biggest personal contribution to carbon emissions. The Leaf goes a long way to reducing those emissions. The comfort and cost savings are additional bonuses. And most exciting for me, is we have a learner driver, who may just become a low emissions driver into the future!" (Rebecca Boyle - SLT Sustainability Consultant)

Want to know more about buying an electric vehicle, or to register for an upcoming community electric vehicle bulk buy.

Global Climate Strike
School strike 2019

Remember this? One of the global School Strikes for Climate last year. Somewhere between 14.000 and 20,000 people marched in Hobart streets. Maybe you were there. I was - on this corner in a hi-vis vest helping organise the traffic marshals to keep the kids safe from cars. The joy, energy and courage of the young people brought me to tears. (Margaret Steadman - SLT Vice-President)

There will another global strike on Friday May 15. Put it in your diary. More details closer to the date.
Acting on Climate Change
Monopoly board.

The Green New Deal and Modern Monetary Theory 

Everyone’s talking about a Green New Deal – but how are we going to pay for it and does a new economic theory have the answer?

On being elected Leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt committed to a Green New Deal for Australia, matching commitments by British Labor Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn prior to the 2019 British Parliamentary election and several US Democrats contending for the 2020 US Presidential election.

The idea of the Green New Deal is to copy the ‘New Deal’ that US President Roosevelt introduced to help drive the US economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s but use it to address pressing environmental issues, particularly climate change. A New Deal is about massive spending programs and infrastructure projects.

A Green New Deal would involve massive spending on new renewable energy infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions, redressing damage to coastal eco-systems, re-wilding to restore lost biodiversity and other projects, but the question is: where does the money come from?

For many Green New Deal proponents, the answer is Modern Monetary Theory. MMT says governments that control their own currencies and can print their own money, like Australia can print and spend as much as they need to. There is a limit - the real productive capacity of the economy (think people and factories) to meet the demand. If the limit is exceeded, there will be inflation, prices going up with too much money chasing too few goods being produced.

This turns conventional fiscal policy on its head, balanced budgets are nothing more than dogma, and the only limit on government spending is the risk of inflation. Given that the Central Banks of most advanced economies are struggling to meet their inflation targets MMT would seem to be the magic bullet to solving the world’s climate crisis.

The fundamental problem is that people believe too much in money as something that is real. Accepting MMT means accepting that the money in your wallet or your bank account is really the same as the money in a game of monopoly; it’s just that everybody in the country is playing the same game.

Locally Productive, Globally Connected Cities
Birds eye view of a city.

Sustainability and liveability depend on collective action and co-designed solutions which benefit the planet and the future of humanity.  Fab City is a global initiative involving a network of cities, regions and countries who have pledged to work towards producing everything they consume by embracing a circular economy and digital social innovation. Checkout the Fab City website.