Within the recent and turbulent history of climate science and renewable energy technology, it's become utterly clear that emotion, ideology and opinion take precedence over science and engineering, when it comes to the public understanding of climate science, and our response to its implications. Logically this might seem counter intuitive but this isn't as odd as we might expect - in fact, modern research around science communication and psychology suggest good reasons why this might be expected.
As resistance to change and fears persist in the general community, understanding the role of psychology in our comprehension of this most fundamental and uniquely difficult existential challenge is key to developing an effective response.
For our September GreenUps we've gathered a fine group of speakers, from the worlds of clean tech, climate science, psychology and philosophy to help lead the conversation on this most interesting of topics.
Dr Tim Rayner - Tim is a philosopher and disruptive thinker with a focus on the Philosophy of Change. His most recent book is Life Changing: A Philosophical Guide. Tim is also a Film-maker Coalition of the Willing (2010). His current project is One Million Acts of Innovation.
Sally Gillespie - Sally is a doctoral candidate at the University of Western Sydney researching psychological responses to climate change engagement. She practiced as a Jungian psychotherapist for over twenty years, and served as the President of the CG Jung Society of Sydney from 2006 to 2010. Sally is the author of Living the Dream and The Book of Dreaming.
Eleanor Glenn - Eleanor is a Values, framing and communication strategist with a background in environmental sciences and government policy. Eleanor is currently doctoral candidate with the Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS. PhD topic: "Exploring climate change through dialogue"
Ketan Joshi - Ketan is a renewable energy researcher and communications officer, working at Australia's largest specialist renewable energy company. He's written for The Guardian, Climate Spectator and Renew Economy on issues ranging from community engagement through to wind farm output. Ketan studied psychology and neuroscience at university.
I hope you will join us at Freda's in Chippendale (a short walk from Central Station) next Tuesday 2nd of September for what is shaping up to be a very interesting evening.
Greenies. Environmentalism. Sustainability. Pretty regular stuff right?
This month we depart with tradition and invite you to paticipate in a conversation exploring the intersection of spirituality and sustainability.
What is the common ground between environmentalism and various beliefsystems? We've invited a diverce group of thinkers (some might say a 'broad church') to lead our discussion and share their thoughts on what their faith shares with environmentalism.
Rhonda Itaoui - The Islamic Sciences & Research Academy Australia has a wealth of experience in educating diverse audiences about environmental ethics from an Islamic perspective. Rhonda is regularly involved in delivering education to student audiences about the environmental principles that underpin Islam.
Peter Thompson - Peter convenes the DharmaGaia Fellowship and Meetup, Peter is a Zen Buddhist whose practice is informed by an understanding of humanity's place in the ecosphere, one which many of you will share.
Paul Newman - Paul is a lecturer at the University of Western Sydney, whose research interests include sustainability and cultural and natural landscapes, with particular reference to Aboriginal culture. Paul has both studied and embodied an ethos of sustainability, one which Aboriginal people have been practising for thousands of years.
Thea Ormerod - President of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change. Thea brings an activist-informed perspective with years of experience in the field of social justice, and has most recently been involved in interfaith action around Maules Creek coal mine.
Join us for possibly our first non-secular conversation - and Tweet or post questions on our Facebook page.
If you've ever looked at a church and wondered what it means for environmentalism - this night is for you!
If you have specific questions you would like to ask our guests please email me.
If we actually dug out of the ground and burned all the known fossil fuel reserves it would spell catastrophe for life on earth – that’s the fundamental premise of the Unburnable Carbon dilemma.
The issue is that a lot of money has been invested on the assumption that the world’s carbon reserves, particularly abundant coal here in Australia, can be commercialised and bought to market, but the risks are now apparent both to the environmentalists who’ve raised the alarm and the asset owners who are financially responsible for these stranded assets.
For July GreenUps we’ve invited some bright financial minds to share their insights on this issue. What is the big banks and other institutional asset owner’s awareness around this issue, and how can we as concerned citizens and engaged stakeholders, make them take responsibility and act on this catastrophic risk?
Speakers on the night include:
Simon O’Connor is the CEO of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia, an industry body that represents 150 investors managing over $500 billion. Simon is an economist, having worked in various roles at the convergence of economics, finance and sustainability, from consulting to industry, investment analyst, to recent work within the NGO sector, before joining RIAA in 2013. RIAA works with its members to help investors better understand how environmental and social factors impact upon investment returns.
Michael Salvatico - Vice President MSCI ESG. MSCI is a leading provider of investment decision support tools. The MSCI Global Sustainability Index competitively ranks companies across a set of ESG (Environmental, Social and corporate Governance) signals to establish best practice and identify exposure. Michael is an established research analyst specialising in portfolio analysis and investment strategy and was a cofounder in the Climakind initiative to reduce global carbon emissions by promoting a price on carbon.
Simon Sheikh is the founder of Future Super, a soon to be launched fossil fuel free superannuation fund. Having been the National Director of GetUp and a Financial Analyst at the NSW Treasury Simon will talk about practical steps that Australians can take to shift their money out of fossil fuels.
If you have specific questions you would like to ask our guests please email me.
For the June GreenUps we're heading to the fabulous Freda's in Chippendale, where we'll be talking all things Recycling and the Circular Economy.
To share their knowledge, experience and stories, we've three great guests.
Alex Serpo - Publisher of ResourceRecovery.biz, Australia’s only dedicated website serving the recycling industry. Alex will give us an understanding of the Circular Economy, and explore the premise that 'Recycling is Sustainability'.
JP Williams - Compost Revolution Commander-in-Chief Three Council Project. JP will tell us all about the wonders of organic recycling, the compost revolution and the potential of our 'city of soil'.
Anna Minns - CEO Terracycle Australia. TerraCycle is a highly-awarded, international upcycling and recycling company that collects difficult-to-recycle packaging and products and repurposes the material into affordable, innovative products. Anna will share the Teracycle story and all about creating recycling markets.
The 3 lighting talks will be followed by a Q&A conversation. Talks will commence at 7pm. then stick around for more talking, dinner and drinks.
NOTE: We will be asking for a donation on the door to cover costs, and if you have specific questions you would like to ask our guests please email me.
For our April event GreenUps is collaborating with the Carbon Reduction Institute, to host a night exploring the concept of The Blue Economy.
The “Blue Economy”, a term coined by author and entrepreneurGunter Pauli in 2004, is seen as a progressive metamorphosis from the Green Economy, that sees the task ahead as one in which we need to create more good, instead of less bad, using a strategic, opportunity-driven rationale to connect the environmental, social and financial. Inspired by Nature (In nature there is no waste or inefficiency) fundamentally the Blue Economy is a business response to a changing economic landscape in which resource depletion and social costs are unsustainable, and therefore uneconomic and unacceptable.
To help us better understand the vision of the Blue Economy we got three distinguished speakers; Ian Dunlop, Dr Martin A Blake and Rob Cawthorne, who will explain why ‘sustainability’ and ‘green’ have become taboo words among Australian corporates, the significance of the Blue Economy to the Australian landscape, and why they feel there is a need for a new business speak.
The event will also announce the NSW launch of Blue Australasia.
This carbon neutral event will be hosted by Carbon Reduction Institute (CRI), at their headquarters in North Sydney.
CRI will kindly supply carbon neutral wine, beer and nibbles for the evening.
Dr. Martin A. Blake -
Dr. Martin A. Blake is the founder of Blue Australasia. He is named one of the Top 100 Global Sustainability Leaders of 2011 - 2013, is a global sustainability visionary and strategist, an expert in Blue Economy and integrative design, chairman, company director, speaker and mentor. He holds a working portfolio of board directorships and advisory roles encompassing Asia, Australia, Canada, the USA and Europe.
In addition to being the Founder of Blue Australasia, he is the owner of Blake Advisory, the Co-founder and Director of the “be sustainable” group of companies, the Founder and Chair of Carbon Zero Solutions, a Non-Executive Director of Sabien Technology, Ecologic Transportation, and Amida Recruitment, a Patron of Eradicating Ecocide, as well as a Strategic Advisor to the Boards of CarbonSystems, MOSS (Models of Success and Sustainability), and The Upcycle the Gyres Society.
Dr Blake chairs and advises a multitude of strategic groups, all focused on the development and deployment of energy efficient infrastructure. He is an Adjunct Professor of Sustainable Business Development at both Griffith University and the University of Southern Queensland, and is also a Visiting Fellow at the Business School of the University of Hull in the UK.
Throughout the course of his career, Dr Blake has been involved in sustainability practices on the islands of Bahrain, Singapore, Bali, Guam and Dominica.
Dr Blake is internationally recognised as having designed and deployed one of the most successful energy conservation programmes in the world, saving millions of pounds annually and winning multiple National and International awards.
Rob Cawthorne - Carbon Expert
Rob is the Managing Director of the Carbon Reduction Institute (CRI) which has the mission and vision of creating a low carbon economy whereby consumers can support products and services which have reduced climate change impacts.
CRI administers the NoCO2 certification program, which has become and remains Australia’s most heavily subscribed climate change certification program.
Of the many professionals that entered the carbon market in its embryonic stages, not many were better placed than Rob. From 2000 Rob was involved in the development of Australia's first emissions trading scheme: The Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme. This undertaking is often considered to be one of the first working models of an environmental / emissions trading scheme in the world. Rob continues to manage this scheme today.
Rob's practical understanding of emissions trading has him present and consult to corporations which have both significant risks and opportunities in a carbon constrained future.
Ian T. Dunlop - Energy Expert
A Cambridge educated engineer, with a particular interest in the interaction of corporate governance, corporate responsibility and sustainability.
Ian Dunlop was formerly a senior international oil, gas and coal industry executive. He chaired the Australian Coal Association in 1987-88, chaired the Australian Greenhouse Office Experts Group on Emissions Trading from 1998-2000 and was CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors from 1997-2001.
He is a member of the Club of Rome and a member of Mikhail Gorbachev’s Climate Change Task Force.
Fellow of the Centre for Policy Development and Chair of Safe Climate Australia he advises internationally on climate, energy and sustainability.
The federal government recently launched a formal review of Australia's 20% Renewable Energy Target (The RET), headed by a well know climate change sceptic - Dick Warburton.
Given that the RET and its associated instruments have been the single biggest driver of renewable energy uptake in Australia, any reduction or modification to the RET will dramatically effect the fragile and battered domestic renewable industry and significantly hamper our national approach to addressing climate change.
With this very real existential threat to the RET at hand we thought it would be timely to have a discussion about the current renewables landscape and the potential consequences of any reduction to the existing targets.
To shed some light on this we invited Dr Mark Diesendorf of the Institute of Environmental Studies at UNSW and Lindsay Soutar, National Director of Solar Citizens and 100% Renewable, to attempt to enlighten us and guide us through some of the murky and confusing issues around our national energy policy and the future of renewables in Australia.
Mark Diesendorf is the Deputy Director of Institute of Environmental Studies at University of New South Wales. He teaches and researches on ecologically sustainable and socially just development and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. He is the author of 'Greenhouse Solutions with Sustainable Energy' (2007) and 'Climate Action: A Campaign Manual for Greenhouse Solutions' ( 2009). His new book, 'Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change', has just been published by UNSW Press in Australia and New Zealand, and will be published for the rest of the world by Earthscan in April 2014.
Lindsay Soutar is the National Director of Solar Citizens - Lindsay became familiar with the hopes and challenges of households (and community groups) going solar through her work at renewable energy organisation 100% Renewable of which Solar Citizens is an offshoot. There she experienced first hand the continual solar-coaster of changes to solar programs to Australia, and the efforts of the big power companies trying to stop the further expansion of solar. She recently started the process to install solar on her Sydney home and thinks it just makes sense that Australia puts a panel on every rooftop!
For our final event of the year we're throwing a bit of a christmas cocktail shindig at the forecourt of the Prince Alfred Park Pool complex. So frock up an and enjoy sustainably sourced fare by Meadow Cafe and local winemakers Cake Wines, with help from the team at Real Food Projects who've also put together a wonderful local artisan produce hamper as a lucky door prize for us to give away on the night.
The theme for the event will be Biodovercity - and we'll be celebrating the wonderful new park + pool in all it's biodiverse summer glory - so bring your swimmers too if you want to have a dip (as the pool will be open).
Among the music and entertainment planned, we're delighted to have the Architect and Landscaping team behind Prince Alfred's award winning facelift, Sue Barnsley + Rachel Neeson, as guest speakers. They'll be sharing some of the design and biodiversity secrets and challenges of the project, and for those who come early Sue and her team will guide you on a tour of the Wildflower Meadow.
Also hear from Lucy Sharman, City of Sydney's Green Roofs and Walls Senior Project Officer, about some other great green surfaces both old and new and the many social, climatic and biodiversity benefits green roofs and walls bring to the city, and we'll also hear about the 202020 Vision Project ,which is a great new campaign advocating for 20% more green spaces in urban areas by 2020 from 202020 Vision advocate Sacha Coles Director of ASPECT Studios - landscape architect lead for The Goods Line in Ultimo - a future green space within the city.
We'll also have a live music performance from pop duo Divine Union. Luke Dixon and Lindsay Drummond bring together messages of wisdom, hope and inspiration through music that crosses geographical and stylistic borders. The husband and wife duo merge radio friendly Western Pop Music with Eastern Philosophy, Spirituality and New Age themes. You will be taken on a musical and spiritual journey that will lead you back home…to you.
Food, Drinks & Prizes:
GreenUps is delighted to hold our November event in conjunction with the inaugural national Change Makers Festival running across the country.
As a social-networking evening that has run for almost 5 years GreenUps has showcased, inspired, facilitated, connected and supported change-makers passionate about making the world around them more sustainable.
Every GreenUps we pick a theme drawn from the sustainability movement, framed by the context of 'change making', this month we thought it might be interesting to explore the concept of personal sustainability - the set of tools practices and rituals needed in ones life to nurture the personal wellbeing required to sustain a committed and flourishing life able to creating positive change in the world.
To nurture your mind we've invited three leaders in their respective fields to share what the concept of personal sustainability means to them and what they do to nurture their own lives.
Giselle has practised wholistic & integrative medicine since graduating in Medicine from the UNSW in 1979. After training in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Herbalism, Nutrition and Ayurveda. Giselle is the author of two books and innumerable health articles, she appeared regularly on national radio, has lectured at universities and naturopathic colleges and international conferences. Giselle is currently doing research in nutrition and gynaecology.
Mike is the founder of Evolution to Wellbeing a holistic fitness program that promotes community, accountability and commitment as part of a daily group exercise regime. Mike is also a co-founder of mensgroup.info a community dedicated to promoting real conversations amongst men enabling them to talk about life's challenges, purpose, direction and fulfillment. Mike is also a proud father of two boys, with another baby on the way!
Urban Permaculture Permaculture design is for much more than gardens. "I share design tricks that help us get more out of our ‘inner’ life - inside our homes, our relationships, and our thinking". Cecilia is bilingual and integrates Japanese Zen practices into her permaculture design thinking, which she then applies to enable "people to become pro-active, and overcome those obstacles to taking good care of ourselves and our world".
Daragh started Guerrilla Mindfulness to raise awareness of the value of putting mindfulness practice into everyday life. "I can see the relationship between mindfulness and personal sustainability - mindfulness is a tool I use to help me direct my attention and energy in a more considered and therefore sustainable manner!" Daragh will take the group through a mindfulness meditation exercise.
This month GreenUps heads to the East Sydney Hotel, a wonderful heritage establishment in the heart of Woolloomooloo tucked in behind William Street on the city fringe, opened in 1856 the East Sydney also known as "the pub with no pokies" is the oldest continually licensed drinking hole in Sydney, and has steadfastly held out against the pressures of gambling machines.
Harald and Trish who ran the pub for over 30 years until this year saw pokies as a "moral issue" believing there was "enough gaming in NSW with the TABs and the dogs, without turning the pubs into mini casinos to rip off working people." We've invited the new licensees to share their thoughts on the future of the 'the pub with no pokies'.
Also joining us on the night are Corrine Fisher from the Better Planning Network who will explain the current situation with the NSW State parliaments recently proposed plans to aggressively wind back essential environmental protection laws.
The Clovelly Road Better Block team will also be making an appearance to share a few project stories and drum up some more interest for their transformative day of direct action at the end of the month.
Connect with Sydney creatives and sustainability professionals at the monthly GreenUps networking evening.
This September well be down in the funky industrial basement of the Assembly Bar in the CBD exchanging creative juices, sharing tall stories and radical strategies for how we can repair our broken world.
So if you'd rather spend your tuesday evening meeting & mingling with folks immersed-in or curious about making what they do more sustainable then please come along an join us for what is always a memorable evening.
GreenUps, always on the first tuesday of the month, is an informal drinks night that is fun, diverse, inclusive, creative and lively. See you there!
An election is looming. The nation has mandated they want action on climate change but the recently enacted Greens-led price on carbon is a political hot potato and both Rudd’s newly re-formed Government and Abbott’s poll-leading Opposition are positioning themselves to ‘tax the axe’ if they form government. This message does seem to have traction with electorate, and yet would be expensive, regressive and reactionary. So is the hollow rhetoric of the politics drowning out the vision and purpose of the policy?
For this month’s Greenup’s we invited the three major parties (ALP, The Libs and The Greens) to come and share their party’s environmental and climate change platforms and their personal sustainability vision.
Some of our guests are still being finalised (actually we are just waiting to hear back from the ALP as to whether that can have a candidate present) there are also some ongoing discussions about the the format but regardless this is going to be a memorable GreenUps! So please make sure you RSVP and make sure you tell your friends.
NOTE: We will be asking for a small donation (optional) on the door to cover costs (with any remaining proceeds going to charity), and if you have specific questions you would like to ask our guests please email me.
With Abbott sending clear signals that he intends to fast-track approval for large scale coal mines if elected to power later in the year and with Rudd’s position on the Carbon Tax still unclear it’s vital that Australia’s coal export industry and domestic coal based Energy industry be put on the political centre stage in the lead up to this election.
Big Coal knows the writing‘s on the wall, and that they only have a limited time-frame in which to lock in investment in future coal production before it is no longer cost competitive.
The finance and investment sector are at a tipping point too. Forward thinking investors are beginning to realise investing in coal long-term does not make economic sense (let alone equate an act of environmental suicide).
Inspired by the recent Bill McKibben Do The Maths tour there’s a grassroots momentum growing across Australia calling for financial institutions to divest from coal in the name of economic risk management and in the cause of Environmental Responsibility - Greenup’s invites you to join this growing crowd calling for their Banks, Superannuation and Investment Funds to divest from coal.
At this month's GreenUps we will be discussing the Maths, the Politics and Divestment Strategies. We will also be engaging in some Digital Activism so bring your smart phones, tablets and other socially connected devices so you can help get your message out.
If you can’t make it along tonight I encourage you to show your support and do your bit to Divest.
Please sign this open letter to the heads of the big four banks urging them to adopt critical change in their investment policies.
Send a message to your banks putting them on notice that they must end loans to new coal and gas mining, transport and export projects or you will withdraw your business.
For more info on this campaign
Go Fossil Free Australia
The Conversation – Do the Maths: Bill McKibben argues for divestment
Renew Economy - Will financial markets veto Australia’s mega coal mines?
GreenUps is doing Vivid for June. Come and hear from some leading creatives as they talk about how they incorporate re-use, re-purposing and sustainability principles into their work.
Zev Bianchi is an industrial product designer who has spent much of his professional career living and working in New York City, Berlin Germany and of course Sydney. He is passionate about creating the best living environments in the least space, focusing on sustainable materials and compact design.
At Vivid GreenUps Zev will talk about how sustainability and smart design influences his practice as well as his Protohub concept, a community project to encourage like-minded designers to design, create & collaborate in a shared workshop and show case their fruits of labor, designs and prototypes in Protohub’s ever changing showroom.
Belle Flaneur and two of her collaborators will talk about the changing consumer attitudes to waste. Natalie Coulter, principal of the visual merchandising and education group Belle Flaneur, uses unlikely urban treasures for her window displays, art installations and more. Two of her frequent collaborators are Milk Crate Events, who will present their astounding work involving recycled milk cartons and crates, and architect Sophie Hoppe, who will discuss her architecture and jewellery crafted from construction waste.
As part of the Rocks Windmill project, May GreenUps is co-curated by Rekindle Projects. We will present an intimate evening where GreenUppers will learn about the Rekindle Project. We will be encouraged to think about the types of skills we would like to learn or share to provide us with sustainable cross-cultural and cross-generational solutions that are practical and effective.
So think about what Grannies and our elders from around the world have done to be ‘sustainable’ without meaning to be, i.e. preserving, pickling, jamming, knitting, seed saving, gardening, fixing things. We hope to celebrate these connections and think about applying them to our current sustainable practices and life.
Guests speakers on the night include:
Refreshments care of The Apple Thief Cidre and Wok on Inn.
Ticket price Includes & a tasty glass of Apple Thief Cider.
If you'd like to stay informed about all that's going on at GreenUps, including what's happenig at upcoming events, please register below:
GreenUps – green drinking to inspire green thinking.
Green Drinks International happens in more than 45 countries and 448 cities around the world. The Sydney Chapter, GreenUps is an informal monthly drinks night that helps support the creative, inspired and lively community of people who already immersed or curious about sustainability.
The first GreenUps was held at (our spiritual home) The Falconer Cafe in March 2009 and we’ve painted Sydney-town green every first Tuesday of the month (except the Januaries) ever since.
Most months we choose a GreenUps theme. Themes have included food, fashion, film, art, design, business, investment, activism, bikes as well as our less formal ‘grab-a-drink-and-hang-out’ nights.
People generally rock-up at around 6.30, grab a drink or two, listen to our speakers and get to know each other. Great things have come out of GreenUps events – jobs, new projects, new wardrobes, prizes, inspiration, and even true love.
Not usually. GreenUps is hosted by an independent committee of diverse individuals, no-one (except maybe the venues) makes any money from GreenUps so on the few occasion that we ticket an event or ask for a donation it is to cover costs like food or drinks at a non-pub/bar venue.
Anyone and everyone! Artists, filmmakers, scientists, lawyers, gardeners, Government folk, corporate folk, Not-for-profit folk, fashionistas, foodies, hippies, media and just about everyone in between come to GreenUps – that’s the whole point.
More than anything GreenUps should be fun. So we kindly ask that if you have an idea for a speaker, event theme, cause, event or product to promote that you get in touch with one of the committee members well ahead of time.
We not so keen on the idea of GreenUps being a great big spruik and want to maintain it’s uniqueness. So please don’t bring fliers or other promo material to events, you are of course more than welcome to post discussion topics and other relevant info to our facebook or meetups pages.
When is it?
GreenUps is always the first Tuesday of the month – except for January (imagine if it fell on New Year’s Day!)
Where is it?
Wherever possible GreenUps chooses to support independent bars and venues, however due to our ever-increasing numbers we can’t always fit everyone in.
If you have a cracker idea for a venue we want to know about it! We can’t afford to hire the place, but we can certainly bring a bunch of business on a Tuesday evening.
GreenUps kicks-off at around 6-6.30pm and winds-up around 9.30-10pm.
If we have speakers they will usually take the floor at around 7pm. We try to keep the formal parts of the evening to an hour maximum so that you get to talk to people.
GreenUps is an Encoporated Not-for-Profit Association. It's overseen by a board of volunteers from diverse backgrounds. We are passionate about sustainability and truly believe that it takes all types of people and interesting ideas to solve the big complicated problems with which we are all faced.
GreenUps Board Members:
The GreenUps events are a collaborative process. We rely on the help of a dedicated core of volunteers and often co-host events in conjunction with other creative and passionate groups.
Special Thanks must go to:
Dan Cass, Dave Gravina, Phill Stubbs, Kate Betwell, Mell Flanigan, Merissa Guber, Shelby Burns, Katherine Lustig, Bethan Harris,
At the moment we’re giving a lot of thought as to how we make GreenUps even better.
We’re looking for ways to formalise the group so we can do even cooler things (things that require public liability insurance and some money), have volunteers involved, Co-Curators, and perhaps pay someone to help us with the day-to-day admin.
We’re really open to your ideas and feedback as to how this could happen (and also what you wouldn’t like to see happen). So please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
You can contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Join the GreenUps facebook group. Follow GreenUps updates on twitter. The GreenUps on the International Green Drinks: See you at GreenUps!