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Transition Town Margaret River


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Presentation – introducing Transition Margaret River

By Karen Majer

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Transition Margaret River is a grass-roots community group, part of the worldwide Transition Network.

It’s a community-led local approach to creating a more sustainable, resilient, happier society in the face of challenges in today’s world, especially climate change, economic uncertainty and unsustainable resource use.

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We formed in 2012, recognising the need for a group to tackle the issues of becoming a more sustainable community. Transition provided a good model of a positive local approach.

At that stage there were several organisations focusing on specific issues. Over the years, more activities started up, and we took on a networking function, supporting other groups and providing the big-picture story.

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Over the years, more activities started up, and we took on a networking function, supporting other groups and providing the big-picture story.

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We see Transition as an inspiration and a catalyst for our community to move towards being more supportive and resilient, and living in greater harmony with our natural resources.

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Our ages range from teens to nineties. Occupations include farmers, academics, professionals, tradies, local business owners and employees, vignerons, artists, teachers, students, retirees – – -.

We are intercultural.

We have no formal membership, no fees, and everyone is welcome.

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Many of us have qualifications – what you see is just a sample – but you don’t need degrees.

All of us bring skills and life experiences that make up a rich community of people with a common passion for a better future.

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Our range of skills enables a broad spread of activities, including practical projects, training and communications, so everyone can play a valued role.

Our community reach is wide – we have over 780 people on our Newsletter circulation and an active Facebook page.

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Our diverse interests are catered for by a wide range of volunteering opportunities from cake baking to engaging kids in recycled craft activities, gardening, running events, representing the community on Shire Committees – and many more. Again, there’s something for everyone.

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We have about 50 active volunteers, maybe more – there are so many projects that it’s hard to keep track. More than 20 of them are on the organising ‘hub’. We have a flexible, non-hierarchical, structure with no Steering Committee. Common threads among the reasons people join in are a feeling of belonging, nurturing, hope, and actually getting things done.

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Our focus is holistic, and again that provides a huge range of opportunities for people to engage in their special interests.

We hold regular community events. The annual ‘Love where you live’ Sustainability Pavilion at the Margaret River Ag Show give the educators and crafty folk lots of scope.

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Underpinning everything is SHARING – including information, ideas and discussion at our films, meetings and sustainability seminars. Everyone is welcome on Saturday mornings at the Open Community Coffee Club at the Margaret River Organic Garden. And the donations for cake and coffee are our major income source.

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A focus on food also gives us plenty of opportunity for sharing gardening skills and swapping produce at our weekly “garden produce shares”, as well as promoting best practice including regenerative agriculture and permaculture.

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Each year we adopt a theme in addition to our wider activities. Waste was our focus in 2017. In 2018 it was energy and in 2019 “The Water Connection”.

We promote local community initiatives such as Cape to Cape Plastic Free, Boomerang Bags, and beach clean-ups.

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We’re non-political but we make our voices heard on important issues like renewable energy, and we are proud that the idea for Augusta Margaret River Clean Community Energy originated at a Transition-Shire community workshop.

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The 2019 theme The Water Connection included four seminars, displays, practical skills training, a water theme for our Ag Show Pavilion and culminated in a community-wide Project Snapshot event attended by 60 people in November. The event was jointly hosted with Nature Conservation’s Giant Light Steps Environmental Stewardship Alliance.

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We promote sustainable transport options. The electric cars are always a draw-card at our Show Pavilion.

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Several of our seminars have linked with Margaret River’s amazing creative community to discuss poetry and art. It’s an important part of being a resilient community.

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TMR contributes to local planning through submissions on Council plans, attending forums and representation on Council Committees.

Helping people to “live lightly” involves changing values and practices, so local models like the Witchcliffe Ecovillage and involving media celebs like Josh Byrne are important.

Transition Margaret River.final 27.11-page-020Climate change is a core issue for our community to be resilient in the future. We’ve held several marches, events, community workshops and films, and we support Climate Action Augusta Margaret River.

 

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Peace and social justice are core values.

Two Margaret River Peace Weekends, in association with the Medical Association for Prevention of War and Amnesty, have been consciousness-raising and fun.

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A new initiative was born at our annual planning get-together in 2019.  It clearly struck a chord and now eight groups have been formed to progress areas of interest.

It’s an example of how Transition can evolve and respond to community needs.

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Our theme for 2020 of local-is-more has been developed together with the Shire and Chamber of Commerce. The vision is that our community embraces a culture of buy local, source local, grow, create, share and recycle for a more resilient community in the Augusta-Margaret River region

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You’ve probably picked up that almost all our activities are founded on partnerships, for example Sustainability Seminars are held in partnership with Curtin Uni and the Shire. The Shire is a supporter through funding as well as collaborative events and we thank them for that.

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When it comes down to it, I think most people volunteer because they enjoy the activity, want to belong, and feel they are doing a good thing.

We emphasise community building, celebrating and having FUN!


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Cry of the Forests

Upcoming screenings

March 1 – INNALOO – Event Cinemas Innaloo https://fan-force.com/…/cry-of-the-forests-events-innaloo/

March 5 – MANDURAH – Free Community Screening of Cry of the Forests at Quarry Park, Meadow Springs. Nannas choir with Anu & Miranda pre-film. Bookings Essential – http://bit.ly/COTFMandurah

March 7 – FREMANTLE – Hoyts Millenium https://fan-force.com/…/cry-of-the-forests-hoyts…/

March 10 – YALLINGUP – Caves House Garden Cinema Cry Of The Forests – Caves House Garden Cinema Tickets: bit.ly/COTFCavesHouse

March 10 – KALGOORLIE – Orana Cinemas http://fan-force.com/…/cry-of-the-forests-orana-cinema…

March 18 – KALAMUNDA 

April 28 – ESPERANCE – Esperance Civic Centre https://fan-force.com/…/cry-of-the-forests-civic…/

If you would like to help organise a screening in your area or town go to: https://fan-force.com/films/cry-of-the-forests/

LETTERS / PETITIONS: 

Let the Premier know of your concerns using this link: http://bit.ly/NativeForestLetterPremier

Climate action ideas emailed to Premier Mark McGowan and your local MP here: https://www.cleanstate.org.au/email-mark

Australian Native Forest Declaration  https://www.bobbrown.org.au/anfd

OTHER ACTIONS:

Join the Forests for Climate campaign team: wafa.org.au/join-in/#join

Find your local MP and let them know that forests are important to you… make it a campaign topic: https://waforestalliance.good.do/forestsforclimate/meetmymp/


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A locally organised soil carbon system

A personal view from Evan Coumbe

Margaret River has one of the highest per capita emission rates on the planet. You could offer an argument that communities dependent on high emissions industries (like a local aluminium plant), are far worse but putting that aside Augusta-Margaret River would be one of the worst. Many progressively minded people in Margaret River who attended the Climate Summit are car dependent and have rural properties that rely on a very large electricity grid sprawl for back up power (a significant amount of electricity is used to maintain grid levels). Margaret River has many FIFO workers and people who have long commutes. The tourism sector pre pandemic depended on air travel. Many absentee land owners pre pandemic would travel internationally on a regular basis and have high emission consumer patterns. Land owners that run cattle as a hobby and subsidised land management system generate methane emissions making them very high “lifestyle choice” emitters and agriculture more generally is hopelessly out of date with big opportunities in negative emissions and increased yields.

Plans to build a local wind turbine while admirable and economically logical (Denmark’s wind company has been profitable and funds many community projects), will represent a relatively small fraction of the work that needs to be done to mitigate emissions. On the positive side Margaret River could become an example of what a flourishing sustainable economy could look like and for other regions to follow. The emphasis on local is important because like ecology the issues are often localised. Leadership will not be coming from state/federal politics anytime soon and when it does it will be hopelessly compromised.  

Soil carbon in our shire has the potential to take us far beyond carbon neutrality and become a highly lucrative sector over the next 20 years. Its likely to be compromised significantly by future climate that should be accounted for but the main issue for us is that it will almost certainly be used by a federal or state scheme to offset major emitters. This will allow gas companies like Chevron, the highest historical emitter on the planet (Heede 2013), to hedge against accountability and allow it to expand its operations. This will be the most significant contribution WA will make to a potentially dystopian future. While gas advocates rightly point to it being an ideal back up form of power because it can be switched off and on so quickly, it would require a highly organised market to be profitable to be used solely for this purpose which will almost certainly never happen. In the mean time large heretofore unmeasured fugitive emissions either from conventional or fracked sources, of which a large bi-partisan subsidised expansion is about to go ahead in the Kimberley will increase Risk substantively.

Historically policy makers have tended to view the “Climate challenge” as a latter half of the 21st century problem, my recent academic work looks at how this has manifested in the IPCC’s economic working group, in particular the Integrated Assessment Models of the recent Nobel Prize winning economist William Nordhaus. This kind of perspective on Climate Change has influenced the IPCC to treat methane emissions in a way that harmonises them with long tail influences like CO2. For example the IPCC has tended to give methane a 28 times CO2E rating over a hundred year period, and more recently 35 times. This reflects short term concerns but recognises methane’s relatively short 20 year lifespan in the atmosphere. In this sense gas comes out quite well, make it a supplementary power source to renewables and most of its emissions fade quickly. There is unfortunately major problems with this easy to use fantasy. After considering the embedded emissions from establishing infrastructure those gains fade fast, no market on earth is coming close to restricting its use to back up renewable power only and the big one is the significant under accounting of fugitive emissions and their implications. The technical details you can find in Howarth’s paper, “Bridge to Nowhere” (2014).

The short answer is that gas and methane from other sources has an emissions intensity of around 160 times per CO2e in its first two years before degrading rapidly. So if you are going through a critical period (2020 to 2040), the Risk from methane becomes pivotal. If we go past a major tipping point in this period Gas is predisposed to be a major contributor. Putting aside whether you like it or not, the soil carbon potential of Margaret River is likely to be used to offset it and other emissions intensive activity under the federal scheme which is fundamentally flawed in a number of ways. Even the CSIRO (arguably politicised in this area), currently fails to account for broader area fugitive emissions and our conventions are more conservative than in the US which have been proven to be substantially under accounting the problem. Since methane is now being monitored by satellites we will likely see the commercial collapse of the fracking sector within a decade, with a potentially large and ongoing legacy of liability if creative interventions on the ground are not adopted.

So the biggest decision (or absence of one) that the AMR community will make regarding Climate Change will be whether or not it establishes local control of its soil carbon (through initiative not regulation). While offsets are a compromise they can be skewed in a progressive direction with conservative assumptions and be used to educate, connect and transform the “whole of economy”.

A soil carbon program can be leveraged by Council to adopt Carbon neutrality by 2021 with offsets for Shire operations for less than a $100,000 and strive for a carbon neutral target with only 10% offsets by 2030. The AMR could achieve a carbon neutral target with offsets by 2025 (non participants can be accounted for through donations and fundraising), with a reduced offset program by 2030. By 2025 a potentially large local soil carbon program could be used to offset progressive industrial activity, like wind turbine manufacturers rather than gas companies. If you are interested in developing this initiative you can contact me at

evanjamescoumbe@gmail.com.

The Pandemic is going to favour established political forces and relationships so qualitative and substantive change will have to be driven by grass roots initiatives, not political but localised collaborations that provide leadership for other regions. Simply lobbying the established order or less than half measures like a local wind turbine while welcome, will deliver a flawed compromise that will effectively handball the climate challenge to the next generation. Co-ordinating local activity with the Climate challenge has the potential to create a flourishing sustainable local economy. It will need local councillors who are doers rather than talkers, an outsider CEO willing to risk their career and Shire staff willing to challenge the status quo. In short we need to take our Climate Emergency declaration seriously, take a “whole of economy” view, collaborate and go our own way.

P.S.

Re – virus, whether you adopt controls similar to WA or NSW the costs are still high and so a corresponding investment in quarantine and bio-security is of cost benefit. Distribution of vaccines will not see a return to normal, more something akin to a mix of the past and the present so investing in a bio-secure border should be a priority. Quarantine sites should be remote with staff living on site and paid well.

Heede, R. 2013. Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854–2010

Howarth, R. 2014. A bridge to nowhere: methane emissions and the greenhouse footprint of natural gas.


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Thank a volunteer

The Shire of Augusta Margaret River hosts the annual Thank a Volunteer celebration as an opportunity to recognise and thank the volunteers who work across 230 active local volunteer organisations in the Augusta Margaret River Shire. 
Lynda Donovan (second from left) was recognised as the Volunteer of the Year for her work with River Angels, the cancer charity she established five years ago.  (Photo Deb Chambers)

Three members of our Transition Margaret River network received a Certificate of Appreciation at the Shire’s annual Thank a Volunteer celebration at the HEART on 10 December 2020.

From left: Jane Hilton, Karen Majer, Lyn Serventy Photo Alice Love, MR Camera Club

Shire President Ian Earl read a summary of the information provided in each nomination form.

JANE HILTON

Jane has volunteered her time to help with the Margaret River Library courtyard garden.

Jane has shared her expertise in designing the garden that has become a delight to all who visit. Jane attends to the garden on a weekly basis and shares her knowledge and skills with the local community.  

Thank you, Jane for your service.

KAREN MAJER

Karen is an active volunteer for Transition MR, AMR Community Alliance, Owl Friendly Margaret River, Climate Action, Giant Light Steps and Nannas for Native Forests.

Karen ongoing work in connecting and motivating the local community to work together for a more connected and sustainable life is to be congratulated.

Karen’s passion, drive, experience, knowledge and skills applied with her friendly, positive and energetic nature make her an inspirational role model.

Thank you, Karen for your service.

LYN SERVENTY

For four decades Lyn has served the community of the Augusta Margaret River Shire.

Lyn has a long list of volunteering experiences (too many to mention tonight) including two periods as a Councillor and two years as Deputy Shire President in the Augusta Margaret River Shire.

Her volunteering includes action on issues of importance to the local community including environment, education, planning for the future of the Shire, sustainability and renewable energy.

Above all Lyn is compassionate, caring and committed. The local community is blessed to have her support in building a more resilient, sustainable and caring community.

Thank you, Lyn for your service.


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Death and dying matters: 2020 report

Dear DDM Members
I hope you all got through the Covid-19 Lock-down period intact.  It took some getting used to and in many ways it became a good opportunity to slow right down,  be less busy and reflect.

Looking back,  it seems an age since we held our last DDM Community Meeting at the Church Gallery in February this year where we innocently and enthusiastically announced our plans for the year ahead.   As you know, meetings large and small were put on hold indefinitely.  During those weeks we connected via the Diary in the Time of Covid-19 where we discovered our members’ hidden talents and skills.  Thanks to all who braved it and shared their stories, dreams, poetry and pictures.  
Once the strict lockdown period had eased we set about formalising our structure as a logical next step. We joined ConnectGroups as an affiliate member and unincorporated association.  The benefits of membership are that we can obtain advice and mentoring as we progress and develop,   We  can avail of  training to cover such aspects as governance and succession planning, web presence etc.  Additionally we are eligable to apply for necessary funding, administered by ConnectGroups.   We are featured on their  websites and directory for contact by their membership.  To join it was necessary for us to  appoint an interim board:  

Chair: Mary Flynn,  Vice-Chair:  Anita Haywood, Treasurer: Greg Skyles, Acting Secretary: April Jenkins as well as two Committee members.

These  appointments effective until February 2021 when we will hold our AGM and you the membership can nominate and vote for the member of your choice to fill each position. Additionally, our  new  Events Coordinator:  Paul Barlow has been busy.  

In April DDM members  chose our logo as designed  by Chris Young,  DDM member, and Artist whose exhibition “Eight: the Shift” was featured at The Heart for several months this year and currently at Bunbury Regional Art Gallery.  

Following feedback from the survey we sent to members it was clear that you wanted more publicity about DDM to be widely available and also to be able to receive hard copies of information normally available online.  Lance Brandes  of the group:  Be Prepared … for peace of mind and Kym Walker of Choices you have at time of death can provide you with paperwork and information sheets  in hard copy about any aspect you wish to know about.


RIP Café has been held monthly on the 3rd Sunday of the month at 1:00pm -2:30pm at the MR Community Centre and quarterly (Mar, Jun, Sep, Dec) on 2nd Friday of the month at 1:00pm in Augusta at the Uniting Church Hall.


Burial Option Anita Haywood confirms that the Natural Burial Ground for Augusta Margaret River is to be located at the Karridale Cemetery, as indicated by the Augusta Margaret River Shire.    There is still much to be done before this is formally announced as the region’s natural burial ground.   However it is a positive indication that matters are proceeding favourably.


Cowaramup Coffin Club is temporarily inactive due to the retirement of it Instructor/Mentor Kevan Gray for health reasons.  Kevan has been an an enthusiastic and generous supporter of the Coffin Club Crew and helped three of us to complete our natural untreated pine caskets – currently being used for very sensible undertakings!  Cowaramup Coffin Club also made some coffins for emergency use in the community.   Peter Clews has agreed to bring the matter of continuing to offer the Coffin Club in 2021 to the Committee of the Cowaramup Mens’ Shed in January. 

This month we held our first public event, presented by the Margaret River Library and hosted by DDM.  It was a well attended evening, generating wide interest, particularly about Advance Care Planning.   The Library plans to hold a future event in 2021.

We are now online-  our website is still under construction but it’s a start!  Check us out at: https://ddmamr.org   Thanks to Greg Skyles for his expertise.  We also produced a limited number of DDM Brochures; layout, design and photography thanks to  Chris Young; and editing to Paul and Greg.

Please note for your diary for 2021:     Our first Death & Dying Matters Community Get-Together:
Venue:  Church Gallery,   Margaret River Community Centre

When: Saturday 6 February 2021 3 pm – 4:30 pm Refreshments provided

Finally,  Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to all our members and may 2021 bring health, peace and happy times!  We are looking forward to seeing you in February!  
Warmest wishes, Mary