EarthChat

EarthChat presents in-depth conversations and views on the many environment issues affecting our community. EarthChat is brought to you by BEAM Mitchell Environment Group. You can listen live each Tuesday on Seymour FM at 12noon AEST or to the repeat on Saturday at 8am with your hosts Vanessa, Peter, Ruth and Tim. Time to tune in, listen up and get active EarthChatters!

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Episodes

6 days ago


This week on EarthChat, Marie and Ruth chat with the Hon Kelvin Thompson about Birdlife Australia. The conversation is a great chance to learn about long-standing group and its work that makes the most of the power of citizen science.Marie and Ruth discuss the long term findings of the organisation's annual bird count with Kelvin who had a long career in politics but has also been a bird watcher since childhood He is a life member of Birdlife Australia as well as their Education Officer. It's an interesting and informative conversation.Many of us environmental activists have a love of birds and their place in nature in our childhoods. BEAM always welcomes children in our activities.Want to learn more about Birdlife Australia, check out their informative website here.
 

Thursday Jun 13, 2024


The Rising Tide of community activism against the fossil fuel export industry has a local champion in Peter Gaffney. Rising Tide is an activist community group focused on real action to address the climate change challenge. Actions are direct and dramatic for this is the challenge of our time.“We are the rising tide of ordinary people, called by extraordinary times. We are a diverse movement demanding Australia honours our commitment to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. We are prepared to take whatever peaceful actions within our power to defend the climate.”Time is short and the stakes are high as our climate change escalates.As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says… “2023 is a year of reckoning. It must be a year of game-changing climate action. We need disruption to end the destruction. No more baby steps. No more excuses. No more greenwashing. No more bottomless greed of the fossil fuel industry and its enablers.”Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of coal and gas. The emissions from these exports dwarf our domestic climate pollution. The Port of Newcastle is the biggest coal port in the world, and Australia’s single largest contributor to the climate crisis. So Rising Tide's action focus is on coal - stop expanding coal mines, and stop exporting coal to become someone else’s emissions problem. That problem impacts us all.Last year Rising Tide staged a blockade of the Port of  Newcastle. Newcastle is the largest coal export port in the world. A 30 hour blockade that attracted committed people from infants to 90 year-olds.Peter Gaffney is a committee member of BEAM Mitchell Environment Group. Peter was really enthusiastic about direct action in Newcastle last year and is now on the Victorian organising committee of Rising Tide.On EarthChat this week,  Peter shares about the “fire in his belly” over coal and climate action with Peter Lockyer. 

Tuesday Jun 04, 2024


Plastic Free July is coming and we have an amazing guest to help us plan individual and local community activities! On this week's EarthChat, Tim and Ruth chat with Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, the founder of the global Plastic Free Foundation.Plastic Free July is a key initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation, inspiring all of us to work towards a vision of seeing a world free of plastic waste. From humble beginnings in 2011 with Rebecca and a small team in local government in Western Australia, it is now one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world. Millions of people across the globe take part every year, with many committing to reducing plastic pollution far beyond the month of July.Rebecca is a change-maker, author, TEDx speaker and sustainability professional who is motivated to care for people and planet. Rebecca believes that as individuals, by changing our relationship with plastic and challenging our consumption, together we can work towards a world without plastic waste.Want to read more and get involved in Plastic Free July? Look here. Also check out our Facebook page and our website for BEAM's Plastic Free July events.

Wednesday May 29, 2024


Tim and Ruth chat with Liz Downes about Deep Ecology. What is Deep Ecology? It is a way of life that supports conscious activism. It’s a sense of being part of the earth and called into action by the web of life. activism and facilitation work then involves creating a sense of community among like-minded people who want to explore this connection with the web of life.
Liz Downes is a forest activist, researcher and campaigner. Her recent focus has been in Ecuador, where mining is threatening the world’s most biodiverse regions. Liz is director of the Rainforest Information Centre and a facilitator of Deep Ecology, helping others do experiential work which aims to ignite our passion for the living Earth and the knowing of ourselves as part of it, which lead to empowerment and action in difficult times.
Want to read more? Check here for information, including course dates, for the Rainforest Information Centre and here for background on Deep Ecology.
You can find out about the Australian Earth Laws Alliance here
 

Wednesday May 22, 2024


This week on EarthChat, Marie and Tim chat with Cath Rouse from the community group opposing the proposed Wollert waste to energy incinerator.They discuss and learn about the environmental dangers to the surrounding residents from the  potential toxic emissions caused by burning among other things large quantities of plastic and other chemicals. They also emit large amounts of greenhouse gases while producing energy.Want to read more? Check out this website from Climate Action Merribek. You can also add your name to the petition here. You can also get involved though the No Northern Incinerator Wollert FaceBook page

Wednesday May 15, 2024


Peter Mitchell joins Ruth this Tuesday, May14 at noon to give listeners a sneak preview into the latest edition of the ‘Natural Treasures’ in Mitchell Shire prior to its official launch next Sunday, May 19.This new edition offers 16 more sites for us to explore, and Peter has created reserve notes for every site. There are a lot more nature reserves, roadside wild nature corridors, rail trail reserves, and many more walking tracks, all of which beckon us to put on our boots and get out into nature.And there’s more…… !In addition to being able to pick up the leaflet from the Shire’s Libraries and Information Centres from next Monday, May 20, you will also be able to plan your nature expeditions from home via BEAM’s website which goes live at the time of launch (see below). There is also a fabulous "Nature Scavenger Hunt" for children to enjoy.I’ve been privileged to take a sneak peak at this fabulous new leaflet. Here’s an excerpt:“This brochure lists the best of the nature reserves in Mitchell Shire which are available to the public. The landscapes of Mitchell Shire have many Natural Treasures including small but rich patches of wildflowers, tree-lined corridors along roadsides, railways and creeks, larger conservation reserves and state forests, and private bushlands.To find these reserves, download walking maps, and learn more about the natural history that make these Treasures such rich places, go to: beam.org.au/naturaltreasures (live from Sunday, May 19)They have a rich diversity of environments…….” “This diversity of environments provides habitat for a wide range of native plants, animals, fungi and bacteria, and all the complex interactions between them. The form a framework of biodiversity that we can use to rebuild healthy ecosystems and landscapes across the Shire”.What also makes this Natural Treasures’ leaflet so special is that it is the only information of its kind, (thanks to the work of Peter and others acknowledged on the leaflet). Neither Parks Victoria nor Vic Forests offer such extensive and important information.Join us to hear about these exciting new additions to the leaflet, and to be reminded of all the nature reserves open to the public in this Shire. We often don’t realize how lucky we are to have so many places to immerse ourselves in nature nearby - many more compared to most other Shires in this State.

Wednesday May 08, 2024


Vanessa and Ruth discuss the recent Landcare forum on soil health and sustainable farming, held at the Seymour Racecourse on the 2nd May,  including a presentation by TV celebrity chef Matthew Evans and his book on Soil. Vanessa outlines the contributions by the various speakers invited to the forum, touching on soil health and productive soils, biology and plant pathology. There were lots of practical examples of soil health applicable to farms, as well as the connection between healthy soil and nutrient rich foods, management approaches in Regenerative Agriculture and an outline of the pitfalls that need to be avoided.

Wednesday May 01, 2024


Tony Richardson and his partner Rita have been growing trees on their two farms for 25 years. They invested their super (against advice at the time) and grew different eucalypt species hoping to log them for timber after about 25 years.However, Tony, a transport engineer by profession, had been captivated by the potential of biochar, and peeler logs for plywood. Growing trees for logs locks up carbon for maybe 50 years, and all of the upper tree and branches and leaves (75% of the biomass of a tree) become carbon emitting waste. In contrast, biochar can lock up carbon for 100 years, and all of the tree not peeled for plywood can be pyrolysed…no waste.  Logging takes the base of the tree trunk, but the rest of the tree is left to rot, or burnt; a big carbon emitter, and a wasted resource. Tony recommends a 10 year plantation turnaround as the best carbon storage, with biochar and peeler logs sold on the retail market. A short turnaround means the farmer’s plantation is less likely to be lost to bushfires.What does this all mean? EarthChat this week shares an interview with Tony Richardson, with Peter Lockyer as host and guest commentator and local gardener Brian Bowring offering his perspectives… Brian has been a biochar advocate for years. It's a great yarn.

Tuesday Apr 23, 2024


Over the last six months, the killing of over 30,000 people and the forced relocation of approximately 2 million people has brought global attention to the plight of people in Gaza and the wider conflict between Israel and Palestine. Our EarthChat guest this week is Dr Rachel Coghlan who completed her PhD on palliative care in Gaza and who maintains close contact with health workers and others there who are enduring the ongoing destruction talking place. Houses and hospitals have been damaged and destroyed, fields and trees uprooted, people left without access to food, clean water or sanitation. Tim and Ruth talk to Rachel about the damage to society and to the environment that has taken place and ask what role can we play in advocating for peace, reconciliation and restoration of destroyed ecosystems?Rachel Coghlan is a public health leader with over 20 years’ experience in clinical physiotherapy and in international humanitarian health research, policy, and advocacy. She is also a Fulbright Scholar and holds a PhD from the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership, at Deakin University. She has contributed to palliative care research and education in Gaza and maintains connections with Palestinian friends and colleagues. Rachel is a curious thinker and listener, always searching to learn from those most affected by illness and humanitarian crises with a view to trying to help make some sense of the grief and suffering that mark life in our world.Her Crikey articles can be found here
 

Tuesday Apr 16, 2024


Marie and Tim talk to  Phoebe Gardner from Bardee about their developments in using black soldier flies to transform very large amounts of food waste into protein, animal feed and fertilizer. Part of a truly circular economy.Bardee claim that their vertical farming system feeds and nurtures soldier flies through their natural growth phases and in their Grow Labs, larvae grow 3000x in size in just 7 days eating only food waste with no added water required. Larvae are processed into a high quality insect protein for pet food and animal feed & the castings become a nutrient-rich organic fertiliser.As well as producing very useful products this diverts large amounts of waste that would otherwise be going to landfill. This is a very positive project for the environment.

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