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Zero Emissions

By Robin Rhodes, Yackandandah Sustainability

It has been easy for us to live a relatively sustainable lifestyle here in Yackandandah.  We live in a smallish home that looks like it’s made from mud bricks, but it is really made from cement and sawdust blocks manufactured by Timbercrete in Culcairn.  These blocks provide very good insulation so we need very little cooling in the summer and it’s easy to stay cosy in winter.  The house is also wrapped in an air cell insulation lining that looks like foil covered bubblewrap. This is placed under the colourbond roofing and around the walls in the wall cavity. Insulation bats in the ceiling are the final ingredient and were very easy to install.

Taking advantage of government subsidies, we installed solar hotwater, and a one Kw photovoltaic cell solar electricity generator. These were our way of making a small contribution to cutting down on the amount of carbon entering the atmosphere.

On our back verandah, not far from our kitchen door we have our small, but productive worm farm.  The worms are particularly active during the warmer months and almost manage to keep up with all the organic waste we produce from the kitchen. They provide the best fertilizer in the form of worm castings which we dig into our veggie garden and pot plants. They also produce an almost black liquid that can be diluted and fed to boost the growth of all our garden plants.

Having taken these steps to protect our environment it is disappointing that we still have to use electricity that is generated by burning coal. We know that finding alternative ways for producing electricity is urgent and vital for saving our planet from the most severe and frightening results of global warming. Fortunately a group of scientists, economists and engineers have collaborated in recent years to address this problem. Their plan is called “Beyond Zero Emissions.” They have shown that we can produce electricity without burning fossil fuels using technologies that already exist. This can all be done within ten years (given the will) at a cost of 3% of GDP.

We are excited that Beyond Zero Emissions is sending a representative to Yackandandah to present this scheme to all of us. It is happening in the Yackandandah Primary School Hall as part of the Folk Festival. It is free and will occur on Saturday 24th March, from 9.00 – 11.00 AM so please come along and bring a friend.