From Ecocide to Eden: learning from luminaries

With WOMADelaide 2022 coming up fast, it made me reflect on previous festivals.

Might it be that – in simplistic terms – there are two types of people: those who use their talents to enrich themselves, and those who use their special skills to enrich the lives of others?  My experience in media leads me to think so.

I’ve been very fortunate to interview some special people over recent years, people who have dedicated their lives to ensuring they contribute to safeguarding our planet and improving social equity, and have been guests at WOMADelaide as part of the superb Planet Talks series. Here are some of the best.

Read More

A remarkable vision of our future on the planet

It’s finally happened. I’m reading a book that is living up to – and exceeding – the breathless accolades of commendation on the covers. It’s a particular joy for me. In the past, with quite a few books, I read a few chapters, become a little bored, and skip to the final chapter.

An appropriate and accurate accolade from Publishers Weekly

But not this one. I’m devouring every one of the 106 chapters over 563 pages.

It feels to me that the author has had so many ideas pent up that they decided to incorporate them all into one magnum opus. It’s fascinating.

Read More

Episode 9 – Battery storage – adding a second Tesla PowerWall

2021 – Battery options modelling

In September 2020 we installed our first battery at Sturt Apartments, Christie Walk. You can read the story of our modelling, battery choices and lessons learned in Episode 7 – Battery storage – Tesla PowerWall 2

Everything had gone to plan with the installation of the battery; performance was as expected. The savings generated by our PV upgrade and the battery were flowing into our Green Fund, enabling us to begin planning for the installation of our second battery.

Our modelling indicated that our 21kW PVs were generating enough power to usefully support up to about 55kWh of battery storage, corresponding to 4 x Tesla PowerWall 2 batteries. In cost-benefit terms, a sweet-spot would be with 2 batteries. In the depths of winter in July – on many days – we’d still generate enough spare power to fully charge the batteries for use after sundown.

Read More

Is this the greatest piano solo?

In 1985 Gordon Sumner aka Sting took several huge risks. With The Police he’d ridden an enormous wave of success, with memorable hits such as Roxanne, Message In A Bottle and Every Breath You Take. Then in 1984 – at the top of their game, The Police broke up, and Sting set about converting his fame to a solo career.

That was risk enough, but he combined that with filming the experience of forming a new band and rehearsals for their premiere concert in Paris. As Sting says in the resulting movie Bring On The Night, most movies about pop bands are made towards the end of their careers when they’ve had years honing their craft as a combo. Filming a nascent band in the early stages of becoming comfortable with each other was truly a leap of faith.

Read More

Lindy Hop, Charleston and Shag Dance

If you don’t know the difference between Lindy Hop, Charleston and Shag Dance, well neither do I TBH. But I’m gradually learning a little since one of the jazz bands I play with – Chicos Swing Combo – has been doing gigs for 8-Count.

Their next swing dance event is on Saturday night (April 17th, 2021). Details here.

It’s a blast to play for these shows; I’ve never seen such enthusiasm to get on the dance floor. So much so that between the band’s two sets, they turn on a dance DJ so the Eight Count crowd can just keep on dancing and having a ball. Though the typical age group seems to be 20 to 40s, there are people of all ages and abilities. There’s usually a dance teaching segment or two as well, sometimes aimed at beginners and sometimes for advanced swing steps.

Read More

Episode 8 – We need to talk about shower heads

How sustainable is your daily shower?

Most shower heads at Christie Walk are WELS 3 standard, running at about 9L/minute. They were the best that were readily available when construction of our eco-village was completed in 2006. Older shower heads could be up to 22L/minute.

But the latest Ultra Low Flow shower heads run at 5L/min, and still give a satisfying shower.

So what is at stake here?

Read More

Episode 7 – Battery storage – Tesla Powerwall 2

2020 – Battery options modelling

In the middle of all that work on evacuated tubes, we learned that change was imminent in the SA Government Home Battery Scheme. To qualify for the maximum $6k subsidy, applications had to be lodged by 15th April.

Our modelling indicated that our 21kW PVs were generating enough power to usefully support up to about 55kWh of battery storage, corresponding to 4 x Tesla PowerWall 2 batteries. In cost-benefit terms, a sweet-spot would be with 2 batteries. In the depths of winter in July we’d still generate enough net power to fully charge the batteries for use overnight.

Read More

Episode 6 – More evacuated tube solar hot water boosters

Adventures with an environment-conscious inner-urban community

2020

This was the crisis year for so many people – bushfires, COVID, job losses – and it also happened to be the year of our most adventurous emissions-reduction planning, carrying out 2 major projects a few months apart.

Stage 2 solar hot water boosters

The evacuated tube solar hot water boosters we had installed in 2018 were performing well, so it was time to build the second stage. We’d completed the design work in 2019 and had commenced the Development Application (DA) process with the City of Adelaide in September 2019. DA is required by Council if solar collectors are not mounted flat on the roof. After 9 weeks of back and forth, providing additional drawings and details, we finally received Planning Consent in mid-November.

Read More

Episode 5 – Finalist – Carbon Neutral Adelaide Awards

Adventures with an environment-conscious inner-urban community

2016 to 2019 – Carbon Neutral Adelaide

Since 2016 we’d had regular contact with the Carbon Neutral Adelaide team, culminating in our carbon emission inventory for the 2017 year. I’d also attended the Carbon Neutral Adelaide Awards nights in 2017 and 2018.

I’d found the Awards nights to be highly motivating. To be in the room with such a mix of corporates, NGOs, SA Government and Adelaide City Council people, all focussed on working more efficiently and will less emissions was memorable and inspirational.

Read More