Talk:Victorian Green Paper submission by Lighter Footprints

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Suggested actions

I would like to see the Vic government shifting from its current mindset from looing for ecomomic silver bullets to considering the phsychology of change and setting an example on micro measures as well as big picture items.

Because if the government truly believes climate change is a serious problem then it needs to show this by being willing to change the way it does things.

There are so many things that it can do & publise that it is doing:

1)Follow the lead of the NSW government and ban the sale of bottled water. Of course, to have a useful effect they will also need to provide jugs of drinking water & clean glasses, jsut as cafes and bars do, to allow people to feel comfortable drinking tap water.

2) Use recycled office paper & toilet paper.

3) Use fairtrade/locally grown coffee.

4) Ensure that any government canteens have a tasty and appealing vegetarian selection. Also ensure that there is a choice of healthy, high fibre breads and salads.

5) Go a step ahead of the NSW Governemnt and only sell soft drink that is mixed on site (a la Maccas) - it is much more efficient to only transport the syrup rather than the pre-mixed drink.

6) Set the air conditioning and heating to a range outside that in which it is comfortable to wear a suit. If the Government doesn't do this it sends the message that wearing a suit is more important than conserving energy. People don't jsut apply that to the work envrionment: they take that message home with them and adjust the heating/cooling in their home to allow them to continue to wear their workwear rather than adjusting their clothing.

7) Use environmentally freindly inks.

8) Turn off all but essential lighting at night. This should include tourist lighting - if the government considers some icons are important enough to be lit they should be lit with 100% green energy.

9)Keep the workplace informed: put New Scientist, Sceintific American, Nature & the CSRIO mags in their office lunchrooms along with the newpapers and the Financial Review.

10) Use environmentally safe cleaners in their workplace.

11) Ensure all toilets are water efficient.

This is not a complete list!

What do you think?

-- Plantsnwater 21:36, 2 August 2009 (CDT)


Public Transport -Trains, Stations and Parking

3.3 Public Transport Question from green paper: What information and assistance is needed to encourage mode shift?

To build up patronage on public transport you need to find out who does not use it, and why not. One reason why people do not use public transport is because it runs too infrequently. Another is because, in some situations, people do not feel safe. A third is because of unpleasant behaviour, dirty surroundings and smells. To run more frequently you need to encourage people who currently do not use public transport to use it which will in turn create the demand for additional services which will make it more attractive to all. More people also encourages a feeling a safety.

Parking and Parking Pass Systems

Parents of Pre-schoolers & The Aging

These 2 categories of person will not use public transport unless they live within a short walk of it, or have parking space available nearby. Without parking space public transport becomes inaccessible for those types of person. This is because young children and aging persons tire quickly (when I refer to the aging I do not mean all persons above retirement age, I mean only those persons whose strength is beginning to diminish: such as those in their late seventies and eighties, or persons with an illness). These persons do not have the energy to include walking 20+ minutes to and from (40+ minutes in all) a parking space to the train as well as undertake the excursion. This is particularly undesirable situation for aging persons whose mental health is best maintained by being able to maintain activities.

If you wanted to make transport available to those persons parking spaces would need to be made available to them, and a car pass system similar to that for the disabled eg ‘Preschooler Pass’, ‘Doctor Registered Pass’ (for the aging).

The Doctor Registered Pass would also be appropriate for persons who have a chronic illness, or are recovering from a chronic illness or injury. Some passes could be effective from date of issue, some only for a limited time.

Time Constraint Passes

Another category of person who may choose not to use public transport are those who have additional responsibilities after work which must be attended to promptly. Such responsibilities include picking children up from child care (which often closes at 6pm), getting children to sport, and getting to part-time/casual work. Again, a pass system may allow these persons to access additional parking spots. However, there should be no reduction in the parking that is currently available. Many people who use public transport are parents and the longer their trip the less time they have with their families.

Wristbands to Identify Those who Need a Seat

There are people, not necessarily identifiable at a glance, who should have priority for seats on public transport. The aging, as identified above, who need to preserve their limited energy, and who may also have balance problems. Persons who have a chronic illness, or those who are recovering from an illness or injury. Pregnant women, especially those who are also managing a stroller and mothers with prams. Such people could wear a band, like the Oxfam band, around their wrist. As a person who uses public transport I know you can be snapped at both for not offering a seat, and for offering a seat, at least this way you would know who wants one. These could be colour coded to signify permanent need and temporary need.

Bad Smells, Bad Behaviour, Dangerous Situations

Bad Behaviour and Dangerous Situations

I have been on trains where people have 1. injected drugs, 2.fought with each other, 3. been drunk and vomited, 4. slashed the seats and 5. sworn at the top of their voices and threatened other passengers. None of these things encourage you to take public transport.

If you want to encourage people to feel safe on trains you need to consider roving conductors like they have in the States. You also need two buttons: 1 the emergency button (as exists now) 2 a misconduct button. The misconduct button could be used to either alert the conductor to misconduct such as injecting drugs, fighting and threatening other passengers, or to alert the conductor that there is a mess to be cleaned up. The misconduct button should film and tape activity in the carriage as well as summon the roving conductor. The misconduct button could be misused and there should be a fines system to discourage this.

As well as feeling insecure on the trains passengers may feel threatened on platforms and walking from the station, there needs to be additional security to build up additional patronage.

Bad Smells

Many people dislike public transport because it can be dirty and you can be trapped beside smells that are unpleasant, give you a headache or trigger asthma. While bad smells may seem a trivial issue they can be one of the deciding factors in making the public transport experience pleasant or unpleasant, and they can make the difference between choosing private or public transport.

Trains and stations can contain bad smells where people have vomited, urinated or eaten smelly food on board. These should be cleaned as soon as possible. The cleaning fluid must be carefully chosen as some fluids are irritating to the nose. Trains can also smell because of accumulated dirt on seats and the floor and lack of ventilation.

Unfortunately, the next source of bad smells is from the people - this affects all forms of public transport. The bulk of passengers do not smell, but some do, and if you have a choice between your clean car and being trapped beside a foul odour people will choose the car. Public education could be the key here – the aim is to create a neutral environment. Bad smells come in these categories:

1) Stale tobacco. This reeks and can leave you with a headache.

2) Sweat and unwashed clothes.

3) Heavy handed application of perfume and deodorant/anti-perspirant. As with stale tobacco this can leave you with a headache and in some people can trigger asthma.

4) Flatulence and belching. Sometimes this can be deliberate bad behaviour, other times it is a ‘freak’ occurrence, and sometimes it can be addressed with charcoal tablets. Babies can also produce bad smells, but since they have no control over this, it is unfair to stigmatise them or their parents.

Agree? Disagee? Plantsnwater 22:39, 2 August 2009 (CDT)

Green Paper: The Built Environment 3.4

Questions to consider • What actions are required to ensure our cities, towns, suburbs and homes produce low emissions and are located and designed to deliver comfort and affordability as our climate changes? • What actions are needed to make Victoria a centre of innovative and sustainable building products and services?

Landscaping for Temperature Reduction

Notably absent from the built environment are strategies to address the use of landscape. The green paper does make mention of landscape and plants: ‘Some buildings will have roof gardens, helping to reduce the heat load on buildings associated with climate change and the Urban Heat Island effect.’ ‘What a Climate Smart Built Environment might look like in 2020 includes biodiversity corridor and multipurpose green spaces.’

However, there is no attempt to address with how private and shared gardens, as well as public gardens and streetscapes can be designed to help control temperature in our cities and suburbs. We know that the Urban Heat Island effect can raise local temperature by 5 degrees (this is in excess of any temperature increase caused by climate change). We also know that the use plants and water in the landscape can reduce or even negate this effect.

We also know that dry soil contributes to fire risk, particularly relevant for outlying suburbs, that it does not absorb rainfall efficiently, and creates additional stresses for urban waterways. We can design better use of landscapes when planning construction both at the level of housing and surburbs, and better use of existing built areas to maximise landscapings role in cooling our urban environment. The ways in which this can be done can be summarised as follows:

The aims of landscaping

The aims of landscaping should be: . to reduce the Urban Heat Island effect through the use of plants for shade and transpiration, and through evaporation from the soil and water features.

. to allow for the collection of rainwater, use of grey water systems or generation of water using technology such as BlueGen to keep the soil moist for the following reasons 1) maximising the potential of landscape for cooling by evaporation. 2) to aid in the absorbtion of rainfall by the soil. 3) to create urban environments that are moist enough to allow for healthy run off to urban waterways 4) to avoid fire risk associated with dry soil 5) to minimise the effect that land clearance has on rainfall reduction in so far as is possible in an urban environment.

. to limit the use of plants that contribute to the Albedo effect (The Albedo effect occurs where light coloured surfaces, either natural or built, reflect heat, which reduces local temperature but also causes the break-up of cloud which can reduce rainfall.)

The following are some examples of how landscapes can be designed to minimise the Urban Heat Island effect.

Streetscapes

Tees of sufficient size and sturdiness to shade the entire street should be used in order to minimise radiant heat from the road and footpaths. In many locations deciduous trees may be preferable to evergreen trees to prevent shading of houses in winter. In order to live happily with trees the chosen trees should not drop limbs easily or cause hay fever (plane trees are problematic for both of these reasons, and many eucalypts are brittle and drop limbs). Trees should have sufficiently dark foliage to not contribute to the Albedo effect. Ideally local councils should be able to water trees whilst they become established and during periods of hot weather. In areas with structures over 3 storeys trees with a high transpiration rate should be chosen. Where water is available, poles in shopping strips may be decorated with hanging baskets of plants with decorative flowers or foliage both to improve the appearance of the area and for the benefits of transpiration. In some areas vine covered trellises and walkways may be appropriate for providing shade. Stormwater capture and treatment may provide Councils with water for these purposes – although in many instances Councils also have parks and ovals to water.

Multi story private/shared gardens

When considering urban infill and multi-storied apartment blocks allowance should be made for either internal square gardens and/or strip gardens. At the time of design, allowance should be made for water capture and storage. Where rooftops are not overshadowed, roof gardens may be appropriate. Use may also be made of non-destructive climbing plants to cover walls (particularly if supports for them are built in). It is of most benefit to cover walls with a Western or Northern aspect. Plant walls may also be appropriate in some circumstances. Swimming pools and other water features can also help to maintain levels of evaporation that will help with local cooling. Where there is space trees can be planted to provide transpiration and to shade particularly the western, but also the northern and eastern aspects of the garden/building. Gardens can also contain areas for use for growing flowers, vegetables or fruit which also require damp soil and have a high transpiration rate. A mix of deciduous and evergreen plants should be used, and the majority of chosen plants should have sufficiently dark foliage to avoid the Albedo effect. Paving and lawn should be limited or shaded by foliage.

Suburban Gardens

When considering approval for new developments, extensions or redevelopments of urban blocks allowance should be made for preservation of enough land either within the block or as part of the streetscape to allow for trees to shade either the Western or the Northern aspect or both. Allowance should also be made either for water capture and storage, grey water systems or for the inclusion of technology that creates water such as the BlueGen unit. Garden design for individual homes may be more flexible but guiding principles remain: shading the Western Aspect, fences and paved areas, use of a mix of evergreen and deciduous plants, a majority of which have leaves or flowers dark enough to avoid the albedo effect, minimisation of lawn that cannot be kept damp and green. Where there is little space for gardens these gardens will need to be kept damp and/or contain water features to offset the Urban Heat Island effect. Architects working in partnership with landscape designers or garden designers will, most likely, be able to design houses that incorporate the use of plants for shading into their design. Garden designers could also educate the public in how to plant and water efficiently for temperature reduction.

Rebates for Water Tanks for Gardens

The desalination plant will lift the immediate danger that Melbourne will run out of water, but it will also discourage people from increasing garden watering by raising the price of water. Water, however, is vital to a landscape that minimises the Urban Heat Island effect. For this reason I believe both the State and Federal Governments should revisit the question of rebates for water tanks for garden use as well as for use in the home. In some circumstances the cost of replumbing is prohibitively expensive, but the advantages of damp soil and a shady or high transpiring garden are still present. Perhaps a 2 tiered scale of rebates, lower for garden only tanks, higher for tanks linked to interior plumbing, could be considered. Plantsnwater 05:00, 12 August 2009 (CDT) (...and now you know the reason for my moniker :] )

Further Scope For Compost or Biochar to turn Green Waste from a Problem to an Asset

Green waste is thrown into the ‘black’ bins by supermarkets, green grocers, cafes, restaurants and food manufacturers. Tree pruners and fellers sometimes give their mulch to people and sometimes take it to the tip. These materials are compostable or suitable to be used for biochar. People on rural blocks also clear away material than is suitable for bio char or composting throughout the summer.

Supermarket, green grocers, cafes and restaurants produce waste that is mostly wet compost – things like vegetable peelings, excess leaves, and in the case of supermarkets aging whole fruit and vegetables.

The material from tree pruners is a mix of wet and dry material – the wet being the leaves, and the dry material being the branches and trunks, with the dry material predominating.

Hot composting (which is the most greenhouse friendly means of composting) requires a mix of wet and dry materials. The end product is mulch. Bulk hot composting is already practised by Greenplanet at Epping in Victoria, using green waste from Whitehorse, Whittlesea, and Nillumbik.

Chemical composting or fermenting (eg. Bokashi method) is also greenhouse friendly and uses mostly wet ingredients and a dry starter mix. Chemical composting can include substances that are not suitable for hot composting – such as meat and cooked food scraps and pizza boxes. The end products are a liquid fertiliser and ‘pickled’ waste that breaks down quickly in the soil. It can also be mixed with traditional compost. Chemical composting could be run in complement to hot composting if too much wet material was being collected, and to treat materials unsuitable for hot composting.

I am not aware of the ramifications for the efficiency of bio char where the base materials are wet rather than dry. I understand that further research is needed to assess how the base materials used to feed bio char affect the bio char product and its interaction with the soil. (Good to see the Vic Govt trial of bio char in Northern Vic)

It is not hard to learn what materials are suitable for these methods of composting (I knew them as a primary school student). So it is not unreasonable to expect waste to be sorted into compostable and non-compostable materials, although this may first be trialled by supermarkets etcetera.

Adoption of a composting or bio char schemes would turn where waste products that currently contribute to carbon dioxide and methane pollution into an environmental positive products. There is scope for a compost collection from shopping centres, restaurants and tree pruners who were willing to take part in such a scheme.

There may even be scope for collection from households using a divided bin as has recently begun to be trialled the City of Whitehorse in Canada. This would allow for household kitchen green waste and eco friendly nappies to be composted or used for bio char where the residents don’t have the space or inclination to do their own composting.

Agree? Disagree? Plantsnwater 01:49, 4 August 2009 (CDT)

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