Bimblebox wows!

A crowd of almost 100 (including Islanders Rosie Gordon, Jenny Terrey and Gethin Morgan, pictured left) turned out to watch NQCC’s screening of  ‘Bimblebox’ at Dance North Theatre on Tuesday 17 April.

The 8000 ha Bimblebox Nature Reserve, the subject of a formal conservation agreement under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 between its owners and the Queensland Government since 2003, is now threatened by Clive Palmer’s ‘China First’ mining plans.

In late September 2012, Palmer’s company, Waratah Coal,  detailed its plans to extract 40 mega-tonnes of coal per year from what will be called the ‘China First’ mine, and to transport the coal on a yet-to-be-built rail line to Abbot Point, from where it would be shipped through the Great Barrier Reef on its way to China. If the plans get the tick, 52% of Bimblebox would become an open-cut coal mine, the rest an underground coal mine.

As the documentary pointed out, the plight of Bimblebox is not a one-off. Many other private properties are similarly threatened by coal and coal seam gas mines.

However, the gloom of the night was, to some extent, diminished by the surprise (to all but NQCC!) by appearance of Matthew Wright, the driving force behind ‘Beyond Zero Emissions‘, the plan to replace coal and CSG generated power in Australia with 100% renewable solar thermal, wind power and biomass technology – and a ‘star’ of the Bimblebox documentary.

Matthew was in town to present the BZE case at a joint JCU/NQCC event the following night. That too was a powerful and well-attended evening – introducing new audiences to the very real potential for non-renewable energy for Australia.

 

 

Our Renewable Future

Come along to a free public forum on Queensland’s path to a 100% renewable future, presented by Matthew Wright, Executive Director of the national scientific think-tank group Beyond Zero Emissions. Hosted by JCU’s ‘TropEco’ and NQCC, this free forum will show how Queensland can move to a zero carbon future.  

WHERE & WHEN: James Cook University – Central Lecture Theatre – Building 005,  from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Bookings: Go to http://www.eventbrite.com/event/3226850597

 

 

Big Solar shines!

NQCC’s Big Solar launch went ahead last Sunday despite the rain, and was a happy and successful event. Over 50 people, full of energy and smiles, turned up despite the occasional ‘drizzle’ (the positive way of saying ‘downpour’!), posed in the rain for photos and shared the joy of knowing that there is an alternative to fossil fuel energy sources and that – with a bit of pushing – we can get it soon.

Two of the candidates in the upcoming election who had promised at Thursday night’s Forum to attend the launch – John Hathaway (ALP) and David Moyle (KAP) – were true to their word and came along to the launch. Both were given more information about big solar and about the benefits of such a system in and for the Townsville region.

From now on, NQCC’s Big Solar team will be speaking to groups of people around town in order to share the story and increase support. With the people behind it, it will be an irresistible force!

If you would like the NQCC team to speak to your group, contact office@nqcc.org.au or call 47716226.

The Environment and the Election forum

Despite distinctly inclement weather, over 50 people attended NQQC’s The Election and the Environment Forum at Townsville Yacht Club on Thursday 15 March.

Undaunted by the rain (and by the fact that it was the Ides of March!) candidates from all five parties contesting the seat of Townsville or (in the case of Katter’s Australia Party candidate David Moyle) the seat of Mundingburra came along to have a three minute platform from which to present their environmental credentials and policies – and then to face a barrage of questions from the audience.

Taking their places at the top table and fielding the questions were Mandy Johnstone (ALP), David Moyle (KAP), John Hathaway (LNP), Jenny Stirling (Greens) and Michael Punshon (Family First).

And once the presentations were over, the questions came thick and fast and covered a range of topics – uranium, biodiversity, access to National Parks, endangered species (including turtles, dugongs and black-throated finches), coastal development, invasive species, water quality, fishing, renewable energy and population. But the overwhelming issues of the night were coal and coal-seam gas.

Not surprisingly, it was only Greens candidate Jenny Stirling who took a strong stance against the mining and export of coal. Other candidates addressed the issue by talking largely about the need for ‘balance’ between environmental and economic/community issues – a word that appears to be taking over from ‘sustainable’ and ‘offsets’ when it comes to accepting damage to our environment. (While Jenny Stirling also acknowledged a need for balance, it is possible that she is using scales with a different calibration). Expansion of coal seam gas was not strongly supported by any of the minor parties, a position not reflected by either Mandy Johnstone or John Hathaway.

On the issue of National Parks, John Hathaway commented that it was easy to create new NPs but such popular actions needed to be accompanied by increases in rangers to look after them. He also noted that some NPs (according to a member of the audience, only three in the State) were surrounded by private land and could not be accessed by members of the public. However, he did not elaborate on whether the LNP would resolve this perceived dilemma by buying up private land to create access or closing down the NPs in question.

In an intense but controlled night, it was the comment that we seemed to be ruled not by politicians but by mining executives that drew spontaneous applause.

All five candidates were invited to attend the launch of Big Solar on Sunday 18 March – and four accepted the invitation (the fifth having a prior engagement). One task for the Big Solar campaigners will be to explain to our politicians that Big Solar is not lots of solar panels on residential houses – but a new approach to generating megapower for the grid. Something entirely possible in the Townsville region.

At the end of the night, it could probably have been concluded that the main group to have learned about the environment and its parlous state were the politicians  – a not entirely bad outcome.

Wendy Tubman, Coordinator

 

 

Big Solar in the Rain!

Big Solar in the Rain!

NQCC’s Townsville launch of the Big Solar campaign will go ahead come rain or shine! According to co-organiser Janet Dearden “Nothing will dampen our enthusiasm for Big Solar”.

The campaign, one of many around the country, will call on the federal government to commit, this year, to at least 2000MW of Big Solar projects (either solar thermal or solar PV power stations) to be built by 2015.

We’ll be gathering at 9.30am this Sunday (18 March) on the banks of Ross Creek near Victoria Bridge to form the words ‘BIG SOLAR’, using massed people to make the shape of the letters. And of course, we’ll be inviting the media. Together we can make a difference! Let’s show our support for BIG SOLAR and make our MPs pay attention!

Four of the five candidates at NQQC’s ‘The Environment and the Election’ forum held on Thursday 15 March at Townsville Yacht Club promised to be there – so this is your chance to show your support for Big Solar while bending the ear of an election candidate!

Bring HighViz gear, a small mirror, plenty of enthusiasm – and an umbrella!

For more information, check out our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/events/387796771234335/ or contact Janet (4724 2072), Mary (4725 7245) or Gerald (0401 429 021).