Plenty on the PEDLER agenda

By David Rak

A thirst for knowledge is a quality that beams out of 80-year-old Jim Peart.

Mr Peart recently spoke in Avenel to a small group he established called Presentations, Enlightenment, Discussion, Laughter, Enquiry and Reasonableness (PEDLER). 

The occasional discussion evenings were proposed by Mr Peart to inform residents of the ‘knowledge bank’ that is stored in the people of Avenel.  

“The skills and knowledge in our residents never cease to amaze me,” Mr Peart said.

“I have been surprised about the interesting backgrounds of residents and what they have contributed to in their home and work lives.”

The group has covered subjects such as the integration of new residents to Avenel and touched on immigration and what attracts new residents to the town.

There was also a discussion around protecting the council and shire's brand and how important it is to keep ratepayers informed of the services local government offers.

The recent PEDLER gathering covered environmental aspects of local life.

Mr Peart was the first speaker and he linked work and power together and meticulously hand-illustrated his PowerPoint presentation.

He discussed the relationship of carbon dioxide emissions with power generation in reference to each person’s contribution through various countries in the world. 

The topic of alternative means of power generation was also discussed and touched on coal-fired power, wind, hydro and solar.

The second speaker was Jeff Moran, who started by saying that to do justice to the topic of climate change in 15 minutes was impossible and that people either choose to deny its existence or embrace it.

He referred to the known facts and science of the atmosphere and the distinction between weather and climate and how the sun drives all weather and climate as it interacts with the atmosphere then the land, water and ice on the surface of the earth.

Mr Moran emphasised that global population growth drives demand for goods and services, which also drives land clearing, demand for energy and emissions.

He said unless people can mitigate this important driver of demand and use energy sources that reduce emissions, global temperatures will continue to rise.

The final speaker was Kevin Whithear, who with his wife, Deb, in 1995 vowed to live sustainably off the grid on their newly purchased property on Tarcombe Rd.

The owners of Mt Bernard Olives, the couple wanted to minimise their carbon footprint on their small olive farm.

A stand-alone, off-grid solar collection point provides most domestic and farm power, with a diesel-powered three-phase generator as back-up when demand exceeds supply.

With the impounding of carbon through tree planting plus encouragement of native woodland regrowth, the farm operates as a carbon sink rather than a carbon source.

However, lack of adequate rainfall during winter and spring 2018, followed by a long hot summer, produced the most difficult conditions experienced in almost 25 years of stewardship of their property.

The olive crop failed and a number of established native trees and shrubs died.

Mr Whithear said sustainable management of native woodlands and horticultural crops in the face of a likely dryer, hotter climate will continue to be a future challenge.

By GoNagambie's Community Voice — Sissy Hoskin.