Bangalow Climate Change activist group, Green Coast Catalysts, in conjunction with Don Page, Member for Ballina, will present a public forum focusing on renewable energy options on the morning of Sunday 1 August in the Bangalow A&I Hall.

“Governments the world over continue to procrastinate,” said Chris Sanderson, from Green Coast Catalysts.

“They allow the interests of the fossil fuel industries to take precedence over our energy security. For the same reason, they continue to avoid taking the necessary action that science demands to avoid climate catastrophe.

“As countries now perceive their traditional energy supplies are at risk and prone to serious interruption, so do individuals.

“Many recent books by respected authors, as well as popular movements, are now suggesting that we are approaching an era when energy self-sufficiency is a prudent planning goal for families and businesses.

“The idea of holding this forum is to explore clean renewable energy options available now, and what’s coming soon.”

The event, running from 9.30am to 1pm, will be chaired by local journalist, Mick O’Regan.

“The event starts by an overview of the situation we are faced with now, as Climate Change converges with Peak Oil,” Mr Regan said.

“Then it filters down to what forms of renewable energy are actually available in the Byron Shire right now, followed by our wish-list for future possibilities.”

Morning tea and a light lunch will be available, catered by Bangalow Museum’s Heritage House Tearooms. Gold coin admission to help cover costs.

Mr O’Regan will introduce a series of speakers, starting with the University of Wollongong lecturer Dr Adam Lucas, who will talk on ‘The Big Picture’.

“Australia is at a crossroads in energy policy formation as it reaches capacity constraints due to population growth, climate change and lack of energy infrastructure investment over the last 30-40 years,” he says.

His current research focuses on energy policy responses to anthropogenic climate change and the peaking of world oil, coal and gas production.

Speaking for the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO) will be David Warrilow, who will discuss Peak Oil and the likely consequences for the local population.

ASPO, an initiative of the Sustainable Transport Coalition, is a network of professionals working to reduce our oil vulnerability, aiming to bring the probabilities, risks and opportunities that Peak Oil presents, to the attention of decision-makers.

Geothermal energy will be discussed by Alecks Atrens, from the University of Queensland’s Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence, while Nick Lake, director of local company Nickel Energy, will present the solar energy options available here and now.

From Grafton, the Regional General Manager for Country Energy, Richard Wake, will explain such matters as Feed-in-Tariffs, and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECS), and no doubt respond to questions about price increases.

Robert Rosen will discuss mooted Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle initiatives, including local electric vehicle hire, fast charging facilities, and possible linkages with the Brunswick Heads Community Economic Transition Plan, local tourism accommodation providers, and renewable energy installers.

Don Page, Member for Ballina (which includes the Byron Shire), who ‘starred’ as the (hypothetical) Premier of NSW in the very successful Green Coast Catalysts ‘Climate Change Hypothetical’ event held at the A&I Hall in 2007, was delighted to be involved in another such stimulating event.

“All over the electorate, people are asking me what they can do now to cut down their energy use, and how can they increase energy efficiency in their homes,” he said.

“First, they are concerned about the scale of the problem globally. Then they want to know specifically what they can do right now. We hope this event will provide some clear answers.”

In the outer hall, information booths will give detailed information on such matters as public transport, with TOOT (Trains on our Tracks) manning a stand.

Local political party Our Sustainable Future will have Lismore Shire Councillor Simon Clough and former Byron Shire Councillor Hugh Ermacora providing information on its policies.

Transition Byron Shire will present information about the Transition Town initiative, plus Sapoty Brook’s electric bicycle.

It is anticipated that other stands will provide information on local biochar projects, as well as solar heating, appropriate house design, energy financing, subsidies and grants, and ‘green’ painting opportunities.

For further information, contact Green Coast Catalysts’ Chris Sanderson on (02) 6687 2244, or Don Page’s office on (02) 6686-7522.