Changes afoot at the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group

There are plenty of changes presently taking place in the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group. Ms Claire Rowland, with a background in international development, is responsible for the Vegetarian action group. She says, “We are part of a growing movement of people interested in understanding the health and environmental impacts of what we eat. We promote delicious and sustainable plant-rich food to individuals, families and organisations to replace, supplement, and improve current diets in the Macedon Ranges. We also celebrate and build our community through social events where people can share stories, recipes, and most importantly have fun.” Is this a group just for hardcore vegetarians? No, it is open to anyone who wishes to explore creative ways to reduce the amount of meat in their diet, including vegetarians, flexitarians, vegans, pescatarians, and omnivores.

Ms Lisa Richards, who has a background in Events and Volunteer Management and who co-ordinated a plastic protest at Coles earlier this year, is the new leader of the Waste action group which has recently published its Manifesto with a mantra “Refuse, Reduce, Re-educate, Reuse, Repair, Recycle, and Rot“ to minimise the amount of waste that ends up in landfill. The Waste action group is targeting the monthly Woodend Farmers’ Markets and the annual Sustainable Living Festival, both of which are run by MRSG, to become models of waste-free events. There are other campaigns and actions planned for 2019. Lisa sums up the values that her group is trying to inculcate: “We see ourselves as creators, rather than mere consumers, who treat waste as a resource and only buy what we need.”

Outgoing president, Mr Peter Lane, has taken on the Vice-President duties and shall also be focusing on developing partnerships and co-operative ventures between MRSG and the Macedon Ranges Shire Council, our State and Federal Governments, other regional sustainability groups, the Loddon Mallee waste and resource recovery groups, libraries, Neighbourhood Houses, and businesses. Peter will be applying over 20 years career experience in government infrastructure and public/private partnerships to this new MRSG focus.

Incoming president, Dr David Gormley-O´Brien, a former historian of the Graeco-Roman period who has in the past few years has turned his attention to sustainability and climate change issues, is very excited about where MRSG is heading, “We currently have around 400 members in twelve action groups ranging from beekeeping, to permaculture garden and transition towns, to large-scale renewable energy projects. We are a very diverse group, with people of different political persuasions, a wide range of ages and social and educational backgrounds, who all share two common ideas: First, that something needs to be done to address issues of climate change, the growing ecological crisis, and pollution; and second, that we can have fun in doing this and enjoy being part of a large friendly community in the beautiful Macedon Ranges.”

New portfolio holders (L to R): Peter Lane (Vice-President), Claire Rowland (Leader - Vegetarian action group), Lisa Richards (Leader - Waste action group), and David Gormley-O’Brien (President)

New portfolio holders (L to R): Peter Lane (Vice-President), Claire Rowland (Leader - Vegetarian action group), Lisa Richards (Leader - Waste action group), and David Gormley-O’Brien (President)