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My report to ASA as their rep for the Brisbane NEEN launch

Dear Venerables

I hope this email finds you and those close to you in good health and peace of mind.

 
On Wednesday I went to the NEEN launch (and lunch) at the Francis Rush Centre in the grounds of the Cathedral of St Stephen, in Brisbane CBD, where the Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane works. He gave the opening speech and officially declared launched the Brisbane branch of NEEN. This project is funded by the government and run by Catholic Earthcare. The project is to help NGOs and their constituents become more energy efficient.
 
In the Archbishop’s address, he highlighted the relationship between human ecology and natural ecology and said we need to manage both, but must know the limit of the management, so that we do not start a destructive chain of events. The MC told us that the Pope has now declared the earth to be part of “the poor”, who we (Catholics and “people of good will”) should serve/take care of, since it has been degraded/exploited so much.
 
I find it so compassionate/welcoming/inclusive that they refer to people outside the Catholic Church who may want to work on Church projects as ‘people of goodwill’. I see a parallel with this in the Buddha referring to/addressing all lay spiritual seekers as “good person” whether they were his disciple or not and hope that this loving attitude will be mirrored more in Buddhist language.
 
The NEEN website: www.neen.org.au has many features, including a calculator for energy efficiency. This first version only gives about a +-20% assessment. The website also gives advice on how to save in three categories, without expense – only by change of behaviour, with little expense, or with more expense. The ten factsheets seem to be very good. The next version of the calculator is intended to be more accurate, but even at this stage it gives a direction in which organisations can move and indicates what could be examined in more detail by a free energy audit, which I think costs businesses about $5,000. The first version does not include schools as a general category, but they said they will be in version two, and are already included in the Catholic Earthcare website.
 
I asked the national leader for NEEN, Gareth Johnston, about wether the “smart” meters generally cause electricity bills to go up, as I had heard, even though they claim they will cause them to go down and he said yes. He explained that it is because the energy companies are  moving towards a more tarrif-like system, charging based on what time of day the energy is used.
 
I asked him if they were compulsory in Qld and he said “not yet”, but that Qld is spearheading the move in that direction. I asked if one could opt out, or have it removed after installation and he referred me to someone more sepcialised. They said they thought not, but a standard rate could maybe be negotiated with the power company. Gareth encouraged organisations to group together and negotiate a cheaper rate with the power companies and I think this would be a good thing for ASA to look into doing with its members.
 
Gareth was very interested in the non-mechanical system, which uses falling water to compress air to store kinetic energy, which can be used to power motors or generate electricity via a turbine, (or the air itself can be used directly in breathing apparatus in scuba tanks or in hospitals). On his request I sent him the link to the petition with the ~25min video with all the details, that I previously sent to the ASA committee: https://www.causes.com/campaigns/37946-produce-pollution-free-cars.
PS Gareth told me he is an ex-Vipassanaa practitioner, to which I said “me too” and that four of his team members “are Buddhist”. One of them the Qld Regional Leader, put food from the buffet in my bowl at lunch time (after 12pm), which I ate sitting on the ground by myself in silence.
 
Best wishes
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