Veena Sahajwalla

News from the front desk: We’re totally thrilled to bring you our latest ebook today, Building Circularity, based on our symposium late last year and our usual deep dives we do at event times, into related innovations and interviews with the amazing people who co-create the content with us.

Always they are the people at the front line of the fight to make our world a better place. In the case of embodied carbon and a circular economy, this is among the toughest challenges.

But that’s no barrier. What’s so great about all our events is tapping the immense passion and determination in the individuals who are generally beavering away, quietly. Increasingly that passion and appetite for change is spreading outwards to related networks and beyond.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy.

If anyone missed the fabulous profile of scientist and inventor Veena Sahajwalla on Australian Story on the ABC this week click here and give yourself a treat.

Veena, one of the many stars at Building Circularity, personifies the kind of talent, grit and determination that’s needed to push forward circularity and a more sustainable life.

If you watch the show you will be inspired. If you listen to Veena for just a bit, you’ll want to head straight to her labs and factories to see for yourself how she’s harvesting the putrid waste of our world and turning it into something we can use again, and hopefully, again. Productively and cleanly. Like the green ceramic tiles she’s making at Cootamundra from waste.

Of course, everyone at our symposium is gifted with those same traits of resilience and determination.

And we need these traits by the bucketful.

Poppy’s story this week is a perfect example of why.

Only last week, we were all bowled over by her profile on the sheer ambition and scale of the development proposed at Gisborne, just 54 kilometres north-west of Melbourne in one of the country’s most idyllic environments.

The development, Glen Junor, would have it all, Poppy wrote last week, including outstanding and unheard-of generosity to the natural world.

It’s backed by some of the “best brains in the business”, such as Brian Haratsis (MacroPlan), Mark McCrindle (McCrindle Social Research), Mike Day (Hatch RobertsDay), Brendan Condon (The Cape) and professor Sarah Bekessy (RMIT).

In particular, it was backed by the local community.

So, it was a stunning blow this week when Poppy learned that despite the exhaustively detailed and imaginative work on the project, the local Macedon Ranges Shire Council had dropped it from its town growth plans. This could potentially stop the project going ahead at all.

Poppy’s story of what went wrong is worth a deep and serious read. She’s looked into the details and canvassed of all the major parties involved as well as the mechanisms that are preventing such an outstanding project from going ahead.

A particularly sad part reads: “Even the councillors who voted against its inclusion in the plans recognised the merits of the development. They also admitted that it had amassed serious community support.”

A major stumbling block that emerges is “bandwidth”. The small local council feels it’s too much to deal with and the burden on existing ratepapers too much.

But the developers knew this and wanted to set up a $3.5 million community endowment fund “to ensure the natural and community assets are maintained in perpetuity.”

So now, it’s up to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to come to the party and show how much of a leader his state can actually be.

Let’s keep an eye on developments. These people are part of our resilient network and determined and they have not given up.

But they probably need all the help they can get.

Our readers are probably a good place to start.

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