About the Climate Change Action Network (CCAN)

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CCAN was established as a sub committee by Tropo (Tweed Richmond Organic Producers’ Organisation (inc)) in June 2004. Tropo is a grassroots local action group dedicated to fostering Organic agriculture and gardening on the north coast of NSW, Australia.

Tropo’s vision at the time was of an Organic, biodiverse, sustainable Northern Rivers powered by renewable energy in about 20 years time.

CCAN’s assignment was:

1.a) Educate ourselves to understand basic climate change science.
b) Keep assessing and communicating the timing and magnitude of climate trends, observations, threats and the resilience of different agricultural systems to change.
c) Understand the science, environmental costs and benefits of different renewable energy systems.
d) To understand the social science of people, especially in relation to dramatic change now to avoid a major catastrophe 25 years plus hence.
2) Thus prepared we can plan to be part of a networking strategy, cooperating with the like minded, communicating with the unlike minded, fostering climate change science, exposing furphies and exploring techniques to move from an adversarial to a cooperative world.
3) To develop and commission renewable energy systems as fast as possible. This requires a huge effort now. The default path is unthinkable, a big surprise when non renewables exhaust then trying to develop renewable energy resources in a climate and atmosphere antagonistic to life and getting worse.
4) To limit GHG emissions by reducing and recycling. Especially important if 3 is slow to develop. Recycled material will be important for new renewable energy infrastructure. The trap to avoid is thinking that reducing & recycling is the solution.

Australians, now top per capita GHG emitters, have enjoyed the amenities of deliberately living out of balance with the biosphere for 40 or more years. For millennia future generations will be suffering the consequences of our choice of energy source. Adherence to economic fantasies too easily derailed the 1970’s push to renewable energy. Now that survival is threatened we have to be smarter.

CCAN is made up of interested members from the local area. Much of our time is taken up with work in progress on the 3m mobile solar parabolic dish cooker. We also use a small parabolic 0.9m ex searchlight dish to demonstrate the power of solar energy at markets, festivals, environment days and schools. We use smoke to clearly demonstrate the parabolic optics. We make solar espresso coffee in 2.5 minutes, melt basalt rock to lava (1140 degC), weld rocks together, cut steel (1500 degC), and so on with solar energy.

At these events we display current information on global warming and information on solar and wind energy systems that attract keen interest.

At the old butter factory where we’re building the 3m dish we’ve held public all day events for people to learn about permaculture and renewable energy from local experts (eg Tim Winton at www.permaforesttrust.org.au). We’ve held other public events to show films such as “End of Suburbia” and “Power of Community” at which we discuss the changes necessary to prevent even worse global warming.

We have a wide variety of expertise within the membership of CCAN from technical skills such as boiler makers, welders, technical teaching skills, steam and power station engineers, fibreglassers, plasterers, information technology and computer engineers, electronic engineers and more. One member is a physicist with several years experience developing a 6 metre diameter solar parabolic dish at the University of Queensland, Australia from 1978 to 1980.

As well as our solar projects we have started on plans to establish a radio data link to collect wind run data from likely sites in this area prior to building wind turbines if feasible.

There has been a recent very welcome upsurge of awareness about global warming which has sparked many new groups to which CCAN members have been able to network and contribute with positive effect.