. The Role of Seaweed in Mitigating Climate Change

Robyn Walters, of the newly formed Climate Champions group, writes this introduction for their topic of the month, written by David Sonenberg, The Role of Seaweed in Mitigating Climate Change.

"Thanks to our enterprising tutor, Hannah Len, the Climate Change U3APP Class has created a follow-on group called Climate Champions.  We connect to continue investigating, sharing ideas and being proactive about Climate awareness. Hannah stimulated us to educate ourselves about topics we had not known about before such as:-

  • Carbon Capture
  • Green Hydrogen
  • Climate aware farming practices
  • Activities in our area
  • The role of clouds
  • The usefulness of kelp.

When we gather, there are lots of questions raised. Maybe you'll have some too."

The Role of Seaweed in Mitigating Climate Change


Seaweed and moo noos (Cattle)

Did you know – methane emissions from livestock make up about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Did you know – that a cow produces on average as much gas emissions as one car.

Did you know – that CSIRO in Australia claims that methane stays in the atmosphere for about nine years, a far shorter period than carbon dioxide, however methane's global warming potential is “86 times higher than carbon dioxide when averaged over 20 years….”.

Did you know – the CSIRO has developed a seaweed product that reduces greenhouse gases produced by cattle and has won a $1M international prize for doing so.

Did you know – that this seaweed product slashes the amount of greenhouse gases cattle ‘burp’ and ‘fart’ (mainly burping) into the atmosphere.

It is claimed that when this product is added to cattle feed, the product, which contains Australian “super seaweed” Asparagopsis, virtually eliminates methane from the animals bodily emissions. Also it is claimed that the potential for the product to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas footprint, if commercialised, was massive.

Watch this space for developments in the cattle industry.

Some other seaweed benefits

We are all familiar with the role forests play when it comes to providing a sustainable source of food, energy and raw materials, and locking away CO2 emissions. But perhaps we are less knowledgeable about the potential of forests of seaweed growing in the oceans.

Did you know – seaweed plays a crucial role in the ocean’s ability to absorb greenhouse gases and is grown around the world.

Did you know – seaweed is better at absorbing CO2 than trees are.

Did you know – seaweed is considered a high valued source of protein for humans and livestock.

A type of seaweed known as kelp, is being developed for its nutritional value and its ability to absorb and knock away huge quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2). Seaweed, in the oceans, helps to de-acidify the water and absorb CO2 more effectively than trees. It also improves water quality by extracting harmful nutrients such as nitrogen from the sea.

Seaweed / Kelp - what’s the difference?

Seaweed is a plant growing in the sea, especially marine algae; unlike land plants, it does not have roots, stems, leaves and flowers; and may be green, brown or red; it grows on the seashore, in salt-marshes, in brackish water or submerged in the ocean.

Kelp is any large, brown, cold water seaweed of the family Laminariaceae, used as a food and in various manufacturing processes, a bed or mass of such seaweeds.

David Sonenberg, Climate Champion

Artwork - Colin Sheppard, local artist - instagram @doitbabyfactory

. COVID-19 Vaccination Information – Victorian Government

The Victorian Department of Health has provided this update about COVID-19 Vaccinations, including how to book an appointment and the type of vaccination you are eligible for:

There are more places than ever before to get your COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccines are safe and effective

The vaccines are free

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine reduces your risk of getting sick with COVID-19 and protects you against becoming very sick if you do get COVID-19. It helps to protect your friends, family and community.

If most people are vaccinated, the virus can’t spread as easily. This also protects people who can’t get vaccinated.

How to book an appointment

You can book at a participating doctor’s clinic or pharmacy. Find your nearest GP clinic using the Eligibility Checker.

Eligible people in Victoria can  book their vaccination online at one of over 50 vaccination centres. Bookings can also be made by calling the Coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398.

You need two separate doses (injections) of the vaccine to give you the best protection against vaccination COVID-19. The first dose of the vaccine will give you significant protection against COVID19 while you await your second dose. Once you receive the second dose, you will have the highest level of protection against COVID-19. Including protection against the Delta variant.

  • If you get the AstraZeneca vaccine, you should get two injections 12 weeks apart.
  • If you get the Pfizer vaccine, you should get two injections 6 weeks apart.

Vaccines are administered following the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI):

  • The   Pfizer vaccine is offered to people aged under 60 years.
  • The   AstraZeneca vaccine is offered to people aged 60 years and over.

You can read more about the vaccines, including risks and possible side effects of the vaccines at health.gov.au.

The best person to talk to if you have concerns about your health and getting the COVID-19 vaccine is your doctor or health practitioner.

During the COVID-19 vaccine rollout you will need to maintain COVIDSafe behaviours, to keep yourself and your friends, family and loved ones safe.

Further Information and links:

The health.gov.au and coronavirus.vic.gov.au sites both provide up to date information on the vaccines, eligibility and how to book. This information is also available in languages other than English, easy read and Auslan formats.

To stay up to date on the latest news click here to subscribe to updates from the Victorian Department of Health on the COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

. Funeral notice – Air Vice Marshal Alan Raymond Reed AO

Air Vice Marshal Alan Reed (AO)


Alan Reed was born in Albany Western Australia in December 1933.  He grew up in East Fremantle and attended Fremantle Boys High School.  He was interviewed for his first job as an Accountants Clerk by Sir Charles Court and he worked with Hendry, Rae and Court until he was called up for national service training in the RAAF in June 1952.

Having "become airborne" for the first time in a Dakota (DC3) he decided that a flying career was more exciting and suited him better than auditing and getting purple ink on his fingers and he applied for pilot training in the RAAF. Alan was selected for No 13 Pilots Course which began training at Archerfield in Queensland on Tiger Moths in May 1953 and he was one of the thirteen (out of 26 who started) who was awarded his wings in July 1954.

As a brand new Sergeant Pilot, Alan was posted to the maritime role flying long nose Lincoln aircraft with No 10 Squadron in Townsville. Whilst there he was commissioned, assessed as "above average" and made Captain of his own crew.  In 1958, jets called and after a jet conversion on Vampires, he began a long and very satisfying period flying the beautiful "lady of the sky" the Canberra bomber firstly in No 1 Squadron at Amberley.

Highlights included becoming with his navigator, the first A category crew in the Wing and participating in several overseas deployments including flying one of three Canberras around the world to participate in the Nigerian Independence celebrations in October 1960. He was then selected for an exchange tour on Canberras in the Royal Air Force but shortly before planned departure (and marriage to his Scottish sweetheart Aileen) the posting was cancelled and he returned to Amberley and later to Malaya still flying Canberras.

A tour as a flight commander at the RAAF Academy followed and after completing Staff College in 1966, he was promoted to squadron leader and selected for the first pick up of the F111. During refresher training, he was advised that he had been selected for exchange with the US Air Force to fly the then top fighter aircraft in the world, the Phantom RF4C. He was very lucky as the F111 was delayed for several years. At that time, the Phantom held most aviation records including, altitude, speed and time to altitude. It was a major leap from a Canberra and on arriving at Shaw Air Force Base, beginning training on the Phantom and realizing that his job was to train US pilots and navigators to fight in Vietnam, he decided that he needed to get some combat experience himself to give him experience in reconnaissance and credibility in his job.

He approached the senior USAF officer at Shaw as well as the Australian Embassy in Washington and put in process, gaining approval from both governments to do an assignment flying Phantoms in Vietnam. After several months, approval was finally granted and he was assigned to the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Tan Son Nhut base (Saigon) to fly for six months temporary duty as the only Australian pilot in the entire wing of five squadrons. As the USAF could not order him as a foreign national to Vietnam, they issued "Invitational Orders" with the Secretary of the Air Force inviting him to proceed on operational duty to Vietnam. He thus claims to be one of the few people to be "invited to attend a war!" The USAF was not going to let him go to a war zone unless he was well prepared and he completed the USAF Survival Course which included snow survival, the Sea Survival course and the Jungle Survival course in the Philippines before arriving for his tour of operational duty in Vietnam.

What followed was excellent experience flying low level reconnaissance missions in all of South Vietnam and as the RAAF had advised USAF that the only constraint on him was not to fly into Cambodia, the USAF assigned him to "out country" missions including North Vietnam and Laos. After returning to Shaw with this excellent experience, he quickly became a training flight commander and had an enjoyable and rewarding time as an instructor. For his service with the USAF in Vietnam, he was awarded the US Forces Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster.

On return to Australia, he paid his dues as Staff Officer for the F111 followed by command of No 6 Squadron which by then was equipped with Phantoms to fill the gap left by the delayed F111l. He was selected as a student on Joint Service Staff College and this was followed by a tour as an instructor at the College. A tour in charge of flying training in the RAAF followed promotion to group captain and then selection as the senior officer flying the Flll at Amberley was the real and very satisfying end of his operational flying of high performance aircraft.

On completion of this marvellous tour, he was promoted to Air Commodore and posted as Commandant of the RAAF Academy at Point Cook. A most enjoyable tour as Air Attache in Washington came on completion of this assignment. After three years in Washington, his final posting on promotion to Air Vice Marshal was as Air Officer Commanding Support Command in Melbourne.

Alan was appointed as an Officer in the Order of Australia in 1989. He retired from the RAAF in November 1990 and established his own consultancy business. Alan considers he had a wonderful career flying the most advanced aircraft of their time. He believes the RAAF is a vastly different service to the one he joined nearly 60 years ago and he had the best of it. Having started his career on Tiger Moths he got a big kick out of flying his restored Tiger which he recently donated to the Temora Air Museum. His philosophy was that if you don't have a F111, a Tiger Moth is the next best thing.

Alan was married to Aileen Purvis. They had recently celebrated 60 years of marriage. There are two sons and five gorgeous grand daughters.

As he said, life is good.


. Things to do in Lockdown – Online Jigsaws

Online Jigsaws - by Janet Campbell

During Melbourne’s lockdowns, many of us have discovered (or rediscovered) the joy of jigsaw puzzles. They provide a range of benefits during these stressful and frustrating times. I find them to be quite meditative and offer much needed stress relief.

However, whilst our Port Melbourne Facebook group participants regularly posted about jigsaws during our first lockdown in 2020 (seems so long ago!), and the local newsagent offered a variety for sale, I hadn’t considered them for myself. I live in an apartment and don’t really have the space to have a jigsaw underway for hours or even days.

But that first lockdown seemed to drag on and on (little did we know then!), so I was intrigued when I saw a Facebook post about online jigsaws. I found there to be a wealth of these websites. However, some required subscriptions, some didn’t offer many functional options, and some were a bit “clunky” in design.

Then I discovered Jigsaw Explorer www.jigsawexplorer.com It’s a wonderful website and has provided me with many hours of entertainment. You can select puzzle images from a vast range of themes, e.g. Animals (birds, cats, insects, reptiles etc); Nature (beaches, seasons, farms, landscapes and more); Art includes paintings, costumes and murals; Holidays offer Christmas, Halloween and Valentine’s selections. That’s just a few. Plus, you can use your own images i.e., your own photos or images “borrowed” temporarily from all over the internet. Other ways to customise your experience are to select your preferred challenge level (number of pieces) or invite other people to play the puzzle with you over the internet by sharing a game link.

As we embark on yet another lockdown, perhaps online jigsaws can offer you some much needed entertainment.

. Vale Alan Reed

Alan Reed, an amazing bloke came late into my life at the MSAC Gym.  Strangely we chatted in the change rooms and it soon came out that he was not only a RAAF pilot but a retired Air Vice Marshall, the second highest rank in our Air Force.  Alan was born in 1933 in Western Australia, of humble but determined parents. As I was a few months younger and had done Nasho in the Navy and he in the force we seemed to hit it off.  Alan aspired to air crew but reached the rank of corporal.  Air crew proved too elusive in that six months.

After discharge from NASHO, Alan, who in civil life had been doing accountancy, which he now found dull, applied for and was accepted in an intake of hopeful pilots.  He had found his forte.  Pilot training soon saw him as a natural.  Graduating as a pilot he had the rank of sergeant then flight sergeant and, as chance would have it, all pilots were to be given commissioned rank, which saw Alan now a pilot officer.  Flying bombers became second nature for him with service in the USA.

As he says in his biography, Invited to a War, he “met the girl of his dreams” and married Aileen, with whom he had two sons, Gus and Cameron.  His family and the RAAF were his life.  His first time in the USA had him so enamoured with his craft as a pilot that he volunteered to serve with the United States Air Force in Vietnam where he saw real action.

On return to Australia, Canberra bombers dominated his service life.  This saw a return to the USA as Australia’s Air Attaché and promotion to Group Captain.  Following this appointment it was Head Quarters Support Command Melbourne and eventual promotion to Air Vice Marshal.

What an amazing career for a man as humble, yet dedicated to both career and family as Alan was.  How lucky I was to have met such a man, albeit in our 80’s during time spent together at U3A Port Phillip.

Chocks away and clear skies ahead for a great fellow.

by Colin Macleod, Tutor U3A Port Phillip

. Department of Health & Human Services – Face Masks

As of midnight on Wednesday 22 July 2020, the Victorian Government requires all those in the Melbourne Metropolitan area (and including Mitchell Shire) to wear face masks when out for one of the four acceptable reasons for leaving home:

  1. Shopping for food or other essential items
  2. To provide care giving, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
  3. For exercise (outdoor exercise only, with only one other person or members of your household)
  4. Work or study, if you cannot work or study from home

You can view a four page pdf provided by the DHHS for making your own face mask by clicking the mask below.  You can increase the size of the pdf by double clicking and then clicking on "zoom in" - you can repeat this process until the document is the most suitable size for you.

Below is an email shared by Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for all U3A's :

From: Funded Agency Channel (DHHS) <fac@dhhs.vic.gov.au>
Sent: Tuesday, 21 July 2020 4:03 PM
Subject: Mandatory face coverings for Victorians

Community sector colleagues,

As the Premier announced on Sunday, people living in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will now be required to wear a face covering when leaving home for one of the four reasons, following a concerning increase in coronavirus cases in recent days.

This new direction will be enforced from 11.59pm Wednesday 22 July to allow people time to purchase or make a face covering. However, we ask you to start wearing a face covering immediately if you can.

There will be some reasons not to wear a face covering. For example, those who have a medical reason, children under 12 years of age, or those who have a professional reason. However, you will still be expected to carry your face covering at all times to wear when you can.

Please refer to the updated restrictions on the Department of Health and Human Services’ website for more detail.

For those undertaking vital work in our community services sector, please remain vigilant and continue to implement the Guidance for coronavirus (COVID-19) planning in the community services sector (Word), to protect the health and safety of staff, clients and the broader community. This guidance will soon be updated to reflect the latest announcement re mandatory face coverings.

For those in need of face masks to continue providing vital services to the community, please complete the request for PPE form online. Demand for PPE is very high and all requests will be triaged with priority given to facilities and programs where there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19.

How do I wear a mask correctly? (surgical mask - single use)

  • Before putting on the mask, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use a hand sanitiser that is made up of over 60% alcohol.
  • Check for defects in the mask, such as tears or broken loops.
  • Position the coloured side of the mask outward.
  • If present, make sure the metallic strip is at the top of the mask and positioned against the bridge of your nose.
  • If the mask has:

o    Ear loops: Hold the mask by both ear loops and place one loop over each ear.

o    Ties: Hold the mask by the upper strings. Tie the upper strings in a secure bow near the crown of your head. Tie the bottom strings securely in a bow near the nape of your neck.

o    Dual elastic bands: Pull the bottom band over your head and position it against the nape of your neck. Pull the top band over your head and position it against the crown of your head

  • Mould the bendable metallic upper strip to the shape of your nose by pinching and pressing down on it with your fingers.
  • Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.
  • Be sure the mask fits snugly.
  • Don’t touch the mask once in position.
  • If the mask gets soiled or damp, replace it with a new one.

What’s the best way to take off a face mask?

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Don’t touch the front of the mask or your face.
  • Carefully remove your mask by grasping the ear loops or untying the ties. For masks with a pair of ties, unfasten the bottom one first, then the top one.
  • If your mask has filters, remove them and throw them away. Fold the mask and put it directly into the laundry or into a disposable or washable bag for laundering. Single use surgical masks should be disposed of responsibly.
  • Clean your hands again.

The most up to date information, including FAQs about face coverings, is available on the Victorian coronavirus website.

In the coming days, we will also provide you with information about face coverings for vulnerable clients.

For those supporting vulnerable members of our community through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – thank you for your hard work, patience, and determination – you are making a significant difference to the lives of Victorians as we work together to slow  the spread of the virus in our community.

Stay safe,

Argiri Alisandratos
Deputy Secretary, Children, Families, Communities and Disability
Department of Health and Human Services
50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne 3000