All around the country, we are seeing the power of communities working together to tackle climate change. From carbon neutral kindergartens and community driven climate summits, local councils and community are leading action on climate from the ground up. Here are four amazing community engagement initiatives spearheaded by local governments around the country.
Radical: Climate Change Mitigation in Surfing
Though it may not seem like surfing and tackling climate change go hand in hand, the Shire of Augusta Margaret River climate action summit held in May, 2019 showed how tackling climate change can use a shared interest to bring together an entire community.
Climate mitigation in Margaret is important to many different members of the community, including wineries who rely on the local climate for income, and the global surfing community who rely on WA’s beautiful beaches for their WSL Margaret River Pro surf competition every year.
To address this shared goal of protecting their local area from the impacts of climate change, the Shire of Augusta Margaret River hosted a Climate Action Summit that brought together Surfing WA, the World Surf League and 130 members of the community from dedicated climate experts and youth to politicians and world class surfers to workshop solutions that would see their community take local action on climate change.
Opt in to Offset in WA
City of Canning’s Opt in to Offset program is a great demonstration of the power of collective individual action in tackling climate change. Through a voluntary program designed by the City’s Sustainability Team in collaboration with the Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund (CNCF), city staff are able to offset their personal emissions through a tax deductible salary donation program, for less than the cost of a coffee each fortnight!
Though the cost to each staff member is small, as a community their contributions to the CNCF are able to have a massive effect on degraded farming land in Western Australia; funding native flora revegetation, decreasing drought, creating important habitat corridors for native fauna, and sequestering carbon through native growth.
Port Phillip’s Butterfly effect
The City of Port Phillip’s collaboration with Albert Park Kindergarten on their ‘Seedlings – Early Years Education for Sustainability’ initiative has had outstanding results through engaging with both the children and their families at the kindergarten.
Since the inception of the Seedlings initiative in 2012, Albert Park Kindergarten has become the first certified carbon neutral kindergarten in Australia, reducing gas usage by 100%, electricity by 59%, water by 71% and waste by over 50%!
Engagement with the children of Albert Park Kindergarten and their parents throughout the process has shown how the involvement of the community and young people can add a hopeful note to climate action, and the important role that education plays in fighting climate change.
CitySwitch in businesses
As a nationally delivered program, City of Sydney’s CitySwitch green office supports over 900 workplaces across Australia to increase their energy efficiency and reduce energy their costs. The program’s main focus is on reducing energy emissions to work towards a carbon positive future.
In targeting the business community, the CitySwitch program is able to tackle a large sector of the global community and demonstrate the benefits of sustainability in business. In 2018 alone, CitySwitch workplaces saved 711,000 tonnes of CO2 – that’s equivalent to taking 189,000 cars off the road and over the past four years have collectively saved over $72 million.
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To find out more about the Community Engagement Achievement Award shortlisted finalists and other Cities Power Partnership 2019 Award categories, visit the Cities Power Partnership Awards 2019 page.