Councils Step Up to Fight Climate Challenge
Whether those in charge of this country want to admit it or not, we’re undeniably in the midst of a global climate emergency. While some buffoons at the top may prefer to bury their heads in the sand, our local councils are taking steps to try and limit our impact on the environment.
In December 2019 a State of Climate and Biodiversity Emergency was declared by Waverley Council, following a unanimous motion moved by Greens Councillor George Copeland. The motion stated that with urgent collaborative action by all levels of government, it is still possible to help prevent the most serious environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change.
This was no token gesture. Waverley Council has strong council and community emission reduction targets and has teamed up with the Australian Energy Foundation (AEF) to provide free energy saving advice and information for local residents. Any residents who want to reduce their carbon footprint (and save money on energy bills) can contact the AEF for free advice and discounted products. This covers all sorts of energy saving solutions such as solar power, LED lighting, insulation, reverse-cycle air-conditioners, window films and hot water heat pumps.
This initiative is a result of the Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP) developed by the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, to which Waverley Council belongs.
“The master plan identified a need for a community energy advisory service to help local residents reduce their energy consumption and access the benefits of clean energy,” Waverley Mayor Masselos told The Beast.
Council’s commitment to renewable energy doesn’t end there. It is purchasing renewable energy direct from the Moree Solar Farm and, having already installed solar power systems at 12 sites including Bondi Pavilion and Waverley Library, has already met its 2020 council carbon emissions target.
“We are also helping 90 per cent of schools in the Eastern Suburbs make the switch to solar through our award-winning Solar my School program delivered in partnership with Randwick and Woollahra Councils,” said Mayor Masselos.
Meanwhile, Randwick Council has teamed up with RecycleSmart to provide a free app that makes recycling easier for local residents.
“We know that Randwick City residents are keen to recycle responsibly and ensure that they dispose of items correctly,” Randwick Mayor Danny Said told The Beast.
“It made sense, in this digital age, to offer people a simple and straightforward way to recycle items and feel confident they were going to the right places.”
The free app enables residents to search how to properly dispose of over 85 items including e-waste, soft plastics, clothing and problem waste like household batteries, tins of paint, fluorescent light globes, printer cartridges, x-ray films and smoke alarms. It will inform users when the next waste collection day is, as well as update them about any waste-related events in the area.
Randwick residents will also be the first to trial a new pick-up option for items like clothes or soft plastics which don’t belong in the yellow bins. For $2 per bag, these items can be picked up from their home or workplace and taken to the Randwick Recycling Centre to be disposed of correctly.
We know that these initiatives aren’t nearly enough to solve the global crisis, but as our country quite literally goes up in flames it is comforting to know that at least our local councils care enough to incite change and take positive steps in the right direction.
To chat with an Australian Energy Foundation advisor, please call 1300 23 68 55 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To download the RecycleSmart app, head to Google Play or the App Store.