Few places on Earth have a carbon footprint to match that of Mosman, one of Sydney’s wealthiest enclaves. But now its civic leaders are going green.
Mosman, on the North Shore of Sydney, encompasses some of the city’s most spectacular real estate, palatial houses with swimming pools and wonderful views of the water, along with scenic beaches, coves and peninsulas.
The municipality, also has the dubious distinction of having one of the country’s biggest “ecological footprints”. And since Australians are near the top of the global league table for per capita carbon emissions, that means that Mosmanites are among the most destructive people on the planet.
Some time ago, Mosman outed itself, with the local council revealing that the average footprint of each resident was a massive 14.7 hectares, almost twice the Australian average, and more than six times the global average of 2.3 hectares.
If everyone in the world had a lifestyle similar to that of Mosman residents, a study shows, seven extra Earths would be required to provide the resources. And if the resources to support them had to be found locally, only 58 people would be able to live in Mosman. In fact, the population is 28,000.
So the mayor, Denise Wilton, determined to restore Mosman’s good name, lobbied the Nature Conservation Council, a state environment body, to pick the municipality as the site of a “community climate challenge”, inviting residents to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions drastically.
Ms Wilton was successful, and the challenge was officially launched yesterday. Nearly 150 households have signed up, and the goal is to recruit 1,000 for the three-month pilot programme.
Those who agree will get a kit outlining ways they can green their homes and adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. They will be set specific goals, and stars will be awarded for ecologically sound behaviour. Limiting a shower to four minutes, for instance, or using a ceiling fan instead of air-conditioning, will earn one star. Parents who walk their children to school instead of driving them in gas-guzzling cars will earn three stars. So will executives who hold video-conferences rather than flying to other cities for meetings.
Four stars – the maximum – will be awarded for such activities as arranging a walking “school bus” with other parents. Raising funds to install solar panels at a local school will also earn four stars.
The municipality saw off stiff competition from 14 other Sydney councils to be nominated as the venue for the climate challenge, which will be run in conjunction with the Nature Conservation Council, with state government funding.
Visit the Nature Conservation Council to see how you can save energy in your home, and in the process save money and help save the planet.