"Everything we buy has an impact on the environment, as all things demand energy, water and other natural resources to produce. People can make a difference to their individual contribution to greenhouse pollution by buying less, wasting less and choosing products that last," says Chuck Berger, ACF's Director of Sustainability Strategies. The Australian Conservation Foundation has been rolling our campaigns so rapidly these days it's hard to keep up. Chuck's above comments accompanied last month's release of The Consumption Atlas: an interactive online tool that allows Australians to view the greenhouse pollution created by households in their suburb. Dial in your suburb and see how you and your neighbours compare with other Australian cities and states. The atlas uses data from the Balancing Act research and links to the GreenHome initiative, a program that recently scored the 2007 Banksia Education Award, awarded by the Banksia Environmental Foundation, which might be considered Australia's eco-Oscars. Not content with these moves to get Aussies off our bums to lose our moniker as the world's highest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases, the ACF last year teamed up with Al Gore's Climate Project and is doing a repeat in 2007. Now they've mixed and matched online social networking with community based social marketing with their new 'Who On Earth Cares' initiative. Australian actor, Cate Blanchett is a star recruit, having committed to reduce her emissions by 13,300kg (equal to 2.66 cars off the road). Cate's emission reduction plan is detailed after the fold.
"I care about climate change because of our children. I want to safeguard their future. It is a situation that affects each and every one of us, in this country and around the world. It is an inescapable problem. A common link we share. It is a crisis that provides us with an opportunity to change for the better. To change the way we consume, the way we think and the way we behave. By assuming responsibility we protect, and respect the generations behind us." says Cate Blanchett.
"To reduce my greenhouse pollution, I have personally committed to:
- Switch my household power supply to accredited GreenPower
- Install a water efficient shower head
- Set my washing machine to wash my clothes in cold water
- Check and install adequate roof insulation
- Avoid one domestic air flight this year and purchase carbon offsets
- Drive 20 kilometres less each week
- Reduce my household electricity and gas usage by 20%
- Install a solar hot water heater
- I want to see a connected and progressive future for Australia, where we harness our greatest natural resources; sun, wind and brain power."
Mind you, when you are an Oscar-winning actor spending almost $1.5million in renovations on your newly acquired home it is easier to effect such change, than it might be for many of us. But, we suspect, not all celebs would go to the trouble of installing a "20,000-litre water tank, high-tech solar panelling, low energy lighting and grey water recycling." And Cate has also said that when she and her playwright husband, Andrew Upton, take over as artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company in 2008 they hope to take it in a green direction too. So we, assume therefore, like others that Cate is committed to the core.
Ten points to the ACF for reinventing itself and making its work relevant to mainstream Australia. It is a lesson not quite fully grasped by all environment groups.
Disclaimer: This writer is a lifetime member of ACF, and more than a decade ago worked in media liaison for the organisation.