We know we need to do things differently to reduce our emissions. We know we need to change. But how?

“It’s really difficult to talk to adults and ask them to change,” says Jenni Hagland, leader of Zero Emissions Schools program. “I had this epiphany one day at the bakery. There was an adult in line with his bread bag. I said, ‘Oh, that’s amazing,’ and he said, ‘My kids make me do it, I don’t want to.’

“It made me think: get the kids doing it, then their parents will change. It’s so much easier to get adults to change when their kids are involved.”

Jenni Hagland is new to ZESN but no newcomer to change-making. She has been directly involved in sustainability for more than a decade. In 2006 she began working for the Carbon Disclosure Project, a global NGO based in London, followed up by work for the CDP in Hong Kong. She moved to Sydney in 2016 and started the Mosman Public School Sustainability Club in 2018.

The club started small, fundraising for recycling bins, having ‘nude lunch’ challenges, turning off lights and installing LEDs. Then this April, after a year of planning and fund-raising, the school installed 50kW of solar panels on its roof. The system will provide 25% of the school’s electricity needs, saving $8,000 a year.

Now Jenni has joined Zero Emissions Sydney North to work on sustainability in schools across the region, starting with a new range of resources available from the Zero Emissions website. There are practical, step-by-step guides to forming a school sustainability team, revving up your recycling and active transport, and making sustainability a part of the curriculum. Plus there are inspiring case studies from Mosman Public School and Manly Selective showing how young people are making change happen, and benefitting their schools and communities at the same time.

“People overlook the impact kids have on their parents. You’re changing their behaviour at an early age, making them aware of the problem. These little people are going to turn into adults. I think it’s really important to make that not new or weird. It’s a part of their behaviour, and that will rub off at home, their parents will change, small business will respond to that, community will change.”

If you are inspired by these stories, if you want to help your school save money and carbon emissions, please get in touch.

 

Nearly 200 people joined Mosman Council’s online Climate Action Forum last night to hear a stellar panel of guest speakers and government representatives discussing climate resilience and responding to climate change.

The panel included: 

  • The Hon. Matt Kean MP, NSW Minister for Energy & Environment and Member for Hornsby
  • Zali Steggall OAM MP, Federal Member for Warringah
  • Felicity Wilson MP, Member for North Shore
  • Mosman Mayor Carolyn Corrigan
  • Professor David Schlosberg, Professor of Environmental Politics at the University of Sydney and Director of the Sydney Environment Institute
  • Professor Ruth Irwin, Team Leader Sustainability, Mosman Council.

Dominic Johnson, General Manager of Mosman Council was Master of Ceremonies. 

It was a lively forum with some insightful questions posed by audience members including representatives of Zero Emissions Sydney North. You can watch the complete forum here. 

Some highlights:

  • Zali Steggall MP explained how the proposed Climate Act will confirm a Federal net-zero-by-2050 target, which all States and Territories have already agreed to. She also discussed how legislation has helped successful climate action in countries such as conservative-governed-UK.
  • Professor David Schlosberg talked about Australia’s potential to be a renewable energy superpower
  • Matt Kean MP and Felicity Wilson MP spoke about NSW State based actions including the new renewable energy zones
  • Professor Ruth Irwin presented climate facts and solutions, and both Ruth and Mayor Carolyn Corrigan spoke about Mosman Council’s actions so far, including the 51 kW solar installation on the Marie Bashir Mosman Sports Centre as part of a Mosman-wide program to install solar on council owned buildings, LED upgrades planned for all street lights, and new resources to help individuals to take action, such as informational videos on solar, batteries and saving energy on the Council’s website, and discounted access to the Climate Clever app for all residents.

The panel spoke passionately about the need to support vulnerable people in our community who will be impacted by rising heat and unstable weather, and the urgency, the need to act now. They also urged people to use their democratic power to vote for climate action, and emphasized how important it was to consider politicians’ past voting records rather than their promises.

The panel ended with a video of a Q & A with local school students talking to Matt Kean and Felicity Wilson. The video makes it clear that young people are well across the facts and want to hear how we are switching to renewable energy, protecting our forests and animals, and creating renewable and sustainable jobs for their families and the students in the future.

Mosman Council also recently held three community workshops on climate, on mitigation, adaptation and resilience, and future scenarios. The three presentations from the workshops are available to view, along with a host of other videos, fact sheets, links and ideas for practical action on climate change.

To read more about Mosman Council’s climate action programs and initiatives, visit their website. And if you like what they’re doing, please tell them!