I love nature and I am constantly disappointed by the party’s decision to put politics ahead of actually getting things done.
I have worked with Dr. Brett Bryan from Deakin University who is a Professor of Global Change, Environment and Society to make sure that we have a policy that has points that are practical and relatively simple and quick to implement as well as policies whose implementation will be phased in over a period of time. All my environmental policies are working towards a cleaner and more sustainable Geelong, Australia and world. We all need to be acting local but thinking global.
In terms of climate and energy we need to start by looking at our own homes and asking what can we do better? So many of us have inefficient white goods and I think there should be a buy back program as inefficient white goods waste energy and cashing in old fridges can both save people money and reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Instead of just offering a subsidy for solar panels I believe this should be taken one step further by offering a subsidy for battery storage, we need to be using our solar resources as efficiently and effectively as possible to reduce our reliance on coal. What better way of doing this then enabling people to store the power there solar panels generate. I have one in my own house and it has meant that I have not had to pay an electricity bill since I installed it as I am storing more energy then I am using and when it’s a cloudy day I have reserves so I can run on my own grid rather then the states.
I believe we need to be looking to electric cars and bikes, the rules around electric bikes are currently too restrictive and need to be revised to be more logical and friendly, imagine how much more parking there would be if we could embrace safe electric bikes. On a similar note, Geelong seriously needs more charging stations, the more electric friendly we are the more inclined people will be to embrace this technology in their own vehicles.
We need to be protecting and restoring our natural ecosystems, when I was mayor we planted 80,000 indigenous trees and 20,000 indigenous shrubs in Geelong. Native plants are so important to our ecosystem they help store carbon from the atmosphere and they also help prevent the extinction of native species. We need to constantly be working on replenishing our natural environment rather then taking from it.
I have mentioned my intention to ban plastic straws in Geelong and have already begun implementing this in my own businesses and I implore you to always say no to straws when you are offered one. Geelong needs to be at the forefront of banning plastic for two reasons; one; we should be aiming to be the most sustainable city in Australia and two; we live on the waterfront and as a costal city our plastic pollution impacts the marine environment which we live on.
European cities have successfully implemented plastic recycling in their supermarkets and this is a relatively easy thing to implement while the supermarkets currently do soft plastic recycling the Europeans have far more extensive options available to them, it is a model that works and one we should embrace.
Beyond banning straws and take away coffee cups we need to be looking at removing plastic all together and working together towards always using sustainable options in our every day lives.
I think the most important thing is that we begin! If we all start taking small steps towards helping our environment we can make great change together!