In December last year, 15 members of Lighter Footprints met with Boroondara Council officer Lisa Wilkins to discuss the preparation of Our Boroondara- Our City Our Future, a plan which will to guide policy for the next 20 years.

The main comments from the group were that the current strategic plan was missing the opportunity to focus, right now, on a determination to become ‘carbon neutral’ within the next few years, not to mention the next twenty. Members offered to work with the Council explore what that approach might mean for both the Council, and for the community. The experience of other Councils in various parts of the country in reaching carbon neutrality showed this to be do-able.

The environment statement needed to adopt ecological sustainability principles and practices, said the group, which has implications for every part of the strategy, meaning that equal weighting needed to be given to environment, economy and social well being of the community.

Overall the group was conscious that the Council was showing increased interest and concern in sustainable approaches, but interestingly members had noted that Boroondara Council documentation and its website did not reflect this approach, unlike Whitehorse which pushes it right upfront. (This is not to say that each Council’s practices reflect their rhetoric, but it is worth noting the difference). Lisa Wilkins took the comments back and the group will be interested to see if the ensuing documentation and approaches will reflect these concerns.

Since then our group has been pursuing local action. After running two successful forums on climate change with candidates for both the Lower House and the Senate, we are looking to focus our strategic plan on post-electorate issues for this year. At the next meeting of Lighter Footprints, on February 6th, a planning day for Sunday afternoon Feb 17 will be confirmed. That session will be at Surrey Hills Neighbourhood Centre. Everyone is welcome.

At least one of our actions for next year will include the canvassing of our local area for interest in solar panels. We have negotiated a scheme which means we are seeking 50 homes to make use of the current Government subsidy. It is not clear how long this scheme will be available and the current subsidy of $8000 for 1 kw of solar panelling (6 panels) offers very good value.

We are supporting the first of the Surrey Hills Neighbourhood Centre meetings organised by its Sustainability Committee, which is from Angela Crocombe who has written a book called ‘A Lighter Footprint’, based on practical help for those seeking ways to apply a less heavy impact. This is on Tuesday Feb 27 at 8 pm, at the house at SHNC. Please come.

We continue to collect information and research from around the world which shows the speed with which climate change is impacting, and that it is induced by the rising levels of greenhouse gas. Our concern is that this has now reached crisis levels and our actions this year are likely to reflect this growing level of concern.

Join our emailing list if you would like copies of relevant research, and our events.

Carolyn Ingvarson
Lighter Footprints