Earth Day 2023: Working Together to Invest in Our Planet

two hands coming together to hold a handmade representation of earth, against a green background

As the world gears up to celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd, we're reminded of the importance of taking action to protect our planet.

This year's theme, "Invest in our Planet," encourages us to make choices that help reduce our global footprint and promote sustainability.

In reflecting on this year’s theme, Our ConnectEd team took the opportunity to scroll back through the past 12 months of our much-loved monthly newsletter, Environment Matters, to celebrate some of the milestones and achievements made by our fellow team members, our community, and at a broader state level, that have helped us take strides towards our community vision to become “the most liveable, sustainable and innovative place in Australia.” 

Take a trip down memory lane with us, as we share some of our favourite good news stories about investing in our planet over the past 12 months of Environment Matters.

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Brainchild of our talented and creative Natural Resources Field team, the ‘Flame Weeder” was developed with the aim to improve weed control along the Cowarra and Rosendale dam walls. We’re pleased to report that initial testing was a success and this innovative solution continues to be used as a safer and more effective tool for our teams in managing problem weeds.

We love opportunities draw on the amazing innovation across our local small business network. This one celebrates a multi-win partnership with purpose that saw Council working with Port Plastics to repurpose 17,316 2lt milk bottles into protective guards for newly planted koala feed trees. A win for waste, a win for our koalas, and a win for working with sustainably driven local business! 

Of course, the rollout of the NSW Plastics Ban deserves another celebration. But we couldn’t not put the spotlight back on a local level initiative – the launch of our “Save Power Kits”, a loanable resource through our libraries that gives you all the tools and tips you need to measure your electricity usage around the home and and spot potential energy saving opportunities. 

We proudly announced our partnership with Australia’s newest battery stewardship scheme, B-Cycle, stepping beyond traditional battery recycling to create a more responsible, sustainable and far safer battery lifecycle. Since then, you’ll have noticed many battery collection points popping up around our community in addition to Council’s Community Recycling Centres, to help make battery recycling more convenient for our community. 

We used National Threatened Species Day as a springboard to help our community learn more about the 225 threatened species who call our region home, including our beloved koalas and vitally important Grey-Headed Flying Foxes. This milestone saw us kicking off the development of a new, free, loanable education resource for schools – the Flying Fox Box, which we launched with pride in February this year!

Giving our own team a pat on the back here, October saw us launching a project very close to our hearts, and one grounded in our team’s collective passion for investing in our planet our very own ConnectEd Community hub! Since launching the hub, we’ve had over 6000 visitors come to learn more and sign up to our tours, interact with our digital resources, and read our latest news as you are right now! We hope you’re enjoying the hub and would love to hear any feedback on how we can continue to grow it. You can get in touch with us via the website form or our direct email, education@pmhc.nsw.gov.au. Oh, and don’t forget to check out our upcoming community tours – there are still some spaces left! 

Another powerful partnership packed with purpose our Rapid Bike Repair pop ups, where we joined forces with local sustainably-driven bike mechanics, Recycle Bicycle and Bike Fix, who completed over 50 free rapid repairs to bikes that may otherwise have been destined for the tip! While bikes can be dropped off for free as scrap metal under our Community Recycling Centre (CRC) program, this National Recycling Week event meant we were able to give these bikes a second life while also ensuring our local bike riders are once again safe on the roads – an investment for the planet and our people! 

We put the spotlight on our sewerage and storm water systems, providing tools and tips on how to spot and connect the right drain for rain. With a call to action to work together on this issue, we’re continuing to keep our sewerage systems functioning efficiently and reduce the risk of overflows heading into our precious environment.   

Our Flying Fox Boxes officially launched, just in time for breeding season! We now have 6 of these education resources available for hire through ConnectEd Schools, and have already had them out for a spin across our community. We also took the opportunity to share more information with our community on what breeding season means and why we need to continue our care for these often-maligned but vitally important (and rather cute, we think!) furry flying friends. 

With community clean ups listed as one of Earth Day’s top tips to invest in our planet, we’re proud to reshare last month’s celebration of another successful Clean Up Australia Day, with over 30 local groups, workplaces, and schools register for the event. Another big thanks to everyone who volunteered their time and resources to invest in keeping our places and spaces clean.

So...what’s next?

Here’s a sneak peek into 4 more projects we’re proud of, and will be sharing more about soon: 

We’re continuing to grow our use of solar power across Council-owned sites, with 13 sites now using solar power. We use a solar analytics dashboard to help us track and continue to improve the impact this has on our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint. 

We’re continuing our commitment to converting street lights across our network to LED, a more energy efficient lighting solution.

We’re installing (just in time for Earth Day!) Port Macquarie’s first public destination fast charger, powered by 100% Accredited Greenpower, thanks to funding support from the NSW Government 

We are working with our Joint Organisation to hire a State Government-funded Net Zero Acceleration Officer, who’ll help member councils create a regional energy strategy and reduce carbon emissions.

Keen to join us in investing in our planet this Earth Day?

 

Remember, every action counts, no matter how small. By investing in our planet, locally and globally, we can create a more sustainable future for ourselves and future generations.  

Happy Earth Day! 

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