Council declares climate emergency

Port Phillip Council has joined the growing movement calling for urgent action to address climate change.

A motion passed at last night’s Council meeting declares climate change poses a serious risk to Australians – including those living in Port Phillip – and should be treated as an emergency.

It commits Council to advocating to state and federal governments to “declare a climate emergency and take action to drastically reduce warming emissions in Australia and across the world”.

Port Phillip Council will also incorporate the declaration in all of its relevant strategies and policies and consider the impact of climate change when planning and decision making.

Mayor Dick Gross, a university lecturer on climate change, likened the current debate to when the harm caused by smoking was not universally acknowledged in the 1950s, despite a raft of scientific correlations.

“The evidence shows climate change is real, it’s here, it’s happened. No country – or council – can escape the potentially disastrous cascading impacts of climate change which must be addressed now,” Cr Gross said. “This is a local, and global emergency, and everyone must do their bit to preserve the liveability of our planet.”

Councillor Tim Baxter, who brought the motion to Council, said the effects of climate change were already being experienced in Port Phillip.

“Increased flooding in Elwood and Port Melbourne, beach erosion, urban heat island effect at public housing high-rises … these aren’t isolated incidents. It’s Council’s job to take care of our community and climate change is a big threat to their health and well-being and environment,” Cr Baxter said.

“I know that we’re just one Council. I’d certainly prefer to see our federal and state parliaments declare an emergency. But there are many moments where we are required to step up and show leadership – and this is one of them.

“In standing up for our community, we are joining hundreds of other cities in acknowledging the real facts of this emergency and acting with what power we have to address it.”

Cr Gross said Council’s long-standing efforts in its own backyard already included:

  • Partnering with other large organisations to facilitate the construction of an 80mW wind farm near Ararat that delivers all of Council’s electricity through a power purchase agreement

  • Installing solar panels on Council buildings including 409kW of roof top solar with another 200kW about to come on line at South Melbourne Market.

  • Supporting the community’s efforts to reduce waste water and energy use through initiatives including targeted programs for apartment dwellers

  • Planting 1325 trees in 2018/19 and facilitating community planting days in which 21,067 Indigenous plants were placed along the foreshore.

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Australia’s first carbon neutral kindergarten

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Albert Park Preschool has become the first certified carbon neutral early childhood service in Australia.

We worked with them over the past 5 years as part of our Seedlings program to reach this milestone which also included reducing their gas use to zero, cutting electricity consumption by 59%, water by 71% and waste by over 50%.

The children play a big role, including reading the electricity meters, distributing organic waste to the four worm farms on site, and caring for the community garden.

To achieve carbon neutrality the kindergarten partnered with us to identify and implement opportunities to reduce emissions. Actions included installing solar panels, solar batteries, a solar heat pump and energy efficient LED lighting.

In recognition of this huge achievement together, we recently won the 2019 Cities Power Partnerships Award for community engagement.

"To take time to view our big, beautiful, blue planet from the perspective of a child is to truly appreciate the wonder of life from the smallest of living creatures to the largest gifts of nature. We feel it is our duty to support the children's love of nature by reducing our carbon footprint,” said Administration Director, Jenny Whelan.

“We might be little, but we dream big, and together we can continue to make a difference," she said.

Albert Park Preschool was also recognised as a finalist in the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards and as a participant in the Gasworks Arts Park "From Nature" exhibition.

Despite being one of the newest and smallest additions to the Carbon Neutral Network, Albert Park Preschool is already pursuing a new goal of bringing together a sustainable learning community and is proud to partner local Primary Schools and Albert Park College in pursuit of this vision.

Setting sustainability goals with Council’s Greenhouse Project officer, Brett Hedger

Setting sustainability goals with Council’s Greenhouse Project officer, Brett Hedger

Could You Be An Environmental leader?

Our second Environmental leadership course commences on the 28th of August 2019 at the St Kilda Lifesaving Club. Classes will run weekly for 10 weeks on Wednesday evening between 6:30 and 8:30pm. Following the workshops, participants will be supported in their projects through regular check-in sessions.

We are now accepting applications and enquiries regarding this year’s program. Applications will close on Friday the 23rd of August and we encourage you to get in fast to secure your place.

Community members are supported to deliver their own sustainability projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or support the wider community to adapt to climate change. Through this program, participants will meet and have direct access to a wide variety of sustainability leaders and experts. Find out how the class of 2018 got on.

Complete the application form to apply.

For further information please email enviro@portphillip.vic.gov.au

The Zero Waste Kitchen

With Special Blogger Jessie Alice from Leftover Lovers

Food waste is a modern day issue for the home kitchen; with Australians throwing out 1 in every 5 bags of groceries purchased every week. Whilst these items can often be put to good use in our compost, there are a few delicious and food saving tricks you can pull out ahead of time to save food waste and build the gourmet pantry of your dreams! And it’s easy, using just a few key everyday ingredients. Plus, did I mention that planning your shopping ahead of time can really help cut down on unnecessary items that may later go to waste.

Making your kitchen waste proof

Start with where you are storing your food- the fridge and cupboards, when you open either one you want to be able to see everything that you have on hand.

Relearn your ingredients. Did you know banana is a herb, and not a fruit? That tomato stalks can be used in the same vein as bay leaves- to help create rich sugos and passatas. And that every part of the cauliflower, broccoli, kale and so many other ingredients are 100% edible?

Apply circular economy to your cooking, especially when meal planning and building a dish. Circular economy, also knows as closed loop is the concept that everything has a second application and that we should follow it’s lifecycle to determine these multiple-use outcomes. For example let’s take Kale, the leaves can be used as you would a hardy spinach, the stalks fried up gently in place of onion, and the woody stalk pickled to soften and be used the following season in a new dish. Any leftovers from the initial dish would be repurposed for another meal. The brine from the pickle would later become part of a dressing, used in cheese making, future pickling, casseroles, cleaning- and so on.  

The five food waste saving ingredients,

  • Vinegar

  • Salt

  • Oil

  • Sugar or Honey

  • Empty jars

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Now to start saving food waste; the CUPID food loving way,

C - Chill/freeze any food before it expires

U - Use now! A stir fry, soup, bake, casserole, pizza, pasta- the options are endless

P - Pickle and preserve. Make a jam, chutney, cordial, or pickle- you will need sugar, honey or salt depending on the flavour you want.

I - Infuse, herbs and herb stalks can be put straight into vinegar or oil for a long term infusion. Just make sure they are completely submerged in the liquid so that the contents doesn’t spoil. 

D - Dehydrate, using natural sunlight or your home oven- dry any fruits, herbs or vegetables. These can be eaten as snacks once dried, or reconstituted later in cooking.


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Jessie Alice is on a mission to inspire and educate on mindfulness in the kitchen, sustainable economies and circular cooking to create a future where everyone can enjoy sustainable food. 

Jessie hopes to inspire and educate home cooks, professional chefs and everyone in-between on how they can have an impact and make the world more sustainable through the way they prepare and source their food. Jessie loves nothing more than being in the kitchen of a café or restaurant and working with the Chef and their team to create a menu that is based on circular cooking to make an impact on food security. Jessie continues to journal, travel and meet with farmers and producers to find their hero stories in food waste and future proofing our food.

Enviro Champs Graduate With Honours

In June 2019 we held a Graduation Night to acknowledge and celebrate the passion and commitment of a group of individuals within our community, now and forever known as enviro champs.

The Program supported the participants to deliver a number of exciting sustainability projects that will benefit our community. It also connected a group of individuals that came together and inspired, supported and challenged one another.

Some of the projects included;

  • A podcast series focussing on the work of the River Keepers

  • A community beehive and education session

  • A suite of sustainable festivals celebrating the unique beauty and wildlife of The Bay

  • A community composting program for apartments

  • A children’s book highlighting the plight of the endangered Leadbetter Possum

  • Establishing a one stop recycling stations for childcare centres

  • A Jewish Climate Change Group

  • A gleaning enterprise to redistribute unwanted farm produce.

It’s an incredible achievement given that the majority of participants had no experience in delivering sustainability projects previously.

I suspect we will be hearing more from this group of individuals and their desire to take action to create change will continue to reap rewards.

10 Steps to a More Sustainable Bar

Calling all bar workers! 

Save money whilst doing your bit for the environment? We'll drink to that! Here are ten simple steps to turn your bar into a more sustainable bar. 

1. Green fingers - grow your own herbs and edible flowers onsite
2. Up your draught game - reduce bottle waste with drinks poured straight from the tap
3. Scrap the paper - look for resuable alternatives to paper cups, napkins, coasters and towels
4. Straws suck - Consider reusable or say bye bye straws
5. Perfectly packaged - ask supppliers about their choice of packaging. Say no to nondegradable
6. Fill her up - make sure that glasswasher is full every single time
7. Get your compost on - find a local community garden to take your compostable waste to
8. Green your clean - use eco-safe cleaning products
9. Go local / go seasonal - reduce food miles and support local businesses. No caiprinhas when limes are out of season! 
10. Spread the word - make sure staff and customers know what you're doing and why

Join the Sustainable Business Network

City of Port Phillip is home to nearly 20,000 businesses that provide a fantastic service to our community. We are committed to supporting business owners to operate more sustainably, and in doing so, reduce operating costs

City of Port Phillip is launching its first Sustainable Business Network (SBN). It will provide an opportunity for a range of businesses to come together to share, network and learn from one another. 

Together, and with the support of Council, you will discover new programs, funding opportunities, event invitations, access to expert speakers and resources outlining best practice for sustainable businesses.

Our first Business Breakfast was a sell out. There was as much appetite for working together to create positive environmental change as there was for the croissants.

The SBN aims to support your business reduce your operating costs and improve your sustainability outcomes.   

Membership is FREE.

Email Szilvia.Csanyi@portphillip.vic.gov.au to register your interest.

Clarendon Children’s Centre Is Officially Excellent

There’s a sense of pride at Clarendon Children’s Centre in South Melbourne that is evident in the beautiful garden, the stimulating rooms, the nutritious meals, the knowledgeable staff and, most of all, the smiling children.

The pride is well deserved, they are the only children’s centre in City of Port Phillip to achieve an Excellent rating from ACECQA, the National regulatory authority. One of the keys to their success and outstanding reputation is their approach to embedding sustainability in their teaching practice and the way they operate.

The Co-ordinator, Linda Davison, who has been at Clarendon Children’s Centre for 31 years, understands the importance of valuing sustainability. “When you work with young children you have a sense of responsibility and understanding that they are inheriting something from us and we need to make sure we do our best by them”.

Sustainability is part of the culture; whether it’s the cook’s enthusiasm for including herbs and veggies into daily meals that the kids have picked from the garden, Linda’s commitment to allocating funds for sustainability, the children’s love for the worms or the educators’ ability to incorporate sustainability into the everyday curriculum.

A recent solar installation means they have now received their second negative electricity bill. They have also installed three rainwater tanks, undergone an insulation upgrade and set up two worm farms. They continue to strive to reduce their impact and plan to eliminate their gas use to operate only on renewable solar electricity.

Clarendon Children’s Centre is part of a group of 26 Early Years services involved in City of Port Phillip’s ‘Seedlings’ Program. Seedlings was established to support Early Years services to embed sustainability education in their pedagogy and to reduce their energy, water and waste impacts. The program continues to generate outstanding results, but relies on people like Linda and all her staff to get involved and create a culture of sustainability leadership that spreads throughout the centre.

City of Port Phillip Wins Water Sensitive Cities Award

The City of Port Phillip recently received the inaugural Water Sensitive Cities Award from the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities. The award recognises water sensitive principles being applied on the ground. 

The City’s strong performance, which led to the award, is largely attributed to high scores in:

  1. improving productivity and resource efficiency

  2. achieving equity of essential services

  3. increasing community capital

  4. ensuring good water sensitive governance

  5. promoting adaptive infrastructure.

The City of Port Phillip is located beside Port Phillip Bay and at the mouth of the Yarra River. Well known for its beaches and foreshore it is also at the bottom of the Elster Creek Catchment, making it subject to historical flooding. Due to this unique location, the City of Port Phillip has had to manage its water in adaptive and collaborative ways to minimise the impacts of flooding and take advantage of the beautiful bayside location.

Draught Proofing Your Home

9 out of 10 homes in Victoria have unwanted draughts and at this time of year they are particularly unwanted.

Draught proofing is finding and fixing draughts to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. Whilst good ventilation helps reduce condensation and damp and can help cool down a hot house, draughts are uncontrolled – they let too much cold air in and waste too much heat.

Draughts come into your house through gaps and cracks around doors, windows, exhaust fans, fireplaces and so on. To draught-proof your home you will firstly need to find the draughts.

  • Look for obvious gaps 
    Visible light under and around doors and windows is a good clue.

  • Listen for rattles or whistling 
    Take time out, especially during strong winds, to listen for rattles and whistling around doors and windows.

  • Feel for moving air 
    Feel around doors, windows, fireplaces, air outlets, vents, stairways, floorboards, exposed rafters and beams, built-in heaters and air conditioners, architraves and skirting boards.

  • Look for movement in curtains
    Movement in and around curtains can be an indicator of draughts.

Discover the best approach to seal the different draughts around your home.

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The Victorian Energy Saver Incentive Scheme provides support to Victorians who install certain draught-proofing and weather-sealing products.

Warning - Special care needs to be taken in houses that have internal gas appliances, especially houses with:

  • flueless gas heaters

  • a gas heater installed in a chimney

  • an open flued gas heater.

Fixed ventilation openings required for flueless and open flued gas heaters must not be blocked.




Reframing Recycling

After what was a hugely frustrating time for everyone, Port Phillip Council started sending recyclables to be processed again on the 13 March 2019.

This event has sparked a healthy debate about the role of recycling and our culture of consumption. Where possible we all need to play our part in taking some of the burden off the recycling industry.

Recycling alone cannot solve our waste management challenges. Here are 10 simple ways to reduce our dependency on recycling and consider our consumption choices:

  1. The first question we should be asking whenever we want a new item - do I actually need this item? If the answer is yes, could I reuse an existing item I already have or acquire the item from an op shop, friend or family member?

  2. Eliminate single use plastic; from shopping bags and coffee cups to straws and food containers, choose a reusable option.

  3. Go paper free; newspapers, bills and statements can all be viewed online to minimise our waste paper.

  4. Put a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker on your letter box, to avoid unwanted, unnecessary paper waste.

  5. Visit your local repair café and let them work their magic when an item is broken, rather than throw it away.

  6. Reuse old jars, bottles and containers to store other household items. 

  7. Make sure you’re getting your recycling right and not contaminating the other recyclables.

  8. Bulk buy any staple items to minimise packaging waste.

  9. Choose to refill containers of food, drink and cosmetic items wherever possible.

  10. Upcycling, seeing a need and filling it not with a new product but rather a mix of those you have or aren’t using, can be a great way to give your old things a new life.

Let us know if you do anything in your day to day life to minimise your dependence on recycling.

Green Your Office With CitySwitch

CitySwitch Green Office is a free program that helps commercial office tenants to reduce their environmental footprint.

CitySwitch provides resources and services including tools, self-assessment templates, free advice and walk-through audits, access to funding, no-cost workshops and networking events, annual awards and industry research.

CitySwitch can offer you the know-how and assistance to become a sustainability leader. Here are three of their most popular resources:

City of Port Phillip is a CitySwitch member since 2012 and values it’s work, in Port phillip 48 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are generated by the non-residential sector.

Discover how CitySwitch helped local architect and interior design firm, Baenziger Coles, to reducing their carbon emissions and become local environmental leaders.

If you’re a commercial office tenant, join CitySwitch and discover how small changes can make a big difference to Australia’s future environmental health. For more information visit CitySwitch.

Party Like A Sustainability Rock Star

Whether it's Meredith Music Festival, St Kilda Festival or Womadelaide; as the weather warms up thousands of us will be looking forward to weekends packed with music, camping and the dubious joys of festival toilets.

Going to a festival or outdoor event doesn’t mean you have to throw all your sustainable lifestyle choices out the window. With a teeny bit of effort, you can leave knowing you partied as planet-friendly as you possibly could!

First and foremost, do your research – try to choose an event that boasts some serious sustainable credentials, look out for events that;

  • treat their sewerage and grey water on-site

  • reduce waste to landfill through recycling and composting

  • use renewable fuels

  • encourage locally sourced organic food

  • provide and encourage the use of public transport

  • incorporate environmentally themed talks into their programs

Whilst the organisers play a big part in minimising the environmental impact of their event, you can also play a big part.

Here’s our top tips to enjoy events like a sustainability rock star;

Transport - Transport is unsurprisingly the biggest CO2 emitter of any aspect of an event. Try to reach yours by public transport, if you must drive squeeze everyone in, and split the petrol costs, save on parking, take turns driving and best of all, avoid taking multiple cars.

Waste - Waste is of course the most visible concern when it comes to the environment. Don’t litter and sort your waste into the correct bins. Bring your own reusable ‘picnic set’ (plate, cup and cutlery), with these few small items, you could almost go the whole weekend, waste free.

Fashion – Resist the urge to treat yourself to a new outfit and have fun with your wardrobe, visit a local op shop or get together with friends and have a clothes swap.

Tents - Borrow camping gear from friends and family or share different camping items with your tent neighbours.

Water – Leave the slabs of plastic bottled water on the shelf and instead fill up your reusable water bottle from the taps.

Toilets – As unappealing as it can be, use the toilets provided. Peeing at will is not good for the soil

Take it with you – Leave nothing but your footprints

Being sustainable at a festival or event doesn’t mean you need to forgo fun. Making mindful choices and planning a few things in advance will mean you can leave knowing you partied like a sustainability rock star.

Slip, Slop, Slap Sustainably

Sunscreen is a non-negotiable. However new research suggests chemicals found in some sunscreens are linked to coral bleaching.

Scientists say chemicals found in sunscreen, in particular oxybenzone and octinoxate, can be just as dangerous to coral life and its depletion as warming ocean temperatures and extreme weather conditions.

An estimated 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen is deposited in the world’s oceans each year. Last year Hawaii became the first US State to ban oxybenzone and octinoxate. From January 2021 you won’t be able to holiday there without reef-approved sunscreen. The Western Pacific Ocean island of Palau has also banned many kinds of sunscreens.

Research from the Port Phillip EcoCentre reveals a list of affordable reef-safe sunscreen brands. This information is correct as of November 2018.

  • SunButter Oceans have an extensive range of reef-safe sunscreen options.

  • Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen

  • Eco Logical Natural Sunscreen

  • Life Basics All Natural Sunscreen

  • Natural Instinct Natural Sunscreen

  • Swisse Natural Defence Sunscreen

  • MooGoo Natural Sunscreen

  • Globally, the most highly recommended reef-friendly sunscreen brands are ThinkBaby Safe Sunscreen, Badger Tinted Sunscreen, Tropical Sands All Natural Sunscreen, Kokua Hawaii Natural Zinc Sunscreen, and Manda Organic.

Libraries Powered up to Recycle E-Waste

E-waste is the fastest growing category of waste worldwide. One in five Australians have a stash of unwanted e-waste items like phones, laptops and batteries in their house or office. From 1 July 2019, e-waste will no longer be accepted in landfill sites across Victoria, it must be recycled. E-waste contains valuable resources that can be reused as well as some nasty materials that are bad for the environment.

This week libraries in St Kilda, Port Melbourne and Albert Park have installed e-waste recycling bins. Any small electronic item with a cord or a battery can now be recycled for free at participating libraries as well as the Resource Recovery Centre.

Find out more about e-waste here and how it relates to Port Phillip here.

St Kilda Festival Says Hello to FOGO

St Kilda Festival is Australia’s largest community festival; a celebration of community spirit, live local music and the beautiful St Kilda foreshore. Always blessed with incredible musical talent, thousands of smiling faces and a plethora of tasty treats, this year there’ll be one big difference. Organic waste will not go to landfill.

As well as recycling and general waste bins, this year attendees will also be able to dispose of any organic waste correctly. With the festival attracting over 460,000 attendees this is a hugely positive environmental outcome and a giant step in the right direction.

Get excited about this year’s festival here and discover how to party like a sustainability rock star here.

10 Sustainable Ways to Declutter Like Kondo

Australia is collectively being decluttered thanks to a certain Marie Kondo and her Netflix documentary, Tidying Up. Throw in the spike in consumption over the holiday season and some minimalist new year’s resolutions and there is a risk of vast numbers of items ending up as landfill rather than rehomed, fixed, upcycled or recycled.

Here’s 10 ways to declutter sustainably (Kondo would approve);

  1. Consider selling unloved items on sites like eBay, Gumtree or Facebook.

  2. Contact your local charity group to see if they are willing to pick up your unwanted furniture.

  3. Gift your once-loved items to a friend or family member.

  4. Take your old TVs and computers to drop off points where they are recycled as part of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme.

  5. Drop your mobile phones and tablets off for recycling at MobileMuster collection points , including Port Phillip town halls.

  6. Offer your good quality clothes to charities or consider having a clothes swap with friend.

  7. Contact Port Phillip Council to find out how your items can be recycled locally.

  8. E-waste can now be recycled at Port Melbourne, Albert Park and St Kilda libraries.

  9. Rather than throw out a broken item, consider taking it along to the St Kilda Repair Cafe and give it a new lease of life instead.

  10. Don’t fall into the trap of replacing decluttered items with new items, make a promise to yourself to consume less.

Now go get your declutter on!

Port Phillip Just Got Greener

Making the move to 100 per cent renewable energy is the ultimate New Year’s resolution! Every light on our streets, every barbecue in our parks and every light in our buildings is now powered by renewable energy.

City of Port Phillip is part of an innovative wind power project that will reduce its total emissions by 87 per cent. Since 1 January 2019 everything from street lights to Council buildings has been powered by renewable electricity.

The Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP) is an Australian first involving 14 organisations purchasing 88 GWh of electricity each year – that’s enough to power more than 17,000 households in Melbourne annually. The electricity is sourced from a new purpose built 80MW wind farm at Crowlands, a small agricultural community north of Ararat.

Find out more about MREP here

5 Ways to Take the Heat Off Local Flora and Fauna

We're not the only ones that wilt in the Melbourne sun, here's 5 easy ways to take the heat off our local flora and fauna;

1 - Furry and feathered friends will thank you for a shallow dish of water, as high as possible and in the shade.

2. Show your nearest street tree appreciation for all the shade it provides with an occasional bucket of water.

3. Water garden beds and veggie patches in the cool of morning and insulate with a layer of mulch.

4. Pamper your pets with access to shade, ice cubes in water bowels and wet blankets to lie on

5. Keep your worms wriggling with worm farms in the shade or in garages, frozen water bottles buried deep and a wet blanket on the outside.

They'll thank you with birdsong, shade, produce, kisses and fertiliser