City of Swan is Thinking Green
A local government is using a grassroots approach to engage its residents in sustainability through a ‘Thinking Green’ series.
City of Swan Mayor Mick Wainwright said the City operates on a Place Management approach, meaning each Place area within the City is considered individually for its needs, programs and approach.
“We have used this Place Management model to make sure that residents in all areas can access quality information on sustainable living that is relevant to them,” he said.
“The City of Swan stretches over 1,044 square kilometres and takes in residential, rural, industrial and commercial areas.
“Thinking Green has been delivered through our libraries and has proven so popular with the community we have expanded the program to additional areas, holding workshops in community halls in places where we don’t have libraries.”
Mayor Wainwright said increased attendances from 2014 to 2015 and considerable registrations for this year’s program showed a strong interest in the community for more information on sustainable living.
“In 2015 we had 602 community members attend the 22 workshops offered, nearly double the attendance of the first Thinking Green series presented in 2014 despite there being three less workshops,” he said.
“The community of Gidgegannup may be small, with about 2,800 people, but we have found them to be particularly receptive to the workshops.
“We extended the program to the township in 2015 and had 106 people attend the five sessions there.
“This year we have extended to include the Swan Valley and will run a total of 30 workshops throughout the City.
“We already have strong registrations across the City for the 2016 sessions, including some fully booked workshops on worm farming and chemical free cleaning.”
Mayor Wainwright said the City attributes part of the growing success of the Thinking Green program to listening to and working with the community.
“At every workshop we seek feedback from attendees to find out their thoughts on the session they have just completed but also so we know what other workshops they would be interested in attending; we use this information in our forward planning.
“Through this program, the City is also supporting the community to embrace sustainable living by providing a subsidy towards the purchase of a worm farm for residents and ratepayers who attend the worm farming workshops.
Workshop topics in 2016 include greywater systems, chemical free cleaning, worm farming, edible weeds, living the small holding lifestyle, introduction to beekeeping and birdwatching talk and walk sessions.
There will also be special workshops in April for children called Spineless Wonders, where they learn about insects and other invertebrates and experience a hands-on encounter with live mini-beasts.
Additionally, the City has organised “eco home audits”, which are offered to the community for free to help them make their energy and water use more efficient and reduce household waste.
As part of this program, an experienced auditor from Environment House visits the resident’s house to consult with them and identify actions they can take to reduce their carbon footprint.
Mayor Wainwright said the Thinking Green program was part of the City’s broader commitment to a sustainable region.
“The City has a strong environmental focus, both on reducing our own carbon footprint and helping our community to do the same,” he said.
“Thinking Green is a partnership between our Sustainable Environment team and Swan Libraries, working with our community to help them to achieve their own sustainability goals.
“It isn’t enough for the City alone to be working on being more sustainable; we need to have the community at all levels ‘thinking green’ and it is part of our responsibility to help them achieve this where possible.”
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