Sustainability and building climate change resilience

We recently had environmental scientist Tim Jarvis in our office to talk about sustainability and building climate change resilience. There is so much information and misinformation that it’s difficult to know what to do and how when it comes to looking after our environment, but Tim was able to offer quite a number of tips and ideas to try.

Chief Operating Officer Peta Ross says, “I enjoyed listening to and learning from Tim. It’s important to remember that even one or two small changes by all can make a massive impact – everyone’s contribution counts!”

About Tim

Tim’s childhood love of the outdoors has led to his career as an environmental scientist and in leading expeditions to some of the world’s most remote places. With more than 25 years of experience in both disciplines, Tim has a wealth of knowledge about what it takes to lead teams to perform at the highest level – knowledge he regularly shares with corporate and academic audiences around the world.

Tim’s sustainability beliefs, like his approach to expeditions, are based around a pragmatic optimism – understanding the scale of the task ahead and prevailing through a combination of outcome-focused goal-setting, adaptability, resilience and good teamwork.

He also understands that there is no single solution to achieving sustainability outcomes. This is reflected in the wide range of initiatives he supports and works on, including environmental advocacy work with conservation charities WWF and FFI, his recent four years of patronage of Nature Play SA whose goal is to encourage children to spend more time in nature, and five years’ service on the board of Zoos SA – leaders in endangered species conservation.

Tim’s roles with partner organisations include advising on technological and social solutions to sustainability issues for global engineering firm Arup, provision of climate change and sustainability advice to Australia’s largest insurance broker Steadfast, his position as Global Brand Ambassador for leading outdoor apparel manufacturer Kathmandu for whom sustainability and brand quality are top priorities, and head of the adventure advisory panel and on the advisory board of the Australian Geographic Society.

Tim holds Masters degrees in environmental science and environmental law. He was conferred a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to environment, community and exploration in the 2010 Australian honours list and was voted Conservationist of the Year in 2016 by the Australian Geographic Society.

You can read more about Tim and his projects on his website here.


Some ideas on sustainability and building climate change resilience

We’ve pulled together some of what we’ve learned from Tim and other sources into a few tips if you’d like to consider how you could do more for the environment.

Water

  • Install a rain water tank if you can (largest possible) and have this feed your toilet and/or washing machine.
  • Put a 500ml bottle in your water cistern.  This doesn’t affect how your toilet flushes but does reduce the amount of water used each time.
  • When you have a shower have a bucket in the shower.  This captures the first lot of cold water that you can use to flush with the toilet next time. There are plenty of water saving ideas here.

Energy

  • Change your energy provider/usage to a “green” one
  • Install solar panels to reduce your reliance on energy (look at a battery for times when the solar doesn’t operate)
  • Install a whirly bird on your roof (allows hot air to escape and keeps your home cooler – less reliance on air con)
  • Turnoff your appliances (not standby) when not in use, turn off the lights etc (especially when you leave the office)

Environmental

  • Plant trees that are native to your area. You can research your area to find out what would be suitable and plant a few trees/shrubs. Trees For Life is based in South Australia and one that Tim referred to.
  • Help wildlife animals.
  • Look at purchasing environmentally friendly cleaners/detergents for your home. There are plenty available from major retailers and also speciality ones online.
  • Look at earth friendly toilet paper.
  • Sir David Attenborough has established an organisation called Flora & Fauna International. You can support this organisation by donating – a majority of the funds are used directly to conserving eco systems and species!

Recycling

  • Clothing: in order to recycle clothing you are better to buy all synthetic (as it can be recycled) or all natural but the stitching/buttons etc are not recyclable which would then exclude it.
  • Food: buy local (from your farmers/markets), fresh produce (use recyclable shopping bags/fabric bags). The less packaged your food the better for you and the environment.  Get a food composter for your scraps.
  • Waste: recycle as best you can in your own home and work. At home you can separate out your plastic, cardboard, food scraps from general waste.
  • Soft plastics: Woolworths and Coles will recycle any soft plastics that you bring back in. They have collection bins at the front of their stores. (Soft plastic includes wrappers etc. that you can easily scrunch up).

Volunteering

  • John Dee started Planet Ark many years ago and now lives in the Blue Mountains of NSW.  He has started a site called Do Something Near You. It’s a great way for you to find something to do locally to you, that interests you and you can give back to our community.



What is MECON going to do:

If we’re sharing tips for what everyone can do, we better put our money where our mouth is and include what MECON is committed to achieving:

  • Each branch will ensure they have recycling bins. We are asking everyone to separate their waste. We’re encouraging people to get rid of under-desk bins and use the communal bins which makes separating rubbish more likely.
  • We are going to switch our energy to “green” energy.
  • We’ve asked everyone to please re-think everytime you print paper – do you really need it? Can it not just be viewed on the screen?
  • In Sydney we already use Planet Ark to recycle our printer toners. We have a cardboard box that we put the used toners in, and when it’s full we book Planet Ark to come and take them away and recycle them. If this system is available in the other states we’ve encouraged them to do this, too.
  • We’ve made it part of our processes to switch off the lights if you are the last person to leave.
  • We purchase environmentally friendly cleaners, detergents, recycled paper towels etc. for all branches kitchen spaces.
  • We’ve offered to purchase a keep cup for team members to use for take away coffees.
  • We’ve added an annual volunteer leave day. Ross adds “I think its great that our team is interested in volunteering for charities and environmental projects, and we would like to support our team members in taking a day off each year to contribute.”
  • Our team members are encouraged to share their ideas, resources and articles with the rest of the team!

MECON is also looking to offset any travel with carbon credits – either through the airline or other sites that meet the criteria.

Our values

  • INCLUSIVE: Share your kindness, joy and generosity with people because they matter.
  • INTEGRITY: Always do the right thing, not just the easy thing.
  • INNOVATIVE: If we don’t like something we change it; no excuses.
  • INSPIRE: We choose to behave as if others are taking their cue from us.

More information

Contact us to discuss further.

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