Last week, I asked the four Holdfast Bay mayoral candidates questions about their views on the relevance of climate change to local council, their understanding of action taken at council level to date, and what climate action should be undertaken by council within the next four years. Yesterday, I posted responses from Ken Rollond and David Wittwer. Today’s post covers a response, received this morning, from Stephen Patterson and has also been updated to include Mark Faulkner’s response.
Stephen Patterson and his family at Glenelg, Holdfast Bay
Mayoral candidate, Stephen Patterson, considers Climate Change to be one of the more important issues for council. He explained that Holdfast Bay council already invests over $1 million per year on its environment program and is undertaking both mitigation and adaptive measures. Investing in solar panels on key council buildings to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is one example.
Regarding actions which should be undertaken in the next 4 years, Stephen believes Holdfast Bay Council can assist with adaptation measures recommended by the CSIRO, such as preparation of the health system to deal with heat stress, street tree programs, sea walls to buffer infrastructure against inundation and changing building codes. Stephen has been a member of Holdfast Bay Council’s Environmental Advisory Committee and has also worked actively in planning Resilient South workshops. Over the next four years, he would like our local council to work in partnership with neighbouring councils to progress this project further. For more information about this project, see previous post: Resilient South Project.
Although Holdfast Bay Council has taken on a leadership role to demonstrate what climate action is required, Stephen stresses the need to also engage with the local community through education programs and incentives. For example, he recently sponsored an investigation into the waste disposal of compact fluorescent lamps (energy-saving bulbs). While these cut greenhouse gas emissions, the mercury they contain can be harmful to the environment if disposed directly to landfill rather than being recycled correctly. This kind of initiative can then be fed back to the community so the entire council can reduce greenhouse gas emissions but not damage the environment and ground water in the process.
UPDATE 6th November 2014:
Holdfast Bay mayoral candidate Mark Faulkner sees climate change as an important issue which the council should deal with and which should have the same priority as other issues we are currently faced with. At this time, he is not aware of the exact initiatives that the council is undertaking, but stresses that if he does get into office it will be one of the first things that he would look into and familiarize himself with. Mark believes we need to be looking at ways to reduce the carbon footprint of households and businesses. For example, using compact fluorescent light bulbs, which reduce 2/3rd of the energy of a regular incandescent, and encouraging our community to carpool or catch public transport. Mark also walks to work and has changed the products used in his hairdressing business to eliminate parabens and sulphates. He is aware that, if Australia takes no action by 2020, carbon pollution could potentially be 20% higher than it was in 2000, and believes we need to start looking at a long-term plan. Mark identifies education as an important initiative the council should be undertaking within the broader community. He emphasizes the need to educate the community on how to reduce our carbon footprint such as making sure lights are turned off after use, reducing the use of air conditioners and correct recycling.
I would like to thank all the mayoral candidates who have taken the time and effort to respond to my questions. This Saturday we will know which one of them will lead our local council over the next four years. There is no doubt in my mind that all those who have responded take climate change very seriously and care about the future of our community. I will be one of many equally concerned Holdfast Bay residents, tracking and encouraging their acts of leadership on this issue.
UPDATE 9th November 2014: Congratulations to Holdfast Bay’s new mayor – Stephen Patterson.