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As the global community responds to increasing climate change and limited natural resources, the Sustainability sector has been identified as one of the fastest growing industries worldwide.  But what exactly is Sustainability?  Put simply it is a way of thinking about the environment in terms of the amount and types of resources we use as a community.   This involves thinking about how we can all take measures to conserve energy, save water, recycle and waste.

Whether you’re a passionate conservationist or a concerned individual there are so many outlets to support environmental sustainability in your community.

As one of the largest Australian cities, Sydney has so many opportunities available to learn more about how we can all start living a more environmentally responsible life.  A great place to start is through your local council.  Here are some examples of the diverse environmental initiatives taking place around Sydney.

North

Lane Cove Council in Sydney’s North supports many initiatives aimed at protecting our natural environment by promoting ecological, economic and social sustainability.  One such great initiative is the Lane Cove Community Garden at Hughes Park.  If you’re interested in food and gardening, then this is a wonderful opportunity to get involved with your local community.  The Planting Seeds Community Garden is run by FoodFaith – a not-for-profit organisation.  FoodFaith’s garden aims to foster social cohesion and to get people to engage with sustainability.  The garden brings together different community and faith groups to work alongside each other and learn more about one another’s traditions as well as food sustainability practices.  There are opportunities for people to plant their own patch as well as tend shared garden beds with different faith groups.  To find out more about this great initiative click here

As the council responsible for caring for Sydney’s magnificent Harbour and surrounding bushland, North Sydney Council has some fantastic ways for the local community to get involved in targeted sustainability projects.  Various volunteer groups have been initiated including:

Harbourcare – Anyone concerned about pollution in Sydney Harbour and its harmful effects on marine and bird life can volunteer with Harbourcare.  Volunteers participate in the clean-up and rubbish removal from the many small beaches in the Harbour area.

Bushcare – This is as an environmental program where participants can get involved in managing, restoring and conserving local bushland areas.  Residents meet on a regular basis and are provided with all tools and training required.  Bushcare volunteers are also able to attend free annual training programs and weekend workshops. 

Streets Alive – Volunteers in this program can participate in creating and caring for local gardens ranging in scale from small planted gardens around bases of trees to extensive landscaped areas.

Native Havens – This program offers free assistance to locals wishing to help the environment by planting local indigenous plants in their garden.

To find out more about the above groups and other ways to volunteer and care for the North Sydney local area click here.   

South

Georges River Council encourages anyone interested in protecting their local environment to get involved in their sustainability volunteer groups.  These initiatives include a monthly water monitoring volunteer group that collects samples from various sites and raises awareness of pollution issues in the community.  

Another Georges River Council initiative is their Bushcare Volunteer Program which is designed to improve local bushland by addressing such issues as obnoxious weeds and vandalism through tree poisoning and rubbish dumping. 

Both groups have a positive impact on reducing water pollution and protecting the indigenous native flora and habitat for native animals.  Volunteers meet once a month and no experience or formal qualifications are necessary as full training is provided.  To get involved visit the council website

East

The City of Randwick runs several sustainability workshops, courses and events throughout the year.  These events are part of their ‘Sustainability Hub’ and are designed to provide Eastern suburbs residents with an opportunity to learn how to lead environmentally conscious lives.

All workshops and seminars take place in their water and energy efficient community centre building.  An example of a workshop they run is their ‘Celebrating Biodiversity in Randwick City’.  This workshop is completely free and participants can learn about which local plants attract bees and other beneficial critters to the garden as well as which native plants are best suited to the Eastern suburbs climate. 

To find out more about this workshop and other sustainability events in Randwick visit their website

West

Situated 53kms south west of Sydney, the City of Campbelltown includes large areas of bushland and waterways. Council’s Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living runs free sustainability education workshops for residents throughout the year.  These focus on such topics as;
Garden to table cooking.
Native gardening.
Reducing your energy bill.
Worm farming and composting.

Fun educational workshops are also run for young children during school holidays.  Find out more about Campbelltown’s environmental sustainability initiatives here

Liverpool Council in Sydney’s greater west has also initiated many volunteer groups who are committed to protecting the local natural environment and wildlife.  Numerous groups are established to help care for the many parks, ponds and reserves across the council area.  These include;

Collimore Park – This group commenced in 2015 to help restore the natural areas within the park through litter collection, weed removal, planting and mulching.  Find out more about the various Liverpool Council environmental groups here http://www.liverpool.nsw.gov.au/whats-on/get-involved/environment-groups

Whether it’s something as simple as recycling your veggie scraps into compost or volunteering in your local nature protection group, there are so many great sustainability initiatives throughout Sydney. There’s no time like the present to start connecting with our local communities and work together to help protect and care for our beautiful planet.