Making Docklands sustainable
By Dr. Kaushik Sridhar
For three years in a row, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report has identified climate change as the gravest threat to our planet.
We need to turn our focus on sustainability and living “green” by putting effort into healthy lifestyle changes for our planet that lessen our carbon footprint.
Our home here in Docklands is unique and we need to do our part to protect it! We are surrounded with valuable natural resources. Because this is our home, we should have pride and do what we can to keep it clean and green. With our ever-expanding population, the need to conserve our resources becomes greater and greater.
Life in Docklands is an inherently sustainable proposition. The suburb’s free tram zone, buses and bike lanes make it easy to get around without a car. Walking and biking throughout Docklands are among the great pleasures of the area. Oases like Docklands Park and Ron Barassi Snr Park are destinations for outdoor activities that yield health and environmental benefits.
What can you do?
The products we buy, the amount of water we use and the ways we travel all determine the health of our surroundings. Making changes can be hard. We human beings are creatures of habit, wearing the same clothes, treading the same paths and eating our favourite foods week after week. Disrupting these habits takes effort and sustaining change over time can be even more challenging. Think a lifetime devoted to healthy eating rather than a three-week crash diet.
So, make the change work for you. Want to exercise more? Sign up for a bike-sharing program. Worried about your diet? Try to eat more like a vegetarian. On a budget? Sell reusable items instead of throwing them away.
Buy second-hand. Sometimes a second-hand item purchased from someone you trust is more reliable than a new item. Statistically speaking, products tend to fail when they’re very new or very old.
Using our limited resources doesn’t mean you have to live in discomfort. Whether it’s planting trees at tram or bus stops, making recycling fun and colourful for kids or getting the family to use less plastic; we can implement easy initiatives that reduce their carbon footprint every day.
Bike, walk or take public transportation as often as possible.
Many of our apartment communities are within walking and biking distance to offices, restaurants and shops. Take advantage of the warm summer weather and save petrol by taking short trips on foot or the bike, using the tram for errands like buying groceries or going to the doctor.
Every hour, the Earth gets as much energy from the sun as we need to run the entire global economy for a year. If we can increase the fraction of what we harvest and use, we can make a lot of progress towards solving the climate crisis and helping local economies at the same time.
Docklands hasn’t been quick to expand solar power’s wide-scale use. Existing electrical power companies have fought to ensure that alternative energy doesn’t take a bite out of their business.
By joining a neighbourhood community garden, such as the Docklands Community Garden at Victoria Harbour, Docklanders don’t merely share in farming without getting their hands dirty and get fresh produce. They’re also helping the environment.
For apartment dwellers, start by using your balcony or patio to its fullest extent. You can grow many herbs and vegetables in pots. You don’t have to dig up any ground to be a little bit sustainable. Think about this - if you grow enough herbs and vegetables for just a few meals, it is less you are buying and a little better for the environment. Going green is not an all or nothing thing. Every little bit counts.
Be a leading voice against climate change
Docklands is one of the world’s most vulnerable areas to sea-level rise. Since at least the start of the 20th century, the average global sea-level has been rising. Between 1900 and 2016, the sea level rose by 16–21 cm. More precise data gathered from satellite radar measurements reveal an accelerating rise of 7.5 cm from 1993 to 2017, which is a trend of roughly 30cm per century.
For the east and west coasts of Australia, this happened three times more often in the second half compared to the first half of the 20th century. This effect will continue with more than a tenfold increase in the frequency of extreme sea-levels by 2100 at many locations and a much-increased risk of coastal flooding and erosion, even for a low emissions pathway. The updated possibility of sea level rises caused by climate change predicts Victoria’s coastline could be hit by sea-level rises of two metres or more by 2100, due to the rapid melting of ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland.
Victoria has set a target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Victoria has also set a target of deriving 25 per cent of electricity generated by renewable sources by 2020. The City of Melbourne has long been at the vanguard of urban sustainability. As part of state government’s emissions reduction strategy, the council has set goals including greenhouse-gas emissions reduction, eliminating waste sent to landfills, and making sure Melburnians have access to green spaces. The overarching aim for these initiatives is to ensure the quality of life for Docklands residents and visitors. When eating out, spending time outdoors and using public transport, visitors to Docklands can enjoy these elements of green living while contributing to the City of Melbourne’s sustainability goals.