Henrique and I recently went down to Freo to attend a talk by Michael Mobbs of Sustainable House fame. Michael is a sustainability consultant who decided to build himself and his family an entirely self sufficient home in Sydney about 15 years ago.
As well as talking about how to build sustainable homes, Michael shared his passion for creating communities that could grow their own food, recycle grey water and take back the power to make where they live and work greener and more sustainable.
Chippendale – where Michael lives – has become a shining example of how successful such a plan could be. Critical to the plan is community involvement and volunteers; with people offering their time to weed, mulch, make new garden beds, aerate the compost and plant seedlings etc. Food is grown on roadsides, around trees, on rooftops or basically anywhere there is potential to grow herbs and salads to seasonal fruit and vegetables.
In 2010, Michael was commissioned by the City of Sydney to come up with a sustainable community plan based on Chippendale that they could role out to other cities.
After initial resistance to The Plan and a national petitioning campaign, the City of Sydney Environment and Heritage Committee has this week recommended a public exhibition of the Sustainable Streets and Communities Plan for public comment.
At the heart of the plan are ideas to lower our consumption and waste, reduce our GreenHouse Gas emissions and slow down climate change. Projects include ways to utilise rainwater, reuse grey water, lower the temperature of roads and create more space for community use.
Michael believes that through the plan, it will only take 10 years for the suburb to get all of its water from rainwater. reuse all sewage and have more than 30 per cent of food grown in urban farms, road gardens and rooftops.