Campbelltown hosts carbon neutral event

Campbelltown City Council in the Macarthur region of New South Wales recently hosted its first ever entirely sustainable event.

‘Fisher’s Gig’ is the Macarthur region’s largest youth entertainment, arts and cultural event. Held annually in November in conjunction with the renowned Festival of Fisher’s Ghost community celebration, Fisher’s Gig is run by the young people of Campbelltown, for young people and provides a supportive environment for volunteers to develop skills in event management and performance.

Recent community consultation had identified that young people across the Campbelltown area generally demonstrate a high awareness of environmental issues and show a strong willingness to participate in local environmental initiatives. As such, in partnership with the organising committee of young people, it was considered appropriate that Council pilot its first ever entirely sustainable event at Fisher’s Gig 2009.

Three sustainable options were considered and pursued, including:

  • purchasing renewable energy to offset emissions associated with the energy consumption of the event
  • planting trees to sequester emissions associated with attendee and performer transport
  • ensuring recycling bins were made available at the event.

In identifying the amount of renewable energy to purchase and the number of trees to plant, historic energy consumption information and attendee numbers were examined, equipment wattage and hours of usage were identified, online calculators were used and professional advice was sought from Council’s energy provider.

Following analysis of the results, it was identified that approximately 57 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity would need to be offset and approximately 50 trees planted to ensure that the event, including emissions associated with waste, transportation and promotion, was entirely carbon neutral.

On the day of the event, the significance of Council’s carbon neutral efforts were highlighted through event signage and promotional messages. Organisers, volunteers and performers also encouraged attendees to sign up for a tree planting day, which took place on the following weekend and resulted in the required 50 native trees being planted, mulched and watered.

Campbelltown Mayor Aaron Rule said the initiative was a fantastic example of Council working with the community to help protect the local environment.

“Combining youth entertainment with environmental initiatives is a great way for young people to enjoy themselves, while actively contributing to the ecological health of the area around Bradbury Park,” he said.

“More than 2,000 young people attended Fisher’s Gig 2009, and a significant 92 per cent responded to an on the day survey that their experience of the event was a positive one.”

Carbon Neutral Fisher’s Gig represented one of many new initiatives currently being explored by Campbelltown’s Sustainability Committee. The establishment of the Committee formally recognises the corporate value of sustainable practices within the organisation, and is considered to be the mechanism to initiate and support future sustainability initiatives across all Council activities.