Network Member Interview - Brett Munckton from City of Melbourne
Brett was born in Dandenong and now resides in Melbourne’s South Eastern suburbs. He is the CitySwitch program manager at the City of Melbourne, where he has worked for 17 months. CitySwitch is a national government led green office program that assists office occupants improve energy performance. For more information see www.cityswitch.net.au
1. What was the moment or experience that started your focus on climate change/sustainability/the environment?
I can’t really pinpoint a specific moment or experience. I have always been focused on environmental protection, even as a young child.
2. What sustainable choice or initiative have you recently made which you are most proud of or found most rewarding? What more do you seek to accomplish?
I have been able to avoid air travel since I started working at the City of Melbourne. I travelled to Sydney last year via train for a national CitySwitch meeting to avoid air travel. It was an enjoyable, adventurous train journey.
I recently bought a unit with my partner. Something we seek to accomplish is to retrofit the house for energy and water efficiency (including a water tank, solar hot water, and photovoltaics) and establish a very productive food garden.
3. What is one major stride your company is taking to tackle the sustainability challenges around energy, water, biodiversity and/or climate change?
Zero Net Emissions by 2020 is Council's roadmap to a carbon-neutral city. We are working towards the ambitious target of acieving zero net emissions by 2020 across the municipality.
We have developed a range of environmental policies and programs to create a more sustainable, liveable and workable Melbourne. These programs aim to improve the municipality’s environmental performance, particularly by reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, reducing water consumption, and improving water quality and waste management, to help achieve Zero Net Emissions. Council has also developed a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy to prepare for the unavoidable effects of climate change.
Our 1200 buildings program aims to catalyse the retrofitting of 1200 commercial office buildings in the municipality, to reduce greenhouse gas emmissions 383,000 tonnes of CO2-e per annum. We are developing a financial mechnism to make it easier for building owners to access finance to fund environemental upgrades, as part of the program. More information can be found at www.1200buildings.com.au.
The CitySwitch Green Office program works with office tenants and uses the NABERS energy tenancy rating tool to measure performance and set targets for improvement. It is led by local government in capital cities around Australia, and supported by Sustainability Victoria here. It provides resources, support, events and recognition to program signatories to assist with energy reduction, more information can be found at www.cityswitch.net.au.
4. What are some of the biggest challenges you face, either at work or in personal pursuits, when addressing climate change/sustainability/the environment?
The biggest challenge faced is in raising awareness that that we are facing a climate emergency that requires an emergency response. We have a short period of time to act to stop run away climate change, and the steps we take now are crucial.
5. What would you ideally like to see happen in the next few years concerning the environment? Or, if you could have everybody change one thing that they do, what would it be?
I would like to see our entire electricity grid powered by renewable energy. While this huge change will require significant capital investment, it is what is required to meet the challenge of climate change. Renewable energy technology is developed to a stage where it is able to meet this challenge, as outlined in the Beyond Zero Emissions Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan.
6. What is a less sustainable choice that you are not so proud of a.k.a. your environmental vice?
Travelling 80 km via train each work day, as the train network draws a significant amount of energy.
7. How do you get around?
Primarily by a combination of bicycle and public transport.
8. Who is your environmental hero and why?
Rachael Carson, because she courageously spoke out against powerful chemical companies in the interest of human and environmental health. Carson’s courage helped to advance the global environmental movement and the formation of the EPA in the United States.
9. What's your favourite place or ecosystem?
My favourite place at the moment is Tasmania, and my favorite eco-system is the Tarkine rainforest in Tasmania’s west. I spent some time camping and hiking in different parts of Tasmania in January, and am always impressed by the amazing ecosystems and landscapes there.
10. What value do you gain from being a Carbon Innovators Network member?
The opportunity to network with other members and hear about the steps that they are taking to reduce their carbon footprint.