Being green takes time, effort and passion. Until industries achieve scale it continues to be cheaper to do things as we have always done (aka in a carbon-heavy manner) because that’s what people know, it’s easier and it happens quickly.
I consider myself greenish – I supported the carbon tax, grow veggies, use public transport and recycle. But it’s increasingly difficult to find the the eco-option, you have to seek it out.
I cringe when I get my lunch at my local Vietnamese place. They do lots of things right and their food is delicious but the packaging and level of waste is extraordinary. Dine in or take way – the heavy packaging remains. I have asked them about it and the owner advised me that they can’t serve food on reusable bowls and plates because they don’t have enough staff to clear tables and get crockery washed. So what should I do?
I am currently looking to install solar panels on my house but the system required doesn’t fit on the roof. I can get a smaller one that powers about a third of the house or I can just swap to gas hot water for a fifth of the cost but the same energy saving? What investment is worth it?
Currie’s client, the Global Change Institute has done a lot work around the future of Australia’s electricity supply. In a recent paper, extensive modelling was done to review the various scenarios Australia could be facing in 20 years if we continue with business- as-usual (ie. rely on coal powered energy).
The results showed our energy sector is not resilient and very expensive. In short – we have to get serious about renewable energy. We have to think long term, we have to start getting scale now so we are set up in the future. Coal can’t be phased out overnight but it will have to be one day.
The report also indicated citizen action was having an effect and that some communities around the country are already working together to find ways they can address their energy needs. This was found to be very important and helping to drive behaviour change.
So what do my local lunch spot, my solar panel dilemma and the future of Australia’s electricity supply all have in common? We need to think long term as a nation to overcome the barriers to entry of becoming green – and at the very least, tomorrow I can bring my own container for my rice paper rolls.