On Freo becoming a One Planet council

This article onFreo becoming a One Planet council appreared in the Fifth Estate this week


Brad Pettitt: On becoming a One Planet council

| 7 October 2014
Brad Pettitt, speaking at The Fifth Estate Surround Sound, for the upcoming ebook, Greening the West, Part II, out soon
Brad Pettitt, speaking at The Fifth Estate Surround Sound, for the upcoming ebook, Greening the West, Part II, out soon

Part of the strength of the One Planet approach to sustainability is in the simplicity and undeniable logic of its name. We clearly do have only one planet to live on – but how often we forget this simple fact and live as though there is a reserve planet (or four!) we can fall back on.

But the strength of One Planet goes well beyond its clever name to the simultaneously clarity and comprehensiveness in its approach to sustainability.

Sustainability is about more than carbon reduction, more than recycling and green buildings, more than bolt on solutions or a single magic bullet. Sustainability under a One Planet model is a holistic but entirely pragmatic and workable rethink to business as usual – a journey of continual improvement.

The City of Fremantle was proud to recently become Australia’s joint first One Planet Council along with the wonderful City of Yarra. The City of Fremantle is no stranger to sustainability leadership, becoming the second carbon neutral council in Australia after the City of Sydney.

Becoming a One Planet Council is a major step in the sustainability journey ahead. Key projects like the transformation of the former City of Fremantle works depot into a world leading, medium-density sustainable housing development are on the cards. WA has never done a sustainable housing development along the lines of BedZed in London, the Sunship in Freiburg or even Christy Walk in Adelaide. I hope our former depot site can be a lighthouse project that shows that housing done well can both have a tiny ecological footprint and be affordable – just as Josh’s House (also in a Fremantle suburb) demonstrated the future of sustainable, affordable single lot housing.

In addition to great projects, One Planet is also importantly about engaging with the community and a great community cafe series based on the 10 One Planet principles in underway in conjunction with Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy Institute.

There is a lot of work to be done in Fremantle’s sustainability journey towards using only one planet’s worth of resources both equitably and ethically. In doing so I believe we are tackling the great challenge of our age: how comparatively wealthy communities like Fremantle can transition quickly to a more sustainable future. Fremantle is up for the challenge and that is just as well because as they say, “good planets are hard to find”.

Dr Brad Pettitt is mayor of the City of Fremantle.

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

5 Responses to On Freo becoming a One Planet council

  1. dickbaynham says:

    Brad, how can the City of Fremantle – an urban area with limited public green space – sell off parks for development and still claim green credentials? There appears to be a huge gap between what you say and what you do. Surely this is hypocrisy?

    • Dick
      I am not aware of Freo Council agreeing to sell of any parks for development? I argued against major Pioneer Park redevelopment last night and most of Council seemed to support this position I believe.
      In fact Freo Council is looking to increase green space in Freo. By that I mean more than just green grass of course.
      cheers, Brad

  2. Diana Ryan says:

    Brad, there is, of course, no real claim to sustainability if all sectors of our own society do not benefit meaningfully and fully inclusively.

    In 2012, as the case for the NDIS was worked, the disability sector declared itself unsustainable.

    You have been a part of an extensive push to develop more surety of employment for Aboriginals, and the next step would be to address same for people with disabilities.

    It is the last marginalised sector of our society, and unfortunately does not enjoy the public’s support as other sectors and societal issues do.

    People with disabilities have the same right to the benefits you have been able to achieve, but that will not occur without help, without those who help shape whole communities leading the way.

    However, building ramps at pools, ensuring universal access to some buildings, attending functions held by some disability groups will not provide what is really necessary – employment opportunities (and much of this physical facilitation is being incorporated for broader reasons anyway, ie, our increasingly ageing population, helping parents with young children).

    This is where the real problem lies – there are so few dignified, inclusive, sustainably remunerated employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

    The NDIS is coming, that will help but will not ensure employment opportunities occur. Only the decision to ensure that they will, will make the difference.

    Will you support Councillor Sam Wainwright’s bid, when he is ready, to ensure that the same admirable efforts that Fremantle Council has put in to Aboriginal employment is extended to those with disabilities?

    Your answer to that question would be appreciated. As you say above “Sustainability under a One Planet model is a holistic but entirely pragmatic and workable rethink to business as usual”.

    In the case of people with disabilities, however, the next part of the phrase “continuous improvement” would not be appropriate when it comes to actually achieving a job.

    From pension indexation changes (pensions being where many are forced to resort), slashing of pension education supplements (making higher education too expensive to fund) ,to forcing those on pensions under the age of 35 to find a job (which was coming under Labor also), we can’t wait any longer to recognize the real problem is employers being unwilling to employ them.

    We need a plan for people with disabilities to have full sustainability too.

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