The environment that people live in has a significant impact upon their health. Over the last century the health of the Australian population overall has improved significantly. People are living longer and in better health. It is estimated that much of the increase in longevity seen in Australia is attributable to environmental factors.
The provision of clean water, good food supplies, adequate sewerage systems, waste management, good housing and public infrastructure all help to protect public health.
THE NATURAL STEP AND COUNCIL
At the 20 May, 2008 Council meeting, Council formerly adopted the Natural Step Framework, to be used as a planning tool to enable Council to integrate environmental and social considerations into strategic decisions as well as daily operations.
WHAT IS THE NATURAL STEP FRAMEWORK?
The Natural Step is a Framework for setting out ‘system conditions’ for the sustainability of human activities on earth.
|The Four System Conditions...||...Reworded as the Four Principles of Sustainability||Mount Gambier Context|
|In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing:||To become a sustainable society we must...||For Mount Gambier to become a sustainable city we must...|
|1.||Concentrations of substances from the earth's crust (such as fossil CO2 and heavy metals).||Eliminate our contribution to the progressive build-up of substances extracted from the earth's crust.||Improve local air quality, use renewable energy (preferably local) instead of fossil fuels, reduce and eventually eliminate our use of materials derived from mining, reuse and recycle materials.|
|2.||Concentrations of substances produced by society (such as antibiotics and endocrine disruptors).||Eliminate our contribution to the progressive build-up of chemicals and compounds produced by society.||Reduce and eventually eliminate sending waste to landfill; cease polluting local water, air and soil; use natural and biodegradable materials (preferably local) instead of petroleum based and synthetic materials.|
|3.||Degradation by physical means (such as deforestation and draining of groundwater tables).||Eliminate our contribution to the progressive physical degradation and destruction of nature and natural processes.||Not harvest native bushland, not over-extract groundwater, not over-harvest local fisheries, use recycled materials instead of virgin resources, cease polluting.|
|4.||In that society, people are not subject to conditions that systematically undermine their capacity to meet their needs.||Eliminate our contribution to conditions that undermine people's capacity to meet their basic human needs.||Have reasonable access to amenities, good quality and varied open space, opportunities for passive recreation - including active transport, not impede people's abiity to grow their own food if they choose to.|
For more information see the official Natural Step website: http://www.thenaturalstep.org/our-approach/
WHAT IS COUNCIL DOING?
The City of Mount Gambier has made a strong commitment to embrace environmental sustainability. Council has become very aware of its environment and that of the community and wishes to be a local leader in demonstrating environmental sustainability actions and environmental compliance. Council is not attempting to take one large step to sustainability overnight, but to adopt a model that encourages continual progress in the right direction.
Over the years Council has been using the "Natural Step Framework" to assist in working towards achieving environmental sustainability. The Natural Step Framework can be used as a planning tool to enable Council to integrate environmental and social considerations into strategic decisions as well as daily operations. For more information about the Natural Step Framework please refer to the section on the website.
As a response to the importance of environmental sustainability, Council established an Environmental Sustainability Sub-Committee (ESSC) to assist Council to achieve its environmental sustainability goals and objectives. The ESSC comprises Cr Ian Von Stanke, Cr Desmond Mutton, Cr Penelope Richardson and Cr Sonya Mezinec.
The City of Mount Gambier Strategic Plan Beyond 2015, has a strong environmental component and directs the work of the organisation in terms of environmental sustainability.
Some of the City of Mount Gambier's environment and sustainability initiatives include:
As part of its commitment to embracing environmental sustainability Council will investigate further projects that will provide environmental benefits to the community.
There are a variety of community groups in Mount Gambier and the wider region who get involved in the natural environment and sustainability.
Community Action for Sustainability (CAS) is a local sustainability group http://www.communityactionforsustainability.webs.com/
Old Mount Gambier Gaol Community Garden is a local community garden http://sacommunity.org/org/204941-Old_Mount_Gambier_Gaol_Community_Garden_Inc.
Permaculture Mount Gambier - A local group of people interested in permaculture http://sacommunity.org/org/215680-Permaculture_Mount_Gambier_Group
For Environment and Sustainability related questions contact Council's Environmental Sustainability Officer: Phone (08) 8721 2555 (Select 2) or firstname.lastname@example.org