Geelong Sustainability held its 2020 Annual General Meeting via Zoom on Thursday 12 November. The meeting was attended by over 70 members and stakeholders.
President, Vicki Perrett, presented the annual report outlining the group’s achievements for 2020 based on a new strategic plan aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and focusing on clean energy, sustainable cities, responsible consumption and climate action. Despite being an extraordinary year, Geelong Sustainability had still managed to effectively fulfil its mission to empower people to regenerate and protect the planet.
She commented that last summer’s horrific bushfires had shocked Australians and the world. It was finally painfully clear that Australia is already experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change ~ and that we have much to lose. Recognising that the climate emergency demanded an urgent response, the committee agreed that 2020 must herald the start of a crucial decade of climate action.
GS is advocating for our region to seize the economic opportunities from responding boldly to the existential climate emergency. We concur with Gene Blackley, founder of Drawdown Australia, ‘Evolving to a net-zero emissions economy presents extraordinary economic regeneration opportunities for a city like Greater Geelong’.
Over the year, GS made good progress on its four internal organisational priorities:
- To advocate for urgent action on climate change and sustainability issues
- To build an active, articulate, objective and informed community
- To establish and leverage mutually beneficial partnerships
- To strengthen our capability and deliver projects with impact.
Vicki reflected that the organisation’s achievements were due to astounding contributions from lots of passionate volunteers. In particular, she acknowledged the members of the management committee, the CORE, Events, Microvillage and Climate Action Task Groups, the GreenLight, the REO Public Fund committee and the many people who assisted with social media, communications, events and various projects. She also thanked the Australian Conservation Foundation, GS members, community partners and organisational sponsors for their support and encouragement during an extraordinary year.
Our revenue was impacted by COVID-19 as events were moved online and many projects and services put on hold. The federal JobKeeper scheme provided a welcome lifeline for our fledgling social enterprise, GreenLight. Revenue for FY20 was up 9% to $283,543 of which $226,500 or 80% was for government grant-funded projects. Expenses for FY20 were up 26% to $141,111. The Profit and Loss statement showed a surplus of $152,582 largely due to unexpended project funds.
The following members were elected to the 2021 committee: Vicki Perrett - President; Vivienne Burke - Secretary; Amy White - Treasurer and Tim Adams, Dan Cowdell, Louise Beames, Sally Fisher, Jennifer Jarrard, Fred Ritman, Jonathan Wright - general committee members.
Recent Snapshot Climate data shows that emissions for Greater Geelong are not going down either. They were 3.3m tCO2-e in 2017 and 3.2m tCO2-e in 2018. The breakdown in our 2018 emissions was: 54% Electricity, 30% Transport, 12% Gas & 3% Waste. GS does not support a gas-led COVID recovery. We must electrify everything: industry, offices, homes and our transport.
Attendees enjoyed guest speaker, Anthony Broese van Groenou from The Good Car Company talk about Sustainable Transport: Why It's Time For EVs. In Anthony’s view, many electric vehicles (EVs) cost too much and their benefits won’t be realised until there is a critical mass of cars on our roads. Their solution is to create a second-hand car market to reduce the cost and increase uptake and public acceptance. Which is why GS plans to partner with GCC to run an EV Bulk Buy based on second-hand Nissan Leaf’s next year.
We’ve edited the AGM recording into two parts so you can view:
1) the Annual Report and 2021 priorities
2) the Good Car Company presentation and Q&A.
What’s planned for 2021?
In concluding the AGM, the President stated that as well as consolidating the new strategy, key priorities for 2021 would include the following:
- Reconnecting in person ...
- Continuing our current regular events
- Building momentum for bold regional targets
- Campaigning against gas projects
- Coordinating the G21 Solar & Battery Bulk Buy
- Hosting a Household Energy Challenge
- Partnering in an Electric Vehicle Bulk Buy
- Advancing our Geelong Microvillage project
- Establishing a Circular Economy Taskforce
- Collaborating more …
In closing, Vicki reflected on an old African proverb that says ‘If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’ and noted that we need to go far quickly. She called on the community, government and business sectors to work together to transition our region into clean energy circular economy. She also reminded us on:
Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.
Appendix: 2020 in Numbers
If you enjoy statistics, you may find this list of numbers for 2020 interesting:
- Gas import terminal to be stopped in Geelong
- Meetings with politicians via Zoom
- Major submissions prepared
- Exemplar sustainable homes showcased
- Age of our youngest member, Noah
- Clever Living, Life Learning and Special Events
- Videos produced for SHD
- GS Business members
- People had Speed Dates with Experts
- Zoom meetings held
- People attended Climate Action Drinks
- Boxes of Who Gives A Crap toilet paper sold
- Total GS members
- People registered to Access All SHD houses
- Participants at Clever Living, Life Learning & Special Events
- Members of GS discussion group
- Website orders for membership, events or products
- Followers of our SHD Facebook page
- Instagram followers
- Followers of our GS Facebook page
- Email subscribers
- Website views in October
- Views of our 1-min SHD Preview video
- Reach of SHD Facebook posts on our GS & SHD pages
- Grant revenue in FY20, 80% of our revenue