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Carrots for change

AYCC-blog-Ellen

Sappho’s Bookstore and Café in Glebe held an AYCC Repower event of music and art on April 25 to raise money to power the café on 100 per cent renewable energy.

Credit: D. Gourab for AYCC

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By Ellen Sandell, National Director of the AYCC.

Last Tuesday, the atmosphere at the Food Co-op in Canberra was a little more joyful than usual. Customer numbers were up, business was booming, and people had an unusual spring in their step.

Why? Because this was no usual Tuesday. This particular Tuesday, all profits from shopping at the Co-op went towards buying pedal-powered generators to help run the Co-op’s regular movie nights.

It’s all part of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition's (AYCC’s) new Repower Australia campaign. Across the country, young people are running events like this in their local cafés, theatres, pubs, schools, footy clubs and cinemas – to raise money to switch them to solar power or increase energy efficiency.

Repower events work like this: you go to a pub, café, shop or theatre, and say: “hey, if we bring all our friends to your venue (rather than the one next door) on one particular day, will you put the profits into reducing your energy use or buying solar panels?”

It gives businesses who want to become greener a little nudge in the right direction – using the carrot, rather than the stick, to create change.

When AYCC originally heard about this idea of ‘carrot mobbing’ – we loved it. What a great way to create change, bring the community together, and have fun at the same time! After all, who doesn’t want to go to the pub for a good cause?

But rather than just create change at one pub, or one café – we wanted to do this all over Australia. Thus, the idea for Repower Australia was born, and to date, over 110 ‘repower events’ are registered across the country.

At Oliver’s café in Perth, AYCC volunteers raised thousands of dollars to install new energy-efficient refrigerators. In Tasmania, the local AYCC group was so successful at raising $2000 to put solar panels on the university café, that the café decided to match it – doubling their effort! Even the iconic Forum Theatre in Melbourne will hold a concert in July for 1000 people, to show that old buildings can go green too.

This is just the beginning. We know to avert dangerous climate change we’re going to need much more than just solar panels on 110 cafes or theatres. Repower Australia isn’t just about local change, it’s also about sending a message to our Government about what kind of Australia we want to live in.

Between July and December this year, our politicians will be deciding what kind of future we want. Do we want to stick with our current target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020 – or do we want to increase it? We know that we can get to 100 per cent renewable energy in 10 years. Germany already has 20 per cent, and we have a helluva lot more sun than they do!

Our Repower campaign already collected over 25,000 signatures in support of 100 per cent renewable energy for Australia, and our 110 Repower events held in electorates across the country will add to this public pressure for change.

The message for politicians is clear: we’re getting to work switching our communities to renewables – now it’s your turn.

To find a Repower event near you, or to organise your own, visit www.repower.aycc.org.au.