Many (dirty) hands make light work: EcoAustralia National Tree Day
For most of us, Sundays in the depths of winter are reserved for sleeping in, binging on Netflix under a blanket and watching the clock as Monday ticks ever closer… But for South Pole Australia, Cassinia Environmental and our EcoAustralia corporate climate leaders, Sunday 28th July told a different story.
Every year on the last Sunday of July, Australians unite for National Tree Day. Spearheaded by Planet Ark, the nationwide initiative has an ambitious mission: to plant one million trees across the country.
In 2019, South Pole Australia and our EcoAustralia partner, Cassinia Environmental, invited our corporate climate leaders to join the national effort on our first-ever EcoAustralia National Tree Day.
With trees and reforestation recently highlighted as one of our most promising climate solutions, National Tree Day provided the perfect opportunity to engage our EcoAustralia buyers in some real climate action – quite literally a chance to get our hands dirty!
What is EcoAustralia?
Launched in 2017, EcoAustralia is a uniquely Australian climate solution; a stapled carbon credit product that blends carbon compensation with permanent, government-accredited Australian biodiversity protection.
Each EcoAustralia credit consists of 1 tCO2e of avoided emissions from a high-quality Gold Standard project, and one Australian Biodiversity Unit representing 1.5 m2 of permanent, government-accredited biodiversity protection.
It's a climate solution with a local touch, allowing Aussie businesses to supercharge their sustainability efforts to meet and exceed goals. From emission reduction strategies, all the way to carbon neutrality against the Australian Government's Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard (formerly the National Carbon Offset Standard – NCOS), EcoAustralia is a one-size-fits-any-ambition product.
The versatility of EcoAustralia was evident on National Tree Day, which brought together a diverse mix of clients and other climate leaders – from Melbourne University, to Simply Green Salary Packaging and even the founder of Drawdown Australia – uniting them for one cause: to plant one thousand drooping sheoak saplings.
Reforesting Sheoak Hill
Sheoak Hill, Glenmore is a one hour drive northwest of Melbourne CBD, towards Ballarat. Sitting on the traditional lands of the Wathaurong people, the property affords spectacular vistas of the surrounding landscape. Countless Aboriginal artefacts have been recovered on the site; a testament to the property's rich history and significance to local Indigenous culture.
After a rather steep climb to the top, Sheoak Hill Property Manager, Chris, asked us to reflect on how the now largely cleared agricultural lands would have looked a few hundred years ago, before the arrival of European settlers.
It would have been a starkly different view – and our challenge was to help revegetate this area by planting one thousand drooping sheoaks on top of Sheoak Hill, restoring the rather bald summit to its former tree-speckled glory.
Our contingent of climate leaders got to work under spectacular blue skies, planting the seedlings and setting up tree guards to protect their young shoots – “like candy" to wallabies and other local wildlife. Working together, we reached this goal easily by lunchtime.
These efforts to reforest the Sheoak Hill property work towards the overall goal of fighting habitat fragmentation by creating a biodiversity corridor that links the nearby Brisbane Ranges and Werribee Gorge National Parks.
Paul Dettman, managing director at Cassinia Environmental and walking Australian flora and fauna encyclopaedia, tells me that these little seedlings will reach maturity in about a decade, with each growing to a height of 10 metres and removing 200 kilos of CO2 from the atmosphere across its lifetime.
To amplify this impact and say thank you to everyone who volunteered their Sunday morning to get these trees in the ground, South Pole also retired 40 EcoAustralia credits – roughly one for each of us; that's an extra 40 tonnes of CO2e prevented or removed from the atmosphere, and 60 square metres of native Australian habitat permanently protected.
The IPCC's most recent special report highlights the importance of sustainable land management in driving down emissions and addressing climate change. In this context, planting trees and investing in impactful solutions like EcoAustralia that simultaneously reduce emissions and contribute to sustainable local land management is more important now than ever.
And if 38 people can plant a thousand trees in one morning, imagine how many we could plant – and how much carbon dioxide they could sequester – if we all volunteered just one day a month?
It really makes you think: the solutions to our changing climate are often closer and easier than we think. Sometimes, all we need to do is breathe in some fresh air and get our hands dirty!
Looking to take the next step in your organisation's climate action journey? Get in touch to learn more about EcoAustralia, including going carbon neutral under the Australian Government's Climate Active program (formerly NCOS) – it's easier than you think!