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This project is supported by The Central Qld Coast Landcare Network through funding from the Australian Government's Caring for our Country

Caring for our Country

Pioneer Catchment & Landcare Group is supported by Mackay Regional Council through the Natural Environment Levy and Reef Catchments (Mackay Whitsunday Isaac) Limited.

Reef Catchments Mackay Regional Council

Envisioning Lower Carbon Lifestyles in Mackay (2009 - 2010)

Main proponent:     PCL
Cash funding:   Natural Resource Awareness Grant from the Department of Environment and Resource Management.
Other proponents:  
In kind funding:  

Project outline:

PCL has strong contact with the Mackay community. Through the development of this relationship we have identified growing community concern about the challenges posed by climate change and peak oil. Numerous community initiatives are working to reduce carbon footprints, however we have identified a need to bring these key stakeholders together to envision creative, practical actions to prepare our community for change.

This project encouraged more Mackay residents to examine their carbon footprint. It achieved this through three events; a film screening, a visioning workshop and a stall at the Mackay EcoExpo in 2010.

These events:
- Provided informative and convincing information on the need to reduce the energy intensity of our lifestyles,
- Provided opportunities to learn how to reduce their carbon footprint.
- Strengthened a local culture of low carbon lifestyles, and,
- Connected organisations that already promote lower carbon lifestyles through their activities.

Project achievements and outcomes:


The context for this proposal is the community of our tropical Mackay region. This community derives its income largely from mining, mining services and agriculture.  Per capita we have high carbon footprints, with contributing factors including employment in mining, significant vehicle-dependence, relatively high incomes, overuse of air conditioners to cope with hot weather and a lack of concern about overall high energy usage lifestyles.
Unfortunately, the region has a high vulnerability to climate change, both economically and physically.  Our regional economy is vulnerable to changes in international markets, and we may be affected by the proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme.  In addition, we live in a cyclone-prone area where much residential development is vulnerable to storm surge or cyclone damage.

Many local organisations and community members are working towards reducing their own and the regional carbon footprint, including several farmers groups, the Mackay Community Garden, a bicycle user group, our local social development organisation, the Mackay Conservation Group, Reef Guardian schools and many others. However, many of these groups do not yet have a high community profile and most are working - and thinking - in isolation.  The events and processes planned in this project will create the time and space for these interested stakeholders to gather together to discuss how they can work together to grow this movement and to strengthen a local movement towards lowering our carbon emissions.

What we did:

This project raised the issue of carbon-dependent lifestyles and economy in our local region and involved community members in expressing and imagining possible alternatives.  Four separate events were held as part of this project, summarised in the table below.







‘In Transition 1.0’ screening

Wintermoon Folk Festival, Cameron’s Pocket

Film projected at stage.


‘No Impact Man’ screening

Cook Lecture Theatre, Central Queensland University, Mackay

Well-attended film followed before and after by conversation over nibbles.


‘Lower Carbon Future for Mackay’ workshop

Mackay Conservation Group offices, Mackay

Well-received workshop facilitated by Sam Morris.


Interactive display at Mackay EcoExpo

Queen’s Park, Mackay

Display included material produced at workshop, info on Transition initiatives, materials for contributing to the project.

Who was involved:

Over 55 community members directly participated in the workshops and film screenings, including members of a broad range of interest groups and children.  We achieved very wide promotion of project aims and outcomes in the community through radio stories, mailing lists, newsletters, and the EcoExpo display.  All promotion of the project acknowledged receipt of the Natural Resource Awareness Grant.


Significant outcomes of this project included:

-          increased awareness in the community of both the need and means to reduce our individual carbon footprints and the dependence of our region on carbon-intensive industries;

-          compilation of a collective vision of a lower-carbon future for our community and region, and some of the steps necessary to work towards this;

-          new connections established between interested community members and organisations, and a greater impression that many people are working towards a more sustainable future; and

-          the identification of key priority areas for action.

The workshop identified the strong interest of project participants and partners in promoting production of, and access, to healthy, sustainably-produced foods in our region.  To follow on from this prioritisation and capitalise on the momentum generated by this project, a steering group of participants are continuing to meet regularly to move this project forward, and is hoping to continue with regular film screenings.

One of the workshop exercises - ‘I dream of…’ bubbles

Discussion amongst participants, facilitated by Sam Morris

Prioritised action ideas from the break out groups.