As ‘coasties’, the global phenomenon that is climate change has always been an issue of great concern for us all, particularly of late, as it has begun to spark unwelcome changes to the land around us, affecting our lives in different ways and on different levels. These changes can be as small as a few degrees warmer in summer, cooler in winter, bigger, harsher waves and as drastic as the erosion of our iconic beaches. Since 1972, June 5th has been known globally as ‘World Environment Day’ (or WED for short, although disappointingly it’s falling on a Friday this year). It is a day for raising awareness not only of the dangers of global climate change, but also the positive effects scientists and entrepreneurs are having in their efforts to create and inspire change through their ventures, research and discoveries. A day for these great people to showcase their ideas and promote positive change to our lives in any number of ways, in an effort to reduce our impact on the world around us, to inspire people to actively think about what kind of world and climate they are leaving for our future generations.
Since its institution, WED has been celebrated here on the coast in the form of a fantastic festival of change and opened minded discussion. From its early beginnings as an event at Fairhill Native Nursery, before moving for many years to the side of the serene Maroochy River at Cotton Tree, then on to the Eumundi Markets, since 2008 it has finally made the University of the Sunshine Coast its home. The festival has grown into one of the biggest of its kind in Queensland, possibly even the world, winning awards for its efforts from the United Nations Environment Program, earning it international recognition and praise for its efforts. The Festival attracts representatives from all walks of life, from chefs to home cooks, from local businesses to big business, scientists to engineers and even ‘fashionistas’, all showing us their own take on how to live more sustainable with clever ways of recycling, to new agricultural techniques and new forms of low-impact personal transport.
It’s not all doom and gloom, a lot of the ideas presented aren’t just climate conscious, but also seriously cool. For example, on show this year is the ‘Skate Caddy’. This electrically powered, motorised skateboard/skateboard hybrid lets you carve up the green, while you carve up the green. ‘(The Skate Caddy) is not just another golf transport vehicle, it is a fully featured, amazing, reliable and truly enjoyable way to play the game, gliding over your course as if you were surfing up and down the fairway with total control, precision, safety and all this in virtual silence due to its dual whisper drive’. I don’t even play and I want to take up golf so I can justify getting one of these for myself. They just sound and look so cool, and being electric, no exhaust fumes, or heavy tread tearing up the grass. Now just to sell the wife on the idea …
Most electric and hybrid cars aren’t exactly exciting, that’s true, until now. Unplugged Performance is a tuning group from California that works exclusively on Telsa Motor’s cars, creating some seriously fast paced electric performance vehicles. They’ll be making a show of their work at the festival this year, and as a speed nut who feels a twinge of guilt every time I slam my pedal down, I’m very keen to see how the world of electric motoring is progressing. Although I’m not sure if racing around in a quiet electrically powered car could ever compare to its petrol counter-parts without the growl and roar of an engine. But I’m sure there’s ways to enhance the experience for those of us who adore the grunt of a good old v8 engine.
It’s not all speed and graceful golfing though, there are fashion shows promoting sustainable fabrics and production, sustainable food production and any number of other low-impact lifestyle alternatives to the staples of our everyday lives. The event will be hosted on Friday, 5th June at the University of Sunshine Coast. There is no entry fee. For more information on the event and its participants visit the official site.