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Queensland eco-resort Lady Elliot Island fronts WWF campaign

July 3, 2013 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

A world-first social platform to show that climate change is on our doorstep was launched this week by WWF-Australia. It aims to demonstrate that every Australian is no more than 2 degrees (people) away from a climate change story here at home.
The 2 Degrees Project (www.2degreesproject.com.au) features Australians from all walks of life talking about their personal experiences of climate change and how it is impacting their lives, how they’re adapting and what they’re doing to tackle it.

One of the stories fronting this national campaign is that of Lady Elliot Island off Gladstone, Queensland which is cutting carbon pollution and raising awareness of climate change.

Managing director Peter Gash has embraced solar, slashed fuel consumption, stopped selling water in plastic bottles, and even has signs to raise awareness of climate change. And, as Peter explains, business is booming.

“We’re a small family owned company and it’s in our DNA to minimise our carbon footprint. We’re always thinking ‘how can we do things better, how can we do things smarter, how can we save and conserve?’ And that goes hand in hand with tackling climate change.

“I certainly was a non-believer some years ago but the more I looked, the more I studied, and the more I listened to both sides it was just obvious that it’s real. We have a climate change trail produced in conjunction with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. It’s a guided tour around the island and it explains what you’re seeing today and what’s likely to happen in the event that climate change continues to progress at the current rate. A lot of our guests are coming out here uncertain about climate change but they have an open mind. And when you open up your mind and you look and you listen it’s obvious there’s a change.

“We’re proving at Lady Elliot Island that you can produce your power from the sun. We originally put in 96 solar panels and last year we put in 32 more. The first 96 were 205 watts per panel and cost $2000 each; the ones I put in last year are 245 watts per panel and cost me $900 each. Now I can get 255 watts per panel and they’re about $400 so it’s getting more and more economical.

“When we took over the island they were burning about 200,000 litres of diesel per year to generate power. We’ve now got it down to about 60,000 litres a year so we’ve saving round about 150,000 litres. Our solar power station can manufacture almost 200 kilowatt hours so we get almost half our power from the sun. We stopped selling water in plastic bottles because they’re not good for the environment. They used to burn the plastics and cardboard out here and we no longer do that.

“We take people snorkelling in glass bottomed boats but propellers can hit the bottom, they can hit coral, they can hit turtles, they can hit fish, and people can get caught up in them. So we found a manufacturer who makes a jet pump for boats and we imported two and it’s just the best thing we could have ever done. Our boats are so safe now there are no propellers to hurt people, animals or coral.

“If you give to the environment the environment gives back to you. It’s a karma thing. We’re busy with bookings and I think it’s because we’re looking after the planet and the planet’s looking after us.”

Become a 2 Degrees Project Ambassador and you could enjoy a trip for two to Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort in the Great Barrier Reef. How do you become a 2 Degrees Project Ambassador and score this beautiful getaway? If you have the most friends who connect and share a story or you submit a story that gets more shares than any other, you could find yourself touring one of nature’s greatest wonders and see climate change first hand.

2 Degrees Project Ambassador trip includes:

  • Return flights to Lady Elliot Island
  • 2 nights accommodation in a reef unit
  • Full buffet breakfast and dinner daily
  • One free glass bottom boat/guided snorkel tour per person
  • Free snorkel equipment hire
  • Range of free island activities/tours including The Climate Change Tour
  • Environmental Management charge

Visit and connect to www.2degreesproject.com.au before 30 November, 2013 for your chance to win.

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