Western Sydney community comes together for inaugural Greening Day

  • Amongst the crowds were local sports stars Corey Harawira-Naera, Kiera Austin and Remy Siemsen who contributed plants to a stunning 10-meter wide Green Wall
  • Western Sydney University held the event to encourage Aussies to plant more in urban areas
  • Research reveals the average Sydney resident would need to plant one tree a week to offset the average weekly carbon emissions of an ordinary Australian citizen

Community groups in Western Sydney came together with local sports stars Corey Harawira-Naera, Kiera Austin and Remy Siemsen today for Western Sydney University’s inaugural ‘Greening Day’. The university held the community planting event to encourage Aussies to plant more in urban areas, as research reveals the average Sydney resident would need to plant one tree a week to offset the average weekly carbon emissions of an ordinary Australian citizen.

Local children, businesses and families joined university students and Corey Harawira-Naera (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Kiera Austin (Giants Netball) and Western Sydney Wanderers star Remy Siemsen to build a stunning Green Wall at the Parramatta South Campus. The 10-meter wide structure features 320 plants, each potted in recycled plastic bottles and individually placed by members of the community.

Western Sydney University’s first ever Greening Day has been organised as part of #EarthIQ, a campaign arising out of the university’s research into sustainability, that brings together young Australians who want to be proactive in their daily lives, harness people power, and combat global warming.

At the event, Western Sydney University social change academic, grass roots activist and presenter, Dr Holly Kaye-Smith, talked about the small everyday changes we can make to lessen our carbon footprint.

“It’s been a fantastic day celebrating spring with our students, sponsors and members of the local community at our first ever Greening Day. It’s so inspiring to see everyone come together and contribute to making our world a little cooler and greener.

We want everyone to feel optimistic and enthusiastic about tackling environmental issues and making creative changes to the way we eat, travel, keep cool and buy and use things.”

Western Sydney University is encouraging all Aussies to plant more greenery and feature more plants at home and have shared the top four reasons why plants make a fantastic contribution to our lives.

  1. Plants cool our homes and cities, provide shade, reduce heat build-up and help keep us cool; this reduces aircon & carbon emissions.
  2. Flowering plants provide food for pollinating insects, keeping our ecosystems ticking along
  3. Live plants clean the air you breathe; even just one plant in your home makes a difference
  4. Looking after plants increases our mindfulness and wellbeing improving our mental health

Western Sydney University researchers from the ‘Which Plant Where’ initiative were also at the event today, offering advice on how to choose plants that will best suit their environment and lifestyles. The five-year Urban Green Space research programs at Western Sydney University are looking at how well current landscaping species will cope under increasingly unpredictable climates, and at new species and varieties for the urban context.

Dr Renée Marchin commented that selecting the right plants can lead to greener, cooler and move liveable cities for everyone.

“Our Which Plant Where project will help ensure the right plants are being selected for the right urban spaces with an eye on the future. A key challenge for Australia’s urban environments is to ensure that future plantings are made with trees, shrubs and turf that can tolerate and positively contribute to our changing climate. We hope that by advising people on the best plants and shrubs to use we can encourage a more sustainable, greener Australia.”

Find out more about WSU’s work on Sustainability by heading to the University’s Earth IQ Facebook page and follow the conversation using #EarthIQ.

ENDS

About Which Plant Where

Which Plant Where is funded by the Hort Frontiers Green Cities Fund, part of the Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative developed by Hort Innovation, with co-investment from Macquarie University, Western Sydney University and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and contributions from the Australian Government.

About Western Sydney University and Earth IQ:

At Western Sydney University there are more than 70 researchers and academics looking at our changing climate and ways to mitigate the challenges, through over 400 different research projects and initiatives. Students have opportunities to study sustainability-related subjects in any discipline, including science, social sciences, education, law, business and agriculture.

The university is one of only 10 universities in the region committed to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 and one of five Australian universities recognised by the UNU-IAS as a Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development.

Taking a positive step in engaging and empowering millennials and their communities with the issues of a changing climate, Western Sydney University has launched a new awareness campaign Earth IQ. Through multimedia storytelling, expert commentary and activations, Earth IQ is a way of inspiring a generation to embrace more mindful and sustainable living - one carbon footprint at a time.

Find out more about WSU’s work on Sustainability by contacting the WSU PR team at media@westernsydney.edu.au; head to the University’s Earth IQ Facebook page (opens in a new window); and follow the conversation using #EarthIQ.