On the 25th of September, five days after marching through Forrest Place with [these brilliant signs by Tim Meakins], we held a Carbon zer0 Party for our members, to celebrate becoming the first carbon neutral arts organisation in WA.
We did it, folks. All of us.
Five years ago, when then-Executive Director Kerry O’Sullivan (following an initial 2013 carbon audit in line with NCOS standards) announced The Blue Room Theatre’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2020, the timeframe seemed ambitious. But with the support of a keen and committed Board (led by chair Libby Klysz and her successor Shane Colquhoun); an incoming ED just as keen to champion sustainability as Kerry (thanks Julian); the sustainability subcommittee (thanks Vanessa, Renee, Alexa, and Karen – with a special thank you to Karen Connolly, who has been crunching the carbon numbers for the organisation since 2014); our staff, artists, donors, and members (who are the heart and backbone of the organisation) – we got there early.
Our carbon footprint as an organisation is now officially zero: our carbon emissions have dramatically reduced, and any remaining emissions generated through annual operations from now on will be offset through the purchase of Australian Biodiverse Reforestation Carbon Credits in the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor in WA.
There is so much that we’ve achieved together over these last few years. With your support, The Blue Room Theatre has been able to:
- install our Solar Panels (which btw, helped us reduce our costs by almost half)
- do an LED lighting upgrade, led by lighting legends Chris Donnelly (Fatty) and Roger Miller, significantly decreasing our power usage.
- install recycling for the staff
- stop using plastic straws
- use recycled Who Gives a Crap toilet paper
- make ‘taking a mug from the kitchen to the café for your takeaway coffee’ an office and artist norm
- facilitate collective thinking about climate change and other sustainability issues (through play-readings, talks, events, critical conversations, bar conversations, and the performance works in our theatre spaces ), and creatively imagine how to respond to them
While the particular goal of becoming carbon neutral has been achieved, it doesn’t end here. The Blue Room Theatre will continue to place ‘Greening the Blue’ at its centre, and members are encouraged to contribute new ideas about how The Blue Room Theatre can continue to lead the WA arts sector in sustainability.
To have such a keen and committed base of over 500 members who support The Blue Room Theatre to take leadership in sustainability makes all the difference in (and to) the world. In this moment where global climate momentum is building, it is particularly significant. In addition to the individual actions we all take, it is heartening to see what can be achieved when we act collectively. Thank you for enabling The Blue Room Theatre to do this, as we look forward to a greener future.
Images by Tim Meakins