Climate change is one of the key issues of our times and the protection and management of our natural heritage has never been more important. As a leading natural history and cultural institution, the Australian Museum (AM) has a responsibility to educate, research, inspire and act on environmental sustainability.
The Australian Museum is the first natural history museum in Australia to receive the Federal Government’s Climate Active certification and is a Carbon Neutral organisation. As part of the AM’s commitment to improving community understanding of climate change, the AM overcame the challenges of its historic buildings and worked internally to reduce its carbon footprint. Showing leadership in sustainability solutions sets an example for others to follow.
The implementation of the Australian Museum’s Sustainability Action Plan has reduced green house gas emissions and together with three strategic carbon offset programs the AM is proudly carbon neutral. Future goals include converting electricity to a renewable energy supply and ultimately being carbon positive.
The AM has undertaken a number of initiatives to reduce its carbon emissions including:
- Upgrading and trialing climatic monitoring systems to the AM’s air conditioning units to maximise energy efficiency, helping reduce energy consumption by 25%, while providing an innovative and green way to conserve and manage the AM’s renowned collection;
- Completing a significant lighting upgrade replacing nearly 2,000 fluorescent luminaires with energy-efficient LED lights across large areas of the site
- Committing to eliminating single-use plastics across the AM’s food and beverage operations.
Waste as a resource
At the AM waste is considered a valuable resource to reduce, reuse and recycle. Project Discover the AM’s $57.5M building upgrade completed in 2020 achieved over a 90% diversion rate of construction waste to landfill. Hardwood flooring removed from the Pacific Collection stores was reused in the touring exhibition hall and stair balustrading was reused in signage.
The AM’s waste system aims to reduce waste to landfill in both public and back-of-house spaces. The AM’s waste streams include: fluorescent lights, print cartridges, batteries, e-waste, mobile phones, soft plastics, organics, cardboard and paper, plastic/glass and aluminium as well as general waste. Compostable waste was added to the public waste streams in late 2020.
Engaging and educating others.
The AM’s award winning exhibitions, programs, citizen science projects and online content provide a platform for others to learn about the benefits of living sustainably and in harmony with nature.
The AM’s national citizen science project FrogID is a national frog count helps educate and engage the public whilst providing valuable data to our scientists to help better protect and conserve frogs around Australia. FrogID is helping understand what is happening to Australia’s frogs. Citizen scientists record frog calls and their GPS locations providing AM’s research scientists with incredible data for which to focus conservation efforts.
Changing Climate is a wonderful new display space that shares climate solutions and stories of climate impacts across Australia. Immersive interactive displays allows a personalised exploration of climate related topics.
Building sustainable partnerships
Sustainable Destination Partnership
As a founding Member of the Sustainable Destination Partnership, the AM has committed to:
- Reducing food waste to landfill
- Improving water efficiency measures
- Elimination of single use plastics
- Investigating renewable energy sources
The AM is a member of the NSW Government’s Sustainable Advantage striving to show leadership in sustainability, collaboratively solve our sustainability challenges and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Climate of the Nation 2020
The Australian Museum is proud to collaborate with The Australia Institute on their Climate of the Nation 2020 research report that shows a strong correlation between experience of climate impacts like bushfires and the intensity of concern about climate change. This growing concern has reignited support for climate action and solutions, a goal at the centre of the AM’s corporate strategic plan.
The AM has partnered with the following offset projects to attain carbon neutrality
Aboriginal Carbon Foundation
The Aboriginal Carbon Foundation, a First Nations not for profit works with Indigenous carbon farmers to implement small scale burns in the cooler months, reducing fuel loads and mitigating wildfires that could otherwise occur later in the season. This traditional land management practice reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Greenfleet is a leading not-for-profit environmental organisation that plants native biodiverse forests capturing carbon emissions to protect our climate. Greenfleet forests are legally protected for up to 100 years, conserving biodiversity, and restoring habitat for wildlife. Greenfleet’s Low Glow project protects Queensland’s endangered sea turtle population by reducing artificial light glow around important turtle nesting sites.
An overseas solar project located in Gujarat, India, which compliments the AM’s goal to increase the use of renewable energy.