Why should clubs act?
All surf clubs need to consider urgent action on climate change as it effects the health of members, changes surf conditions and puts club infrastructure at risk. Many club constitutions will demand this or will reflect SLSA’s constitutional objectives which include:
Y) ensure that environmental considerations are taken into account in all surf life saving and related activities conducted by SLSA;
Z) promote the health, safety and welfare of Members and all other users of the aquatic environment;
- Educate your members – include coastal hazards and climate change concepts in surf life saving training programs
- Work out your carbon footprint. You’ll need gas, electrical, water bills and fuel bills to get started. A comprehensive but easy to use calculator is available here
- Get Solar PV panels on your roof. It will likely save your club money and there are periodically government grants for such initiatives.
- Audit and monitor your electricity usage. Upgrade your electricity meter to give live or frequent updates on usage so you can understand what’s using all that power. Is it the old fridge, the hot halogen globes or the air con? Move to LED lighting and efficient devices.
- Waste management – avoid single use plastics, recycle what you can, minimise waste.
- Chuck a hashbrown on the barbie – provide more vegetarian options during club catering, as meat has a significant carbon footprint.
- Water wise tap and shower fittings – the provision of water consumes a significant amount of energy.
- Encourage active transport to the club: have bike racks, publish best public transport routes.
- Commit to be carbon neutral by 2030 (or 2025, or now!). Consider offsetting your emissions that are hard to avoid, it’s pretty cheap.
- Maximise vegetation around your club – it helps cool the environment, suck up CO2 and sustain sand dunes in the face of storm surges.
- Only engage and promote sponsors whose activities are compatible with the Paris Climate Agreement (<1.5˚C warming). Promoting a company that is driving global warming will only harm surf life saving in the long run.
- Request SLSA to fast-track specification and development of electric IRBs and ATVs
- Promote your sustainability activities to educate and inspire local community action on climate change
- Heat stress – have clear guidelines on when competition and training should cease due to high ambient temperature. Especially important for pregnant, youngest and oldest members. Consider whether events need to be run earlier in the day when it is cooler.
- Heat stress – identify ways of minimising over-heating at the beach: shelter, hydration, fans, appropriate clothing.
- Understand the risk to your club facilities – Identify whether your club is built on a sand dune or whether it has rock under the foundations. Consult your local council’s Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaption Plan (CHRMAP). Check this 2011 SLSA report for preliminary info, 63% of clubs Australia wide are in ‘zones of potential instability’.
- Do you have land to retreat to? Identify whether land further inland is suitable for future club infrastructure (especially if currently built on sand within 40m of storm surge line)
- Protecting the clubrooms: Protect sand dunes through revegetation and other activities. Consider whether a sea wall will be required (in short or long term), as has been the case for some clubs already.
- Mobile facilities: your next patrol tower might be a better investment if it can be moved, as required.
- Financial plan for economic challenges:
- club building damage/relocation/adaptation and
- reduced revenue due to lower membership/sponsorship as beaches become less appealing, (more rocky and less sand).
Some of these recommendations are sourced from the two SLSA sponsored climate change reports and others from the Climate Council Sporting Club resources.
Got any other suggested actions for surf clubs to prevent and adapt to climate change? Contact us!