A newly-formed environmental group is calling on Hawkesbury residents and businesses to take "three key actions" to help lower our carbon footprint.
Spokesperson for the Hawkesbury Climate Action Network (Hawkesbury CAN), Chloe Tyrrell, said the first step was a "no brainer": switching to the solar power.
"More than 20 per cent of Hawkesbury homes have switched to sun power from their roofs which is among the highest in NSW [according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data]. The Hawkesbury has a lot of off-grid power pioneers and many more recent solar-switchers," Ms Tyrrell said.
She said while most Hawkesbury homes and businesses had big roofs that catch the sun all year, adding solar would reduce power bills and help Hawkesbury become 100 per cent renewable by 2030.
"Secondly, we can all care for our land. Hawkesbury's fertile soils grow top quality produce and our beautiful bushlands naturally regulate temperature, generate clean water, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store carbon in the soil and trees. These are the ingredients of life," Ms Tyrrell said.
According to CAN, the Hawkesbury has the potential to become a regional leader in carbon sequestration through activities including regenerative agriculture, compost production, Landcare, reforestation, ecosystem protection and carbon farming.
"Thirdly, we can all show leadership and speak up for climate action," Ms Tyrrell said.
"We can always make the case for net zero emissions. We have the opportunity to push for stronger policies at local, state and federal government levels. We can push the companies we do business with to divest from fossil fuels - especially in our workplace, bank and super fund. We can advocate for a just transition and clean jobs, we can talk to our neighbours about actions we can take together."
She added that School Strikers show the power of collective advocacy and the TV show, Fight for Planet A: Our Climate Challenge - available to view on ABC iview - showed the many practical ways to make a difference.
In 2019, Hawkesbury City Council declared a climate emergency and is now creating a plan to reduce Hawkesbury's carbon emissions to Net Zero, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and NSW Government policy. Around 100 councils across Australia have declared a climate emergency.
"If every Hawkesbury resident, business, school, community organisation, government institution and political representative adopts these three actions, the Hawkesbury could become an Aussie leader in cutting carbon pollution. Switching to the sun, caring for land and speaking up for climate action brings hope and helps us build a thriving and resilient community," Ms Tyrrell said.