Story by Nikita Watts - Morning Bulletin
IT’S nature that powers the scenic and tranquil Pumpkin Island off the Capricorn Coast. The small resort island, owned by partners Wayne Rumble and Laureth Craggs since 2003, has just been named the first carbon-positive island in Australia.
In eight years, the pair has transformed the five beach cottages into eco-friendly villas boasting wind and solar power, filtered rainwater and LPG gas hot water, refrigerator/freezers and barbecues.
They also use bio fuels, reduced the boat transfers with scheduled runs via the vessel Pumpkin Xpress and reduced waste to landfill.
They calculated the island’s carbon emissions in travel, fuel, gas and waste for the year July 2009 to June 2010, which totalled 32.5 tonnes.
Laureth said it was easy to calculate as they used receipts and bills to break down items such as fuel used over the year and then entered the totals into an online carbon
They even worked out each guest produced 57kg of carbon, which Laureth said was “very little”, taking into account most residents on the mainland used coal-powered electricity, which was the biggest contribution to carbon emissions.
They approached carbon offsetting partners Cleaner Climate Ltd and are now offsetting 36 tonnes of emissions through a hydropower or water power renewable energy project in Vietnam called Dak Rung Hydro Power; a project that reduces 17,247 tonnes of carbon annually. This means the island is offsetting more carbon than it creates, rendering it carbon-positive.
Laureth said aspiring to be the first carbon-positive island was hard work and came at a big expense, but it had now paid off as the island had no power or water bills.
“It was a long time in the making and we do still have fuel bills for the boat, the quad bike and lawnmower and also gas,” she said.
“We are changing the hot water to solar. We have one so far, and we have a lot of plans
in the pipeline.”
Laureth said they were not trying to make the island exclusive to target eco-tourists, they simply wanted to be more sustainable, minimise their carbon footprint and educate guests and staff.
She said about 3% of guests travelled to the island on their own boats, and the carbon from those vessels could not be calculated in the total.