Australia Sustainable Food, Environment, & Social Systems 2017

Blog site for the 2017 MSU study abroad program.

04-Jenna B.

Hello! My name is Jenna Belding. I am a sophomore at Michigan State and I am originally from Rochester, Michigan. I am currently working towards a major in advertising management. I am the vice president of the Michigan State Alpine Ski and Snowboard Team, which is a club sport here at the University. I enjoy running, fishing, being outdoors, hanging out with friends, and skiing.

I chose to go on this trip to Australia for multiple reasons. Throughout the past few years I’ve had family members and friends travel to Australia and I’ve heard nothing but awesome things about the country. I love traveling and seeing the beautiful, unique sights around the globe. When I was given the opportunity to go abroad, this program stuck out to me because Australia is a country I’ve been wanting to travel to for years, and I can get credit for classes that pertain to my major.

To be carbon neutral means having a balance between carbon emissions and offsets. Unfortunately excess human emissions outweigh the natural offsets resulting in an increased rate of climate change. Global temperatures increase which have a negative affect on all aspects of life. To compensate with the ever-growing size of the human population, changes must be made in order to continue to be able to preserve the current resources available for human needs.

Why is is important for cities to promote carbon neutral practices? How can the government implement incentives to encourage sustainable practices? How much of an impact does climate change have on the environment?


Project summary:

During my time in Australia I was very interested in the idea of being carbon neutral, and how cities encourage citizens to take part in helping their community. After our visit at the Adelaide city council I began to focus on the importance of carbon neutral, and the changes cities are making in order to balance out carbon emissions. Different studies show there is a correlation with human activity and excessive carbon and other gasses in the Earth’s atmosphere. As a result, the average temperature of the Earth’s surface has increased at an above average rage. This imposes many negative effects on all living organisms that inhabit Earth.

The city of Adelaide has constructed multiple different strategies in order to reduce carbon emissions. Their goal is to be the most livable city by becoming the world’s first carbon neutral city. Between the years 2007-2013 they were able to reduce their emissions by 20% (Carbon Neutral Adelaide, 2016). One of their programs is the ‘sustainability incentives scheme’. The government rewards those who implement smart energy saving appliances and utilities with rebates to compensate their spendings. At the site visit with at the city council they also mentioned incentives for those who used electric cars as well. Other methods include promoting free bike rentals, planting trees, and adding more parks to reduce the number of drivers in the city. Public transportation is another major feature the city maintains in order to reduce car emissions as well. There is also a push towards the use of renewable resources for energy such as water, wind, or solar power. This is a cheaper and cleaner source of energy for a city that uses a large amount of power.

Unfortunately, there are damages that cannot be reversed from previous human activity.  A major indicator of climate changes are our oceans. The rising sea levels and temperatures are increasing at a rate in which many habitats cannot withstand. Species are dying out due to lack of food and habitats. However, future damages can be prevented. Adelaide’s actions have influences other cities in Australia to be more aware of the impacts unbalanced carbon emissions. Sydney now competes with Adelaide to be the most livable city as well. The government of Australia is currently working towards a reduction of 26-28% by the year 2030 (Carbon Neutral Program, 2014). These changes improve the health of every living organism on the planet, and make for a more sustainable lifestyle to protect the well-being of future generations.

Trees serve as an offset by reducing the amount of CO2 in the air

Trees serve as an offset by reducing the amount of CO2 in the air

Bikes serve as an alternative mode of transportation with zero emissions instead of cars

Bikes serve as an alternative mode of transportation with zero emissions instead of cars


Carbon Neutral Adelaide. (2016, November). Retrieved August 03, 2017, from

Climate Change. (2015). Retrieved August 03, 2017, from

City Of Adelaide. (2016). Carbon Neutral Adelaide[Brochure]. Author. Retrieved from

City of Sydney – Carbon Neutral. (2017, April 26). Retrieved August 03, 2017, from

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Department of the Environment and Energy. (2014, April 28). Carbon Neutral Program. Retrieved August 03, 2017, from

Department of the Environment and Energy. (2016, May 04). The Australian Government’s action on climate change. Retrieved August 03, 2017, from