20:20 Visions - Creating a Climate Positive future for an Australian Icon

The City of Sydney launched its C40 Women4Climate Mentorship Program in May, with Mayor Clover Moore stating “Climate action is the City of Sydney’s top priority”, as reflected in the City’s 2030 Strategy and Climate Emergency declaration.

Ahead of the Global Climate Strike called for 20 September, the program’s 20 mentees are taking this opportunity to share the vision for each of their projects, and their view on climate activism. The outcomes of their projects will be presented at the global Women4Climate Conference in Sydney in March 2020.

Emma Bombonato is a Manager of Environmental Sustainability at Sydney Opera House

Creating a Climate Positive future for an Australian Icon


My vision is for people around the world to recognize that we are all part of a global and connected community. Whether on a micro or macro scale, we need to work collectively and collaboratively to enable change for a better future. It’s simply not enough to be a spectator.

Good leadership can be found in every corner of our lives. We all have the capacity to lead. Whether it’s at work, at home or within our social circles, our choices and behaviors have the capacity to influence others. We need to be empowered by the notion that we leave behind a legacy – for me that legacy is to help make a difference.


The Sydney Opera House is a symbol of modern Australia and seeks to address issues that are important to our society. Over 10 million people visit the Opera House each year providing a powerful platform to take a leadership role for climate action.

The Opera House sources 85% of its electricity from renewable energy; is a 5 Star Green Star rated building; and is a certified carbon neutral organization. The Opera House strives to inspire and strengthen the community through authentic leadership in sustainability.

My project is to build on these achievements by supporting the Opera House to forge a climate positive pathway by 2030. This is an important ambition as it demonstrates that the Opera House is committed to taking action to respond to, and prepare for, a changing world.

Delivering my project will help ensure that the Opera House continues to lead by example as a World-heritage listed building, cultural icon and performing arts venue. By becoming one of the only heritage buildings around the world to achieve climate positive we hope to inspire and support others to take action.


Cities are important hubs of culture and creativity, diversity, innovation, economic growth and sustainability. With a population of 5 million people from hundreds of cultural backgrounds, Sydney is one of the most diverse and vibrant cities in the world.

Cities like Sydney have a significant opportunity to engage and mobilise large groups to take action; enabling powerful leadership in both the private and public sector; and to support its local community through education and awareness. Cities have capacity to bring people together and to facilitate change.



I believe the climate strike on September 20 is a symbol of hope and belief in our future. As a community the climate strike provides an opportunity to convey that we expect more from our leaders, from each other and for the next generation.

We as a community have a choice to be the remembered as the generation that stood up, or the one that stood back. I have two sons, I am determined to stand up and speak out for their future.

“If not you, then who? If not now, then when?”