'Dr Saul Griffith has found himself in plenty of high-pressure situations over
the past two decades. From meetings with White House officials and US
politicians, to duelling with the powerful fossil fuel lobby, he's made the
case for his solution to the climate crisis in forums where the stakes couldn't
But it was a Sunday afternoon meeting in a community centre just north of
Wollongong that proved "the most intimidating one by far," he said. "You're my
neighbours," Saul joked as he stood up to give his presentation. "If we screw
up, you literally know where I live."
Originally from the suburbs of Sydney, Saul, 49, lived and worked in the US for
over 20 years, where he recently helped politicians write "the largest piece of
climate legislation in human history anywhere in the world," he says.
Having returned to live in Australia with his young family, he's now working on
another ambitious plan: to see households in his own suburb of Austinmer — and
those neighbouring it in the 2515 postcode area — "electrified" and converted
to run on renewable energy.
"We have to electrify all the [household] machines," Saul told the packed
meeting at the Thirroul community centre last September. "There is no other
viable technology on the horizon to eliminate these emissions."
The plan is known as "Electrify 2515". It aims for all household machines in
the postcode area running on fossil fuels — from gas cooktops to petrol cars —
to be converted to electric equivalents and powered by renewable energy.
Inspired by Saul's ideas, a small group of local volunteers have been busily
doorknocking their suburb and rallying the community to sign up to the
Electrify 2515 pilot, which stands to be the first of its kind in Australia if
it can get off the ground.
But Saul's mission is larger than just one suburb. He calls Electrify 2515 a
"lighthouse project", a real-world test to illuminate a pathway out of the
*** Xanni ***
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