Newtown Climate Newsletter – December 2023

Our vision is to be Australia’s first inner city zero emissions community, through a transition that is fast, fair and fun.

We are inclusive and democratic, community led, positive and focused on what works.

Hello (or warimi in Dharug language) and welcome to what is our first newsletter for some time! We’ve had some new volunteers come on board with some new enthusiasm, and one thing that will allow us to do is send more regular updates to our members and supporters! Our intention is to send a newsletter out once a month. This newsletter is written by Amanda and Eddy – if we haven’t met yet, we look forward to meeting you soon!

First up, we would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of the land we now call Newtown.

We aim to send these newsletters monthly to let our members and supporters know what we’ve been up to and share opportunities to be more actively involved. We know from our experience over the past year that people are very busy, but we still want people to be in the loop and feel included even if you might not have time to be more actively involved! Let us know if there’s something else you’d like to see included.

One main request this week: please fill out our end-of-year survey! This will take about five minutes and will help us make sure we understand what’s important to our community, where our community is up to in its zero emissions journey, and where we should focus our attention over the next year. Please share this survey with your family and friends so we can get as many views as possible, and if you know any local business owners please also send them our survey for local businesses.

What’s been happening?

We had a big win last week with the Inner West Council voting to update its planning controls to end new gas connections in the Inner West LGA. This happened after Newtown Climate joined eight other local climate groups in writing to Inner West Council requesting that they follow Lane Cove Council, which made the same move in October. We are grateful for the support provided by through their Electrify Your Council campaign, and we’re so proud of our member Mamoon who spoke at the Council meeting on Tuesday night. After listening to Mamoon and Emma – a local GP and member of Doctors for the Environment – about the financial and health costs of gas for local residents, as well as the climate impacts, Inner West Council voted unanimously to end new gas connections in both residential and commercial buildings. The move was covered in this article on Switched On, and prompted City of Sydney to also take one more step towards ending new gas connections in the city.

One of our members attended the School Climate Strikeon 17 November. The calibre of the young people speaking was outstanding! They all spoke passionately about the impact of climate change now and into the future. The theme of the event was #Shift the Power. Some of our members also participated in the Rising Tide blockade of the world’s largest coal port, in Newcastle, on 25 November.

We’ve been providing input into the Inner West Council’s public domain masterplan for King St and Enmore Rd. We’ve made two written submissions, and one our members, Amanda, attended an in-person workshop at the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre on 23 November. Cred Consulting and Adam Hunter, Principal of Environmental Partnership, shared a draft of the masterplan and explained that the Council’s vision is to celebrate art and culture and increase outdoor dining opportunities. We were provided with the opportunity to comment on the project’s four principles: ‘Connections and walkability’, ‘Comfort and safety’, ‘Street life’, ‘A sense of space’. We have been taking every opportunity to remind the Council of the importance of walking, cycling and public transport, as well as more greenery and shade, to our quality of life and to our efforts to reduce climate pollution and cope with increased heat. Making King St and Enmore Rd less car-centric was one of the key themes of the first round of consultation, and we’ll be watching closely to see how council responds.

We met up with the Committee for Sydney, who wrote a recent report proposing low-fuss car-free days on King St and Enmore Rd. We think this is a brilliant idea – in fact it was one of the ideas we included in our initial survey last year and was overwhelmingly supported by respondents. Unlike the highly curated Sydney Streets events, the Committee for Sydney’s vision is based on the Ciclovias that are immensely popular in South America. The government would close these key streets to cars on Sunday mornings, open them up to people and simply let them have fun. We’re all for it! It would make for a great street party and create an amazing 5km walking and bike route all the way from the South end at Sydney Park Road to Broadway. We’re going to meet up again in the new year and think about ways to bring this vision to life.

Photo of the month

Here’s our member Mamoon with his new home battery. Mamoon’s family struck gold this week when power prices went through the roof and they were able to sell excess power from their solar panels and battery to the grid at inflated prices. In our view, all households should be able to enjoy the benefits of rooftop solar and batteries and contribute to the stability of the grid like Mamoon’s family did this week.

Future plans and projects

Early in the new year we are planning to meet with local businesses along King Street to raise awareness of Newtown Climate and our vision, values and priorities. We also want to understand where businesses are up to on their journey to zero emissions, work out where we might be able to help, and share some exciting examples of local climate action.

We’re also hoping to hold some more events in our local community, celebrating some of the success stories we’ve heard about over the past year. Did you know that we have a carbon capture project right here in Newtown? Or that multiple Newtown venues are home to crowd-funded solar installations?

How you can be involved

We mainly coordinate through a whatsapp group. Reply to this email if you’d like to be added to it.

We meet most Sunday morning meetings at Ariana’s Place on King Street from 10:00 a.m. Join the whatsapp or email us ( if you’re interested in attending.  It’s a safe space to think and talk about climate change and climate action, share and listen to other people’s ideas, and think about what projects to get involved with and what skill sets you can bring to the group.

If you are interested in sharing resources with family and friends, the Resources page on our website has links to some particularly useful (we think) research articles and other information. Let us know if you come across any excellent resources that you think we should add, or if there are questions you’d like us to answer.

Finally, if you know of a good a space in Newtown (preferably with a whiteboard) that we could use to collaborate, please let us know. One of the things that we’ve struggled with over the past year is having a reliable, local and affordable (preferably free!!) place to get together and work on our ideas and projects, and this would be a game-changer for us.

That’s all for now! So, Yanu* in Dharug language. See you in the new year!

*Warimi is pronounced wa-di-mi

*Yanu is prounced ya-noo