Newtown Climate Newsletter – February 2024

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, Warimi, and welcome to our February newsletter

We have had a busy time this month with a number of events, meetings and planning sessions. We have been getting to know more of our local community, local businesses, and other Inner West climate groups. Hope you’ve had a great last month of summer!

Newtown clean-up postponed

We had planned to run a clean-up event in Newtown as part of Clean Up Australia Day, but have had to postpone as a result of the asbestos being found in multiple locations across the City of Sydney. We’ll let you know in a future newsletter when we get the all clear to be able to do this.

City of Sydney grant opportunities

Each year our local councils offer grants to local organisations for community projects that align with the council’s objectives. The City of Sydney’s grants programs are open now, with applications closing on 5 March. As an incorporated non-profit group we’re eligible to apply for grants like the innovation and ideas grant, so let us know if you have a great idea that just needs a bit of cash to get off the ground.

The City of Sydney also offers green building grants of up to $15,000 to help strata corporations and other organisations understand the environmental performance of their buildings and how they can make them more energy efficient to bring down energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If you live in a strata building or social housing let your strata manager or landlord know about this opportunity!

What’s been happening

A dozen Newtown Climate members and supporters visited Young Henrys on Valentines Day for a private tour of the algae project, a collaboration between Young Henrys and the University of Technology. It was amazing to see such creative things happening right here in Newtown, with the potential for huge emissions reductions: not only is the CO2 released during the brewing process captured and turned into algae, the algae is then mixed into livestock feed (which cows seem to love!) and reduces methane emissions in the cows that eat it by an astonishing 40-60%! Young Henrys is in discussions with bigger brewers who are interested in scaling up this process and using it worldwide – wouldn’t it be amazing if a local science experiment from Newtown becomes a huge part of the global solution to emissions from both brewing and agriculture! A huge thank you to Oscar, one of the founders of Young Henry’s for taking us on the tour and for answering a full hour of questions from our fascinated group.

Newtown Climate member Mamoon joined representatives of other local climate groups at a community stall as part of the Everything Electric Expo. Everything Electric is the world’s biggest expo of low-emissions tech including electric vehicles, charging stations, e-bikes, solar and batteries. There was even a fully electrified two-bedroom tiny home on wheels that can be installed in your backyard for around $100k. No council permission required because it’s technically classed as a caravan! It’s so exciting to see the next wave of low-emissions tech that will become more and more popular over the next few years, and we look forward to the next iteration – expected to be twice the size of this year’s – in March 2025.

We also met for the first time with Jenny Leong, State Member for Newtown. Jenny was keen to hear about Newtown Climate and supportive of our work to reduce emissions locally and advocate for more systemic solutions. She was particularly interested in the idea of car-free days on King Street, an idea which we’re continuing to explore along with the Committee for Sydney. It seems like it will be a long process to bring this to fruition however we must all remember “little by little, we achieve more”!

Photo of the month

Here’s a photo from the algae tour at Young Henrys. Our fabulous guide and Young Henrys owner Oscar shared some amazing facts, like how each of these tubs of algae – fed by CO2 released during the brewing process – can capture as much carbon dioxide as a hectare of forest. For more photos of the tour, and of other cool climate-related things in and around Newtown, be sure to follow our Instagram!

Upcoming activities

After the success of our Young Henrys event we’re forward to engaging with more local businesses through the local chamber of commerce, which has just restarted after a break of a few years. We look forward to working with more local businesses towards our goal of a fast, fair and fun transition to a zero emissions community.

The Inner West Alliance for Climate, or IWAC, is an alliance of around 12 local climate groups that work together on shared projects in the inner west. This month Newtown Climate member Amanda joined representatives of the other IWAC groups in a planning session to agree on some priority activities for 2024. This will include working with Climate Change Balmain Rozelle on a series of projects with local public schools, called Speaking for the Planet. As this recent report from Parents For Climate shows, there is so much that schools and childcare centres could be doing to reduce climate pollution and save money, but they could use a bit of help from the government to get started. IWAC will continue to meet monthly through the year to share information and explore ways we can work together to achieve our shared goals of speeding up climate action and reducing emissions across the inner west.

Our policy-minded members will be busy writing submissions to the NSW Budget process and on the City of Sydney’s draft walking strategy – please let us know if you have any ideas or want to get more involved!

More opportunities to get involved

If you aren’t yet a member of Newtown Climate but would like to support our work please consider signing up. Memberships start at $5 and for a local community group like ours every member – and every membership fee – really does count.

We could always do with some more help maintaining and upgrading our website, and operating our social media. If this sounds like you please email us.

We mainly coordinate through a whatsapp group. Reply to this email if you’d like to be added to it. We also meet most Sunday mornings at Ariana’s Place on King Street. All welcome, but please email us in advance to make sure we’ll be there!

A reminder that our website has a bunch of handy guides, articles and links that you might want to read or share with your friends!

That’s all for now! So, Yanu in Dharug language. See you round!