Climate event energises engagement

Words By Elizabeth Doig

The room was buzzing at Nillumbik Climate Action Team’s Climate and Environment Networking Event at Edendale Farm on Saturday 8 October. With the support of Nillumbik Council, around 30 climate, environment and community leaders and concerned individuals, as well as a strong contingent of councillors and council officers, gathered to network, be informed, and exchange ideas on ways in which the wider community could be engaged in helping to create a more sustainable shire.

The decision to hold this event was prompted by the recent endorsement by Nillumbik Council of its Climate Action Plan 2022-2032, which includes among its goals the target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Nillumbik community to net-zero by 2035. The setting of this target is in response to the Council’s recent Declaration of Climate Emergency in March this year. In this Declaration, Council recognises the multiple threats facing all communities and ecosystems as a result of climate change, and commits to a climate emergency response. (1)

In order to achieve the target of net-zero community emissions by 2035, major changes will need to occur in the way we, as a community, act and think. We are in a time of huge transition, not only for Nillumbik, but for the world as a whole. While this is a confronting prospect, it’s also exciting, and offers huge possibilities for transformation. We are having to change quickly from an extractive, consumer-oriented society to one that is sustainable, regenerative, and values all life equally. We need to learn to live within our climate and ecological boundaries. This involves a massive culture shift to a circular economy and a custodial mind-set. 

As a step along the way of shifting community’s thinking, we gathered to brainstorm ideas on the best ways that we, as community groups, leaders and concerned individuals could engage the community in climate action.

We were inspired and motivated by two excellent speakers. 

Matt Ruchel, Executive Director of the Victorian National Parks Association, spoke to us about the strong links between climate and environment. He pointed out that while climate change is a key threat to nature, it would be worse without nature. Nature can help reduce emissions and the impacts of climate as well as slowing the extinction crisis. He concluded with ten tips for helping nature adapt to a new climate. A copy of Matt’s presentation can be found on our website:

Deputy Mayor Cr Ben Ramcharan spoke to us about the Council’s Climate Action Plan and the many climate initiatives that are already happening in the shire. He emphasised how important it is for Council and community groups to work together to inform, inspire and empower the wider community to act on climate change.

It was exciting to see the level of enthusiasm and creativity that was generated by the brainstorming discussions – ideas ranging from the small (residents plant two trees each with voucher included in rates notice) to the large (large-scale solar farm); from the quirky (‘love bombing’ an area for immediate impact, bikes that generate power event) to the practical (what appliances to remove from the home if getting off gas). Activities, actions and events were proposed for all members of the community – children, families, businesses and schools.

The next step is to translate these ideas into action. We will be gathering together an Organising Committee in the next couple of months to help us prioritise events and formulate a plan of action for a range of climate activities in the community. 
Nillumbik Climate Action Team(NCAT) is a non-partisan lobby group working to promote strong action on climate in our local community and at local, state and federal levels of government. For more information about our group and upcoming events, please visit our website at, or go to our Facebook page. If you wish to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, please leave a message on our Facebook page or contact us by email at [email protected].