The NSW Government, through the Environmental Trust, is providing $3.5 million under the Our Environment It's a Living Thing program for leading environmental groups to help communities adopt environmentally sustainable lifestyles.
This newsletter will help keep partners and other interested groups up-to-date on how all the projects funded under this program are progressing, what they are achieving and how our communities and the environment are benefiting.
>> More info – News Release
The Australian Conservation Foundation's (ACF) GreenHome Project comprises a series of local programs to promote sustainable living in NSW households and motivate behavioural change.
Programs are undertaken in partnership with local councils, clubs, and other networks to bring the local community together. They are tailored to the local area, with local speakers, sponsors and workshops.
Participants are encouraged to take action at home to reduce their environmental impact, addressing areas such as water and energy savings, gardens and food, waste reduction and recycling, purchasing, household chemicals, and transport.
GreenHome workshops have been held at Parramatta, with more events and workshops planned at other locations.
Take the Greenhome Challenge – Sign-up to take action at home and join people from all around Australia to see how much energy, water and waste you can save.
>> More info – www.acfonline.org.au
The Australian Conservation Foundation's (ACF) Sustainable Australia project is designed to promote discussion about sustainability. It will research and communicate the story that a high quality of life does not require Australians to be on an endless treadmill of consumption, debt and environmental degradation.
Goals include developing an easy-to-read publication to promote discussion about sustainability; a comprehensive study to provide data on key environmental impacts in Australia; and a sustainability atlas, graphically mapping the demographics of consumption in Australia.
Collaboration with researchers at Sydney University's Integrated Sustainability Analysis Unit on the "input output analysis" has been incorporated and will form the basis for the key environmental impacts and demographics of consumption/sustainability report, the sustainability atlas, and the GreenHome eco-calculator data.
Research towards the written publications, mainly around driving and managing change for sustainability, is also underway. When published, the results will be available on acf online.
>> More info – www.acfonline.org.au
The NSW Council of Social Services (NCOSS) and the Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability (DEUS) are developing a program to improve energy and water efficiency for low income households, as well as, providers of support and crisis accommodation.
Energy and water efficient devices, appliances and practices can result in significant savings on utility bills for households and organisations, as well as improve lifestyle and comfort through better affordability.
However, low income households are also often not in a position to purchase high quality energy and water efficient products and may not have adequate information to make good purchasing decisions when considering the purchase cost versus the running cost of appliances. At the same time, using inefficient appliances can result in higher utility bills and overall running costs to those households with the least ability to pay for these services.
Aims of the project include using the NABERS environmental rating tool to benchmark the efficiency of low income households; developing education programs on implementing energy and water efficiency improvements in households and organisation premises; developing a framework to assist organisations improve energy and water efficiency at their premises; and negotiating methods to make higher cost energy and water efficiency items more affordable for low income households.
The next steps involve developing a "how to carry out an audit on water and energy use" training program for services that support low income households.
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW's (NCC) EASE program aims to support non-government environment groups throughout NSW through enhancement and coordination of education activities. The program will focus on the Nature Conservation Council's 120 member groups by providing opportunities for sharing experiences, skills building and supporting education efforts.
The first major communications phase of the project has been completed. All member groups have been contacted via an NCC Education newsletter, and have received an invitation to participate in the project. Telephone surveys to identify what role education plays within the groups, what barriers they face and how NCC can assist have also been conducted with two-thirds of the member groups participating. Planning for the development of NCC's website as a major communication tool with member groups has also commenced.
The next stage in the project will involve running a series of workshops with member groups throughout the State. The workshops will focus on the development of particular skills, discussion on the role of education and best practices, and an opportunity to share experiences and provide support to one another.
>> More info – www.nccnsw.org.au.
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW's (NCC) Biodiversity Education project will provide individuals and groups in Western Sydney and on the Central Coast, opportunities to gain more information about their natural environment, enabling them to become more active in the decision making processes that affect biodiversity in their area.
The first stage of the project has been to gather information about the understanding of biodiversity in the Western Sydney area and, more broadly, to investigate the effectiveness of several biodiversity education projects.
Participation in local environment "expos" such as Liverpool City Council's Bloomin' Festival and Hawkesbury Council's Sustainability Fair, has provided key opportunities to talk with local people and key stakeholders one-on-one.
The next stage will involve meeting with NCC member groups, other local environment groups, local government, relevant State Government departments, local businesses, educational institutions and other key biodiversity managers in Western Sydney.
This activity will focus on identifying opportunities, barriers and links to ongoing biodiversity conservation activities, as well as identifying key local target audiences, and what collective action can be taken to support the participants and their work in biodiversity management and conservation.
>> More info – www.nccnsw.org.au.
Total Environment Centre's (TEC) Safer Solutions project has three components, representing the different audiences and types of chemicals used in the home. The audience groups are the general community, community educators, gardeners and DIY renovators.
The program will initially focus on providing workshops to parents and carers of young children in their normal community environment.
The workshops will include information on the replacement and elimination of potentially hazardous chemicals used in cleaning, gardening and DIY renovations and will be held in the Randwick, Penrith and Lismore local government areas.
The second component of the project will be to encourage urban gardeners to implement integrated pest management and organic strategies for the maintenance of their home gardens. The program also aims to build the capacity of community educators to deliver knowledge and skills on household hazardous chemicals and their safer alternatives.
>> More info – www.safersolutions.org.au.
The Total Environment Centre's (TEC) Corporate Sustainability Training program is targeting the growing number of labour intensive companies in Australia embracing corporate social responsibility (CSR) at an executive level.
Unlike skills based training delivered in the corporate sector, changing organisational culture requires not only information delivery, but also the application and use of social marketing and behavioural change tools. TEC's Green Capital has for some time had a close engagement with leading Australian companies. This association has identified the need to engage with industry at all levels to encourage sustainable behaviour.
Green Capital feels there is a distinct need for broad infiltration of sustainability issues through culture change for sustainable business to be a long term reality. The Corporate Sustainability Training project will include the development of a staff training package on corporate social responsibility for businesses.
>> More info – www.tec.org.au.
Building on earlier partnership work between the Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) and the Local Community Services Association (LCSA), the Sustaining Eco-friendly Communities project focuses on encouraging neighbourhood and community centre staff and volunteers to live and work sustainably.
It uses past experiences to increase the capacity of centre staff and participants to learn about and take action for their environment.
Regional workshops with Neighbourhood and Community Centres in NSW are being held to promote the ongoing use of the Eco-friendly Communities kit to not only showcase successful projects, but also to encourage sharing of both ideas and local resources.
Local government officers and utility providers are also included in the workshops to assist with the design and support of local environmental projects.
The Professional Development for Educators project, initiated by the Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) aims to build professional skills of NSW educators to develop and deliver community education programs in the context of sustainable living. The intended outcome is effective education to increase the community's knowledge, skills and attitudes about sustainability, and to increase the number of people who are living sustainably.
A workshop with stakeholders was held in early July to design the program, which will build on the Our Environment It's a Living Thing Education for Sustainability Professional Development Program. The next steps will include setting up a steering committee and conducting desktop research into the best way to undertake professional development in the NSW context.
>> More info – www.environment.nsw.gov.au.
Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) – ACF is committed to inspiring people to achieve a healthy environment for all Australians. For 40 years we have been a strong voice for the environment, promoting solutions through research, consultation, education and partnerships. We work with the community, business and government to protect, restore and sustain our environment.
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) – The NCC serves as the umbrella organisation for more than 120 environmental member groups across NSW. As the State's peak environmental organisation since 1955, the NCC contributes expertise in community–based education projects and awareness campaigns. NCC will be running a support program for environmental non-government organisations throughout NSW to educate for sustainability as well as a biodiversity education program within Western Sydney and the Central Coast.
The Council of Social Service of New South Wales (NCOSS) – NCOSS is the peak body for the social and community services sector in New South Wales. NCOSS plays a coordination, advocacy, policy development, leadership and information role for the social and community services sector in New South Wales. The Affordable Water & Energy Efficiency project is an initiative between NCOSS and the Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability (DEUS) to work with agencies who support low income households, and other people in need, to reduce their water and energy costs.
Total Environment Centre (TEC) – TEC will use its many years as the primary non-government organisation source on toxic chemicals to raise awareness about reducing and eliminating hazardous chemicals in the home. It will also work with its industry and business networks to advance corporate sustainability.
Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability (DEUS) – Incorporating the programs of the former State Energy Development Authority (SEDA), the Ministry of Energy and Utilities, and Town and Country Water, DEUS's Energy Smart Homes program will be adapted to target change in low-income households to encourage residential energy efficiency.
Local Community Services Association (LCSA) – LCSA is the peak body for the 300 Neighbourhood and Community Houses in NSW. These centres provide a network of generalist community-based organisations that are an important part of their local community. The project uses a community development model which is flexible to help communities undertake local projects to promote sustainability. It also encourages people to use existing community networks strategies to target women, who research has shown play a major role in taking environmental action and integrate environmentally sustainable practices into everyday community and household activities.
The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) – The NSW Government's environmental agency's Sustainability Programs Division will work to encourage closer collaboration with non-government organisations and the community and business sectors to adopt sustainable practices.
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