29 February 2024

Call for projects to inspire Canberrans to take climate action

| Claire Fenwicke
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The Food Co-op operations manager Naomi Lacey

The Food Co-Op Shop operations manager Naomi Lacey said the grant had allowed more Canberrans to access low food-waste workshops to learn to become more sustainable. Photo: Supplied.

Not-for-profit groups and local Canberrans have been urged to share their innovative ideas to reduce emissions in the community – and to inspire others to do the same.

The Food Co-Op Shop at the ANU is one group that’s been able to take advantage of the money on offer, using it to convert its kitchen from gas to electric, and offer low waste cooking workshops.

Operations manager Naomi Lacey said it had helped fulfil the shop’s mission to be sustainable and reduced overall costs.

“It’s made it a much safer working environment for our staff and our volunteers,” she said.

“[Also] what we paid for with gas is not what we’re paying for in power.”

READ ALSO Too much climate red tape says IPA, but government says no

The 2024 Community Zero Emissions Grants program provides up to $50,000 per single application and up to $75,000 per joint application.

The initiative has been running since 2017 and has supported 35 projects.

Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Shane Rattenbury said it was about increasing community resilience to the impacts of climate change.

“Too often, on the issue of climate change, people feel overwhelmed by the scale of it … and they don’t know where to start,” he said.

“We really want to empower our community to be part of the solution.”

Projects funded in last year’s round included a climate resilience and adaptation education program, a campaign to help improve health outcomes for people impacted by poor air quality, a college-based paddock-to-plate food production program, an onsite mulcher to increase composting production at a local community farm garden, and the establishment of a worm farm alongside educational workshops about the benefits of vermicomposting.

READ ALSO Value of Canberra’s agriculture and food production under the microscope

Mr Rattenbury said he hoped more individuals and community groups would feel empowered to take the steps they could to become more sustainable through the program, and help the Territory reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2045.

“Everyone has a responsibility to take care of our planet, and I encourage all community organisations to think of innovative ways to inspire and help all Canberrans take climate action now and in the future,” he said.

“The passion and enthusiasm within the ACT community builds unique opportunities to reduce emissions in creative ways. I look forward to seeing the next round of inspiring projects from our Canberra community.”

Applications for this round of the Community Zero Emissions Grant program close at 5 pm on 4 April.

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