Lynda Newnam and Her Part in Our Awakening
I first met Lynda Newnam as a result of my attendance of our local La Perouse Precinct committee in the early 2000s. I could see that she was a great community stalwart, advocating for the South Ward of Randwick City Council like no other, tenacious, bold and fearlessly standing up for citizens’ rights and social justice. Slowly I began to seek her counsel regarding our local issues.
Lynda disseminates information through her great website, LaPerouse: Social Change Not Climate Change and her activities in April, 2009, became pivotal in guiding our next steps forward. After partaking in a walk called Explorers of the Southern Skies in Botany Bay on April 12, led by Lynda, we retired to her place for lunch and chatted about our common interests in matters sustainable for the first time in depth. Among other things we learned about the Alternative Technology Association, (ATA) which we joined in a week or so later (helping them out at their stall in Sydney HIA Home Show shortly thereafter). We were inspired by Lynda’s vision for a just society and a strong local community.
In a flurry of emails during the next week or so, Lynda informed us of a great and affordable offer from NuEnergy, a Tasmanian energy company, that took advantage of the new government rebates and subsidies that were available to small scale and domestic PV installers. We signed up! A few days later, she pointed us to the Randwick City Council’s Sustainable Home Renovation Rebates that were to expire on June 30, 2009. This catapulted us into more action and, with the hip pocket nerve appropriately stimulated, we raced to get quotes and orders happening before the deadline. We arranged for the installation of an evacuated tube solar hot water (SHW) system and we started researching rainwater harvesting and greywater treatment systems. However, funds were tight so we had to shelve these plans until later in the year.
Another email and we were introduced to Permaculture Sydney East, which we joined in June, with the desire to start our own vegie garden. Then we heard about the Federal Government’s Green Loans and applied for their $10,000, four year, interest free loan designed to help householders do exactly what we were undertaking. We started sharing our ideas with our two immediate neighbours, Gareth & Maria and Ania & Indra with the view to forming some sort of intentional local community support group.
So, after ‘dropping the ball’ for a couple of years we began to get see a burgeoning new vision taking shape based around getting more involved with our neighbours to start working towards creating a strong local community, resilient and cooperatative, in which neighbour helped neighbour, building relationships based on mutual. Setting up our house as a model of sustainability become a priority as well. We wanted to show what can be done without too much outlay to an average suburban house to minimize it’s impact on our planet.
The contacts to which Lynda introduced us led us to more exciting developments including the 3-Council Ecological Footprint Project, Transition Sydney and Live Local.