climate-action-mick-nolan east kew

Local Climate Action – East Kew

Mick Nolan’s story

Mick grew up on a farm in north-west Victoria outside a little place called Boort, left when he was 17 to study mechanical engineering at Melbourne University and now lives in East Kew next to Hays Paddock.

What is it like living in East Kew?

Over the 25 years we have lived here, we’ve seen High Street go from having no coffee shops down our end to having cafes and restaurants within walking distance. It’s nice to head down there with family or friends. 

Hays Paddock is a wonderful place. I’ve been involved in campaigns to stop plans for light towers and a multi-story pavilion. When I walk there, it feels nice to have been a part of keeping it a natural place. I love the great gum trees in Hays Paddock – there are two that I’m very confident predate European civilization.

I also love the proximity to the Yarra for walking or bike riding. I like to ride on the Anniversary Trail or the Koonung Creek Trail to Mullum Mullum Reserve, or out along the Yarra towards Heidelberg. 

Hays Paddock in East Kew
Mick Nolan by a tree in East Kew

What is your motivation for joining a local climate action group?

“Action is the antidote to demoralisation. Everyone at times is prone to feeling dejected, disempowered, frustrated or despondent. It’s a natural human instinct. The antidote is to work with others, to become active. The very nature of taking positive action counters all those other emotions.”

Lighter Footprints is where I get my information and where I put my energy and I get energy back. I thought climate change was going to be a 1,500-meter race and it’s turned into a marathon. At times it can be frustrating, at times it is energising, and the people at Lighter Footprints sustain me through the ups and downs.  

It’s not always easy, but it’s not easy sitting on the couch and worrying either. 

Being around Lighter Footprints, other climate action groups and NGOs, you get to meet a lot of wonderful people and have conversations with people who’ve got big hearts. There is a camaraderie that is quite sustaining. If you tried to do this on your own, it’d be too demoralising.

When did you join the local climate action group Lighter Footprints and how are you involved with them?

I joined Lighter Footprints about 14 years ago when it was getting established. I’ve been involved in the Local Government Working Group, run the Energy Transition Working Group and been on the committee. I became the Co-Convenor with Lynn Frankes in 2020.


Local Climate Action East Kew Mike Nolan solar panels

What would you say to someone who is interested in taking climate action and thinking of joining Lighter Footprints?

Somebody said, “Politicians don’t lead, leaders lead, and politicians follow.” So, when you get community leading, the politicians must follow – that’s what we’re doing. We’re building grass roots, connecting the community, and getting powerful enough so we become a force.

“The positive shifts in the last 12 months are very encouraging but we need more people so our voice will become loud enough that it can’t be ignored. Come join us and let’s do this together.”