Sarah Brennan on her bicycle in Hawthorn East

Local Climate Action – Hawthorn East

Sarah Brennan’s story

After moving from Maryborough to study animation at Swinburne five years ago, Sarah decided there’s nowhere else in Melbourne she’d rather be than Hawthorn East.

What is it like living in Hawthorn East?

I really like the parks, the old architecture, the big gum trees, and the proximity where you can walk everywhere.

I’m 200 meters from the Burke Road shops, the Rivoli is round the corner and I am close to Fritsch Holzer Park where I walk my dog.

There’s a bulk food shop close by. I try and live a zero-waste life, so I take my jars there and I buy loose veggies at the Camberwell Market without all the plastic packaging that you get at the supermarkets. I’ve just discovered this new ethical grocery store down the road, and they’ve got some great stuff.

I don’t need a car and can ride my bike places. I like to ride down to Bunnings to look at plants. Sometimes I bike into the city or along the Gardeners Creek Trail or the Yarra.

Rivoli Cinema in Hawthorn East
Sarah Brennan in Hawthorn East

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

“Being a young person, I am really concerned about climate change and how it will affect my future.”

It’s going to disrupt food production, wipe out forests, raise sea levels and hurt people on the coast and in vulnerable areas. Scientists reckon by the end of this century, the planet will only be able to sustain a billion people, which is scary.

I’m 23 and people live a long time, so if I live a long time, what kind of future am I going to be seeing?

I feel there’s more I can do. I grew up in a regional community where people are more community-minded, and I like the approach Lighter Footprints takes, getting involved with the local council and the local community.

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

I like listening to webinars and Lighter Footprints has really good ones. Last year I started listening to more and felt l would like to get more involved.

I’ve joined Lighter Footprints’ letter writing group and their new working group to get people to meet with MPs.

Recently, three of us met with John Kennedy, the state MP for Hawthorn, to discuss the Climate Council’s latest report, Aim High, Go Fast: Why Emissions Need to Plummet this Decade, which explains why we need to reach net zero emissions by 2035.

We had a good talk with him about what the state Labor Party is doing and what else they could do. We also want to meet with our federal member Josh Frydenberg. He hasn’t responded, but we will keep trying.

Sarah Brennan wearing a face mask on a train platform in Hawthorn East

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

“Grassroots community action is really good stuff. I enjoy being involved. It’s better than doing nothing and makes you feel happier and like you’re doing something. It makes you feel more positive about things.”

Want to be involved in local climate action?

You can: