Building a Sustainable Future
The core to building a sustainable future is by building a connected and resilient community. There will be projects, businesses, and campaigns needed to create that future, but it only works if everyone can be brought along on the journey. The aim is a network of friends not just a bunch of colleagues.
Transition Towns – One Idea
Social “Permaculture” – In 2006, a group of Permaculture experts introduced a “road map” process to the UK town of Totnes, which was suffering from severe economic decline and social fragmentation.
Instead of just copying another economic plan, they set up a series of open space meetings, and created groups to look at food, transport, energy, business & livelihoods, health & wellbeing, building & housing, and the environment – a holistic approach. They did not want “right now” solutions, they set out to first create a “common vision” of what their town would be like in 10 and 20 years time.
What they discovered is that a shared vision of the future allowed everyone to get involved. Everyone found a way to do their bit to achieve that future.
People and Families started to make small changes to their lifestyles – paid attention to their energy use, started growing food, and started to support their neighbours.
Action Groups made up of a group of volunteers started to address specific issues like rubbish, degraded environments, poor transport, housing, food security, and energy needs and inequalities.
Businesses & Local Government started to plan for that future. They started to evaluate their projects and budgets with the common vision in mind, and to think long-term.
One group of volunteers focussed on maintaining that vision and they became the first Transition Town organising and action committee
Transition Network.Org – There is now a global network of local organising and action groups – “Sustainability”, “Transition”, whatever they want to be called, and the network has produced a Complete Guide to forming your own group.
Transition Streets – Activating Your Neighbourhood
In 2009, the Totnes Transition Town group produced a 140 page workbook to be used in small groups to collaboratively design a Practical Action Plan for each household around energy, food, water, waste & consumption, and transport – “Transition Together”
It was aimed at the general public, who had previously done little to reduce their carbon footprint, so it focused on simple, practical, free, or low cost actions. Each topic had reference material for those who want to explore further.
In 2014, Transition Newcastle rewrote the Transition Together workbook, and launched “Transition Streets” – inspired by other street-based discussion groups, with emphasis on localised background information, ideas for taking action, ways to involve children, fun and thought provoking challenges, and further resources. This was revised in 2015 as a fully Australian Transition Streets program and handbook.
By 2019 there had been an explosion of resources on becoming sustainable, produced by Councils, Business, Industry, and Government organisations – so there was a need for a revised handbook to include these updates and new data. The result was a new, much shorter, guide supported by many cross-referenced web page resources.
The whole program and links can be found on the Transition Australia site, but the basic design is four page topic chapters with imbedded links to the extra data, activities, and examples.
Moonee Valley Sustainability is supporting the Transition Streets program with a series of workshops and also creating MV specific resource pages and activities