I rarely write long blog posts, but something has happened in my home Shire in 2008 that I must share with you! It relates to sustainability … community capacity … government and NGO partnerships … and a project team willing to allow direction and activities to emerge over time. It’s an exciting story with even greater possibilities for the future. This story also relates to the lessons our team learned in staging the Castlemaine 500 project.
Last weekend I had the privilege of co-facilitating a sustainable transport workshop with participants in the Surf Coast Shire’s Casuarina project. In 2008, an ‘eco’ stream of the Casuarina Project has seen 17 local, community leaders come together over 7 full days and learn new skills and build the self awareness and the confidence to go out and run their own community projects. The Casuarina project started way back in 2001 and was developed by the wonderful Viv McWaters with the equally wonderful Di Mahoney cooordinating the show from the Surf Coast Shire. I was a participant in that inaugural year and feel honored to be facilitating the new crops of local leaders!
I must say we have a great group of participants this year who have really ‘clicked’ with each other. We have formed an online Collective X community and it is thriving!
Here’s a very rough 3 minute sketch of what Casuarina is all about …
Together with the Eco Casuarina participants, I designed an interactive workshop that focused on Sustainable Transport in the Surf Coast Shire. The Surf Coast Shire, together with the Victorian State Government’s Sustainability Fund, sponsored the project in 2008.
Enter the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and their Green Homes Program. The ACF have run community workshops in the Surf Coast on topics like saving Energy, Water and Waste in the home and their 4th workshop (Transport), was run by me and the Eco Casuarina team on their behalf. Eco Cas participants were able to participate in the previous workshops and ‘hone’ the skills they have learned in Eco-Cas by watching, listening and participating in Green Homes. So, in a nut shell, the national Green Homes program was adapted by local people, given a local focus and some local ownership sprinkled in.
So why is this exciting? Well, this little transport workshop has pulled together many players in a complex field … the field of tackling climate change and building stronger communities. State Government, 2 arms of Local Government (enviro & community building departments), local community leaders and the ACF have all combined their skills and resources to create a little splash … but one that could lead to many future ripples.
I’ll write more about this unfolding story in the near future.
Here is the slideshow we used (along with some funky blues guitar) to kick start the workshop and get participant’s asking questions and thinking deeply about the future of transport in the Surf Coast Shire.