Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Connecting with your community

When I worked full-time (pre-baby) I was quite busy with sustainability events and activities through my job.  As such, I often didn't have time to attend local events that I knew I would find interesting.  This prevented me from getting to know like minded people in my local community.

While I am on leave from work I want to attend more of these kinds of events and meetings.  Of course, my time is limited by family commitments but I want to use this opportunity to connect with my own community.  Particularly with people who share my interests and passion for sustainability and the environment.
Enjoying South Perth foreshore
About four years ago I attended a Living Smart course at our local community centre.  I think the course is a bit West Australian-centric so I'll explain what it is.  You go along to a two hour session each week for 6 - 8 weeks and learn about reducing water use, energy use, waste, travel alternatives to the car and general information about reducing chemicals in your home and improving your well being.  It is a great course to attend if you are interested in these things and it is a great way to connect with like minded people in your community.  To find out more here is a link to the Living Smart website.

As someone who works in Local Government I think an additional benefit for individuals and families who attend Living Smart, and other types of sustainability events, is that you become familiar with officers who work in the community and you can build rapport to work together to develop events and activities that you think are important.  One of the biggest barriers to making good ideas a reality is not knowing the people who can support and guide a way to make them happen.
Amazing acrobats at Fremantle Festival
Last week I attended my first meeting of the local Living Smarties, a group of people that have attended a Living Smart Course and want to stay connected with like minded people.  The group meets monthly to discuss topics of interest, bringing food and their passion about sustainability and the environment to share.

Since it was the first meeting of the year the conversation mainly focused on planning meetings for 2015.  I felt welcomed by each and every one of the Smarties and I was extremely glad that I had dragged myself out of the house, just after Turtle had gone down for the night, and went along to introduce myself.  I was even invited to contribute to the selection of topics that will be discussed throughout the year.  I chose decluttering, since it is a topic that is close to my heart in our bustling little home.
Car tree holder at Adelaide Fringe Festival
Hearing the group discussing electric cars, buying batteries for storing solar power, developing a star rating system for gardens and making passata from tomatoes was interesting and inspiring for me.  I felt energised and reminded that there are so many amazing things that people are doing in the world. It is so easy to forget that while you go through the motions of your daily routine and see the mindless news that is reported.

I wanted to share this positive experience and encourage you to get out and find a way to connect with your community.

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