In the Handbook, we talk about Transition Towns, 'self-sustaining small economies', a concept transitioners describe as 'the bit in the middle, between things you can do as an individual and all the big stuff government can do'. We also talked about how transitioning, an idea that started off in the UK, hasn't really taken hold in Australia.
Since writing the book, we've learned about Sustainability Streets, Australia's answer to Transition Towns (and thanks to Stephanie Lai for giving us the heads-up). Reluctant to define itself too rigidly, the Sustainability Streets movement says it is:
above all, about deep love and respect for the Earth. It's a chance to re-discover in ourselves, the age old awe in which humans have held our magnificent planet. For many thousands of human generations, reverance for the Earth has been the foundation for our living. Re-capturing this respect is the foundation for modern sustainable living. Visiting, enjoying, loving and deeply respecting nature is not "getting away from it all", it's coming back to it all. One comes home to what’s important. One comes home to oneself.
The central idea of the Sustainability Street Approach ... is that we come together as local communities, learn a little about ecological sustainability and then we do what we can to encourage, assist or ‘teach’ other individuals or other communities to join the groundswell. Above all, the basic goal of the Sustainability Street Approach, is that ‘sustainability’ is a lifetime journey. It is a journey that will become easier and easier while becoming more and more fulfilling.
Sustainability Street 'Villages', as they're known, have been set up all over Australia by councils and by groups of keen individuals (there's a full list here, but unfortunately no info on how to contact each village). Some Villages have their own information online, for example:
Sustainability Streets has produced a handbook to setting up your own Village: you can buy a hard copy by contacting them via their website, or download a digital copy. But to get a taster of the philosophy, process and some practical steps for recruiting other people, visit the SSI Information page.
We definitely like Sustainability Streets' focus on 'DIO [doing it ourselves]. It is about choosing our own adventure, making our own decisions and charting our own way to a sustainable future ... the invaluable thing about Sustainability Street is that it calls on people to make decisions and forge their own direction.'
You could also have a look at Ecoburbia, a sustainable communities project that started in one small street in South Fremantle, Western Australia.
Image by Sustainability Streets