Another way to build your own climate-change-ready community

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Another way to build your own climate-change-ready community

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

 

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Some low-cost tips for keeping cool this summer

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Some low-cost tips for keeping cool this summer

Stephanie and Liz over at the excellent No Award blog have put together a really useful list of ways to keep your home and your body cool, even if you're on a tight budget and even if you're renting. On reflection, we reckon The Handbook could have more info about surviving heat waves without spending too much, so we're glad this post exists and that we can link to it. 

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Why I wrote this book (James)

When I was around six years old I borrowed a book from the local library called Global Warming. It was one of those educational kids’ books. Big words, lots of pictures. But this wasn’t your average Dr. Seuss title. It was a kids’ book about an intensely serious issue that hasn’t gone away yet, and doesn’t look like it will go away for many decades to come. Even though we now call it climate change, Global Warming was my first experience of the problem that will likely define my life.

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Why I wrote this book (Jane)

This is a tough book to write. When you tell people, “climate change is coming, you need to get prepared”, you don’t make many friends. Those who would rather not think about climate change at all – and it’s unpleasant, so why would you – don’t appreciate it. And those who arethinking about it want to know why you’re giving up so easily on stopping climate change from happening.

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