I received an email from Ros, a regular reader, asking the following question:
Hi GavinHow are you? I have been reading your blog for a little while now and think it is great.I was hoping you could give me some advise.I am interested in forming some sort of sustainable living/gardening group at Wangi Wangi where I live. I have been looking at the Melton Sustainable Living Group.I looked at joining Sustainable living Australia but am not sure that is the way I wish to go. I know they do some great work but I am thinking the annual subscription for local members should stay in and be used in the local area.Would you be able to give me some advise on how your group was set up etc.Appreciate any information and guidance you can give meRegardsRos
So I will answer the email via this post.
First things first. Your reason for starting a community group. My reason was to meet like minded people who wanted to learn about sustainable living or who were already some way down the path.
Secondly, gather at least 5 people and have an informal meeting. The reason for 5 people is so that you can incorporate later if required. The first meeting for our group was held around our dinning table, like lots of great groups usually do. It was in March 2009. We had a great discussion and finally decided on the name and what we were going to try and achieve. We messed around with some ideas for a vision and a mission statement which were essential for us to understand our purpose. This is what we came up with in the first month.
The members of Melton Sustainable Living Group believe in changing the world by thinking globally, but by acting locally. MSLG will bring sustainable living to Melton ensuring a cleaner, greener and more resilient community for all.
MSLG will foster positive change by serving the community with communication and education of sustainable living methods in an urban and suburban environment. MSLG will provide practical knowledge about how to lower personal emissions, energy efficiency, growing your own food garden, renewable energy, frugal living, rainwater harvesting and the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle).
In essence this is a process of relocalising all essential elements that our community needs to sustain itself and thrive. It builds local resilience in the face of the potentially damaging effects of Peak Oil while reducing the community’s carbon footprint. In this way, we can address both Peak Oil and Climate Change.
The next step was to get some money behind us so that get established. However, as I found out quickly, to apply for grants, you have to at least apply for Incorporation, at least in Victoria. I did some research and found out about the pros and cons of becoming a legal entity. I discussed this at our next meeting (we were meeting fortnightly at this stage) and the other members agreed to proceed. There are a few forms to fill in, a vision and mission statement to draft (we already had one), and pay the fee. This will vary from state to state.
- Energy Efficency in the home demonstration
- Organic gardening demonstration
- Visit to CERES Community Evironment Park
- Presentation by ecoMaster, Gisborne
- Presentation by myself titled “Saving money with Energy Efficiency”
- Presentation to the Caroline Springs Lions Club about Sustainable Living.
- A stand at the Environment Hub during the Djerrawarrah Festival to promote the group.
- Report calls for change ahead of petrol price hike
- Michael’s Garden features on Vasili’s Garden
- Solar seekers shut out
- Power to the people as they take up offer
- Melton green group backs solar
- Green gospel spreads
- Duped! Permit Me to Make a Difference
I also hope that I have inspired you a little to take the plunge. Just remember that every great journey begins with a single step!