I had a weird end to my day yesterday. I couldn’t get the thought out of my head that our sustainable living group is floundering due to lack of interest. I know it is not so, but sometimes I wonder……
Last night we had our normal scheduled meeting, well advertised in advance, managed to get a room in the local community hall, and would you believe that only four other dedicated members turned up. We have eleven registered members and at least 15 interested people that regulary turn up on and off. I know, I know, early days yet and I really appreciate the effort of those how did attend. Thanks folks.
I gave a pretty cool presentation (well I thought it was) about “Saving Money with Energy Efficiency” and one member even brought along their energy bills so that we could study them. However, it was mostly preaching to the converted and my audience mostly gave suggestions for improvements more than anything else. That took up the first hour.
The second hour was spent discussing small projects given dwindling numbers. We decided to approach all the local kinders, primary, and secondary schools to see if any of them would like our mini permablitz service and build some garden beds for the kids to grow vegetables in. The other idea was to approach our local council to see if we could plant a mini orchard on some unused land for the public well-being.
We also talked about the stall we intend on having at our towns local festival in November. I have organised the application, and we will be giving away information and selling vegetable seedlings. There are certainly enough gardeners to get this off the ground. It was a good session to end the meeting and we ended 20 minutes early. Finally a bit of action for the team!
I went home with mixed feelings, but Kim soon cheered me up, gave me a big hug, and said that if it wasn’t for me, even those four people would still be out there wondering if there was anyone else who thought or cared about sustainable living. She said that everyone in the group were passionate, yet busy individuals who really care about the environment and our place in it. Kim said that you only have to look at the proud way that they show you the eco-improvements they have made around their homes, all for the better, to see how committed they were. I know she is right, they are my good friends, and sometimes I have to give myself a reality check.
Back out of the dumps now and I am very happy to be doing what I am doing. Onwards and upwards as they say and looking to get stuck into the projects!
Good on you for persevering, I know how that can feel. Kim is absolutely right even if you are only giving each other moral support you are still doing an awful lot of good.
With those sort of numbers I would probably consider doing meetups at people’s houses at least during summer when you will probably have some daylight. Almost everyone loves showing off what they have achieved and get suggestions from others tailored to their specific situation.
It’s hard to get people active.
I don’t know what the answer is, but somehow you have to convince people that it is worth them missing the latest episode of Neighbours – or whatever rubbish is on the box – and turfing out to a meeting. And that’s a hard ask.
Have a talk with some non-Greenie friends who are approachable, and ask them what would make them turf out to a meeting? What would convince them it was worth their time? Because it’s not the greenies you have to convince. Its the rest of the world.
I don’t have answers, but maybe I’m asking the right questions.
There’s a rule of thumb that says that for every concerned citizen who writes a letter, there are a thousand concerned people who don’t — but still care. If there were a meeting running near me I wouldn’t be able to attend, as I have enough things on already and two young kids to put to bed. Keep plugging away and network with groups that might share an interest — you never know what might develop.
Margaret's Ramblings says
Never doubt yourself Gavin. If you only convert one person into thinking about the way they live you have achieved a lot. As I am sure that a teacher has told you sometime in the past, ‘keep up the good work’.
Hang in there Gavin. You’re doing a brilliant job. Sometimes things are a bit slow to start off.
This might be an obvious question, but have you done a letter to the editor of your local news paper about your group.
The projects you have planned sound great. You may even end up with a lot of junior members to the group.
Keep up the good work.
I love your blog. I can’t wait to read more. I have a blog myself that attempts to inspire people. I would like to exchange links with you. Let me know if this is possible.
As we discussed on Thursday, I think it’s important that the group do something, rather than just meet up and chat. Hopefully this will encourage members to get more involved.
I also think it would be good to diversify the potential projects, to avoid the group becoming the Melton Home Gardening Group. I’ve brainstormed some more ideas with my wife after the meeting, I’ll email them to you during the week.
@ Belinda. Thanks, I have been doing a bit of thinking since the meeting and have lots more ideas for the group.
@daharja, Good idea. I will ask some of my work colleges their views.
@ Chookie. You are right, I know there are people out there that can’t make it and care. Time will see the network grow.
@ Margaret. Thanks for the confidence booster!
@ Nevyn. Time to get some projects under our belt first before approaching the paper again. All talk and no action makes jack a dull boy. Thanks for the comment.
@ Jason. Thanks, I like your blog as well.
@ Luke. I agree, actions always speak louder than words. Looking forward to your ideas. It was a good, honest meeting and thanks for your frankness.
Hey Gav don’t just think kindys and schools what about retirement villages adn nursing homes? Nursing homes can have pots with camomile and herbs and retirement viallges would love to have tou have your meetings there with them – I bet there is one near you just crying out for another activity. our group could meet there and you could offer to help set up small plots.
Don’t give up winter is almost done once the weather warms so does people’s enthusiasm.
love and hugs
bayside gardener says
Sorry to hear disappointment in your voice. I think the weather plays a big part in how we think this time of year. Sounds a bit silly, I know, but I even get a bit dispondant with the weather come August . Hang in there, the weather will brighten soon, and along with that, so will their enthusiasm. Once they start to see the first seeds sprout so will they.
As I always say, if Melton was around the corner, I’d come along.
Gavin, I can sympathise after all the effort you put in, and can only encourage you to keep going.
Our Landcare group started with about 25 people putting their names down to be involved. About 10turned up to the first few sessions. Now 4 or 5 turn up to our bi-monthly lantana-ripping-out sessions. But we keep plugging away, and are slowly seeing results. Hopefully your group will be the same…