Collaborative Action as the happy medium

Posted by Kyla Brettle on November 11, 2020

Ideas are bubbling out of the online discussion forum set up to talk about how our shire community could or should respond to the climate emergency.

These ideas range from suggestions about how to support biodiversity to improving our emergency preparedness to deploying stronger guidelines for ecologically sustainable housing.

There are many ways to organise these ideas into little colour-coded piles, so that ‘like’ nestles with ‘like’. One way is to think about who or what leads the action - or the ‘level’ at which action takes place - is this an individual action we do at home? A collaborative action we undertake with our neighbours/community group?  Or is it the responsibility of some authority or larger over arching organisation to lead the charge?

Looking at the suggestions currently in the ‘ideas forum’ it’s clear we lean towards actions that require us to work together more as a community.

Kim Shore suggests we develop an electric vehicle car sharing service while Rob Law posts about trialling community batteries so that solar power can be generated and shared within neighbourhood clusters. Maikel makes the point that waste collection in a neighbourhood should be tailored to the group’s specific needs while Lucy Young talks of neighbourhood composting and Trace Belle suggests a neighbourhood goat co-op

A couple of ideas are about setting up some kind of infrastructure for greasing the wheels of neighbourly collaboration  - Trace Bell suggests more community centres while Keppel Cassidy has a post about developing ‘neighbourhood resilience groups’. Supporting this is Natalie Moxhams ideas for a school of localised learning around collaborative practice and idea for a community owned transition trust fund.

… And of course we’d need to celebrate all this community love with some local cultural events suggested here by Natalie Moxham here by Carbon Arts.

Community action is one of many ways we can contribute in a positive way to our situation - perhaps the happy medium that helps ameliorate the inequities between individuals capacity to take action at home - and help us feel not so isolated and ineffective in the struggle to make a positive contribution - and perhaps model the kind of actions, attitudes and willingness to seek common ground that the global community needs to take in order to deal with this mother of a crisis.


The first steps taken in the 'Questions & Concern' Forum 

Posted by Kyla Brettle on October 14, 2020


I’m shining a light on what we have on the board in the Questions and Concerns Forum today:

Margaret Rasa has expressed concern that our response to the climate emergency will focus exclusively on emissions reduction - at the expense of thinking how we deal with systemic problems such as consumption and over population.

Others highlight the adaptive challenge of coping with the symptoms of climate change coming our way. Allie Hanly asks how are we going to prepare for changes in rainfall patterns and the increased likelihood of violent storms and deluges - while Tim Read asks - how are we ensure we have food security?

Challenges and learning from COVID get a couple of mentions. Tim Read suggests we can build on some of the positive ways our shire community has rallied during the pandemic to support those vulnerable to food insecurity… while Joyce Sanders articulates concern about the additional non-recyclable waste produced by COVID. In a comment on this post, Lucy Young shares Joyce Sander’s concern - particularly around businesses refusing the use of keep cups and refill containers. Lucy commented followed this up with some research into government regulations - and discovered there is no current recommendations prohibiting the use of reusable items like keep cups and refill containers.

Other entries ask - how can we engage the whole community in this discussion around our response to climate change - those who are not yet active and this space - and another entry on how we bring the creative sector into the heart of this process.

Of all the forums in this community discussion space I see the ‘questions and concerns’ forum as the most important - mainly because ‘defining the problem’ is the first step that determines the path travelled by all the steps that follow… it’s the proverbial fork in the road.

I think it’s also the most challenging forum to contribute to as well -  and I note that this forum has attracted 9 responses (while the  ideas forum has attracted 23 responses, and the ‘vision’ forum 9). So, encouraging all to get onto this thread and help map our shire community's circle of concern!

Pull Focus on the 'Vision & Values' Forum

Posted by Kyla Brettle on October 5, 2020


A quick look this week at what has been going on in the ‘Vision and Values’ forum.

A key theme is emerging around the importance inclusiveness, diversity and equity as underpinning our shire community’s response to the climate crisis. This is expressed most comprehensively in Carolyn Neilson’s post and echoed in another post by Carbon Arts. ‘Equity’ and inclusiveness is also prominent in my ‘climate change lens’ post which puts emphasis on ‘envisaging a shared future on a finite planet’ …

Equity has a strong relationship to empathy - our capacity to feel and understand the experiences and perspective of others (including non-human life forms)  - and we also have another theme coming through here around the connection between community and environment  - and a thoughtful post from Rob Law about ecological happiness

This moves nicely onto thinking about the structures that express these values and the importance of the local as a primary site (in the midst of this global problem)… A couple of more comprehensive posts explore this - including  a post form Jodi Newcombe about creating a thriving localised economy and also Anitra Neilson on de-growth as a key aspect to realigning our economic values..

Thanks to everyone for participating in the forum thus far - please remember to dig deep into the past posts in the forums as some great ideas are buried in there!

Increase the livability of our shire to decrease our transport emissions

Posted by Kyla Brettle on July 6, 2020


On my ‘to do’ list at the start of this year was to read through all the submissions to Council’s 2019 Climate Change Forum

I presented at the forum myself - and after holding the floor for my five minutes, adding my voice to the call for council to declare ‘a climate emergency’- I retuned to my seat in the audience and decided that I needed to find out who it was I shared this boat with.

So I bunkered down with the forum submission pdf's. As a documentary maker by trade, I couldn’t help but look for threads and connections… and before long I was taking notes and compiling summaries and trying to discern some kind of  ‘shared vision’.

Lots to talk about! But one image I gleaned is of what our town looks like if we reduce our emissions around transport…

There were many mentions of encouraging electric vehicle use, improving rail services and discouraging private cars - particularly in Castlemaine’s CBD… but also suggestions that if we increase the liveability of our town and the strength of our community networks - then a reduction in emissions will follow.

Shaded bike and walking paths with drinking fountains were popular - particularly trails connecting smaller hamlets to the Maine - as was the idea of the CBD covered in green shade (pergolas where trees are impractical)  - others suggested reducing the need to commute by establishing more remote working facilities and more support for garden farms, local markets and our own food economy. There were ideas about collaborating to fill our local transport needs through car pooling and sharing.

... a picture emerged of a thriving, self-reliant local economy able to provide core goods and services without a high ecological price tag.

The Climate Change Forum was certainly an inspired start to the conversation. I'm looking forward to following ideas for a more sustainable shire unfold in this space and hearing more voices in the mix!

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