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Transitioning to sustainability through action plans
Posted by Byron Movement on 2012-06-15 14:45:06.0

 ‘You can live better on less’

Last Tuesday Byron Council hosted a seminar ‘Transitioning to a Sustainable Community’ which was presented by Transition Town facilitator and permaculturalist from the Sunshine Coast, Sonya Wallace. Sonya spoke about ways local communities around Australia and overseas have selforganised at the grass-roots level to create more sustainable solutions for their communities amid a future of peak oil and climate change. Sonya says that the key point for Transitioning to a Sustainable Community is a sound understanding of permaculture ethics and principles. She says these will provide the framework for moving a community to increased local resilience. They can also be applied to an individual’s home, street, or an entire region. ‘Work on first understanding where your community’s challenges and opportunities are in the context of transitioning to a local resilience,’ she says. ‘Identify weaknesses and gaps and work on those first. ‘Pick short-term, mid-and long-term projects. Work on what is relevant in your community. Don’t take your own agenda or ego into it’. Sonya spoke to those gathered about creating an Energy Descent Action Plan (EDAP). ‘An EDAP is an important part of transitioning your community,’ she said. ‘It provides a structured plan for energy descent with timelines, actions and in some cases budgets. Rob Hopkins and a group of students undertaking a two-year permaculture course in Kinsale Ireland first came up with the concept. They presented the finished document (which is freely available online – just Google Kinsale EDAP) to their local council who endorsed it making Kinsale the world’s first Transition Town. To those who get disheartened they see multinational companies and other countries wasting the planet’s resources, Ms Wallace says that the beauty of Transition Towns is that they focus on the positive. ‘I’ve been involved in this since 2006 and I’ve been kept busy all that time with people wanting to take positive action and start to make changes in their lives. ‘There are a lot of people interested in creating the future they do want, rather than fighting against what they don’t want.’ After the seminar Ms Wallace said that at times, a lot of people feel disempowered and disabled. ‘We’ve all given a lot of decision-making power over to others. One of the things I love about Transition Towns is when people realise that they can do it. All they need is concern about what’s happening in the world, and a desire to start doing something about it. ‘There has been a real boom in interest in backyard veggie growing, cheese making, jam making, sewing. A lot of people are starting to re-learn these skills and use them to save money and reduce their impact. ‘There is a lot of greenwash out there too – being “sustainable” isn’t about changing one form of consumerism for another. Living more sustainably is about economics as much as it is the environment.