Chai, divestment and festivals… a busy month for Transition Darebin
There’s loads on over the next weeks as we seek to engage people who are concerned but inactive and help those actively building for a better future to get the message out there. Transition Darebin will be showing it’s stuff at the Sustainable Living Expo, swapping up a treat at our food swaps, installing compost hubs and a watering system at Our Apple Tree and asking people to think about what their investments are actually funding at the Transition in the Pub. There’s lots to see but also lots to get involved with so check out what’s going on this month and get active in being the change you want to see in Darebin.
TD Events in the Comings Weeks
Transition Darebin @ Darebin Sustainable Living Expo: April 2nd 11am – 2pm @ Preston City and Shire Halls
Once again Transition Darebin will be swinging into promotion mode to get the word out that individuals hold the key to significant and powerful change. As well as workshops, food displays and a whole heap more we will be sharing what TD is doing at the sustainable living expo. If you are involved in a project then this is a great opportunity to promote and build some networks and we would love you to join us for the afternoon on the TD stall. Email paul if you’ve got some time and you’re willing to help out or just head down to the city and shire halls in Preston next Saturday and check out what’s on offer. for more information on the festival check outwww.darebin.vic.gov.au/sustainablelivingexpo
Convivial Kitchen: Chat, Chai and Cake!: Sunday April 3rd 2pm @ Our Apple Tree (Cnr Beavers road and Herbert Street).
Convivial kitchen is all about cooking healthy food and sharing recipes with other people in your local community. It’s a chance to pass on some traditional or cultural wisdom, a recipe for a preserve or some way to make better use of local, seasonal and nutritious produce. The Convivial Kitchen Crew are this month taking it outdoors in a very special ‘Chat,Chai and Cake’ session. So come and join us for a cut of hot chai and a piece of cake under the Old Apple Tree. (for more information contact Tiffany)
Darebin Urban Harvest Northcote Food Swap: April 9th 11-12 @ 251 High Street, Northcote
The Second Saturday of every month sees the Northcote food swap roll into action. Whether it’s produce, seeds, preserves or just some advice about what’s growing and how to deal with gluts and scarcity then this is a great session to check out.
Our Apple Tree ‘Tree Bee’: April 10th 1-3pm @ Our Apple Tree (Cnr Beavers Road and Herbert Street, Northcote)
Every 2rd Sunday we hold a ‘Tree Bee’ at Our Apple Tree. It’s a chance to meet, do some gardening, reclaim some public land and generally learn about community gardening.
Transition in the Pub: April 12th 7:30pm – 9:00 @ Bar 303 (303 High Street, Northcote)
Transition in the pub is all about cold beer and big topics that will help us all make the transition to a more equitable, resilient and sustainable future. This months it’s….Divestment.
It comes as a shock to many people but most of us are unwittingly funding the expansion of coal mining, fracking and habitat destruction through the investment of billions of dollars of OUR money that lies in superannuation, bank accounts and other savings. You’ve also been losing money as these assets become stranded and less profitable than other investments as the Guardian reported here. Divestment is a way to take some control of your money by making some sometimes really simple choices about where you invest and where you bank. We’ve invited Isabella from 350.org to run us through some ways you can take solid steps to change this as well as some local Darebinites who are going to give us their experiences of how it was for them.
Darebin Urban Harvest Reservoir Food Swap: April 16th 10-11 @ cnr broadway and Chedder Road, Reservoir
On the Third Saturday it’s Reservoirs turn to join the sharing economy with their own food swap. This one might be new but it’s seen a great array of produce and a really keen bunch of ‘swappers’.
Transition Coordination Meeting: April 18th 7:30 – 9:00
Once a month we get together to talk about what has happened and what needs to happen to build a more sustainable, resilient and localised Darebin. These meetings are open to anyone whether you want to take a role or just watch what happens.Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the address.
Transition Darebin News
Tents and Safety Nets
Transition Darebin always walks a fine line. We don’t want to spend all our time fundraising to contribute to the insurance industry but we also don’t want to expose our members and volunteers to risk when they’re out doing important work. So we’re very excited to announce that we have entered into a relationship with the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria as an affiliated group. This not only gives us access to some great and affordable insurance cover but diversifies our resources around growing, cooking and sharing produce.
In other, news we are very excited to announce that we have sourced a gazebo for use at the food swaps, tree-bees and other functions. This will be a great resource (as those we have swapped in the rain will agree) but in the future resources need to be collaboratively owned not privately owned and locked away. So if you are running an event or a community group that has need of a Gazebo (and fits with the aims of Transition Darebin) then we have a shiny gazebo at a great price for you. Contact email@example.com if you would like some more info.
Other Events (non-TD events)
Can’t make it on the first or second saturday but still want to do some food swapping? Check out the Urban Orchard Food swap @ Ceres (greater Darebin!) each saturday from 10 – 1pm. Bring along your homegrown fruit, vegetables, seeds and plants to swap or just meet local home gardeners and share recipes and gardening tips. More info on facebook or contact firstname.lastname@example.orgFruit Foraging Flashmob (Sunday April 3 @ 10:30am)
Our friends at the Gnomes Farming Co-operative are inviting people to hop on their bike & join them for a morning of foraging fruit fun as they swoop on the bounty of backyards, railway verges and nature strips across Melbourne’s inner north! BYO bike & basket to benefit from the bounty! For non-bike-abled people please get in touch for a map of the ride’s meeting points, For more information check out Gnomes Farming Co-Operative on facebook.Climate for Change (www.climateforchange.org.au)
Have you got some time to host a conversation with your friends and family about climate change and the action that needs to happen? Or are you a trained facilitator just waiting for that opportunity to use your skills in a localised and community focused way. Climate for change is about changing the conversation one kitchen table at a time and links facilitators and hosts to support local and grassroots action. We think they’re pretty cool and you might too so check out http://www.climateforchange.org.au for more info.Project in Focus: Darebin Urban Harvest Food Swaps
Darebin Urban Harvest Food Swap:
Reservoir: Rachel, Sheryl, Janine Bossel and Paul, Nikkii and family from Northcote swap attended the 19th March swap at Reservoir. Damian was there to hold up the Reservoir end. Heaps of worm juice, figs and zucchinis. Left over worm juice and seeds were taken to Kite Festival to be given out on receipt of a gold coin donation. Gazebo was there in case of need and the new sandwich board was used.
Northcote: Another really great session at the northcote food swap with a table literally groaning under the weight of local produce. There were scobies, squash, basil and so much more plus a really great vibe around the place. This swap is going from strength to strength so if you’ve got something to swap and haven’t been to check it out then chalk-out the second saturday next month to try a different way to fill the pantry.
Darebin Kite Festival
Transition Darebin Rerpresents at Darebin Kite Festival
A busy day for our dedicated bunch of stall holders who witnessed the Inaugural use of gazebo and second use of sandwich board. All went well. Rachel staffed the stall all day, Damian assisted in the morning, then Tiffany, then Sheryl. There was a steady stream of interested visitors all day who were keen to find out what Transition Darebin was all about. Our sparkly new Gazebo was easy to put up and down. We shifted a whole heap of promo stuff including food swap flyers and info on Our Apple Tree, Convivial Kitchen andTransition in the Pub. The Food Swap side of our sandwich board attracted a lot of interest as did the opportunity for the public to try their skill on the ‘guess that seed’.
We kicked off our new location in style with a great session about solar power, batteries and the future of electricity generation and distribution. Even the most hardened and learned solar enthusiast walked out with a little more knowledge and some new ideas thanks to the expert guidance of Karl from EnviroGroup (how can you question someone who built a bike based, solar powered DJ booth complete with subwoofer and lights!). But it wasn’t all work and the 20 or so people found time for a cool beer and a good talk. We’re gonna be taking up a regular spot with the help of Bar303 so make sure you head down for the 12th of April (the second Tuesday) for our next Transition in the Pub where we bust open one of the biggest things that you can do to save the planet…Divestment!– April (12th). Divestment. If you haven’t consciously made some decisions about who you bank with and where your super lives then you are probably contributing to the billions of dollars that banks and funds are investing in coal mining, fracking, reef and habitat destruction etc. But making a switch so that your money invests in a better future is easy and we’ll show you how.- May (10th). We’re going a week early in may to join in with the Darebin Homemade food and Wine Festival.This month we’ll be looking at ethical shopping with Shop Ethical who will help to “educate and empower people to make shopping choices that better reflect their values and to use their consumer power to create a better world”– June (21st) To head in to the winter solstice we’re putting on one of the most important films of recent times. “This Changes Everything” which looks at seven communities around the world with the proposition that we can seize the crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better. Check out the trailer here
Transition Darebin Needs You…We are gradually building up a web team to look at the Transition Darebin website. We want to build a collaborative space that enables people to use the resources of Transition Darebin to bring about local and powerful action without the need to deal with a central bureaucracy. There’s so much going on we see this as a great opportunity not only to bring all of the TD events together but have a space where all the groups working towards a more localized, resilient and sustainable world can work together and engage with the community. If your brain is currently sparking with ideas about how this could happen or the best way to go about it then we REALLY want to hear from you. This is a short commitment and this group will last only until the website is constructed so there is no ongoing commitment. If you are interested email Paul.
Life in a degrowth economy and why you might actually enjoy it!
When one first hears calls for degrowth, it is easy to think that this new economic vision must be about hardship and deprivation; that it means going back to the stone age, resigning ourselves to a stagnant culture, or being anti-progress. Not so. Degrowth would liberate us from the burden of pursuing material excess. We simply don’t need so much stuff – certainly not if it comes at the cost of planetary health, social justice, and personal well-being. Consumerism is a gross failure of imagination, a debilitating addiction that degrades nature and doesn’t even satisfy the universal human craving for meaning. Degrowth, by contrast, would involve embracing what has been termed the “simpler way” – producing and consuming less.
This would be a way of life based on modest material and energy needs but nevertheless rich in other dimensions – a life of frugal abundance. It is about creating an economy based on sufficiency, knowing how much is enough to live well, and discovering that enough is plenty. The lifestyle implications of degrowth and sufficiency are far more radical than the “light green” forms of sustainable consumption that are widely discussed today. Turning off the lights, taking shorter showers, and recycling are all necessary parts of what sustainability will require of us, but these measures are far from enough. But this does not mean we must live a life of painful sacrifice. Most of our basic needs can be met in quite simple and low-impact ways, while maintaining a high quality of life.
We do not need to purchase so many new clothes. Let us mend or exchange the clothes we have, buy second-hand, or make our own. In a degrowth society, the fashion and marketing industries would quickly wither away. A new aesthetic of sufficiency would develop, where we creatively re-use and refashion the vast existing stock of clothing and materials, and explore less impactful ways of producing new clothes. We would become radical recyclers and do-it-yourself experts. This would partly be driven by the fact that we would simply be living in an era of relative scarcity, with reduced discretionary income.
But human beings find creative projects fulfilling, and the challenge of building the new world within the shell of the old promises to be immensely meaningful, even if it will also entail times of trial. The apparent scarcity of goods can also be greatly reduced by scaling up the sharing economy, which would also enrich our communities. One day, we might even live in cob houses that we build ourselves, but over the next few critical decades the fact is that most of us will be living within the poorly designed urban infrastructure that already exists. We are hardly going to knock it all down and start again. Instead, we must ‘retrofit the suburbs’, as leading permaculturalist David Holmgren argues. This would involve doing everything we can to make our homes more energy-efficient, more productive, and probably more densely inhabited. This is not the eco-future that we are shown in glossy design magazines featuring million-dollar “green homes” that are prohibitively expensive.
Degrowth offers a more humble – and I would say more realistic – vision of a sustainable future.
Making the change
A degrowth transition to a steady-state economy could happen in a variety of ways. But the nature of this alternative vision suggests that the changes will need to be driven from the “bottom up”, rather than imposed from the “top down”. What I have written above highlights a few of the personal and household aspects of a degrowth society based on sufficiency (for much more detail, see here and here). Meanwhile, the ‘transition towns’ movement shows how whole communities can engage with the idea. But it is critical to acknowledge the social and structural constraints that currently make it much more difficult than it needs to be to adopt a lifestyle of sustainable consumption. For example, it is hard to drive less in the absence of safe bike lanes and good public transport; it is hard find a work-life balance if access to basic housing burdens us with excessive debt; and it is hard to re-imagine the good life if we are constantly bombarded with advertisements insisting that “nice stuff” is the key to happiness.
What would life be like in a degrowth society?
In a degrowth society we would aspire to localise our economies as far and as appropriately as possible. This would assist with reducing carbon-intensive global trade, while also building resilience in the face of an uncertain and turbulent future. Through forms of direct or participatory democracy we would organise our economies to ensure that everyone’s basic needs are met, and then redirect our energies away from economic expansion. This would be a relatively low-energy mode of living that ran primarily on renewable energy systems.
Renewable energy cannot sustain an energy-intensive global society of high-end consumers. A degrowth society embraces the necessity of “energy descent”, turning our energy crises into an opportunity for civilisational renewal. We would tend to reduce our working hours in the formal economy in exchange for more home-production and leisure. We would have less income, but more freedom. Thus, in our simplicity, we would be rich. Wherever possible, we would grow our own organic food, water our gardens with water tanks, and turn our neighbourhoods into edible landscapes as the Cubans have done in Havana. As my friend Adam Grubb so delightfully declares, we should “eat the suburbs”, while supplementing urban agriculture with food from local farmers’ markets.
Or do you need Transition Darebin?
Nobody died and made us king of the transition ideas! Maybe you’ve got a passion, some time or just the skeleton or an idea that needs some fleshing out. Transition Darebin is a truly grassroots organisation that holds the support of those with passion very dear. So if you’ve got an idea and want some help, or just need an organisation to help with that grant application then let us know or come on down to a coordination meeting because we don’t just need fully formed ideas…..we need all of them!
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