Maroondah Transition Initiative

Australia

Transition Towns Maroondah – a snapshot in 2012

This year we have had several projects running:

  • The WasteLess Household Challenge – a series of 3 workshops in partnership with Maroondah Council, aiming to help households reduce their waste to landfill.

 

  • Ground to Ground – a joint project with Transition Mooky and St. Margaret’s Uniting Church, where people collect used coffee grounds from local cafes to use in their gardens.

 

  • Croydon Food Swap and Gardening Group, which was set up through Sustainable Gardening Australia, as a POD (Productive, Organic, Diverse) group.

 

We also hold monthly gatherings, where new people can come and share a meal and hear a speaker, see a film or join in a practical workshop, and all of us can catch up with each other.

We have a Core Group of 6, with one member on leave due to family illness. Our email list is 191 and we have 12 – 30 people who are fairly regularly involved in one way or another.

Our strongest point over the last couple of years has been holding film nights to raise awareness about climate change and resource depletion. The Council has been very supportive, helping with advertising and providing venues, as well as staff time. In 2011 we showed The Economics of Happiness at a large council venue, to a crowd of 270 people. Early this year we showed Home, a smaller event in a school, with a good attendance of about 70 people. These events have helped draw in new people, and we hope have also inspired many to live more sustainably as individuals in the community.

We have had our ups and downs over the past three years, with Core Group membership changing and various groups forming and then fading out. Setting up special interest groups did not work well for us on the whole, with the possible exception of the Transport Group. But we seem to be taking off this year, and it is hard to say why exactly, but three things come to mind:

1. We spent several months, from November 2011 to July 2012, writing a Strategic Plan and an Action Plan with lists of projects for each area of life such as food, transport, localising the economy and so on. It is not quite an EDAP, but we made extensive use of visioning sessions where we imagined the future we want to create – for each domain. The procress has helped us to decide on a shared vision and see a way forward via projects that can be duplicated in each suburb, so that we now have greater cohesion in the group and a sense of direction.

2. We have been very involved in Council consultations about urban development in two shopping precincts within Maroondah. This has meant more people on our email list became involved, and also raised the profile of TTM in the community and gave us more credibility.

3. Sheer perseverance. Maroondah is a municipality of over 100,000 people, so we have taken on a challenge, but we are making progress, and people are beginning to volunteer to start projects in their own suburbs.

Our next challenge is to make connections with community groups such as Rotary, Lions Clubs, Scouts and Guides and set up partnership projects with them.