Sustainability Street Newsletter Cost: #21 April 2008 Priceless! Now’s the Time to Continue the Sustainability Street Journey! Well the year is just continuing to fly – Easter has been and Summer has now passed! The last few weeks have turned out to be quite a busy time for some of our Sustainability Streets with participants of Mulgoa and Penrith City Garden Club Streets graduating in a wonderful ceremony at Muru Mittigar on 1 March. Both groups have also been busily planning their group projects which are just about to get underway. For some of our more established streets now might be a good time to start thinking of some activities and events to keep you going throughout 2008. If you have any ideas that Council might be able to give you a hand with or promote in our newsletters contact Krystie Race on 4732 8050. Upcoming Street Dates The Mulgoa Sustainability Street group are holding a planning meeting to discuss their upcoming project to plant out a community garden at Mulgoa Public School – come along and get involved! The meeting will be held on Saturday 12 April from 3pm at Susan Ward’s place (24 The Straight Road). If you are planning on attending please give Susan a call on 4773 8291 and let her know – please leave a message on the machine if she can’t get to the phone! Is your group planning something? Contact Krystie Race to have your event included in the next newsletter by calling 4732 8050 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to be kept informed? To receive our newsletter automatically via email or snail mail please contact Krystie Race on 4732 8050 or email email@example.com. Last Word from Vanessa By Vanessa Steele, Sustainability Street Facilitator & Mentor for 2007-2008 blueORGANICS I really can’t believe that after nine long gorgeous and sustainable months, the 2007 Sustainability Street program has come to the end! Well, not really. I figure once you hop on the sustainability train, your journey is really just beginning. For me, this rings so true as there is always so much to do, see and learn (even each month) and it can sometimes be overwhelming when you’re not able to do, see and experience it all at once. I think the next stage for people who have just recently graduated (congratulations by the way!) is to reflect on what you’ve just learnt, decide what sustainability means to you individually and most importantly commit to doing something that is achievable (and won’t burn you out) and then spread the word! So where have we come from since our winter’s beginnings on 28th July 2007? THE GROWERS VS GREEN THUMBS… The Mulgoa Growers (newly named by David from Vox Bandicoot at the graduation ceremony) met one fine winter’s morning at a lovely sunny park at the end of The Straight Road. We were greeted with a gigantic supply of home cooked scones made especially by Susan Ward. As the months rolled on and the sessions were held at different homes, from the amount of (delicious) egg sandwiches we devoured at these meetings, the chook (yes, I mean our feathery friends) to participant ratio in this area is fairly even! At one meeting children and babies out numbered our adult participants. It was a very family orientated group and was great to see people feeling comfortable that they could bring their family members and friends along too (and thanks Lee for accommodating everyone on that particular morning!). The ‘Mulgoa Growers’ at their graduation The Sustainability Street Approach was devised by Vox Bandicoot Pty Ltd. This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust. The Penrith Green Thumbs aka – Penrith City Garden Club (again coined by David from Vox Bandicoot) met on the same winter’s day back in July at Jan and Jon Hennel’s place, but not before a very yummy sausage sizzle. Like the Mulgoa Growers, nutritious food seems to be one of the many key ingredients in making these sessions a huge success! There were no chooks in sight at these sessions, instead this group’s signature The ‘Penrith items were their luscious lawns (thanks to all the rain and onset of La Green Thumbs’ at Nina), gardens and veggie patches, enviable shade houses and potting their graduation sheds. TALKIN’ (Sustainability) SHOP Since July we moved through an array of sustainability topics. Popular ones included ¤ rainwater tanks, ¤ greywater, ¤ whitegoods and appliances that use the most energy, ¤ reducing your water and energy loads, ¤ setting up and designing a kitchen garden, ¤ the role of worms and compost systems to reduce space in landfill; and ¤ making your home less of a chemical cocktail and burden on the environment. A massive thank you to those who hosted the sessions each month in their homes, to our Street Coordinators thankyou for your enthusiasm and time and to Carmel from Council for all her behind-the-scenes help as well. Part of what I enjoy the most about facilitating people’s journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle, is witnessing change. It has been such a privilege to be part of each group’s successes and learnings. Below are some key social-sustainability achievements that I believe keep groups active, vibrant and connected and are what I noticed develop or ‘grow’ throughout the course. ¤ The sharing of information, knowledge and resources such as food, eggs, recipes, books, plants and cuttings; ¤ Seeing people who didn’t know each other connect and become friends; ¤ A sense of inclusiveness and warmth shown to people who joined each group at a later stage; and ¤ A brilliant sense of humour! The Sustainability Street Approach was devised by Vox Bandicoot Pty Ltd. This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust. KEEPING THAT ENVIRO MOMENTUM GOING At the graduation on 1st March at Muru Mittigar, a few people asked when they’d meet next. I gathered from that question, that some people might think Sustainability Street has come to and end. Far from it! It’s only beginning. The momentum and interest in sustainability will continue, it just takes a bit of planning and surprisingly not too much work. With grant funding from Council, this year’s groups will keep the enviro momentum going through projects planned within the community with Mulgoa Public School and Mamre House. To keep it going beyond these projects you’ll need to communicate with each other. Here are some suggestions… ¤ Update your street or participants via letter box drops, email or phone (if you have them). Flyers work well as people can pin them on their fridge or calendar as a reminder! ¤ Have someone who has computer skills design a basic leaflet (you can easily fit 3 to a page to save on paper & remember to keep your messages simple) and ask Krystie Race at Council to assist with printing. You can contact Krystie on 4732 8050 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. ¤ Advertise your next meeting or gathering in this newsletter (make sure the meeting date aligns with when the newsletter goes out – contact Krystie to get it included) ¤ Host a movie night (there are a couple of DVDs in your Street Kits – like Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth). ¤ Have a bbq or morning tea to catch up on local projects or to show off something new like a rainwater tank or veggie patch. ¤ Lastly (and this is quite popular in Permaculture) why not host an enviro working bee at your home and then put on bbq for those that attend. I’ve seen some amazing no-dig and kitchen gardens built and planted out in just half a day! It is possible to keep in contact and work together. The streets from Banool Avenue and Sir John Jamison Circuit have continued to meet and work on local projects. During 2006 they managed to secure grant funding for rainwater tanks and water saving initiatives for their own homes as well as undertake some drain stencilling and plant some native gardens. I wish you all the best for a very sustainable and healthy 2008 and I look forward to working with you when our path cross again. Cheers, Vanessa The Sustainability Street Approach was devised by Vox Bandicoot Pty Ltd. This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust. More Sustainability Streeters Now On the Street! Saturday 1 March was an important day for members of Penrith's newest Sustainability Streets, with participants of the program graduating in a celebration held in the lovely grounds of Muru Mittigar. After a week of rain Saturday dawned bright and sunny - just perfect for our requirements, with the sun lasting throughout the ceremony and through to the lovely BBQ lunch and bush tucker tasting, which seemed to be well and truly enjoyed by all. Some special guests (apart from the Sustainability Street participants) were on hand to lend some ceremony to the occassion and included the Mayor of Penrith City, Councillor Greg Davies, Council's Sustainability Champion, Councillor Karen McKeown, one of the founders of the Sustainability Street Approach, Dave Seignior, a Director of Vox Bandicoot Pty Ltd; and group mentor, Vanessa Steele. The highlights of the morning were some passionate and heart felt speeches from some of our sustainability graduands, putting into words how the Sustainability Street experience had affected them and what they had gleaned from the workshops since the program began way back in July 2007. A big thanks and congratulations to Lee, Irene, Gretel and Janis who were the brave ones to get up and speak in front of the crowd! A huge novelty cheque was also presented to both groups as part of the graduation ceremony to allow them to get a community project of their choice underway with the Mulgoa group choosing to work with Mulgoa Public School on a community vegetable garden, and the Garden Club working with Mamre House to improve their plant propogation and irrigation systems. The funding for these community projects was made possible by grant funding provided by the NSW Government through their Environmental Trust. The Sustainability Street Approach was devised by Vox Bandicoot Pty Ltd. This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust. The News in Brief Earth Hour Council pledged its commitment to Earth Hour on 29 March and asked residents, businesses, schools and organisations to participate too. Earth Hour is an annual event coordinated by WWF Australia to raise awareness of climate change and encourages people and organisations to take practical steps to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by five per cent during the coming year. Last year over 2.2 million Sydney residents and over 2,100 businesses switched off, leading to a 10.2% energy reduction across the city. What began as one city taking a stand against global warming caught the attention of the world. In 2008, 24 global cities participated in Earth Hour at 8pm on March 29. Several Council facilities, as well as a number of schools, businesses and organisations across Penrith City participated in Earth Hour this year, most noticeably by switching off lights for one hour at 8pm. In addition to switching off our lights Council also agreed to plant a native tree for each local household, business, and organisation or school that signed up to Earth Hour, with support from NRMA Insurance through their communityhelp grants program. Stay tuned for the final numbers of participants across the Penrith Local Government Area who participated in Earth Hour and the number of trees planted. The Sustainability Street Approach was devised by Vox Bandicoot Pty Ltd. This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust.