The world is made up of ‘everyday, grassroots people’. Even the rich & powerful are ‘everyday people’ at some point in their lives.
The ability to ‘connect’ with everyday people is probably priceless in this age of ‘spin’ yet effective two-way communication is a fundamental attribute of the Neighbourhood House network…and they are ‘cash-strapped’. You have to wonder if this quality recognised, by both the network itself and those who want to communicate with community-minded people. PWF has wondered for some time if the network could or should build on its role of responding to community needs and raise its profile – and possibly its funding position – through ‘auspicing’ the growing grassroots movement prepared to ‘do what it takes’ to preserve and pass on what we cherish today to our kids?
John Cain, Victorian Labour Premier from 1982 to 1990 and respected by all sides of politics for his integrity and commitment to high standards in public office, has hit out at Australia’s political culture, calling the major parties ‘policy-free zones’… ’empty vessels waiting to be filled’, concerned mainly with:
He is urging the nation’s political leaders to be guided by “the political moral compass” because:
“The traditional objective, independent, frank and fearless advice stream that all ministers need is often overborne by the breed of political shock troopers the politicians rely upon…..in this atmosphere, it is no surprise that the political moral compass is rarely consulted.”
PWF finds that:
Particularly in Victoria, in just about every small community these networks communicate with local people. We’re sure there are other grassroots networks around Oz talking about what we can do to ‘preserve’ the world we are passing onto our kids….and…..working to engage the wider community, as Warrandyte and Maleny are doing.
Groups ARE forming to do something collectively to harness grassroots’ voice AND actions AND send a message that we want more leadership, vision and less politics!
We DO care about the world our kids will inherit and we are prepared to act.
Could the Neighbourhood House network – NOT their hardworking coordinators, but possibly a committee member or a passionate community member – use their communication strength to ‘auspice’ the idea that groups in their community might like to ‘Think local first’ and act collectively, according to local needs, as is already happening successfully elsewhere in Oz AND overseas?
1) Australia – Maleny (Qld)
Maleny, population 4000, has an established self-funded Enterprise Centre, Training Provider and Telecentre incorporating Learning Network Qld (LNQ), Qld Government Agent (QGAP), and the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Community Internet Portal. They are going ahead with a Town Farm project and are running with a Sustainable Maleny project.
2) USA – Philadelphia http://www.whitedog.com/judybio.html
Judy Wicks one of the founders of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. With a four-part mission of serving customers, community, employees, and the natural environment, the White Dog Cafe has created numerous educational and community-building programs which focus on topics such as economic & social justice, environmental protection, peace & non-violence, drug policy reform and community arts.
3) Co-op America http://www.coopamerica.org/
Co-op America is a not-for-profit membership organization founded in 1982. Their mission is to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.
4) Canada – Fostering Sustainable Behaviour http://www.cbsm.com/
Doug McKenzie-Mohr, an Environmental Psychologist runs a site that consists of six resources: an online guide which illustrates how to use community-based social marketing to design and evaluate programs to foster sustainable behavior; searchable databases of articles, downloadable reports, graphics, and case studies on fostering sustainable behavior; and a listserv for sharing information and asking questions of others.
5) UK- New Economics Foundation http://www.neweconomics.org/gen/
NEF is an independent think-and-do tank that aims to improve quality of life by challenging mainstream thinking on economic, environment and social issues. They work in partnership and put people and the planet first. ‘Plugging the leaks’ is their action-planning tool, based around a one-day workshop, which enables people to explore together how their local economy works and to develop ideas for improving it. It includes ‘Local multiplier 3’, a measuring tool that enables anyone to assess how a particular business or initiative impacts on the local economy, and how to improve that impact.
6)Green Map System – http://greenmap.org/?gclid=CKH3yOe_4ooCFQTwYAod onfl0A
Melbourne Green Map – http://www.infolink.com.au/articles/AA/0C00DBAA.aspx
This is a global eco-cultural movement, using local knowledge, action and responsibility. Green maps are locally created maps that chart the natural and cultural environment. They highlight living resources and encourage citizen participation and community sustainability.
7) Scotland – The Eco-Renovation Network http://www.eco-renovation.org/
The Eco-Renovation Network is a new and voluntary initiative. They want to encourage individuals to take action to increase the sustainability of their own homes. Their aim is to make it easier for people to find out and share information on eco-renovation and to reduce the costs to people through co-operative buying. Most of the work of the network will take place through local groups and since they are Glasgow-based the first local group is based there. There has been a world-wide response.
8) Sirolli Institute– http://www.sirolli.co.uk/
“The future of every community lies in capturing the passion, imagination and resources of its people,” says Dr Ernesto Sirolli. Founded in 1996, the Sirolli Institute is a global, not-for-profit, education and training organization of experienced professionals who introduce Enterprise Facilitation to communities wanting to do something for themselves. When invited, they help establish a community-based organisation that works with existing economic development efforts to assist entrepreneurs. It serves as a catalyst for renewed community pride and civic spirit. Since 1985, thousands of new and expanding businesses resulting in thousands of new jobs have been started with the help of Enterprise Facilitators in dozens of communities in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the UK and Canada.
9) Nova Scotia Heartwood – http://www.heartwood.ns.ca/
HeartWood was founded by husband and wife team Maureen Langbo and Marc Langlois in 1989 to provide learning experiences for young people in an outdoor setting. In the early years the founders ran canoe trips, environmental education, and family camps, before branching out to include leadership camps and school programs. Working out of their home and with no outside financial help, the couple slowly but surely built the organization on a foundation of program quality. Armed only with their determination and their collective experience from therapeutic recreation settings HeartWood blossomed. The number of young people HeartWood has worked with totals over 25,000. The organization has earned broad and deep respect in Nova Scotia, as well as recognition in Canada as one of the country’s leading youth development agencies. Youth and adults speak of the ‘HeartWood way’ when searching for language that describes youth programming that is inclusive, empowering, and sustaining.