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Southbank Sustainability Group

08 Aug 2018

Southbank Sustainability Group Image

Community’s journey into sustainability

It all started February last year, when as part of City of Melbourne’s Sustainability Month activities, a few Southbankers gathered to plant herbs in Boyd’s new planter boxes, or to watch a movie on food waste.

It quickly became apparent there here is Southbank (on the surface, a concrete neighbourhood that breeds isolation, where it’s hard to build a community or meet like-minded people), there is passion and interest for gardening and sustainability and that people want to take action but don’t know where to start. These locals want to take responsibility for their environmental footprint but feel isolated in their journey.

The wonderful Nadine, Boyd’s community animator at the time, co-ordinated these 10-12 residents to meet and talk about expanding sustainability activities in Southbank beyond Sustainability Month, and the Southbank Sustainability Group was born.

Since then, our group managed to convince the council to give our community a permanent veggie garden as part of the new Boyd Park – something we didn’t think possible but had to fight for it anyway. At best, we were expecting a temporary space to continue hosting our guerilla-style planted veggie garden at the Boyd north lawn area.

It turns out though, when community rallies, council listens. That won us a much-needed green space and the opportunity for kids and adults alike to learn how to grow plants for healthier and more sustainable herbs and veggies.

Every time our group meets to tend to our plants, more environmentally-curious Southbankers stop and ask about our group. We are now 65 members strong – bringing changes to our neighborhood beyond what we’d imagined and building a lovely community where we get to know our neighbours.

Our next goal is to reduce waste on an individual and a community level, plus establish a community composting space. With education being half the battle to combat climate change, we want to strengthen knowledge in our community.

After a four-part workshop series on growing plants and composting in apartments, we’re now inviting the community to learn more about zero waste – an easier-than-it-looks process to reduce unnecessary waste, especially when it comes to plastics and use of virgin resources.

Did you know that the average person produces 136kg plastic waste/year? Waste that will outlive you and your children? So yes, our individual choices do matter.

Our first workshop is on Saturday, August 25 at 10am. It’s called Conscious Consumerism and the Impact of Fast Fashion and is being run by Madeline Clarke, founder of Green Spectrum. The following one is on Saturday, September 22 at 10am and is about What is Zero Waste and Practical Solutions to get you Started, run by myself, a long-term zero waster and activist. Both are at Boyd.

Both workshops are free and everyone is invited to come join us and meet your neighbours in the process. For more info, go to Facebook.com/SouthbankSustainabilityGroup, or email southbanksustainability@gmail.com

Keep an eye out for next month’s column to learn more about how to practice zero waste in Southbank.

Artemis Pattichi

Southbank Sustainability Group

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