Rivers and Ranges Community Leadership Program (RRCLP) is the newest of Victoria’s many leadership programs. The program covers the municipal areas of Mitchell, Murrindindi, Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Yarra Ranges. The program is based on community capacity and resilience building for the purposes of creating leaders connected to their local regions. As such, they are well placed to identify local issues and needs and identify solutions. Leaders are a good resource in building resilient, connected and thriving communities.
The program takes a group of up to 24 diverse participants through a ten-month learning experience and exposes them to leaders at all levels of government. At the completion of the project the participants are expected to participate in community leadership and service.
Each cohort of RRCLP completes an environmental or art project as part of their learning. This year’s cohort split into two teams to complete separate environmental projects.
Team Bravo have chosen to tackle the problem of plastic in the environment. We are working with the Flowerdale Men’s Shed to produce a song about the 5 ‘r’s – refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle. This song will be released via social media and we will attempt to measure the project’s impact via this platform also.
As a complimentary addition to the project, we have printed reusable calico bags which we will distribute at the November Tallarook Farmer’s Market complete with information regarding the dangers of plastic and ways to reduce its use. These bags will also contain either a reusable keep-cup or reusable plastic drink bottle.
Children at the Flowerdale Primary School decorated some of the bags during a session where they learned about the 5 ‘r’s. We have surveyed the children on their use of the 5 ‘r’s and will measure the impact, if any, at the completion of the project via a follow-up survey. We are hoping the final survey will show a decreased use of plastic and a better understanding of the issues. The children were very engaged during their session.
Collaboration with other community groups was another strong element of our project and we will be creating a map to show connections between community groups both before and after the project’s completion. BEAM Mitchell Environment Group was very supportive of our project and have produced a flyer with tips on reducing plastic use for inclusion in the bags. Many other groups offered support along the way.
All involved groups will be acknowledged by use of the bags.
You can follow our progress on our facebook page by the name of Plastic Not So Fantastic.
Ten tips to reduce plastic
- Take your own shopping bags (don’t accept single use plastic bags)
- Drink from a reusable drink bottle or keep cup
- Choose items with less packaging
- Shop at the farm gate or at Farmers’ Markets
- Buy in bulk
- Say no to plastic straws
- Take lunch to work or school in a reusable lunch box (without added plastic wrapping)
- Grow your own veggies
- Don’t line your bin with plastic (easy if you have chooks to eat messy scraps)
- Shop second hand or at op shops