Sustainable living is very much a matter of acting locally on the big issues, both personally and through local groups.
Relocalisation is about building societies based on the local production of food, energy and goods, strengthening local economies and improving environmental conditions and social equity. ‘Transition Towns’ is a part of the world-wide relocalisation movement and BEAM has supported a local workshop on this topic. BEAM also supports the principles of the Council’s Sustainable Communities Program to “create behaviour change by offering practical information to households and the community”.
Sustainable living includes:
Sustainable houses: reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by passive solar design, low embedded energy in materials (and size), insulation and heat absorption and the capture of solar energy as heat and power. In addition, sustainable houses reduce water use, store water and reduce water use, using various means including tanks, composting toilets and grey water systems. And more. Many BEAM members have developed their own sustainable houses and we have supported programs such as the Council’s Sustainable Communities Program that looked at sustainable housing. As part of this Program, BEAM organised two bus tours to visit sustainable houses owned by members.
- Sustainable gardens: reduce water use (various means including less green lawn), reduce and reuse waste (composting, chooks, etc) and improve uptake of sustainable food with productive gardens (organic, permaculture gardens, wicking beds, etc). At a wider level, BEAM has been involved in the Sustainable Communities Program and now South West Goulburn Landcare’s Farm Blitz program that organises workshops on a diversity of topics from pruning and poultry management through to the preservation of seasonal harvests. Wallan also has a similar program with their Home Harvest group. Members are also involved in the growth of community gardens, currently in Seymour and Clonbinane and starting in Broadford.
- Alternative transport: reduces energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and helps to reclaim our towns from cars. BEAM promotes the use of alternative and sustainable transport such as trains, bicycles, etc., and is supporting council programs to develop walking and bicycle trails.
BEAM also supports larger local projects and programs:
- Cherry Tree Wind Farm as a local source of energy into the electricity grid.
- Transition Towns Workshop in Wallan.
- Stable Waste to Soil Project: converting the vast volumes of stable waste to carbon and compost to enhance soils.
- Council’s Resource Management Strategy to reduce the carbon footprint of the Council.
- Submissions to Council plans and strategies: Mitchell 2020, Planning Review, Local Laws, Open Space Strategies, Environment Strategy, Sports Development Plan, Kilmore Bypass, etc.
The common theme in all this work is to:
- design our Shire and its townships for a more sustainable, resilient and liveable future through vision and proactive planning.
- address food security issues, peak oil and climate change issues
- build links within the community
- develop a resilient local economy and environment