Since Jun 2018 I have been a volunteer in a community group in Sydney called Transition Bondi. This organization is an initiative of Transition Sydney and is built on the ideas of the global Transition Town movement. It brings people together to share, learn and be active in creating a more sustainable community and world. I would love to introduce you one interesting woman from this movement. Kit Shepherd, the Convenor of Transition Bondi.
THE GLUE OF THE TRANSITION BONDI – KIT SHEPHERD
HI KIT. TELL US, PLEASE A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT IS YOUR POSITION IN TRANSITION BONDI?
I am living in a post-employment face of life. I finished my work two years ago, and I am single, by choice (smile).
In Transition Bondi I am involved in a number of the activities. I am sort of coordinating many things, mainly the volunteers, getting teams together for the cooking and other stuff like that, so managing the human resources, which I really like. All of my life I have been involved in groups. I grow grew up in a large family, and I love being in groups and watching people affect each other for the better. So whatever I can do to facilitate at meetings people meeting each other, makes me very happy.
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LIFESTYLE?
I grew up on a farm. As a child I noticed the cycle of life and the cycle of waste and renewal. I have always lived consciously around what is the impact of human activity on the surroundings. All of my choices have as the first question “How will this impact the environment?” So that means – in terms of shopping – before I buy anything I think about packaging. How can I buy the thing without packaging or will I not buy it at all.
I chose not to have a car. And yeah I am a vegan. I do many of the things that conscious people do now like think carefully about where they buy stuff, how they deal with their waste, issues around recycling etc. These questions are very important in my mind. I like the phrase: “reduce, reuse, and recycle”. So yeah, that is a the fundamental value.
DO YOU THINK THAT COMUNITIES LIKE TRANSITION BONDI ARE IMPORTANT? WHY?
Yeah, I think communities are significant. In this day and age, there is a lot of anger and angst. This group is about how we can build something positive. And increase people’s pleasure and wellbeing. And I think that it is a good model for people too. You know, if things looked to be in trouble, and society is breaking down, people go to look around and ask what the alternative is and who is doing something positive? And the Transition movement is. People can come to this movement and to our group wanting to build themselves up through positive engagement with other people and bringing their best qualities and ability to learn. Collaborating in a group – we grow and enjoy ourselves.
WHAT ARE THE AIMS AND CHALLENGES OF TRANSITION BONDI?
Well, the Transition movement, is a global network and Transition Bondi is just one example. The aim is moving from a fossil-fuel economy to a fossil-free economy. This would reduce the impact of climate change and affect the way we use resources and approach waste-management.
Transition Bondi aims to do this through people working together. The Transition philosophy is very close to that of the permaculture movement which has three main principles – care for the Earth, care for people and fair share. So that is about the environment, the social and political world and the economic world. And in Transition Bondi we do that through our particular projects. which are: our community garden, a monthly education project called Film and Feast, where we show a documentary film, and we present vegan meal which we cook with our volunteer group, and we have a farmers market presence at Bondi Beach where we talk to people and listen to them about their concerns to do with the environment etc.
The aim is to build a sense of neighborhood which helps people to be connected, that helps them to work together and create something. In this society, people are very individually driven and very competitive so this could be an alternative that we do not have to live with isolation and competition as a primary game.
WHY DO PEOPLE NOT CARE ABOUT THIS? WHAT DO YOU THINK? WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THEM?
Hmm, it is such an important question. I like people. I respect people. I don´t think they are lazy, bad or stupid. I believe there is a reason why people have lost touch with their own ability to think. And in fact I am involved in another network that focuses is on these more psychological and internal issues around where people put their energy, where their attention goes and how we people can make a change in our individual lives and in our own circle of friends and family.
And what would I say to them? I guess my approach is not really to preach even to teach but if people ask I give them my perspective on things. It is a fascinating question: how to influence people so they will choose to make a change themselves.
WHY DO YOU THINK THEY SHOULD START TO CARE?
They should because we are on a declining trajectory in terms of sustainability. It is a crucial word to sustain something, to keep it going. The way we live – we are using more resources than cannot be regenerated. And we do not see what we are not looking at it, so we are not actually taking that feedback to adjust our behavior. We need to have a sustainable world. And it seems possible that people are not getting that message at this moment. Without that, we do not have a very good future – us and our children and our children´s children who we love and who we want to continue the human story.