Such were Anna Rose’s words to the AYCC Geelong group as she gave a workshop on building and maintaining groups on the 2 June at Barwon Youth Centre. As part of her inspiring “Madlands” national book tour, Anna and three AYCC volunteers visited Geelong to work with the local group and to run a community forum on climate change. Anna Rose and her companions ran workshops and gave presentations on groups and how they work, on shifting opinions and on generating meaningful debate. She said that maybe you can’t change everybody, but you can help them take the first step. She advised us that enthusiasm should grow naturally from groups of people, rather than be artificially pushed by organisations like an octopus controlling its tentacles.
Upside down octopus: Training with Anna Rose
The volunteers stressed energy in presentation to us. That energy was present at that afternoon’s community forum at the Courthouse Arts. From the wide range of attendees came an equally wide range of viewpoints, such as one Australian Defence Force man who spoke about how the ADF was interested in energy savings because it meant better services with the money that wasn’t being wasted on lights and heating. Another man spoke of building regulations and how they could be better adapted to encourage modern, green buildings. This went to show the different places that people can come from, and still be able to work together for a more efficient, low carbon future.
The forum was attended by a wide demographic and reflected the far reaching concern about climate change that Australians feel. Community forums like these are a perfect opportunity to engage with local people; whether they are students, families, older people or others, all Australians have a stake in a sustainable future and they should have a voice in the process as we move towards one.
Written by AYCC Geelong volunteer, Sam Perkins