Melbourne FSI meeting, 26th September 2006
Three members met for lunch at the Friends of the Earth café in Collingwood. (And there were two others who sent their apologies.) We shared how we came to FSI (two through New Internationalist) and found we have one established member, one more recent and one new (3 years, 1 year, 4 months since joining).
We talked about what we have been doing, how we find the different categories in our lives, and what we plan to do in the near future. Also we started to list groups to which we contribute, or into which we give time. The coming Victorian state election is an opportunity for us to make efforts to ‘Build up democracy’, by assisting campaigns we support.
Of the four categories of actions highlighted by FSI, we agreed that the easiest/most immediately satisfying was sharing our income, by donating to projects to ease poverty, environmental degradation etc. The issue of balance in our lives, caring for children, daily comfort levels and limits of time and energy affected all three other areas. And the problem of just not getting around to things we knew we should be doing!
- home recycling,
- giving toilets and goats as Christmas presents (Oxfam etc.!),
- composting waste,
- growing backyard vegetables,
- producing solar electricity,
- choosing ‘green’ electricity,
- working on disability issues,
- sponsoring children,
- using cars less,
- signing petitions,
- putting superannuation into ethical funds,
- sending internet petitions,
- getting UN disability motions passed,
- buying organic food,
- supporting environment legislation,
- donating to various groups,
- handing out Greens voting leaflets,
- getting to know neighbours,
- learning about development issues,
- buying FairTrade goods,
- flushing the toilet less often,
We aim shortly to add:
- Getting a water storage tank installed,
- making connections in the new community after moving house,
- writing biographies for the FSI website,
- contacting MPs,
- emailing friends about FSI to encourage membership,
- trying to save shower water (standing in a plastic basin),
- writing to newspapers, and
- being actively involved in the coming state election.
Sharing information/suggestions for action:
- donations.com.au (for ideas on groups/projects)
- odemagazine.com (positive reading matter ‘for intelligent optimists’)
- The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs (informing and inspiring book by an economist – see chapters on Bangladesh and Ghana)
- Bokashi bins – an alternative to composting organic waste, ideal for unit-dwellers, easier and environmentally better than composting.
- In the coming election, Greg Barber (Greens) has a good chance of getting into the Upper House, and the local candidate in the Melbourne electorate is a fair possibility.
- Global warming is an issue to take up with our federal politicians.
- Labor’s policy of 10% green energy is worth contacting MPs with words of support.
Groups we support/recommend to others:
- Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) (Aust, UK, US sites)
- PLAN International (for child sponsorship and other aid, non-denominational) (Aust, UK, US sites)
- Save the Children (Aust, NZ, UK, US sites)
- Macro Wholefoods
- www.results.org.au (RESULTS Australia – ‘generating the will to end poverty’)
- www.getup.org.au (Action for Australia – political, environmental)
- www.care2.com (apparently 6 million people who want to make positive change – lots of petitions, groups etc. US-based)