The following is a guest post by Pilar Angon from The Sustainable Living Project
Working in sustainable education is ongoing work: you plant the seed and it grows, spreads and comes back to you in the form of new and improved seed for you to plant over again.
For me, my own seed was planted in Mexico 11 years ago, when my then six-year-old daughter asked me if she could stop being human. “We [humans] are destroying the world,” she said. “I don’t want to be part of it.”
Since that conversation, helping people change their everyday habits impacting the environment has been my passion, a passion I’ve been able to pursue here in Australia as a bilingual environmental educator with the Sustainable Living Project (ECSLP)
One of the things I love about my role is that I get to listen to the best part of people and I help them get to the place they want to be. At ECSLP we facilitate conversations in the community about what can be done, and what has been done; we inspire people to go and change things in their own way.
My favourite project so far has been the communal garden at Beaconsfield, an inner city suburb in Sydney. There, a group of Spanish speakers, wanted to have a communal garden. We ran workshops on composting, gardening, water and energy saving with people from five different language groups. It was amazing!
As a Spanish educator I discovered a large amount of knowledge hidden amongst the participants, most of them women, who were eager to nourish new and better fruit and veggies. As this short video shows, the garden helped the people involved to connect, share knowledge and responsibility, while also teaching them the value of growing medicinal plants and vegetables for a more sustainable way of life. Walking through the garden, tending to it, picking medicinal herbs and making tea with them became a healing ritual in itself.
We finished the process with a movie screening, taking the conversation even further. We introduced concepts like food security, relating environmental issues with socio-economic contexts and the group’s countries of origin.
The communal garden at Beaconsfield is still growing. I see the participants from time to time, when they invite me to their special events or when I feel nostalgic and come along to share a cup of tea in their garden. It is wonderful to see what started as a seed of an idea grow into something that not only makes individuals more aware of sustainable practices, but also brings a community together.
About the author
Pilar Angon is a bilingual Spanish/English environmental educator with the Sustainable Living Project – a partnership between the Office of Environment and Heritage and the Ethnic Communities Council of NSW.
Pilar believes the best way to change our relationship with the planet is stop and listen what others have to say and have done, to engage them towards a positive and more sustainable way of life.
To find out more head over to our website: We are daughters, mothers, sisters and grandmothers getting on with practical climate action to live better for us and the planet. Join the movement at www.1millionwomen.com.au
- The Sustainable Living Project works towards multicultural environmental education. Read more, ‘Waste reduction- A Cross-Cultural Issue: A Guest Post From The Sustainable Living Project‘
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