Words by Daniel Parsa
I started volunteering for Transition Bondi by joining its kitchen team back in 2011. That was the time when the group met every Wednesday in the Chapel By the Sea, Bondi. I lived locally and considered the weekly Film & Feast environment very educational. There was also a good emphasis about how we can help by changing the way we live in our local community.
After moving away from the area for a few years, I returned to Bondi and put my hand up for volunteering again. This time I had more time to commit and did a whopping ten months of volunteering. Although the group had changed its Film & Feast from weekly to monthly, there was still plenty to do. Apart from doing what I enjoy most – cooking – I became involved with marketing, promotion and publicity as well as anything else that the group needed help with. The volunteer work was challenging yet very rewarding, especially since I believed in the group’s ethos. I also saw the difference I was making in people’s lives and the awareness I was gaining on environmental issues.
Transition Bondi, above all, wants to operate as a community group and not just a group – because it is at the community level that real change can take place. An important aspect of Film & Feast is to bring people together, to share a meal and discuss the environmental challenges of our time as well as to value each other’s company and support.
Building communities and effecting change are both challenging, especially when you live in a consumer-oriented society like ours, where the cost of living is high and people need to work long hours in order to maintain their standards of living. How much time is left to build communities and reflect on our lifestyle and the damage it’s doing to the environment? Not much unless you make time for it.
Gradually, through coming together, I discovered that there are many people in our community who have the same concerns. There are those who want to learn more, those who want to lend a hand and those who use their talents and skills or freely give their time and resources to help in any practical way possible. It was heartening to meet them and to find out what they do.
I was very pleased that Transition Bondi impacted many people during 2017. It organised 10 Film & Feast events, with around 600 people attending. It took an active part in helping with the Plastic Free July campaign. It held workshops and volunteers talked to hundreds of people at the Bondi Markets about the environment. I’m so glad that I, as a volunteer, could be part of it.