Words by Renata Siegmann
Since last year I started a journey which I’m pretty sure there’s no way back and it will be long lasting. I just had an “Eureka moment” after a farm experience. In the farm I felt totally connected with the environment around me. I felt amazed with little gestures and appearances of nature. I felt fulfilled and I also started to question the way I was living. Could I change it? Could I live simply but beautifully? If I was to make decisions based in courage and love, why wouldn’t I live this way?
I started to see beauty in Permaculture, which I’ve learned was aiming higher than just being sustainable. Instead of reducing the impact that we all cause, it’s a system designed to make positive impact. I saw beauty in caring for things. For people, for the earth (which now I pretty much see it as my home). I saw beauty in being out there, using my skills, my mind, my body and my soul for something good. I saw beauty in knowing plants names and their nature. I saw beauty in everything that nurture us. I saw beauty in doing that together, with other people. I saw importance in the most important things: food, health, and relationships (With people and planet). I saw so much beauty in a sustainable way of living that I searched for that even when I came back to the city.
I started to apply my learnings in a sustainable project in the school that I work. I started to volunteer in a community garden. I changed many habits and also searched for movies, lectures, events, places, or anything that could offer me a learning opportunity in this matter. In no time I was involved with the Transition Bondi group. It was a magnetic attraction really.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead
I went to a garden dig event that I saw on Facebook. Since the beginning I felt super welcomed. I learned to prune fruit trees while chatting with Michael, owner of the “Sustainable House”. I collected seeds from a Japanese herb while chatting with a guy from Canberra who gave me tips about how to grow herbs in the shade. I worked alongside a 3 year old boy and we showed silly faces to each other just to laugh out loud. At the end of the morning I was just feeling glad I went there. I felt light, I felt good!
I ended up showing up in the Film & Feast event, also organised by Transition Bondi. After having a delicious vegan meal and watching short films about a waste free lifestyle, shared economy and other sustainable subjects, there was some interesting comments and discussions. My friend pointed out: “It’s truly amazing what you guys are doing here tonight. I just feel unmotivated sometimes. When I see all the wrong things that are happening and a lot of people that don’t care. How do we make people care?”
This question was also living inside me. I could totally relate to that. Participants gave a sparkle of hope and enthusiasm. “You shouldn’t give up, you know” or “everyone has their own awakening time” or “you will be a role model for everyone around you”. I guess they were all relevant comments really. That night was special because I saw this group as an awesome educational tool with makers and thinkers, taking the time to make a big difference in their community. To help in making a transition to a more sustainable world.
In another Film and Feast event we watched some films about successful projects with very positive outcomes, the facilitator asked: “Yes, we have been doing amazing things already. But can we accelerate? Can we take a step forward?” That question just decided to stay with me that night. And the night after and so on. I ended up realizing something obvious: acting in the community is the step forward!
My personal achievements towards a sustainable future for humanity seems so little, with so low impact but when I team up with 100 other individuals that becomes not only bigger but it escalates because we are humans and somehow we know how to organise in very complex ways. Having a common belief and collaborating to achieve a goal. That was the way we evolved as a species and I believe that’s the way we will keep on going with it.
I won’t only stop using take away containers for my lunch but I will be part of a group of people that challenges the local restaurant for another alternative. I won’t only complain with my friends about government decisions that impacts the environment but I will learn, in a workshop, how to write letters to politicians and take action by sending them. I will not only stop to using plastic bags but I will have courage and motivation to inspire my workplace to completely ban them. I will not only buy a worm farm to reduce my organic waste at home but I will write about it and facilitate a dozen other people to do so. With others I will learn more, I will have a sense of belonging, togetherness, I will be motivated and inspired. I will take a step forward.
“All life is interconnected. Nothing exists in isolation” – Pra Chayanon
I guess we’ll never know the exact impact of our actions, but what I do know, is that together is further.