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Tasmanian Climate Change Office

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Tips for communities

Use your purchasing power

By working collectively, households can bulk-buy items like solar hot water or photovoltaic cells. A group discount can make it more affordable for everyone.

Sustainable Living in Kingborough, South Hobart Sustainable Community and the Kentish Energy Efficiency Network Embracing Renewables have arranged bulk purchases of solar power and/or solar hot water systems. Learn more about their activities and ask for advice about your project:

  • Sustainable Living Tasmania, through their EcoHome Guide, arranged a Home Energy Bulk Buy of solar panels and efficient hot water systems. Register at their website to be updated about future bulk buys.
  • South Hobart Sustainable Community arranged a bulk purchase of solar power and renewable hot water systems and a bulk purchase of household energy monitors.
  • Kentish Energy Efficiency Network Embracing Renewables arranged a bulk purchase of solar hot water systems, provided assistance to reset hot water thermostats and install hot water timers, and ran a Schools Solar Challenge for students to design their own solar water heater. Download the Hot Water Efficiency Project report (PDF).

Establish a community garden

Community gardens are a great way to provide accessible, low cost, healthy food on a regular basis. If your garden includes composting or worm farms, then kitchen scraps can be turned into worm food and free soil conditioner. This also helps to reduce landfill and the greenhouse gases produced at the tip.

What you need to get started:

  • A shared idea of your garden’s purpose such as community building, food access, health or play space for children
  • Space for a garden
  • Volunteers with skills in garden design, garden construction and plant propagation
  • The time and energy of willing volunteers
  • Garden bed materials, plants, soil, compost, and mulch

For a list of community and school gardens in your area, visit the Directory of Community Gardens. There are great resources about starting a community garden on the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network website. You can also read about the South Hobart Community Garden.

Help your neighbours to grow their own food

Permablitz working bee

If there isn’t a space in your neighbourhood for a dedicated community garden, why not help your neighbours to grow their own food with a permablitz. A permablitz is a type of working bee where people come together at each other’s houses in turn to:

  • create edible gardens that require minimal maintenance, often from non-productive gardens
  • share skills related to sustainable living and permaculture (hint: you’ll need a permaculture designer)
  • build a sense of community, and
  • have fun

Interestingly, the term 'permaculture' (as a systematic method) was first coined by Tasmanians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. David Holmgren’s free e-book, Essence of Permaculture, provides a good summary of permaculture concepts and principles.

In 2014, the Tasmanian Climate Change Office funded Sustainable Living Tasmania to run a series of permablitzes. Learn more about the project in this short video Bright Green Sparks - Permablitz.

Useful resources:

Reduce your community's waste and support reuse and recycling

Work as a team to reduce waste within the community with these ideas:

  • Participate as a community in events like Garage Sale Trail, or organise your own swap and share events.
  • Partner with your council or your local Landcare group to clean up an area in your community.
  • Before you throw items away, talk to your neighbours about donating or swapping with each.

Organise sustainable transport

Working as a group, there are many ways to reduce your costs and carbon emissions from transport. Try some of these ideas in your community:

  • Organise a bike-riding or bike maintenance workshop for your community. Get in touch with Bicycle Network Tasmania, the Risdon Vale Bike Collective or the Hobart Bike Kitchen.
  • Hobart Bike Kitchen and the Risdon Vale Bike Collective also fix and sell low-cost bikes to help communities get on two wheels. Learn more about the Hobart Bike Kitchen in this short video Bright Green Sparks - Hobart Bike Kitchen.
  • Organise a carpooling roster with your neighbours.
  • Share your car with your neighbours. Again, you can do this informally, or there are commercial car sharing services like Car Next Door.
  • Set up a ‘walking bus’, where children walk in a group to and from school, supervised by adults.
  • Talk to your council about improving sustainable transport infrastructure like bike and walking paths.
  • Catch the bus. Not only is it cheap and carbon friendly, but fewer cars on the roads means safer streets for children, pets and community events.

More information for your community is available on our Resources for communities page.