A guide to running a 'livewell group' to reduce your carbon emissions

Community participation Greenhouse gas mitigation Sustainable living Social change Well-being Australia

Across the world momentum to reduce climate change is growing. Individuals, communities, businesses, organisations and governments all have vital roles to play. We’re making progress, but it’s imperative that we transition faster to keep dangerous atmospheric warming under 2˚C. There are many things you can do as an individual or household – improve your home insulation, use sustainable transport, switch to more efficient appliances, eat less meat, start a food garden, make small changes to daily habits in  your home, to name just a few examples. And there are also many ways in which you can help to reduce the carbon output of governments, businesses, organisations and other community members.

Reducing your carbon footprint doesn’t mean you have to accept a lower quality of life. In fact it enhances your wellbeing in many ways. ‘Active transport’ – walking, cycling and public transport – provides exercise and improves your health. Eating less meat also keeps you healthier. Better insulation makes your home more comfortable. Anything you do to save energy also saves you money. And joining in the local ‘sharing economy’ can open the door to new activities and friendships.

However, these kinds of changes are not always easy to make. You’re probably busy. Your funds may be limited. You may not know how to  make the changes, where to start, or who to ask. This is where being part of a group is useful. When you’re trying something new it helps to be doing it with people who have similar  values and goals. Group members can share information and ideas,  try out new things and let each other know how it went. They can encourage, prod and help one another. And in a group you can share tools, toys or home-grown produce, find a new home for items you don’t need any more, start a community garden, or encourage governments to adopt low carbon policies. There’s a great deal of evidence to show that making changes together with your peers can make the process easier, more pleasant and more achievable than if you try to do this on your own.

This Guide to Running a ‘Livewell Group’ enables you to form or join a Livewell Group with friends, neighbours, work colleagues or others you know and help each other to reduce your carbon emissions, while enjoying yourselves and enhancing your quality of life along the way! We outline how to form your group, what it can do, and how you can reduce your carbon footprint, with links to other sources of information. There are many groups doing similar things in Australia – some are ‘one-offs’ and some are part of other networks like Transition Towns and Sustainability Street. It’s up to you what you call your group and which networks (if any) you connect to. What matters is reducing your carbon footprint and contributing to building a better neighbourhood and a better world.

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