Sustainable Living

GreenTown

Speaking another language shouldn’t be a barrier to doing something for the environment. Unfortunately, many of our culturally diverse communities miss out on the help and support they need to make a difference.

That’s where we come in.

Our GreenTown program worked with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities to help them make changes in their homes, businesses, schools and everyday lives, to safeguard our environment.

We trained a small group of people from each community in sustainability. They then carried out free sustainability audits in the homes and businesses of others in their community. The project included community and faith organisation workshops, and making sure the message gets into community language newspapers.

From 2008-2012 we worked with people from all over the world – the Arabic-speaking and Assyrian Chaldean communities in Moreland, the Turkish-speaking community in Hume, the East African community in Flemington and the Indigenous Australian community in Darebin. In the GreenTown 2 program we started two new community projects: working with newly-arrived people from Burma living in Ringwood and the multicultural community in the Collingwood housing estate.

No matter what their cultural background, however, all these Victorians have something in common – they are all keen to do their bit for the environment.

The key to our success

The key to our success is the time and energy we put into to building trust and good relationships with the communities we work with. We get to know and understand their culture, day-to-day lives and how they can best adopt sustainable behaviours. We connect with members from within the communities and they branch out further and become the ‘face’ of our program. We have also been lucky to work with some very passionate and inspiring local leaders in all of our GreenTown communities.

The process of working together and learning from each other leaves us all richer and our environment healthier.

In 2012 we evaluated the first four GreenTown projects, and found some incredible outcomes. From taking a range of recommended energy, water and waste saving actions, GreenTown participant households are saving on average 4 tonnes CO2e, 61,000 litres of water and 191 kg of waste to landfill each year! Read more in our 2012 GreenTown Program (2008-2011) evaluation report.

GreenTown was run in partnership with many organisations, and was funded by Sustainability Victoria’s Sustainability Fund.

Like art? Read more about our GreenTown Collingwood photo competition for kids here.