It is not enough to say or to think that we want things to change. We all have to act to drive change forward in real and tangible ways. Living by the mantra – act local, think global – we can all work to make our world a better place. First step? Host a local community event.
Strengthening community is key to climate change mitigation and adaptation. It is crucial in enabling the transition to a sustainable, zero-carbon, zero-waste future. But to create the strong and resilient communities we need for a better society, we need to work collaboratively, cooperatively and from within. We need to truly be an integral part of a community to play a role in driving it towards a better future.
Sustainability begins at home. But moving beyond the confines of our own homes and gardens means that we can go even further, and make even more of a positive difference. Host a local community event and you could achieve some truly remarkable things.
First things first, it is important to look at your community closely and carefully. By observing your neighbourhood and its people, you can begin to identify areas where resilience falls short.
Where are there fragilities in the systems? What is unacceptable? Which elements are unsustainable? What can and can't endure?
Think about what makes a community, and what makes a community that can stand the test of time. Ask yourself who makes up your community. And consider what the community needs.
When it comes to working out why you might host a local community event, it is important not to take a 'one size fits all' approach. No two communities are the same. So the aims and goals of an event will be different for different communities.
However, here are just some of the reasons why you might be able to change things for the better by hosting a community event. You might aim to:
The first and most important thing to remember when planning a local community event is that not everyone will have the same goals as you. Local communities will often consist of a wide range of different people, with a wide range of different perspectives. Unfortunately, over time, a lot of the old bonds that formerly tied strong communities together have been lost. Often, our neighbourhoods are full of people we do not know, and there may be little sense of traditional community at all.
Geographical proximity won't necessarily immediately give people the same perspective on life. But one of the key goals for a sustainable, resilient community is building bonds back in. Your goal should be to work towards a local community that does have a range of shared goals and ideals and a strong plan for how things should look moving forwards.
Building a local community with shared goals involves knowing that community inside out. Before hosting a community event, you really should do your research. Try to talk with as many different local people as possible – over fences, in shops, in the street, or online forums. You need to know what you are starting from to begin to steer things the way you feel they should go.
Try to get the perspectives of people you might not ordinarily hear from. Try to speak to people of all ages, backgrounds etc.. Everyone has something to offer – even if they don't yet know how to be a force for good in this world.
Divergent values are an increasingly prevalent issue in today's world. And finding shared goals will not always be easy. But by taking a slow and steady, considerate and respectful approach, we can often find common ground.
It will often take time to create communities with shared goals. But community events can help to increase the chances that you can do so effectively and fairly.
A successful community event is not something that you can just throw together overnight. You should consider following these stages as you set about planning your event:
You might email, or use social media or other local online forums. Be sure not to neglect word of mouth as a tool to spread ideas and information. Think about places such as coffee shops, grocery stores, religious buildings, and the school gates, where members of a community often come together.
Make sure you get the word out, as enthusing people about your ideas and the particular event in question is essential for a good turn-out.
Good planning and preparation before the day itself will go a long way towards ensuring that it is a success. But here are some more tips to help you make sure the day itself goes as well as possible:
These are just a few things to think about. Planning a community event is not rocket science. It is something anyone can do with a little time and effort. So if you want to make a difference, contribute to a green recovery, and build a resilient, sustainable, ethical community where you live, then you should consider hosting an event in your area.