<a href="http://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/blogs/julie#">Green challenges</a>

Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Green living is community living

Family walking down a street

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I’ve just come back from a walk to my local coffee shop, with my reuseable mug. After I’ve written this, I’m going to read my community newspaper (which has often got more useful info than the big mainstream papers) and maybe pop in to see my neighbour in the unit behind me to let him know I’ll tackle the weeds in our shared driveway with some boiling water this weekend.

A few years ago, I never would have done any of these things. I only shopped at large shopping centres, I didn’t know my neighbours, and I sprayed my own weeds with some kind of kill-everything chemical blast. I had a comfortable life, but I wasn’t really in touch with the things going on around me.

The old fashioned view of green communities is of hippie communes. These days we’re more likely to think of Transition Towns and eco-villages. But it doesn’t matter if you’re No Impact Man living in New York City or if you’re building an earthship in a country town... making green choices encourages community spirit.

You get to know your neighbours so you can offload your excess zucchini after it took over your vegie patch. You visit the family-run local restaurant to avoid driving so far to eat when you’re feeling too tired to cook. You find ways to share what you’ve got and borrow from the people around you, rather than buying single-servings of everything new. And once you get to know everyone, you want to care for the place you share with them.

I think so many problems that people complain about in our suburbs and cities come from a lack of community engagement. Parents are afraid to let their kids walk to school, waterways fill with rubbish, industrial development takes place on local nature reserves.

But many of these problems are solved by engaged citizens following the old saying of “think global, act local”. You don’t have to join a hippie commune to be a good greenie - you can build your green future right where you are, starting today...