At Bluestocking, we think it's important to link actions at different levels, including individual lifestyle changes,community-level change, and advocacy for broader structural change. It's important to consider action in each of these areas because they're mutually supportive. Broad structural change helps people to make better choices in their own lives: for example, it's easier to shift from driving to cycling and walking if the government has been encouraged to build more cycle lanes and develop a healthy public transport system. Similarly, taking action at a community level helps to support individual lifestyle change, and helps to provide models of alternative models for food production, consumption, and distribution. Developing an action plan is a good way to start shifting towards the world as you'd like to see it. Some tips for creating an action plan include:
- Think about what's realistic for you.
- Frame your goals positively, rather than negatively. Remember, anything that you're committing to doing you're doing because you care, and because it will make your life and your community better. When you're working out your goals, keep your motivations in mind. Will the action help you to feel happier? Healthier? Will it save you money? Will it help you to feel more connected to the people around you?
- Be specific: if you've chosen to do something like read an article or write a letter to an MP, give yourself a due date. If you're going with something like, “eat more vegetarian meals”, give yourself a specific number or rule, for example: 'I will make a vegetarian dinner five nights a week', or, 'I'm going to stick to vegetarian food on Mondays'.
- Think about how the people around you can help you to achieve your goals. This could mean sharing your action plan with your partner, housemates, or friend.
During the workshop, participants shared useful tools and information. There were some great ideas for campaigns and organisations to get involved in, including:
- Live Below the Line: Live Below the Line is an education and fundraising campaign that will be happening around Australia from the 2nd – 6th of August 2010. During this time, participants will feed themselves for just $2 a day to increase understanding of the obstacles faced by those currently living in extreme poverty, and to raise money for life-changing education programs.
- The Animal Advocates Australia website has some excellent resources for finding out more about animal rights and suggestions for how to take action. There's also a campaign running at the moment against caged eggs being sold at supermarkets: as well as emailing the relevant ministers, you can take part by asking your local supermarket to stop stocking caged eggs.
- There are also plenty of organisations and resources to help you get started on food gardens at home or in your local community: the permaculture WA website or City Farm are good places to start looking.
- The Good Grocery Guide website provides ideas on how to shop more ethically, including an online guide to different products.
Have I missed something? Feel free to share ideas and resources in the comments!