Shortly after I moved to Ballarat, a new monthly event started up called “Ballarat Green Drinks” (BGD), which was about getting local like-minded people together for a drink and a chat, with a guest speaker to discuss something related to climate-change. The first ever event was Clive Blazey, executive chairman and founder of Diggers Club seeds who spoke about organic heirloom seeds and the dangers of genetically modified food and corporate greed – it was a fascinating presentation, and I also met some lovely folk so I was hooked. This monthly event became one of the highlights of my social calendar, and still is!
After the first six or so months of Micah Demmert single-handedly organizing each month’s event on his own, he asked the Green Drinks community if anyone would like to help out, and I was quick to put up my hand! We now have a small ‘committee’ to help plan future events, arrange guest-speakers and book venues, put together promotional and marketing material, and keep the Facebook/twitter/website and email lists up to date.
These events are run all over the world, and last Friday, our event was linked up with the “Worlds Biggest Green Drinks” where simultaneous Green Drinks were held all over the globe. Our guest speaker was David Holmgren, who was one of the original co-founders of the Permaculture movement back in 1978 along with Bill Mollison, in nearby Hepburn. David presented “Future Scenarios: How communities can adapt to Peak Oil and Climate Change”.
David’s talk was based on his book by the same name, and was quite a sobering look at possible scenarios for the future of our planet. These were based on whether peak-oil is reached slowly or quickly, with the combination of how mild or catastrophic climate change is. He described the time leading up to this as ‘energy descent’, by looking at the cultural, political, agricultural and economic implications ahead. He maps out four possible scenarios: ‘Brown Tech’ (national; politically/economically driven), ‘Green Tech’ (regional/city-centric; i.e. renewable energy), ‘Earth Steward’ (local community; i.e. permaculture skills) and ‘Lifeboat’ (household; i.e. survival mode).
In such a brief presentation on a complex topic, we were all left feeling a bit “doom and gloom” (and so I’m keen to get hold of his book which goes into this in more depth). However, thankfully some questions from the floor left us feeling a bit more optimistic…what can we do? How can we make a difference? David explained the little steps we make at a grass-roots level really do help. See his little video “How to change the world with permaculture” which gives us more hope.
Friday’s BGD was also the official launch of “Ballarat Climate Action 2014” which is a calendar of events in the Ballarat community about all things green, including BGD, Breaze events, Ballarat Permaculture Guild and more. Check out http://ballaratclimateaction2014.blogspot.com.au/ or like their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ballarat-Climate-Action-2014.
Never been to a BGD before? Scared it’s a room full of hippies? (If it is, you can’t tell). Concerned because you don’t vote for “The Greens”? (We are not affiliated with any political party). I encourage you to come along and see that we are a friendly bunch of varied ages and backgrounds. Each guest speaker has been engaging, interesting, thought-provoking, and each one has their own personal message regarding climate change and the future of our planet, a message that needs to be heard and shared…
Ballarat Green Drinks is held in the first week of the month, and starts at 7pm, so you can turn up and get yourself a name-tag and a drink and make yourself comfortable, then our guest usually speaks at 7:30 for half hour. Then it’s a chance to chat with the folk in the room and have another drink or two…we always encourage everyone to say hi to at least one person they’ve never met before. To keep up to date with future events, follow our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ballarat-Green-Drinks or email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask to sign up to the mailing list or see the website http://www.greendrinks.org/VIC/Ballarat
Hope to see you there sometime, and don’t forget to come up to me and say hi!
Have you been to a Green Drinks even before? If not, what’s stopping you?