28 Jan Active Citizen Award
This past weekend on Australia Day, I was awarded the WA Premier’s Active Citizen Award for Fremantle!
It’s an honor and feels amazing to be recognized for the volunteer work I have done over the last 3.5 years. I love the community I live in, and I wanted to do something to really enhance sustainability and sustainable living in our already active community.
After moving back to Fremantle after two years away, I remember trying to find ways to get involved in the community. I was looking and searching for organisations to join and volunteer opportunities. There was so much good stuff happening, but it was hard to find out where and how to connect with sustainable businesses and organisations.
I decided to create a Sustainability Directory for Fremantle. This was the start. The online directory lists sustainable businesses and organisations and events so community members can find them. Freo Green Guide has been an entirely volunteer run project and has grown over the three years with over 25,000 people visiting the site and an active Facebook Page.
From the Online Guide came The Good Map – an eco and ethical walking map for tourists and locals alike. With support of the City of Fremantle, 7000 free copies have been printed and 6000 distributed for free so far.
The two other volunteer projects that I was nominated for were coordinating Freo Living Smarties over the past year, a free community group with monthly sustainability workshops and speakers. And two years of the Fremantle Biodiverse Verge Competition – encouraging, educating and celebrating water-wise and Biodiverse planted verged in our community.
When I look back at these projects, they were a lot of hard work, but they were all a labor of Love. I decided a number of years ago that Sustainable living was something I want to make practical, accessible and supported especially in the community where I live, so I jumped in and created these initiatives.
The most important thing to come from this recognition, is just the reminder that we need active citizens in our communities. No matter what your passion is – be it sports, the ocean, teaching children, gardening there is always something you can do to contribute to the place where you live.
If you have nothing to join that your passionate about – Create something!
If you don’t have time to take on something big, do small things. Be friendly to your neighbors, share surplus fruit and veg from your garden, attend community events, shop from local stores.
All of these acts are active citizenship and this is what makes up the strength in the fabric of our communities.
I encourage you to think beyond just your home and family into the bigger community that you are apart of.
Look for both what you can gain from it and also what you can give back to it.