Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ecoburbia Festival - Promoting Sustainable Communities

Steven and I are always putting up our hands to try new things, so it’s not a wonder that we are here at the Narara Ecoburbia Festival, running a stall.  The day started out with a bit of rain but by the time we arrived at the school grounds in Narara it was promising to be a great day.  In addition to the books and a few images, we brought with us the banners we had recently designed and made at Office Works.  They were a great way to quickly transform a space and make it our own.

The festival was soon buzzing. There were an amazing variety of stalls from palm readers and massage therapists, the eco chic stand, loads of great food, entertainment for the kids and information stalls that ranged from environmentally friendly pest control to ecovillages in Tasmania.  Scilla and her partner Trevor were running the Tassie stall and we connected with them both instantly.  Scilla gave us lots of great information about the collaborative arrangements in Tassie and invited us to come visit once we got on the road.  

The keynote speaker at the event was Elizabeth Farrelly and she spoke on the theme of why we need to become village people again –her an alternative to suburbia.  She describes a place that is small, local, walkable, pretty and sustainable. She mentions Ed Glaeser’s definition of the city as “the absence of space between people”, and takes us down a path where I begin to imagine the cute villages in England.  Cafes where everyone knows your name, public art, fountains, places to sit and chat with friends!  While your private space may be a lot smaller, life spills out to the streets, where there is plenty of variety to be found. We had found many such places in our travels in Europe and had loved them. Elizabeth concludes her talk, with a desire to see some of this happening in the ecovillage being built in Narara, and everyone applauds.    

We had an enjoyable day.  We took turns at looking after the stall and when it was my turn to wander, I had loads of fun with my camera. 

Our stall drew quite a few visitors, including Karl Fischer, a visiting professor from Berlin who has come here to do research at UNSW.  Our conversation lengthened and we ended up giving him a lift to Hornsby, and promising to catch up once again before he left for Berlin.  As always, one of the best outcomes of being part of events such as this are the connections you make and the Ecoburbia Festival was no exception!

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