Newsletter Issue 9, May 2016
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Welcome to the newest issue of Livewell News, the newsletter of the Livewell Clusters project! You can find here information on the Yarra Sustainability Awards, Livewell workshops, new online guide, Climate for Change, Liverpool Street Livewell Group and Michael Chew's photo-voice project.

Yarra Sustainability Awards 2016 - we are nominated!

Livewell Yarra are pleased to be nominated for two categories in the Yarra Sustainability Awards 2016. As a Community Action group we are nominated for our contributions to community education and empowerment for sustainability, and advocacy and awareness-raising for sustainability. Our founder, Rob Salter, is also nominated as a Local Hero who inspires others to take action on climate change.

You can vote for us through the People’s Choice Award, voting closes in a week, on Friday 27th May 2016. Profiles of all nominees can be found on the Yarra Sustainability Awards Facebook page. The winners will be announced at an award ceremony at Collingwood Town Hall on Thursday 2nd June 2016. This is a free event and all are welcome to attend (you can RVSP here).

Research trial ended but Livewell workshops to continue

Whilst the official research trial of Livewell Yarra has concluded, some decarb groups are continuing to convene (now called as Livewell Groups, see below). The successful program of workshops we ran in 2015 will also continue this year – with one about every second month – beginning with a workshop on how renters and apartment dwellers can reduce their carbon emissions (scheduled for late June). Other workshop topics planned for this year include upcycling & repurposing, and sustainable food. Please check for updates on the workshops on our Facebook page and website. If you want to help organise any workshops, please let us know via

E-Guide will enable Livewell to scale up

The Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living is providing further funding for Livewell to produce an online guide to help people around Australia who want to start a Livewell group.

This will be sent to sustainability departments or officers in the 571 local councils across Australia, inviting them to promote the E-Guide in their municipality, so that anyone interested can get together a group of friends, neighbours, work colleagues or others they know and help each other reduce their carbon emissions.

‘Livewell groups’ is the new name for what have until now been called ‘decarb groups’. We have noted, from what decarb group participants have told us in interviews and elsewhere, what they believe has worked in the groups and what can be improved or developed, and this will inform the writing of the guide.

We are seeking people interested in helping with a range of tasks once the E-Guide in distributed, including answering queries, maintaining the Livewell website, facilitating online discussion between members of the new groups. We would also like to hear from you if you want to give us further feedback on your experience in a decarb group or on the plans for an E-Guide. You can contact Rob Salter on 0423 040 209 or via email ( 

Inspiring climate action through Climate for Change

Climate for Change is an organisation formed to spread the word about the importance of taking action on climate change. They are currently seeking new members in Yarra and surrounding areas. In their own words:

Climate for Change creates spaces for deep and powerful conversations in our community about action on climate change. We work with people who are sympathetic to climate change or interested in knowing more, but may not have the knowledge or tools to effectively engage with the issue, or who may be turned off by the intensity of the debate that often surrounds it.
Through small gatherings of friends and family in people’s homes, we enable a respectful and meaningful discussion. Our idea was to have each gathering generate at least one more, spreading action for our climate through the community. However, our gatherings so far have been incredibly successful, with two or even three attendees signing up to host their own gathering - this means we need more facilitators to meet the demand.
We are currently recruiting new facilitators to join our existing team and have created a modular New Facilitator Training program, aimed at building your confidence and capability to facilitate effective and moving conversations.
Read testimonials from our existing facilitators about the opportunity to harness your enjoyment of connecting with others into purposeful action for your community and our environment
Conversations among friends and family are one of our most trusted sources of information. By hosting a conversation in your home, you help spread a deep understanding of climate change through the community and create a space for respectful discussion.
Register your interest in hosting a gathering with the people you care about to find out how you can be part of ensuring a bright future for our community and our loved ones.
Feel free to contact Zey Basarin if you have questions about becoming a facilitator via


Liverpool St Livewell Group greens the footpath with Council help

Livewell Group members in Liverpool Street North Fitzroy enlisted the help of Urban Agriculture officers from Yarra Council to set up wicking beds on the footpath.
The council supplied the beds and the group members planted them out with vegetables, herbs and other plants of their choice.

A ‘wicking bed’ is a planter box that has a reservoir of water beneath the soil layer, enabling plants to be watered less often and more efficiently, thus saving water. The water is stored in a layer of scoria or other stones and is drawn to the surface through the process of osmosis, just as a candle wick draws up wax to be burnt.

Yarra Council may be able to install them in your street if your footpath is wide enough. You can contact Kathi Clark-Orsanic, Urban Agriculture Facilitator, about this on 9205 5782 or email

You can also buy wicking beds from garden supply stores or make your own using instructions available online (just Google ‘how to make a wicking garden bed’).

Images below are from the Liverpool St working bee (photos supplied by Fiona Armstrong).

Participants wanted for ‘photo-voice’ project linking people facing climate change across the world

Monash PhD student Michael Chew is working on a project in which photographic and video images of grassroots efforts to deal with climate change in Australia, Bangladesh and China are exchanged between participants in the three localities. In Michael’s own words:

Are you interested in global climate justice and/or photography? Be a part of the ‘Climate Resilience Media Exchange’!
Climate Resilience Media Exchange (CRME) Project Summary

The CRME is a grassroots research project that uses participatory photography and video to explore emerging grassroots responses to global climate impacts across communities in Bangladesh (Dhaka), China and Australia (Melbourne). These local responses, while differing culturally, economically and technically, are often informed by shared social and environmental values as a basis for community resilience. However they often remain both marginalised in their own communities, and isolated from each other. The project will use participatory image-making to support cross-cultural dialogue between these communities, with the intent of promoting mutual learning and magnifying the impact of local project activities.
Your involvement

The project is in early the planning phase and we are seeking interested volunteers for any of:
  • Participation in a photo-feedback trial workshop (June 8th?)
  • Contributing ideas to the design of the Melbourne site’s climate adaptation activities (via phone Tues-Sat)
  • Participation in the project by using photography and/or video to document local climate adaptation/mitigation activities (1st phase due Mon June 27th, 2nd phase due Mon August 1st)
There is also scope for contributing additional ideas into the project if you have them!

  • Photography/Video workshops - Participants photo-document their engagement in local actions
  • Reflections workshops – documenting the participants’ ideas behind their images/video
  • Interviews – gathering stories of change
  • Site exhibitions – public exhibitions of participant photographs to raise awareness.
  • Global cross-site dialogue- Inter-personally through skype, image based through photo exchange/web platform

Photograph exchange trial

Project coordinator Michael Chew will be researching potential local organisations in Bangladesh and China across August-November, and will be taking across a number of trial photographs/videos of community climate resilience actions taken in Melbourne. He is seeking local environmental organisations/groups who would like to submit photographs/videos documenting their activities that could be shared with potential overseas partners.  This trial with help design the project activities next year.
Next steps

If you are interested in being involved, please contact Michael Chew: / 0468 477 874 by Wed June 1st

Example images below from the previous ‘Portraits of Water’ project that informs CRME project:  CRME is being developed as part of a PhD research through Monash University.

Michael's images were exhibited at a photo exhibition at Coburg library in February-March, including these below. The photo on the left is depicting a boy from Panjupara village, 500m from the Bay of Bengal, demonstrating a basic flood safety measure made from collected plastic drinking bottles. The image on the right is Crina from the Livewell core team, inspecting the foam insulation under the floor of their house that has made their house temperature more comfortable and reduced power costs and carbon emissions.
Please like our Facebook page and follow our Twitter channel below to keep up to date with Livewell Yarra via social media.
Livewell Yarra has been trialled and funded through the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Low Carbon Living, in partnership with the City of Yarra, Yarra Energy Foundation and Curtin University.
Copyright © 2016 Livewell Clusters, All rights reserved.

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