Kate: Last weekend the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens was home to the second GREENFEST, Australia’s largest free green festival. Opening on World Environment Day, Greenfest is a grassroots event sponsored by Brisbane City Council that aims to be a green leadership event of global significance. Festival goers can view exhibits from green focused industries, government and community groups as well as be entertained and challenged by music acts, film, artwork, local and international speakers.
At this years festival I noticed a common thread running through presentations was the promotion of grassroots collective action via internet based social networking. Workshops and exhibits in a big top called the ‘Converga Green Economy Hub’ included:
- A workshop by Graham Readfern from The Courier Mail’s Green Blog on the amorphous world of environmental blogging where he is able to interact with readers and highlight some of the stories around sustainability that don’t make it into the mainstream paper.
- Launch of a brisbane based social networking site ‘supergreenme‘ that takes “a user generated and social networking approach to greening the world”
- Promotion of networking web sites where community gardeners and local foodgrowers can share information and even exchange produce in an online marketplace. [Check out http://brisbanelocalfood.ning.com/ and http://www.cityfoodgrowers.com.au ]
- Participants at a Transition Town Workshop were directed to the Brisbane Transition Hub which is the online forum for residents interested in applying the UK based Transition Town framework for collective action aimed at making neighbourhoods and towns sustainable in the face of climate change and peak oil.
This demonstrates to me that Greenfest achieved its aim “to create a marketplace of change” and “facilitate networks for environmental leadership”. It also demonstrates the degree to which action on environmental issues is being led by grassroots initiatives facilitated by the incredible networking opportunities afforded by the World Wide Web.