It is 7pm and it starts getting dark in the village of Orbais, in Belgium. Inside the house of my parents, there is a cozy and warm atmosphere with the fire burning in the fireplace. Snacks are ready and chairs are set up in one big circle. My sister and I are so excited because tonight 15 people will come to built a common dream and a self-assessment on the issue of Global Warming!

Climate change is an issue that affects all of us. "IPCC anticipates a warming of 1.1 °C to 6.4 °C (2.0 °F to 11.5 °F) by the end of the 21st century", says Wikipedia. What Wikipedia doesn't say is that an increase of 4° and above endangers human life on Earth. This is serious business. And this is why I personally think we should do something about climate change.

Students, housewives, members of BelCompetence, a consultant on energy use, friends, business people, all introduce themselves and share what they already do to take care of the environment. Some are vegetarian, others take cold showers, buy local products directly from farmers, only use bicycle and public transport, etc. A lot is happening already!

Then, individually participants draw their dream for their village, neighbourhood or community that lives in harmony with the environment and is competent towards global warming. In small groups of 5, everyone share his/her dream and the group draws a common dream on a flip chart. (see pictures)

Then, every group presented its dream in plenary. I wrote down all key ideas that came out of each dream on separate pieces of paper. We then put all ideas on the living room floor and tried to group similar ideas into 'clusters'. From these clusters, we tried to find the practice or strategy that is necessary to reach the dream. It is best to use a verb in the practice because it reflects an 'action' to reach the dream.

Here are the practices that we found:
1. Wake up! (educate and stimulate awareness)
2. Integrate green energy
3. Share experiences
4. Eat local and seasonal food
5. Life together
6. Travel/move around 'green'
7. Take your time/manage your time
8. Consume and exchange only what is essential
9. Value waste
10. Respect and listen to nature

Of course this is not perfect but it is a start. I invite you to do the same exercise at home with your community and improve this self-assessment. You can also try this one out and make an action plan for Community Action Day for instance.

Manue challenged the idea of a common self-assessment. She said: "Why should we develop one self-assessment that can be used anywhere? When a community build its dream and its own self-assessment, it stimulates ownership of the process." I personally think that it is useful for us facilitators to develop one self-assessment that includes all elements of the response as a reference when we facilitate this exercise in communities.

Last night was the first step for me of a long journey towards 'Living in harmony with our environment'.

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Comment by Gaston on March 8, 2011 at 9:19pm
Great Autry! So many opportunities. Please keep us informed on the follow-up of the application. Should we propose something concrete together to the Government of Guyana? They'll be the first to have a true community-driven response to Climate Change that can measure social change over time. Not a bad pitch right?
Comment by Autry Haynes on March 4, 2011 at 3:08pm

I applaud the initiative to arrive at the practices :-) it is useful for many other life competences. kudos to you and team / community members.



Comment by Autry Haynes on October 31, 2010 at 9:11pm
Great initiative, Guyana has adopted a Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) which will be implemented with support from the Kingdom of Norway. At an Agriculture Research Council meeting i suggested that the board should adopt measures that shows it support the national initiative. I was sked to present a proposal to the board and that I did using SALT approach and derived seven practices from the ten AIDS competence practices and theses are:

1. Acknowledgement and Recognition
2. Reduce
3. Re-use
4. Recycle
5. Learning and Transfer
6. Measuring change and adapting our response
7. Ways of working

We discussed the process and I illustrated the first practice of acknowledgement and recognition by discussing the five levels. The meeting agreed that they are at level 2. We defined level 2 as : "We know that climate change exists but not enough to act." The proposal is being considered by a technical team for possible implementation first at the board level and hopefully by institutions of the agrciulture community.

Community Life Competence is trully a practical way of engaging communities into action stimulating local response and ownership.

Members were delighted that the 3Rs were included as practices since these would be critical to ensuring environment competent communities.
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on October 29, 2010 at 8:49pm
Dear Lau,

Brings back memories from last year. A group of young people from a tiny village in Mizoram had a similar dream. In Appreciative Inquiry conference in Nepal last year I was part of the group which had a similar dream. How wonderful it would be for all of us to connect!

Great work! I highly appreciate the way you recycle waste in Belgium. My hi to Manue and Gaetane.

Comment by Gaston on October 29, 2010 at 4:52pm
Great process, wonderful pictures and well written. I really like the practices and they are quite inclusive to me.

I understand Manue's point, but don't forget the huge potential for learning, sharing and connecting groups when we would use one framework. We are not working in isolation in all these communities. Especially for this issue, exchange between groups is crucial and one common framework helps this to happen more effectively and more focused.
Comment by YERUVA ANTHONY REDDY on October 29, 2010 at 2:42pm
It is the issue to be focussed. Congrats for your initiative and my best wishes for your success. This issue needs huge response from every one. Thanks for sharing this and inspring me.
Comment by wiwin winarni on October 29, 2010 at 9:08am
Dear Laurence;

That's great initiation, inspiring..This one again that CLCP and SALT could work at every single issues of our life. Thanks for inspiring this. My self did the same thing. Thanks for inspiring me since I still find some challenging to develop practices to seize out dream.

Thanks Laurence...
Comment by Laurence Gilliot on October 28, 2010 at 2:43pm
Merci à tous ceux qui ont participé à la réunion de hier soir. Les pratiques qui nous avons développé pour faire face au réchauffement climatique et vivre en harmonie avec l'environnement sont:

1. Wake up! (eduquer et éveiller)
2. Intégrer l'énergie verte
3. Partager notre expérience
4. Manger local et de saison
5. Vivre ensemble
6. Se déplacer 'vert'
7. Prendre le temps/ré-aménager son temps
8. Consommer et échanger l'essentiel
9. Valoriser les déchets
10. Respecter et écouter la nature


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