When the winds of change blow, some people build walls…
In Dresden not only the Transition Town Group (Dresden im Wandel) is striving towards connecting activities and ressources. Recently the Greenpeace Group Dresden invited organisations and intiatives to a network meeting. As member of the TT-Group Gregor Scholtyssek participated in this meeting. With his friendly permission we (translate and) publish his report.
Die deutschsprachige Version des Artikels finden Sie hier.
A pleasant get-together of locally active networks and initiatives took place on Wednesday the 21st January in the Greenpeace office rooms. The meeting was relaxed and uncomplicated, therefore much more effective.
The Greenpeace group had invited a diverse range of local sustainability initiatives to meet each other and to see where forces could be joined. Several environmental organizations came alongside various groups like Sukuma e.V., Ufer-Projekte e.V. and the Network of Community Gardens in Dresden, the alternative city tours group, the Transition Town group and local members of the political Samba Band Rhythms of Resistance. A good dozen organizations and initiatives came together and filled up the little Greenpeace office in the Martin-Luther Straße 11 with about 40 people.
However, the atmosphere remained casual – without much planning. The meeting started off with quite a long introduction round. It did not get boring though, as the initiatives did not just introduce themselves but also informed the others about what interesting topics and projects they are involved in right now and what they are planning for 2015.
When all topics where laid out, connections became visible between initiatives and their activities. Some issues were mentioned several times, others were good additions to another topic. Out of this, clusters of themes established. The main topics ranged from soils, coal and extractivism to alternative financial and economic systems. People then could go deeper into the subjects in related groups and envision real actions.
The group I joined in dealt with the spring meeting of G7 Finance Ministers, which will happen in May 2015 in Dresden. My group collected ideas which we want to realize for this event. We do not want to stage an anti-action for a change. Instead we want to use the media attention that goes along with these international meetings to raise awareness for alternative ways towards a sustainable economic system. There are different local groups in Dresden researching alternative economic systems from different angles, who hopefully want to create something for the G7 meeting. The group developed the idea to organize one central and a few decentralized events in different locations in the city. This way nobody needs to organize a full-blown congress. Instead many active people work on small complimentary features, which just need to be collected and made visible by the collective in the end.
Everyone from our subgroup went home with the intention to contact more local actors, ask them about their current activities, connect the dots between the groups and in the best case integrate them into the existing organization process. I decided to compile the informations on our website to keep everyone updated about the current state of the preparations.
Other take home messages
These kinds of network meetings are helping all activists in town. They may initially cause more work to organize, but they are very helpful for coordinating existing undertakings and combining energies, thus saving efforts. In networks it is easier to share helpful information and contacts. And soon you realize with who you can co-create your vision faster, rather than trying it alone.
(first published on 23rd January by Gregor Scholtyssek on Dresden-im-Wandel.de)
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