During 2007, the Change Agency collaborated with the Queensland Conservation Council to support and energise Brisbane communities around climate change. Eight climate change campaigners keen for first-hand experience in community organising were recruited as The Big Switch campaign team. As well as being a timely project to galvanise pre-Election community action, it was an excellent opportunity to apply and further shape our community organising tools and frameworks.
What are people saying about us?
Isaac Astill, Divestment Campaigner, 350.org Australia
Stu Bowen, Environmental Manager (Australia & New Zealand) Patagonia International Inc.
Alana West, Quit Coal organiser
Simone van Hattem
Thea Ormerod, Australian Religious Response to Climate Change
Peter Callender, Quit Coal
Dave Muhly, Sierra Club
What began at Pittwater as a collection of skilled campaigners became a cadre of skilled organizers by the final day at Baden Powell. On Sunday evening as we gathered, I overheard one participant chatting with another at a picnic table and heard, "challenge, choice, outcome" as part of her conversation. Another commented at the final circle at how what had seemed like such a large group at Pittwater now seemed like a much smaller group, reflective of how closely this group had bonded as a team despite their vast differences in geography or organizational size or style, but based on a common goal and identity. Concepts like "building teams" and "building relationships" were part of the normal parlance and just a cursory review of the evaluations to date show an increased appreciation for and attention to leadership development and strategic planning. A number of participants reminded me of my off-the-cuff set of definitions about the differences between mobilizing, campaigning and community organising (focusing on local power), and one told me she has it on the wall of her office to inspire her every day. This has been the successful launch of an ambitious and visionary program. Many thanks to James and Kate for their vision, wisdom, and care in developing and nurturing the curriculum and the cohort. Kudos!
Bob Bingaman, Sierra Club National Organizing Director
There is no better place to learn the craft of organizing, then immediately apply those learning to today’s most relevant climate and environmental campaigns, than the Community Organizing Fellowship. The program is an in-depth immersion into the craft of grassroots organizing. Going through this program will transform campaigners and how they think about and implement campaigns which build grassroots power to achieve significant environmental victories.
Cherry Muddle, Australian Marine Conservation Society
Leigh Ewbank, Yes2Renewables coordinator
By creating a ‘community of practice’ of organisers, those behind the fellowship have shown strategic leadership. The relationships the program has cultivated (within the cohort and between alumni) will pay dividends.