How Latrobe Valley's community leaders are navigating their way through our Communities Leading Change program and difficult conversations about the climate crisis.
This year, we launched Communities Leading Change (CLC) in partnership with Gippsland Climate Change Network. Based within Victoria’s energy and coal-mining hub, the Latrobe Valley, CLC works with locals to support them to engage their communities around the difficult topics of climate change and energy transition.
Since July, Communities Leading Change has trained over 30 locals in effective conversation and community engagement skills. These community leaders are now facilitating Conversations for Change amongst the wider community and developing their own community engagement projects.
CLC participants during a team brainstorm.
Robin completed his training in August. He has facilitated two Conversations so far with diverse groups of people, such as farmers, local park workers, mechanics and boiler makers who’ve worked for the coal mines. He is now working on his project “The Climate Couch” - he will set up a sofa at farmers markets and town centres and invite people to sit down and have a conversation about climate change and energy transition in the Valley.
Robin grew up in Latrobe Valley. He moved away and travelled for many years but now feels committed to bringing the new perspective he gained through those travels to his local community in the Valley.
Robin is currently working on "The Climate Couch" project.
"One thing I’ll always remember from this program is not everyone needs to hear my opinion. I’ve realised the importance of listening and building empathy without the ego getting in the way. I’ve recognised when I’m listening others feel respected and they are more willing to respect and listen to me.
"Listening has helped me have better conversations with my dad, who has so far been skeptical about the whole issue. Climate change comes up in conversation much more now. He seems more open to different possibilities because he’s been able to speak his mind.
"Through facilitating my Conversations for Change I gained confidence and trust in myself and saw that people were willing to engage with this issue constructively. Another thing I’ve appreciated about the program is that it brings people together who are equally concerned but are feeling a bit alone and helpless. By doing this it gives us more confidence and encouragement to do something and get amongst the community more."