Richard Telford heard about Loomio from a friend at a local food swap in Seymor, Australia. His friend happened to be Carl Scarse, who several weeks ago posted this on our Facebook page:
Carl and Richard know each other through the Intentional Community, Commonground, where Richard lived for about five years. The community began in the 80s in response to a need for support, resources and networks for social change activists. Today, Commonground is a co-operatively living community of activists and people concerned with living lightly on the earth, sharing resources, and supporting social change groups. Rather cool.
It follows, we suppose, that Richard is passionate about people and their relationship with the earth. He’s a pretty great guy. A graphic artist by trade, he designed and set up the Permaculture Principles website, together with the founding father of the movement – David Holmgren. He wants to bring people and community to permaculture. He thinks that while permaculture practitioners are determined and focused on getting things done, there is still a lot of work to go in engaging and building the wider community. That’s where he (and we!) thinks Loomio comes in.
So, with the idea in mind to extend permaculture principles to the wider community, Richard and his family moved from Commonground to Seymour, where he ‘rebuilt’ his own home as a low cost demonstration of sustainable living (we told you he was a great guy). Abdallah House is designed to meet most of the family’s basic needs – they collect most of their own water, generate their own electricity and grow their own food – using less than one fifth of the energy a typical household does. He hopes that his home will be an inspiration to others, showing that it is possible to live sustainably and at a relatively low cost: as he says, “change can happen now, where we live – the tools that we need are here, you’ve just got to look for them.”
Richard is also on the committee for BEAM: Mitchell Environmental Group, a voluntary organisation, whose principal aim is “to protect and care for our natural environment for a sustainable future”. The committee are looking for ways to engage with their 100 or so members, who up until now have not been heavily involved in any decision-making. Richard would like to use Loomio to create and encourage discussion with the larger group, build trust and to “continue the conversation”, whilst avoiding a veritable email swamp. He reckons there is room for replication of systems which work, such as his sustainable house, but first there needs to be much more focus on community-building. He believes that “consensus decision making processes offer a way to engage with a group that allows everyone to take ownership of the task at hand”, and that Loomio may be one of the ‘missing links’ in the field of permaculture. Exciting stuff!