Conversations with a super star
Greg has a background as a teacher, and enjoys his communications role with the Pelican Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group.
We chatted about connecting with community and how Sustainable Neighbourhoods is making a difference in his neighbourhood.
“I like to contribute. I think I owe society and our neighbourhood something. It’s such a beautiful area, and gives me a lot of pleasure to live here.
Volunteering is like saying Thank You to our neighbours, Council, government, the churches, schools and everyone here. Together we all make it quite a magic place.”
Greg, centre, with the Landcare team
“I’ve got a bent towards the environment, so that was my main reason for joining Sustainable Neighbourhoods. We get to see what people wanted to do; what was worrying people, and what was good about our area.”
“I quickly realised that sustainability means a lot more than the environment. It’s got a lot to do with people’s wellbeing. The two are interwoven. People feel good when the environment is healthy.”
“I try and improve things and make a bit of a difference in our neighbourhood. It gives me a way to make a positive contribution.”
“I love the Landcare work we do at Grannies Pool. People ask us what we’re doing and ask about the plants and regeneration work. You can see the results of our work. It makes it a really beautiful place.”
As well as the on-ground work, the group has become recognised in the community as a go-to group and voice for the community.
“People are approaching us now. That’s what I’m most proud of. We’re recognised as a group that has a voice and can make difference. People ask us to represent them and we’re a sounding board for their ideas, opinions and concerns. They have someone to go to with concerns or a pat on the back. People tell us we’re doing a good job.”
Greg with the team at a local Emergency Services expo
“We’ve involved with a lot of local organisations like the Surf Club and a local school. We communicate with each other and attend each other’s meetings. We’ve developed strong relationships with Council staff, and we’ve been able to actually get things done.”
“We’ve been pleased to see the results of our letterbox drop of Responsible Dog Care brochures. There were lots of people having problems with dogs being off leash, poo, barking, you name it. It came up at our meetings, when we did market stalls, all the time.”
“When we did the letterbox drop, we got to talk to lots of people. It meant we got a sense of what people knew about their responsibilities and their concerns. We’ve noticed now that people are being more responsible, and there’s not nearly as many problems as before.”
“The concept of Sustainable Neighbourhoods is fantastic. Ideally it would become a mass movement – permeating through the Lake Macquarie area and spread throughout Australia and the world – That’s the answer to all of our problems.”
“You do feel good about what you’re doing. Just being friendly, caring, reducing waste. If the whole world was like that it’d be a lovely place to live.”
Greg has been a member of the Pelican Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group since it started in 2013, and is the current Secretary.