Local Nimbin Author of Environmental Ethics Wendy Sarkissian 'Opens the Door' to Community Sustainability, Writes JESSICA KELLETT; Wendy's Kitchen Table Talk: Sustaining Future Communities

Article excerpt

With a fiery passion for the future of work, housing, communities and community engagement, Dr Wendy Sarkissian said it was the contrasting life in suburbia next to an Indian Reservation temperate forest that led to her passion.

While taking a short break from teaching ethics training in Adelaide for the Planning Institute, Wendy spoke of her new book Kitchen Table Sustainability: Practical Recipes for Community Engagement with Sustainability.

Co-written with authors Nancy Hofer, Yollana Shore, Steph Vajda and Cathy Wilkinson, the community engagement and sustainability book 'opens the door' to the theory and practice of sustainability in people's everyday lives.

"Top-down approaches close the door to ordinary people who, sitting at their kitchen tables, feel unable to have the informed conversations about sustaining our futures that every household needs to have," Dr Sarkissian said.

"This book provides both conceptual and practical tools for those working for and with communities who want to build a knowledgeable and truly sustainable society."

Dr Sarkissian, who is known well for her humour, grew up in the 'boring suburbs' of Vancouver, Canada, with identical houses and no trees, and found her refuge in the Capilano Indian Reservation, a second-growth temperate forest.

"These two influences brought me to this book," she said.

"And all five of us (authors) were concerned the community was being locked out of the sustainability debate."

Although the book took about a year and a half to collaborate, Dr Sarkissian said the five authors were spread across the continents from Nimbin and Brisbane to Sweden and Canada but through Skype and the internet they were able to work together on the project. …