Conducting a Household Sustainable Community Audit

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One of the things that seems to have been reduced (if not entirely eliminated) by our increasingly isolated urban and suburban lifestyle is a sense of community. The benefits for your sustainability, health and psychological wellbeing, of being connected to the wider community outside our door are well documented. But how do you start?

By answering the questions in this audit tool it will give you an opportunity to assess degree of connectedness or otherwise your current lifestyle supports. It may also give you some ideas to increase that level of connectedness which you can build into your overall plan.

You may want to work through the Sustainable Lifestyle Assessment Matrix first to understand the bigger picture of sustainable living or if you just want to focus on “Community” alone give the audit a go. It can be as simple or formal as you like, filling the form out as you go or just running through things in your head and working out where you go from there. I recommend the more formal method so you have a record of where you are starting from which you can come back to later, re-do and get a feeling of how far you have come.

I also suggest that you share this with your family, or the people you are living with, so improvement can be on a united front, after all the “community” who lives in your house is important too.

Instructions

Go through all of the questions one section at a time and mark the number most appropriate for your answer from “always” = 3 down to “never” = 0 by circling, crossing out or whatever. Some questions may appear to support a more yes/no answer so to reflect this it would be best to mark 3 for yes and 0 for no. If the question is not applicable to your situation, strike it out and when counting up the maximum possible number to work out score do not add 3 for that question.  

To calculate your score add up all of the potential answers and multiply by 3 to give the maximum possible score, and then add up all of the scores from your answers. Divide your answer score number by the maximum possible score and multiply by 100, this will give you your sustainable consumption score as a percentage. The number itself does not mean much, but acts as a base upon which to improve.

Review the results with your family, focussing on some of the lower scores and this will help you focus on areas which you wish to improve. This may be as simple as buying clothing second hand more often or making sure you buy environmentally friendly cleaning products; or you may wish to write up a plan so that you can track your progress over time. Either way you may want to run the sustainable consumption audit again every year or two to check over all progress.

The audit is set out in four sections, starting with ourselves and moving outwards into the world.

Part 1 examines some of the personal daily choices we make to support a more sustainable community, the second part looks at how we interface with our neighbours and while doing that whether we support the ideals of sustainable community. Part 3 looks at community building opportunities in our local area and the fourth part look as how we participate in the government process to support sustainable outcomes.

Remember, the numbers themselves do not mean much, but provide a base upon which to improve and help you work out the direction you wish to improve in. The whole point of this exercise is to help you work out where the sustainability of your lifestyle is at currently and then help you make decisions on how you wish to improve it. Hopefully, it could even be fun as well!

 


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