On the Sunday before the election I participated in the Walk Against Warming in Newcastle. I started thinking about the levels of community engagement and wondered how was the walk related to community engagement.
Ignoring the fact that it is an initiative of a voluntary group (and thus totally reliant on community engagement), to what extent is a walk like this an example of community engagement. I imagine it is an example of fairly low level community engagement, but it is part of a larger strategy to promote community engagement. The walk allows people the opportunity to express their support for action on climate change, raises awareness of climate change, asserts political pressure in the lead up to the election (all the candidates for the Newcastle electorate were invited to speak and all but the Liberal and Family First candidates were there) and provides a pathway into greater involvement in the broader campaign. I suspect it works at multiple levels, For those who see the walk on TV it is at the level of “inform”, for those walking it is at the level of “involve”, and for those in Climate Action Newcastle (who organised the walk) it is probably at the level of “empowerment”.
For me, the walk was a good opportunity to involve my daughters in thinking about the environment, I was glad to be able to add my voice on the day, and it is one part of my broader commitment to sustainability.