SSI Information

The Shortcut to Sustainability Street provides, guidelines, templates, a sample "note to neighbours " as well as a whole different, optimistic and inspiring take on the "state of the environment", the future and just how exciting being involved in shaping the future is.  True!  Rich, rewarding, life changing.

Download  AboutDaShortcutToSustyStDIO.pdf Version four.1 of the program, informed and evolved throught the experience of hundreds of communities.


Written in 2001, then implemented in the Cities of Moreland Victoria and Wollongong in 2002, the Approach has been evolving ever since. Sustainability Street has now been nourished by the input and experience of more than 250 Sustainability Street Villages fostered around Australia. Participants, known as Streeters or Village People have consistently reported accomplishing three, historiacally important outcomes ...

    1. 30 - 40% reductions is waste, water and energy.
    2. great excitement in devising and undertaking relevant local environment projects
    3. a deep and abiding satisfaction in renewing or making local friendships and connections, including a whole new relationship with Local Government.

Download from the selection of studies, reports, letters and university based long term evaluation and measurement, including ...

  1. Quotable quotes from folks in the villages ... parle` di participants, still being compiled and still to come ... there are so many.
  2. A three year evaluative study by SSA_NAGAFinalEvalReport.pdf which comprehensively reports on 24 SSA Villages including one particular Beacon Village which accomplished a 49% greenhouse gas reduction. A lesson from age old human culture can be drawn ... if they can do it we can do it!
  3. Report on the CaseStudySustySt_Willoughby.pdf in eastern Sydney. A program which embodied the "Sow" phase of the Approach - "reaching out to embrace, model for, teach and influence others ... including the marvellous community noticeboard, below ...

... it is so easy to get involved in, or more precisely to create your own Sustainability Street ... because once the ice is broken ... connecting with each other is deeply hard wired into our most ancient DNA. On the one hand, programs can be delivered by Sustainability Street Institute practitioners while on the other, the Approach has been written to be"independently doable" by any local community.

For locals working non-commercialy in the interests of nature and of community, copyright, IP and moral rights are waived - so long as you stick to some of the basic essences of the Sustainability Street Approach, you take it and you make it your own! The Approach has been comprehensively documented in the Sustainability Street manual; "It's a Village out there" which is available for sale for those who can pay and for free to those who are unable


Nota bene also, the word "street" in Sustainability Street is a metaphor. A Sustainability Street Village can be any group of people who live nearby, go to the same church, meet at the same playgroup, play in the same footy team, etc, and want to get together to explore a whole other way of hanging out and creating a beacon for others.

There are two ways to get involved ... many local Councils have “trained mentors” who work alongside local communities to “guide” them through the quite unique aspects of difference which makes the SSA so effective and rewarding. (refer the evaluation study summary attached)

However, there’s an even better way … at the most basic level, (and very best local capacity building level) communities around Australia are simply gooing the DIY, “doing-it-for-themselves” ... based on the guidelines, resources, steps and stories of other communities in the Sustainability Street Manual. Go the google on Winston Hills in Western Sydney, a classic DIY Sustainability Street Village or Randwick, Waverley and Wollahara in the East. Or Hobson's Bay in bayside Melbourne, East Preston, The City of Whithorse, and then there is the East Keilor Sustainability Street Village who have created the very famous Walter Burley Griffin Garden.

      • Download the SSA_Evaluation_by_Victoria Uni
  • How A Sustainabilty Street Village forms and grows - a storyboard

G'day Brad,

Attached, the 100 words you wanted about the Sustainability Street Approach (SSA), to advertise the session at the Hub.   Except, 100 words are too few ... and the next 12 are perfect ... the Sustainability Street Approach is whatever a group of people make it.  Of course, there's support along the way!  The SSA Manual outlines a solid environmental education and community strengthening structure ... guidelines, insights, templates, case studies, ideas, activities cemented by the power of passion, humour and taking the time.  But, the jewel in the Sustainability Street Crown, is what we localise and invent for ourselves ... to share with the world.  This provides bottomles, hidden, intangible power.

Indeed, the SSA "feeds our hunger" for the intangibles of life.  The aspects which no one can see or sell or measure, but, which're our most viscerally important human treasures.  The aspects which are life's juice, energy, motivation, reason, X factor ... such as love, meaning, friendship, joy, belonging, pride, honesty, respect, etc.  As well as the all important intangibles, the SSA has strong intellectual rigour (not that the two are mutually exclusive, quite the opposite!  Synergystic in fact.)  ... as reported in a three year longitudinal evaluation study by the Victoria University.   This study documents outstanding environmental, community building, behaviour and culture change results. 

All measured and palpable ... which ... alongside the intangibles ... well … va, va, va, vooom!


The Sustainability Street Approach is a local, social response to the crisis ... a grassroots driven template which has been developed over 20 years and continues to be developed with the input, stories and involvement of Sustainability Street Villages all over Australia. The Sustainability Street Approach is very much a part of the "Blessed Unrest" phenomena described by Paul Hawkens and in which he describes a magnificant global, diverse, non-ideological grassroots movements as ... "the Earth's immune response" kicking in! Nice ... or what?

Broadly, Sustainability Street is a manifestation of what Paul Hawken describes as "the Earth's immune system kicking in".

Paul is the author of Blessed Unrest, a catalogue of the perhaps hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of small, local groupings of people who are coming together to live differently and work toward more authentic communities and ecological sustainability.

Check this YouTube of Blessed Unrest. click, view and be INSPIRED!

So, apart from being an aspect of the manifestation of the greatest global movement in human history, as described by Paul Hawken ...

What Else, Specifically, is the SSA?

1. Deep Sustainability
2. Dynamic Capacity Building
3. The 1, 2, 4, 8, 5, 2, 3!

And, as well as that it's also about ...

  • The comprehensive, how to Manual ... "It's A Village Out There"
  • Southern Cross ofOptimism
  • the ecological finger•print - appraised and endorsed by David Suzuki.
  • The Train the Mentorprogram
  • Stories of other communities around Australia

Selection of Items from the Sustainability Street Glossary,

  • Beacon Communities. A Sustainability Street Village, who by the very fact of getting together and living differently, out there in the ‘burbs, have the potential to viscerally influence both local and wider culture. Think model behaviour, fashion and the deep, core human imperative of social emulation for survival upon which we have relied on for millennia of millennia.
  • Definition of Sustainability Street … at one end of the spectrum, a basic training program in sustainable living around the home and the neighbour hood, through to, at the other end of the spectrum, whatever the imagination of a local group of people dreams up …. And some extraordinary dreams have been realised all around Australia by Sustainability Street Villages.
  • Transformation … and fostering in the community a re-evaluation of aspirations, culture and behaviour, drives from two aspects
    • Deep Sustainability: The SSA goes way beyond 101 tips, guilt, fear, and the soapbox. It thoroughly fosters optimism and imagination. Deep sustainability is wound up in the so called 1, 2, 4, 8, 5, 2, 3; the framework or core of the SSA, as enunciated below.


    • Dynamic Capacity Building: Self identification and a sense of belonging are powerful sociological and psychological human drivers. A growing contingent of people are concerned and want a visceral, authentic, practical, effective and enjoyable path to travel to reach ecological sustainability. Noted US sociologist, Robert Putnam, an influence in the development of the SSA has said that in the USA more people watch friends than have friends. The Australian corollary might be that more people watch neighbours than talk to the neighbours. Yet social epidemiologists tell us that local social connections can add ten healthy years to lifespan. The relationships that local people build and cherish provide the foundation for hope, imagination, comradeship and above all – amazing environmental accomplishments … and a fantastic model for others – the so called SSA Beacon Community!

The 1, 2, 4, 8, 5, 2, 3 of Sustainability Street;.

  • One purpose … Coming Home
    • Peter Dombrovskis, photographer to the Franklin River said“people think that going to the wilderness is getting away from it all. It’s not. It is coming back to it all, back to what is meaningful …
    • The SSA weaves the protection of and wonderment at the miracle of Biological Diversity through its entire corpus being, that and promoting reconnecting physically with nature …
  • Two Greatest Imperatives In All of Human History
    • To get along better with each other, locally and globally … and to get along much better with all other life forms, again, both locally and globally …
  • Four Iterative, self informing, locally owned and nourishing stages of personal and group growth and accomplishment
    • Mulch, Grow, Harvest, Sow … or … learn, do, celebrate teach.
  • Eight Principles
    • Such notions as … spurning the doom and gloom, seeking out the good news, avoiding the holier than thou soapbox and taking time to contemplate a clean, green, sustainable future … because we have to believe it to see it.
  • Five Beacons/blockers
    • The SSA has synthesised the whole, complex environmental “debate” to five broad domains … which are beacons if we choose to act, blockers if we ignore.
  • Two Conduits … think local and believe deeply in our capacity to influence others
  • Three Areas Of Daily Focussed Effort … waste, water and energy … we all make dozens, scores, hundreds of Earth Decisions every day, week, month … waste, water and energy are at the root of every decision and connected to the giant natural systems.

Other empowering, optimistic and inspiring aspects of theSSA;iavot book …

  • The Learning Shortcuts; conserving waste, water and energy smarter, not harder!
  • The Southern Cross of Optimism: five huge, axiomatic and uplifting reasons for hope.
  • Theecologicalfingerprint(appraised and endorsed by Dr. David Suzuki)
  • The coming home stories, insights into nature that would even bring a tear of joy to David Attenborough’s eye.
  • The wikiSSA, the accompanying website (underway) which will be based on web 2 social network and virtual community technology, allowing people to educate, inspire and broadly engage on line

How can it be on the one hand, that the enormity of human disruption to the great natural systems of the Earth, such as climate damage, biodiversity loss, waste mountains, etc, seem to worsen on a daily basis despite our intelligence, science, art & academia, as well as the huge resources of government/commerce/industry?

On the other hand and in stark contrast, what is the secret behind Sustainability Street Villages achieving 30 - 50% reductions in waste, water and energy.  Alongside a lifelong commitment to learning about and creating imaginative local solutions for the Earth?


Prof. Graham Pearman, former chief scientist with the CSIRO, opines that "there is a huge gulf between the science and the policy".  Graham calls for a new emotional/cultural stategy for behaviourchange.

A recent New Scientist Magazine reports on a "psychological study" called Good Neighbours ... and finds that...DEEP down, most of us want to fit in with the crowd, and psychologists are exploiting this urge to conform to encourage environmentallyfriendly behaviour. (bit Orwellian perhaps ...)

And then, there's the great Paul Ehrlich (Stanford University, "ThePopulation Bomb"), one of the first to alert the world to theeco-crisis in the 1960s, alongside Rachel Carson and the Club of Rome.   Ehrlich says ... in essence, nothing serious is being done – as exemplified by the 'much talk and no action' on climate change.  Like Graham, Paul too is urging a return to our deep species being and re-connection with each other ... as the secret to creating a sustainability led culture - before it's too late. 

This is Why the Sustainability Street Approach has a role in our "wickedly complex", multi-faceted challenge to live more authentically witheach other and to get along way better with all the other species and natural forms. We can just let the future happen, or we can take steps now to shape it.

That's Why!

So see what Paul Erlich has to say about the pace of change in human culture and society ...



ABC documentary

Thinning of the northern ice, melting of the permafrost,

Increasing release of Methane,

Twenty Five times more potent than carbon dioxide 

Tipping point,

Un-controllable, runaway climate change.


Such serious news!

Now, at last things will change.

Our culture, society, economy ... and life as we know it,

Will palpably change.

For the better. 


Three years later,

Pretty much business as usual,


The great Oz scientist Robin Willams, again the ABC,

Tells of the METHANE BURP,

The Clathrates! 

Earth was so clever storing so much carbon in the deep, deep, depths of the oceans.

Damn shame the portents of Earth's indigestion!

Burp ... 

The clathrates are coming, the clathrates are coming, quick, quick, do something!!