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February 2012


1. Sustainable communities

2. New sustainability group in Berlin - a report by Verena

3. Get active!

4. We got active

In this newsletter you will read about sustainable communities, which are composed by a group of people who care a great deal for the place they live in and who want to take action to make it more sustainable.
A new group has just been created in Berlin! Find out more about it in Verena's report.
Get active: join your local sustainable community or create your own!

1. Sustainable Communities

A sustainable community organises local group activities and events to promote a more sustainable world. Its members think global and act local:

  • they organise group meetings to discuss and share information about topics related to sustainability
  • they take action locally, promoting activities with an impact on the ecological, social and economic situation
  • they collaborate with other local hospex and/or sustainability groups

The big advantages for the members of a sustainable community are: being part of a group, getting involved in a process of learning and teaching, and organising actively fun, interesting and fulfilling activities.






The existing communities, that are directly related to Sustainable Couch, are:

  • Vienna: created in November 2009, it already celebrated two years of successful activities. Here you can find the Annual Report 2011.
  • Bratislava: created in 2011, it organises Free Box events in the local CouchSurfing group. Here you can see a few pics.
  • Berlin: the newest group, founded in January 2012

2. New sustainable community in Berlin - a report by Verena

How to get engaged in Berlin? Many greetings from the German capitol!
My name is Verena and I founded the CouchSurfing-Sustainability-Group in Berlin in January this year after I found out about all these innovative and sustainable projects in our neighborhood that need our engagement and I wanted to help by spreading the information. So I decided to talk to the project-organizers and after getting all the background information I organized a Kick-Off-Walk for the newly founded group. I named the walk “Sustainability Trends and Urban Pioneers: good or bad? Who knows!” because I wanted to present the projects without judgment but rather encourage questions and discussions about how to get active within communities.I was surprised but happy that more than 30 people signed up for and actually came to the Kick-Off-Walk although it was freezing outside. We visited different projects on a 3 hour walk and finally had coffee and homemade cake at a community cafe.
Yet what kind of projects am I talking about? Here are some examples:
1) The initiative “Obstbäume für den Görli” planted fruit bearing trees in one of
Berlins most popular parks for everyone to enjoy the fruits and to actually care
for the trees in order to get some sense of community back to the heavily
overused Görlitzer Park.






2) We also visited a "Give-Box" and talked about the concept of the
“Umsonstläden” in general and which you can find all over Berlin. A Give-Box
can be compared to a Free-Box but with a location, so you can leave things in and
take them away for free. Here you find a video about the Berlin Give-Boxes.
3) We also paid the community "Wagenburg Lohmühle"a visit and found out
how to support them. Wagenburgen are actually spaces within Berlin that are
occupied by an alternative communities although nowadays most of these places
do have signed a legal rental agreement.
As there was so much interest in the walk and I received many e-mails asking if I could do this again I thought about doing the walk again and recording it including interviews with the project organizers and putting it online for download on my website. So far I did not manage to finalize the website but created a facebook-account and if you are interested audio-walk you will find the according link there.
The website will be dedicated to make finding and joining meaningful activities easier
since I think that many possibilities of getting involved exist but sometimes they are not as easy to find. And while traveling I find it even more rewarding to really be a part of the community I visit by volunteering - even if it is just for an hour.
Though what is the plan for the Berlin-Sustainability-Group? Good question! We will find out at the next and first real meeting on Sunday, 4th of March for a vegan “Schlemmer” brunch and sustainable ideas. Hope to see you!
Many thanks to Kristine Müller for providing the photos!

3. Get active!

  • Join a local community!
  • If you don't live in Vienna, Berlin or Bratislava and don't find any sustainable group in your place, create your own community! How?
    These 5 steps can help you. These are some general guidelines which can direct you towards creating a sustainable community in case you don't know exactly how to begin. Every person is different and can follow his/her own rules and ideas, but especially in the beginning, having some suggestions can be very useful.

4. We got active

Yes, we got and are still getting active to celebrate 1 year of Sustainable Couch in March. We don't want to reveal you how right now. So, be patient until the next newsletter, where you will find a few surprises :-)

Take action, start now!

Sustainable Couch Team
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