Thursday, December 24, 2009
Yeh so the climate talks showed us that it will take more than a bunch of world leaders talking to change the world. I'm sure deep down we all knew that! Yes I know my travel has also contributed to the problem and I am working on a long term plan to reduce this, however, since I am traveling I am committed to enjoying that great privilege while it I have access to it and to cherish the opportunity to share it with my family.
We all recently made a trip to a quiet coastal town not too far from Melbourne. What a great way to unwind! What a find! Of course the place we visited had been discovered and already the small weatherboard holiday houses were being gradually replaced by gigantic edifices of concrete and glass for the urban rich, however the place remained quiet and pleasant. I saw no grafiti whatsoever and we managed to walk a full 1.5km along the main street without encountering a car!
We visited a Hedge maze and discovered they had a meditative labyrinth which was another great way to unwind.
A short trip on a local ferry brought us to anothe beautiful and secluded part of the world that I could easily become acustomed to living in!
A visit to an old Chicory farm on a quiet rural Island and some wonderful encounters made this a favorite trip for all of us! We sampled some Chicory and ate scones... Yum!
Freedom for the spirit away from the rock and roll! Away from the agro and fumes in the full breeze of the southern ocean, home to the penguines and seals! No towns no haste. The gusty winds blow...
Oh I really liked it in that place. What better way to spend Christmas. Simply, quetly, in the fresh air with family.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
OK the guys an anarchist, and yes judging by his writing he may be prone to alcohol induced romanticism, however the theory appears pretty sound to me!
It's been pretty clear that in this age our sense reason and compassion for our fellow human beings or any other species is tempered by our rationale as 'Shareholders'. Is this the result of a World
There was once a time when we went to work, received our wages, paid our bills and if we were lucky saved a little in a bank account for a rainy day. We might have run our own business . Maybe we took a loan from the bank for a house and that was about the extent of many people's knowledge of the financial system. The Evil still existed but we were separate from it. We didn't respond to ethical issues by first asking will this affect my investment returns. We judged right and wrong based on our ethical standards which were generally founded in the tenants found in most religions. Personal responsibility, and a sense of justice and equality with the way we treat other human beings. The banks used to appear to be ethical, but now they don't even bother trying.
Back in the 60s and early 70s people caused all sorts of problems because they voiced their opinions based mainly on their moral convictions or how a particular situation affected them personally. I imagine this caused huge problems for exploitative companies whose only interest was in making lots of money. So someone came up with the most ingenious idea, I'm sure it came something like this...
"How do we deal with these plebs? The Unions have too much power! The bleading hearts are interfering with our profits! If this was Bolivia or China we could get rid of them! How are we going to deal with all these assholes and Greenies who are getting in our way?..."
Then someone at the back of the room says... "Make em all shareholders!"
Of course this would have caused some concern in the board room but the beauty of the plan would have won out...
If you can't beat them... Conscript them! And so somewhere in a back room in Canberra some papers were shuffled, bills were passed, regulations removed, and somewhere along the line we were committed to a system of self funding our retirement and becoming THE MACHINE.
Combine that with the idea that anyone can make a fortune from realestate and you've created a nation of Money Hungry Bread Heads! Our Moral Compases tossed to the wind or hocked at Cash Converters for a fist full of Futures! I used to avoid the poker machines because I found the atmosphere repulsive... Now that same sense of greed and obsession with wealth can be found in any home... These days if people aren't talking about the value of their stocks they're speculating on the value of their home. Or if they're a 'truly successful' kind of person, they'll be bragging about the value of their 'Investment property'! Unfortunately I find that all
If you want out of this system there are other options. While you're deciding what good purpose you can use your money for, maybe you could leave it with Ethical Investments for a while... At least they won't be shooting - - - - - - - - or Bulldozing the last of our Old Growth Forests with your money. It shouldn't be too hard to change super funds.
Check out what Tom Hodgkinson has to say about the banks over at The Idler.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Here's an interesting statement they made:
Saturday, December 12, 2009
So with all the drama and fear around the environmental crisis and potential economic collapse how do we prevent total social breakdown?
Maybe we just need to wake up, read the writing on the wall and begin preparations for our Transition to a different way of living.
Let's not resign to Cormac McCarthy's 'Road'. There may yet be a way...
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wherever you are on Saturday 12th December: Walk Against Warming!
If we are concerned for the welfare of future generations, and in fact our own, if we do not stand now and raise our voices loud enough to be heard above the noise made by big polluters with their cashed up Lobbyists and army of naive climate Skeptics then we will lose the opportunity to prevent a catastrophe far worse than the 'global recession'.
If you live in Darwin then here's where it's at:
5pm Sat 12 Dec
Sat 12 Dec
Nightcliff Jetty and along the foreshore
Thursday, December 10, 2009
If you live in Darwin and are concerned about Climate Change, if you've heard about the Climate Conference in Copenhagen but are unsure about what it all means or what any of this might mean to you or your future. If you are feeling anxious and don't know how to direct your feelings or connect with others who share your concerns, you might like to come along to the Climate Vigil that is being held at the Uniting Church in Nightcliff. I went last night and found it extremely rewarding. Although the vigil is being held in a Church it is a non religious format and people of all walks of life are encouraged to come along and share the space.
The event promotional literature says:
"We are hosting a quiet reflective space from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to simply come and share the space and light a candle. Brief updates on the plans for the day in Copenhagen will be posted on the notice board to keep people informed.bring a candle and a rock for the labyrinth if you'd like."
I found the experience quite profound and moving. Taking time to deliberately sit in silences with others was quite a novel idea and allowed me to slow down from my daily routine. However the few words that were read in dedication to the event absolutely shook me and gave me the opportunity to feel and express my confusion, sadness, grief and hope regarding the current situation we all now find ourselves in. To acknowledge this in a safe and friendly environment amongst people who share those same feelings gave me a great sense of ease and piece of mind.
I highly recommend you come along and join the vigil even if it's just for one half hour visit. This is a time for reflection, we are not seeking to solve the worlds problems...
Just to see them and feel them and to acknowledge that they do exist.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Severn Suzuki UN Earth Summit 1992
This is a powerful speech, about the most powerful I have ever heard... We will hear a lot of speeches in the coming weeks, many will be Rhetorical but non committal, some will be no more than lies, others will be similar pleas for sense and compassion to prevail. Will we be inspired by what our own leaders say? If we hear words as meaningful and powerful as these will we take them? Will we act on them or will we let them fall to the ground wasted and lost?
The night was a great success. With a Huge Thunderstorm looming over us about 80 people turned out at the Nightcliff Uniting Church to mingle, share some local food and to watch the video documentary of the No Impact Man.
After following the blog for most of the project year I am a big fan of Colin Beavan and the movement he has inspired. I was so glad to be able to share this with my friends and see their reaction.
Last Month our family attempted the No Impact Week and I have to say we failed dismally... However as far as I am concerned and as Colin has illustrated it is not really a failure. I was able to engage my family with the issues and they experienced a taste of what we might progress towards. As has been pointed out in the book and the blog. The hardest thing about it is Changing a habit! Individual aspects might appear daunting but it is changing a habit that is the hardest thing. Like quitting smoking... I took about 10 serious attempts to quit smoking and each time I busted I felt like I'd failed, but now I've not had a cigarette for about 10 years. Should I be concerned about my failures now? Or can I just be glad I no longer smoke?
COP15 has commenced and I've read a lot of very startling facts in the past week. I know that we will not see the commitment we need to have a meaningful affect on global warming. Actually I doubt these talks will even point the world in the right direction, however I, just like 1,000s of others, will attend rallies send letters, talk to politicians and continue to fight as though it matters and as though a difference can be made. What else can we do?
Right now in Australia there is a resurgence in Climate Skepticism... that is people who don't even believe that Human induced Climate Change even exists! This bizarre denial can actually be found at the highest levels of our own Opposition Government... Or at least they are pushing this banner (possibly because their investment in the Status Quo is so great they can't afford reality to interfere with business as usual). I wonder if those powerful people would be investing in places that come under high risk from the results of climate change. Would they buy property on a low lying Pasific Island? I see no need to engage in this debate, it is only a diversion. They keep introducing ridiculous arguments so we continue to debate whether or not climate chane even exists, I don't see the point ind discussing this or even debating about the variation in climatic readings! The point is that this is happening, our own actions are primarily responsible for it and it is our action that must resolve this global problem. The only question I see as valid is : "Where do we start?"
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I've just participated in the No Impact Week as inspired by Colin Beavan's No Impact Man, Year. Although I couldn't get the whole family on board for every goal the whole thing is about change and mindfulness so even in our failures I would say the week has been a success.
There is still a long way for us to go and each of us will have to come to her own realizations when the time is right. However. The past week has seen less trash, more exercise, healthier food, less processed food, more cycling, more fun with the family, greater awareness of our potential to live softly on the earth!
From 2010 we go into a Transition Decade. A decade of enormous change and innovation. Looking at the innovative drawings my 5 year old is producing I am confident we will see huge leaps in technological solutions to the carbon dioxide problem.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I'd be reading the book but besides being short on reading time and lazy I'm really enjoying listening to it.
If you've delved into the depths of the place I've been advised never to go alone then you may have caught a glimpse of the light that shines from behind the door... But like me you surely haven't kicked the door open or burst through the window!If you had you'd see right through these meaningless rants and move on.
If I were given the choice between the blue pill and the red pill, would the blue pill option still exist?
Soon I must read Moby-Dick... I grabbed the book a couple of years ago when I worked at the Uni Library. They'd closed down the English Department and the book served no purpose to the market driven curriculum. I saw it on a pile of discards and grabbed it. I read a few pages, my jaw dropped in wonder and I quickly stashed it in my bag to bring home and read, some time when I have time... It's been on my book shelf ever since!
Some times when we search for something our looking reveals ourselves to what we seek, the table turns and it sees us, somehow the roles are reversed! like the bird attracted to the tail of a snake that looks like a worm... Where will that book take me? I believe, as has been suggested, it is more than a nice piece of classic literature or a fine piece of period literature or a story about a White Whale or Whaling. I know where it goes but, why must I read it?
There are creatures lurking... Some we have slain more yet remain. Dare we seek them?
Below is a great song by SPLIT ENZ. Just like Tim, I don't want to sail! “…You can jump out midway but whatever made you get aboard in the first place will probably make you get aboard again.” Jed Mckenna
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Well the 350.org events held in 181 countries throughout the world have set a very determined and clear expectation for what many of us are aware is the necessary target for action. However it is highly unlikely that international targets will come anywhere near the commitment necessary for abating Global Warming or runaway Climate Change.
I have heard so many times, from too many people, that we are powerless to do anything about Global Warming, "There's nothing we can do that will make any difference..." there's nothing the average person can do to change the state of the world.
More commonly than not when the subject of climate change comes up I am bewildered by the indignant protagonists from the 'head in the sand' school of thought. "Oh the scientists will come up with something", "It's a lot of crap anyway the greenies just want to stop us driving our cars!"
I think these two remarks are saying is: 'How dare you challenge my illusion! I am happy in my beliefs and I will not have them questioned or challenged by party poopers or rational argument!
Anyway if you're interested in what we can do to make an Impact, assuming that by changing the individual we are changing a part of the world. Affecting those around us, sending revolutionary ripples across the surface of the lake of indifference and turning the tide on the seven seas of apathy!
There are heaps of books, videos and stories offering alternatives to the way we are currently living that would do a lot to help the human race reduce it's carbon emissions help the planet regenerate into the life giving organism we need it to be.
You might like to check out the book No Impact Man. The author Colin Beavan is no enlightened Eco Guru, he's not a scientist or a politician, he's not a spiritual leader and he doesn't hold any mystical secrets! He doesn't always get it right, he is not perfect. He's just an ordinary guy who decided he'd have a go at reducing his impact on the planet and proved that it not only can be done but it can make life even more enjoyable... Believe it. Or not.
After reading the No Impact Man Blog for about 2 years I was very keen to read the book when it was published. It has been and I ordered 2 coppies which arrived in the post about 2 months ago. They are now in circulation among my friends and are destined for a couple of local libraries. There is plenty we can do.
(2 copies of No Impact Man - currently being re-used)
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure..." (Marrianne Williamson A Return to Love)
Saturday, October 24, 2009
(Informing the crowd)
There has been a rising tide of discontent throughout the world! Citizens of nearly every country on the planet have declared their wish to see commitment from the Governments of the world to take real steps towards reversing climate change and reducing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million. People are tired of Government Greenwashing and large numbers are asking "What will it take to get our government to do what it takes to reduce emissions?"
(Radical Activists from a local Church stand on a footbridge)
Here in Darwin we formed a human Tide Line to show where the sea level will be if our government refuses to commit to real reductions.
(Business man... Possibly real estate agent)
Apparently today has been (Continues to be) the largest international day of action ever! But the battle has not yet been fought. This is only the call to awaken us all. There will be more action and many more opportunities to demand that our governments commit to reducing CO2 emissions. It is also a call for us all to take the matter of climate change seriously and personally, although it nothing is likely to change without the support of government policy and systemic changes in the infrastructure of the country there is also a place for individuals to prepare for a post fossil fuel future! Sacrifices will need to be made, however this doesn't need to mean lives that are impoverished. It may actually help us improve our lives. Just as Colin Beavan discovered during his year of the No Impact Project, you can read about it in his book No Impact Man.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I'd love to include some pretty cool quotes from the essay but I've already passed it on to a friend and don't intend to see it again until everyone I know has read it!
here's an Extract from the Essay.
Another article on the subject: http://newmatilda.com/2009/03/24/has-carbon-lobby-captured-kevin-rudd
If you're an Australian and you celebrated the downfall of the Howard government hoping that our new Prime Minister would take a serious stance on Climate Change or that finally we would see an end to the lies and deception. By now you have probably already realized that we must have been dreaming to think we'd been delivered from 'Evil' (I know it's harsh). If you thought we would now be represented by a Government with conscience then unfortunately, like me you were also terribly mistaken and also a little Naive. (I still can't bring myself to listen to Midnight Oil)
If after observing the Rudd Government's slick PR work, crafty Rhetoric and contradictory policy you are feeling a little (very) let down. If you suspect there may be a conspiracy afoot but are afraid of being labeled as paranoid or worse still Un-Australian' you should trust your instinct! The conspiracy is real and we are all participants in it.
'Quarry Vision' confirms the suspicion that Government is in bed with Australia's biggest polluters! That Government Climate Change Policy has been virtually written by those who will profit from the continued and increased emissions from exporting and burning coal. That the Clean Coal propaganda is grounded in fairy tale science and will not provide any effective solution to the global warming problem! That there may in fact be such thing as The Carbon Mafia!
11:17 PM (I have republished this post after having deleted a huge chunk described by my wife as Diatribe! I would have used strike through but I don't know how to do that!)
According to the Oxford Dictionary diatribe is a forceful verbal attack; a piece of bitter criticism...
Who am I to argue?
If this is a war on Climate Change then will we be 'Conscriptees' as Guy Pearce suggests or will we choose to fight for our children's future?
DO WE HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?
Publishers note: (Next post will contain nothing but flowers and happy thoughts)
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I've just seen a Ghost... Whether you believe in such things or not doesn't concern me. It does not matter!
It's been about 20 years since I saw Dogs In Space, a film set in inner Melbourne based on the lives of a bunch of young people living in a large shared house and going wild in the freedom of their youth. The film affected me deeply the first time I saw it because it kind of reflected the life I wanted to live and the amount of sense things made to me at the time... (Not Much if you're wondering).
Anyway; for those who don't know the film the lead Character was played by M Hutchence (INXS)... (If you don't know who he is, maybe you didn't grow up where or when I did, and you may never have heard of INXS, which would be a bit weird, that's OK but don't bother reading on, you probably won't get what I'm talking about).
Watching the film again and seeing Hutchence moving around on screen brought back all the emotion, excitement, angst, wonder of my youth... I watched as though I was watching my own life flickering across the screen!
I watched as though the guy was alive and it Haunted me!
The film was made in 1986 but I didn't see it until a couple of years later on Video. It blew my mind! I have no idea if any of it resonates with young people today but, I don't care! Watching it again was like someone had rubbed the lamp and released a Genie!
I can't describe completely how affected I was but when 'Rooms for the Memory' played at the end of the film I trembled!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Anyway back to my Rant about misleading information on a particular Map site. I'd discovered an application called Flood Maps that can overlay sea level rise by the meter superimposed over the well known G--gle Maps.
I'm looking at how Milingimbi Airstrip looks like the only dry land on the Island after relatively little rise in sea level and wondering if they've been prepared for the potential impending disaster when my eyes wander to the bottom of the page and I discover a link that simply says global warming.
So thinking it will lead me to information about the causes and predicted consequences of sea level rise, since that's the purpose of the map after all, I click on the link and am delivered to this!
Somebody please tell me. Is this ethical? Now I started getting all parranoid thinking it must be part of some kind of conspiracy that our Government is involved in to lead people away from meaningful action to combat climate change. I started to feel all woosey and sick at the thought of the power and the money that can be used to prevent our attempts to reduce global warming. But I come away reminded of the lyrics "Power and priveledge can not move a people, who know where they stand..." and my resolve is strengthened to know that win or loose It's what you stand for that matters most!
See you on October 24th
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
(Long bike - short car)
Yesterday we finished up the paperwork needed to transfer ownership of our trusty Festiva to it's new owners. My friend who recently got her driving licence and has been joined in Australia by her two kids, really needed a car (I couldn't convince her that it's better to cycle!) so we gave her ours!
It's been a great little car and was getting good fuel economy, sometimes 550km from a 35 litre tank... (what's that in kms per litre or litres per 100km?) but needed some work and I'm flat out being Mr Dad with two young kids with .0 time for tinkering so the decision was easy. Get rid of the car and get fairdinkum about cycling!
Now I have committed to cycling as often as I possibly can! (I'll have to because the car is no longer an option!) Just in time for the national Ride To Work Day...
As a special gift my friend gave me a really nice Batik shirt! It's funny how things work out because I've always wanted a really nice Batik shirt. I've owned some cheep ones but this one is much nicer and I would never have bought it for myself! (Partly because I'm stingy and partly because I have a no new clothes policy... Protest T-shirts excepted) What a great gift and a great lesson. Don't fear about letting things go. Sometimes you need to pass things on to those who need them. You never know what good things may come your way.
(Giving up the car for the trusty Xtracycle long bike)
Have a nice day.
Friday, October 09, 2009
I disagree. It is more than institutionalized gossip; although it is definitely gossip. There seems to be a greater malice behind our media.
Having been more or less unplugged for the past couple of months I find myself overwhelmed by the angst, scandal and emotional leverage used by all regular forms of media. When I accidentally happen to glance at a Newspaper, or find myself in a waiting room with at least one of the now apparently obligatory plasma screens blasting crap at a captive audience I am overwhelmed.
People around me seem unaffected by the imposing aggressive style but they are not. They are actually absorbing and believing the crap that is presented to them as news via the network or tabloid!
Just as in Orwell's '1984' people today appear to have lost their capacity for critical thinking. So many people's opinions appear to be formed as if they are carbon copies of whatever their favorite news reader or celebraty currentaffairs host has told them.
I remember debating the possibility of climate change with a friend several years ago, at a time when many scientists considered the theory pretty close to an indisputable fact but some doubt still existed. There were still a bunch of skeptics around who refused to accept the theory, I'm sure they were heartily supported by the Public Relations departments of all kinds of polluting industries.
As time rolled by and theory became fact (or pretty darn close to it), those who possessed the powers of critical thinking moved on to discussing how Global Warming could be combated in order to protect the future of us all. Sadly my friend along with probably half the population were still not ready to accept the theory of Global Warming...
Why? because the media were still broadcasting pro and anti Global Warming theory as equally valid arguments! Even though it was clear to anyone capable of independent though that the media were playing games with the subject and giving far too much credit to scientifically unreasonable arguments against the theory. People just lapped it up and continued on in their blissful cocoon of media misinformation.
I personally know several people who only actually believed in the existence of Global Warming when their favorite TV presenter told them the rumors may actually be true! The really scary thing about this is that even though they had believed there was no such thing and no amount of information or logic could convince them otherwise, all it took for them to change their mind was for the news to start telling the story differently! Yes it is possible to change the attitude of a huge proportion of the population simply by feeding them the information through the media resource they are used to taking their directions from!
I'm dead sure of it! But if you really want to make sure you've converted them to whatever story you're pushing you might want to use the other trick card in the deck. Tell them that all the other viewers/readers/listeners now believe the story you are feeding them and they are bound to jump right on board!
The media is more than just Institutionalized Gossip!
Do you think the revolution will be televised? See link below
Australians will laugh at dicks in 'Blackface' and say it's only fun. It must be funy humourous a gag, a giggle, because Daryl said it's so. We are innocent surely!
And our media ask, through public forum and internet comment pages, the divisive question; Biased by consumer viewer loyalty, to the darlings of high rating TV Ausie icon status buffoonery and irreverence.... "Was it so bad?"
And the Jury will be formed thus! Through forum posts by maliable fools the pupets of popular oppinion and zomby slaves to media endorsed bigotry and anglophilic oppression. The riddle solved and fools absolved of any crime committed!
No panel of ethics will be needed. The audience will decide when they recieve their brief right after these important messages from our sponsor.
I wonder what Gil Scott-Heron would say? But I think he already said it!
(Youtube video removed) Sorry bout that....
So here it is! When I first started seeing my Sam she'd just bought a second hand Ford Festiva. It was her first newish car and she was very happy to own it. It then became our shared car and we have had many an adventure in the little 1.3 liter Coupe. A couple of trips through the centre of Australia the East Coast and a trip across to Broome proved that you don't need a large car to travel long distances.
(Our little Festiva... but not for long)
After a couple of years of marriage we had our first child and managed pretty well with the three of us in the car. As the old girl got older we have had to spend more money to keep her going and alas we lost the airconditioning and that was the final straw for me. I declared that I would not pay to have that fixed (It uses heaps of fuel) and after about 11 years of service we decided to get a new car.
About a year and a half ago we had the opportunity to get a small station wagon at a reasonable price and so we became a two car family... (Not really in line with my low impact beliefs)
As you may know I am quite concerned about environmental issues and attempt to ride my bicycle as much as possible, however we have family visit from interstate fairly regularly and the second car has been handy.
Anyway it's crunch time and I've finally decide to be true to my ideal of reducing our impact on the planet and would dearly like to wear my One Less Car T-shirt without feeling like a complete fraud! So we've decided to give the car away to a friend! Yes we are giving it away! Basically they need it... we rather try living without it so it works out just fine.
Farewell little MOJO Mobile (The car's name). Thank you for 11 years of wonderful service and great millage.
I will now rely on my bicycle for all (Most) personal trips and endeavor only to use the automobile for family travel and emergencies.
(Primary Transportation Unit .1)
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Once again this is an issue of extreme importance and relevance to the future of several Australian cultures and languages that most Australians don't seem to be remotely aware of or even care very much about.
The 4 corners website has posted the whole story including additional interviews and a whole bunch of associated articles on the web page for this story that is well worth looking at.
"Going back to Lagamanu"
Although I am not an educator and as my friends and the education departments of Victoria and NT will attest... Barely Educated. I am interested in the concept of Bilingual Education and also in it's perceived failures.
From what I can tell after having to research it for a school report a few years ago and speaking to some people who'd hoped their kids could be taught the basics of language in their mother tongue; not to mention a couple of teachers whose skills are no longer relevant to the NT education department. There are some obvious failings in the System!
Yes it seems quite obvious that there are some extremely serious problems that can't be resolved and therefor the dominant culture has determined that total assimilation or annihilation is the only course of action! Someone's gotta take the blame for the fact that children in Aboriginal communities aren't achieving academically so it makes perfect sense that the Government and the Education department are choosing to hold Aboriginal Culture as the only culprit!
Is the bilingual approach really the failure? Or could the failures really lie in the lack of meaningful support from the education department? lack of real commitment and understanding from Government? What if appropriately trained teachers were available? If educators sent to communities had even an inkling of the culture they were about to enter prior to arriving? If senior administrators and principals worked in partnership with local communities? If the multitude of social problems faced by the communities were addressed successfully? If basic health and nutritional needs were adequate? If Australians didn't just want to relegate Aboriginal language and culture to the corner of some cute anthropological stage show for tourists!
I recall the discussion I had with my teacher back at TAFE when I discussed the program with her. I was surprised by her own hostility toward the bilingual program. What I sensed was a lack of appreciation for Aboriginal Language and the importance of culture. But most noticeable was her apparent resentment that the bilingual program required more funding than other schools. As a teacher I expect she had witnessed the whittling away of resources for education. Unfortunately rather than fighting the common enemy when times are tough, desperation seems to lead people to turn on their neigbour. Resentment and bitterness well up if there are perceived inequities and the State or education department are too big to fight so wham blame those who might receive more funding. Since teachers, according to my observations, are highly political animals, I'd say bilingual schools received more than their share of unsympathetic staff. There would have been opponenets on the payroll all the way back to it's inception.
I think I know why the Government finger is pointed at Bilingual Education. It is because bilingual education can be easily used as a smoke screen for quite great injustices before the eyes of the generally ignorant voting masses. The smoke screen would be something like this:
"They're not even speaking English! No wonder those kiddies aren't making the grade! Bilingual Education stands in the way of our benevolent education system and government from educating the poor little black kids. It hasn't succeeded in turning around the multitude of problems faced by people in remote communities and therefore must be responsible for them!"
Personally I think the Government is just trying to eliminate the program because it is a clear indication of their own failure! The real question should not be 'has bilingual education failed?' But rather "Why did out Government and Education department Fail the bilingual program by not fully supporting and engaging with Aboriginal communities in a mutually respectful way?"
Dear Mr Henderson. Please don't say hello to me again in the street, or at the local market. Don't attempt to shake my hand at the next Multicultural day or kiss my babies if I see you on election day. You've blown it.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Due to the fact that we are in a Cyclone prone part of the world our local council has deemed it necessary for the sake of public safety to have a special garbage pickup day.
They encourage everyone to clean up their yards and throw all their unwanted junk onto the nature strip. Anything that could become a projectile in a Cyclone should be tossed out if it is not needed.
So for a couple of days at this time of the year you can wander down almost any street and find all kinds of useful things that other people no longer want! Old bikes appear on just about every pile! This year there were heaps of washing machines too and I noticed quite a few gas BBQs.
A lot of stuff is actually junk but in a country like Australia where we have access to tons of really cheep consumer items you can find all sorts of gear that really only needs a bit of TLC and it is perfectly useful! There is also a plethora of stuff that would appeal to artists or those who like to invent things.
I am currently trying to create an extendable aluminium frame for my Xtracycle. I found a few useful pieces but not enough to start putting anything together. Although I am a hoarder of bike parts (Which has saved me a fortune in new gear) I only bothered to collect a couple of pieces that suited my immediate needs. One of which was a complete bike that only needed a bit of dust wiped off and some air in the virtually new tires!
Living in this country I doubt I would ever need to buy anything new. I even managed to score a perfectly good door handle to replace the one in our bedroom that I had to brutally remove when it refused to be unlocked after an hour of twisting, banging, scratching and screaming!
I love fixing up old stuff! I love getting things I would never buy new just so I can check out how they feel or how they work! I guess I just love Gleaning!
If you dig gleaning check out The Gleaners and I by Agnes Varda. (I fell in love with her style)
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I knew the band was coming to Darwin for the Festival well in advance and at no time did I ever doubt that I'd go to their show...
Did I see them? Neoooooooooooooow!
I'm still scratching my head and wondering why I never figured that the combination of their growing popularity, only one official performance in Darwin and time slipping by like a 5 year old on a waterslide in January... Would lead to tickets being SOLD OUT!
On Sunday 23rd August my favorite band played at the Darwin Festival and I had to sit outside on the lawn to Listen. (actually the acoustics were pretty good out there, but darn it! It's just not the same thing!)
None the less it was a great show and the new songs were absolutely beautiful, instrumentals were great! I love the sound of the various stringed instruments, the mandolin sounded wonderful and the guitar solo was pretty awesome too. Emily Lubiiz voice and lyrics are just the most irresistibly beautiful and dangerously enticing combination that I've ever heard!
Tinpan Orange's new album 'The Bottom of the Lake' Most of the songs on this album could be hits! The only one I've skipped a couple of times was song 4 Chinese Whispers, it felt a bit too repetitive after about the 10th time I listened to it. I've listened the album at least 20 times now and I'm only falling more in love with it!
I don't suppose it would do any justice to describe my reaction to each of the songs but most of them made a pretty big impression on me. Romeo don't come was a great song to hook the listener, song 2. the title song is weighty melencholy and beautiful. La La La is so romantic painful love but so much fun too. These are hits! I love them. Yes I've come close to losing myself in Fitzroy St too. Lovely... Is. The song for Frida Kahlo is eqaul to Don McLean's Stary Night but is no imitation! It's original and beautiful. The final track Saudadeds besides introducing me to a wonderful new word also manages to capture the very essence of Saudadeds with the sweet notes of the violin, guitar and the slow languish tones and lyrics of Emily's beatiful voice!
Anyway I am just a fan, I have no real technical understanding of music. I am Mystified by the spell they have cast on me... Others may know better. I suggest you get out there and buy a copy of this CD before stock runs out! Take it home and when it's quiet at night and you're on your own just put it on and listen. If not completely satisfied repeat this process until you realize that this will be one of the best albums produced in this country in 2009!
I bet you'll love it!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I love the smell of yeast doing it's thing and the whole chemistry and living dynamic stuff about bread really turns me on!
So as part as my mission to 'Become Free' I decided a 'Free Man' bakes his own bread... and being a pizza lover this principal should equally apply to that delightful food also!
I am not seeking perfection with this and freedom will come gradually I know so before I show you my results I'll answer a few of the questions I would ask of someone who I might suspect of claiming righteousness by publicizing his one useful act!
- No I did not grow the wheat, harvest it or mill it myself
- Yes I did buy my ingredients from the dreaded (No free advertising here you multinational destroyer of communities and thieves of farmers profit) Supermarket.
- No I did not use a wood fired oven
- Yes I did use plain flower, yeast, water, sugar, salt, and olive oil.... No I did not squeeze the olives personally.
- Yes I did kneed the dough with my own two hands.
So now that we've got that over with here are my results using mostly white flour (It's what we had in the cupboard) and a little wholemeal.
(White bread - my second attempt at bread)
(White bread - great tasting bread, delicious crust no yeasty smell)
(Vegetable and feta Pizza)
I would like to add, for those of you who are contemplating quitting video games and dumping your telly... Just Do It! All I've done is bake a bit of bread and already I'm feeling liberated!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
"...absolutely everything - these days appears to be made of plastic. It's just as Woody Guthrie predicted in his song 'Talking Columbia', trains, clothes, furniture. White plastic is the triumph of quantity over quality, of factory over handwork. Plastic is cold, sterile, humourless, poisonous, ugly, wasteful, unrottable, unburnable; it is a stinking nothing made of oil and money. Plastic drips greed..."
(Tom Hodgkinson, How to be Free, p.287)
Right on Tom!
Hail the spade, the horse and the quill! Let's make music and quit moaning! Thrift is freedom, play is natural, compost is sweet nourishment for our gardens of fruit. I will gladly shovel my own shit. Supermarkets will fall and ugliness vanish as quickly as we can realize the fact, and the enlightened ones would agree. "Life is Absurd, We are Free".
Friday, August 07, 2009
At the moment I'm recalling TV programs that I watched and some of the culprits or conspirators of my formation! Who were the male role models that TV produced for me in the 70s and 80s?
Yes Sesame Street was always on in our house and, due to having younger brother and sisters, I watched it for at least 13 years! Gordon (Human actor), Ernie and Bert (Muppets) and Oscar the Grouch (Muppet) each had their influences on me.
Dr WHO has always been a roll model which might explain my occasional shifts in personality however one character that I think had a profound affect on the way I think was Catweazle! The 11th Century Wizard who accidentally traveled through time to the 1970s. Not that I am particularly interested in Wizardry, well actually I doubt I've ever really even thought about it, however something in me has always identified with Catweazle's bafflement and bemusement at the world he found himself plonked into! He was rather mad but his confusion and befuddlement were, I believe, reasonable reactions to the the contradictions he found in the 20th Century Western lifestyle.
The program focused on the relationship between the eccentric Wizard from the Middle Ages and a young boy caught in the confusing years of early adolescence. A perfect match for mentor and apprentice.
He called electricity 'elec-trickery' and the telephone is a 'telling bone' he carried a frog around in his pocket for council and he was not easily convinced that the modern world had much to offer him. Sometimes he was a grouch but he was also nice character! Do the kids have characters like that anymore? What kind of characters are our kids following, modeling and in turn becoming? Does TV provide them with reasonable role models? Are they being trained into some kind of "Bootielicious" "Bad Ass" mass of consumer marketing fodder?
Should I be worried?
Hey we don't even watch the TV any more what am I worried about. Let's just celebrate the world of Catweazle!
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
I can't say I read the stuff with much enthusiasm since my family life had been taking priority for the past several years and an "Academic Record" has little to do with why I've been enrolling in study anyway! I suppose I can understand their concern and need to have high performance rates from their enrolled students. After all it helps them keep or build a reputation as a good "Education Provider"... But seriously I couldn't give a stuff about all that and frankly I'm more concerned about the pile of mail that has been building up on my desk!
Then, while tending my basil plants and wondering how long it would take me to collect all the materials I would need to sheet mulch the garden... The answer came! I went back inside and ripped up all those threatening letters full of warning, and I ripped them up including the invitation to comment on the quality of education provided by the Institution. Turn it into mulch! I also realized that they'd done me a favor! The envelopes were just what I needed for the basil seeds I wanted to collect.
Wham! Problems solved! I think I'll write the Uni a letter and ask them to send all further correspondence on recycled unbleached paper! I reckon that would be better for the garden. Oh yeh and if I can figure out how much carbon I will be storing in my soil as a result of mulching their guff I will be able to claim carbon credits and charge them for the service!
And to think I wanted them to stop sending me that crap.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Things were actually getting pretty grim at home and a fair measure of intolerance and aggravation at each other's idiosyncrasies was leading us down a path of despair! We thought, it's time to hit the road! We'll try it together before circumstances lead us into taking completely different paths... (Which would be a disastrous prospect for our little family). So we planned and booked a trip to Bali, Sam booked tickets for her and the kids to visit her mother for a period when I would be busy at work and we planned our Christmas break. Then there was the recent drive down through the Red Centre which just had to happen, (even though our credit card was already overloaded with debt and the bank account was empty) because neither of us could imagine life at home during school holidays with a couple of hyperactive kids! Thus to prevent the family imploding we resolved to get out of Dodge (Darwin/or at least our flat) at every opportunity to prevent a domestic Apocalypse!
The problems that besieged us appeared to be the result of what happens when two people, who have been living together for more than 10 years, move in two philosophically opposed directions. Or at least when their ideals appear to become incompatible.
My focus had been to reduce my impact on the Earth and live in the most sustainable manner I possibly can. My wife's approach had been totally focused on providing for our kids. (Not a bad objective in itself) Unfortunately though, contrary to what the TV adds tell us, consumer desires can never be satisfied by any quantity of junk purchased from Big W or Kmart! Happiness can not be found inside the plastic wrapper of a McDonald's Happy Meal treat! (Sorry but that stuff really peeves me!). Although we usually only watched ABC and SBS the amount of TV hours in our house was far too high!
We decided that allowing child no. 1 to watch videos on her own TV at night was counteractive to her sleep, play, reading, socialization needs. So we got rid of one TV, introduced a bed time routine and read stories at night and stopped watching Teley between the hours of 6pm and 8:30pm ourselves.
Not long after this we made our trip to Bali, and found the experience kind of stressful, especially at meal times and in restaurants, but the family was together and we managed to have some pretty special experiences.
Some time not long after returning from Bali our 10 year old family TV fizzed out and ceased to work... I drew a sigh of relief and asked Sam what she wanted to do. Knowing that we were already overdrawn on the credit card she looked at me and shrugged her shoulders. Taking the prompt I immediately said, "I don't if we have no TV!" She agreed and we have now gone about two months or so without at TV. Our only regret is that SBS have been screening the second series of Flight of the Conchords!
The benefits of living without a TV have been too numerous to count but basically we now read more, and argue less, the kids get more attention and our power bill has dropped... stuff like that.
We learned somewhere along the way that our youngest has an unusual bone condition and will require specialized surgery later this month! He is likely to be off his feet for at least 3 months and will require a great deal of attention. This made the holiday to Alice Springs an absolute must! We had to get the kids out and have a good time together before the pressures of immobility and full time care take their toll on us all.
The getaway was great. Our little fella ran around everywhere with the kids we met along the way, the place we stayed at in Alice had these enormous jumping pillows that he bounced on every day. On the way home we stopped in Mataranka and watched a local singer perform at the Homestead. Our little bloke danced and danced all night and had the crowd in stitches of laughter and joy!
As we traveled along the Stuart Highway we all had a wonderful time, camping, walking, playing. The desert can be a restorative place and I think we all came back to Darwin with a certain feeling of calm and contentedness. Along the way Sam and I got right into reading a book called How to Be Free. The book is written by an Anarchist who believes life would be so much better if we took on values more like they had in the Middle Ages! Somehow he struck a chord with me and I found the first half of the book absolutely inspirational! It was an affirmation of so much of how I've been trying to change my own life. What was more miraculous was that Sam and I found we shared a lot of the same ideas! Although we'd been struggling to agree on anything previously the simple act of reading the book out loud as we drove brought us closer together. Amazing. The Author Tom Hodgkinson often runs of on flights of fancy and makes some pretty hefty judgements, generalizations and occasionally, omits important facts when accusing others, however he is enormously entertaining and often hits the nail right on the "... F-cking Head." (Damien Hirst).
I don't care if he gets his facts slightly distorted. Just because I don't agree with him advocating smoking in community halls where there are children, or I can't stand the way he raves incessantly about the joys of drinking Ale doesn't alter my acceptance of his basic argument. Even though he makes a few misinformed and obviously antagonistic attacks on Alcoholics Anonymous, the first half of the book has been great! (I'm only now growing weary as I attempt to finish reading it on my own). If you want to make a leap out of the consumer trap give it a go. Along the way I also read Henry Reynolds book 'Why Weren't we told'.
A great read and once again reminding me of the need to live an authentic life, not accept the status quo and always question anything presented to me as "The Truth".
Youtube review here
Our trip down the center has prompted us to make positive changes in our lives. Since returning two weeks ago I have collected 4 bags of horse manure on my Xtracycle, prepared some of the garden for sheet mulching and have been watering our little herb garden every morning and in the evenings with the kids!
Yesterday while at the tip shop I discovered a copy of "Introduction to Permaculture" by Bill Mollison. This book is: ***GOLD***
Life is taking a turn for the better things are looking better every day! Who cares that we spent all our cash and available credit? Soon our second car will burn it's clutch out and we will go back to being a one car family! Who knows what opportunities that will bring with it? Maybe we'll travel by horse??? Or at least give more incentive for cycling?
So all that travel used up quite a bit of carbon, I know! However it may have saved us all our sanity and brought us one step closer to a more satisfying future with less.
Freedom is just around the corner!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I felt The Wide Open Road summoning me (Well not like in that song but a romantic one anyway) and I was so thankful to my wife for suggesting a trip to visit the Centre. At this time of year it's easy traveling and the air is cool, the sun sets early and you can live comfortably in the dry and the sand. The car packed, no need to shave... water only for drinking a book to read and fuel in the tank! (We had to burn it... we had to fly, maybe next time I'll ride a bicycle earn back some carbon credit)
At Stuarts Well we met Jim and a Dingo called Dinky who sang while my eldest bashed out some notes on an old piano.
(Dinky the Dingo)
(Tent in the Moonlight)
We made the great Australian pilgrimage to The Rock (Uluru). The great rock in the centre of Australia! It is beautiful... We stood amongst the croud watching sun set against the rock, Tourists, cameras, wine and cheese, traffic... haste, waste, diesel generators day and night, a rat race relocated temporarily to great outdoors and safely transported back to their luxuriant lifestyles conveniently each night, an icon?
In the morning we set off with the kids for an early morning walk at The Rock Uluru, a visit to the Cultural Centre and a chance to feel the awesomeness of it all in a context not expressed in the theme park tourguide of Australia!
Yes... we discovered that big rock is of some, cultural and religious significance to the local people. Could it ever be doubted? on a wide expansive and predominantly flat landscape eye's had, throughout the ages, been turned towards Uluru for reasons more personal and sacred than just to say 'Yep! I've Done Ayers Rock...
So anyway we're off to walk around the rock and the first thing we see after the mish/mash of tourist, keeping up with the bloody Joneses, 4X4 luxury vehicles parked all over the joint, is the sign pleading with people not to climb The Rock. Directly behind the sign (You virtually have to walk around it to get there) is the gate leading to the path that people take to climb The Rock! And so there I stood with my wife and kids, slightly more aware of the cultural significance of the rock and therefore also becoming aware of a culture and people who actual belong together with and of it. And we're watching the hoards stride straight past the sign, and we watched them proceed onward, upward. Along the thin trail that leads directly to conquest, mastery and usurpery of, The Rock! Not sure how to explain the duel significances of this icon to my eldest kid, who kind of caught on; there were some inconsistencies between what we'd learned and what we were watching...
When is the right time to explain concepts like dispossession, or the true nature of conquest, defeat, and the perceived right of the Victor to defile the sacred possessions of the vanquished?
(Sign before the gates of Uluru)
(Like ants, streams of people ignore the request not to climb)
So we stood and looked at one of the most significant places on the Australian continent. A place that truly defines the relationship between the original guardians of the sacred law of this land and those who came after who claim ownership. Taken by right of a perversion of 18th Century International Law and qualified only on by a false asumption of an empty land...
We saw that spot with such clarity. The Line in the Sand literally dividing respectful visitors from the usurping hoards... At the base of Uluru, after you pass the sign I mentioned previously, is a gate that separates the Rock from the walking tracks and car park before it. From my perspective the line was clearly marked. Every foot that stepped through the gate and entered onto the rock was a decision made! And those that deliberately turned away was equally a decision. Are we here to conquer? Are we here to take, to hurt or to Sin against the people of this place? Or do we respect the sacredness of a place we know virtually nothing about and have little legitimate claim to? Far Out I was there for only 15 or 20 minutes and the thoughts are still haunting me. Maybe we are only a nation of Grave Robbers who don't even have the decency to admit to the truth of our occupation...
We continued along our walk and I simply affirmed to the kids "We Don't Climb on This Place".
(Later I heard the news that it is planned to close the rock to climbers... A survey in the Centralian Advocate indicated that the vast majority are opposed to closing the rock... They showed photos of those who participated in the survey. None appeared to be Aboriginal.)
We headed back to Alice and Saw the Camel Cup.
(A camel running, I presume they call it that... )
Visited friends, met strangers, drank a decent cup of coffee or two, read some Australian History with the blinkers off, had an awakening, mourned my loss and celebrated my gains.
Headed up to Gem Tree and saw some coloured stones. Shared readings with my wife of a book by an Anarchist that freed my mind, liberated my soul and set the wheels in motion for more change.
We slept in the cold air and snuggled for our lives, sang songs, I didn't shave and we all noticed the beginnings of carefree(Dread) locks in our hair! We checked out some great art, and paid homage to the humble beanie. Thanks mum for that wonderful hand knitted hat you made me on the road one year ago. The dry red sand aggravated fissures in my calloused feet and I suffered them gleefully.
Eventually we headed back to the north and rehydrate in the thermal pools of Mataranka and Bitter Springs we made it home just on dark... Hooray for the freedom, rejoice life.
We're all Taking flight, and leaving tonight we've got to fly or we'll drown!
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Some songs have been haunting me lately so I thought hey let's listen to them and just fall in love with the sound.
Don't read too much into why I posted Veronica. I don't know anyone by that name I just like the song and particularly the way Elvis Costello sings/plays it. If you like it go out and buy it!
As for Nina... Well she just knocks me out so I have to share! You can go out and buy a few of her CD's too if you like. Ain't Got No is a great one to meditate on.
(Veronica: Elvis Costello)
(Between the Bars Madeleine Peyroux)
(Ain't Got No... I got Life Nina Simone)
(No spectacle... just a change of perception)
Time for a fresh set of glasses, I'll see what's before me through my own filtered lenses, so long as the music remains so good.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The people will speak.
Demand a Bill of Rights! Demand fair treatment for all people. End the racially discriminatory Intervention.
I headed down there on my lunch break and was very pleased to see that The Patch is going from strength to strength! I can't begin to describe the beneficial vibes this place is putting out! I am always blown away by the sense of connection, belonging and purpose everyone has when they become part of the life of The Patch!
There were so many young people there today and all of them seemed to be completely engaged and actively creating a space where we all can flourish! What was really inspiring this time (as with every other time I've visited) was how the young men and women take on a sense of ownership and pride in the jobs they are doing and the space they are creating! This stuff is GOLD!
I won't bore you with a long story about why I think The Patch is so important or how I believe that it is projects like this that will lead our society towards a brighter more inclusive future. Towards interdependence and away from a destiny of social apathy and self interest.
Just have a brows through the images and enjoy the green, feel the peace, imagine the garden of sensory delights that is growing.
(New Permaculture project)
(Just another great banana tree)
(Snake: To be planted out with sweet potato)
(Paving: It's all about teamwork. Mentoring is a crucial element)
(This is a safe place for even the smallest of visitors)
(Winged beans... I am not going to stop posting photos of these)
What an awesome idea! I sometimes think back to when I was a kid and our neighborhood still had elements of the rural area that it had been. I remember the creek at the bottom of our street, the open paddocks that were all around, and a horse that would sometimes wander into our front yard.
Our area had been old farming properties and there were remnants of those places that still remained long after most of the land had been converted into house blocks or roads.
I remember the old open aqueduct that used to be full of water and visiting the remaining cow paddocks to collect manure. There was an abandoned farm on a large patch of open land that eventually became the Northern Ring Road. And there were old plum pear and apple trees that in many cases wound up fenced into peoples yards or bulldozed.
Lots of things have changed but some still remain my memories are strong and I miss some of those old things. So many people have come and gone from that place where I grew up. I wonder if any of them notice the changes or the remnants of things that existed before they arrived.
Apple tree survivor of many changes
Ever since I saw that tree my mind has often drifted back to what my town was like when I was a kid. I wondered about the farms and the farmers, their animals and their lives. As I got older and roamed further I often wonder also about what and who was there before them. I explored and made all sorts of discoveries. Old gold mines abandoned quarries, discarded machinery all those kinds of things. Although I dreamed and I wondered I never found anything of the people who were there before them all. The people who must have lived around and loved the river that I swam and fished in. The people who would have known all the waterholes and special spots I liked to think I'd discovered. There were no obvious signs that they'd been there at all. It was only my wondering that seemed to give them any life at all...
When I go back there I look for that apple tree and wonder how many apple trees had there been. Who remembers them? How many are left..? Who notices them? I hope someone does. These things are special to me. Amid all the changes; the concrete, bitumen and steel, that tree is still there. It might survive long enough to see more changes. It could bloom one day to find a street full of apple trees have sprouted, and the songs of the old people might be heard.
Is there yet time for these life giving fruits?