Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chicory and history


Hi Ho!
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!


Hedge Maze

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!

The secret of happiness

Rural life

Scones and jam French Island

Flying Duck Orchid

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

Advice from the Idler

In the words of Tom Hodgkinson "Boycott the Banks!"
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!

The money path when we invest in the global economy... (by bank or by shares)

I have not studied this subject formally and my comments are based not on fact but on my bewildered observations... I was born at the end of the sixties, as a kid in the 70s I learned to meditate, helped my parents grow vegies in the back yard, helped to measure out food for the local co-op, collected aluminium cans and newspapers for recycling, visited working bees where people built houses out of mud and rode my bike in the streets with the other kids around the neighborhood. As far as I knew we were all supposed to be working together towards an enlightened, home spun, home grown, self sustaining future... The 70s must have been idealistic where I grew up... Some how by the 80s something changed... I don't know what did it but everyone got all greedy and really quickly no one seemed to give a stuff about the trees or the whales and the koalas any more. I cared but I was kind of rebelling in my own uninformed way that didn't require me to know too much, well actually I guess I (was) wasted most of the 80s and90s. I couldn't be used as a reliable witness but I still noticed a few passing trends in that time. I know my views are biased against the Economic Rationalists view of the world. But if you think a world view based on economics is rational then we're living in opposing universes.

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 nation wide conscription of the proletariat into the stock market? A cunning plan that makes us stakeholders in the very corporations that exploit us. This was delivered upon us via the enticing allure of Market Shares and self funded Superannuation! You probably don't remember when it happened to you but it did. Unless you've completely opted out of the system and rely on a local skills trading network or work for cash only and never invest in Superannuation then just like me and everyone else you are part of the problem!

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 a little really, really boring... actually it makes me feel sad.

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

Parliament of World religions media release

A friend who recently attended the Parliament of World Religions in Melbourne advised me to check out what went down there.

Here's an interesting statement they made:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Transition may be blogged

Transition Towns

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

Walk Against Warming - Darwin!

It's on again! We've been doing this for a few years now but this year is critical!
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'.

350 recycle

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

Climate Vigil Darwin NT

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

Courage to Change

I can't help wondering with all this talk of the future, what do young people have to say? Well several years ago at a UN Earth Summit in Brazil Severn Suzuki had something to say and it must have stopped the show and left the next speaker feeling somewhat inadequate.

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?

No Impact Man Screening

On Monday night a bunch of us here in Darwin who are loosely connected with Climate Action Darwin (CAD) Screened the film No Impact Man.
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?"