05Oct/16

The Zeitgeister going to Mars

We have been exploring beyond the Earth’s surface for more than half a century.  We have sent spacecraft to near and distant planetary objects.  And man has travelled to the moon.  It seems logical that the next place beyond Earth’s orbit to explore is our neighbouring planet, Mars.

And although the non-profit foundation based in the Netherlands, Mars One has faced some public scrutiny for its methods in establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars, they have succeeded in bringing some very important questions to the focus of public attention, and some very inspirational and thoughtful people to the general public. One of those people, Natalie Lawler, a 38-year-old healthy, intelligent and positively energetic woman who supports The Zeitgeist Movement, has volunteered for this courageous one-way mission. Natalie has been selected as a top-100 candidate in the mission.

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The next stage of the selection process will reduce that number to twenty-four candidates who will receive formal, full-time training for the next decade before the first planned manned mission departs. We asked Natalie to share a little about herself, her enthusiasm for space exploration, and why she supports the Zeitgeist Movement.

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When did you first hear about The Zeitgeist Movement?

I was introduced to the first two Zeitgeist films in 2010 and attended the official screening of Zeitgeist Moving Forward in Lygon St, Melbourne in 2011.  Since moving to Brisbane in 2013 I have been an active member of the Brisbane chapter.

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How did you hear about the Mars One program? 

I first read about Mars One in 2013 on a science website and thought that it may be a hoax.  After doing some research I found that Mars One has some prominent ambassadors and advisers. I then volunteered for the one way mission.

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What made you decided to volunteer?

If we imagine the 4 ½ billion years of Earth’s history compressed into a 24 hour day, humans emerge 1 minute and 17 seconds before midnight. Archaeological evidence suggest our place of origin was Sub-Saharan Africa and that we dispersed from Africa over the past 100,000 years.  We have been exploring the planet ever since.  And now we find ourselves here, in this fraction of Earth’s history, where our curiosity and nature to explore makes leaving Earth to live on another planet a very near reality.

We can chose not to stand around and say….why didn’t someone go, because we are someone!  We have the knowledge and the resources to become a multi planetary species now.  And I put myself forward to help make it happen.

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What do you think the benefits of going to Mars will be? 

Search for life; We apparently have microbes on Earth that can withstand vacuum pressure, freezing temperatures and even survive when bombarded with radiation.  Yet conditions on Earth don’t require them to sustain this.  Could life have started on Mars and spread to Earth after an asteroid impact, or is it just inevitable given the right conditions?  Are we all descendants of Martians, or could we find new life forms that don’t share our DNA? Discoveries await, including the very real possibility of finding life on Mars.

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Technological advancement; Many technologies used on Earth were first pioneered in space exploration. Technological knowledge generated for a Mars mission, would yield many innovations that could benefit the public.

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Inspiration; People remember seeing the first steps on the Moon but very few got excited about the landing of NASA’s Curiosity rover.  Humans on Mars will inspire generations of young learners to invest in the knowledge of science and the wonder of space.

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Sustainability; Mars One aims to be self-sustainable by producing oxygen and water, recycling all waste, using solar energy and growing food.  It will however take significant time to create an entire supply chain on Mars to become sustainable – but if we can prove we can live on Mars sustainability perhaps it’s possible to live sustainably on Earth too.

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Unity; A famous quote by an air Force pilot who flew aboard a space shuttle mission reads; “The first day or so we all pointed to our countries. The third or fourth day we were pointing to our continents. By the fifth day, we were aware of only one Earth.”  Perhaps it won’t be until we leave Earth to settle on another planet that humanity can come together and see ourselves as one.

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Understanding; We aren’t separate from each other as we were all formed from stars.  We are part of our universe yet we know very little about it.  What sort of value can you put on gaining a better understanding of the Universe?  Robotic missions have shown that Mars has characteristics and history similar to Earth.  When humans read the history of the rocks on Mars, and build on the knowledge, we may discover far more than we even want to about future of our home planet.

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Destiny; Mars has a solar day a little over 24 hours.  It has polar ice caps and an axial tilt giving it seasons.  It has mountains and canyons, volcanoes, and evidence of ancient rivers and lakes. We know it has water, critical for life.  Whilst it is cold it is far more liveable than Venus and there is enough sunlight to power solar panels.  Gravity on Mars is 38% that of Earth which is predicted to be sufficient for the human body to be able to adapt to.  Since the Apollo program we have been dreaming of the next giant leap and our neighbouring planet awaits.

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What are your beliefs?

I don’t normally accept or have confidence in something without scientific evidence. I believe in current scientific findings or consensus’ until new evidence is presented and tested.  Do I believe in gravity?  Yes.  Do I believe in Unicorns?  No.   But I may change my belief that Unicorns don’t exist if you can present me some proof.

The theory of God cannot be tested.  Scientists can’t prove a god doesn’t exist and religion can’t prove that it does.  I accept the power and value of logic and rational consideration of evidence in forming the belief that supernatural beings, including God, don’t exist.

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Do you follow a vegan diet and if so why?

When I eat something I ask myself three things;

1) Is it good for me?

2) Is it good for the planet?

3) Is it good for the animal?

I don’t eat meat, eggs or dairy products because I cannot answer “Yes” to all three questions.

Take a piece of bacon;

1) Is it good for me?  There is enough scientific evidence for the World Health Organization to classify processed meat (including bacon) as a human carcinogen ― in the same category as tobacco and asbestos.

2) Is it good for the planet?  A large amount of energy and water goes into raising pigs.  Then there is the production and distribution of the bacon that also adds to the carbon footprint along with environmental pollution from piggeries.

3)  Is it good for the animal?  Piggeries I have visited were inhumane.  Pregnant sows were locked up in tiny stalls to breed the bacon that people eat.  The pigs never got to see daylight.  And I believe an animal shouldn’t have to die just so I can have a snack.

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What Zeitgeist principles do you want to take to Mars?

The sort of home Mars may become will depend upon the first settlers and I would like to influence that and implement decision making models based on minimal opposition voting rather than majority rules and ensure that any economy that develops is a Resource Based Economy.

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What legacy do you hope to leave behind in doing this?

I don’t aspire to leave a legacy.  This mission is not about any individual.  It is about all humanity taking the next step in our evolution.

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04Oct/16

Melbourne chapter update

The Melbourne Zeitgeist chapter is ready to re-invigorate. Following a productive meet up recently organised by Craig, we discussed numerous ideas to gain momentum.

Photo taken by Michael Kubler

Presently, Craig will continue to run the monthly documentary and discussion series, which is a great opportunity to discuss important topics and learn new information. Libby is continually on the lookout for opportunities to run social group meet ups attending interesting speaking and events happening in town, such as Russel Brand or Peter Singer. Sonny is preparing to record podcasts on the national TZM channel. And Brad is planning to run a new meet up group focused on activism.

Photo taken by Michael Kubler

Creating regular meet ups and discussions are vital for social cohesion within any TZM chapter, but equally important is the need for action based projects as well. The first paragraph of the official TZM mission statement reads:

TZM works through community based activism and awareness actions, each chapter should organise tasks through both of these mediums.”

Community based activism consists of any physical, action based projects that embody the underlying TZM principles. This is not “patch work” activism that merely aims to alleviate symptoms, like traditional charity or picket holding rally’s, but is more aligned with “transitional projects”. In other words, projects that aim to bridge the gap between our current market system and an RBE.

For instance, Dan from TZM Melbourne has a background in permaculture. We spoke about a potential project offering a free permaculture makeover in community backyards, where we could make a video of the process and teach people how to use their existing space to grow their own fruit and vegetables. And If we converted enough backyards we could get people to donate a portion of their yields and hold a free community market.

Photo taken by Michael Kubler

Obviously, small projects aren’t going to change the world, but they are a step in the right direction. And more importantly, it gives new/existing members a chance to take action towards sustainability.

Some other ideas we discussed:

  • Public interactions at green party gatherings

  • Creating a list of things people can do right now that takes action toward sustainability

  • Utilise existing member skills in a barter/trade system

  • Peer to peer sharing/access system

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I’d encourage all members to start brainstorming ideas for projects, and look into existing transitional projects such as “Positive Money” or “Transition Towns” (see the two latest podcasts on the TZM official channel). We are looking forward to collaborating with other chapters on potential transitional project ideas. So let’s all stay in touch.

21Sep/16

Zeitgeist SA – Snowden

As part of the next South Australian Zeitgeist Movement get together we are going to watch Snowden. The Oliver Stone movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

You can order the tickets online here for the 6:30pm session on this Saturday the 24th September. To follow any last minute updates you can select [Going] on the Facebook event.

It’s been a little while since we had a get together, and the Snowden movie is sure to generate some great conversations. Screening time is 6.30, so lets meet 15 minutes earlier to grab tickets and head in. After the movie, we can find a place on Rundle St to grab a light dinner, have a couple of drinks, and discuss!

Some additional exciting news, is that next year’s Global Z-Day is being held in Brisbane, Australia! Come along to find out more info on the night.

Look forward to seeing those that can make it.

26Mar/16

A memorable and empowering day for Zeitgeist Australia – Z-Day 2016

We walked into the iconic underground New Globe Theatre at 9’clock last Saturday to prepare for the much anticipated Z-Day. Excitement was high as we set up the tables, information, registration, the stage and technology before our guests started arriving at 10am. With our two new big Zeitgeist banners, big posters, paintings, cards and brochures, the place was pumping with positive vibes ready for The Zeitgeist Movement’s biggest event of the year, and Brisbane’s biggest Z-Day event ever.

People were pouring in at 10am, and before I knew it, I was introducing Z-Day with an opening presentation, “The biggest threat in the world”. My aim was to send out a message of empowerment and connection, to get everyone on the same level for the day. Videos will be available on the TZMAustralia YouTube channel in the next couple of weeks.

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After a little housekeeping, I introduced the beautiful Filippa Araki, who shared her experience as a Non-Violent Communication advocate and facilitator. It was a perfect opening presentation, which encouraged people to think empathetically and carefully about what they said and how they interpreted other people’s words. Filippa runs Compassionate Communication workshops at Currumbin Eco-village and can be contacted at [email protected].

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Quite incidentally, Filippa was followed by her sister Deborah Oberon, who presented an initiative to empower Australian indigenous communities through innovation in solar power and storage. Check out AllGrid Energy for more information.

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Next was the much awaited presentation by James Pauly, who shared his years of experience converting cars to electric. James talked about his journey to the U.S., learning from the leaders in the industry, and shared some great stories and many insightful and interesting facts about having an electric car. Find out more on his facebook page and website, Traction EV.

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Just before lunch, we were fortunate enough to have Sabrina Chakori talk about economics and how we could eventually achieve a new economic system more inclusive of social and ecological dimensions.

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This was great food for thought before our hungry audience were given some real food for thought! Veggie patties and salad burgers on whole grain/meal buns, a big pot of spinach fettuccine with artichoke hearts, capers, tomato, red beans, sage, thyme, oregano, onions and garlic, as well as a big pot of brown rice risotto with roasted sweet potato, pumpkin, shredded kale, sprouted lentils, onion and garlic. Not to mention the incredible vegan Z-Day cake for dessert. Thanks to Zac and the team for putting this together.

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The break felt surreal, as The Flumes poured out their psychedelic melodies over stylin’ rhythms laced with soulful vocals, while over 100 Zeitgeisters mingled, laughed and shared in meaningful and interesting conversations, and planned future events and projects. A film crew from the university also came along to film the event, as part of their upcoming film on Natalie Lawler, a top-100 Mars One candidate and Zeitgeist Movement friend and advocate.

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After lunch, we kicked off our afternoon program with the very charismatic and thoughtful Rion Hunter, who shared his vision, Atlas Unite. Rion included the audience in a discussion about creating a platform to inspire people to get more involved in volunteer work.

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Following Rion was the amazing Luke Reade, sharing his project, Energetic Communities – an innovative idea to empower people to implement renewable energy systems into their community, without having to be wealthy enough to afford solar panels.

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Tom Miller enlightened the audience with his presentation on the new crypto-platform, Ethereum, a decentralised system with massive potential to change the way we conduct business and and manage resources. Tom’s vision is to empower people to facilitate transactions in new ways that challenge the status quo and possibly change the world. Register for a follow-up free presentation this coming Wednesday night.

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We were very fortunate to have Mark Darwin and A.B. from the Truthology Foundation come along. Mark confessed his past as a banker who became disenfranchised after the 2008 recession and began a journey to discover the truth about the economic system. From there, Mark changed his life and organised many successful events, including the Freedom Summit, held annually in Byron Bay. He came along to Z-Day to talk about his latest project, Bhula Bhula – a sustainable community connecting people back to the earth, where members can buy-in using their superannuation and are guided along the way to do so.

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Liese Coulter was next, sharing her knowledge about the effect of climate change and how we are going to cope with it. She talked about attitudes towards this important issue, not just deniers, but people who say things like “I’ll be dead by then” and how these attitudes will impact our future. She did however, carry a strong message about enjoying life now, while it’s good – enjoying the nice weather. Thank you Liese for your patience through some technical problems too!

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While Mark and Liese were presenting, Natalie Lawler and I were invited to partake in an interview with the film crew for Greenhouse Studios. We discussed the profound impact humans would have living on Mars for people back on Earth, fears and objections, our long-term shared vision for the future and what the Zeitgeist Movement is. The crew continue to follow Natalie around in her daily life for the next couple of weeks, before beginning the editing process which could take a couple of months. Stay tuned for updates on Greenhouse Studios’ project.

Simon Cole introduced the next presentation with Doone and Carol from Bindarrabi who had travelled in to Brisbane to talk about the work they are doing to create a vibrant, environmentally-conscious community on the New South Wales/Queensland border. They also organise a yearly sustainability education festival, last year themed “The Healthy Happy Simple Living Festival”. TZM Brisbane connected with Bindarabbi as part of the Community Tours project.

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Markus Eich was our final presenter for the day, a researcher from ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision, who enlightened us on Robots: What they are, what they know and what they can do. This was a great way to finish the day, which left us with some questions about the way we run our society and what we need to be prepared for, as well as some very interesting philosophical quandaries.

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After some quick finishing remarks, we travelled over to The Burrow in West End for the Z-Day afterparty. Some awesome conversations, guitar and xylophone playing, delicious food and local drinks were had. Thanks to the lovely and amazing Zoe from The Burrow for having us.

Thanks again to everyone involved in making Z-Day Australia a wonderfully successful, fun and empowering event. Videos of presentations will be available in the next couple of weeks.

21Mar/16

Z-Day Success!

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MORE than 100 people made their way to Brisbane’s New Globe Theatre recently for Z-Day, the Zeitgeist Movement’s annual sustainability symposium.
It was one of many Z-Day events scheduled across the globe to celebrate and raise awareness for The Zeitgeist Movement.
The advocacy group encouraged guests to explore ideologies to create a more environmentally, socially and economically fulfilling lifestyle and future.
Zeitgeist Movement Australia national coordinator Casey said things were really starting to take off for their chapter and this was their biggest Z-Day on record.
“I feel grateful people are starting to think about these concepts and changing the way they think about the world,” she said.
“I knew that it would eventuate because it’s something that’s so important.”
Speaking on the day were non-violent communicators, energy experts, members of sustainable communities and other interesting speakers on climate change, robotics and peer to peer sharing.
The Brisbane chapter hosted the event and have been busy connecting and building the movement and coordinators from across the country flew in to attended.
Z-Day is held in or around March each year and the main event will be held in Athens, Greece on Saturday 26th March.
More information about the day will be available soon.