23Aug/15

Cutting the evolutionary line

Way back when I was 20, I didn’t like the idea of having kids. I wondered if that feeling would change. In my late 20s I realised it never would, although as I get older it’s been refined down a bit to not making kids of my own or being around those children too young to talk to. It’s when they start talking and asking questions that I take an interest; most adults have given up on asking “why” years ago. Whether crushed out of them by their education or ground down by a dull relentless job, the curiosity is gone. Not so with children, they can ask why 100 times in a row if you have the patience for it. Usually after I have coffee.

With a world crammed to breaking point with the seething hordes of an endlessly expanding human population, why would anybody in their right mind want to make more? With so many children needing adoption on a global level why the surplus?
We accepted that it’s much better to adopt a dog from a shelter than breed our own dogs or find a breeder, and the uptake shows. But we seem to have an innate need to produce more of ourselves. It makes evolutionary sense , but in this modern century it doesn’t make logical sense.

adoptions decline 2014-dogs-adopted-rehomed-released_live-605x530px
Not that I wouldn’t mind a clone. Perhaps not a whole clone, maybe just the lungs and liver of one.

What is the cultural reason we all seem to want children and want to encourage others (especially our offspring) to have children? Is it really as simple as our children’s toys we had when we are young or are there forces at work on adults? The tax rebates and welfare available for Australians certainly encourages a lot of people to have more children where it would have been outside their budget to do otherwise.

My doctor has known me over 10 years. He knows I have no children and didn’t so much as raise an eyebrow when I asked for a referral. The receptionist at the clinic’s first question was if I had spoke to them previously. Her second was more poignant: do you already have children? As if that’s a requirement. It’s not: if you do 3 counselling sessions or pre-freeze some future kids. There’s no rules about dumping the semen-sicle later, so it works out a little cheaper. But Counselling is more suited to those of us who love a chat. Notice how there is no counselling sessions for anyone that WANTS kids. It’s as much a decision with permanent implications as choosing to never be able to have them. So why not?

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Today I made the booking. It’s not like the process was not started already. My only regret was having to wait almost a year due to my wanting to fly on a week I had off last year. Wearing a paragliding harness was not the kind of thing one can do 3 days after a vasectomy.

So my package turned up in the mail. The usual disclaimer forms (it has some minor risks including a 1 in 80 chance it doesn’t work now, and a 1 in 500 it doesn’t work somewhere years from now). The 1 in 80 can be circumvented via a test 12 weeks after surgery. Its always a possibility that I have 3 tubes not the usual 2, and the easiest way to see is the follow up test.

Interesting things I will have to do now include not taking my vitamins, eating Panadol (acetaminophen) before surgery and buying myself some tighty-whities. My boys are used to roaming free but they will need a house to recover in…. its been over 20 years since I wore anything but boxer shorts.

See how some other people think about having children:

For Simone Alin, an oceanographer focusing on ocean acidification at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle,
Alin’s frank discussion of the looming oceanic apocalypse is perhaps a product of studying unfathomable change every day. But four years ago, the birth of her twins “heightened the whole issue,” she says. “I was worried enough about these problems before having kids that I maybe wondered whether it was a good idea. Now, it just makes me feel crushed.”

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-point-of-no-return-climate-change-nightmares-are-already-here-20150805#ixzz3iLMGvQww

http://www.thecritique.com/articles/we-are-creatures-that-should-not-exist-the-theory-of-anti-natalism/

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I try to take care of myself and the planet when I can, but like all middle class westerners I’m constantly tempted to consume.

I pay more for food because I choose healthy food. As a single man I have a lot more control over what I eat and buy than I would if I had a family to feed. The lack of sugar and carbs in my diet has the added benefit of being low in calories while making me feel very full. I had a similar diet back in 1999, but I was skinny then and lost too much weight. In my thirties now, I have switched back to it because I now have the weight to lose. I am a vegetarian again, and the amount I pay for food is about the same as when I did eat sugar and meat. It’s because I eat less calories that it costs the same. But it’s hard as an almost live-alone human to be bothered to cook for myself sometimes; after all I’m the only one who is going to appreciate it. Add in my reduced healthcare and it starts to look cheap. The last check-up at the doctor had the doctor sit back and say “whoa”. At first I was worried before he informed me that my blood pressure and resting heart rate was “about the expected numbers for a rather fit 25 year old man”. Your diet determines your health, even the Australian cancer council agrees that your diet is the greatest factor in determining your future cancer risk. Sure the fried chip smell spilling out of a MacDonald’s smells good, but thinking about how I feel after eating it is enough to put me off eating it. It helps to unplug your aerial and stop watching TV. Best of luck to you all, because sugar is harder to quit than cocaine. Growing livestock is one of our largest sources of the greenhouse gas methane 1, as well as our biggest user or arable land that was once forested wilderness with biodiversity. So after everything went “grain fed” I went back to being a “lactovegeterian”, while I enjoy the food I do hate the name “lactovegerterian”. I hope somebody comes up with a better one.

But all this still did not seem like enough of an effort or statement about what I think of the earth and our place in it. There was still one more thing to do….

Science will never be complete. It is the method of expanding knowledge that accepts that we can never know everything yet should still strive to do so.

So it’s earth overshoot day. The day of the year that estimates when we have used up as many resources and made as much pollution as the earth can withstand in a whole year. The rest of the year is borrowed time. I prefer to think in terms of “population overshoot day” if no babies were born between March and December, the earth wouldn’t be so overpopulated. So every baby born after , say, the first of March would be an overshoot baby, and more than the earth could carry.

Bought my first briefs in 20 years today. The cheap ones because they only have to last a week. Especially if I turn them inside out….;)

Then I grew up and slowly but surely came to the conclusion that EVERY human being is bad/evil in one way or another. BUT, luckily there are ways of trying to distant oneself from the rest of the wicked hoard, two of them is adapting a vegan “lifestyle” and becoming an anti-natalist. And that reminds me of something I have to say. Thinking that humanity sucks, and that life is meaningless and bad (which it is) doesn’t mean that you’re free to impose suffering and violence upon anyone (neither human or non-human people) just because you don’t give a shit any more. If you see the truth, you should try putting it to good use instead; go vegan, don’t breed, be nice.”
– Vegangster

The consent forms are signed, the preparations are made. But I am still very nervous.

image4I would rather let a stranger cut my balls with a knife than have a kid. Literally . But the night before any surgery is always a nervous wait. I suspect this is going to be a lot more painful than grommets, and have wider implications. But I woke my friend up out of bed to sign the waiver (and print it too). Hopefully he can give me a lift home tomorrow, but taxi will work fine too if I can still figure out stairs and locks at that time. It’s an exciting time but to be honest it’s also a fearful one. Kind of like jumping off a mountain in a para-glider , but not knowing where  you are going to land, and there is no hope of ever climbing that mountain again, or having to make weekly payments, feed, clothe, educate or explain why the world is in such a bad state to said mountain. Or cleaning the mountains nappy. Actually it’s not like paragliding at all.

Still having a disagreement with my 3d printer about what nylon does and doesn’t want to stick to, hopefully I’m asleep in bed soon. Hopefully it’s the last time I sleep as a fertile reproducer in a world of diminishing resources and freedoms, dooming my offspring to repeat the problems of my species past….

The only people I have told my plans to so far is my doctor, the clinic, the pharmacist selling me codeine/panadol (acetaminophen) and my 55 year old friend signing as witness. I don’t expect it to come as a shock to my friends, it’s my family who might be a bit surprised though.

Doctor: what made you make this final decision?

Me: the state of the planet, it’s not improving and the last thing it needs is more little people, especially ones like me.

Doctor: what is your current method of contraception?

Me: involuntary abstinence.

Now I’m just minutes away. Time to get into the surgical gown. I am nervous and excited, I hope the doctor isn’t having an off day…. Here we go…

Phew! All done. Now I’m home, head full of ether, tighty-whities full of frozen peas. I have now removed myself from the gene pool and am towelling dry on the proverbial sun chairs.

Apparently my “unusually large” scrotum made it easier. Gotta be good for something.

I even got to watch on the big TV. That sort of thing fondles my curiosity, where others just cringe at the thought.

It was almost painless, just 2 pin pricks and the pressure when the tubes were flushed out.

In fact the most painful part so far is the bill. $1,400 just for the surgery, along with all the other associated expenses and time off work I can see this will end up costing almost $2,000 in total. It’s a high end clinic and there are much cheaper places with simpler operations charging just a few hundred, but like I told my doctor: sometimes when it’s critical irreplaceable equipment you want repaired or modified it pays not to go with the cheapest quote.

image5Fun fact: The sister clinic near Nimbin in northern New South Wales very rarely processes credit cards because ~everyone~ pays in cash. It’s a bit suspicious if you think about it.

So now it’s the day after and I can finally remove the cold pack and have a shower like a normal person. I can’t go anywhere because I can’t stand comfortably for more than 2 minutes and I certainly can’t do any sudden movements that might make me jiggle. so I’ve been taking this downtime to sign up to tinder. Everybody else has already.

Finding partners with no children who don’t want them is a bit hard, but it’s getting easier:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3202223/No-time-child-s-play-childless-choice-circumstance-20-cent-Australian-adults-never-parents-reasons-why.html

The last steps left to do are to :

7) wear firm fitting cotton underwear day and night for 10 days

8) after dressing is removed, have as much protected sex as possible until you have done your 12 week sperm test and have received final clearance from us.

While it won’t solve all our problems, I’m very happy to not be adding to the problems of this planet, but there’s always more I can do.

Until then, I’m going to keep working on tinder. After all, it’s doctor’s orders, baby.

IMG_1929 - Copy

I thought a vasectomy would stop my wife from falling pregnant again, instead it just changed the colour of the baby…

Girls don’t have the Cohunas to get a vasectomy…

I could have written a few more testicle puns, but I don’t think it would have made a vas deferens…

Sources

  1. http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/science/greenhouse-gases/agricultural-greenhouse-gases/methane-emissions
  2. http://www.rspca.org.au/facts/annual-statistics/dogs
  3. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/16/world/international-adoption-main-story-decline/
04Aug/15

Pointers, lessons and experiences from TZM Brisbane

The other day I was sent a message from the Finnish National Coordinator, Teemu Koskimäki asking me a few questions about the level of TZM activity in Australia over the past couple of years, how our chapters are doing now and about any challenges we have faced. This got me thinking about all of the valuable lessons we’ve learnt along the way, especially the local chapter in Brisbane and how we’ve managed to end up with a solid active growing group.

brisbaneBurn-out is super common amongst social activists – and I’ve noticed it particularly with TZM activists. Once people discover the importance of educating everyone about the monetary/market system, the concept of a moneyless society, the scientific method and the overwhelming immediate need to change the world – it can become incredibly stressful and disappointing when others around you don’t understand or don’t follow through.

stressIf you are in a different part of Australia (or the world for that matter) and you’ve been thinking about starting a chapter, or you’ve started one and you’re not sure where to go from here, here are a couple of pointers, lessons and experiences we’ve had that can help you on your journey.

  1. Find the core group and low-hanging fruit

breakfastI wouldn’t say our success has been anything to do with the ‘type of people in this city’. As a matter of fact, I think a large amount of people in this city are generally quite ignorant and dismissive of global problems, or they’re caught up in local political debates.

Don’t go all out expecting to change everyone’s mind – especially as a lone wolf or couple! The first step is to find other people who are on the same level already. Yes, they are out there – especially if you live in a city of a million or so people! These people probably already feel alone and misunderstood too and would probably love to connect. I’ve found starting a Meetup to be incredibly effective, as well as starting a Facebook group. Attending other sustainability events and connecting with people can also be helpful. Start with organising something super simple – hanging out at cafes, having picnics, dinner parties, movies and so on. Unnecessary over preparation for a young chapter can be exhausting and lead to burn out.

  1. Delegation

people-chain-bannerOnce you get that awesome little group, don’t be surprised to get a lot of you-shoulds, it’d-be-better-ifs and why-don’t-yous. Of course suggestions are welcome! However, you have no obligation to follow through on suggestions. Remember you are only one person and can only do so much. If I think it might be too much to take on, my response might be something like, “That’s a great idea! I’m happy to support you in organising that in any way I can.”

  1. Utilising national and global resources and support

brochure

Especially with marketing, don’t make everything from scratch. There are so many resources out there made by passionate and skilful activists from around the world. Check out Emboonite’s stuff on our activist material page. Also, if you hold movie nights, it might be a good idea to show a part of one of the Zeitgeist films, or a short Z-Day presentation from somewhere else in the world. Here’s a great example from Abby Martin.

I received an email a couple of months back from someone who used to be part of the Perth chapter, who explained that the core group didn’t want to have much to do with global because it was a ‘centralised’ system, which is in essence against the core train of thought. I would say coordinators have no interest in policing – we have absolutely no control over who starts a chapter or who doesn’t. We can only choose who we support and who we don’t. Networking, brainstorming, finding solutions and sharing ideas. That’s what it’s all about.

evening hangout

  1. Staying in touch with global chaptersworld

Involvement in monthly global Teamspeak meetings has kept us up to date with what’s happening with other chapters around the world. We get updated with the latest available material and latest events and share what we are doing too. You can also help with their projects from afar – be part of the global team, help with adding to online content or if you’re more technically minded you can help with their website or even decision-making processes.

  1. Start an event like “Monthly Movies that Matter”.

casey presenting 3

Our main public event in Brisbane is a perfect opportunity to connect with like-minded people and discuss the Zeitgeist Movement train-of-thought. Its advertised on the main website, Eventbrite, sent out to the Australian mailing list, Facebook (the national and local chapter pages) and Meetup. This draws in people from a range of different backgrounds and experiences and sometimes brings in people who actually don’t know much about TZM but are interested in sustainability in general. It’s a great environment for them to learn and connect. Not everyone will understand or be into it, so just focus on the successes and remember that it takes some people a while to fully comprehend several of the concepts we discuss. Keep it simple and focused on a topic that’s not too controversial, until you have a fairly solid group.

  1. Hang out!

colouring

Most importantly, I believe the success of our chapter comes down to developing long-lasting friendships. Over the years of hard work, we’ve also got to know each other personally. Events are the most exciting time of the month and in between that we have movie nights, parties, go on trips together and generally have a lot of fun. We are honest with each other and not always dead serious about changing the world – TZM activism is something to be celebrated!

03Jul/15

The Zeitgeist Movement Australia Podcast

The TZM Australia YouTube Channel has been revived with podcasts aimed at educating the general public about a range of issues and ideas related to the Zeitgeist Movement. Podcasts are like short radio shows where people can ask and have their questions answered by the radio host and guests on the show.

In the first episode, Zac and Casey discuss how they discovered the Zeitgeist Movement, veganism, consumer expectations in a capitalist system, education, human behavioural psychology, charities, atheism and religion, the monetary/market system, sustainable communities, open source and planned obsolescence.

Listen to our first podcast here:

Here are some useful links for some of the topics discussed:

Anyone else with an interest in anything related to TZM we encourage you to take part. Contact the host of the show, Zac to have your voice heard: [email protected]

18Apr/15

7 easy ways you can be involved in TZM Australia projects

Fifteen supporters of TZM met at the Brisbane Square Library on Saturday to discuss new and upcoming projects. If you’d like to get more involved, check out the projects below and contact the coordinators to share your skills, knowledge and interest.

our project meeting room at the Brisbane Square Library

Our project meeting room at the Brisbane Square Library

  1. Community Tours Project

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Visiting Communities Project
This project is aimed at learning about and reaching out to existing sustainable communities. The idea is to learn about their management structures, their decision making processes, the systems they use to manage resources and their overall goals. Once discovering this, using the concept of a resource-based economy (RBE), we will share our vision and share ways in which they can live  even more harmoniously together. Although we do aim to visit a range of local communities, one of our first tours will be held in Christie Walk in Adelaide. In the projects meeting, we outlined several volunteer roles which people could become involved in.
  • Database Editor – A person who updates our database, the RBEM Knowledge Base with information we gather.
  • Tour Organisers – People who would like to contact communities and collaborate with TZM to organise dates and times. Doodle may be a good platform to help with this.
  • In-house Presenters – People who do a presentation at Monthly Movies that Matter on a community that they have visited or researched. This is especially appropriate for communities that are either in the pipeline or inaccessible due to distance and/or language. It also helps reduce our carbon emissions. (Only about 15 minutes long)
  • TZM Presenter – People who do a presentation of TZM to explain to communities our train of thought.
If you’d be interested in any of these roles or being part of any of these projects, please email Simon the project Coodinator or better still, come to the Monthly Movies that Matter meeting and make yourself known. You can also contact us through our Meetup or Facebook group and we will put you in touch with the project coordinators http://www.meetup.com/The-Zeitgeist-Movement-for-Global-Sustainability

 

  1. Outreach Program
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A similar project coordinated in Vancouver, Canada

 

A simple project for regular attendees of our events – to survey people in the mall area before Monthly Movies that Matter – an event held on the second Saturday of each month. Rather than regular attendees sitting through the introductions, newcomers can ask questions while regulars  take to the streets talking to people about the concepts of the Zeitgeist Movement. A similar project was conducted in another chapter a few years ago, where Geisters carried around a clipboard and pencil and surveyed people on four simple, yet enlightening questions. Outreachers then return to Monthly Movies and report back on their experience. For this project we’re looking for:

  • Survey conductors – for those of you who are fairly knowledgeable about TZM
  • Question writers – questions such as “How much oil gets used per day in the world?”
  1. TZM Trivia night and Bring-a-friend day

people-chain-banner

The Outreach Project got people thinking about other ways we can reach out to people.  An idea was suggested to create a trivia night based around Zeitgeist related content, issues and ideas. This would be open to everyone and would be a fun and entertaining way to educate. For this we need a:

 

  • Trivia night facilitators – for our charismatic members who like to get up on the microphone and ask the questions
  • Question writers – for those who can think of questions that aren’t too easy but aren’t too hard either – a way to educate people and get them thinking but leave them feeling good too.
  • Researchers – lets get our facts right!

It was also suggested that we could have another Monthly Movies Bring-a-friend day.

  1.  TZM Australia Monthly Podcasts

microphone

The TZM Australia youtube channel is being revived with monthly podcasts, aimed at educating the general public about a range of issues and ideas related to the Zeitgeist Movement. Podcasts are like short radio shows where people can ask and have their questions answered by the radio host and guests on the show.

  • TZM Australia Podcast Guests – Anyone with an interest in anything related to TZM, whether it be in sustainability, technology, social design, communication, psychology or anything else, we encourage you to take part.

Contact the host of the show, Zac to have your voice heard:: [email protected]

  1. Intelligent Systems for new governance

open-source-everything-the-zeitgeist-movement

For the techsavvy, scientific-minded folk who share our vision, we have a strong diverse team who are currently working on creating software that can create optimal decision-making – in a way that is fair and efficient. The system needs to be community-minded and open-source. Meetings are currently taking place weekly and are open to anyone who has any knowledge in this area.

  • Programmers – to help with the software design
  • Social design coordinators – to help develop the system
  1. Zeitgeist Media Festival

Zeitgeist Media Festival Logo

Each year, the TZM Global encourages chapters around the world to organise a Media Festival. Unlike Z-Day, The Zeitgeist Media Festival is not so much an information symposium, but more a platform for artists, musicians, poets and film-makers to showcase their work – to inspire, to rouse emotion, to connect. As quoted at the beginning of Moving Forward: In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable, and help to change it. – Ernst Fischer

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We are looking for:

  • Musicians, Film-makers, Poets, Artists, Writers – Whoever would like to promotes TZM by performing or displaying your work at The Zeitgeist Media Festival in October
  1. TZM Australia Website

Australia Zeitgeist-Movement

You may have noticed that the TZMAU website underwent many changes this year to share more information and make it more user-friendly for visitors. We’d like to have more people contribute to the blog (like this one here) and share their thoughts on our projects and events. If you also have suggestions for ways we can make it easier to navigate please send through your suggestions.

  • Writers, bloggers, vloggers – share your thoughts and ideas with us – we’d love to have more contribution from Geisters around the country.

If you’d be interested in any of these roles or being part of these projects, please contact us through the meetup group and we will put you in touch with the project coordinators http://www.meetup.com/The-Zeitgeist-Movement-for-Global-Sustainability

25Mar/15

Z-Day 2015

Each year, Zeitgeist Movement advocates from all over the world come together to learn more, connect with like-minded people and share new ideas to promote global unity, social betterment and a more humane society.

cropped-zday-2015.pngZeitgeist Day (Z-Day), the annual global symposium for The Zeitgeist Movement, was held for the 7th time this year in several different countries around the world on Saturday 14th March. The main event for Australia was held in Brisbane City at the Brisbane Square Library.

470_square,0This year was outstandingly successful for the Australian chapter, with a range of inspiring and interesting speakers. Coordinators are working hard to make all of these presentations available online as soon as possible.

I’d like to thank everyone who volunteered their time, money and effort towards making it a fantastic day. The free fruit for our guests was a very special touch!

I had the very fortunate opportunity to welcome our guests and give a brief run-down of the Zeitgeist Movement for guests who may not have heard of us before. This was followed by James Hill, who discussed how an NLRBE would be governed.

IMAG0649After James, Tom Miller from Unlimited You Education set the scene for the day by conducting a very collaborative discussion stemming from the question “Why are we here today?”. This brought about a range of reasons from our very diverse audience, that really set the group up to think about ways in which they could really connect with the group.

IMAG0651Caroline Rentel followed Tom, giving us a very special triple plug on three topics close to our heart: James Pauly’s updates on his electric vehicle conversion, updates on Beyond Zero Emissions and her novel about an RBE set in 2050.

Screenshot from 2015-03-25 16:56:24 Our audience was then wowed by Roman Spur’s amazing rental property that he transformed into a sustainable living story. In a tiny space in the city suburb of New Farm, Roman provided food including vegetables, honey and eggs for his whole family and neighbours, as well as use recycled materials to create solar power cookers and solar hot water.

IMAG0660After Roman, Simon Cole gave us a run-down of the TZM Australia Community Tours project, where a group of Brisbane Geisters aim to visit a range of communities around the country and beyond, to share our knowledge and discover the best ways we can manage groups in the early stages of developing an RBE. For more details, click here.

Screenshot from 2015-03-25 16:58:09After a quick break, John Roles decided to share his vision for Australia as a former candidate for Sustainable Population Party. John was an interesting guest, as someone who was not very familiar with TZM, but he was not only able to share his thoughts on population, growth and sustainability in Australia but connect with many people who think beyond politics.

IMAG0666Before our final speaker, Aaron Hilton the driving force behind this project, and Andreas Huemer, an expert in artificial intelligence and systems management shared their idea for system that can minimise harm and maximise abundance.

IMAG0671Our final speaker was Natalie Lawler, one of the last 100 remaining candidates for the Mars One mission. She shared updates on Mars One and explained her passion and reasons that she wanted to travel to the red planet forever. We were very fortunate to have a lot of question time for Natalie, as many people in the audience were curious about her mission.

Screenshot from 2015-03-25 17:29:41Thanks again to everyone who came along to support the Zeitgeist Movement. As stated previously, our local coordinators are working hard to make these presentations available online as soon as possible. An email will be sent to our subscribers as soon as the videos have been uploaded.

A recap of the global chapter event can be seen here. To read more about it, check out the global chapter blog here.