Category Archives: Nature

26Nov/15

One Young World

I am from a small disappearing nation in the Central Pacific called Tuvalu! The IPCC predicts that Tuvalu will be uninhabitable by the end of this century due to the effects of climate change. Our average height above sea level is only 1.83 metres. We are barely above sea level!

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Andrew Ponton during his CALL ON COP speech

I’ve been a participant in The Zeitgeist Movement, a sustainability advocacy group, since 2009. We see world problems as a consequence of our current socio-economic platform. We understand that world problems such as poverty, deforestation, and pollution, stem from the incentives and real-world pressures of a scarcity-driven market system. It may be difficult to think of “system solutions” to this problem, but we need to acknowledge this as being the problem before we can have a discussion on possible solutions.

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Tonga, Samoa, and Tuvalu represented at One Young World 2015

One Young World is the premier forum for young leaders. When I was asked to give a short speech at the recent One Young World event in Bangkok about climate change, I thought to myself:

  1. I could say what people normally say.
  2. Or I could say what I really want to say even though it might not “fit in” with the tone of the event.

So instead of ending my speech by calling for more climate change awareness, I put the blame squarely on the economic system. We need to start trying to solve climate change from a systemic level, even if it is difficult to imagine solutions.

I did this speech for you, and I hope you enjoy it, and share it.

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Kofi Annan was present at One Young World 2015

But what I really hope for is that you have the courage to send a similar message if you ever find yourself on any stage, big or small. I hope you are a better speaker than me, and I hope the message of my speech resonates with how you view the world. Even if you’re not a better speaker, I want to hear you say it. We need more people in events like these to come out and blame our global economic system, and offer solutions in the way of applied technologies. Other groups that understand these issues include The Free World Charter, and The Venus Project.

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Closing ceremony

Please share the video to show people that this message is worth hearing. Thank you!

19Oct/15

The Healthy, Happy, Simple Living Festival Experience

Two weeks ago a group of us went down to Bindarabbi, a picturesque sustainable community on the QLD/NSW border, to take part in the Bindarrabi Common-Unity Festival: “Healthy, Happy, Simple Living”.

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Next door to a national park and nestled between a custodial mountain and gorge, the visionaries of this community are creating a dynamic, creative community with affordable housing – focusing on natural energy systems, permaculture principles and a mutual respect for each other and the land.IMAG1681

We were fortunate enough to present The Zeitgeist Movement to these wonderful people on the Saturday before enjoying a night of delicious food and great conversations around the campfire. During the presentation we gave a brief introduction to TZM and allowed opportunity for discussion and feedback. Unexpectedly there were a lot of children present who participated in the discussion too, answering some questions very insightfully. The recording of the presentation will be available soon.

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The following day was filled with a range of exciting, inspiring and interesting presentations based around sustainable lifestyles. Here are some highlights.

John Harding presented his idea to make solar power more accessible – starting from as low as $1000 and building upon it. He also discussed his invention which allows you to update your solar power equipment easily with every-changing solar technologies.

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After that, Lori and Bay shared how they make their own bread and feta cheese Trisha Van Den Brink also showed us how we can grow our own medicinal herbs and George shared his composting knowledge and self-watering wicking beds with the group.

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We were fortunate enough to check out Jane Milburn of Textile Beat discuss Slow Fashion, which empowers people to  become more conscious of our clothing. She encouraged the audience to slow down, take stock and be empowered to resew, restyle and refashion clothing that already exists. She had some wonderful fresh, new clothing on display that she had created using old clothes.

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Also on display were some homemade solar cookers, made from simple, recycled materials that had the ability to cook a full pumpkin in 45 minutes, or even put a hole in metal (if not used carefully)!

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The day of events was finished with two discussions by the Bindarabbi community owners, Carol and Doone. Carol discussed the concept of “Living Simply” with the group, which brought up some wonderful discussion about what this actually means, and maybe how the word could be misleading in today’s current culture. Doone explained his process of creating a Ram Pump from the water at the top of the gorge, down  to all of the allotments on the property.

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Apart from the wonderful presentations, the TZM group also had the opportunity to enjoy swimming, sunbaking, great music and great company.

– Casey

Bindarrabbi, seems as paradise on Earth in the backdrop of the Koreelah National park, surrounded by the dry grasslands & mountains of the NSW border region.

We set off for the 3 hour trek from Brisbane prepared with vital supplies: wine, market purchased foods & of course, lots of warm clothing for the cold nights. Driving. Landscapes of rural Queensland, perfect weather & last minute guerrilla preparations for the coming presentations just hours away.

Counting ‘belly lizards’ & ‘angry cows’ for the last stretch, Bindarrabi arrives & we are greeted by ‘Dune’, the cheerful & well-mannered “patriarch”, guided to our yurt style communal tent. The spot is amazing, bushland just meters away.

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Presentation goes well, the adorable, inquisitive & intelligent children, amaze us with their engagement, making this by far one of the most enjoyable we have done. The campsite is filled with likeminded, friendly People; designed with solar power, spring water taps, eco toilets & well maintained gumtree forest.

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The mild, late afternoon tour for bird watching, turns into evening, as the community built pizza oven is fired up & volunteer kitchen puts professional restaurants to task, in the cooperation & dedication of its people. Dinner is incredible, as the locally grown food is baked into delicious kilm oven pizza, dessert is homemade apple pie & thick cream. Served with open bonfire & great company.

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The morning chill is replaced by breakfast, dry summer clothes & workshops. Permaculture, solar cooking techniques, innovative solar power design are the subjects, with traditional country demonstrations on making Breads & cheeses. Lazy afternoon sets in with insightful nonsense chat, naps & lying around watching the wilderness channel, nothing to do, nowhere to be. 

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We start the last day exploring Koreelah Park, the hot dry weather is contrast to diving into clear, cool rock pools. Swimming in bush filtered sunlight & exploring unique rock formations. The well natured children guide us all back to the 4WD tracks. We say our goodbyes to the lovely people we spent the weekend with. Drearily, we count ‘tiny & holy’ cows on our way home as Tim Minchin serenades us with hilarious & witty conclusion dialog, an amazing & rejuvenating weekend.

By James Hill

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.

15Feb/15

Visiting communities project

I’m frequently inspired by friends I’ve met through The Zeitgeist Movement – not only with their meaningful, witty and thought-provoking conversations, but also with the amount of work they do on projects related to sustainability, science and technology. Regardless of these proactive, energetic personalities, most of these projects are done outside of the TZM Australia organisation.

Our TZM group in Brisbane has grown fairly quickly over the past few months and we’re now excited to suggest an ongoing project for anyone who would like to support TZM in particular.

Many people within TZM also have a vision of buying a large block of land and creating a mini-Resource-Based Economy. To work towards this vision, we feel it’s important to get a good feel for what it’s like for people already living in sustainable communities and to truly understand the ins and outs of what works well and what needs more thought.

To enhance collaboration within the movement, as well as share our knowledge and skills, we’d like to organise trips to a range of sustainable communities and open arcologoy projects around Australia and abroad. Here are some that we would like to visit.

1. Christie Walk, Adelaide

Christie Walk Adelaide

The project consists of 27 dwellings which include linked four three-storey townhouses with full solar orientation, a three storey block of six apartments with east-west orientation, four individual cottages, and a 5 storey apartment block facing onto Sturt Street, with a community room/ kitchen/dining/meeting room/ library, and toilets on the ground floor. Around 40 people live at Christie Walk, ranging in age from very young to over 80 with a strong ethos of  ’community’ which has developed over the past ten years.

2. Atamai Village, New Zealand

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Still in development, the entire village, as well as individual house sites, are designed on permaculture principles to enhance both the physical and social resilience of the Atamai community. Atamai will have a residential area, a food production area, a forestry area and recreational areas.

3. Masdar City, Abu Dhabi

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Masdar City is an arcology project in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates which uses solar energy and other renewable energy sources. The temperature on Masdar’s streets is generally 15 to 20°C cooler than the surrounding desert due to its unique construction. A 45-meter high wind tower sucks air from above and pushes a cooling breeze through Masdar’s streets. The site is raised above the surrounding land in order to create a slight cooling effect and buildings are clustered close together to keep streets and walkways shielded from the sun. Public transport initially was designed to use underground podcars. The city reuses its water and functions as a headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

If you would like to find out more and make suggestions for communities to visit, please join us for Z-Day in Brisbane next month, or email me at [email protected]