The Zeitgeist Movement – Australia Become the change you want to see in the world Wed, 26 Oct 2016 07:44:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 7328800 The Zeitgeister going to Mars Wed, 05 Oct 2016 00:09:57 +0000 Read More...]]> 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.

natalie lawler

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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Melbourne chapter update Tue, 04 Oct 2016 10:36:13 +0000 Read More...]]> 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


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.

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Zeitgeist SA – Snowden Wed, 21 Sep 2016 02:40:56 +0000 Read More...]]> 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.

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A memorable and empowering day for Zeitgeist Australia – Z-Day 2016 Sat, 26 Mar 2016 08:02:34 +0000 Read More...]]> 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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.




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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.

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Z-Day Success! Mon, 21 Mar 2016 04:19:27 +0000 Read More...]]>
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.
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Z-Day 2016 Australia Fri, 11 Mar 2016 23:48:20 +0000 Read More...]]> Ahoys me harties! Time to share what we’ve been working on for several weeks. ONE WEEK TO GO… eek!

12829253_10153298941637063_1003943142188672465_oI must give a huge thanks to Paul from the New Globe Theatre who basically gave us the venue to use. We’ll be returning the favour by focusing time helping him where needed and to assist in the defence of habitats, and of course to help 4ZZZ Eco-radio, Sea Shepherd and the other organisations I contribute to. A perfectly named venue don’t you think, ‘The New Globe Theatre’.

Also biggest thanks to Casey, our wonderful coordinator at TZM Australia, truly an honour working with you! And of course, to the rest of the TZM family and guest speakers/presenters.

Another massive thanks to me good ol’ pal of many many years Stephan who with his lovely lover are performing a set for us for free as their amazing band The Flumes. So some beautiful music to sooth the ears while getting a free professional massage, sipping a martini and chomping on a some vegan delights!

And of course a huge thank you to 4ZZZ the station that loves us all, I could never be doing what I’m doing without their endless support and love they share with me.

There will be free yummy vegan food and some of the most amazing presentations, all together under the one roof.

This is a free global event, everything is free, (oh except the drinks sorry) – as TZM we are working towards freeing humanity from the shackles of this detrimental and destructive economic system, one of the core tenants if you will. We all do this in volunteer roles, and use our own treasures to fund the parts in need of funding.

We truly hope you can make this event and support us in this. Sharing this event to get this out there for us would be wonderful! As we head towards a better existence for all life upon the Earth, and this beautiful planet restored to it true beauty.

If you’d like to be involved in some way, or wish to know more, send us an email or reserve your free ticket on Eventbrite. TZM are one of my favourite bunch of kind souls and more than a pleasure to contribute to.


Thank you!!!

‘For the Oceans’
‘For the Forests’
‘For the Earth’

confirmed timetable

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Integral Philosophy = Zeitgeisty Education Strategy Sat, 20 Feb 2016 22:58:10 +0000 Read More...]]> As a #solarpunk writer and embodier of positive future living, I have long pondered how to “do primary school education right”. This month, my curiosity for learning about alternative approaches to bust the mainstream way-of-things-to-be-done led me to visit Brisbane Independent School (BIS) in the Western suburb of Pullenvale.

bis-tree-webI had met one of their teachers at a party and asked him so many questions that he invited me to their monthly open day morning tea, which happened to be a few days later. I was excited – I have driven past the BIS sign for years and wondered what it was like. Finally I would get some answers!


BIS is community-run (half the board-members are parents) and has existed for 50 years. It is one of Australia’s few truly independent schools with no religious or other ties (like Montessori or Steiner schools) whatsoever. Its size and structure has changed a lot over the years; today there are 60 students, prep to Year 6, so 4 ½ to about 12 years old). Most of BIS’ changes happened because the school’s teaching approach has constantly been adapted based on new findings in educational best practise.

Yes, you read that right – Brisbane Independent School has been implementing and testing scientific findings on education for the last 50 years!

As a result, BIS used to be tres laissez-faire about 25 years ago but has since become much more structured. However, compared to the rigidity of mainstream schools, BIS is extremely flexible – and gorgeously so. Which makes perfect sense because as we all know, once size (or approach) does not suit all…

The isolated nature of the hectic cityIt is the first Wednesday of the month @9:55AM and I am greeted by trees, meadows, birdsong, gorgeous properties and a lawn-mowing Shetland pony (not the school’s!). BIS is located in the semi-rural Western suburb of Pullenvale, just off Moggill Road.

IMG_02301I breathe deeply. What a setting for a school! I meet another lady who is checking the school out for her super-cute young daughter. Together we find our way to the parents’ room and it’s all really casual and friendly. We fill out an info form (Reason for visit: Research for TZM and my novel), have some biscuits and listen to the princip’s introductory talk. Jen talks fast and likes to have a laugh, she is full of passion for her work and has lots of energy – good energy. I already feel like enrolling myself in this school (this feeling grows stronger over the next couple of hours, and is shared by the other visitors!). There are four other parent teams or mothers apart from me, a couple of young children who I quietly envy because they might be able to attend this school one day, as well as a student’s mum who is helping out in the background.

Parents’ involvement is an important part of the running of this school, or rather, school community. Parents attend curriculum meetings, working bees and help out in various ways – without getting in the way of their child’s development of course. It can sap on kids’ confidence levels if they feel like their parents spend time at the school for their sake, rather than because they have a job to do.


Jen briefly explains the school’s Integral Development Strategy, which translates into an extremely well-researched education philosophy centered around the individual.

From the BIS website:

“What is an Integral School?

Simply put it means we use Integral Philosophy as the core of our values and daily experience at the school. Integral Philosophy (Wilber, 2000) draws together a variety of human development models into one coherent system. Integral acknowledges the thousands of researchers and developers who’s theories have been coordinated into one model.

“What if we took literally everything that all the various cultures have to tell us about human potential – about spiritual growth, psychological growth, and social growth – and put it all on the table? What if we attempted to find the essential keys to human growth based on the sum total of human knowledge now open to us? What if we attempted, based on extensive cross-cultural study, to use all of the world’s great traditions to create a composite map, an all-inclusive or integral map that included the best elements of them all. “ (Ken Wilber)”

Click here for more detail on Integral Philosophy

Then we go for a look around. The three classrooms are huge and comprised of several areas for different learning content. Arts, Numeracy/Literacy, Play, fish tanks and for the older students IT and Science equipment.

KIRA-FILMINGThere is a library, a big hall, a heavenly arts room and big verandahs that lead to inviting outdoor areas with a massive sandpit, vegie gardens, several grassy areas with playground features and shade-giving climbing trees.

IMG_0233The increased demand for this type of education means there will be a fourth classroom (and teacher) next year and – hopefully – a high school in the next few years.

As we walk around and check out the different spaces, barefoot kids in colourful clothes (bare feet are the norm, plus no school uniforms) are playing in the garden, some are reading, a couple of girls are still in the classroom finishing their workbook exercises. A lot of the education here is self-paced and a lot of assessment is going on behind the scenes – who needs extra help with spelling, reading, maths or time-management? Who is not coping and why, who needs extra emotional support?

The isolated nature of the hectic cityJen and her team of three full-time teachers, three full-time teacher aides and a couple of part-time aides certainly have their hands full. Here the community aspect of the school comes in handy, as parents come in to help out in-class (on the day that I was there, a student’s doctor father was coming in to do a Wet Lab with the older kids dissecting toads or cow eyes or whatever it was – I’m sure we all remember that day of biology class…I spent it sitting on a table near the wide-open window, sticking my head out as far as I could while breathing through my mouth and trying not to retch). It is really interesting to learn more from Jen about the different developmental stages that make kids tick a certain way at a certain age, time and place.

values-chartBut how, you ask, does this work? Three classrooms for six or even seven grades?

A BIS day involves three different learning sessions comprised of activities that teach the Australian curriculum. At least during the middle session, children move fluidly between the different classrooms. Aha, that is why Jen could not answer the question of how many kids there are per grade. This flow is based on their individual learning style, on what learning goals or projects they need to complete and what their developmental levels are. Sometimes it can be scary for younger students to visit the older kids’ classroom for the first time, but it usually turns out to be much less scary than anticipated and staff provide plenty of help along the way. Plus, if children really do not cope well, they can always turn around and try again later. This usually just means that they have not yet reached the next developmental stage – no biggie, they’ll get there. No pressure!

Click here for more detail on the different classrooms

The isolated nature of the hectic cityThere are weekly Yoga and Jujitsu classes and the afternoon schedules relaxation and breathing (aka stress management) exercises as well as quality playtime.

YogaSeems crazy, and it involves a much deeper involvement in each individual to ensure no one slips between the cracks. It’s fascinating and really makes sense when you see it in action.

There is no homework for the first few years as there is no evidence suggesting that homework is beneficial for young students! When BIS students do start to get homework, it often becomes a fun activity because learning does not have the same stress attached to it from a young age. In normal schools kids’ spirits are being crushed by an iron homework regime from the start. So they have to sit still at school and learn, and then do more sitting still and learning at home in the afternoon? Crazy. That time should be reserved for playing, rest and self-expression!!

Kmareephotography-SHOOT7-57-of-139There is no punitive system, but the school does follow some basic rules and teaches consequences. For example, one consequence of unruly (pun intended, and makes me consider the word “unruly” in a new light) behaviour might be losing your license to use the arts room for a week.

The teachers have weekly meetings where they discuss every student’s progression and developmental stage, making sure they are supported as holistic as possible. BIS teachers also do lots of personal development through weekend workshops and bi-weekly training in non-violent communication and integral philosophy.

The school follows the Australian curriculum and there is testing but it is not taken overly serious by teachers and parents – resulting in students who are not overly stressed like those in mainstream schools. NAPLAN testing is done at BIS but parents can decide to pull their child out if it becomes a major stress factor.

“The Naplan test day is a day like any other at BIS.” says Jen and, as I look around, imagining myself over twenty years younger and enrolled here, I believe her.

And somehow, it all comes together and works. BIS graduates do really well overall, they do degrees and get into all kinds of fields later on. The transition to high school can be hard for some, but then it is easy for others – just like with kids from mainstream schools. At least BIS kids have been learning for years how to deal with stress, how to resolve conflict and and how to express themselves in different ways. Apparently one former student expressed her surprise at the “emotional immaturity” of the other kids at her new high school.

After two hours and many questions (most of them asked by curious me while the “real” parents are busy with their kids and wondering whether their family might fit into this school) I walk back to the car park. The school’s mission is “to nurture, develop and trust our pupils’ innate love of learning and positive values” – they tick all the boxes and I feel empowered knowing that futuristic school design is not so futuristic after all, just hugely undervalued. How I wish that more schools could follow this really rather simple (yet by no means easy!) and intuitive approach to educating our little ones. Unfortunately Brisbane Independent School is one of only a few schools in the world that follow Integral Philosophy.

Tying it back to the train of TZM thought, I enjoy linking the concepts of Integral Philosophy to our transition as one Earthly People towards awakening and system change. The transition to a NLRBE (Natural Law Resource Based Economy) has many different developmental stages and so does each human being. The evolution of mind, body and soul clearly happens in bursts, mostly out of whack with each other (mainly because our system is so out of whack), sometimes in blissful harmony with each other.

Each of us has a slightly different process, a different recipe for learning and living, and most of us do not enjoy being pushed into anything – be that into learning institutions, belief systems, economic structures or new thought trains.

Our own education is really quite an intimate affair, especially as we grow into double-digits and begin to search for meaning and passions. We need to explore on our own sometimes, into different directions, guided by teachers, rather than being forced into one-size-must-fit-all scenarios which persist only because they are cheap and not challenged on a large enough scale.

Education is one of TZM’s big focus points– not just for adults but also for children. The UK’s TZM Education project is already kicking some serious arse by going into schools and presenting (un)common sense to our future generations. And even though many of us Geisters choose not to procreate, we have many teachers in our midst and are passionate about finding ways to “get education right” in preparation for a NLRBE. BIS is a stand-out example as well as a most interesting case study of a self-organising system, and I believe there is a lot to learn from its – sadly – very unique approach to education.

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Visit to Christie Walk and Adelaide Chapter Tue, 05 Jan 2016 10:29:38 +0000 Read More...]]> The Brisbane chapter of the Australian Zeitgeist movement has been visiting communities near to Brisbane to analyse what it takes to make a community and what factors make communities work. The latest visit was 1,600km, well outside our usual visits and comfort zone. We had the opportunity to meet with another chapter, Adelaide TZM, which while it may seem like a regular occurrence for some international chapters, was a mastery of the “tyranny of distance” Australia meetingThe tour was organised not without complaint, due to the $40 fee per human participant. Given our large numbers, -Simon Cole- did try to reduce it somewhat. But that $40 fee seemed to be part of the external resource acquisition model for the community in question, which does bring into play what factors make a community truly sustainable in the long run.

12234897_10153651757626011_1982126279163074358_nThe tour was pre-buttered up with snacks and the promise of more to come, which seemed to quiet the masses of which we now numbered around a dozen. The walkway into the community was impressive, with a large tunnel entryway built to handle trucks, and adorned with artwork depicting the history of Christie walk. The entryway was not only aesthetic and socially gathering in nature, it helped physically support the final addition to the community, a 5 storey apartment block that served as the main living abode, the shared communal room and the fully functioning shared “laundromat”.

The first place we were shown was one of the largest ( and first constructed) houses towards the rear of the block. The usual residents were away and had generously allowed us to inquisition their lifestyle. I was immediately taken aback by the warmth of the interior, both in a scale of Celsius and of the soul. The back yard was ornamented by a food and aesthetic garden. My personal favourite decoration was the old rusty tuba light fitting hanging from the upstairs room supports. I must admit I have a slight soft spot for unorthodox garden decorations and the musical instrument I played in my last years of high school, which was the tuba. The most impractical of all instruments bar the piano.

inside cwThe high set support beams were made from reused Oregon timber from a nearby warehouse, more than enough to support the structure, beautifully reconstructed and preserved, as if deliberately within a museum. The walls were especially thick, constructed of concrete and plaster sealed compressed hay bales with a layer of hebel (autoclaved aerated concrete) to give support more than insulation. The double glazing and door/window seals combined with the natural 3 storey design gave enough insulation to the house that even in the worst 4 day heat waves Adelaide has to offer the house only required ceiling fans and not air conditioning. While not “mud, organically grown hemp brick and sawdust” the house offered a balance between the modern consumer culture construction materials of down-town Adelaide and living in a hand thatched stick house designed to be constructed on an income of less than $2 a day. Paul Downton was the architect of this house.


There are a few things to be said specific of Adelaide housing that do not apply to many other areas. For a seaside city, it suffers huge heat extremes. From sleet (minimal snow) during winter, to blazing hot winds from the deserts of central Australia, the temperature can vary from -3C to 45C in as little as a week. The Australian natural disasters it does avoid are flood (its sea side and flat), earthquakes and cyclones (hurricanes/tornadoes/typhoons). It does have very reactive soils, 1.5m rise/fall seasonally is not unheard of. Building a solid foundation and a steel-reinforced concrete slab have overcome this, but of course this detracts from the sustainability of the construction. The house in question, however, has a >100 year lifespan, eclipsing modern Australian building techniques by 60 years.

12278716_10153742545547090_2654338970530196775_nThe next question is what happens once people actually have to live there? Well, the orchestrators of Christie Walk do have a lot of help from those thick sound-insulating walls. But of course whenever they venture from those walls into their community, problems do occur. The community does have a “conflict resolution process” documented, but they haven’t actually had to use it yet. That appears to be because the housing is so well set up and the initial participants were so well matched. However, it’s also because only the well-educated and affluent can afford to live there; those who (in this case) happen to be stable and attracted to a sustainable lifestyle. As the older residents move to retirement homes and the younger generation inherit their share of the land, so does the torch of responsibility pass on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe property “ownership” and “stewardship” are very much tied to the current economic system just like the building approvals were. The land is owned within 3 corporations. The first was the owner of the whole block and the purveyor of the land to the first stage of construction, the separate apartments at the rear of the block. The second corporation was established to build the second stage, the rear adjoined housing. The final stage was a corporation to construct the 5 storey apartment block at the front of the premises . Each corporation is required to hold annual general meetings and report income to the Australian Tax office. The corporations are “strata community title”, something unique to New South Wales and South Australia, although NSW has effectively wiped new titles under this scheme in 2015.

balconyThe succession plan of this community is to some extent at the mercy of the dollar, in that the inheritants of the community who are not necessarily interested in living there, can easily sell their space on the open market. Free market speculators come along, buy and sell shares and alter the members of the community to feed their own profits. The market profiteers will slowly but surely fill the tenancies with whomever can pay, rather than whoever is best suited to add value to the community by living there. This community is subject to that, because the community corporations can’t legally decide who can or can not live there so long as they can afford to buy a share.

The occupants are not a random demographic of people. Far from it, simply to afford to own even a shared premises in an Australian city one needs between $200,000 and $1,000,000AU. Furthering the narrowing is the fact that almost all the current occupants have university degrees in varied backgrounds. This excludes the lower socio-economic class from the community, as does everywhere else within the CBD of a major Australian city.

The self sustainability aspect of this community has risen above the purely economic means of the participants, who could easily afford to simply buy everything they need within walking distance. Much of the food and energy needs are met within the community itself. Numerous gardens including a spectacular rooftop garden for stage 2 (including 2 bee hives ) demonstrate the goal of self sufficiency within this community. There is ample solar hot water and photovoltaic systems, although the residents do pine for an excess to sell onwards to the grid, and there was no apparent energy storage or “island-mode” electrical systems installed to allow true energy self-sufficiency.

ladyAs an interesting side-note, many of the occupants consider themselves “klepto-parasites” borrowing or “unauthorised borrowing” whatever they can to reuse the waste the rest of the city can’t be bothered to use. The rented properties are popular with Flinders University professors and postgraduates, adding to the intellectual discussions in the common room for the duration of their intern-ships. The members of TZM (well Simon Cole actually) gave a great introduction to what we are all about to the community over a delightful lunch put on by the members of Christie Walk themselves. We seeded the idea of vertical hydroponics in place of a simple vegetable patch that would produce much more for them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe community laundry, I have found, is the most interesting part of the tour, if not the most pleasing to the eye. Communal bicycle, recycling, gardening and eating all take a rear seat to this as far as I am concerned. The community collectively , without an actual leadership, decided to establish this model. It worked without some members wanting to be involved, yet once established, everyone has used it. Its principals are simple. Collectively buy a washer and a dryer so good, so industrial, that it sits outside planned obsolescence and is easy to repair should it break. Share collectively its use, repair, upkeep and replacement. This dull white room was the most hopeful part of the entire tour for the engineer inside me, even if its doesn’t make for a good closing statement.

So I will end with this: economically entangled systems of community do exist within Australia and they do work, but without our support and participation they will be lost to ideas such as inheritance, ownership and council planning. It is up to each one of us to support and learn from such models if we are to build a larger and therefore more sustainable earth-wide community within our current paradigm of the developer-capitalist-built city.

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One Young World Thu, 26 Nov 2015 06:07:58 +0000 Read More...]]> 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!


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.

tonga somoa tuvalu

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.

kofi annan

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.

closing ceremony

Closing ceremony

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

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For the open-minded critical thinkers Fri, 20 Nov 2015 02:00:30 +0000 Read More...]]> Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have a legitimate reason to visit beautiful Byron Bay. Not that you ever really need one to visit one of the most progressive small towns in Australia… and some of the most scenic beaches, home to pods of dolphins and visiting whales.

Thanks Kyle Taylor "Hey Byron Bay, this photo was taken by me during a freedive in winter shot with the GoPro Hero 4." Follow Kyle on Instagram

Thanks Kyle Taylor
“Hey Byron Bay, this photo was taken by me during a freedive in winter shot with the GoPro Hero 4.” Follow Kyle on Instagram

Nestled in the most Eastern corner of the Australian mainland, Byron Bay seems to attract a range of forward-thinkers – artists, sustainable entrepreneurs, activists and innovators. Byron hosts two Steiner Schools, a council that is working towards 100% renewables, passionate buskers who have independently made it big-time, and stories of people who were once so terribly caught up in the current zeitgeist you would have thought it impossible for them to find their way out… but did. People like Steph and Mark Darwin, who started the Truthology Foundation, which lead to the event I actually came to attend – The Freedom Summit. As described on their website, it’s “an engaging selection of international and local speakers covering topics including civil rights, sovereignty, money & debt, the government corporation, food safety, the environment, climate, consciousness, sustainability, health and well being”.

As a disclaimer, in previous years, Mark has said to come to this event with an open mind. Now, as the adamant Zeitgeist Movement supporter I am, I’ve obviously been on the journey of discovering the truth about our social, political and economic system, so I believe once you’ve made it to this stage you need to have a somewhat ‘open mind’.10382213_932123330156808_3946799193995422186_o

However, I have found in a fondly satirical sense that Zeitgeist supporters such as myself do often seem to have more of an inclination to jump on logical fallacies and poorly researched claims very quickly, to protect ourselves and others from supporting any particular could-be charlatan. Which I must say, makes us look like a bit like a bunch of pessimistic sceptical critics at times… not the open-minded peace-loving activist we’d like to portray. And I’m not denying that this distinct characterisitic of the Movement isn’t essential, but it can sometimes intimidate other people outside the Movement who DO actually understand where the core problems of our system stem, but are exploring some of these controversial issues.

I’m talking about highly debated issues like vaccines, chemtrails, alternative medicine, GMO’s etc.

Whose blood is already boiling?


Well, mine isn’t. I don’t want to start a discussion about these particular topics – but more about ways of thinking. I’ve decided to take Mark’s advice on this one – apply an open mind – not to shonky science, poorly researched claims or evidence, logical fallacies or bullshit slogans – but to other people who are on our side, who have gone down the rabbit hole and understand that our economic system is a fraud, and take that default position in NOT trusting the government.

I want to create bridges between those of a similar mindset – not barriers. Noam Chomsky said it himself – “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum….”

It seems at the beginning of this journey, it’s all about discovering the problems, but it gets old and repetitive after awhile. I’m now more interested in meeting motivated people, connecting people with complimenting skills, and to work on things that we do agree on – which is building a community of people who want to find solutions… and to make them happen. And I found that generally the people who attended and spoke at the Freedom Summit were like this – solution-focused.


One inspirational activists I met there was Kip Andersen, the creator of the Cowspiracy documentary, who shared in an entertaining way, how detrimental the cattle industry is to the environment, and discussed the real implications of consuming beef and dairy products. After his presentation I was fortunate enough to have a quick chat with him (before going for a quick dip in the ocean) about my struggle with transitioning from vegetarian to vegan. I told him how much I love cheese – and he insightfully shared how addictive cheese actually was. His approach was empathetic and understanding, but very encouraging. It was a pleasure to be able to connect with someone who has worked so hard in uncovering the negligence in Greenpeace’s environmental campaigns.

Kip Andersen

Me with Kip Andersen, Cowspiracy Filmmaker

Other notable presenters included Damon Gameau from That Sugar Film, who talked about the negative effects of the hidden sugars in so many popular food products; Max Igan, who shared heart-wrenching stories from Palestine and his research on ISIS and Israeli military funding; Paul Madden, who brought to the forefront the outrageous mass genocide going on in West Papua all in the name of profit; Nicky Mih who gave us an update on her Free to Shine project protecting girls in Cambodia from the sex trade industry; and Gunham Badi Jakamarra who spoke of his experience uncovering the fraud of the Crowns’ claim to Sovereignty over the tribes of Australia.

Unsurprisingly, but much to my disappointment, the Australian government wouldn’t allow one of the most anticipated speakers into the country – Ken O’Keefe, an ex-marine who renounced his U.S citizenship after becoming fed up with injustices, and now spends a great deal of his time sharing his knowledge on false flag operations, including 9/11. Check out one of his interviews here.

Fortunately, he was able to skype in for fifteen minutes from Bali, carrying a powerful message of empowerment and positivity.

IMAG1799I also met other activists in the stall area who were promoting their Earthship courses, books, health products, organic foods and much more.IMAG1766

I was only able to attend for the Friday and Saturday so I finished the eye-opening experience with the most enlightening and well-prepared presentations I’ve ever seen, by Lyn White of Animals Australia. Lyn shared her experience as a police officer, then as an investigator of animal cruelty especially in factory farming, live exports, puppy factories and greyhound racing. Her presentation was underpinned with the fact that animals feel how we feel and suffer how we suffer. That the acts of violence in the name of meat production produce mass suffering… and that we have a responsibility to make change. I was moved by her dedication to the cause and motivated to continue striving to make the planet better for other earthlings too.

IMAG1800A big thanks again to all people involved in organising and supporting this enriching and powerful event. Click here for more information on the Freedom Summit.

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