Tag Archives: Brisbane

05Oct/16

The Zeitgeister going to Mars

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

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

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

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When did you first hear about The Zeitgeist Movement?

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

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How did you hear about the Mars One program? 

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

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What made you decided to volunteer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What are your beliefs?

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

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

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Do you follow a vegan diet and if so why?

When I eat something I ask myself three things;

1) Is it good for me?

2) Is it good for the planet?

3) Is it good for the animal?

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

Take a piece of bacon;

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

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

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

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What Zeitgeist principles do you want to take to Mars?

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

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

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

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11Mar/16

Z-Day 2016 Australia

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.

RESERVE A FREE TICKET AS THERE ARE LIMITED SEATS IN THE THEATRE

Thank you!!!

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

confirmed timetable

20Feb/16

Integral Philosophy = Zeitgeisty Education Strategy

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!

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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.

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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.

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.

11Oct/14

Art to inspire action for social change

Art has been used to express ideas about the world for countless generations. A way to inspire, reach out and communicate new ways of thinking. Now in the 21st century, we have so many new mediums for expressing ourselves artistically – from film, to ever-growing varieties of musical, poetic and visual expression.

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At this time in history, It is so fortunate we have so many growing mediums of expression, as well as growing mediums of communication to share ideas and thoughts on increasing social issues, economic problems, war, poverty, intolerance, corruption, mass spiritual depression and isolated existence in the West, in a time of an ever growing imbalance of power and equality in most places in the world. On a more positive note, to also share knowledge of hopeful technologies, the profound reality of our existence and the beauty of our universe.

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In October, the annual Zeitgeist Media Festival showcased live performances, short films and presentations (poems etc.) to inspire positive change. The Brisbane Zeitgeist Movement group shared a range of the short films from the headlining Los Angeles Zeitgeist Media Festival. The feedback from this event was really positive and was met with meaningful discussion and ideas for positive action.

For your viewing pleasure the playlist we shared at the Brisbane Zeitgeist Movement Monthly Meetup has been made available below. This comes as a highly recommended way of expressing a train of thought that encourages long-term global sustainability. Please enjoy watching with your friends and family.