Ancient Futures Festival launches this April (5th-9th) in mesmerising Bali. This conscious gathering is the inaugural festival offering of the NewEarth Nation – a global movement that aims to empower a conscious humanity of sovereign individuals. The 5-day gathering set in iconic rice paddy fields outside of Ubud, will bring aligned communities together from around the world, including representatives from the Zeitgeist Movement Australia, to co-create a solution based vision of the future. Check out their video below.
As part of the Symposium the Zeitgeist Movement Australia has curated a series of short films and discussion sessions specifically for Ancient Futures for each day of the festival in accordance with the themes of the elemental exploration of that day (earth, water, air, fire/ether).
We’ll be inviting guests to explore the following themes:
The Fight For Power and Transition to Equilibrium: A Choice Between Fear and Love
How Communication Can Drive Our Culture Towards a Sustainable Future: Non-Violent Strategies to Resolve Conflict
Enhancing Your Ability to Distinguish Truth and Nonsense: Logical Fallacies and the Scientific Method
Practical ideas for Activism: Decision Making In Groups and A Shared Values System
You are invited to join us to experience dynamic talks and debates from world class speakers, spectacular evening performance from global musicians, dance, nutrition, artistic expression, ceremony and more… All held in bio-resonant spaces designed to have a fulfilling co-creative experience in gorgeous surroundings. Email [email protected] if you’d like a discounted ticket for TZM supporters. More information on the Ancient Futures – NewEarth Festival website.
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.
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.
The lead up was full on. The program was tight. The sound equipment was always going to pose challenges. And the Brisbane chapter of the Zeitgeist Movement mastered all challenges, learned many valuable lessons on the way and put on an event that will be long remembered as fun and chilled-out while also being informative and carrying a powerful message of empowerment.
The day began with the setup of the venue. What a strange feeling to be at the iconic Rumpus Room in the heart of West End at 9.30am! We moved seats and tables, put up fabric across windows to display art and set up the creative corner and workshop tables with art supplies. Blu Tack was in high demand. We set up a clothes drive outside for all those people who were in need. All the while the tech team was busy sorting out cables, leads, stands, speakers and and and… it was a great feeling to make the venue our own!
Our members started trickling in. More art, more instruments, cakes, board games and helping hands. Simon Cole’s beautiful banner designed by Casey went up above the front doors. What a team!
It was nearly 11am. Where are the people? Ah well, we don’t start till 11.30 anyway. Give ’em time, we know what it’s like. No stress – that had been our motto all along, and our generous hosts at the Rumpus Room had added to that vibe over the months – Nathan and Leon are the most chilled-out guys an inexperienced event organiser like myself could have hoped for! Then the guests started to arrive.
We started at 11.30. Casey rocked the mic in her usual nonchalant style that we all love and admire.
Our first musician was Damien Cooper who had traveled up from Lismore. A worthy opener for ZMF 2015 delivering a mix of excellent covers and original songs with a gorgeous voice, aided by a fancy foot pedal and some fine guitar skills.
Next up was John Gordon, a one-time environmental engineer, long-time activist against coal mining and fracking, and singer songwriter from Alloura in the Darling Downs. His songs carried a powerful message. Australia’s mining industry is rampant, corrupt and does not take into account the long-term impacts of its operations. Check out John’s protest song “Australia, whore of the world”, it gives me goose bumps every time.
Rhi Smith was up next. An aspiring actor, she performed the final scene from Charlie Chaplin’s movie “The Great Dictator”. More goosebump material. And the technical feedback issues from our mix and match sound gear did not faze Rhi in the slightest – as she said herself later: The show must go on! And what a visionary Charlie was, ripping into capitalism like that almost 100 years ago!
Then it was my turn! Presentation time! And time to drive the Solarpunk train right into my eager audience. I was finally feeling a little nervous. All seats were filled, standing room only – everybody was curious to hear about this brand new genre which aligns perfectly with TZM’s visions and values. Positive future fiction, anyone? Yes, of course I also plugged my soon-to-be-published Solarpunk novel “The Last Patriarchs” as well as my dream/plan for an artist collective in Brisbane, Australia and the world!
And then it was finally time for The TZM Brisbane Band to show and tell. Anita Diamond, Aceso, Barry Kopittke and Clayt Tomson started jamming together when we began to organise they performed the TZM theme song, the Rise Against cover ‘Hero of War‘ and even an original composition. Great conscious tunes and we look forward to hearing more!
We had scheduled an Open Mic Session next, but everybody seemed to have such a great time mingling and networking that we ran with the way things were going. The festival vibe really was in full swing. The creative corner was bustling, Zac’s board games were getting a work out and Lafe’s Charlton’s workshop had people get in touch with their inner child.
It was great to see our visitors checking out the artwork from a range of local artists – the inspiring paintings of blockades in Tara and the Pilliga State Forest by environmental activist Frida Forsberg (who is now part of Brisbane’s ‘Clean Air Alliance’ that is campaigning to get coal trains chugging throught 21 suburbs covered to protect residents from coal dust) – the beautiful, trippy and at times haunting drawings by Liezl Le Roux – Garbrielle Fernandez’ inspiring comics that convey complex topics in a simplistic way – the animal photography by wildlife carer Jess Gibbins – the interactive puzzle of the world by Minou Duval which carried several powerful messages for peace and unity – Aceso‘s gorgeous Peace Angel hugging Earth to her chest – the Lojban showcase by Timothy Diamond. On top of that were drawings by Casey, James Hill and myself as well as prints of inspirational Solarpunk and TZM-themed art.
The place was buzzing. So much networking, so many chats. So much appreciation for each other. The vibe was so chilled-out, pretty much like all of TZM Brisbane’s events, which is one of the many reasons why I love to be a part of it!
After the break it was Aceso’s turn to give a voice to nature and transport us collectively to another world. Seriously, she was SO good. Everybody said that, not just me. On the piano, then on the guitar, all the while mesmerising us with her beautiful voice and performing all her own material. Neither Casey nor I had the heart to stop this talented young woman (and just maybe we forgot to look at the time, too…) and Aceso went a bit over her time slot – but what the heck, we had done so well staying on schedule so far! Leon and Nathan weren’t fazed about a slightly later end to the day of course, and Aceso finished her set even though we probably could have listened to her for another 45 minutes…
It was time for our short film and trailer! And time for some serious sound hickups, not that our camera woman Candice Stone was thrown off by that. She is a film maker with a mission and her speech moved us all. Muddy Scales is a community-based documentary highlighting the Great Barrier Reef and the coastal developments, especially mining, that are building alongside it. Mining and its fallout have a massive impact on the reef, the land and the community. Near Mackay the pristine homeland of the local Aboriginal community is threatened by the Urannah dam proposal which is supposed to supply water for the proposed Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin. Candice spoke about the generosity of the people she met on the way and about the love for this land, this Earth, that makes us stand up to corporations and governments. Muddy Scales will be out soon, exciting times! We would like to thank Candice once again for taking time out of her busy schedule to film our event and wish her all the best for the journey ahead!
And here I should mention our very special guest Scuppers, the semi-wild Goose who had come all the way down from Cairns. She has her own facebook page advocating for her home – the ocean and the reef and the great land that is not just our home, but also hers.
“We have a special guest here, it’s a goose. Can she hang out in the outside area there?” I asked Leon, just another oddball request for the day.
“Sure, of course, bring her in!” he replied, unfazed, sharing a memory about his own escaped pet goose. So Scuppers joined us in the Rumpus Room and supported Candice, and what a personality this gorgeous bird has, what a powerful voice of nature!
Our closing act was Epoxy Love from Bindarabbi. TZM Brisbane visits sustainable communities all around Australia and met this lovely duo on one of our recent excursions to the eco community. Mic and sound issues prevented Jade and Christopher from performing together, but their music and message was loud and clear and full of humour and insight. More love, less fear. We look forward to see you perform together at our next event!
Time for prizes and closing words! The mic’s had had enough. Ah well, I can raise my voice good and swell.
We had three $250 gift cards to give away that were generously donated to us by deep grey photographic studios. One went to Leon and Nathan from the Rumpus Room (and I sure look forward to see their portraits up on the wall there soon!), one to Candice and her campaign (seriously, she added so much to our event by offering her help and expertise and I can’t wait to check out the final edit of our big event! Get to it, editor-in-chief-Eris!) and one to said Eris and Matt who formed our tech team and did an absolutely stellar job with the mixed and matched sound gear.
After another big thanks to our hosts, all helpers and guests (and a call-out to anyone who could help with the pack up) it was over. Not that it’s really over. It feels more like it’s the beginning! The buzz in the air, all the new connections formed…
TZM Brisbane is alive and kicking, and we look forward to building a bright, positive future, full of sharing and collaboration, in an RBE where we can have festivals like this one all the time!
One massive thanks to Comet, who is not just one of our members but also hosts EcoRadio on Brisbane’s much-loved and always supportive local community radio station 4zzz. Thank you for your untiring work and love for the planet – your support and connections definitely brought our event up a few levels!
And of course a huge thanks to all our other helpers and guests who came and made this event so special, including those who brought yummy healthy snacks.
Our theme for the event was empowerment. What we realised in Saturday was that we were not just empowered by the amazing performers and artworks, even though that was a big part of it. But rather, our whole group was empowered by putting on this event. I myself got huge doses of empowerment as the main organiser, having never done anything like it before. It forced me to come out of my introvert’s shell, liaise with a range of people, extend my network and learn to stay centered and calm under pressure. The event empowered the team spirit in Casey and me as we reflected over post-festival drinks what a great team we make. The appreciation and gratitude from our members, guests and artists translated into an uplifted, empowered Zeitgeist in all of us, and that is our goal after all, not just for TZM Brisbane, but for the whole world!
The other day I was sent a message from the Finnish National Coordinator, Teemu Koskimäki asking me a few questions about the level of TZM activity in Australia over the past couple of years, how our chapters are doing now and about any challenges we have faced. This got me thinking about all of the valuable lessons we’ve learnt along the way, especially the local chapter in Brisbane and how we’ve managed to end up with a solid active growing group.
Burn-out is super common amongst social activists – and I’ve noticed it particularly with TZM activists. Once people discover the importance of educating everyone about the monetary/market system, the concept of a moneyless society, the scientific method and the overwhelming immediate need to change the world – it can become incredibly stressful and disappointing when others around you don’t understand or don’t follow through.
If you are in a different part of Australia (or the world for that matter) and you’ve been thinking about starting a chapter, or you’ve started one and you’re not sure where to go from here, here are a couple of pointers, lessons and experiences we’ve had that can help you on your journey.
Find the core group and low-hanging fruit
I wouldn’t say our success has been anything to do with the ‘type of people in this city’. As a matter of fact, I think a large amount of people in this city are generally quite ignorant and dismissive of global problems, or they’re caught up in local political debates.
Don’t go all out expecting to change everyone’s mind – especially as a lone wolf or couple! The first step is to find other people who are on the same level already. Yes, they are out there – especially if you live in a city of a million or so people! These people probably already feel alone and misunderstood too and would probably love to connect. I’ve found starting a Meetup to be incredibly effective, as well as starting a Facebook group. Attending other sustainability events and connecting with people can also be helpful. Start with organising something super simple – hanging out at cafes, having picnics, dinner parties, movies and so on. Unnecessary over preparation for a young chapter can be exhausting and lead to burn out.
Once you get that awesome little group, don’t be surprised to get a lot of you-shoulds, it’d-be-better-ifs and why-don’t-yous. Of course suggestions are welcome! However, you have no obligation to follow through on suggestions. Remember you are only one person and can only do so much. If I think it might be too much to take on, my response might be something like, “That’s a great idea! I’m happy to support you in organising that in any way I can.”
Utilising national and global resources and support
Especially with marketing, don’t make everything from scratch. There are so many resources out there made by passionate and skilful activists from around the world. Check out Emboonite’s stuff on our activist material page. Also, if you hold movie nights, it might be a good idea to show a part of one of the Zeitgeist films, or a short Z-Day presentation from somewhere else in the world. Here’s a great example from Abby Martin.
I received an email a couple of months back from someone who used to be part of the Perth chapter, who explained that the core group didn’t want to have much to do with global because it was a ‘centralised’ system, which is in essence against the core train of thought. I would say coordinators have no interest in policing – we have absolutely no control over who starts a chapter or who doesn’t. We can only choose who we support and who we don’t. Networking, brainstorming, finding solutions and sharing ideas. That’s what it’s all about.
Staying in touch with global chapters
Involvement in monthly global Teamspeak meetings has kept us up to date with what’s happening with other chapters around the world. We get updated with the latest available material and latest events and share what we are doing too. You can also help with their projects from afar – be part of the global team, help with adding to online content or if you’re more technically minded you can help with their website or even decision-making processes.
Start an event like “Monthly Movies that Matter”.
Our main public event in Brisbane is a perfect opportunity to connect with like-minded people and discuss the Zeitgeist Movement train-of-thought. Its advertised on the main website, Eventbrite, sent out to the Australian mailing list, Facebook (the national and local chapter pages) and Meetup. This draws in people from a range of different backgrounds and experiences and sometimes brings in people who actually don’t know much about TZM but are interested in sustainability in general. It’s a great environment for them to learn and connect. Not everyone will understand or be into it, so just focus on the successes and remember that it takes some people a while to fully comprehend several of the concepts we discuss. Keep it simple and focused on a topic that’s not too controversial, until you have a fairly solid group.
Most importantly, I believe the success of our chapter comes down to developing long-lasting friendships. Over the years of hard work, we’ve also got to know each other personally. Events are the most exciting time of the month and in between that we have movie nights, parties, go on trips together and generally have a lot of fun. We are honest with each other and not always dead serious about changing the world – TZM activism is something to be celebrated!
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.
Zeitgeist 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.
This 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.
After 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.
Caroline 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.
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.
After 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.
After 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.
Before 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.
Our 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.
Thanks 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.