Moon Rabbit is a social enterprise café that are doing all they can to achieve their goal of running a zero waste and sustainable business. Sam has worked with customers and the supply chain to help bring them with Moon Rabbit on this journey.
Preston Neighbourhood House, also known as The Bridge, setup the café in March 2018 to create practical training opportunities for learners with additional needs, to complement their vocational training. The social enterprise business structure enables them to chanel all profits from the cafe into underfunded community programs, such as Laneway Lunches, which feed 40-60 people each Friday.
What a great example of a work that meets a number of needs at the same time. If you are hungry and in the area go to https://moonrabbit.org.au
Without Tangkahan Ecovillage there may not be forest on this edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia.
In 2000, the villages of Namo Sialang and Sei Serdang turned from illegal logging and the palm oil industry to ecotourism for their livelihoods.
They now work closely with elephants rescued from conflict zones, offering tourists the opportunity to bathe and walk with them. When the elephants are not with the tourists they move freely in the forest. Watch because the video shows more benefits for the community.
As an alternative to the “over tourism” or “mass tourism” of today, consider travelling in a different way. Instead of consuming a place and culture, consider visiting them as you would a dear friend: going only if they have space to accommodate you; not bringing and leaving rubbish; eating their food and learning their language because it’s a doorway to their hearts and minds; and making sure the money you spend goes to their community rather than being siphoned away to shareholders of faraway corporations. Be part of livelihoods that leave regenerated nature and culture for their children and you will leave your children with somewhere unique to adventure to.
Kat Lavers demonstrates that it is possible to produce a meaningful amount of food on a standard sized urban block at The Plummery. The entire block including the house is 280 square meters but the food producing area is only 100 square meters.
She lives with her partner and WWOOFERS, spending only four hours a week on average maintaining the garden. The abundance comes from close observation and planting densely with a tight rotation system.
They also keep quails because there is not enough space for chickens. The quails produce eggs and nitrogen rich manure for the edible garden.
Rather than aiming to be self-sufficient, they aim for community dependence where most of their diet comes from the Plummery or within their bioregion.
Growing food at The Plummery is Kat Laver’s experiment on how to regain a connection to the land in the context of a city.
This conversation is about the book “Drawdown” which is a result of Project Drawdown created by Paul Hawken. He gathered a team of seventy research fellows from twenty-two countries who are some of the finest men and women in science and public policy. They identified, measured, and modelled the one hundred most substantive solutions to reverse global warming within three decades.
In atmospheric terms drawdown is that point in time at which greenhouse gases peak and begin to decline on a year-to-year basis. Because, even if we stopped emissions tomorrow, it would not be enough to ward off environmental disasters. We would still have a lot of work pulling the carbon out of the atmosphere.
The man asking him the questions is Damon Gameau, who directed the documentary 2040, the year forecasted in Drawdown when our lives could look really different, something worth dreaming about, if we keep scaling these solutions that already exist today.
Now we need to go through the list and engage in the solutions that are specific to where and how we live. I have to say, some of them are really exciting because they go beyond drawdown to economic and gender equality, food security, water security, energy justice, healthier lifestyles and bringing people together, building stronger communities in the process.
We shouldn’t have to pit conservation against livelihoods. Drawdown shows how our livelihoods and lifestyles can be regenerative.
This street theatre performance had a powerful impact on the imagination of a community in Central Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia, in 2016.
Applying the permaculture philosophy of “the problem is the solution”, Permakultur Kalimantan Foundation (YPK) and Curious Legends teamed up to work with over 200 children and 30 local community members to show that we created the environmental and social problems of today but we can also fix them.
Permakultur Kalimantan Foundation (YPK) was established to make permaculture education and training accessible to communities in Central Kalimantan to improve land management, increase community resilience and food security, support sustainable livelihoods and culture and help to conserve the natural environment in the region. Find out more at http://www.permakulturkalimantan.org
This is a 30-minute documentary by Happen Films about Hinewai Nature Reserve and the man who looks after it, botanist Hugh Wilson. It is an inspiring story of how degraded marginal farmland has been regenerated back into beautiful native forest.
Wilson used the introduced ‘weed’ gorse to grow as a nurse canopy along with a philosophy of minimal interference (Nature is smart; leave her to it) and a huge amount of passion to regenerate farmland into native forest.
The wildlife has come back. The soil holds more water. 47 known waterfalls are in now permanent flow.
Happen Films has published this documentary for individuals to view at no charge. A gesture of sharing as beautiful as the soul of Hugh Wilson and Hinewai. Visa their website https://happenfilms.com/fools-and-dreamers to apply for a license to host a screening for groups or check out their amazing work. But definitely share it with your friends and family.
I wonder how to go about looking at backyards, courtyards and urban spaces through the same lens. To identify marginal areas that are not productive and regenerate habitat and water holding capacity and kick start carbon sequestration with minimal inputs.
The big picture on our food. Explained simply by an expert.
So much appreciation for the local organic, biodiverse and permaculture farmers who feed us and keeps the natural world in balance. If you don’t have a CERES or farmers market near you, look for community-supported agriculture (CSA) options.
Morag Gamble is in conversation here with Daniel Christian Wahl about bioregional development and his book, Designing Regenerative Cultures.
Wahl begins with, “the scale at which you can create a really regenerative and sustainable system is bioregional and not quite so small as I had thought for fifteen years. Self-sufficiency is a story that a lot of people get into at the beginning, but if you want to create resilience you have to create it with lots of people in your region and with lots of communities in your region.” Later in the conversation he emphasises the need for regenerative work to be accessible to everyday people who live in urban areas.
He encourages a focus on the “biocultural uniqueness of place” where each regenerative culture will express itself differently according to the specific ecology, people and history of that place. The aim is to create the capacity in the local people to live in a way that leaves it more bioproductive, more abundant and healthier than what they received from their forebearers.
Wahl highlights an important process of working regeneratively is through capacity building. This requires a view of education as a lifelong process of drawing out our potential as time and context changes. He goes on to describe ideally learning through multidisciplinary projects that teach a combination of social, economic and ecological literacy. Alongside rethinking how we educate our children, Wahl touches on the need to upskill millions of people who are already in the workforce.
I love his phrase, “We are the regeneration rising.” What he means by it is that rather than using slogans that come from a place of fear, we come from a place of hope to tap into people’s creativity and reach across the silos we currently function in.
Wahl also points to the value of making regenerative work visible to each other to cross pollinate ideas. He is specifically thinking of the role artists can play in sharing stories and questions. And in doing so, thinking in a “Yes, and” rather than a “No, but” way. (I thought to myself, “A ha! Just like improv comedians do.) Don’t focus too much on the little differences but celebrate the diversity of opinion.
I wonder if volunteering at an urban farm or community garden is considered capacity building in an urban context. It is something I can engage in with my kids on the weekend that is not necessarily predicated on having money and is fun and social. I wonder what else would be capacity building for us.
Naomi Klein’s Capitalism and the Climate lecture at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in 2015 was an eye opener for me. I am a middle-class, immigrant from a developing country, first-world problems millennial. I was brought up on individualism and the fantasy of empowerment and self actualisation that the market economy promised.
Naomi explained that the first phase of the climate movement produced solutions that did not work because they reflected the market fundamentalism or Neoliberal ideology which collided with an ecological crisis. “…a lot of what we heard in the first phase of the climate movement was you can solve this as a shopper. Change your light bulb, drive a hybrid, write a letter…”
Why did these solutions fail? In his article in the Guardian, Martin Lukacs explains how Neoliberalism has taught us to face structural problems individually instead of collectively, and thus ineffectively.
No wonder I felt crushed under the weight of trying to be as sustainable as possible in what Naomi describes as a “throw away culture”. At the same time, my friends and family felt overwhelmed and defeated before they even began to try seeking a solution.
We already struggle with the cost of ethical and sustainable products in an effort to role model our values to our kids. But sometimes I feel like a hypocrite recognising that many fellow citizens would never be able to afford those products to begin with. After all, as Rutger Bregman illustrates in his compelling talk, poverty is not a lack of character, it’s a lack of cash. We need to start paying the farmers what it genuinely costs to grow nutritious food so they can live with dignity. But we also need to make nutritious food more accessible to those with less cash than others.
Why do we need a climate movement
As an individual, I feel woefully inadequate and ill-equipped to deal with the complexity of the connected problems we face. I am not an expert scientist, an economist, an environmental or human rights lawyer or the farmer dealing with crop failure.
Martin Lukacs says, “it is time to stop obsessing with how personally green we live – and start collectively taking on corporate power.” And in the most compelling part of her talk, Naomi explained why it is important to have a movement that pushes to meet our common needs as a society.
“There has been a way in which the climate discussion has really not reckoned with just how hard our opponents are fighting. They are highly motivated because they are fighting for their lives and the lives of their businesses. And what I am arguing is that if we can come up with these intersectional solutions that fight climate change, lower emissions, but also reduce inequality, also tackle racism, also create a living wage, unionise jobs, if we can weave together this holistic vision, then people will fight for that future. They will fight for that future because it’s better than their present. And as far as I know, the only way to win a battle against forces with a huge amount to lose is to build a movement of many more people who have a great deal more to gain. And that’s what this is all about. I think it’s realistic.”
Naomi gives specific examples at 27:19 minutes into her lecture to show we already know how to create the transformative change we seek and she encourages us to plug into the movements in our country. Check my post on Drawdown: 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming. Happily, these solutions are intersectional!
Still, I could not deny the hesitation in me. Unfortunately, I don’t think I am alone in growing up with messaging that you cannot manage the paradox of belonging and autonomy. You either forsake your individuality for your place in the community or you bear the load, meant to be shared across many shoulders, for the sake of self-determination. The trials of parenting were not for nothing because they led me to question these assumptions. I started asking how do I manage this paradox. Brene Brown’s book, Braving The Wilderness, has some really useful guidance on how to engage with others to meet our common needs while contributing your individual skills and maintaining your integrity.