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[I found out just the other day that a dear friend of mine from Australia has passed on after having a diabetic coma. It’s really hit me hard as I really saw her as a sister, friend, and awesome person in this world. So to her I wrote this…]

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The Otesha Project (Australia) are setting up another two bicycle tours this year to ride around regional areas of Australia. Each group consists of about 15 – 20 participants and gather together performing a comical theatrical performance and workshops that help youth feel empowered to make small changes that will have massive impacts in the world! We target youth from year 7+ and engage them around environmental and social justice issues – moving them towards considering more sustainable consumption patterns.

Now I need your help! We are trying to fundraise money so that we can pay for the entire program and I’ll be riding along too (since I’ve been volunteering most of my time and getting paid very little I thought it was appropriate to ask people for some help). If you have a few bucks lying around and think you could donate it only takes a second. Every gold coin or bill helps us reach our goal that much more.

Plus it would mean that we would have enough funding to provide liability insurance while on the road, follow-up with youth after the trip, and support members while riding on the tour.

If you would like to help us check out our donation page here.

Thanks for your support it means SOOO much!

Peace and bike grease,

Shane

As an activist, sustainability educator, and random person sometimes I find it difficult not to try and mesh all three of these elements into the way that I communicate thoughts about life. Recent discussions around dumpster diving and educating the “masses” about the legalities of such acts has raised alarm bells for me. Let me start by defining these actions..

Dumpster Diving: The act of going into commercial dumpsters (or non-commercial to) and pull out items of use or food that is being waste for reuse or consumption.

Gleaning: The act of going into farmers fields (note: still legal in Europe although not as heavily acted upon as the old days) and taking the produce left on the farm fields after the harvest.

In the true form Gleaning is an act that is still legal in Europe as a means of collecting left over food. The concept of Dumpster Diving has been a response to the over production of food rather than a means to the end.

In its outright Dumpster Diving is not a sustainable action, but something that most people do in response to the over consumption that our existing world takes part in. Correction: Our existing world meaning “Western” world because travelling to places like Ecuador you find people eating the food that we tend to throw away – brown bananas anyone?

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This image draws me back to a trip a while ago when I travelled to Yurta Yurta Land with Uncle Wayne and Than-lan, a beautiful and wonderful friend.

We were sitting under this tree when Uncle Wayne told us that for years, for centuries, for a period not all that fathomable to me there had been Aboriginals gathering to collect clams, eat, and leave the “garbage” near the tree. I lay there thinking about the tree growing, collecting shells, and experiencing this connection/relationship.

At the heart of it all is…
knowledge
my heart
wisdom
change
something different
me

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Unofficially we have now had three big breakfasts. But officially we have had two serious ones with peeps that have come from various places around Melbourne to hang out, build community, talk politics, change, movements, and various issues.

What exactly is a big breakfast?

Well inspired by my friend Trianne and her housemates in Victoria they used to put on a breakfast at least once a month that anyone in Victoria (usually activisties) could attend. It was completely dumpstered food that would have normally gone to waste. I tragically was never able to actually go to any of these events and I think that slowly they disassembled because the house broke-up.

Needless to say I was always and still am impressed with their thoughts.

Building community…

I realise now after having just two of these gigs that this is such a beautiful of building community, sharing food, and just talking about sharing perspectives from lots of different ways. And I am about building community these days trying to get people together in whatever way I can. Trying to build strong connections with my neighbours and share knowledge and other things (bartering).

But yeah having the community breaky is a fabulous way of creating a nice environment to allow peeps to come over for some rad food. Yesss sir!

We’ve been serving up vegetarian dishes and vegan dishes (sour dough pancakes) and heaps of other goodies too. And the best part as of yet is that the faces just keep changing which is a pretty cool thing.

Last weekend (we are holding it the last Sunday of every month at our crib) I had a great conversation with some Italian students who were talking about the recently elected leader of the country Silvio Berlusconi. To most this man is considered a serious “right-wing facist,” which in general scares the people. Hearing a perspective on what is happening in Italy since the recent elections creates a scary perspective on what conservative governments have the potential of creating. Yes indeed some protest that these governments actually reduce debt that we pay but then I wonder at what cost? At the cost of those that are living below the living wage, at the cost of everyone through health care, those fighting for equality, and at the cost overall for society. It’s a scary reality.

But then that’s why we are growing community. That’s why I will always think differently and fight for what I believe in. Because I don’t want to create a world that benifits me but not others around me. Not others in the future that I leave it too. Not others in countries that I don’t see everyday but can feel their suffering. Nope I want more to this life then just to think about my pocket book.

I want change. I want to barter/swap/grow food. I want to share thoughts/ideas/reality. I want to work together. I want to love neighbours and know them more than a hello and bye each day. I want to break away from a system that makes me feel as though I’m not doing the right thing at 30 by not owning a house, sharing my house, and having a picket fence that’s white. I’m sorry but having a big house that isn’t fully used isn’t all that sustainable. And we as western people are lucky to have what we have…but for how long?

And no I don’t really judge those around me for living that life either. I love them as I love everyone. I think that we all have to work at this together. We all have to take on what we are comfortable with doing, and when we grow comfortable with that we can try to expand that to other things. But I do think that we have to realise that we all have an impact in this world for whatever way we want.

I have a beautiful friend that I meant at the Dreaming Festival last year named Rachel Shields. She’s aboriginal, a musician, a full of this amazing spirit to which I was immediately drawn to when I first met her. I respect for all the levels of connection she has with this sacred land. The other day I got this little ditty from her and wanted to share. Hope you enjoy it. xo

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I used to be of the school of using composting bins that keep all the compost inside. You know … out of sight out of mind … and also so you can apparently keep the smell contained to one place.

I stand corrected.

After being up at the permaforest trust for 3 months and seeing how they were making compost large scale (turn around about 1 week I think) I was pretty inspired. They had theories about mixing a proper proportions of cow manure, mulch (grass), food scraps, and also ensuring that it stays in a proper square shape.

In an urban setting it’s a bit trickier to obtain cow manure (although I have realised that taking a short trip out of town you can usually find bags of free horse poop to supplement your compost with – or even horse tracks in town work). The idea behind making the compost initially into a square or rectangular shape was to ensure that the core of the compost can heat up to a proper temperature.

The biggest problem I have had with the compost bins is that my back ends up hurting from rotating the heap, AND to make proper compost you really need to rotate your compost every day to get proper amounts of air in there.

We gleaned a compost bin like the one above and I thought, “Sweet i know how to use these cause I used to use them back in Calgary and they are great.” So for about three or four weeks we kept adding stuff into the bin and occassionally I would try and mix the contents (and having back spasms afterwards because of the awkward angle you have to use to rotate). And it was quite smelly in comparison and I still thought that it was doing good.

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This tasty recipe will not only wet your appetite for more but it will make you want to make your own. And that’s what we are about is sharing and expanding the recipe to include all the zesty additions that you have to contribute.

Ingredients

  • Concepts
    • Progressive people – not all have to be environmentalists just willing to commit to something progressive and good. Frugality is a bonus as it makes it easy to convince of actions = reducing cash usage
    • Frugality – always seen as a stingy norm but this misconception is getting a new come back in Australia with three new released Gold plated albums. In all seriousness frugality is the end result of learning how to actually live with less.
    • Creative minds – The more ideas the more you move…
  • Stuff
    • Buckets – to save water of course
    • Jars – bring on the canning
    • Timers
    • Shovels
    • Seeds

Recipe (Preparing the goods)

Taking Stock of What We Have

It seems that over time in this house and I suppose in my life I’ve just been working towards having / building / making more community. Why? Simple really. I just don’t think our world is sustainable without building community, without re-learning old things we used to do (rather than relying on products that others make, emissions needed to make that stuff, and throwing it away in a dumpster for me to find), and because with community we create support.

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“No man is an island, entire to itself…
Any man’s death diminishes me
Because I am involved in mankind…
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.”
– John Donnne, 1624

This quote from John Donne makes me realise a lot about my life. Where I’ve come and where I’ve been.

A great deal of my twenties was spent trying to prove to myself that I was an independent male. Converge with social western norms that dictated that in order to be attractive and strong one must be really REALLY super independent. To be independent meant that you had to be a strong as bricks. This meant that you were to not rely on other people, not ask for help, not talk to people about your problems, and certaintly not show any level of weakness. Being strong and independent meant that you should have your own house, spend time in that house, and be super SUPER successful.

It kinda makes me sad.

When I came to Australia I spent a great deal of time travelling on my own and yet interacting and trying to find community along my journey. I found myself surround by good community, beautiful people, and heaps of loving friends (close and far) all while trying to find some grounding and my true centre. (Note: To me finding my true centre is heaps different then attempting to being independent. Finding your centre is more about being strong/solid in your boundaries, thoughts, and open to growth. But not shutting out other things as independence can).

I strive to feel centred in my decisions and thoughts and follow my heart whether the decisions I make are good or bad I know there’s a reason they are happening. It’s a different approach to that of independence that benchmarks your success based on pay raises, how successful you are, and heaps of other unimportant things. I means seriously if something bad does happen due to climate change it’s what we have inside, what we have built around us, and what skills we know that are going to make us sink or swim. Read the rest of this entry »

So it’s been a massive dream to move all the contents of my house from one part of a city to another by bicycle. I all started when I was on The Otesha Project in Canada and met this amazing Food Not Bombers (well one womyn particularly) in Victoria who had moved all the contents of her place on this trailer they had built out of a stretcher used to bring peeps out of the bush.

I was in total awe and respect when I heard that I planned secretly of doing that myself.

Believe it or not we got cheered from several cafes along route which was ubber rad in my opinion. And motorists kinda just looked in respect and awe and took photos on cameras and cheered us on. Epic journey. Beautiful peeps and man I’d do it again in a heart beat!

So without further ado…

And heh if you are bored check out the first Bike Move that happened just before mine by my rad friend Kat…

Oh yeah folks it’s a freakin movement…

xo