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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

It’s been a while since I’ve written much here. Well there’s a lot to explain. I’m working hard these days at a Fruit & Veg shop trying to avoid being broke, working on Cycle for Sustainability [soon to be Otesha (OZ)] on any day I have off, and settling into my digs here in Melbourne (read: moving next weekend via all bicycles – yes I have a bed, coach, and other big items now so it’ll be fun and about 20 KM I figure). And I’ve spent time exploring my mind, sleeping, and sending friends letters… yes old school snail mail is tre cool.

I suspect that those that used to read this are long gone and have forgotten about it all. Sorry.

But on that note of friends I have come to the orginal reason I wanted to post. It’s been really difficult at times to fully realize my dreams with this project. My goal ultimately here in Australia is to secure some serious funding for The Otesha Project (Australia), create massive tours, spread laughter/education/love/bicycle moves/groovie vibes/connect with youth/and so much more with as much of my heart as I can. I love kids man. But sometimes I freak out and think that this is a bit much and worry that it’s just not going to happen. That maybe I’m over my head, and just about to start sinking in the deep end of the pool without an energy to get back up.

Then…it’s with appropriate timing some friend of mine comes along and gives me that support, love, and energy that I need. Some through beautiful messages, some through hilarious letters or gifts, some through food, and some through money. It blows me away how supportive and rich the community of people I have around me. It brings massive tears to my eyes to know that there are so many really beautiful people working on so many amazing projects in this country, in Canada, and this world. I’m blessed to be inspired by every single one of you. To see you moving along in your lives with such great hope, strength, and determination only lights that fire under my bum higher. Makes me feel like I can do this and sure there is going to be struggles and hardships but how does a person appreciate anything without a bit of that.

Without love and community we have nothing.
That’s not true.
We have a place to sleep, a bed, a job, a life .. but that’s about it.

I want to foster more community, more sharing, more love, more giving, hope, energy, and change in our world. I really strived to be a man of independance for so long in my life and now … now I’ve sold that ticket to a different bidder and have checked into a life of being around people, learning, growth, sharing what I have, and owning no more than what I need.

Thank you for your love. Thank you for your support. Thank you for you. You may not realize but I’m watching your movements and it brings a smile to my face. What major things you are doing to try and shift, make differences, be different in your life, and grow. We can’t do this alone and we only have one place to live.

Heaps of love

Shane xo

Well folks it’s all happened.

As some of you know I applied for my second working holiday visa here in OZ so that I could stay in Melbourne for a year and work with Cycle for Sustainability. All I had to do was pass a physical (yipes), work three months on a farm, and do some jumpin jacks. And yesterday I got notice that I’ve been accepted for another year!

So what does all this mean?

Well basically I have felt pretty strongly about getting The Otesha Project (Australia): Cycling for Sustainability — formerly (Cycle for Sustainability) moving in bigger directions with more peeps. And I’ve moved to Melbourne, tag teaming up with Ange & other crew, and trying to make all this dream into a reality. So for the next year we’ll be planning out some serious tours (3 or 4), performing skits, monkeying around, dancing to funk, and applying for grants. If we can get a sizable grant it would make a huge difference in the success of this project. Phfew wish me luck! It’s pretty huge for me at the moment as this was a huge decision but honestly it feels right..it feels true. Inside I feel that I’m following my heart more than I ever have. Shit yeah!

And now we’d like to thank our sponsors…

I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank all the rad peeps out there. My friends, my family, my Aunt here in OZ for her endless giving, Andrew for his guitarness, Ella for her chips – beer – and laughs, and all that rad support, encouragement, love, giving, more giving, and help.

We are nothing without community. We are nothing without the support, inspiration, and love from others. Let’s hope that we can pull this bad boy off.

Peace, love, dance moves, and life.

PS – Shane is typically renamed to Shano don’t ask me why but I kinda like it.

PSPS – Leunig is an amazing artist from OZ.

A million years ago I wrote about how bothered I was that people tend to always look at external things to judge people’s level of education, social standing, and other things. That it bothered me that I came from a certain ethnic standing because it gave me social standing that I’d rather not have.

Frankly, it’s something that comes up in my mind from time to time. More that I feel this massive need to help out those that aren’t in the same social networks, benefits, or situation that I am. For a while I volunteered a long time with Food Not Bombs in Calgary to try and help out people who just needed something to eat (yes some people don’t really like going to homeless shelters to get food cause they can feel a bit intimidated).

I wonder at times if people forget that a lot of ethnicities (refugees) end up taking on a lot of the jobs that help support the existing culture that we sustain each day. It’s the immigrants in Canada and even in Australia that are working the late shifts at gas stations, packing food on shelves, and cleaning stores when they shut. I appreciate that and at the same time feel a little disheartened because I know that some of these (many taxi drivers I’ve met and chatted with) actually have engineering degrees from foreign countries that they can’t seem to get recognized in Australia or Canada.

I guess for me it just enhances the fact that I realize there is a need for me to really continue to strive to break down those barriers between the class structure I was raised in and others. Try and find ways in which I can integrate myself with more of these people (and frankly I feel more connected with them to begin with because like Ecuador they seem to value things that are more important to me).

What brought all this home for me was watching the Chilean movie Machuca.

“In 1973, in Santiago of Chile of the first socialist president democratically elected in a Latin-American country, President Salvador Allende, the principal of the Saint Patrick School, Father McEnroe (Ernesto Malbran) makes a trial of integration between students of the upper and lower classes. The bourgeois boy Gonzalo Infante (Matías Quer) and the boy from the slum Pedro Machuca (Ariel Mateluna) become great friends, while the conflicts on the streets leads Chile to the bloody and repressive military coup of General Augusto Pinochet on 11 September 1973, changing definitely their lives, their relationship and their country.” – IMB

At about the half way point I was crying and from that point onward the movie really brought you closer to the reality of what can happen in social situations (not only from politics but also because of social class systems). It was a beautiful reminder that breaking down berries, helping out those that aren’t in the same situation as ours, and sharing what you’ve got is the only way that we can help to create a sustainable fair world. And I know I can do that!