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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 »

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

Start of the roadtripLast weekend Chris, Bec, and myself rolled out of the Permaforest Trust seeking new adventures, time to let our hair down, and some great music! We were heading to the Bellingen Global Carnival to watch international artists rock several different stages.

Our journey started with a few late night road pops, french fries (mmm yum), and several dumpster dive sessions during our 4 hour journey down the coast. We managed to find heaps of veggies and a few other treats to feed us for the entire weekend. I have to admit that I was still quite surprised at how much we did find when we discovered the right bins…

Do I look like something out of magazine advertising Gap?

The following morning we realized that our campsite at the festival was surrounded by beautiful trees and rad neighbours. We had played a night of truth or dare and I had been dared to wear a dress at the festival for one hour (among other things). So in the morning I did a photo shoot with Chris and Bec with Bec’s beautiful dress. It was a pretty good experience to wear a skirt…

Ironically, after Bec suggested later that I should turn it into a skirt and wear it for the rest of the day I didn’t hesitate *well I felt a bit nervous but then kinda thought…man what’s the problem here this is a cool skirt*. So for the remainder of the festival I confiscated Bec’s skirt and wore it and still have it at the trust — dunno if she’ll ever get it back.

Wearing a skirt/dress kinda made me realize some things about social/gender norms that we hold about ourselves. That a male is generally thought to be strong, tough, not have a feminine side, and not to wear such things as dresses and skirts except of course kilts. There’s a cultural significants to kilts that makes this an exception.

Read the rest of this entry »

I found a recent article from David Suzuki quite interesting and thought I’d share.

He writes a recent Science Matters article on how we can’t really rely on captive breeding like zoos or other scientific systems to actually save the declining populations of animals.

I think that it a lot of ways seeing bigger animals like bears, apes, and cougars in cages makes me a bit sad at times. More because these animals tend to roam massive areas of land as a natural habitat (they are nomadic animals really). And much like the First Nations people we haven’t really understand that it’s not natural to place people into one area and say, “Here you can have this chunk now and you should be okay with that…”. It’s not a natural system that either are accustomed to. I like the fact that David Suzuki has some backing points to prove that indeed scientifically it’s proven that breeding captive actually kinda hinders natural selection and survival of those animals. Pretty amazing genetics I say. Pretty amazing.

The Bakery[Sorry for all those checking out my website I’ve been a bit of sleeping giant on the net. More or less just been super busy and not wanting to sit in front of a computer. But I love to write so I’m back for good]

On Thursday night I figured I’d better check out the massive collective of funkified band members of The Bakery. They are an amazing group of 11 members that play all kinds of crazy funk music. Okay yes this is a plug for them but seriously folks if you are livingin Sydney you’d be stupid not to check them out. And you’d be even more stupid not to shake your ass to this music. The last time I had the pleasure of checking them out was at Peat’s Ridge Music festival where they had just formed a little while earlier. They have fully pulled their sound together and not only are they great to listen to but fuckin amazing to watch (dancin on the stage is only but one of their rad additions to the performance).

On that note there was a great political band that played afterwards that I have to admit was pretty great too. The Locals are quite a political band spinning out amazing rhyming lyrics about politics, consumption, war, and what we are doing to our environment all backed by an amazing set of riffs and beats. I was really impressed with the message and it was nice to be at a venue where someone was speaking the truth about a lot of crazy shit in the world (and yet kinda making a joke about it — read: it was fun to listen to but made you think at the same time). Do it up boys.

I probably should have broken the Lake Cowal episode into two points but I didn’t cause I was trying to deal with it I suppose.

There was still some points that I wanted to get off my mind but that last post turned more into some epic novel of sorts.

What bothers me in this day in age is that we are really focussed as countries (Canada/Australia) on trying to solve other countries problems like Iraq/Iran/[insert country here] and not spending much time dealing with our own internal problems. Why is it acceptable to ignore the rights of indigenous people here in Australia or even in Canada? Why is it that New Zealand seems to show the most respect (as far as I can tell) with regards to the development of relationships between the government and the Maori people. I mean Canada prides itself in being a peacekeeping country and goes around to other countries trying to ensure that there is less bloodshed, things can get resolved, etc. Yet like Australia or own country does very little to properly deal with the First Nations/Indigenous peoples land claims or at the very least demands for respect of sacred burial grounds. It upsets me that we would treat people that way.

I spent some time up in KohuKohu and apparently they were expanding the road up there when a worker cutting down a tree came across some bones that fell out of the tree stump. All the work was haulted, elders were called in to figure out how big the burial grounds were/bless things, and further discussions were done to figure out the next course of action. It means that everyone was equal at the bargaining table and that they figure out a solution together because they wanted to show respect for peoples that have been there long before New Zealanders settled. I don’t think that type of negotiation is that hard! Frankly, you’d have a lot less people protesting or having to occupy sacred grounds to prevent golf course expansions. Seriously folks don’t you think there is some compremise. We should be resolving these issues so that the children (your children) don’t have the carry the weight that we have all been carrying from the mistreatment of these people.

Native Rights Drawing

[I’m warning you this is going to be a loooooooooooooooooong post. Lots of stuff happened this weekend that I am trying hard to deal with]

Save Lake CowalAs some of you might know (or not know) this weekend I headed to Lake Cowal to support a 5 year running protest against Barrick Gold (gold mining company from Canada tragically) who has been exploiting the land at Lake Cowal in several ways.

My time at the camp during the three days was beautiful once we finally got there as it was spent with beautiful people from all over Australia and the world! These included a few different family of fun kids, indigenous people, and others from around Australia and the world. Tragically, Maurice, Andrew, & I received a few (read: 20 I believe was the last count) flat tires on our ride out to the site and finally gave up and had to call in backup vehicle support to come get us.

“Our Aboriginal People are being denied access to our sacred ground. Protestors from around the world are here to support our claim for access to our ancient lands. Australian Aboriginal Peoples have the oldest continuing living culture in the world. We Wiradjuri People are also being denied the right of spiritual and religious freedom under s.116 of the Australian Constitution,” Mr Williams said.

“Barrick is desecrating our sacred site and Dreaming Place and denying us access to our traditional lands. The company has moved or destroyed more than 10 000 artefacts including marked trees, damaging the integrity of the area forever.”

“Despite Barrick’s assertion that we are misleading people, what we are doing is our ancient cultural duty to protect our sacred Country for the generations to come. We are also raising awareness of the dangers of cyanide leach gold mining and the mine’s excessive use of precious water in the middle of the worst drought on record. The fullest dams, in the very parched countryside between Condobolin and the mine, are the toxic tailings ponds west of the open cut pit, which extends into the lakebed.”

I went there to help represent the indigenous people of this country (read: each area that is occupied by a different indigenous country in Australia is called a country here..which I love) .

The actions of the day were quite successful in bringing awareness to the fact that this issue is still taking place. I spent my day performing native dances, doing a sit outside the gates, and supporting other protesters who were entering the mines. Oh and at one point I became the food man bringing food around to people that I had stocked up before we left our camp. It would have been nice to see more people out there but I still think we had an impact (have a look at this rad video of the Tranny Minors that performed). I saw some really fuckin brave people out there getting arrested for what they believe in. It was kinda unfortunate I couldn’t have participated more although I feel my actions were useful too.

But really folks did you realize that cyanide is waste product in the processing of gold. It’s tragic that on such a special lake we would want to introduce a poison that will threaten many different species of birds. Especially, when this lake is recognized as a special place recognized as being one of Australia’s Important Wetlands. Alright so what can I do? Write a letter (pre-made and handcrafted right here!) to these folks here and make sure that your investments are contributing to this destruction. Barricks doesn’t care that they have depleted loads of the water on this lake already even during a massive drought or that indigenous people of this area don’t agree with the settlement made.

[Warning: This bit is quite long and more about the traumatic experience that happened to me while there…I’m still trying to deal with it all actually]

Read the rest of this entry »

AdbustI’m staying in Sydney for the time being to save some cash-o-la. The other day I tragically had to visit a mall (not for work trust me) to run some errands that couldn’t be done anywhere else. After being on the road for a while and not being near a mall I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed in the Bondi Junction mall. Who designs a place to be a an unfriendly, cold, trap, and maze of a place for people to be in? And no it’s not that I’m a guy and hate shopping..I actually like shopping if the place is rad enough.

No the other day I just about started to cry while I was in the mall. You see there are some good reasons for this I suppose.

  • Malls make it harder for smaller business to survive because big businesses get in their and can lower their prices.Def. how I felt!
  • There is sooooo much new stuff available in malls which makes me really upset considering all the available furniture, clothing, and other articles / materials available at Opt shops (read: thrift stores) and outside of peoples homes on counsel pickup days (here in Sydney people leave stuff outside of their house they don’t want — big items — and anyone can take them before garbage dudes do).
  • Do we know where all that uneaten food that has been prepared at the shops for you to eat is going afterwards folks? Probably a lot of it in the garbage I figure. Ahh it made me so sad. Give me access to this food at least geez.
  • Why are you so unhappy? Take a look at the people in malls. No one is smiling and everyone looks like they are trapped in a dungeon. Malls are made to be nice places with light, sun, atmosphere, buskers, little shops, cafe’s, etc. Oh wait I lied. The people who are smiling are those going out the door.
  • Do you really need all those bags? I mean is this more of a status symbol then a use? What about that bag around your shoulders couldn’t the stuff go in there.

It just made me realize a few things.

  • I need to continue to support small shops as much as I can. It encourages community aspects, supports families trying to survive, and keeps the little guy going.
  • To continue to buy used clothing or at least stuff that is fair trade.
  • To refuse plastic bags
  • To ask more stores if I can have the food they waste and give it to someone who needs it. Can’t really do this while on the road but maybe when I settle somewhere. There is this rad little cafe at UTS in Sydney that puts all the food that it has left over from the day out on the counter for people to take home before they close! What a rad idea! And I’ve heard of bakeries that do that here as well.

It was refreshing to hear that my Aunt is also greatly in favour of small shops and isn’t that impressed with the Bondi mall instillation. This doesn’t surprise me I suppose because using small shops is a way of life for Australian and New Zealanders. The idea of malls is only a new one that most people are not that impressed with, and I hope for their sake they keep fighting it. And I hope for Canadians sake we just start supporting smaller shops again! PLEASE!To deal with the sadness I felt I rode the entire way home on my new (read: found on the side of the road, repaired, and rescued) trick bike home in the rain. Man that felt good to splash through the rain and get absolutely soaked.

– Shane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pfft as if!

My bedThe last few days have been spent at a beautiful permaculture backpackers called the Treehouse. There is a reason that this place has a history of being the best backpackers hostel in all of New Zealand and I think it makes plenty of sense. When you arrive the entire hostel is covered in native forest that has been regenerated from 20 years of permaculture work by the beautiful couple that owns this hostel and land. Essentially, when they first arrived it was old sheep grazing land with a few old natives trees around the land. As they tell their humble story to me about reclaiming the land by letting things grow more wild within the grazing land I look around and find myself taking a deep breath of fresh air. Permaculture is the way to go for sustainable food production folks. I know that now and I know that this is where i’m headed in my life. Full stop. It’s impressive to be here in a place that has turned a cleared native forest from a sheep feeding acreage back into a native forest again.

AND they have planted many native and non-native fruit / nut varieties throughout the forest (permaculture concept to have food placed throughout a forest). Some of the fruit I’ve noticed is gala apples, lime, macaroon nuts (oh yeah baby), pears, bananas, guava, grapes everywhere! I decided this might be a cool place to woof at (and save some cash) and have been spending today removing a dock from a swamp they have near one of the little huts you can sleep in. They put me up in a house bus for the time that I’m staying here which is pretty freakin’ rad cause I have a space to myself finally (no more snoring or people doing other things in the bed below me — ugg — ask me about that story later). But if you ever have the chance PLEASE come here and spend some time. This place is freakin magical and so are the people who own it.

Read the rest of this entry »

“One of the biggest killers on this planet is apathy. I read a thing in an internet cafe calendar in Galway, Ireland, yesterday that read ‘why are the people who have all the answers to world problems taxi drivers and hair dressers?’ This was a very good skit on human behaviour in general where people have all the answers and don’t act on their ideas. Why not?” — Venus Kamura from On Fire: The battle of Genoa and the anti-capitalist movement.

Yes everyone knows I read a lot of different things and although this book is a little patchy there are some areas of it that I find quite interesting and to the point.

I’ve now received a few messages from friends saying that they’ve felt as though they want to make some changes in their lives, and have been disheartened by it all in the past. Now they are committing to something new and want to integrate changes in their lives to make change in their own world! YAAH to you guys! WOOT WOOT

Well it’s not that hard to imagine it to be difficult really.

I think whether you are an activist or not you know that change needs to happen in our world so that it’s a place that the children of the future can enjoy. No one wants to leave a huge mess for them to cleanup as we have been left from past generations. It’s our responsibility to be role models, elders, and guardians for Mumma E (read: mother earth).

I think that all this boils down to a few things for me at least.

Firstly, be careful how many things you take on in your life. Keeping things really simple, breath easy, and focus your attention on a few actions that you can handle to start. Branch when you are comfortable. No one likes peanut that is thinly spread on many slices of bread so why would you spread your skills thinly across different type of issues. It’ll only weaken your ability. Plus you don’t want to walk away feeling jaded or tired or burnt out at the end of the day.

Secondly, and probably most importantly is my general philosophy since Otesha. I have them thank for this philosophy. When trying to adopt change in your life start by adopting something small, once you get comfortable, adopt something else that is new and will influence change. This is how we encourage youth on our bike tour to make changes in their lives. If you take baby steps life is more manageable and you won’t feeling like giving it all up because it appears to “be to much to handle.” This is the only way that our world will change in one big revolution. Apathy is an easy out especially when you think of all the huge things we need to take on a society to change it. But I never look at it like that. I’m thankful for the decisions I make each day to try and reduce my imprint and talk to people about issues that I see around me.

Lastly, the Dalai Lama knew it best when he said “Be the change you want to see in the world today.” It’s just that easy. Well sorta. Take a deep breath, be proud of where you are at, and remember that growth is about knowledge, learning, and change. At no point do we ever stop changing or growing and all those actions we take are causing other actions and movements to happen. Children watch us as the elders of the future.

Yeah it’s not really something that relates to my travels but I feel now strongly about this as I travel around New Zealand and yet to find activists. Perhaps they are hiding or just underground who knows. But at least I can be my own activist right?

WORD TO YAH MOTHA

Shane

PS – You have to remember that if you make one action today…think about if everyone took that action. Think about what happens when someone sees you taking that action and then questions you about it. Oh yes then the revolution starts!

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