All posts tagged: community

Surviving a bushfire in Australia takes courage & preparation #resilience

“Don’t send clothes”- The aftermath of an Australian bushfire Part 1

Can you imagine seeing a wall of flames heading towards you as you stand on your front porch or driveway, or perhaps the entryway to your apartment block? What if it was coming from the left hand side? Or the rear? What would you do? This exact scenario has happened to my dear friends TWICE this year already, on their 300-acre beef cattle property, about 2.5 hours from where I live [comfortably] on the coast. I don’t know how they do it. In the 2002 bushfires, a fireball landed on the place, and they lost everything. Everything. Animals, sheds, machinery, trucks and tractors, fencing, and their home. Completely vanished in an inferno they could do nothing to stop, as they weren’t there. 17 years later, they were at home, and fought the blaze. ‘Fought’ is the correct term too. All night long, they doused with water, directed hoses, ran pumps (only solar and generator electricity available), and finished up emptying buckets by hand as the power failed. They’re living legends as far as I’m concerned. …

Without doubt, the most beautiful road sign I’ve ever seen in Australia

I get teary every time I drive past it. Which is quite often, as it’s near the end of my street on the way out of town towards the highway. That stretch of road becomes long and narrow, without pavements or overhead lights, and cars can drive at 80kms (or faster) after leaving the slow limits of suburbia. It’s officially Winter now, so despite my tropical address, it’s dark by 5.30pm, as everyone hurries home to their families and snug houses. Except Alfred. I can’t remember exactly how long he’s been around, but it’s years. Years and years of just walking in sandals on the road’s edge, leaning more and more to one side in his spine as time passes. Who is he, my son and I used to wonder? And why is he always walking, sometimes wearing a garbage bag as a jacket, whatever the weather. Nut brown legs, stained clothes, occasionally carrying a stick with litter impaled on the end of it; always walking, no matter the weather. A couple of years ago, …

So how much did we raise for refugee food, education & medical care?

I was part of a team called Hungry for Peace, aiming to live on the official rations for a week here in Australia. We set our original fundraising target at $2,500, and were hoping to have 5 of us raising $500 each… Hmmm. Turned into 2 of us aiming at $1,250 each. That’s OK, I can rise to that. My fellow campaigner is a very experienced fundraiser, having done the Oxfam Trail campaign twice, and regularly participating in various community drives, while I would say I’m usually just an enthusiastic-friend-being-supportive-of her-ongoing-great-ideas-like that-damn-hike-in-Tasmania-remember? This time, I had to put my money where my mouth was. Or rather, other people’s money where my mouth wanted to be. And DRUM ROLL…………… our team has raised $3,829.00 so far! Fundraising closes June 30, so don’t hold back now if you forgot 😉   WOOHOOOOOOOO! Such a fab feeling. It costs approx $64 to feed a refugee for 3 months on these rations, so that’s 54 displaced human beings no longer being hungry; totally worth my pitiful ‘rice brain’ whinges. On …

Time to get a little serious, and possibly hungry

So we’ve been having a nice time here lately haven’t we? New fun hair dos, online dating adventures, and even occasional Teenage Tuesday posts [still in negotiations for full time returns of this activity by the way]. I haven’t told you how devastated and outraged I was by the increased conflicts in Syria, and now the latest school shooting in the US; I know you’re all with me in this distress and disbelief of course. Remember the friend I went walking in Tasmania with for her 50th? She is a tireless advocate for those less well-off than us, and has easily encouraged me to join her in the Act for Peace ‘Ration Challenge’ Australia’. Basically, we’re going to gain sponsorship to eat only refugee rations for a week, which I’m going to find REALLY HARD. Here’s how it started: “Four years ago, Act for Peace staff members Ben Littlejohn and Karen McGrath visited a Burmese refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. Cramped together in tiny bamboo shelters, people were going hungry because there wasn’t enough …

The flood anniversary, one year on

  This exact time last year, here was my morning view from the front verandah at 7am. My son’s room below the house was underwater up to my thighs. His friend’s motorbike was almost floating, and my neighbour’s cars had water up to their steering wheels. It was a challenging, stressful time, as you can imagine, including several deaths, and I wrote about it here with many more photos in Soggy not Bloggy. It took 3 days for the waters to subside, and miraculously, we only lost electricity for a few hours. Which was great, because I had two teenage boys marooned in the living room with me; we would have likely killed each other without the internet for distraction. Or the toaster of course, for ongoing food requirements (I had waded to the supermarket with water over the top of my gumboots to bring back milk and bread). Today, the nearby town of Lismore- which was devastated by over 11 metres of water literally rushing thorough the CBD– is having a community gathering and …

Mum update No.1

Following up on my last concerned post about Mum HERE, her younger sister ‘W’ emailed me this morning, saying she’d found Mum obviously a bit muddled last Friday, but definitely cheery. They all went out for a pub lunch overlooking the sea (which Mum would have relished), and laughed a lot. I LOVED hearing this, as you can imagine. ‘W’ confirmed that the twice-daily community care visits help Mum with eating regularly, and social interaction; I also pay for a weekly cleaner, who arrived while they were leaving for lunch, so that’s running smoothly as well. We’re all doing the best we can aren’t we? Tomorrow morning I’m Skypeing with my cousin, W’s daughter, who lives 1.5hrs from Mum, with a degree in Social Work, so is a good communicator, plus knows her way round difficult situations, and dealing with various community services: I’m so lucky! And YOU are all wonderful, with your loving, helpful, positive comments, your sharing of similar situations, and your well wishes and candle-lighting. Thank you so much; I hope my …

#Australia #ecovillage #permaculture #nature #over50blogger @boneAndsilver #wellbeing #intentionalcommunity

Final Day 7: Integration of Eco Village intensive

I was really ready for Day 7: to walk the actual land of the proposed site, and for it all to finish. I needed a break- to do loads of washing, reply to a bunch of boring emails, re-connect with the status of ’17’s homework, and sit quietly by myself, not speaking or listening for several hours at a time ASAP. We met beneath a giant fig tree, grateful for the shade on a hot summer’s day. I know a bit about trees, and assumed this was an ancient one 150+ years old who’d somehow survived Australia’s love affair with mass tree-clearing, but turns out to be only about 70! Unbelievable- that’s how rich the volcanic soil is- both basalt red, and peaty black. Bodes well for the proposed Permaculture gardens… We walked some of the land, which was an old dairy farm, so full of grass paddocks and weedy Camphor Laurel trees; a re-forestation plan would be paramount. But from one vantage point on the North side, you could see the ocean, and thus …

Day 5: An alternative to the Economic System via an Eco Village

We need an Intergenerational rebellion! That was the essence of the presentation by Helena Norberg-Hodge, an author, filmmaker, Global Eco Village founder and pioneer of the ‘new economy’ movement. Check her out, especially her film The Economics of Happiness (trailer here). Did you know that under the current economic system of trade agreements, governments can actually be sued by the Multinationals if they bring in any legislation which affects their profit-making capacity?? Countries literally export and import the same product, such as beef in America, and 97% of ‘money’ is made of thin air and run by algorithms. *shakes her head in disbelief and sadness But WE can BE the change! Despite all the depressing facts and figures she has collated from round the world, Helena remained positive, and upbeat, with a simple yet profound call to change direction from a global economy to a local one.  And shopping locally at the Farmers’ Markets is a gold-star resistance action-  did you know people have TEN TIMES more conversations at the Markets than the supermarket? We also need …

Eco Village learning Intensive Day Four: Permaculture

Day Four started with a 6am drive in the opposite direction, so I could teach a Pilates class. But my reward was this view of the extinct volcano Mt Wollumbin or Warning, on whose ancient skirts of lava we live and grow our food. Once I’d arrived at the retreat, we launched into Permaculture, formally created in the 1970s in Tasmania by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. If you haven’t heard of it, PLEASE research it; I first heard about it in the mid-eighties when my then-boyfriend was finishing his Landscape Architecture degree in Sydney, and I can’t believe so little of it has been adopted. *sighs “‘Consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs. People, their buildings and the ways in which they organise themselves are central to permaculture. Thus the permaculture vision of permanent or sustainable agriculture has evolved to one of permanent or sustainable culture.” Holmgren Design 2018 A truly passionate and highly-skilled Permaculture …

Normal programming suspended: Day One

So, I launch into the first day: interested, a little nervous, definitely excited. The driveway to the study retreat feels special, tucked down a dead end road up in the hinterlands- the actual eco village site is still in negotiation with the local Council for approval. What is an Eco-village? One of the main facilitators is a member of the Global Eco Village Network, which summarises over 40 years experience of community living worldwide, reflecting on what’s worked. In essence, it’s an alternative to the way so many of us currently live, that aims to be sustainable and regenerative. We were Welcomed to Country by a young Indigenous woman, who performed a smoking ceremony for us by the rushing creek. It was a wonderfully sacred way to start the proceedings. There are 21 of us, from a variety of backgrounds and places, between ages 25-70, and attending for a number of reasons. Some, like me, are curious, and investigating alternative options for living, especially as we age; others want a safe place to raise their …