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Voluntary Simplicity and Transition vs. Empire

This post is a short excerpt from a paper of mine considering the role the Simplicity and Transition Movements might play in resisting the forces of globalization and producing a degrowth or steady-state economy.  The age of globalization is upon us, and it could be that any attempt to realize a degrowth or steady-state economy will face forms of resistance today that may not have been faced as recently... read more

The Strangest Thing Happened at Cherry Grove

With a day to pass before my students submit their second assignment for marking, this morning I set out on my bike to survey the neighbourhood for a plot of unused land to cultivate, in the manner of a Guerrilla Gardener. I already had my eyes set on a couple spots, so soon enough I found myself hoeing the earth as a soft rain began to fall. It was very pleasant, indeed. The plot is approximately 2 metres... read more

Solar Hot Water: The Simpler Way

To those of you in the Northern hemisphere, who are heading into the depths of winter, this post may be a bit offensive. My apologies in advance. The temperature today in Melbourne, Australia, reached a toasty 29 degrees (celsius) and that signifies the beginning of the season of solar hot water – but solar hot water the simpler way. Yes, ’tis the season for the outside shower! In these... read more

One Vision of Occupy Melbourne

Occupy Melbourne may have fallen out of the news, but several hundred people have still been meeting everyday on the steps  of the State Library to continue their grassroots activities. It remains a vibrant community of passionate and compassionate  people, and the energy levels have not been dampened but only enhanced by the executive beating we received a couple of weeks ago. Recently I  set myself... read more

Voluntary Simplicity: The Poetic Alternative to Consumer Culture

 In 2009 I published (on a not-for-profit basis) an anthology of articles on simple living, entitled Voluntary Simplicity: The Poetic  Alternative to Consumer Culture. It includes 20 chapters from leading advocates of simple living, including Clive Hamilton, Juliet Schor,  and Henry Thoreau, among many others. I’ve just noticed that Fishpond is having a sale and currently my text is only $16... read more

The Battle of City Square: This Is What Democracy Looks Like

I got a call this morning around 7.30am informing me that the police were planning to evict people from City Square at 9am. So I jumped on my bike and did what my conscience demanded of me. What else is one to do? It is 7.15pm as I write these words, and I now have a badly sprained neck, having been forcibly removed from our peaceful protest in City Square by the riot police some time after midday. I’ll... read more

Ignite: An Unspoken Address to the Occupiers (Occupy Melbourne)

A PDF of my 4,000 word statement can be downloaded here: Ignite. I woke up in City Square again this Thursday morning. The sun was rising, the vibe was characteristically joyful and positive, and the conversation was critical and engaged. Not only that, seeing the City Square full with tents was an inspiring spectacle, one that never gets old, and it must surely be prompting some reflection among those... read more

Notes on the Occupation – Occupy Melbourne

This post is a continuation of the last one – but this time with the benefit of lived experience. Here are my thoughts on the experience so far. (For my 4,000 word defence of the movement, please click here: Ignite.) For the purpose of ‘occupying Melbourne’ in solidarity with the global movement, I headed down to City Square in Melbourne this weekend, arriving on Saturday morning before the start of... read more

Occupy Wall Street / Occupy Melbourne: Are We the People We Have Been Waiting For?

(A PDF of my 4,000 word defence of Occupy Melbourne can be downloaded here: Ignite.) I presume you have all heard about the occupation of Wall Street that began a few weeks ago in New York? Thousands of people have been staging an extended protest – an occupation – of Wall Street, voicing their diverse objections to a global financial system that has gone amuck. It may well be, however, that some of... read more

Voluntary Simplicity as an Aesthetics of Existence

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve drafted a new paper on voluntary simplicity. It’s a bit more philosophical than my recent writing (and it’s rather long) but I hope that the title might tempt some of you to take a look. In a sentence, the argument I make is that living simply in a consumer society is an intensely creative challenge, one that is similar to the creative challenge of... read more
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