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Unleashing Transition Coburg: From Oil Dependence to Local Resilience

Greetings all – especially those of you who might live in Coburg (Melbourne), or thereabouts. I’m guessing many of you have heard of Transition Initiatives, but for those who haven’t, the basic idea is this: it doesn’t look as if our governments are going to do anything significant with respect to peak oil or climate change, or the other problems we are facing, so we are... read more

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

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

Reimagining the Good Life beyond Consumer Culture

Continuing the July series of publications, this post consists of an essay called “The Voluntary Simplicity Movement: Reimagining the Good Life beyond Consumer Culture,’ which is soon to be published in the peer-reviewed, International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability. This essay, which is based on a collection of earlier posts on this website, is... read more

Ted Trainer and the Simpler Way

Ted Trainer is one of the wisest, boldest, and most dedicated advocates of The Simpler Way.  In 2010 he published a book called, The Transition to a Sustainable and Just World, and I have to say that it is one of the best books I have ever read in my life. If you only have time to read one more book in your life, consider reading this one. It speaks directly to our global situation and condition, and it... read more

There is More Day to Dawn: The Promise of the New Pioneers

Two years ago, almost to the day, the Simplicity Collective was launched at Melbourne’s “Sustainable Living Festival.” It was born of the idea that consumer culture as we know it is unsustainable, both socially and ecologically, and that simpler living, in some form or another, will need to be a part of any human civilization in the future, especially in the affluent West. This idea struck a chord... read more

Facebook as an Oppositional Tool for Activists? A Highly Qualified Defence of Social Media

Until 2011, I spent a total of about 4 minutes on social media like Facebook, MySpace, etc. I signed up for an account a couple of years ago, but then immediately forgot my password and, until very recently, never looked back. Like many others, I feel that social media is consuming an alarming amount of people’s time and energy, often in ways that seem rather wasteful and uninspired. (Tweet: “I just... read more
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