Sunday, December 31


Helen Dew in her potato patch - another liberated lawn.

She recently sent me some Leek seeds, with a note to "Sow leeks now, for good sized crop in winter. Love, Helen" I got them in some seedling pots on New Years eve. Thank you Helen for this lovely gesture of support, you are an inspiration.

Here are the pots with Helen's leek seeds in - protected from the birds and the drying effect of the sun. I aded some dry worm castings, harvested a year ago, to the potting mix. I only planted half the seeds, as I recall that the period following the full moon is said to be better for root crops.

People rarely write or talk about their gardens until they have perfected some aspect of them. It is easy to feel daunted by all the volumes of books and articles on the subject. Where do we start! My friend Scott has often expressed the basic truth that "you don't need to know all the answers before you begin."

Saturday, December 30



For the last couple of weeks I have been reflecting on where my attention and intention have been focused for the last couple of years, and contemplating where I want to focus in the coming year. During that time I have been delighted to have received a number of emails and been party to some conversation with friends and acquaintances who have been sharing at a deep level, and offering very personal expressions of what is in their hearts at this moment.

Pondering this phenomenon I wonder if the human psyche is realising this is an important part of the picture - to share who we are, what we care about and what we need and can offer. Maybe it is a way we can find those who we need to connect with, in order to be more effective and conscious servants of the transformation.

So with a new year about to begin, and not wanting to put off until perfect, here is my own story as it is unfolding and evolving at this time.

A practice of trust and exploring the dark side

About two years ago I expressed two strong intentions. The first came from a month long enquiry into my values to see if I could identify those which drive me. At the end of this month I had come to the conclusion that 'trust' was the value which held the greatest force. I have a sense that as long as I have something to offer, even if it only the capacity to read a bedtime story to a friends child, then my needs (and I long ago discovered that these are very minimal) will be met.

Although I have this deep trust in life, I had not always been living it. I had allowed myself to buy the propaganda that I needed to remain alert, even fearful and mistrustful of others, and always plan ahead for my future needs.

I was living alone in a converted bus at the time (quite happily I must add). I distinctly remember someone quizzing me one day about whether a life practice of living on trust was possible if one had intimate others to account for. I thought about it for a while, and had to admit I didn't know, it wasn't my experience. Well now I live in a simple house on a clifftop overlooking the Hauraki Gulf, with my life partner Kim, her two children Elise and Hope, and our 5 month old daughter Zuva. Such is the humour of life.


We have been living on the funds from a house sale and a business sale (thanks Wayne for drip feeding the funds from the plumbing partnership through this last year). One of my changes in focus in this coming year is to provide for more of our food from local sources. I would love to do an experiment one day - perhaps starting in six months or a year - to see if it is possible to live off only food grown on the island. It will quickly show up where the holes are in our community's ability to be much more self-reliant in food - largely free of dependence on food with massive fossil fuel miles attached.


The other money saving intention this year is to get our big yurt up somewhere and go through the process of setting it up for living in. This is not the small 5 metre yurt I finished building last Christmas, but a 9 metre yurt we brought in from Pacific Yurts in Oregon (USA) that arrived a couple of months ago. We would like to have it setup with solar and wind power generation, a 'nice' composting toilet, rain water collection, and
grey water recycling.


I just got given a baby seat for my bike - thanks Baz and Meg. Also got a baby backpack from Trademe for Christmas, and yesterday I knocked on the door of Robert Vale's house where I spotted a 50 year old Morris Minor - and much to my surprise he gave it to me! More on this later :)

Changing the world

Another aspect of this disposition of trust which is beginning to become clear is the feeling that the universe as we perceive it, is already perfect - or a perfect reflection of our cocreated reality. Which leads me to the second strong intention that has dominated my life since I wrote in my diary a couple of years ago that "I want to explore my dark side."

I didn't know what such an affirmation would lead to, but looking back, and I have only recently made this connection, I think that the way 'my' dark side was revealed was through searching out and uncovering the dark side of the world.

As the picture of the geo-political power structures and maneuvering became more clear it seemed that there were clearly identifiable individuals who could be pointed to, and could be held responsible for much of the destruction of our environment, resource depletion, inequality of resource and wealth distribution, and the conflict and wars that are raging across the planet today.

Thankfully, and despite the sometimes deeply painful revelations about the state of the world and the seemingly unnecessary suffering of our brothers and sisters on this earth, I was able to keep the question alive, "What am I doing to contribute to this?" Over time my sense of self-responsibility, rather than blame, became stronger. While I cannot control how others act and whether they make the changes I would like to see, I can be responsible for my part of it. I can choose how much I consume, how I treat those around me, how I relate to others whose ideas and actions I may not agree with.

So for a couple of years I assumed the role of researcher and disseminator of information, which I felt would change the world if only we all understood how things work. But of course it was only my view, and the sense of trusting that all is as it should be - was still germinating.

Where to now?

I sense that I no longer need to play the researcher role so strongly. The information is out there if anyone needs or wants to find it. I feel that there is a need to model new ways forward. For people who are waking up to the challenges of climate change, oil depletion, and the tentative nature of the global economics, there is not much out there by way of serious models showing the how-to's for the transition.

Around the time that this change of direction started becoming clear, Kim and I were invited by some new found friends, Mark and Kamila, to collaborate on the development of a 10 acre property here on Waiheke. It has a small area of arable land a large tract of regenerating bush. The plan is to develop this land resource based on some key (and still evolving) principles. The following are my first draft thoughts and I haven't yet had the chance to work on these with Mark and Kamila. I welcome your thoughts and ideas about these too, so please feel free to leave a comment.
  • Model resource use in ways that enhance, rather than deplete them.
  • Maximise energy efficiency in every aspect of the development and maintenance of the land and its buildings.
  • Carefully discover the maximum sustainable limits of the resource.
  • Meet as many of the residents needs as possible directly off the land.
  • Develop trade options for other essential needs.
  • Where outside resources are required, source them within the region.
  • Use appropriate technology, without developing reliance on it.
Dialogue processes

For the last few months I have been involved in facilitating some dialogue circles in preparation for a meeting between some community leaders and the Auckland city Mayor.

There are many effective dialogue processes and tools available today, and I am hearing more and more references to the importance of engaging with each other in effective dialogue. There is an infinite wisdom to be called up and expressed, and it is in all of us, if we give each other the opportunity to speak and be heard we can meet the challenges of our time and begin to celebrate our uniqueness and all that we have.

To end...

It feels like the time to go beyond a fear based society - driven to seek fulfillment and distraction through consumption - and discover the joys of voluntary simplicity, that many of us intuit and long for already. We live in exciting times. I am here to serve, and have many different skills. If there is anything I can do to help you with your projects please do get in touch with me.

Monday, December 25

working together

My friend Ted from Nelson, pointed me to this video. It is on youtube and I first watched it on the Transistion Culture blog.

It is a great example of the benefits of avoiding a them-and-us approach, as peak oil activist and local authority representative (both from Portland) sit side by side on a sofa and talk about preparing for peak oil. Exemplary stuff.

Saturday, December 23

capitalism 3.0

Here is a clear description of the commons, how they have been exploited, and the importance of reclaiming them as the common asset they are for us and future generations.

I first came across some background to this process which took it out of the abstract in an article by Derek J. Wilson.

From 1770 to 1830 some 3,280 enclosure bills were passed putting into private hands for private gain more than six million acres of commonly-held lands. By 1830 not a single county had more than three percent of its land open to public use.

According to historian George Sturt: “To the enclosure of the common more than to any other cause may be traced all the changes which have subsequently passed over the village. It was like knocking the keystone out of an arch.” (Kirkpatrick Sale. Rebels Against the Future, 1995.)

Review of Capitalism 3.0 by Peter Montague of Rachel's Weekly

Books full of new ideas are rare, but here's one worth chewing on: Peter Barnes's Capitalism 3.0. The book is original, readable and provocative. It will definitely hold your attention.

But let's get one thing straight. Despite the title of his book, Peter Barnes is no radical. He is an entrepreneur and investor who co-founded Working Assets, the telephone company. He says, "As a businessman and investor, I've benefited personally from the primacy of capital and am not keen to end it." (pg. 24) On the other hand, he recognizes that, "Capitalism as we know it is devouring creation. It's living off nature's capital and calling it growth."(pg. 26) So, "to save capitalism from itself," (pg. 66) the book offers a whole slew of new ideas. the goal of which is to give capitalism a "software upgrade" to fix what Barnes sees as the system's three major flaws:

(1) its disregard for nature;
(2) its disregard for future generations; and
(3) its disregard for the poor.

Barnes's analysis of the problem is succinct: the history of capitalism reveals two threads: the decline of "the commons" and the rise of the corporation. These two threads are linked because corporations make money largely by taking things from "the commons" (or dumping wastes into the commons) without paying compensation to its owners (all of us).

By "the commons" Barnes means "all the things we inherit or create together," which none of us owns individually. The commons is like a river with three forks:

  1. Nature, which includes air, water, DNA, photosynthesis, seeds, topsoil, airwaves, minerals, animals, plants, antibiotics, oceans, fisheries, aquifers, quiet, wetlands, forests, rivers, lakes, solar energy, wind energy... and so on;
  2. Community: streets, playgrounds, the calendar, holidays, universities, libraries, museums, social insurance [e.g., social security], law, money, accounting standards, capital markets, political institutions, farmers' markets, flea markets, craigslist... etc.;
  3. Culture: language, philosophy, religion, physics, chemistry, musical instruments, classical music, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, astronomy, electronics, the Internet, broadcast spectrum, medicine, biology, mathematics, open-source software... and so forth. (pg. 5)

The commons is a set of assets that have two characteristics: they're all gifts, and they're all shared. (pg. 5) Taken together, all the assets in the commons are our "common wealth." Furthermore, the commons are essential and indispensable; they provide sustenance for everyone. If we fail to protect them, we're sunk.

Read on...

Tuesday, December 19

wisdom council

Here is a Quicktime audio file that is worthy of your attention if you are curious about the way forward, and how we will manage our affairs in the coming years. It has long been my opinion that the way forward will come from the ground up, rather than top down.

The Center for Wise Democracy has developed a social invention called the "Wisdom Council," which provides a new systems approach to solving many of today's most pressing social issues—failing education, loss of community, citizen apathy, diminished economic viability prejudice, terrorism, poverty, exorbitant health care costs, partisanship, breakdown of families, global warming, wars, etc.

It's not a long audio, and well worth the time as it explains quite well how it is structured and why it works.

hard to feel alone

In 2003, the Hubble Space Telescope stared, for a little over 11 days at a rather unremarkable section of sky. The results were humbling ... all on a universal scale.

The Deep Field/Ultra Deep field images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope represent the farthest we've ever seen into the universe. Looking at these images, one cannot help but be humbled by what they mean. At a glance, they show us how tiny humanity is in comparison to the size of the universe.

Friday, December 15

imagine Waiheke

I have been adding a few posts recently, to a site called "Imagine Waiheke."

Please do drop in there sometime, have a squizz, and
leave a comment if you feel moved.

Monday, December 11

brief bits

Snow and sleet are falling on two bushfires burning in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.
ABC Radio, Nov 15
THE news report was almost flippant, something that could happen only in Dorothea Mackellar's land of drought and flooding rains. Later that evening, two weeks from summer, Sydney had its coldest night in more than a century.

Pentagon delays chemical weapons disposal
The Pentagon has extended its timeline to destroy its aging chemical weapons arsenal until 2023. the military won't eliminate its stock of deadly nerve gases and skin-blistering agents until 11 years after the 2012 deadline set by the international Chemical Weapons Convention.

Struggling U.S. dollar triggers currency concerns
Globe Insider The sudden weakness of the U.S. dollar began late last week, soon after Chinese officials suggested that holding a lot of dollars might be a losing investment strategy. Investors read that as a signal that the massive trade and financial imbalances between Asia and the U.S. may be about to unwind.

AIDS Set to Become One of Top Three Killers Worldwide Within the next 25 years, AIDS is set to join heart disease and stroke as the top three causes of death worldwide, with estimates that at least 117 million people will die from the disease by 2030, according to a study published online Monday.

Catholics Urge Pope Benedict XVI to Lift Ban on Condoms In recognition of World AIDS Day, Catholics from around the globe are calling on the pope to lift the ban on condoms in order to help stem the spread of HIV and AIDS.

Kissinger to Serve As Papal Adviser?
National Catholic Register Nov 26 Pope Benedict XVI has invited Henry Kissinger, former adviser to Richard Nixon, to be a political consultant and he accepted.

Monday, December 4

David Korten video

You may have read the posts on his book: From Empire to Earth Community. Here's a short preview clip from his slide show . . .

The full slide show can be purchased from Peak Moments.

Sunday, December 3

tipping point: energy

Written by Jan Lundberg
PDF of the entire article

Culture Change Letter #145,
November 27-29, 2006

What we can do about passing the energy tipping point?

The energy tipping point has been reached, just as a system such as the climate has been found to have a critical threshold that some scientists believe has probably been reached. Obviously, climate disaster is much more ominous than the enormous consequences of passing the energy tipping point.

As if it's a matter of choice, there are those who don't want to see any concerns about energy supply distract us from the climate challenge. Yet, the two crises are related and inseparable. There happens to be a common approach to mitigate each of them.
Meanwhile, the mainstream corporate press is finally hinting at limitations on the economy from the "constraints" of both climate and energy. This is heresy for free marketeers who believe in endless growth. The New York Times ran a guest editorial column on Nov. 29 that said,
The world’s supply of cheap energy is tightening, and humankind’s enormous output of greenhouse gases is disrupting the earth’s climate. Together, these two constraints could eventually hobble global economic growth and cap the size of the global economy. The most important resource to consider in this situation is energy, because it is our economy’s “master resource” -- the one ingredient essential for every economic activity. (Thomas Homer-Dixon's op-ed, "The End of Ingenuity")

This article continues and for the sake of brevity I have cut it here, but it is by far one of the most eloquent summary statements of our situation and I highly recommend clicking here and reading on...