Well, Christmas, Summer Solstice, and New Year are now over, and hopefully you had a great festive season, and have made worthwhile resolutions for 2015. At least, we can be sure that we all hope and want 2015 to be a good year.
Transition Community Event for January - The Grove January Picnic
Mac Campbell is our organiser for an afternoon at what is probably our best local water-playground, Bunya Riverside. Sure, here in The Grove we aren't close to the sea or beaches, but we do have lakes and creeks, and Bunya Riverside is a great combination of both. It is a deep long pool in the upper reaches of the South Pine River.
The Grove January Picnic
When? Sunday January 18, from noon till 3.
Where? Bunya Riverside.
Bring? Feral children, aunties and uncles, friends and neighbours, all welcome.
Finger food and drinks to share,
Chairs or camp stools.
Swim togs and towels, little boats or air mattresses, swim toys etc.
Agenda? Just fun and silly stuff. Leave your troubles at home.
Facilities? Shady parking, grassy bits, big old trees, a clean fresh river, a small safe sandy beach. Walking paths can take you along the river up or down to surprise fat turtles in the sun, plopping off their favourite rocks. I forgot to say, there's a small unisex toilet close by.
Directions? Go down Dugandan Road. First go north out along Bunya Road, and about 3 minutes past the last houses, Dugandan is on your right. On Dugandan road in about 3 minutes, you'll come to some houses then the road forks, you fork right, it's still Dugandan Rd; very soon you'll come to an end, a cul-de-sac, from across which there's a boom gate and right there the narrow road takes you down the hill; then you can park in the shade right there on the river. It's a happy place.
If you need help with transport or anything else, ring me (Mac Campbell) on 0449-636-201.
Time/Date: Third Sunday of the month, our normal community meeting day. However we'll gather from noon and spend the afternoon BBQing, swimming, paddling, boating, and socialising.
Management Committee meetings
Transition The Grove's regular Management Committee meetings are on the 1st Sunday of the month at 4pm. There won't be an MC meeting in January, but we will meet in February. If you want to attend contact the President on 0439 480 918.
Clean Up Australia Day - 2nd March
Some of us usually get involved helping clean up from the Clean Up Australia Day base in George Willmore Park in Arana Hills. It is fun and brings you up close and personal with Kedron Brook and the bushland and happy helpers. Get there early while it is cool - the action is over quite early. Not hard - many hands make light work.
From the President
We're back from Woodford, and the inspiring and encouraging talks we heard in The GREENhouse.
Some of what I'm hearing:
- Young people who are very disillusioned indeed with the way the current systems are playing out their destructive, greedy games.
- Excellent work by The Australia Institute producing hard data on the gas and mining industry - we bought copies of their booklets and encourage you all to have a look at them.
- Anna Rose and Simon Sheikh on the changes they are promoting through where people put their superannuation funds and home mortgages - real democracy in action. It is happening, fast.
- Thai Massage - what a simply-learned practice that is terrific for health and can be done at no cost by fellow family members helping each other. I'll try to organise a workshop for Transition The Grove! Local health is truly resilient!
1. Is it immoral (wrong, bad...)?
Geraldine Doogue interviewed 3 ethicists about the need for a set of global values for our age. It raised the question of whether some things (behaviour) are ethically/morally wrong.
Our consumption decisions, especially where they have a significant carbon footprint, do have an ethical component. Is what we are doing compatible with sustainable living in a resource-constrained, CO2-threatened world eco-system?
Do you make judgments about the rightness or wrongness of our politicians' decisions in relation to our climate, population, eco-systems and non-renewable resources? We have a state election coming up very soon, and our judgments should guide our vote. Do you make judgments about what used to be called 'deadly sins' such as greed?
On the other side, do you find yourself respecting someone for actions which show a deep ethic of sustainability, frugality, and care for the planet? Do you honour their practical skills that can be used for resilient responses in hard times?
The bigger picture of the survival of our species, of billions of people around the planet, even our own longer term survival is rapidly emerging, and the ethical issues are profound.
2. Should we talk about climate change in Transition Towns?
We should be talking about climate change in Transition Towns, exploring how we can do this within the limits of what we can handle emotionally and what we understand.
Sure, it can be frightening and depressing, and can scare off people who can't stomach thinking about climate change.
However, climate change and Peak Oil were the critical challenges Transition Towns were originally formed to address. They are what we are dealing with, and they aren't going to go away by our silence.
Climate change, as President Obama says, is also a clear existenial threat to our species survival. To ignore it will not make it go away. Is there anything we can do to reduce or mitigate against the threat? Well, firstly we need to talk about and get a very clear sense of what the nature of the threat is. Then we can talk sensibly about what, if anything, we can do about it.
We can only ask ourselves quesitons about how best to respond if we first understand the threat.
Climate change is not a happy topic if you really grasp what is happening. You don't want to go it alone, and you don't want to be surrounded by people acting like life is a trivial giggle. You want people you can engage with and who share emotional support along the journey.
Climate change is not an easy topic to grasp all the scientific details, or to talk about sensibly or in a way that people can engage with. There needs to be safe places where we can 'nursery school' these conversations, and people can attempt to talk about what is happening, or what they've heard or read or don't understand or think they know or questions they don't know the answers to. You know you've really made it when you can make climate jokes! Google Rod Quantock and watch him on YouTube.
Through talking and sharing, we become clearer ourselves, and clearer in our communications with others as we go through our daily lives. More and more, we start to make sense about this critically important topic.
People crave hope. Others describe this as 'hopium' - an addiction to hope. Either way, only being prepared to talk about blue skies and flowers in the garden and the latest sports results won't help us deal with climate change. Those things have their place, at the garden club, the sports club, the bar, the mother's group.
But let's make Transition Towns a safe place to feel full permission to talk about climate change, as much or as little as you like. And you can talk about the weather and how you are responding to it.
3. Social Resilience
Now here's a good question: Where are the hot spots of social resilience in our community?
While it would be nice to think that Transition Towns act as social resilience nodes, they have a lot to learn from some of the other local players.
Churches, sports clubs, Scouts/Cubs/Guides, schools, the PCYC, even the local hairdresser!
What makes for social resilience? It is worth thinking about this.
Do you have a circle of people who would enable you to put a tick in the social resilience box?
If you faced a personal crisis such as a severe health problem, a death, an accident, a loss of income, do you have people who you could turn to?
If our community suffered a severe crisis, such as the 2008 Storm, or if we went through global financial collapse together, or if our climate deteriorated sharply as some scientists argue might happen rapidly, who might have the trusted, secure relationships to carry them through? Who would have the physical strength, skills and tools to do some of the essential emergency grunt work?
Transition Towns have a brief to nurture resilience in our community, and build resources for the future. We don't have to do it alone. More often than not, we'll be looking out for those groups and people in the community whose efforts are creating resilience. We can support them, promote them, learn from them, and add to their efforts in every practical way we can.
Social resilience doesn't start with the crisis. It starts, I suspect, with playing rugby together, meeting each Wednesday for years at the church mother's group, or growing up together going through the same local school. We need to recognise these bonds and treasure them locally. And learn how to grow our own.
I hope you enjoyed Christmas, reflected on the message of renewal that it brings, and reflected at New Year on what 2014 has taught you, and set your path for the year ahead.
In 2014 Transition The Grove put forward new shoots of renewal after a composting/fallowing phase. The Christmas dinner at Wally's was truly heart-warming, and we have a wonderful nucleus of people to work with and mutually support in making 2015 sustainable, resilient, and a renewing.
Let's do it locally,
What's been happening?
Christmas dinner at Wally's. Transition relies at core on building powerful relationships with like-minded people in our local community, and finding ways to share, live and create together. The element of celebration is essential to uplift our spirits through challenging times, and to acknowledge our real efforts and successes and strengths.
Christmas dinner at Wally's was so good, it wouldn't be surprising if Wally got asked if he'd host it next year!
2. Transition Towners at Woodford. Woodford Folk Festival's GREENhouse tent is always a focus of great talks and discussions about topics like climate, peak oil and the future we are creating. This year local members were present and taking part.