TTG Newsletter April 2015

Transition The GrovePO Box 471

Ferny Hills DC  QLD  4055


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Dear {usertag:name},

Welcome to our April Newsletter and Events list. Your active support for Transition The Grove's monthly Community Meetings ensures that we have a viable and vibrant local Transition Town. Please help us make these meetings work by taking an active part, and helping us plan around any consistent obstacles you face to participating.


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1. Upcoming Events

  • Transition The Grove AGM & Local  Bioregional Health Workshop

Sunday April 19th, 5:30pm

A short official business AGM will be followed by a workshop on local health. The new term "bioregional health" appeals! What we are considering are some things that can be done entirely with local resources (locally available skills, materials, knowledge). This most likely cuts out hospitals, big pharma, health insurance. It places the focus fair and square on individual and community responsibility for health, and health literacy. We aim for practices and ideas which preferably come with research backing, and at least do not involve costly or harmful practices. We are not promoting product sales, but can highlight what local health and fitness practitioners are offering. We will offer a chance to do some group health audit exercises. Anne Tennock will lead this workshop.

2. March meeting report - Sustainable Local Transport Policies

Transition The Grove Map (Click to enlarge)The March meeting led by Wally Wight was very  productive on the theme of local transport - it showed that locals are in a position to grasp deeply what the on-the-ground issues are. Wally and John also worked on producing a terrific A3 laminated map of our region - 2 versions - a relief map and a street map. Here is a link to the street map. Wally took away the ideas from the meeting to pass on to Council transport bodies, and also when we have a delegation in the near future to our newly elected State MPs we will also be able to bring the transport ideas to them Thank you Wally for a great evening, and to all who contributed.


3. Welcome new members

Welcome to Andrew Newey who is a martial arts instructor teaching traditional ITF Taekwondo at Patricks Rd State School in Ferny Hills (Bai Rui Taekwondo).

4. Local governance

Here is a list of the topics we've got on our brainstormed list to take to our new local MPs so far!

  • QLDers top concerns (from NAB Wellbeing Index) considered locally for The Grove
  • Q. What happened to the "working man's paradise"? Where freedom was paramount? Where Jack was as good as his neighbour?
  • Making the D'Aguilar Ranges behind us into a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO
  • Electoral boundaries, and considering voters in different bioregions/catchments - primarily for Ferny Grove and Ashgrove electorates
  • Local transport points from March meeting
  • State health policy in practice for women's reproductive health equity
  • Grants and disadvantaged local communities
  • Planning for Upper Kedron and equitable road access
  • Health waiting lists at hospitals
  • Health support for carers
  • Repairing some of the social funding that was cut under the previous government
  • Food security and food relief in this region
  • Fair conditions for workers - training, debt, 457 visas, unpaid overtime
  • Climate change - preparation, remediation, adaptation
  • Population growth rates
  • Oil supplies - preparedness
  • Honesty, transparency and good governance
  • Local ownership of assets and businesses
  • Safe School Coalition and wider bullying issues

Obviously this will need working up into a clearly argued and on-going dialogue which places local well-being and sustainability fair and square in the middle of the agenda. If you can contribute to this discussion and refining and adding to these issues please do come forward.

5.  Climate change; peaking resources; population growth

Anomie/anomy  [Greek: anomia = lawlessness]

Came across this in the novel by James Mitchener "Texas" (p.468)providing an analysis of the state people can find themselves in when social change is too great.

Anomie is a collapse of the guiding social structures governing a specific society; a state of alienation experienced by a class or individual resulting from such collapse; a severe personal disorganization resulting in antisocial behaviour. It is characterized by a feeling of rootlessness and a contempt for others who do not obey social laws. Commonly witnessed in times of radical change, or during movement from one society to another, or as a result of death in one's family or divorce, or following severe or disorienting physical or mental illness. Ultimate manifestation: suicide.

The sorts of things that might trigger it: torn from settled homes; surrendered the assured positions they had enjoyed in the pecking order; found themselves tossed topsy-turvey into a new environment they couldn't control.

Doubts creep in. Values shift. What was secure is found to be in flux. Disorientation, once it starts, can be cumulative and catastrophic. Alienation follows if it continues long enough.

What measures can we take to protect our spirits to guard against anomie?

6. Year of Soil -May Community Meeting Topic

This is the UN Year of Soil.  Soil is fundamental to our survival and resilience, essential for our food and life.  The art and science of making and caring for soil is not easy, but something we can all be encouraged and helped to learn to do. Speaking personally, I do a bit to make soil every day of my life. It is a slow process, and it is very slow for nature too. The soil we degrade and lose through erosion or depletion too a long time to create. 

Soils in The Grove leave a lot to be desired, and a lot of potential for us to work on improving them!  It is possible. Let's share examples of successes.

Soil will be the topic for the May Community Meeting. It will be a chance to bring along samples of soil from your garden to be tested. We'll pool our best ideas for how to improve soils that we have access to.

7. Books and YouTube videos


  •  Bob Tomlinson (Living Village Trust) on "Placemaking" at the Future Homes Conference 2015
  • Heidi-Maree Schirmer  "Give and Take" shop  (GibundNimm)  Heidi-Maree doesn't buy anything without first giving something away (trading things or services). She has lived completely off the money grid for many years now and she's thriving.
  • Richard Louv, "Last Child in the Woods"
  • John Prebble, "The Highland Clearances".  Very relevant to today. Once you grasp the history of clearances, you see clearances everywhere! (John has a copy if you want to borrow it)

8. Quotes and questions to prompt your thinking and sharing

  • Do not go quiet into that dark night. Rage, rage against the closing of the day.
  • Q. In imaging a positive future, what dominates for you?
  • The world is screaming for institutions that do applied ethics to climate problems (Prof. Donald A. brown
  • Michael Hewson: Q. To what extent will climate change affect monsoons? SE QLD's catchments get their water from ex-tropical monsoon rain. A. The jury is still out. Ex-Hadley cell likely to shift further south and Victoria will get less rain.
  • Q. What is our/our nation's fair share (distributive justice) of the rest of the limited remaining atmospheric greenhouse gases that can "safely" be emitted?
  • Q. How do we get from our current lifestyle to a 2degreesC planetary temperature rise limit?
  • Q. Do we agree we have a responsibility under international law/ethics to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to fair share to achieve a safe level of emissions? If yes - why If no - why not?
  • Q. In terms of climate equity, who matters to us?
  • Think about it: Transition Towns are working out how to engineer at the microsocial level so that we can survive through climate change and peak resources.
  • Leunig poem:

They're privatising things we own together

They're flogging off the people's common ground

And though we're still connected by the weather

They say that sharing things is now unsound.

They're lonelifying all the public spaces

They're rationalising swags and billabongs

They''re awfulising nature's lovely places

Dismantling the dreaming and the songs

Their macho fear of flabby, soft sensations

Makes them pine for all things hard and lean

They talk of foreign market penetrations

And throbbing private sectors. It's obscene

They're basically grieving types of creatures

With demons lurking underneath their beds

You'll notice that a necktie always features

To keep their hearts quite separate from their heads.

So if they steal away the people's treasure

And bring the jolly swagman to his knees

They can't remove the simple, common pleasure

Of loathing public bastards such as these.

8. Local Health Tips

  • Compassion activates the vagus nerve
    The vagus nerve is critically important for our health. Basically it runs down the centre of our body, servicing (on the way) our organs of speech, digestion, liver, lungs, pancreas, and heart. A few minor trifles, you might say! Knowing how to influence your vagus nerve so that it functions optimally is an important step on the way to health.  We've already got the vagus nerve highlighted on the Transition The Grove website health forum. So we were excited to find this latest tip for how to positively care for the vagus nerve: The vagus nerve thrives on compassion!!! So let's reframe the question: What can you do to activate your compassion?  I know that belonging to a local social justice group really helps activate compassion. How about looking out for someone who is struggling in some way, and getting in touch with what that is like, and how you might be able to help them. Remember, we all need help, and we all have struggles, so it isn't too hard to find somewhere to start. Compassion is when you allow yourself to feel someone else's pain or loss or hardship, and you soften your heart and find a way to make things easier for them.
  • Happiness comes from shared experiences
    Happiness goes with good health, and in looking for how to be well locally, we are looking for things we can do here. So, if sharing experiences helps us to be happy, how can we share experiences with others locally? What are some local clubs or groups we might join? Have we been to a church locally recently? Got together with a parent's group through the school? Turned up at a local Men's Shed. Gone for a drink at the local pub and talked to others at the bar? Joined a sports team. Volunteered locally? Invited some locals over? Attended a Transition The Grove Community Meeting? Staying home in front of the TV or computer won't do it. Nor will going for a walk alone. This is about reaching out across the barriers of isolation to participate with others.
  • Causes of death in Australia - think how we can address these locally

Suicide 22,824

Car accidents 8,525

Homicide 2,617

Diabetes (Indigenous Australians) 1,690

HIV 879

Domestic violence 850

Falls out of bed 417

Falls off ladders 230

Shingles 228

Electrocution 206

Falls off chairs 198

Gastro 168

Tractor accidents 137

Terrorists (1978-2014) 113


These figures can also be translated into local statistics by estimating the percentage of Australia's population who live in The Grove - roughly 0.26%. So we would be dealing with roughly (0.26 x 22,824)/100 suicides per year locally = 60 suicides/year. This is a very approximate estimate, because The Grove might be a low-suicide area compared to somewhere else that is high, but it gives an idea. It is worth asking the question: What would drive a local person to suicide? Is there any way we can address the factors that lead to their despair so that suicide doesn't happen?

  • Dementia and cynicism - If we want to protect against getting dementia, one thing we can do is self-reflect: Do we have a cynical attitude? Why? How can we change and become less cynical? Apparently cynicism increases your risk of eventually getting dementia.




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