Transition The Grove Inc – Newsletter – September 2015
Sunday 20th September, 5:30pm. Transition The Grove Community Meeting for September
Topic: Planning your response to a national oil supply crisis
Location: TBC - Wally Wight's, Enoggera. Please phone Anne on 0439 480 918 to confirm location in the week before the meeting.
Australia is very dependent on oil for transport and food supply, yet we have as little as three days' supply 'in country', and import our oil via refineries in Singapore. We could be cut off by a tanker sinking or an international blockade.
What would you do? Studies of crises and disasters show clearly that having a plan that you have practiced in advance is critical for survival.
Let's plan this together. What signs of a coming crisis should we be alert to? What should be our immediate response? What should be our longer term planning? How can we work together?
As usual, we'll share a pot luck dinner as part of the meeting, and finish in time to be home for favorite TV programs and an early night.
Sunday 6th September 7:30am Kedron Brook Catchment Group bird walk
Meet at carpark of Bob Cassimaty Park on Samford Rd opposite BP.
Sunday 6th September 8:45pm SBS TV “The Sugar Conspiracy”
Sunday 13th September 10-12noon. Working day in The HOG – Hills Organic Garden on Bunya Rd (below dog off leash area along from the Bunya Tip)
Tues 15th September Laudato Si talk by John Chalmers discussing the Pope's recently released encyclical on climate action. in the Daly Centre, St William's, Dawson Parade, Grovely, organised by the AFE.
Saturday 3rd October, 12-4pm. "Open Day" at The HOG Hills Organic Garden on Bunya Rd.
Saturday 10th October 3pm Plant stall at the Ferny Grove State School Festival. There will be a native bee group there too. Transition The Grove to help. Plant donations welcome!!
Report on August events
Transition The Grove Community Meeting at Chris and Joan Wright's
This gathering began with Chris giving a tour of the energywise features of their home, including explaining how his battery-bank works, and fan system convecting cool air from the bottom of the house.
The idea was to have a 'Back to the Basics of Transition' discussion and showing of the film Transition II. We started with the sharing about what we each had been doing and thinking in our lives and around the resilience-building topic. This turned into a deep sharing and trust-building evening. We are learning that we need each other, and we are our key “resource” in responding resiliently in times of chaotic change.
For those of you who are still in the queue to watch the Transition II movie, the DVD is in circulation and will be available at the next meeting to borrow.
A theme that strongly emerged from the discussion was how critical to resilience developing practices of sharing and helping each other is. Delightful therefore to be part of a 'barn-raising' at Chris & Joan Wright's when four of us made light work of erecting a shed.
Hillbrook Sustainability Day
We had a marquee again, and shared it with BrisLETS as we have members who are in both. The topic of community exchange systems was the topic of the moment.
It turned out to be a lovely day, with a very good energy. We adopted the 'community cafe' setting used in previous years, with a questionnaire to start discussions. As usual, we provided free tea or coffee to anyone who sat down for a discussion in our community cafe. There were displays of posters and brochures.
The afternoon generated lively discussion, and we had a real sense of being part of the local 'sustainability' community, with other tents such as Samford Futures, Angligreen, and Solar Citizens as our close neighbours. Friends also wandered by who had come for the day and some dropped in for a coffee and a chat. Acting local means you always find yourself among friends!
Seminar & Event Reports
Let's Talk About Consumption Forum
Two Transition The Grove members (Anne and Alison) attended the “Let's Talk About Consumption forum” on 28th August at Griffith University Eco-Centre, organised by the Australian Earth Laws Alliance. This was a full-day forum/workshop.
Consumption is one of the key drivers of anthropogenic climate change and rapid depletion of non-renewable resources.
This was an outstanding workshop, and raises topics that are well worth our following up in Transition The Grove meetings. It was concept-rich, with concepts such as ecological boundaries; the consumption conundrum, Durning's 3-step framework; inequity of consumption by class, IKEA culture; home-made-ness; nothingness; the Production Angle; Degrowth; Voluntary Simplicity; What do we mean by growth?; superfluous wealth; planned growth contraction; diverse economy framework; Iceberg model; commoning; digital commons; mapping your local economy; What does democracy look like?; consumption vs production; planetary boundaries framework; 1950; the dilemma of the Great Acceleration; Holocene-like status; biogeochemical flows of N & P; biosphere intactness; contraction and convergence framework; global consumption per capita equally shared; Australia's share of emissions/of consumption; Nature's share (half).
For that purpose, we propose to make the October Community Meeting topic around Consumption, Voluntary Simplicity, and Production.
BOGI Fair and local community exchanges happening
The BOGI fair (Brisbane Organic Growers Inc) is a delightful gathering of greenies, garden enthusiasts and others in a quiet park under the Albion Overpass on the last Sunday in August. This year there were about 70 stalls offering plants, compost, seeds, plants, garden tools, organic food, potplants, honey & beeswax, seedlings, solar cooking and other gadgets, fertiliser, organic food and more plants. Most people leaving the Fair seemed to be carrying plants. A small contingent of TTG members (Anne and Alison) attended the Fair and helped with the BrisLETS information stall. One of the goals of the Transition movement is to help build local economic resilience, and this can include promotion of community exchange systems. Many BOGI people and their audience are concerned about the environment and interested in sustainability, so it was easy to engage people in conversation about LETS. Over 20 BrisLETS members put in some time to help on the day, so there was much trading, networking and sharing of ideas taking place in this inspirational environment.
Climate change updates
Tues 15th September in the Daly Centre, St William's, Dawson Parade, Grovely, organised by the AFE. Laudato Si talk by John Chalmers discussing the Pope's recently released encyclical on climate action. You can see a live streaming of a previous gathering at youtube.com.au/ACUsocial “Integral ecology: unlocking the Pope's call to action on climate”. There will be move that evening to get a climate action group started in the Parish. It is a call to action for local Catholics at a group and individual level. Carbon footprint audits. They will be networking with other local groups working within a sustainability model.
Angligreen had a high profile at Hillbrook Sustainability Day, with members from local Anglican churches very active. The Anglican Church has produced some excellent posters publicising their climate action.
Sunny days make a delightful late winter, but what is happening? Well, we are in the midst of a 'massive' El Nino event. The lack of rain is not good news for farmers, and our dams are trending steadily down (from a high base). July was the hottest month ever globally.
Here is the link to NASA's climate change blog.
Global Finance updates
How's your nerves watching global stock markets recently? We are all preppers now! Nicole Foss seconded it.
Standing on street corners with a sign saying the world will end on a particular date is a risky business! We can see the trends are heading in some awful directions, but bless every good day as it dawns and sets. It will be interesting to watch the rest of September though. There are some big catastrophe theories doing the rounds right now – economic collapse with the end of the Jewish Shemitah cycle on 13th September (7x7 years this time); and a 2.5mile wide comet coming the Earth's way sometime between 15th and 28th September. How's your resilience going?
Australian debt is now about $4trillion. About half of this is household debt!!! About a third is business debt, and about a sixth government debt. Where do you figure in all this?
Local Resilience – Health
Aging Well: Falls Falls are one of the biggest health threats that put people in hospital and can result in a sudden decrease in quality of life. Well worth learning how to avoid them. While living local we can tap into global knowledge resources. MOOCs are a great resource, and one coming up that starts this week is on “Aging Well: Falls”, run by the Newcastle University in the UK. It runs for 4 weeks for 2 hours per week, starting on 6th September. To enrol (no charge or prerequisites) link to here:
Is this a solution to addiction that we can do best locally?
Addiction comes in many forms (alcohol, gambling, ice, food,...) and takes a big toll on our health and wellbeing. This article provides a new way of looking at addiction that meshes well with what we are learning about life-expectancy and well-being. The theory is that addiction is an attempt to overcome lack of connectedness. Connectedness is something that living a resilient local lifestyle builds really well.
Sugar Vibrant good health is critically important for resilience. There is heaps we can do locally to achieve it. What we don't eat is part of the story. Sunday night on SBS there is a program on “The Sugar Conspiracy”. 8:45pm.
Behavioural Health Here's a thought-provoking term: behavioural health. Our behaviour, our choices, play such a big part in determining how healthy we are. What is our behavioural health score?
Local Resilience – Community Exchange
Some concepts to explore: diverse economy; community economics; commoning
Garage sales (very very big ones) are happening locally. It is that time of year. Churches and schools do it very well, as big fund-raisers. For recycling locally they are absolute treasures. Enjoy.
Spring cleaning is happening early (with the warm weather), but what a great process. So much to give away, exchange, sell.
BrisLETS Have you explored BrisLETS yet Trading opens up a whole world of different ways of relating to other people. Quite magic, and deep within us.
The Gap, Ferny Grove and Upper Kedron Buy, Sell and Swap Facebook page is also a useful way of exchanging stuff locally and advertising garage sales.
If you're seeking answers to how to live abundantly yet your income doesn't seem to be the answer, keep your eye out for the forthcoming book by Anne - “Living Abundantly on a Low Income”. Three more chapters written last week, so it will soon be time to edit. This was initially designed as a workshop manual for weekly workshops chapter by chapter at a local venue such as Piccabeen.
Local Resilience – Environment, Wildlife and Culture
Have you seen the artworks in Irvine Street, Mitchelton, just off Samford Rd? Well worth checking out.
Kedron Brook Catchment Group and Bird Walks - 1st Sundays. Kedron Brook Catchment Group's Jenny Ivin leads these very popular walks. 7am in summer and 7:30am in winter. Details of where they are on in the Kedron Brook Catchment Group Newsletter. Transition The Grove is a corporate member.
The next birding walk will be on Sunday 6 September at Bob Cassimaty Park, Thomsett Park, and Arbor Park starting at 7:30 am. Meet in Bob Cassimaty Park car park, Samford Road, almost opposite the BP Service Station, Ferny Grove. (UBD Map 137 Ref L1 ). We'll look at Crane Reserve, Thomsett Park, Bob Cassimaty Park, and finish via Arbor Park.
Local Resilience – Food and Soil
Great stuff happening at Ferny Grove State School through the Garden Group. Here is a report by new member Dan Viero.
The Ferny Grove State School Festival is on Saturday October 10th, starting at 3pm. Our plants stall will probably go until 6pm at the latest. We need to be packed away by dark. We have a group doing a small display on stingless bees. Donations would be gladly accepted. We will take anything and everything. We try to avoid environmental weeds except as indoor potted plants. Cuttings, potted plants, offsets to be divided are all great. Cuttings, etc we would appreciate early though so we have some time to get them started. Anything not sold stays in the school shade house and grown until it is ready to be planted in our coming veggie gardens or our growing garden beds.
This probably goes against the philosophy of Transition the Grove, however our main fund raising goal is to air condition all of the remaining classrooms at the school. I was a bit disappointed to hear it however some of the classrooms are unbearable. I have lobbied to have offsets put in place. A school wide energy audit has taken place and steps put in to control electricity wastage and lower peak demand. Rules have been put in place to control heating and air conditioning usage. We will hopefully have a waste audit done in conjunction with the Brisbane City Council. This will hopefully see the gradual roll out of composting at the school (I have two bins going, one in actual use) and expand recycling efforts. I am organising projects to increase our green cover and reinstate eroded and degraded land. If you've been past the corner of Archdale and McGinn Rd you'll know what I mean! The corner section is an eyesore.
Funds from the festival will also go towards our garden program and new Outdoor Learning Centre. This is both an area to learn out in the outdoors and an outdoor classroom. It includes 8 large raised garden beds (in addition to the four already installed in our prep area). An amphitheater style seating area on a slope for groups / classes to meet, an outdoor semi covered potting shed / working area with water, sinks, benches, storage, etc. It also has an area for composting equipment, trellises for growing vines plus soil / mulch storage area. We have access to our large water tank storage for irrigation. This is all a very slow process however we are hopeful that the students are engaged and take ownership of the program. Eventually I'd like to see a student environmental club / council that takes ownership of the veggie gardens under the guidance of the teaching staff and the P&C. I'd love to see it become a real community program, hopefully we can engage the community and improve the aesthetics of the school grounds. That's a less than subtle invitation BTW, we can use all the help we can get.
The HOG (Hills Organic Garden) on Bunya Rd is growing well. They have recently filled up 4 big new wicking beds. Lots of other beds are thriving with veges. They have regular working bees and open days and welcome new members who like to garden and grow food. This is a very friendly group. http://hog.org.au Email:
Facebook page : Facebook/ Hills Organic Garden. The next set working day in the garden will be Sunday 13th September 10-12 noon. "Open Day" at the garden on Saturday 3rd October, 12-4pm
P Power. Urine is a great natural source of nitrogen (as urea) and phosphorus. Humans currently produce over 10 billion litres of urine each day and most of this is wasted or pollutes water courses. Recent research has shown that urine also has other valuable properties as a potential fuel cell. Urea can be readily split to hydrogen with a small current and this process is far more efficient than splitting water. Microbial fermentation of urine produces ammonia which is a valuable chemical feed-stock (as in urea). Ammonia is also a powerful phase shift material for heat exchange/ refrigeration.
Chris and Joan Wright's trellising of their passionfruit and chokos
Butterfly Host Plants is a local business operating out of Ferny Grove. Top 10 butterfly plants for 32 butterflies in SEQ are climbing senna; corky milk-vine; emu foot; karamar; love flower; mangrove wax-flower vine; native mulberry; thornless caper; zig zag vine; and finger lime.
Clever dish-washing'machine' - somewhere to put dirty dishes out of sight until they are ready to be washed, then they come out clean? Very low water use. Very easy to pack. No harsh chemicals needed. A plastic storage tub in the cupboard under the sink.