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    Off the map

    I noticed this post recommending the movie "Off The Map" recently.

    We watched it last night and really enjoyed it. We have been talking about it on and off all day today which is the sign of a movie that has gotten under our skin. I particularly liked the understated direction that let the landscape and the story unfold without joining all the dots for the viewer. Fascinating also to see the homesteading life depicted. I was scanning each frame for those small details that give authenticity and was not disappointed. We already had the Taos region on our destination list as we love native american jewellery, so now we have another motive to visit.
    (Via Cage Free Family)

    Tina Ferguson
    Some notes from the director Campbell Scott


    New perspectives on money

    The May/June issue of Resurgence has arrived and it looks very interesting.

    Its a special focus issue titled "The money delusion: In search of true wealth". It kicks off with an excellent editorial from Satish Kumar which introduces the topic.

    Here are a few quotes to give you a flavour of the article:

    "Let us be clear. Money is not wealth. It is a delusion to think that money is wealth. True wealth is good land, healthy animals, flourishing forests, clean water, honest work, abundant creativity and human imagination"


    "For example, there is never a shortage of money for wars and weapons, but it is always in short supply for arts and education"

    Its worth a read and can be found here


    Groups with more women are more intelligent

    Tom Malone on collective intelligence and the “genetic” structure of groups

    The average intelligence of the people in the group and the maximum intelligence of the people in the group doesn’t predict group intelligence.


    So how do you engineer groups that can problem-solve effectively? First of all, seed them with, basically, caring people. Group intelligence is correlated … with the average social sensitivity — the openness, and receptiveness, to others — of a group’s constituents. The emotional intelligence of group members, in other words, serves the cognitive intelligence of the group overall. And this means that — wait for it — groups with more women tend to be smarter than groups with more men.


    Permaculture and online learning

    After years of exposure to Permaculture and having spent several years a decade ago implementing a disparate set of its common patterns at our previous property in Northern NSW, I am now taking a much deeper dive into it after enrolling in Geoff Lawton's Online Permaculture Design Course. Its been running a few weeks now and my partner and I are both finding it a revelation. So many concepts and themes that we had previously read about but not really understood are suddenly making sense. Geoff's an excellent teacher and the online format works perfectly for a couple of introverted types. We can take our time and review material as we go.

    There were elements of classic internet marketing1 wrapped around the promotion of the course that had me a little worried, those concerns have proven groundless and I can understand that using the marketing approaches that work makes sense when your goal is to get this material out to the widest audience and in a sustainable way.

    As a taster, check out this video Absolute in Abundance, they will want your email address however if you are at all interested in this stuff you will get a steady stream of really good links and content as a result.

    I would highly recommend that anyone who has been interested in doing a PDC but not found the time or the right teacher consider taking one of Geoff's courses.

    Meanwhile, check out the many videos and resources that are freely available at the Permaculture Research Institute. The links to several excellent related documentaries can also be found here. The site is an aggregator of several of my favourite authors including George Monbiot who has a new book - Feral - A manifesto for rewilding the world.

    Surfers interested in Permaculture should enjoy this chat with Geoff about the links between surfing and permaculture.


    The franklin river campaign - 25 years on

    This post was inspired by a rendition Shane Howard gave of his song Let the Franklin Flow at the Blue Mountains Blues Festival a few months ago.

    25 years since the Franklin River Campaign
    In July 1983 the Australian High Court ruled the Franklin Dam could be stopped by the new Federal Labour Government against the wishes of the Tasmanian State government.
    Prior to this over 1000 people from all over Australia and the world had travelled down to the river site camps and been arrested in a mass act of civil disobedience.
    I was there with a number of friends and it was one of the defining experiences of my life.
    We camped in the rainforest near Strahan for a week or two and among the many wonderful experiences I remember meeting Bob Brown who so impressed me with his integrity that I have voted for him and the Greens ever since.
    In the action where I took part we walked down a logging track ("the Crotty Road") which had been ruled Hydro Electric Commission land, meaning we were trespassing. There was some media interest as the novelist James McQueen was part of our group and the TV cameras were there. This caused some consternation at my grandparents house when their nephew appeared briefly on the Channel 7 news for his 15 seconds of fame.

    Bob Brown getting ready to address the Crotty Road protest in 1983. Photo from the National Gallery Collection - Bob Brown Collection 1.

    The action was well planned and we were duly arrested and bundled off to Risdon jail. Expecting to be held in the remand block we were surprised to find that it was full of "greenies" so we were put into the maximum security wing with some unsavoury characters. Those few days in a cell and an enclosed exercise area confirmed for me the wisdom of staying on the "straight and narrow". Our arrest was eventually ruled illegal and we were free to go.
    The Wilderness Society has some videos on YouTube that will transport anyone who was there back 25 years to another world.

    [![Franklin River Campaign Video 1][youtube]][youtube 2]
    [![Franklin River Campaign Video 2][youtube 3]][youtube 4]

    Franklin River Campaign Video 3


    CNN occupy wall street

    I had missed the interesting social experiments Ruskofff describes, the local media is adopting its usual superficial view.

    CNN: Occupy Wall Street is not a Protest but a Prototype

    “Occupy” is anything but a protest movement. That’s why it has been so hard for news agencies to express or even discern the “demands” of the growing legions of Occupy participants around the nation, and even the world. Just like pretty much everyone else on the planet, occupiers may want many things to happen and other things to stop, but the occupation is not about making demands. They don’t want anything from you, and there is nothing you can do to make them stop. That’s what makes Occupy so very scary and so very promising. It is not a protest, but a prototype for a new way of living. (Via Douglas Rushkoff.)


    Frightened by voluntary simplicity

    An article in the New York Times here tells of a couple who are shedding their possessions prior to starting a new life as organic farmers. What I found interesting was that they have had some hostile reactions on the blog they are keeping to document the journey. I suspect that many people find the idea of others who are stepping outside the norm and “letting it all go by” to be threatening.

    As a Subaru owner and former city escapee currently back in corporate life, the cover of this book appealed to me instantly. It was brought to my attention by this review at Cool Tools. It seems an increasing number of people are setting up alternative lives and documenting their efforts in blogs and books. No complaints from me as I enjoy this genre, as long as the accounts retain an authentic feeling. Some of my favourites include Urban Dreams, Rural Realities and the Nearings classic The Good Life. More on these another time.

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