Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Be the change

Starting tomorrow I have a week off work to go down to The Paddock and plant 200 native trees, shrubs and herbs on our block of land. We own 40 acres of ex-pastureland outside Woodanilling WA, which means we own 40 acres of long grass with a small copse of trees.
About ten years ago when Mike and I were a new couple, both disillusioned with the way the world was going, we wondered what we could do to break out of the cycle of wage slavery and improve a little piece of the world.
Slowly a plan came together to find a piece of land and make a (mostly) self-sufficient community where people could come and stay and learn or share skills. Originally this idea was going to be funded by a café, however once we realised (a) how expensive leasing a café would be and (b) how risky a venture funding one business with another would be, we decided to slog it out the slow way and work full-time while funding our plans.
So here we are, two years after finding the right property we are about to embark on the first tangible step toward making The Paddock a dream come true. This initial planting is to form a windbreak that will protect our orchard trees (to be planted next year) from the extreme sun and wind of the area.
Each year we will extend the revegetation zone by however much we can afford; eventually half of the 40 acres will have native bushland, aimed at encouraging the native wildlife to return. This zone will protect the permaculture food forest and orchards which will produce enough food for a family and surplus for sales.
We plan to build a strawbale house for us to live in and at least three tourist accommodations to rent out and for wwoofers/family/friends to stay in. A key part of the design is to include at least one workshop where people can come and share tools and skills; we will run courses including a permaculture design course to teach people how to simply and cheaply feed themselves.
All this comes from an ideal that if the world isn’t perfect, ask “what can I do to help?” I used to get very depressed watching the news and thought it was all too hard; I felt helpless and afraid. The humour of Bill Hicks helped me realise that watching the news is actually a form of media control of the populace: I was MEANT to feel helpless and afraid, that’s what keeps a population compliant. 

Then you look out your window… there’s no war, famine, murder. Yes, these things ARE going on in the world, but where is all the good news? The stories about people going out of their way to help each other, the stories of people who give without thought of reciprocation. 
We live in communities where people generally help other. You may not know your neighbour’s name, but if you saw him or her fall, you would rush over to help them up. Studies have been done repeatedly which prove humans are helpful, social and community minded – but you never see that on the news! 

What change would you like to see be in the world?

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