Protested protesters – Establishing a voice for change when the odds are stacked against you.

“Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?”- Thoreau

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I recently read an article about a bill passed in Tasmania’s Lower House in June called The Workplace (protection from protesters) Bill

The PDF of the bill reads:

An Act to ensure that protesters do not damage business premises or business related objects, or prevent, impede or obstruct the carrying out of business activities on business premises, and for related purposes.
That sounds reasonable. No business, corporation, or person for that matter, wants their property destroyed by a protesters (i.e. activists). That should be a given in any civilized society.
However, from the same article,
There are already existing laws that cover the scope of this legislation. It’s illegal to trespass or harass, for example. So why make some actions more illegal if done by protesters?
… Because this is part of a broader campaign by Abbott’s Liberal Party to roll back environmental protections and cut “green tape” for corporations.

 

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People are becoming aware (and if they aren’t, well holy shit!) that multinational corporate practices are destroying our planet. People know that large groups can solve large problems, and governments and corporations know that anyone with a contrary opinion can disrupt the bottom line – $.  This hasn’t stopped protesters in the past, though legislation has been working on that for years.

This bill in Tasmania is but a reminder for many people of a bill (H.R. 347) signed into law in 2012 here in The United States.

From RT:

Under the act, the government is also given the power to bring charges against Americans engaged in political protest anywhere in the country.

While corporations and government accrue more and more power, individuals are becoming more and more privy to their game. It has become essential for people to educate themselves and others as much as possible. Not everything is as it seems – authentic information – truth – can be hard to discern.

  • Research the facts
  • Share what you’ve learned
  • Be open to different opinions
  • Collaborate
  • Start a movement or join one with similar values
  • Don’t fight against – FIGHT FOR!

In a world on the brink of transformation, it is imperative that we question the world around us and stand up for what we believe in. No one can “give” us our rights – they are inherent, because we are here on this planet.

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Let us make the best of it.

 

 

 

The mindset of sustainability – an emerging education for the collective

My outlook will be different now, there’s no turning back.

I’ve been doing work trade on a permaculture farm for almost a week … and I’m hooked. Perhaps it’s the delicious food I pull right out of the earth, or the abundance of wildlife outside my doorstep, or the fact that the matrix is currently nowhere near my reality. Where I’m at, has something very important to teach me.

Aprovecho, a sustainable learning center, sits on a modest 40 acres in the hills of west central Oregon, outside Cottage Grove. Here, people from all backgrounds come to learn a variety of sustainable practices such as aquaculture, proper water harvesting, practical building design, and even pedal powered technology – ever grind your own wheat with a bicycle?

Before I came, I had only once before experienced permaculture while traveling in Ethiopia. I was staying at a small hostel which had transformed dead earth into a thriving oasis by mimicking nature through sustainable land use design. I watched as the owners took awe-struck villagers through the property, showing them innovative yet simple practices that obviously worked.  It was an incredible experience to witness the children process this new information like thirsty sponges. The term sustainable education sprang to mind.

On the other side of the planet, outside Cottage Grove, OR, Aprovecho has been working as a permaculture education center for over ten years. Ironically, many people who read this article have probably never even heard of permaculture before. But soon, they will. The concept and philosophies of permaculture are catching on fast, and the movement, is becoming a revolution.

The foundation of permaculture relies on the observation of patterns and systems and an understanding that nothing is independent.


This is useful wisdom for an expanding planet. More and more people are beginning to understand that their everyday actions are having great impact on other people halfway across the planet. For those seeking true sustainability, daily micro-management becomes essential. The processes that make up our day must be done consciously if we are to create a healthy future for the individual and the collective, which these days are one and the same.

Sustainable is a tricky word to define, especially in today’s green-market driven economy. Linguistically appealing terms such as all natural or self-sufficient have all but stigmatized historically traditional methods of conservation and practical science. The push for low-impact practices like car-pooling and water conservation have been obvious for years, but today have become synonymous with emotionally charged advertisements for hybrid cars and the monopolization of utility companies. A new earth conscious mind-set from society has been needed for decades, but only recently has our government seen the economic opportunity  to implement/sell these eco-friendly technologies to the public.

Hippies on the other hand have been screaming sustainable practices and “community mentality” since the 1960’s yet have been demonized as out-of-touch, impractical, and idealistic misfits in a consumer driven society. This same consumer driven society has brought us to where we are today, completely out of touch with our natural environment. The majority of us no longer grown our own food or even understand how it gets to our dinner table. The complexity of natural systems and cycles evades the general public. This results in a poor understanding of the earth we were once a part of.

In Oregon, over 90% of old growth forest has been clear cut. This has resulted in a huge explosion of blackberry bushes which grow best in areas with disturbed soil – another reason they are seen so frequently in ditches and vacant lots in towns and cities in the Pacific Northwest. One of my main duties as a work trader at Aprovecho is blackberry maintenance. Long tedious days of clipping, pruning, and de-rooting yield piles upon piles of blackberry vines.

Today, blackberries are considered an invasive species, much like scotch broom, a large yellow-flowered bush that grows throughout the country next to roads and highways. Both plants are soil rejuvenators, providing much needed nitrogen into the damaged soil for re-growth. Yet because of their invasive nature, toxic chemicals are being used to eradicate them, furthering damage to the soil.

Blackberries are but one example of the many problems we face and the impractical solutions we have created for solving them.

Sustainability is a mind-set, an evolving practice that encompasses all aspects of one’s lifestyle. External observation is paramount to understanding what actions we must take and why we must take them.  It’s not simply buying locally, it’s understanding a neighbor’s needs and lending support when possible. Going green isn’t just recycling, it’s rethinking.

Solutions are rarely arrived at before the problem becomes too big. Suddenly, the problem is much too big.

A ballooning global population is no longer upon us, it is us. We now find ourselves looking squarely in the face of some pretty disturbing realities: diminishing food chains, the end of oil as we know it, global drought, and an ever-broadening of the social classes.  As  time and globalization march ever forward, no longer  can we elude responsibility. There are no islands to escape to, save mars.

Aprovecho is the first stop of many. For the next 6 months, my partner and I will be visiting multiple alternative education centers and sustainability  programs in the United States – the end product, a documentary about sustainable education.

As a former educator, I believe that holistic education, above all else, is the foundation for a sustainable society and planet. As we collectively move into a new understanding of humanity’s role on Gaia, we must be certain that our youth are not only understanding this change, but are also spearheading it. New insights in education are being made every day. Teachers are coming forward with innovative new ideas and for a healthy planet to grow, these ideas must be shared. Students must be encouraged to think outside the conventional, because our future will be anything but.

Challenges to Perception Invoke Evolution

To get to the center you have to go to the edge.

The backpacker inside of me wants to see it all, the  philanthropist wants to help all who I encounter along the way, the prophet wants to share the learned truths, and the cynic wonders if any of it matters in the first place. Thus the quandary I often find myself in.

To clear up a point, yes I think it does matter, I think it matters a lot. But in the midst of personal evolution, I wonder if it wouldn’t just be easier to go back to my old way of thinking. After 9 weeks in Ethiopia and Somaliland, I realize that the reason my system still feels so out of whack is because a lot of my previous beliefs about life, the universe, and everything have radically changed.

Perception is an interesting thing. No two are ever alike yet collectively, we share beliefs and ideas about things we still aren’t able to tangibly define. I think we are alive during a very interesting moment in history. As our world becomes smaller and smaller and as information and perspectives become easier to identify and discern, we are truly beginning to bridge the gap between the individual and the collective. We are seeing that some of these long held beliefs no longer hold as much weight as they once did. We are discovering that there are new ways to experience reality, a reality that many of us never new existed in the first place. We are beginning to shed some of our fears. Who knows, maybe we’re growing up.

Our experiences shape our perceptions and our perceptions shape who we are and who we become. The more we challenge our perception of reality the more opportunity we have to experience a new reality. Now let me say straight away, that you don’t have to go to Ethiopia to challenge your perceptions (though you could – and in turn come home seriously fucking challenged). My point is, reality awaits to be challenged in every corner of the world, including our own.

Every time I return home from a trip I am always surprised how easily I am able to slip back into the comfort of “being home.” No longer am I challenged to pay attention to body language, because everyone speaks English. The shower is hot when I want it to be, turning on a light switch won’t electrocute me, there are parks to relax in, there is one car per lane, no cows per road, and thus less need to be actively involved in the present to get through my day. In the world of convenience of which we live, we must find time to interact with our reality in a way that is challenging, in a way that helps us to evolve.

Returning home, I am inspired by people my age who are taking action on a local level. They have challenged their beliefs, at home or abroad, and are returning to the community with lessons learned and a curriculum in place. I challenge all of us to seek out these individuals, to become these individuals. Let us implement changing ideas for a changing world. Challenging your own reality in a positive way has repercussions that ripple across the community, the country, the planet.