It is amazing how human language distinguishes one behaviour from another. For example, consider the act of ‘eating healthy’…as opposed to eating unhealthily?! Shouldn’t it just be called eating? Why does anyone eat unhealthily? The language we use on a daily basis almost makes it acceptable. Another example, ‘volunteering’. How about just being human? Why do we need a separate word for it. Eating healthy, and volunteering should be so common place that we can’t even describe them, much like a fish trying to describe the water in which it swims.
For the last 6 weeks I have had the privilege of spending time with, and getting to know, an amazing group of people dedicated to doing good here in Perth. The Big Help Mob is a not-for-profit organisation that for the past 2 years has been working tirelessly to make doing good as mainstream as cheeseburgers and breathing by making volunteer opportunities more accessible and enjoyable.
I joined the organisation as an untern (yes…untern) and have been welcomed with open arms. It is sometimes quite easy to forget that there are people who are working to create good in the world when all we see is bad news. But there are people out there doing good, and this bunch, of which I am part, is just one example.
Although I have only been with Big Help Mob for a short time I seriously feel like I am a part of something amazing and something I really believe in. It is really refreshing to be able to spend time with these lovely, and sometimes quirky, people all committed to improving the lives of others.
We are super close to being a self-sustaining social enterprise and a permanent force for good but we need some help to get there. I am doing my bit by aiming to raise just $500 of the $50,000 goal. I want to see Big Help Mob continue to #growwhatsgood in Perth and hopefully Australia.
Help me to help Big Help Mob. Visit my fundraising page and donate if you can.
Thank you 🙂
About 20 days ago I decided to finally launch what I have called the Perth Urban Farming Project and it is off to a good start despite me spending 14 of those 20 days on holiday with friends in another state with limited internet access.
I started with a Kickstarter campaign (can be viewed here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1808819454/perth-urban-farming-project) to raise just AUD$320 to get 1000 flyers printed for distribution to homes in my desired areas to drum up some interest. My campaign has only 9 days remaining and I have 3 backers pledging a combined AUD$127 which is amazing! Just need to get the remaining $200 to get the flyers sorted.
I also posted an ad on Gumtree looking for land and have had a response from a lady so I am going to check out her space in a couple of days.
The project idea itself has been resting in the back of my mind for about a year now, screaming out desperately to be acknowledged and I have decided to make it happen. The aim is to acquire parcels of land in other peoples yards, that they aren’t really utilising fully, to grow food that can be given away. I am mostly looking for land quite close to the city of Perth so it can be easily distributed in the city to those mostly in need. It will be a lot of work and time to develop it into a consistent ad reliable source of fresh produce but I am in it for the long haul.
To me, it combines my desire to grow real, fresh, organic and local food and to feed people. And to especially feed those who don’t access to fresh food such as those considered homeless. For me, it is super-important to give your body quality, nutrient dense food to ensure physical and emotional well-being. I hope that Perth Urban Farming will encourage others to grow food in their gardens that they can share with their neighbours and friends, and that together we can ensure that everyone has access to quality, organic food.
With Christmas just around the corner once again I am sure that many of you are running around buying your family and friends their gifts but I wanted to urge you all to consider carefully what it is that you are actually buying. Now by no means am I trying to suck the fun out Christmas but there is a hidden cost to be born by all who inhabit this earth as a result of our consumer-driven culture.
As our awareness of our global interconnectedness and interdependence is become more prevalent, and our impact on our environment is growing at alarming rates, it is important to consider the true cost of the goods that you buy this Christmas. While something may have a cheap price tag here for us in Australia it may have an even bigger social and environmental price tag somewhere else in the world. And what we are learning is that just because we don’t see the impact ourselves, it reverberates around the world in more dangerous ways.
Large companies call these hidden costs ‘externalities’. An example of an externality would be the costs worn by governments and councils (essentially the taxpayers) for the disposal of the ridiculous amount of waste plastic wrapping we discard each year on the 25th of December. While companies in China, or Taiwan, or Haiti etc produce these items for next to nothing, for another company here to sell them at a profit, neither are responsible for the externalised costs of the disposal of the waste. This waste is not only avoidable and unnecessary, it also carries with it an environmental cost that is felt the world over.
While I am mainly pointing to the impacts of overseas companies producing goods for sale here, the points I am conveying are not limited to overseas industry. The same things happen here in Australia, and also other ‘developed’ countries. A lot of these factories in Asia also lack any kind of waste water recycling facilities which means that the waste water full of toxins and paint products to dye the plastics is simply dumped in to their local water supply. This obviously has a huge impact on the local population who may rely on that water supply to drink from but if their water supply, directly, or indirectly, feeds in to a larger water supply, or the sea/oceans, it can have a much larger affect.
Pollutants that enter a water supply somewhere in the world can inadvertently impact the whole world. Much like air pollutants. We all breathe the same air from the same biosphere. China, or America’s biosphere is intimately connected to ours here. So although we may hear about something bad happening somewhere is in the world regarding the pollution of the seas or air it affects us all! Not just now but also well in to the future.
Another point to consider is the working conditions of those employed in sweat-shops and factories the world over; countries from which we import a massive percentage of the goods on shelves in our shopping centres. It is easy to dismiss the impact that we have from simply buying something here but we nonetheless drive these poor conditions and suppression of the human spirit through our buying decisions. Some may argue that without us to buy their products these workers wouldn’t be making any money to feed their families but remember that the human species lived for well over 150,000 years before the widespread use of ‘money’ as a means of survival and exchange.
So my Christmas wish is that you all stop and consider the true, ethical cost of the purchases you make this Christmas for your family and friends. Remember that just because we don’t directly see the impact doesn’t mean that we don’t feel it in some way. Choose quality over quantity; don’t just buy stuff for the sake of buying stuff, try to buy things that will be truly treasured and used to their full extent. Try to buy local products and minimise the wrapping; remember that just because you don’t have to see the rubbish once it gets collected doesn’t mean it is gone. Nowhere on this planet is ‘gone’, it always remains somewhere and has an impact.
Remember, less is more!
Entertain just for a moment the thought of living without money. I would imagine your mind instantly skipped to all the things you couldn’t do, and couldn’t have. This is pretty much what is going though my mind continuously lately. This is the tremendous power that money has over us, a power we let it have. After all, money only has value when we give it value, it is imaginary, but it feels so real. It feels like living a moneyless life will require a great deal of sacrifice, and indeed some sacrifice may be required but just how much will we lose if we don’t have a society based on money?
I believe that living should be free. If you think about it, we didn’t really have a choice about being born in to this world, it is something that just happens…it is natural. Just like the nature inherent in trees growing, animals being born, the wind blowing, and the sun rising and falling. So why if we are a part of this natural cycle are we the only living species that have to pay for almost every aspect of living? We have to pay for somewhere to live, we have to buy our food unless we can afford enough land to grow our own, pay for our clothes, we have to pay for recreation, transport, even water provided in to our homes.
I can certainly appreciate that we wouldn’t have the life we have today if it wasn’t for money, and a hundred and one other things like industry, and the sciences but what good is all of this stuff that we can buy if the majority of our time is spent just trying to make money.
My inner battle at the moment is this belief that living should be free and all experiences should be available to us but all the things I want to do and experience cost money, and I have no idea what to do about this. I don’t want to dedicate my time primarily to making money so that I can have these experiences and I believe that is a choice that we all have but we have been led to believe that living costs money. What if it didn’t though? What if we didn’t need money to live and to experience all the beauty and adventure this life has to offer us?
What is it about money that has made us handover our time in return for it? Is it the money itself and the things it buys that we all crave or is it an image that has been sold to us through marketing and advertising that propels us to work in unsatisfying jobs so we can fit in the box?
Imagine a world where we got paid to pursue our passions?
How different things would be! What if we only got paid for doing things that made our hearts jump and skip with joy? What would happen to the world if happiness, love and passion gave us all the money we needed?
What are we really here for? I believe we are here to have amazing, breathtaking experiences in every single moment in the company of beautiful and inspiring people. I don’t think we were meant to be stuck at work all the time, and I think that a vast majority of businesses and industries serve no purpose to the fulfilment of human experience so we could happily do without them and probably help the planet out a bit too. But what about everything else, what about the things that do serve a purpose and actually do help us?
I my opinion computers and the internet are great tools for instant connecting and sharing with communities around the world so how would we continue with these things if money didn’t exist? If we didn’t have money would people still be motivated to work in these fields for the purposes of maintenance and the manufacture of new and replacement parts as needed? When you think about if we only really had a few models with standard parts, as opposed to the countless brands, models and variations currently available, we wouldn’t need to actually produce so much. Also, do we really need to make things faster all the time. Every second day a new and improved model is being released that processes information one one-hundredth of a second faster that the previous one…is this really necessary?
What about tools, and recreation equipment, such as mountain bikes, sports equipment etc. How would we cope without them? I personally love my mountain biking, at the moment it is the biggest pain in my arse because I need a couple of new bits for my bike and my income is minuscule and irregular at best. Now I could just go out and get a job to pay for the bits I need but then when would I have the time to go out riding, or to go to the beach, or to write and volunteer. I might be able to pay for all these things but when will I really have the time to enjoy them. Again though, would reducing the choice we have available really kill us, and would we need money to motivate people to keep producing these items? What if mountain bikers were to work together on their passions to produce bikes for themselves and others? What if they found joy in that work? They don’t need money for it. The same could be said for any industry or sport.
What about cars and transport? Cars are another thing that I don’t think are entirely necessary all the time. I don’t know if every family needs 2 or more, and we certainly wouldn’t need them so much if we didn’t have to go to work. Which is the main reason people seem to have cars these days. Couldn’t we devise a better approach to transport, like a community bus system where community members worked in a rotation to serve. Would we really need to have the thousands of buses running every day to get people everywhere? What’s the rush all the time? What if we just had a couple of hundred running for free, and reduced the need for cars so we spent more time at home, in our local communities instead of cubicle offices? We would save on fuel, our roads would be less congested, we would reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, we would reduce the need for roads and their construction. Where is the downfall?
What if music and books became free? They pretty much almost are with the help of torrents and other file sharing networks. I feel like if we made music free, and art, any form of expression, freely available we would experience the true passion that used to be embodied in art. Nowadays I feel art and music have been reduced to mere means of making the big bucks. There is fame and fortune attached to art in all forms reducing heart and love. For every artist, musical or otherwise, that makes it big because a marketing company could see the dollar signs, how many others do we not know about because they weren’t ‘marketable’ enough, and they don’t have the money to give their gift to the world.
Fortunately things like YouTube and other social media sites allow these artists to find their own audiences with a relative amount of ease and their passion shines through…they aren’t doing it for the money or the fame, they love what they do! If we also consider the amount of physical material that goes in to the production and distribution of books and CDs, DVDs etc, we could do away with all this if we made it all digital, for free. Further reducing the need for money and for those entire industries producing those materials. Luckily I feel the music industry is one full of people who do love what they do. Everyone from producers, to editors, singers, musicians and instrument makers really do love what they do so I don’t think a moneyless world would have a huge impact one them.
This is the kind of world I envisage. A world where people don’t settle for anything less that what their heart desires. A time where we don’t have the pressure of making money to pay the bills and put food on the table. I believe that the things, material or otherwise, we truly want and need to be fulfilled can be met by passion and community alone. I believe that the value and the importance we have placed on money has made us all slaves and has done a great deal of damage through the suppression of our hearts desires. The biggest obstacle is, of course, convincing billions of people that things could be different.
Some may call me an idealist, a dreamer, sometimes a crackpot, but I truly feel that there is a better way for us to live that includes everyone, not just those with money. Money has helped create the haves and the have-nots, as well as debt and poverty. This system that we have created cannot surely be the best we can do. We have to be capable of much more, it makes sense doesn’t it? This form of capitalism can not be the pinnacle of our imagination, it can’t be all there is to life and we are surely able to design something else that is sustainable for everyone and allows everyone to live a life enriched with quality experiences.
For now however money still does play a vital role in my life also, but I do choose to put myself and my own values before pursuing any action with the intention of purely making money. I still have the heart of an entrepreneur, however buried currently, but rather than striving to make lots of money to have a big house and 10 cars like I used to, I hope to follow my passions and use whatever money I do make as a tool to create and innovate sustainable and moneyless projects. Also to continue to pursue my own passion for adventure and fun in the meantime. Ironically it is going to take money to assist in the transition to something better someday.
I am open to debate. I want to hear your thoughts? What are your immediate objections as to why we couldn’t possibly live without money?
Extravagance of desire is the fundamental cause which has led the world into its present predicament.
Fast rather than slow, more rather than less- this flashy “development” is linked directly to society’s impending collapse. It has only served to separate man from nature. Humanity must stop indulging the desire for material possessions and personal gain and move instead toward spiritual awareness.
– Masanobu Fukuoka, The One Straw Revolution
I don’t believe that the real underlying issue to some of our political, social, environmental and economical problems is being addressed. All we are really doing is chucking on a band-aid, a quick-fix remedy, thinking it will fix it, or at least hide it to a point that it is out of mind. These quick-fixers are not sustainable and don’t help, or educate, people to make the necessary changes to actually solve the problems.