Our permaculture… our story…

I’m republishing my September 2009 story about the development of the ethical investment industry in Australia, particularly the emergence of the permaculture’s Earthbank Society.

My motivation for republishing is to document how the ethical or social investment sector played a significant role in permaculture’s early history, when economics was more a focus of the emerging permaculture movement, so as this part of our collective history is not forgotten. Permaculture economic activists like Robert Rosen, Damien Lynch, Geoff Young, Robyn Francis and others were instrumental in establishing what grew into the ethical or social investment industry. I’ve added a comment made to the original story by northern NSW permaculture educator, Robyn Francis.

Robert Rosen

THE EARTHBANK SOCIETY was an initiative of Bill Mollison, founder of the permaculture…


Our permaculture… our story…

I’m republishing a September 2009 story from my defunct PacificEdge website. It is about the development of the ethical investment industry in Australia, particularly the emergence of the Money Matters Financial Group.

My motivation for republishing is to document how the ethical or social investment sector played a significant role in permaculture’s early history, when economics was more a focus of the emerging permaculture movement, so as this part of our collective history is not forgotten. Permaculture economic activists like Robert Rosen, Damien Lynch, Geoff Young, Robyn Francis and others were instrumental in establishing what grew into the ethical or social investment industry in Australia.

Robert Rosen

IN 1986, Simply Living magazine ran an article on ethical investment which elicited more letters from readers than any other article since the magazine started. “

Following…


The search for solutions…

It is time to start treating Australia’s housing situation for what it is — a crisis. Rather than applying the same old less-effective solutions, perhaps it is time to look to new housing models and building technologies. In this story we look first at the problem then at possible solutions. Photos: ©Russ Grayson

In parts of the country where housing prices have risen rapidly to the point of unaffordability, simply getting a house takes precedence over considerations of orientation, energy efficiency and materials. Photo: an earth construction backyard shack in northern Tasmania.

WE’VE been building in the same way for a long time. Thousands of years of a long time. The methods are time-proven whether they be constructions in wood, brick, cement or mud. Problem, is, building this way is too slow if we are to effectively deal with our present housing crisis.

The problem

Let’s take a look at the current housing crisis in Australia. It takes two forms:

  • a shortage of properties for sale and their escalating prices
  • a shortage of rental accommodation and the associated increase in rentals.

An ABC article by Carol Rääbus in February 2021 highlighted the crisis: “While…


Stories of the road…

First published summer 2014.

Red Gypsy Lauren (right) making a table for her van at Yvonne Gluyas’ (left) ridgetop home.

AT THE END of the third sentence of the first paragraph appear the words that were to launch Jack Kerouac to fame:

“With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the road”.

On The Road, Kerouac’s 1957 novel based on real characters, real places and real events continues to stimulate fertile imaginations and brings a restlessness to readers. Why it comes to mind is that it aptly describes the life of a young woman I met in Tasmania.

The Red Gypsy

As I walked along the gravel driveway of Yvonne Gluyas’ home on…


Why words count…

CONSIDER THIS. You work for an influential environmental advocacy organisation. An election is coming up. You produce a brochure to convince people to vote for a particular political party. You think it provides a stark choice but what it does is simply cast undecided electors as part of the solution or part of the problem. There’s no middle ground, no grey zone between the black and white polarities, no space for those unecided.

Yes or no. For or against. Good or bad. Them or us. Solution or problem. It’s a simplistic binary choice. If you are an undecided voter, how…


Stories of the trail…

Microadventures in the Hobart region

Along the Alum cliffs track. The trail through the ferny gully.

TAROONA BEACH is one of those sandy enclaves along the Derwent foreshore. It was from here that I would look at the nearby Alum Cliffs rising vertically from the waters, and would think that I would have to follow the track along their tops one day. I knew it was not a long nor a tough walk, but sometimes I feel that I have to go take a look at what’s there in some place just to satisfy my curiousity. It’s a feeling that has led to many bush, mountain and urban walks into local histories and geographies.

No power…


The release of research findings highlights the need for home and community gardeners to have their garden soils tested for the presence of lead and other contaminants.

Raised garden beds filled with clean soil are a means of avoiding lead contamination in the garden produce we eat.

RESEARCH RESULTS on lead contamination in soils discloses many home garden soils are toxic and vegetables grown in them are likely to be contaminated with lead.

The Macquarie University research comes from analysis of 7256 soil samples from more than 3600 homes during its VegeSafe Program.

The research discloses:

  • one-fifth of home vegetable gardens across Australia have soils with unsafe lead levels
  • more than one-third of homes across Australia have garden soils exceeding the maximum 300mg/kg residential guidelines for lead contamination
  • the percentage of gardens with toxic soils that pose a health risk to vegetable growers — Sydney, 31percent; Brisbane…

The privacy wars…

WOULD YOU pay to keep using facebook and instagram or would you let them continue to monitor your online activity to keep using the platforms without charge?

That’s the stark choice being mooted after users found a popup window suggesting the possibility that facebook and instagram might start charging users of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 14.5, who refuse to let the social media corporation harvest their personal information to use for advertising.

The message

The message claims that by allowing facebook and Instagram to track your web activity and compile profiles on you, it allows the platform to “support businesses that…


The hidden world of Ted Trainer…

TAKE a riverside home, take the wetland along the river banks and convert it to demonstrate appropriate technologies and other structures connected by a foot track.

That is what Ted Trainer, retired UNSW lecturer in the limits to growth model of resource and environmental management has done. Working with the wetland’s waterways, Ted has made an intriguing path connected by bridges and tracks. To step onto the trail is to step into Ted’s imaginative mind and his hard work in constructing this land-and-waterscape here in the riverine forest on the shore of south-western Sydney’s Georges River.

Let’s take a journey…


Stories of the road…

The mobile tribe’s diversity of homes on the road at Bells Beach, Victoria.

I FIRST BECAME ACQUAINTED with nomadism through reading about it. That started decades ago when, by chance and good fortune, I picked a copy of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road off a bookstore shelf.

I was hooked. Intrigued by the idea of people living lives well out of the ordinary, my reading took me to John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley-In Search of America, William Least Heat-Moon’s Blue Highways and Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard. Others followed.

It turns out that those books have been influential on other people too.

Russ Grayson

I'm an independent online and photojournalist living on the Tasmanian coast after nine months on the road in a minivan.

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