and it’s time to rest, make music, fool around and play,
celebrate various rites of passage,
give out responsibilities and roles (such as tending wild apples on common land after being shown how to prune for abundance and against disease),
share celebratory cake, in gathered and op-shopped winter colour,
and begin again the prepping and planting for another growing season (while living off the fruits from the last sun-gifted season) – there are many things to do and many to give to.
We have begun to take volunteers again. Our first for the new season the delightful, gutsy 16 year-old self-schooler Ishaa,
who came to us after spending a few weeks protecting sacred trees near Ararat. This is where we met her and where earlier we’d made a few videos to help grow awareness of that struggle.
In Melbourne Woody was captured by news media responding to the question of why he was at the largest climate rally in Australia’s history:
He knows life is much more-than-human.
Walk for degrowth, indeed. And bicycle and bike-trailer for degrowth too.
This is what degrowth looks like in action after nearly 10 years of being a carless household:
While having the right tools is important for transition, it’s the behavioural and biological changes we can make in our daily lives that are key to real transformation. If political power resides in industrial forms of food, energy, education and medicine etc., then our daily divesting from these things is far more powerful than voting once every few years and more empowering than taking to the street.
Teaching kids to use appropriate tools that can be fixed, sharpened and repurposed is just one example of changing behaviour. Keeping kids out of school is another, either for two days a week like Tom or permanently like Woody.
Woody has spent much of the year saving up for a violin by selling foraged kindling. The pre-loved violin he bought came from the Swap Shop in Melbourne where he traded in his walked-for sticks for musical strings.
He is involved in the household’s sifting of potash from the char of our home-fire and he routinely returns such wood-promoting fertiliser back to the forest floor from where he gathers the kindling and we carefully handpick our fuel source – a fuel source that requires no grid, is regenerative and requires ecological thinning. This complete approach to economy, including the making of making returns, is at the heart of neopeasant relocalisation.
Woody is also one of a growing community of shepherds farming without farmland on public land to mitigate increasing bushfire risk and reduce weed dominance.
Goathand co-op, which several households contribute to now, has recently got a gig at the local high school where the goats are eating down blackberries, broom, grass and annual weeds ahead of a large-scale carbon sequestration planting project.
Because there’s always loads to do, we have to be well in ourselves in order to keep performing the new-old economies. Preventing disease and staying well will be key as the global economy collapses and the climate gives increasingly louder feedback to its toxic culture of hypertechnocivility. Non-monetised community immunity and wellbeing is central to our transition.
|Meg makes garlic kraut at Culture Club. Photo by Mara Ripani
After nearly three and half years Meg is still facilitating Daylesford Culture Club, our region’s free monthly fermenting group. She is now also convening Wild Fennel, a free monthly herbal group, facilitated by local herbalist, Rosie Cooper. And she is also helping fellow plant lover Brenna Fletcher organise Hepburn Seed Savers, which will operate out of our town’s library. You can read more about these and other projects we are involved with here. Two weeks ago Meg addressed our councillors at an ordinary meeting asking them to declare a climate emergency in our shire. All seven councillors unanimously agreed, and our local shire officially joined over a thousand local councils across the globe in committing to put climate action front and centre of all their decisions.