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November / December, 2015 Edition
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'Community & Economic Development Matters' Newsletter


Introduction

 
Welcome to our last Newsletter for 2015.  What a year in terms of community innovation and reinvention. It has been a privilege and a great learning experience for the BOI to capture some of that excitement and community change through this Newsletter. Hope you have grown in your knowledge and skills as much as we have. Incidentally, there are now 10,842 subscribers from 107 countries to this Newsletter.
 
In each edition, we have wanted to celebrate an individual through the Global Giraffe Award for Community Building that we consider very special due to their passion and commitment to local community and economic development. This month, we acknowledge our great friend and co-conspirator Zizi Charida, who leads Community Minds Inc , based in Bankstown, Western Sydney. For 20 years, Zizi has been involved in a wide variety of community development roles, with a particular passion for youth engagement initiatives with young women and men from Arab cultures. Zizi sees young people as change agents and leaders of today and seeks to engage them in learning more about their strengths and the assets and capacities of their communities and cultures, especially instilling pride in their identity and tapping into traditional knowledge. She has initiated and run many cultural education initiatives that provide a platform for communities to access cultures in meaningful ways. Examples are food and cultural tours (operated as a social enterprise) and interactive cross- cultural activities, such as artistic fusion of Aboriginal art and Arabic calligraphy. Zizi’s current vision is to build communities and empower citizens through Community Minds Inc. which aims to build the capacity of community organisations, groups and citizens.
 
Zizi always reminds us of this wonderful quote from the Apple Company – "Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify them or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." 
 
Enjoy the read!
 
Go well,
 
Peter Kenyon  (Director)                    
Maria D'Souza (Executive Officer)





 

Zizi Charida, recent Global Community Builder Giraffe Award recipient.

 Events 

Mindful Uprising: December, 2015 - Melbourne, Victoria

This involves a pop up people’s summit to coincide with the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Click here to download the brochure. Date and time: Sunday 6th December, 2015. 1.00pm – 5.30pm. Click here for more information. 

The Sandbox Project Conference: January, 2016 – Toronto, Canada

In its sixth year, this event on January 21st 2016, will bring together stakeholders from across the child and youth sector, including researchers, practitioners, policy makers, charities, industry and families. This is an occasion to discover updates, networking, and solutions-oriented collaboration toward systemic change for the health and wellbeing of Canada's children and youth.
Click here to register and for more information.

Graphic Facilitation & Visual Recording Workshop: February, 2016 – Parramatta, NSW

2nd February, 2016, Parramatta, NSW. Graphic facilitation and strategic visual communication combines deep listening, simple drawing technique and facilitation methodology to visualize complex processes and provide overview, shared language and ownership. In this workshop participants will – get introduced to the toolbox of a graphic facilitator; gain insights to the theory behind Graphic Facilitation; create their own library of relevant icons and symbols; and apply what they have learned to their own projects.
Click here to find out more and to register. 

What is the Art of Hosting & Harvesting Conversations That Matter?  February, 2016- Sydney, NSW

The Art of Hosting event being held 3-5 February, 2016 is an event that shares highly effective ways of harnessing the collective wisdom and self-organizing capacity of groups of any size. Based on the assumption that people give their energy and lend their resources to what matters most to them – in work as in life – the Art of Hosting blends a suite of powerful conversational processes to invite people to step in and take charge of the challenges facing them. The purpose of this training is to gather people longing to find new ways of working collaboratively, to move beyond ‘hero’ leadership towards a participatory approach, which involves everyone in the creation of the solution.
Click here to find out more. 

Disability, Human Rights and Social Equity Conference: February, 2016 – Melbourne, Victoria

This conference, 3-5 February, 2016 aims to encourage researchers from a range of disciplines to engage with persons with disabilities and their support organisations in order to develop, in the words of the National Disability Research and Development Agenda – 'research which focuses on human rights, participation in community life, access to mainstream activities and services, and broader systems change'. Following an opening night cultural and arts event, a range of keynote, plenary, concurrent and poster sessions will provide opportunities for reflecting on and discussing how best to develop and support research that focuses on changing the social, economic and physical environments that currently prevent social equity for persons with disabilities.
Click here to visit the website.

The National Volunteering Conference: April, 2016 – Canberra

This event is being held from 6 – 8 April 2016 at the National Convention Centre Canberra. The Conference is the principal Australian forum for not for profit leaders, volunteer managers and policy contributors to come together and build knowledge, innovation, networks and leadership to advance volunteering. Delegates can expect to gain new skills, learn about innovative programs, and connect with subject experts in an engaging and relevant program.  Conference content focuses on current and emerging trends in a positive, solution-driven environment. Click here for more information.

Global Health & Innovation Conference: April, 2016 – Yale, USA

The Global Health & Innovation Conference at Yale planned for April 16-17, 2016, is the world's leading and largest global health conference as well as the largest social entrepreneurship conference. An estimated 2,200 professionals and students from all 50 states and more than 55 countries are expected. This thought-leading conference convenes leaders, changemakers, professionals and students from all sectors of global health, international development, and social entrepreneurship.
Click here to register. 

Vision: June, 2016 – London, UK

Vision is the new event looking at the future of the built environment. Vision takes place on 7-8 June 2016 at Olympia, London. Vision is the annual event for architects, specifiers, and suppliers across these connected disciplines. Held annually, Vision is the place where these communities come together to discuss, debate and showcase the latest innovations and developments in architecture, design and the built environment.
Click here to visit the website. 

 Rural & Small Town  Development 

“Living in a small town...is like living in a large family of rather uncongenial relations. Sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes it’s perfectly awful, but it’s always good for you. People in large towns are like only-children.”
 
(Joyce Dennys)

Medieval Festival Takes Wynyard Back in Time to 'Days of Old'

The town of Wynyard in Tasmania's North-West has taken a step back in time with hundreds of people turning out for a medieval festival. This is a great example of a rural event becoming a drawcard to visit and discover a small town.
Click here to read more.

(Photo courtesy ABC News Sallese Gibson)

Great Southern Farming Town Grows Community Crop to Buy Local Pub

As cities grow, many smaller regional towns are shrinking, but in Western Australia's Great Southern region, one community is fighting back. Click here to read a great story from the town of Nyabing (about 330km south-east of Perth), where the Nyabing Progress Association with the help of some local farmers invested in a share crop, and with the profits were able to purchase the Nyabing Inn. According to the Nyabing Progress Association, “the community crop and the purchase of the pub was focussed on reinvigorating the town and making it a place young families wanted to live.”

The Enchanted Highway – Regent, North Dakota

The Enchanted Highway is a collection of the world's largest scrap metal sculptures constructed at intervals along a 32-mile stretch highway in the South-Western part of the U.S. state of North Dakota. Local artist Gary Greff conceived the project, began building it in 1989, still maintains it and plans more sculptures. His goal is to counter the trend toward extinction of small towns such as Regent, North Dakota. The Enchanted Highway extends north from Regent to Gladstone. Each sculpture has a developed pull-out and several have picnic shelters. In 2012, Greff opened a motel, The Enchanted Castle, in Regent. The motel continues the theme of the Enchanted Highway.

(Picture: The Pheasants on the Prairie Sculptures, courtesy James Q. Jacobs)

 

Doo Town 

Doo Town is a quaint seaside village in Tasmania that became more than a dot on the map for its quirky house names.

Click here to see more.  Thanks to Jeanie Hall from Benalla, Victoria for sharing this gem.

Rural Nerds: the case for small schools

Rural school districts across countries continue to experience school consolidations or closures. Often these decisions are made without considering the social, economic, and political effects on communities or the educational advantages of small schools.
Click here to access the report that makes the case for small rural schools.

Being Thankful for the Small Things

Click here to read a great little article on the things that make living in small town wonderful. 

 Community Building 

'In the final analysis, the power of community action is the power to act in concert with others'.
(David Matthews, The Kettering Foundation)

"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand." 

(Woodrow Wilson)

Six Strategies for Successful Online Public Engagement

There are many benefits to online engagement: it is accessible 24/7, cost efficient, environmentally-friendly, and has the potential to reach a greater audience than the “usual suspects” who turn up to town hall meetings. Whether one is pursuing online public engagement to complement existing strategies, or to replace in-person consultations, click here for six tips to make your transition painless and effective.

The Social Audit Cookbook

This is a fantastic resource – ‘The Social Audit Cookbook ‘outlines recipes for auditing the way we connect.  It is funded by the Lance Reichstein Foundation as a contribution to community groups wanting to use surveys and audits as part of processes of social change.  Click here to view. 

The Focus on Speaking, Not Listening by Government Departments

Click here to read a report on a fascinating study by Professor Jim Macnamara, UTS professor of Public Communication, who recently completed an international study of organisational listening involving 36 case studies in Australia, Britain and the USA.  He claims – “Government organisations, like their private sector counterparts, like to claim they practice two-way communication and engagement. Research instead found on average, 80% of organisational resources devoted to public communication are focussed on speaking, instead of listening. This was reflected in both policy and service delivery agencies, where communication and its various synonyms was overwhelmingly constrained to one-way dissemination of messages, even on social media.”

Great Resource – Creating Cities (by Marcus Westbury)

In 2008, Marcus Westbury returned to his hometown of Newcastle, Australia, and found more than 150 empty buildings lining its two main streets. Three years later, the world's largest travel publisher named Newcastle one of the top ten cities in the world to visit. ‘Creating Cities’ is about the unlikely events in between: of how a failed idea to start a bar morphed into a scheme that has helped transform Newcastle, launched more than two hundred creative and community projects across Australia, and is fast becoming a model for cities and towns around the world. In an engaging, thoughtful, and observational style, Westbury argues that most towns and cities are wasting their most obvious assets: the talent, imagination, and passion of the people that live there. In a globalised age, local creativity has access to new possibilities that most places have barely begun to grasp. In Creating Cities’ Westbury explains how small scale failures in Newcastle inspired a larger set of ideas and a 'why-to' strategy with potential applications around the globe. ‘Creating Cities’ is a provocative and inspiring must-read for creative people, civic and business leaders, town planners, citizens, and anyone who cares about the communities that they live in.
 Click here to find out more and order the book online. 

South Alive

Long term readers of this Newsletter will be familiar with this community building project in South Invercargill, New Zealand and the high regard that the BOI hold for the local residents in that community, who over a three year period have transformed their environment through classic "bottom up, inside out" community development. Click here to see their latest report and here to see their background paper. Truly, South Alive is one of the great community builder stories on the planet. 

Acknowledging the passion of the community of Dargaville, NZ

Recently the BOI had the privilege of spending several days with the residents of the small community of Dargaville, New Zealand exploring future options for their town. Their passion and ingenuity were amazing. Click here to read about the experience from a local perspective. 

 Localism & Social  Connection 

"Social capital is a shorthand term for describing how well we connect as social beings."
(Eva Cox)

How to Upcycle your Neighbourhood
In Cleveland, Ohio more than a third of people live below the poverty line. Lee Chilcote discovered how the upcycling movement can become a force for reinvention – benefitting the environment, boosting the local economy and helping people to ‘reclaim their discarded neighborhoods’.

Click here to read the full article.

 

(Photo courtesy Newstart Magazine).

The International Peace Cafe

“When people get together over food they can talk about anything”. Food certainly unites people. At Bristol’s new restaurant pop-up, people from around the world are sharing recipes and cooking together in an initiative that hopes to bridge divides through food.
Click here to read the article. 

The Socialist Post Office That Defies a Government Obsessed with Austerity

“When the library and post office in Blakelaw, Newcastle, were threatened with closure, the community took matters into its own hands”.
 Click here to read this great story of what communities can achieve when they band together. Thanks to Pete Hall from Nelson, New Zealand for sharing this.

Why Do Strong Neighbourhoods Matter?

This is a great resource from the Tamarack Institute in Canada that explores the nature and value of neighbourhoods in the Canadian context. It stresses that neighbourhoods are building blocks for social cohesion, the locality’s role in bonding, bridging and linking social capital and the dimensions and conditions necessary for the creation of strong neighbourhoods.
Click here to access the document.  

Givebox

A Givebox is a cupboard where people can put out stuff they don’t need anymore, that others in the neighbourhood are free to take. The intention behind these Giveboxes is to encourage neighbourhood communication and exchange. The first known one was created in Berlin, Germany in 2011 by Andreas Richter, and the concept has now spread in many cities.
Click here to see pictures of more Giveboxes.
(Photo courtesy www.recyclart.org

Some great advice from Michelle Obama...

‘People really want to get involved. They really want to. They’re looking for a way to turn their frustration, excitement, anxiety into action. The theme of my work in community for my entire life is that there are assets and gifts in community out there in communities, and that our job as good servants and as good leaders is having the ability to recognize those gifts in others, and help them put those gifts into action. Communities are filled with assets that we need to better recognize and mobilize if we’re really going to
make a difference.’

(Michele Obama, First US Lady) 

 Local Economic  Development 

How Siri Can Help Small Town Businesses Make More Sales

Click here to read some interesting information and advice on how to make the most out of technology and virtual assistant services to boost sales. 

Tjanpi Desert Weavers Mark 20 years of selling their Artworks to Ensure Food on Tables

Not only is this a great local economic development story it is also a great example of asset based community development. “Employment opportunities are thin on the ground in the Aboriginal communities of central Australia, but a not-for-profit art enterprise is celebrating two decades of achievement. The Tjanpi Desert Weavers group gives local women a way to make and sell their traditional weaving and other artworks. For many of the local women, a woven basket ensures being able to put food on the table at night”.
Click here to read this great story.
(Photo courtesy ABC News: Natalie Whiting)

The Contribution of the Moruya Farmers' Market to the Local Economy

“A south-east NSW farmers' market is estimated to be contributing more than 3 million dollars annually to the local economy. The figure is drawn from a 12-month survey of customers attending the SAGE Farmers' Market in Moruya, New South Wales. The survey of almost 700 customers showed the market not only benefited producers, but also had a significant flow-on to other businesses in the main street”.
Click here to read the full story. 

Great Christmas Retail Resource

Jurek Leon from Terrific Trading produces an amazing free monthly E-Newsletter. He has just issued a special pre-Christmas Retail Edition, full of helpful retail advice for Christmas season.
Order your copy of 52 Terrific Tips for Christmas Workbook. To register to regularly receive the Newsletter email info@terrifictrading.com

Get Mutual

The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) has just launched ‘Get Mutual,’ a new online resource on setting up and running co-operatives. Groups and individuals now have a one-stop shop for free information on forming a co-operative.  ‘Get Mutual’ provides toolkits, links to reports and helpful organisations as well as a service to connect groups with advisors and experienced professionals to help communities with their co-operative developments. This resource website also hosts the Pathfinder Public Service Mutual case studies. The case studies provide information about successful Australian co-operatives that deliver services in the areas of housing, disability employment, GP clinics and aged care.
Click here to view. Thanks to Alan Grieg for sharing.

Tourism


“I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.”

(Bill Bryson)
 

Cities Beautiful Website

Beautiful Cities website is devoted to determining what is beautiful to the individual via a personalised civic beauty ranking test.  Based on these test results, the website provides free, interactive tour maps of the most beautiful urban places in the world. This website is a great resource for providing a broadened and deeper understanding of civic beauty and offers extensive additional opportunities for learning more about civic beauty.
Click here to view.

Tourism Resource – Tourism in Africa: A Tool for Development

This resource emanates from a study was commissioned by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) with the support and close cooperation of Casa Africa to assess the current situation of Africa´s tourism product development. It proposes a UNWTO methodology for tourism product development that can be applied to African destinations.
Click here to access the Report.

Newman Visitor Centre

An incredible example of a social enterprise is the Newman Visitor Centre in Western Australia.  Not only do they provide a quality information service and stunning retail outlet, but have extended their social enterprise business into the provision of funky and innovative accommodation options and mine tours.

Click here to visit their website. 

 Youth Empowerment & Participation  

“There is a fountain of youth – it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people who you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will have defeated age.”

(Sophia Loren) 
 

Young Voices Welcome in Local Government

Click here to read a great piece from the youngest Councillor in Western Australia – Michael McPhail. Michael relates his experiences running for and being elected into local council and encourages more young people to do the same. 

What Worries Australian Children

It is well known that parents spend a lot of time worrying about their children's future, but do they know what their children are worrying too? ABC's current affairs program for kids ‘Behind the News” has surveyed 20,000 Australian children to find out what makes them happy and sad. What they're worried about is surprisingly similar to what adults worry about.
Click here to find out.

Resilience Pathways from Resilient Youth Australia

Click here to download a paper about pathways to resilience. This paper is based on surveys of the well-being of almost 60,000 young people making it the largest and most comprehensive survey of its type in Australia. Alongside the updates of girl's and boy's resilience, this paper provides a clear method for schools and communities to build upon the strengths of their young people. Thanks to Andrew Fuller for sharing.

What if students controlled their own learning?

Peter Hutton is a school principal with a radical solution- no school bell, no school levels, with staff selection and curriculum decided by students. Result? - No bullying and collaboration, innovation in school dynamics. This is what education looks like when you apply the principles of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). This is an entertaining and educational TEDx talk.
Click here to view. Thanks to David Wells for sharing.

Oscar Wilde  (1854-1900) on Youth ...
 

“I am not young enough to know everything.”     
    

“To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.”

“Youth have absolutely no respect for dyed hair.”

 

 Food / Community  Agriculture 

“A Garden is a Grand Teacher. Teaches patience and careful watchfulness;
It teaches industry and thrift; Above all it teaches trust.”
(Gertrude Jekyll)

Thanks for this quote from Wayne Barrett of the Portland Community Garden.

15 Urban Farms and Activists that are Changing the Way We Eat 

Click here to see some fantastic examples of community farms and activists that are creating a new culinary culture in the African-American community and diversifying the concept of farm to table.

Four Innovative Urban Farms Changing the American Landscape

There has been an explosion in urban farming initiatives across the country in recent years. All kinds of creative solutions have emerged in urban agriculture to feed the growing number of city-dwellers worldwide—from growing food in converted shipping containers to operating vertical farms out of abandoned warehouses and even repurposing swimming pools to become garden oases. Even some baseball stadiums like Boston’s Fenway Park are devoting space for stadium-grown grub. Click here to view. 
Thanks to Local Food News for sharing.

Community Gardens Grant Program 2015-2016: Western Australia

The Department of Local Government and Communities is currently seeking applications for the Community Gardens Grant Program 2015-2016. A total of $100,000 is available for the 2015-2016 Community Gardens Grant Program: existing community gardens may apply for up to $10,000 and new community gardens may apply for up to $20,000. Priority will be given to applicants who have not previously received a grant through the Community Gardens Grant Program. Applications close at 4:00pm on Thursday 17 December 2015.
Click here for more information.

A Guide to Food Waste

Food waste is a huge issue. In 2010, around one-third of the food produced in the USA was not consumed, and ended up being wasted. That is a frightening statistic. This is a great resource that attempts to better inform people. "One of the first things you can do to cut food waste in your home is to stop treating the “best-before,” “use-by,” and “sell-by” labels as gospel that determine when food must instantly been thrown out. These labels are used for shelving and inventory purposes in stores, and you should always trust your eyes and nose before you trust a number on a package. Consider using food rather than throwing it out, unless your senses tell you otherwise!"
Click here to access Talkin’ Trash: A Guide to Food Waste.

Want to double the world’s food production? - Return the land to small farmers

An 'Ecologist' article that still holds true...'In the last 50 years, a staggering 140 million hectares - the size of almost all the farmland in India - has been taken over by four industrial crops: soya bean, oil palm, rapeseed and sugar cane. And this trend is accelerating….
We need to urgently put land back in the hands of small farmers and make the struggle for genuine and comprehensive agrarian reform central to the fight for better food systems worldwide.'
Click here to read the article.

 Leadership & Personal  Development 

“I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?”
(Benjamin Disraeli)

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.”
(Max DePree)

The 12 Morning Rituals That Help to Kick Off Successful Days

Below is 12 morning rituals suggested by Sujan Patel-

  1. Meditate
  2. Focus in on your priorities
  3. Set goals for your day and week
  4. Plan your day in the shower
  5. Make time to brainstorm
  6. Make a perfect cup of coffee
  7. Take time to be grateful
  8. Be habitual and consistent
  9. Visualise future achievements
  10. Eat a healthy breakfast
  11. Avoid checking email right away
  12. Clear your mind and prepare for the day.

Click here to get the full version. Thanks to Julian Keys for sharing this through his wonderful SalaryOne Newsletter.

Thriving Incubators of Leadership in Communities

In the five years since the earthquakes that rocked Greater Christchurch, the community have experienced an extreme range of difficult experiences, and an immense and surprising renaissance of grass-roots community connections, initiatives and innovation. The prolific community level leadership that has emerged post-quake is also very vulnerable to collapse as the good will that has supported these efforts wanes.  During 2013, a conversation began that led to a design of the unique LinC (Leadership in Communities) Project that is facilitated by a collective called ‘Leadership Lab’.
Click here to read more about this fascinating initiative. Thanks to Inspiring Communities for sharing this through their newsletter.

 

How Volunteering Can Help the World (And You)

We have all heard the advice that when you are feeling down, a good way to help yourself feel better is to help others.  Click here to read an article that validates that completely. 

Learning by Doing – Leadership Chapter

Leading in and leaderful communities’ is a comprehensive chapter from Inspiring Communities Learning By Doing publication. It discusses the kinds of leadership that are critical for effective community development, the concept of leaderful communities and the rise of active citizenship. Simply it stresses everyone is a leader. 
Click here to download the full chapter from their website.  Also click here to purchase a copy of Learning by Doing. 

‘Top 15 IT work tools for 2015’ according to Julian Keys

Julian has provided in his latest SalaryOne Newsletter  his “My top 15 IT tools in 2015”, with his 2014 rankings in brackets: 
  1. Google – apps for work (1)
  2. Zoho Creator – database (NEW)
  3. WordPress – website (NEW)
  4. LinkedIn – networking & blog (3)
  5. ProWork Flow – project management (7)
  6. MailChimp – newsletter (9)
  7. SurveyMonkey – surveys (10)
  8. Workplace Info – knowledge base (NEW)
  9. Dropbox – file sharing (2)
  10. Xero – accounting (6)
  11. Trello – lists (NEW)
  12. SEEK – recruitment
  13. BoardEffect – governance (8)
  14. Twitter – microblogging
  15. Instapaper – read later

Some new online products and resources Julian has also used this year are FairWork Commission (alerts), Flying Solo (small business resources), Product Hunt and Product Hoist (discover new products), SmartCompany (business news) and The Muse (career advice)”. Thanks for sharing Julian. Read Julian’s monthly blogs at SalaryOne website or on Linkedin.

 

Michael Jordan on Success...

 “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”


 

Sustainable Development 

"We live in an extraordinary moment on Earth. We possess more technical prowess and knowledge than our ancestors could have dreamt of. Our telescopes let us see through time to the beginnings of the universe; our microscopes pry open the codes at the core of organic life; our satellites reveal global weather patterns and hidden behaviours of remote nations. And our electronic surveillance capacity leaves no aspect of anyone’s life safe from corporate and governmental scrutiny. Who, even a century ago, could have imagined such immensity of information and power? At the same time we witness destruction of life in dimensions that confronted no previous generation in recorded history. Certainly our ancestors knew wars, plagues and famine, but today it is not just a forest here and some farmlands and fisheries there. Today entire species are dying, and whole cultures, and ecosystems on a global scale, even to the oxygen-producing plankton of our seas."
(We Can Still Opt for a Life-Sustaining World – Coming Back To Life: Joanna Macy)

Coming Back to Life

Joanna Macy, an eco-philosopher, activist, and scholar of Buddhism and systems theory has an international following, thanks to 30 years in movements for global justice and ecological sanity. She is the author of 12 books including the original Coming Back to Life and Widening Circles, and she has produced a 2-DVD set entitled The Work that Reconnects.
Click here to find out more and to order the book.

Community Energy Projects Pose Challenge for Mainstream Suppliers

“A gradual loss of trust in mainstream electricity suppliers and a growing sense of local engagement have driven huge growth in community-based renewable-energy projects in Britain, with a similar trend potentially taking hold in Australia”.
Click here to read the full story. 

Blueprint for the Future: Australia's first town to go emissions-free

A NSW country shire is laying the foundations for an emissions-free future as people across Australia increasingly look for ways to reduce community reliance on the grid by starting their own, locally-owned, wind and solar farms.
Click here to read the story of the community of Uralla. 

‘Rewilding’ of Routes Seeks to Save Bees from Destruction

The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is a great initiative out of Ireland. It is devised to encourage the creation of havens for threatened species. Ireland’s motorways and railways are to be “rewilded” to create bee highways in an attempt to save them from extinction and their food supplies from devastation. With one third of their 98 native bees facing wipe-out, the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan encourages farmers, councils, schools and gardeners to create havens and pit-stops for the island’s species.
Click here to read more. 

 Social Development  

“Every person wrongly imprisoned, every asylum seeker locked up in offshore processing, every girl denied an education, is someone’s child.”  
(Kathleen Zwiener)

Why a Climate Deal is the Best Hope for Peace

Click here to read a fantastic article that discusses the relationship between war and climate change.  Here is a quote from the article – When our safety feels threatened, it’s difficult to think of anything else. Major shocks like the Paris attacks are awfully good at changing the subject. But what if we decided to not let it happen? What if, instead of changing the subject, we deepened the discussion of climate change and expanded the range of solutions, which are fundamental for real human security? What if, instead of being pushed aside in the name of war, climate action took center stage as the planet’s best hope for peace?"

Librarians on Bikes Are Delivering Books and WiFi to Kids in “Book Deserts”

This is a fantastic concept. Click here to read this article about library’s reaching out to kids in lower socio-economic areas. …simply Exercise, books, and goodwill. Win-win-win.
(Photo courtesy Bibliobicicleta and Good Magazine).

Syrian Refugees Become Volunteers Within a Month of Arriving in Australia

A quick read and great reminder of the immense difference we can make in people's lives by reaching out and welcoming those in need, not to mention the fact that the community also benefits.
Click here to read. 

Welcome to Country App Can 'Instil' Cultural Pride

A Ngarluma man and digital storyteller, Tyson Mowarin has fused age-old culture with modern technology by launching an app that informs users when they cross into traditional tribal land. Tyson wants greater Australia to become exposed to Indigenous Australian cultures that have been thriving for thousands of years on the southern continent.
Click here to read more. 

 Inspirational People &  Stories 

“Maybe it’s because we’re all so overloaded with information. Maybe it’s because we’re all so starved for meaning. Or maybe it’s because, thanks to social media, everyone’s become a broadcaster these days. Whatever the reason, we’re all getting the same memo at the same time: if you want to be heard, you’d better learn to tell better stories.”

(Jonah Sachs, founder and CEO, Free Range Studios and author, Story Wars)

Centre for Stories

Welcome to the Centre for Stories. The Centre for Stories is a social enterprise organisation providing programs to encourage the sharing of stories in Australia and beyond. Located at 100 Aberdeen Street, Northbridge (Perth, WA) the Centre will provide a space for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to tell, share and preserve their stories.  The Centre will run programs focussed on story telling in its many forms and the space will be available to writers for events, workshops and networking.  For more information please visit the Centre for Stories website.
 

Empathy and Storytelling

The Centre for Stories is working with PIAF and the Empathy Museum in Western Australia on a most interesting Project called "A Mile in My Shoes' - a giant empathy shoe shop, where visitors will be invited to walk in the shoes of a stranger - literally. This interactive exhibition will contain a collection of shoes and audio stories that offer a snapshot into the breadth and diversity of people living in West Australia. Visitors simply choose a pair of shoes - that may belong to a refugee, a sex worker or a FIFO worker - and then work a mile listening to the personal story of the owner's life. Click here for more information. 
 

The Homeless Poet

This is the truly inspiring story (with pictures) of an old homeless man who for 35 years spent his days writing beautiful poems and short stories, unseen by the world around him.  One day, a lady who had noticed him always writing befriended him and changed both their lives. Click here to read. 

Meet Maya Penn

Maya Penn is an eco-fashion designer, children’s book author, artist, animator, coder, public speaker, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and environmentalist. She founded her eco-fashion line, Maya’s Ideas, when she was just 8 years old. Maya shares a simple and wise message from a now 14 year old - age is irrelevant - everyone has something to teach us. Maya simply believes-  “The smallest action leads to the biggest changes. It just matters so much. It has a big ripple effect, whether that person knows it or not. And that person might have been scared and might have been doubtful. But they went ahead and did it anyway.” Click here to read more about Maya.
(Photo courtesy grist.org) 

Stories Worth Telling- A Guide to Storytelling for Non-Profits

This is an amazing resource from Capacity Canada for anyone interested in storytelling. Click here to download. 

 Humour... 

John Lennon on Happiness …
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”


‘If I can get you to laugh with me you’ll like me better, which makes you more open to my ideas’

(John Cleese)

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