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How a Family of 5 Make Almost Zero Waste

By PermacultureNo Comments

LIFE WITH LESS WASTE

To celebrate Plastic Free July we’re bringing you the inspiring story of a zero waste/waste free family in Hobart, Australia. Lauren, Oberon, and their kids have found ways to produce almost no rubbish – they’ve only filled one small jar of waste in two years!

They’ve been able to do this though a combination of small lifestyle changes including; buying food in bulk, bringing their own containers and bags to shops, buying locally grown food from the farmers market, composting their food scraps and pet poo, and buying secondhand clothes made from natural fibers.

Find out more about the Carter family’s waste free living experience in their book A Family Guide to Waste Free Living and on their website.

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KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM "LIFE WITH LESS WASTE"

  • On our current trajectory, we’ll produce more plastic in the next decade than has been produced since the 1950s – and that’s just one type of waste material. The average household in Australia produces three 3-bedroom houses worth of waste a year!
  • Food packaging (and in fact all product packaging!) is a big part of peoples’ waste. Choosing stores that allow you to bring your own containers and bags reduces an enormous amount of waste headed to landfill.
  • A lot of energy goes into recycling and we don’t always know where those items go, so making purchasing choices that avoid packaging is also important.
  • Composting food scraps and using a worm farm for pet poo reduces a huge amount of a family’s landfill waste as well as creating a great home resource for building garden soil toward growing your own food.
  • Part of taking responsibility for what you bring home is avoiding synthetic materials in clothing, because you will need to deal with those items at the end of their life. If it’s not compostable, look for an alternative option.
  • Include your kids in conversations about why and how, right from the start – take them with you on this awesome planet-saving journey!
  • You don’t have to go out and buy new “eco” products! Replace what you have when it’s at the end of its life and then search for the same items made in more sustainable ways.
  • It’s important that the approach to waste minimisation comes from governing bodies as well as individuals. But we have so much power as individuals to make positive change and our actions will filter out and upwards into the chains of power to create the systemic change we need.
Family shopping at a bulk food store
Making homemade toothpaste
Putting food scraps in compost bin
Repairing ripped jeans

COMMENTS

How to Forage Seaweed and Make A Delicious Seasoning

By PermacultureNo Comments

About the film

In the first video of our new Hands On series we learn how to forage for seaweed and make gomasio, a delicious seasoning for soups, salads, scrambled eggs and a variety of other meals. Kirsten Bradley, from Milkwood Permaculture, takes us to the beach to harvest sea lettuce and kelp, then back to her kitchen for step-by step instructions. You can download a 1-page handout with full details when you’re ready to get foraging!

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Looking for more inspiration?

Check out our feature-length documentary
Living the Change: Inspiring Stories for a Sustainable Future.

Living the Change explores solutions to the global crises we face today – solutions any one of us can be part of – through the inspiring stories of people pioneering change in their own lives and in their communities in order to live in a sustainable and regenerative way.

Watch now

Incredibly Abundant City Permaculture Garden

By PermacultureNo Comments

THE PLUMMERY

The Plummery is a suburban home where a backyard permaculture garden measuring only 100sq/m (1076 sq feet) produces over 400kg/900 pounds of food year-round!

Kat Lavers describes her approach to gardening, including vertical and biointensive growing, and how important it is – and possible! – for city dwellers to be food resilient in the face of natural, financial and social crises. We were very inspired by how little day-to-day effort goes into creating such an abundance of food.

Find out more about Kat and The Plummery on her website and on Instagram.

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KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM "THE PLUMMERY"

  • The Plummary is an exploration into how city-dwellers can regain a meaningful connection to their food.
  • The aim is not self-sufficiency but community sufficiency. The aim is to have the majority of their food coming from their household, community and bio-region, from producers who are managing land that is “consistent with having a future”.
  • Despite the amount of food being produced in this tiny space, the couple spend only about 4 hours a week in the garden. A lot of time went into learning the skills and systems to reach this point, but even that has only been over 4–5 years.
  • One of the best things you can do if you’re just starting out is to start small: you’ll get much more out of a small space that is well managed than from a large space that becomes unwieldy and runs away on you.
  • Food is one of the ways we can build resilience within our systems. Access to fresh produce in cities is critical and producing your own adds a buffer to what can be provided on a larger scale. It also helps you to avoid all the packaging, transport, fuel and chemicals used in producing food conventionally.
  • And it brings such joy at the same time!
Basket of homegrown vegetables
Vertical vegetable gardens
City permaculture garden

COMMENTS

Formidable Vegetable – Earth People Fair

By PermacultureNo Comments

About the film

Earth People Fair is a manifesto to finding a sense of ‘home’ from the perspective of someone who has often felt out of place. Partly inspired by Bruce Pascoe’s book ‘Dark Emu’, Mgee points to an urgent need for Australians to start recognising and adopting more sustainable land use in an ecologically-fragile country, attempting to draw links between traditional indigenous practices and more modern systems of permaculture as a way for its more recent inhabitants to try and adapt to the increasingly harsh conditions we all face.

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Sustainable City Living on 1/10th of an Acre

By PermacultureNo Comments

DEGROWTH IN THE SUBURBS

What does sustainable living in the city look like? By living more simply, creating permaculture gardens, utilizing energy technologies such as biogas and solar power, and taking part in community initiatives like car sharing, this household creates money and time savings that enable them to work fewer hours and develop a thriving and sustainable home.

Find out more about degrowth and voluntary simplicity on the Simplicity Institute and Simplicity Collective websites or by reading Samuel Alexanders book ‘Degrowth in the Suburbs: A Radical Urban Imaginary‘.

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KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM "DEGROWTH IN THE SUBURBS"

  • This family lives on 1/10th of an acre in inner-city Melbourne. They’ve turned their lawns into gardens and they’re exploring alternative technologies and living more simply.
  • Their household draws 75–80% less electricity from the grid than the Australian average.
  • Globally, we’re over-consuming the planet’s resources, while at the same time billions of people live way below the poverty line. That implies that the most over-consuming nations and regions of the world need to contract through planned contraction – degrowth.
  • Green sources of energy like solar panels and wind turbines will not be able to sustain our current way of life. We need to learn to consume less.
  • One of the more unusual renewable energy technologies used on this property is a biogas digester, which provides all of the family’s cooking gas using just food scraps. (They call it Betty!)
  • Because they mostly cycle or use public transport, they’ve made their car available for hire by people in the community through a car-sharing service. Fewer cars on the road and a little money in the bank!
  • These practices are available to those of us privileged to have access to land and the freedom to choose a certain way of life. In this case the lifestyle is also enabled by certain choices, like being frugal and thoughtful with money and practising voluntary simplicity.
  • In affluent society many households would be able to consume considerably less – with the added benefit of making people less committed to working the hours to pay for that consumption.
  • Community engagement and collective action are vital in fixing systemic problems. There will never be a politics of sufficiency until there is a culture that demands it.
Permaculture vegetable gardens
Planting seedlings in vegetable garden
Food scraps for biogas digestor
Boiling kettle on the solar dish

COMMENTS

Permaculture Tours Episode 1: Abdallah House

By PermacultureNo Comments

About the film

Welcome to the first episode of our new series, Permaculture Tours. In this series we’ll be diving deep into some amazing properties designed using permaculture principals, with the aim of giving you inspiration and ideas on how to apply these solutions in your own life. In this episode we take a tour of Richard and Kunie’s property, Abdallah House, in Seymour, Australia. On this 1/7th of an acre property, the owners have made the most of the available space through thoughtful design of the garden, house, and marginal spaces. Find out more about Abdallah House and permaculture at http://abdallahhouse.com, http://retrosuburbia.com and http://permacultureprinciples.com

Support the creation of more episodes by pledging as little as $1 a month on Patreon – https://patreon.com/happenfilms

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Jordan’s Interview on the Untangled Podcast

By BlogNo Comments

A couple of months ago I was invited to be a guest on the Untangled podcast hosted by Alana Helbig. I hadn’t come across her podcast before but was immediately interested because it’s exactly the kind of podcast I enjoy listening to. I love hearing personal stories about people transitioning into living in a way that heals the planet and also themselves. Perhaps it’s a kind of reassurance that I’m not the only person feeling the way I do about the world.

I hope you enjoy hearing my story, I know I enjoyed sharing it.

You can listen to more of Alana’s inspiring interviews on her website.

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Charles Eisenstein Interview

By InterviewsNo Comments

About the film

“Going around New Zealand making a film … like that’s not gonna get you anywhere, that’s irrational, impractical, unrealistic…” Lots of people have asked about our interview with Charles Eisenstein for Living the Change – only a few minutes of the awesome 1.5-hour interview made it into the film so we thought we’d share it all with you. Have a listen to get the full picture of that quote 🙂

Watch Living the Change: Inspiring Stories for a Sustainable Future.

Below are a list of questions we asked Charles and the timecode they are answered in the video:

  • 1:06 – What are the ‘old story’ and ‘new story’ that you describe in your writing?
  • 14:37 – Where does the sense that a better world is possible come from?
  • 19:16 – What guides us in the space between stories to creating the new story?
  • 21:11 – How did the world get to where it is now?
  • 28:20 – Do you think advancements in technology can solve the problems we’re facing?
  • 33:50 – Do you see the current money system as a symptom of separation?
  • 37:50 – What could an alternative system look like? Would the current system need to collapse to make way for the new?
  • 43:24 – Can individual action create big change?
  • 48:14 – What is the wound of separation and how do we see it expressed in society?
  • 54:32 – What do you advise people to do in times of not knowing what to do?
  • 1:01:33 – Can doing nothing take you to a place of knowing what to do?
  • 1:06:39 – When you imagine the new story, what does it look like?

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Living a Radically Simple Permaculture Life

By PermacultureNo Comments

CREATURES OF PLACE

Creatures of Place is an insight into the wonderful world of Artist as Family: Meg Ulman, Patrick Jones, and their youngest son, Woody. Living on an urban 1/4-acre section in a small Australian town, Meg and Patrick have designed their property using permaculture principals.

They grow most of their own food, don’t own cars and ride their bikes instead, use very little electricity, and forage food and materials from their local forest. We found their story super inspiring and we think you will too!

Read more about the adventures of Artist as Family on their blog.

SUPPORT HAPPEN FILMS

We rely on our viewers to help us keep making short films and to continue releasing them for free.

If you enjoyed this film please consider donating an amount that feels right to you.

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KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM "CREATURES OF PLACE"

  • “We are creatures of place and if we don’t become creatures of place again we will absolutely annihilate every place for every species.”
  • This family lives on a 1/4-acre permaculture plot on Dja Dja Wurrung country in Australia. They haven’t eaten out of the supermarket industrial food system for over 9 years.
  • They call their pivotal moment “The bin-liner moment” – when they realised that with the majority of their waste going to compost, worm farms, chooks and the dog, they no longer needed to line their rubbish bin. That caused them to ask what else they didn’t need…
  • “Going without is saying yes to other things.” The average Australian car costs around $15,000 a year in depreciation, wear and tear, petrol, licenses, etc. By giving up their cars in addition to other changes toward living more simply, the family were able to reduce working outside the home to just a few hours a week.
  • The household income is under $30,000 – below the Australian poverty line – but they consider themselves rich. Their “bank” is their wood pile, their cellar of preserved foods, their seeds, and their knowledge. “Money is not wealth.” Wealth is time – time-richness, family time, community time, and accruing knowledges.
  • They aim for “community sufficiency” rather self-sufficiency – they’re part of a community co-op, community gardens, and they barter with neighbours.
  • While they acknowledge their historical privilege in having access to land, they believe it brings with it important responsibilities: to pay respect to the first peoples of the land, to live responsibly, and to look after the world, including planting for the next generations.
Permaculture property
Family riding their bikes
Permaculture vegetable garden

COMMENTS

Jordan’s Interview on the Subtle Disruptors Podcast

By BlogNo Comments

While we were in Melbourne for the Australian premiere of Living the Change I had the pleasure to meet up with Adam Murray to be interviewed on his fantastic podcast Subtle Distruptors.

We discussed how I came to documentary filmmaking, the experience of creating my first film A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity, and the latest feature-documentary from Happen Films Living the Change: Inspiring Stories for a Sustainable Future.

If your ears enjoyed this episode there are a bunch more episodes available on the Subtle Distruptors website.

Sitting casually with my sunburnt face after an hour-long interview in the sun.

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