FREE THIS WEEKEND: Living the Change: Inspiring Stories for a Sustainable Future (Full Documentary)


(somber music) (cars honking) – The current system has
to go through a collapse unless you believe that
infinite growth is possible on a finite planet. The system is growth dependent. So, there’s gonna be a collapse
in one form or another. – If you just look at what’s happening in terms of deforestation,
resource over-consumption, waste streams, and climate change, I mean, these are all phenomena that are brought about
by our over-consumption, over-exploitation of resources. – We have to leave 80% at
least of the fossil fuel that we know about and that
we know we could make money digging up, we have to
leave it in the ground for the entire century at least. – [Charles] The ecological crisis comes from treating the Earth as an other, as just a bunch of stuff. – We’ve been so powerful and
we’ve impacted on so much of the wild world around us
that if we don’t do something fairly soon, the wild world
is going to consume us. – These are the massive
issues, climate change, energy, and food, all of these things that are converging on us
and yet you pick up the paper every day and there’ll be
nothing about this stuff. – If you look at our
global economic system, I guess you’d have to first think of it as a system by accident. Nobody sat down and designed this thing. And, in a lot of ways,
it’s sort of the worst of all possible combinations. Because what you have is something that is supposed to be
based in the real world but behaves as if it
were in a fantasy world. – That’s really exploitive,
extractive, damaging, not only to people, but to the environment and to the economy too. (crickets chirping) I think we’re heading
for some very deep water if we don’t make these changes. – Being sustainable is not
just a nice thing to do. Being unsustainable isn’t
just a bit unfortunate. It is a existential threat to our species. People don’t seem to get that. We actually need to do something
about it or we’re gone. – You’ve probably had
those moments of despair where you think it’s just
hopeless and the world is always gonna be this
way and anything we do is not enough, but there’s
also and I would say that this is maybe more of a heart knowing that understands that a more
beautiful world is possible. (moving to gentle music) (water gurgling) (birds chirping) (gentle music) The environmental, economic, and social crises we face are daunting. The issues are global but many of the solutions are local. This film tells the stories of people living the change in the face of overlapping crises. (moving to lively music) To see the value in the solutions these stories offer, first we must explore the issues. (fast-paced somber music) The world is built on stories or even a story, a mythology. Every culture has a mythology that answers the deep
questions like who am I, what is a self, what’s real,
how does change happen, what’s the nature of reality? Every culture answers
that in a different way and the answers that our culture has, and when I say our culture,
I mean the dominant culture of this planet, the
answers that have worked and guided our culture for
several hundred years now, and to some extent thousands of years, aren’t working anymore. We’re facing a crisis in our
basic way of making meaning about the world and our understanding of the recipe for living
life, like all of these things are in a state of crisis. – The problems that we face in terms of environmental
condition, degradation, over-consumption of resources, a lot of social justice
problems really pretty much all stem from a common
cause and that’s economics. The biggest problem it
has right now for us, the biggest implication it has for humans and pretty much everything
else on the planet is that it’s causing a lot
of unsustainable growth. It’s causing growth to accelerate in a way that cannot be met by the
natural resources or sinks on the planet we inhabit. – The money system demands endless growth. It compels endless growth,
it encourages endless growth. So, in other words, it
encourages the conversion of nature into property, into products. – Now, the problem with
this growth, of course, is that if the economy keeps
growing, sooner or later it needs natural resources
to support that growth. (explosives booming) (clanking music) – One of the big flaws in the current money system is interest. We would probably only need
to work half of the hours that we do and still be able to maintain the same standard of living
if it wasn’t for interest. Interest is hidden in so many ways. The price of any goods and services, most businesses have loans on which they’re paying interest. And, they don’t pay the
interest, you do, I do. And, so that means that we
have to work and work and work and exploit Mother Nature
as well in the process way more than would be necessary
if it wasn’t for interest. (fast-paced somber music) – For a lot of the things to keep running, to keep the finance engine ticking along and keep economies moving, we have to have lots and lots of energy. Energy for extracting natural resources, energy for shipping
things around the world, energy for manufacturing,
energy to promote them, energy to keep them going,
energy to maintain things, so it’s a lot of energy
used in the system. – Fossil fuel energy
is energy from the sun that’s being stored in
plants or other living things and has been stored
under the ground usually for millions and millions of years. When you dig it up you get
a free bonus basically. You get this amazing wealth of energy which you can do all kinds of creative and amazing things with. But, the problem is that when it runs out, that’s it, it’s gone. The other aspect of that,
of course, is the process of getting it and digging
it up is both destructive and also expensive and
requires energy to do. Primarily due to high consumption in developed countries, the world currently uses over 95 million barrels of oil per day. Fossil fuels are finite, yet they are used in the production of nearly everything – from plastics and clothing, to electronics and food production. In coming years, the demand for these fuels will outstrip the available supply. – Peak oil is a concept
that is quite simple. What it means is that you have
a finite amount of something and if you consume it at a steady rate, then there kind of isn’t a
peak, you just consume it. But, if you consume it
with a increasing rate, then you’ll hit a point where
you can’t increase anymore and that would be a peak. And, then the consumption
would necessarily drop off in some way. (somber rhythmic music) – The energy return on
investment from fossil fuels when we first discovered it was so big and that’s why we have the
abundance that we have now. It’s just that free energy. And, we’ve been having
this crazy party, you know, for a hundred years now on fossil fuels. It’s just a crazy binge that we’ve been on and we’re at the end of the binge now because the energy return on investment is dwindling all the time. It’s how our food system works. We talk about this green revolution that fed all these people but it’s not a green revolution, it’s an oil revolution. – The entire system is hugely dependent on fossil fuel inputs. You pull those out and I guarantee you within days the whole
thing is gonna fall down. – If you take into account
fossil fuels and the transport, the tilling, everything,
the packaging, the movement, the whole food system that we
have in the developed world, so-called developed world,
then there’s at least 10 units of energy for
every one we get out of it. – Basing a food production system that’s meant to feed
the world on something which is temporary
brings obvious problems. As a result of that, is the
huge loss of biodiversity and while not a lot of
people care about bugs and all this other stuff,
biodiversity is critical. So, when you strip that
away by having what we call monocultures, then you
get massive problems. With monocultures we are
talking about growing one crop or farming one animal or, and you don’t see that in nature. Nature doesn’t work that way. It’s evolved diversity for resilience. When you take that away, these
systems become really brittle and they’re very prone to breaking. Now, we kind of stave off
the worst of those effects, well, we try to, with fossil fuel inputs. We put in fertilizers,
we put in herbicides, fungicides, pesticides,
we go to great lengths to try and protect these very fragile food production systems. (somber music) I think what a lot of people don’t realize is that our food system
is incredibly vulnerable. We do a pretty good job most of the time of getting food where it needs to go, managing supplies, managing
surplus, transportation, all that sort of stuff. But, it is quite
vulnerable to major upsets, all kinds of crises
particularly economic crises. If the shops, the
supermarkets stop selling food for three days for some reason, how would you survive? What would that be like? How would that feel and what would you do? You know, it’s happened
to me in a major city just one day and it really made me think. You begin to realize that
there’s a series of things that all need to be in place
and all need to be functioning properly all the time for
things to run smoothly. In a world of increasing
climate volatility and the economic pressures
that that can bring, it’s really easy to see how a
bad situation could develop. – So, this is the kind of scary reality and it’s coming fast. So, unless we really, really
quickly change our food system and how we do it, then
there’s gonna be huge impacts on humans let alone the
other animals on the planet. – To a certain extent people
who really do understand the problem of climate change
and resources and equity, it’s really easy to get focused on the miracle technology solution to that ’cause that’s what we do. That’s what society’s asking us to do. – I think if technology could have solved all of our problems,
then it would’ve already solved all of our problems. Theoretically we have all
the technology we need to live beautifully on Earth and beautifully with each
other but we have not lived beautifully on Earth and
beautifully with each other. So, something else has to happen. (somber rhythmic music) Green technology such as solar panels, wind turbines, and electric cars are often seen as solutions to climate change. But fossil fuels are required in every stage of their production, from mining and manufacture to transportation, thereby continuing to contribute to climate change. For these technologies to be part of the solution, those of us in the developed world need to drastically reduce our energy consumption. – 100 years from now,
every solar panel we build will be rubbish. It’ll be toxic waste, in
fact (chuckles) somewhere. I hope somebody figures
out what to do with it. Every windmill we build now
won’t be running anymore. It’ll be, hopefully a lot
of it will be recycled. I don’t know. But, the carbon we put in
the air will still be there. You’re never gonna have
air travel with renewables, you’re never gonna have
steel with renewables. You’re never gonna have
electronics with renewables ’cause you need diesel. So, making sure that you
leave some diesel for later is kind of important. I’m not disillusioned with solar or wind or anything. I know that the
substitution of those things for fossil fuels isn’t possible. So, as long as we keep
telling ourselves the story that it is, we aren’t actually
doing the thing we have to do which is to just leave
the stuff in the ground. Which means what? There’s only one thing you can do then which is to use less of it. If there’s an industrial
civilization out there couple centuries from now,
then they’re using fossil fuel. Tiny amounts of it. And, they’re using renewable energy. And, that renewable energy they are using is hydro and geothermal. And, wood that they are
harvesting and husbanding very, very carefully, all right? And, what we notice most about them is how little they’re
using of most everything. That’s what has to happen. It doesn’t matter how many solar panels you ever put on anything. The only thing that matters is leaving the coal in the ground, leaving the oil in the ground, leaving the gas in the ground, all of it and planting back every bit of forest that you possibly can. That’s the only thing that matters. – The history of
civilization has been kind of like a history of increasing power to dominate and control the
other, the cultural other and also the natural other. (dynamic music) And, this was supposed
to bring us into utopia. We were supposed to
live in paradise by now. Paradise of electrified
comfort, robot servants, space colonies, artificial
food, infinite lifespans, et cetera, et cetera. The breakdown that’s happening today in part is happening because
this glorious promise of technology and also social engineering was never fulfilled. And, in fact, things are
getting worse and worse. And, in fact, our technologies of control now look to be seeding our destruction, the breakdown of the ecological
basis of civilization. (somber music) We don’t know anymore what the answer is. We don’t know who we are. We don’t even know what’s
real because on every level the story that answered those
questions is breaking down, politically, economically, and
especially, technologically, and in our relationship to nature. So, that leaves us not
knowing and it leaves us open to another story. The global nature of these problems is such that here in New Zealand they are as evident as anywhere else. But global solutions exist here too, and countless inspiring stories of a better way to live. These are the stories of people in New Zealand who are living the change. (moving to upbeat music) – If we wanna solve health crisis, food quality issues, economic issues, we really have to change the system and the infrastructure of the
system and we have to create our own infrastructure. I’ve been studying
sustainable farming systems for over 25 years. There are no real issues. We can solve all of them. There are really easy
answers to grow food quality and do that with good environmental care. That’s the easy bit. We are in the position to do it properly because of the CSA. Our members allow us to
create that diversity. That other old system doesn’t allow you to create that diversity. – CSA stands for Community
Supported Agriculture. It means that a farmer that’s growing food and growing food there’s
a lot of unknowns in there and you have to start at
the beginning of the season and you don’t know for whatever reason if you’re gonna harvest all the things that you’ve planned to harvest that you’ve started sowing months back. So, the idea’s that a group
of people support the farmer so the farmer knows he’s got an outlet. And, the members that we have,
they know that every week they’re gonna get a box
of healthy fresh foods that have been harvested
just before they got them. For us it means we have
stability in the fact that the plants we sow they are sold. We don’t have the issue of food waste because if a broccoli is small and it normally wouldn’t be
able to go to a supermarket, we can give people two. – As a farmer, you wanna
create healthy soils and healthy plants and healthy animals and further up the food chain, you make sure that you
create a soil that invites the right sets of microbes. That for us means we have soil, which is the mineral component. In the soil we’ve got the microorganisms which are governing the system. We just create a habitat for them. Then you got the plants
growing out of there be it annuals, perennials, and trees. Then amongst that you’ve got
the insects living in there and then we’ve incorporated
pigs, sheep, cows, ducks, geese, and I’m
sure we’re forgetting a few bits and bobs. And, every single item adds value. – So, on the closed-loop systems,
they would have tree crops and all that, nuts, fruit, all
that kind of thing happening on the fringes or in shelter belts, a whole really diverse approach to farming that is way more sustainable
but also it closes that nitrogen or that fertilizer loop so you don’t have to bring
it in from the outside. You just don’t waste it. – While eating less meat is a
really important thing to do, it’s important to recognize
that you can’t have a healthy ecosystem without animals. A truly environmentally friendly
and ecologically healthy food production system must have animals. ‘Cause as soon as you take
animals out of that system, all the jobs that those animals did in that functioning ecosystem,
now needs to be done some other way whether that’s
by people or chemicals. The health of these
food production systems is supported by the natural
and healthy interaction between plants and animals. And, that can take the
form of pest control, fertility cycles, there’s
lots of interactions between animals and plants
which we can and should use to support a healthy and
resilient food production system. So, really what that boils down to is we need to eat less meat. We don’t cut it out. But, the best thing that anyone can do is try and find producers
that are operating systems which are looking after the
health of their environment including the animals and supporting them. (eerie music) (upbeat music) – What comes out the back end of a worm is really good stuff. And, then that’s just
really cool just seeing that this hivey of fungus and it’s just growing on
the surface of the soil. So, holistic grazing is
a management technique that being devised by a
Zimbabwean man, Allan Savory. And, he was observing the
large herds of buffalo in Africa, and it can be bison in America and just massive herds
of ruminant animals. And, these animals were
constantly on the move ’cause there’s generally
some lions or something just on their back and wanting to pick off any of the weak ones. We have large mobs of cattle
that are shifted every day but instead of lions keeping
them bunched together, we have electric fences. And, each day they’re
going onto fresh grass. And, it’s long grass and so
they’re not eating it all. Some of it’s getting
trampled and with the dung and urine and that, it’s just all forming that kind of compost heap on the ground. Other farmers might be
looking at us and saying, we’ll you’re just wasting all that grass ’cause it gets dry and
stalky and what have you. But, you know, my reply is
that waste is a human concept. Nature doesn’t do waste. And, so we are using that thatched pasture as part of our first fertilizer program because that’s what’s
getting put down on the soil and broken down and going
back into building soil. When the grass is grazed
and to the holistic long grass grazing system,
it gets cut off short by the animal and it also
sheds its roots at that time. And, that’s what is releasing
carbon into the soil. And, I guess one of the
most exciting things and drivers of what we’re
doing is the potential that that has for helping
with climate change issues. (cows mooing) Some of those CAFOs that
they call ’em in America, or the feedlot, cattle
fattening operations, are a climate disaster. But, again under this
system, they are sequestering more carbon and are
part of a natural cycle that is actually beneficial. Conventionally farmers it’s all about keeping the grass short
and in a vegetative state so it’s growing vigorously
and that system works while you’re putting on
lots of imported fertilizers particularly phosphate fertilizers largely from North Africa and a
whole system that requires digging up that fertilizer
and trucking it, and then shipping it,
and then trucking it, and then processing it, and
then flying it onto hills. It’s a system that’s not
gonna work in a future with less fossil fuels. What we’re doing on the farm
here is trying to reduce the amount of fossil fuels
that it takes to produce food. We’ve got the cattle going around. We have, you know, hens following
along behind the cattle. There’s pigs on this farm too. And, we’re milking a few dairy cows. And, all that is really about using a perennial crop like grass pasture with forage from trees and that around as well. So, we can produce eggs
from the chocks, hens, pork, you know, without relying on
so much of the annual grains and all the energy that’s
involved in producing them. So, just trying to get the fossil fuels out of our food system as much as we can and producing healthy natural food. – The powerful thing is that
with regenerative agriculture, we can not only produce
food and we can not only produce an abundance of
food, but we can do it in a way that regenerates the land, that replenishes the aquifers,
that sequesters carbon, that nurtures and supports biodiversity. Regenerative agriculture,
permaculture, holistic management, there’s nothing magical about the way that these things work. It’s all based upon sound
science and about having a point of view that is
looking at your ecosystem in its entirety, not just
individual aspects of it. So, really what this breaks
down to is that anyone who’s looking after land,
whether you’re a farmer or a gardener, whatever,
you’re an ecosystem manager. (gentle music)
(water gurgling) – My philosophy about
what to do in the world isn’t go to a pristine area and live there and enjoy your life. It’s to find a place that’s
degraded and fix it up. – 23 years ago we started
developing the food for our system here. We’ve got 480 different species
of plants at last count. That doesn’t include the 80
different types of apples and the 60 different
types of gooseberries. And, so it’s lovely to have that diversity and it means that every time of the year there’s things flowering,
things giving fruit, you know, great crops you can eat. And, so having diversity is
special and it’s what makes the forest garden resilient. This property had been
abandoned for probably 40 years. No one lived here. An old house had burnt down on the spot. – In the top area, this
area where the house is now was completely covered in junk and the remains of the old house. Most people would’ve not
even crossed the threshold of the property to have a
look at it I don’t think because it didn’t look very appealing. But, to us it did. Because I thought, well, for
one thing nobody wants it so it’s probably going
to be cheap and it was, cheap to buy, and secondly,
I thought, I can fix this. (gentle upbeat music) – The food forest is a permanent planting. So, you want to set up
just like a forest system. So, a forest system can be
the, always the big trees, the middle size trees,
and the bottom layer, the ground layer, they work together. Some plants take up some
minerals and give others back and other one does something else. – Growing out in the forest garden there, aside from the native trees,
which I’ve used as a framework or a platform for
building everything else, and those provide me with
shelter from the wind, and also nest sites for the birds. And, the birds are a
really important player in the management of the garden in the ti kouka, cabbage trees, that I’ve got growing there. Starlings nest in almost all
of them and those starlings as they’re feeding their
yunkers, their babies, are flying out and finding
any soft-bodied caterpillar or grub they can so
there’s our pest management for that kind of thing. And, then as an understory
or the second layer down to that we have our fruit tree layer which is our heritage
apples and pears and plums and nectarines and peaches, apricots. And, then below that a
layer of berry fruits and currants, red
currants, black currants, white currants, and
gooseberries, worcesterberries, all of those sorts of shrubby plants that like to grow in the semi-shade. And, then wrapping around
all of that are the biennial and perennial herbs,
some of which are edible, some of which are medicinal. And, then below that there
are bulbs and root crops that grow, such as
parsnips and wild carrots, those kinds of things. And, then winding their
way up through these things are our vines like grape
vines and kiwi fruit and Manchurian gooseberries and hops and all sorts of things
which kind of bind everything together and tie the forest together. (upbeat music) – It’s so peaceful when you walk about and it’s just all different flowers and the energy and action
and all the insects and the birds have their own life. And, so the birds are
doing all their thing up in the trees and coming down to feeding and insects are flying
around and having babies and flying off on missions. It’s like being in
another universe really. It’s just amazing and it’s, to
me, it’s how life should be, with that livingness and
the interconnectedness of all the plants and bees and the herbs. – In a forest garden like ours, the major player is
wildness, is, you know, the natural world and all of those things that happen in there. And, my job is just to kind of mold that to suit our purposes to a certain extent. We are not separate from the wild world. We are as wild as it is. But, we’ve worked towards a form that is not fitting in with
the wild world at all well. And, it’s going to realign
us fairly soon, in my view, unless we can recognize that
we need to be fully integrated into that world. – People in indigenous
societies, in tribal societies or in agrarian villages,
they were enmeshed in a matrix of relationship that gave them a strong identity. Everybody who they saw on a daily basis knew them really well. (gentle music) And, we also were in intimate
connection with the land. We knew every plant, we knew
every animal, every bird, we knew its song and when
it sang and what bugs it ate and where those bugs lived
and what the soil smells like where the bugs live and
what plants grow there and what medicine the plants are used for. We were in this web of interbeing. We felt as if we were
at home in the universe. That is missing in our current society. We’re surrounded by a sea of strangers, people that we know only very
superficially, if at all. (lively spiritual music) – For Maori people, the
ancestors and the land are all part of one,
we come from the land. And most people, humans on
the planet relate to land one way or another
because they belong to it. And, they’ve forged their own
identity out of it as well. And, that’ll always continue to happen. It’s like a biological bond
between a mother and her child. You can’t break it. That bond is in force when the
genealogy of the ancestors, of the families, grandparents,
is emotionally installed in that person that they
feel that they belong here. (gentle music) – Interbeing is a very natural term. It means more than interconnection
or interdependency, which kind of suggests separate
selves having relationships. Interbeing is more of an understanding that we are relationship,
that my very existence depends or draws from or
includes your existence. (people laughing) (lighthearted music) My wellbeing is intimately
connected to your wellbeing or to the wellbeing of
the river, the ocean, the forest, people across
the world, and so forth. Because I’m not really separate from you. And, that means that in
the story of interbeing, I know that whatever I do to the world will come back to me somehow. So, if our true being is the
totality of our relationships and includes everything in the cosmos, if we are truly maybe a holographic mirror of all that is, then
when we cut ourselves off from any aspect of nature, other people, we create a wound, we create a cutoff. And, this is painful. And, we yearn to recover our wholeness. However, due to ideology, due to the economic system
that we’re immersed in, due to cultural factors, due to many, many, many reasons, the reunion that we long
for is unavailable to us. That is good for business
because it drives consumerism, it drives acquisitiveness, it drives greed, it drives all
kinds of neurotic behaviors that seek to compensate for
the missing relationships. (gentle music) – I felt myself being drawn
into this materialistic world because all the people that were around me had material possessions and it was all, there was this wanting
and creating of attachment and wanting and wanting more stuff. So, I sorta got swept into that in a way. (lively music) So yeah, I studied
business and I was involved in finance and more
specifically stock market. So, we used to help
people manage their money. And, in one of the
organizations I worked with, we used to manage hundreds of millions of dollars for people. I wasn’t from that background. I’m from a sort of a
conservative sort of upbringing. Then all of a sudden I’m
involved with, you know, guys that are driving luxury cars, and they’re living in an expensive house in the Sydney suburbs. It’s sort of a bit overwhelming. A lot of the guys that
I’d worked with, you know, they were multi-millionaires. But, you know 20 million wasn’t enough. So, they have to have the three cars. They have to have a holiday home. They have to have a boat. And, what happens is you can get trapped in that lifestyle, hey. So, the idea is to, you know, have native plants mixed among fruit trees. So, we’ve got natives here,
we’ve got a tamarillo here. I’ve got manuka and kanuka
in, and pittosporums, natives. And, we’ve got a cabbage tree here. This is a pine nut, so
those really expensive nuts you get in the supermarket. This is one of those
that takes about 10 years to get any fruit on it or any nuts. So, that’s a long-term project. And, then we’ve got over
here, we’ve got a fig tree which is fruiting quite nicely. And, then for the Monarch butterflies, we’ve got a couple of swan
plants which they really enjoy and we might be lucky to see one. Here he comes now. It was only after Beth, my
wife, and I made the move to New Zealand. We’d just had enough of
the whole corporate life and we wanted a slower, simpler lifestyle. It was then the realization
sort of hit home. I started to research
more, read, you know, hundreds of articles and watched hundreds of documentaries and all sorts of stuff. Then I started to really understand, wow, we got some serious issues here and no one’s really
talking about this stuff and it’s quite scary. I guess with realization of
some of the broader issues such as, you know,
climate change, peak oil, or resource depletion,
and the extinction crisis we’re currently going through. And, it’s sort of like
these massive issues are being given lip service by governments and organizations and
it’s like ah, it’ll just, won’t happen, or the system
will solve this problem. And, that’s what it sorta feels like. So, I guess that brings
up a lot of emotions like frustration and anger and guilt and it’s like, why isn’t someone
doing something about this? Oh, here we go, here we
go, here’s a strawberry, here’s a strawberry. So, here’s a nice one, I can, look at the color of that thing. Then I started to research permaculture and realized that it was
an integrated approach to how we’re living. So, at the moment, our current society, it’s a fragmented approach to living. So, everything’s
compartmentalized or separated. Whereas, permaculture
is a holistic approach to how we’re living. It integrates food,
environment, with your lifestyle and taking care of people, the planet, and the natural resources. So, a lot of people come
over to our property and have a look around. And they go, “What about
all your fruit trees? “Do you get pests and stuff
like birds that eat them?” And, I say, yeah sure. But, we don’t mind that, you
know, they were here first, and we’re a part of nature. And, you know, we’ve
had comments from other people that live around
near us on the farms. And, they say they can’t
believe how much wildlife and birdlife is here. And, their property is just
a few hundred meters away have almost no wildlife or birdlife. (upbeat whistling music) So, you know, we’re attracting
birdlife and wildlife through just letting nature be as opposed to wanting to control it. Permaculture links into other
aspects like collaboration, localization, food
resiliency, and networking. So, it’s not just about growing food. It’s about connecting a whole system and integrating a whole
system into one’s life. This lifestyle working on the land and doing permaculture,
it feels more rewarding and like I’m putting something back. We also live a less consumerist
lifestyle so we don’t need as much stuff. So, I haven’t got this constant craving for more and more to make
me feel satisfied or happy. So, there you have it. We have homegrown salad, a fruit salad, a green salad, and some eggs. And, I can’t believe still
that I don’t have to go to a supermarket. We’ve grown all this
ourselves in just three years. I’m still amazed. So, anyone can do it. When I was living in
big cities, it was like I had to get away to connect with nature, but when I wake up every morning, I come outside and I’m
immediately in nature here. I don’t have that void anymore. I’ve just got this instant
connection and satisfaction. It’s hard to explain. – I mean, maybe you’ve
had this experience, feeling like I’m not living my life. I’m living the life I’m paid to live. But, what about my life? So, this is a different
dimension of human nature that we need to invoke. We need to implement, we
need to create conditions for that part of human nature to blossom. (gentle music) – We had been living in Cuti Cuti and I was working a regular job as a GP in the practice there. And, then I just found
these kinda warning signs that I was starting to get out of balance. You know, I’d be lovely with my patients, but I’d come home and be kinda shitty. I was feeling quite depressed. Just kind of the internal cogs weren’t running together very well. And, we started talking about it and thought well, maybe
we really need to kinda radically rethink how we wanna live. (upbeat music) So, the house is 20 square meters. It started with a sheep shearer’s quarters just to the side of us here. And, that was maybe 20 yeas
ago that that was built. So, our bedroom is the original cabin and then this L-shaped
space is our kitchen, lounge, library, office,
(baby crying) daybed… – Everything. – Everything, yeah. 20 square meters. We’ve got a shower just
adjoining and a bit of a deck out the back. A few months ago a
friend of mine helped me put a 300-watt panel up on
the roof and so that powers the broadband and telephone
and a bit more light. What else? Now, we can… – Use a sewing machine. Which is very exciting.
– Yeah, we could yeah, we can, the sewing machine is good. – Yeah, yeah. – A lot of people when they hear about it, they think, oh my gosh,
how is that with a baby and even before that, how
is that just the two of you? – I think, actually
it’s great with the baby living in a small space
in that wherever she is she’s never that far away. So, it’s quite easy to
be doing whatever I need to be doing and keeping an eye on her. And, when she’s sleeping,
she’ll be close by. – We have a, I don’t know the term for it, like a work, trade
arrangement with the owners. And, we’ve been living
here just over a year, so about three or four days
a week, I’m on the farm. And then part-time, I work as a GP. So, our costs are
fractional to what they were living in town. I don’t have any stress about money which is a huge benefit. Emotionally, I’m healthier. (both laugh) – It was a choice wanting
to be more immersed in my environment and
more directly connected with my needs, where my
food was coming from. And, I love going out
and seeing the garden each day and seeing how
things have changed. And, yeah, it’s like having a relationship with a living thing, well,
lots of living things. – Regularly attending in the garden, I had this feeling of almost
being in love with the garden. Which blew me away. – The future of humanity is
to return to that relationship to nature and to all beings
and to all human beings, too. To fall in love with the world. Its wellbeing is my wellbeing. (spiritual music) If we really were in love with the planet and incorporated that love
into all of our systems, into our money system, we would not have an ecological crisis. (moving to upbeat music) – If an economy is operating
outside of ecological limits, then the inevitable conclusion
is that it’s going to completely erode the resource base until it implodes or collapses. So, really, the choice that we have is to design and develop an economy that operates within ecological limits. That’s our only safe bet. It’s our only bet at all. – So, if we think about the
whole problem of deflation and what could happen post-collapse in a country that
experiences a sudden reversal and this loss of liquidity
where the money supply really, really gets chopped down, people still have needs. People still have goods and services. They’re gonna find a
way to exchange those. What you want is the easiest possible way to make this happen. And, this is where alternative currencies would plug the gap. If a central government
were quick thinking, quick off the mark and actually had a plan for dealing with this
stuff, they could introduce a new currency, maybe a parallel currency, maybe a replacement currency to counteract the disappearance of all the bank money. That probably won’t happen though, so it’s going to be up to
local and regional currencies to fill that void. (gentle music) – I woke up one morning
and jumped out of bed without even being caught just yet saying, I’m gonna start a local currency. And I just felt so much joy. There was just like this
energy moving through me. LOAVES stands for Local Origin Ashhurst Voluntary Exchange System. It’s one of those acronyms
that you fit the words to the acronym instead
of the other way around. It is meant to be a voucher
system that circulates in Ashhurst and the Pohangina
Valley as a voluntary alternative to using money for exchange. (upbeat music) So, LOAVES is primarily trading at the Ashhurst Community Market. And, we have about a
dozen or so businesses that are accepting it there. We’ve got the cheesery,
we’ve got the fudgery. We have several plant businesses. We have a business
consultant who accepts it outside of the market and
there’s half a dozen others that are accepting it as well. One of the primary benefits
of the currency in my mind is the awareness-raising
that goes along with it. We’re after not the currency
itself, but the relationships that come out of the currency. So, one of the major things
is this awareness campaign around the benefits of buying local, the benefits of having a
commitment between customers and businesses of knowing what’s available in your own community, of going
to town instead of the city when you need something, of
supporting your neighbors and looking to your neighbors
and their businesses as a primary way of meeting your needs. – The wealth generated by
using our local currency, 100% of it stays here. There’s no interest and
it just keeps circulating and recirculating in the local community. And, rather than being
considered in competition with the national money, it’s
actually complementary to it. – So, you strengthen
these local connections. Of course, that’s a very
resilient thing to do because it just means
that if things are rough, you’ve got friends, neighbors,
and people in your region that are able to help one another out. TimeBanking is a very
interesting development in that it uses a very egalitarian basis. It says everybody’s time is equal. That it doesn’t matter how skilled you are or what your qualifications are, or what you do for your day job, that your hour is worth
the same as my hour. (gentle music) – [Child] How much kale do we need? – [Maria] We’re gonna have
another one (mumbles). – [Child] Let’s go. – [Maria] All right. – I’m Maria Lee from Te Mahi
Kai at Diamond Harbour School which is a gardening to cooking program. (lighthearted music) So, we teach the children how
to grow everything themselves and they put the seeds in,
then look after the garden. And, then when it’s my turn,
we harvest what they’ve grown and turn it into lunch. (children chattering) So, today we’re making kale
chips and broad bean dip and each week it’s different. (gentle music) The idea is just to teach
them some basics of cooking. And, in order for that to work,
we use TimeBank volunteers. And, we couldn’t do it without them. (children chattering) Our volunteers are paid
one credit per hour that they come and volunteer for us. So, we take those from the
school TimeBank credit system and give it to them. And, then they use it to
trade for whatever they need. – It’s always easier to build your barn when the sun is shining
than try to put it up in a howling gale. So, if you put these things together now, if you get a system up and running and especially with something
like a local currency where there may be some
marketing involved, you know, trying to get buy-in
from people and all that. You don’t create one of these
things out of whole cloth and get it widely accepted overnight. – Look, there’s no getting away from it. A huge part of this is that we
just consume too much stuff. (somber music) Our entire economy is
built on getting us to buy and consume, dispose,
and re-consume things. I don’t think it’s
realistic that we can expect to live in a world where
we don’t make things or use things or use resources. Of course we do. But, we need to use them
in way that is smart. You know, it’s about intelligent use. It’s about being efficient
and not wasteful. – The notion of waste is
something that wasn’t around two or 300 years ago, you know. We just didn’t have waste.
(gentle music) Things had utility, things
had value all the way through. And, if they reached
the end of productivity, they were reformed into something else. (upbeat music) Welcome to Bayswater Repair Cafe. A repair cafe is a free pop-up event where local community experts in a variety of different areas offer their skills and
services to other people in their local community for free. You know, every year we
send a crazy amount of stuff to holes in the ground. And, this is about maybe
doing something to address some of that flow. But, also in the process of doing that, bringing people together
in a beautiful way that connects people,
creates some networks and maybe even some friendships. So, we’ve got five different repair areas at the cafe today. We’ve got an electrical
appliances repair space and that is overwhelmingly
the most popular area. So, people bring in toasters
and lamps and all kinds of random bits and pieces. We’ve got a clothing repair space. And, we’ve got a team of seamstresses and a seamster, if that’s the right word, who are mending clothes. We’ve got a guy who is repairing wood and pieces of furniture. And, we’ve got general
repairs and we’ve also got two bike mechanics. I was speaking to the daughter
of one of the volunteers who helped out with repairs. And, he was an older guy. And, he said to her that
he felt a real sense of belonging and a real
sense of feeling useful and having purpose. And I thought that was an
amazing outcome from the day to make someone feel good about
having shared their skills with local people. This is a beautiful example
of a community initiative that brings people together and enhances connection, enhances a sense of community and neighborhood. We fix a lot of stuff, but more important than that, I think, is the building of connection and community. (eerie music) – It’s really important to
remember that when you dispose of something, you can’t throw it away. When you throw something
it goes somewhere. You might not know where that is. It may be out of your sight,
may be out of your mind, but there is no such place as away. – In 2007, we were really starting to think about our impacts
(gentle music) that we were having, just our regular day-to-day actions. And, one of the things we
focused on was how much rubbish we were producing. I mean, we could’ve focused on anything, but rubbish was so visual. And, just every week
rubbish bags filling up and so we somehow decided
to challenge ourselves. We can’t remember whose idea it was now, but we did this crazy
thing where we thought, right, we’re gonna try and make no rubbish for the entire year. (upbeat music) We were genuinely not green people. We were putting out a bag of rubbish every week without fail. And, we had literally never
thought about it before. We sort of, it came to us one day, and went, oh my gosh this is terrible. – In terms of the challenge
was to try and live for one year with less than
a City Council rubbish bag. And, most of it was made up of the items that were out of our control. So, the radiator hose on the car burst and so we had a radiator hose. And, we tried to carry on doing things that you’d normally do so
we were renovating our home back then and we had all the lead paint from scraping the weather boards. Some in practical terms
that’s all we had left over. Yeah. I think when we look at
the average rubbish bin, you know, or what people are putting out, at least 50% of it’s generally organics. So, you take the biggest
things out first, right? So, deal with organics is the no-brainer. If you do that, you’re 50%
ahead of the average citizen. And, then there’s another sort of 30% of recyclable material
generally these days in the rubbish bin. So, there’s the next thing. So, you deal with the organics, then you recycle everything
you can and you’re getting up then by that stage. You’ve made massive gains. People can feel overwhelmed and
feel that what they’re doing doesn’t make a difference. But, most of the waste we
create or we’re kind of complicit in is waste we’ve never seen. So, we’ll buy something and
there’ll be a bit of packaging around it that we see. But, in making that item,
that’s when the bulk of the waste is created. So, if you’re putting out a rubbish bag that actually represents
70 rubbish bags of waste that you’ve never seen
that has gone into making that bag of waste. Consumers have it tough, right? There’s a lot of money goes into marketing and seeing the messages that you can buy a compostable packaging and, you know, you’re saving the environment. And, of course, compostable
packaging in any landfill is just as bad. Is the sort of thing that
actually needs to be composted at very hot temperatures
so it really needs commercial composting to be done properly. And, one of the biggest
problems in my business that I have to go to
vendors and say, I’m sorry, I know you’ve paid more
and you’ve been promised that this is eco and
compostable by the person that sold it to you, but
they didn’t actually go and do their product
stewardship and find out whether the composting industry
can take it any replace. – I think we’ve actually got consumers that wanna do the right thing. We’ve got businesses that
are doing amazing stuff. And we’ve got a government
completely missing in action in terms of providing a framework for, to encourage those
behaviors more and more. – So, when you do buy a
container in the supermarket, you make sure it’s a reusable container. And, then you wash it out and you take it into one of these stores
and you get them to weigh it and then you fill it up
with whatever you want and they take the weight off
it and you’ve just stopped that plastic packaging. – If people combining composting
and only had to recycle and they’re just putting
a bit of extra thought into how they’re shopping, particularly considering that packaging. (upbeat music) It’s that choice when
you’re at the supermarket or at Bunnings or whatever,
thinking about the item, essentially if it’s plastic or got other composite materials in it,
what can you do with it at the end of life? Not much. It’s gonna be rubbish,
it’s gonna be around for thousands of years. Every time we spend a dollar, it’s a vote. We have so much power, so much more power than what we realize. So, it’s like keep on
that knife edge like yes, see that it’s a big, that
yes, these big issues, but also yes we can make a difference. (upbeat lively music) – Like, there’s part of me, you know, when I go to recycle my
bottles or compost my waste, it’s like well, what good does it do? You know, I’m just
subtracting one plastic bottle from the enormous trash
heap that gets shipped to India and is making
new mountains in India and China, you know, of waste. Like what does it matter,
one bottle different? You can say, well if everybody did it, then it would make a difference. So, you have to do your part. But, part of you will say,
well, I’m not everybody. And, if everybody does
it then it doesn’t matter if I do it. So, we have to have another reason. For me, it comes down to
relationship and ritual. I like to save my compost
and use composting toilets for example, not because
I’ve done some calculation that this is gonna save the world, but because it’s a different
kind of relationship with the beings around me. (lighthearted music) – Composting toilets, like
composting your own shit, processing your own toilet
waste is a real basic fundamental thing that
we should all practice. It’s a simple way of being, of demonstrating self-responsibility. – So with a flush toilet,
basically you take really nice, clean drinking water and our shit and mix the two together, both wonderful resources,
when you mix them together you create toxic problem. So, with a compost toilet
system, you’re able to capture that amazing resource and take care of it and treat it in a way
that removes any pathogens or problems and create
a wonderful resource. – Okay, so welcome to our toilet. For a start, it’s a composting
bucket bench system. We’ve got cover material
which we use old sawdust from the mill. It’s already got bacteria
and a bit of fungus in it. So, you go make your deposit ch, ch, ch. Put a bit of cover material on, leave it. And, then when we’ve got a
certain amount of buckets, we go to the compost and
add straw and garden waste and kitchen waste. And, this is one I did maybe a week ago. And, we’ll put the compost
thermometer in here and see what we’re looking at. We’re still looking at 50 degrees. It’s going up. We’ve got up to 65 degrees the other day. I recorded it the other day. – You know, there are
pathogens you have to consider. There’s round worm eggs and
all these different kinds of worm eggs that can
exist in human urine. If you do a hot compost,
that’s the safest way because you can nuke all
those things within hours. And, over here is what you get. I put it in a bag, but you
don’t need to (grunts). That there is about a year old. It’s got lots of worms in it. We put all our garden waste and all our kitchen waste in here, but the worms are a good sign. If you’ve got worms it
means it’s not too acidic and (sniffs) mmm, yum, good stuff. And, that goes straight on the garden and the plants love it. And, we love the plants (chuckles). – When it’s finished
composting, it doesn’t look like or smell like anything like poo. It’s just beautiful black compost. So, we’ve monitored it closely. We’ve watched the temperature. We know all the pathogens have been nuked. We feel confident in our process. So, we feel safe to use it in our garden. Anyone can do this. It’s just really a matter of being engaged and wanting to do it and
getting the knowledge. It’s a knowledge-based system. It’s not technological or
anything really advanced. I’ve seen people do it in cities, you know with a wee
backyard, small backyard. Yeah, I know some people do
it in really rural settings. It’s just a matter of being engaged. – Yeah, it’s for everyone,
everyone, everyone who wants to take more
responsibility for themselves and not pass it off. Everyone who values their poo (chuckles). I value my poo (chuckles). I value your poo, too, so you’re welcome to leave a deposit before you go. It’s sort of expected actually. No pressure (chuckles). (gentle music) – I’ve come to see that in
order to be part of the solution we really need to use our everyday choices to change our behavior
and it’s a cultural shift that needs to happen in order for us to at least sustain ourself,
which isn’t even enough, of course, because what are
we sustaining (chuckles). And, so that’s something
I’ve really been putting a lot of time into recently
is designing my work so that it’s actually regenerative. (upbeat music) Sort of out of necessity, I started this organic waste collection. Check this out. Whoa. Yeah, we’re currently
picking about 2 1/2 tons up each week from local businesses. Instead of that all going
into a hole in the ground, it gets returned back to the soil by way of Windrow aerobic composting. So, we currently have around 45 businesses on the Why Waste collection. And they have a number of bins or buckets, mostly wheelie bins and some
have up to five wheelie bins at their business. And, every week Why Waste comes and picks that up and we take it to, we weigh it, we record all the data, things like that. We take it to a composting facility. And, so yeah, we’re in
partnership with them so that we can return that
waste back to the soil. Recently one of my clients rang me up and they were super stoked
because they were able to cancel this big skip bin
for their rubbish, you know. And, now they just use
a 240 liter wheelie bin. Which is much, much smaller. And, that’s as a result of all of their, their compostable waste going to, back to the soil. Oh, what’s that? Oh, tasty muffin (laughs). I’m really passionate about composting as a solution of minimizing our waste and our impact here on, on this one planet that we have (laughs). Food scraps and
biodegradable waste takes up over a third of what we send to landfill. When biodegradable matter
biodegrades anaerobically, it produces a lot of methane,
which is 23 times worse than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. And, not only do you get that gas going into the atmosphere,
but you also get a liquid version of it leaching into our soils, into our water table. So, what we’re trying to achieve here is build a really hot
compost around this drum and also all of this, build
all this irrigation into it so that when that aerobic
hot compost heats up, we should be able to pump
water through the system out and over to these bathtubs over here and have free biologically heated hot water. The reason why I’m so
enthusiastic about compost is that it’s fertility in its purest form. This is how nature builds
soil and that enables us to grow more food. And, if people are
conscious of composting, they’re probably gonna
become more conscious about what they’re eating. And, if they’re opening less packets, that’s good for everyone. That’s good for the planet,
that’s good for our people. If we can get people to
focus on eating better then we’re actually able
to produce a lot less landfill waste and a lot
more biodegradable waste which then can be turned
into more fertility to produce more food. So, the healthier we eat
the better our waste is and much easier to manage
and return to the land. People talk about thinking
global, acting local. I suppose I’m really sitting
in that truth presently. I’d rather think global and act global, but we’ve gotta start
somewhere you know (chuckles). And, so yeah, that’s the
change I’m wanting to see in the world, so I’m
being it the best I can. (waves rumbling) (somber music) (moving to upbeat music) – I see a lot of people
who are very sensitive to the devastation, the
damage, or just civilization and it paralyzes them. And, that’s sad because
we need those people, all of those people. Do you know there’s lots of
things that could depress you out in the world, but if
you take each negative, there’s almost like an
opportunity or provocation to do your thing, which
is the opposite of that, you know, give more life, then it’s fun. Then it’s a winnable game. That’s how I see it. – Would be awesome to see our country before human cut it. You know, the thousands and the thousands, millions of birds. Huge, huge Kauri trees,
it’s just unimaginable. I think we all have done a misjustice to looking after papatuanuku. My ancestors weren’t always exactly the best conservationists either, but we now have the chance
to revive and recover those landscapes before it’s too late. – Over a three year period
we planted 85,000 trees and the majority of those
are New Zealand native trees which are now flourishing and really transforming the landscape. I just sorta would love to see
what this place looked like a thousand years ago, which
is such a brief period in ecological time. And, in that time we’ve sort of stripped most of the native vegetation and done a whole lot of damage and we’ve gone about as far
as we can down that road. And, so now it’s time
for us to try and find the balance and restore those ecosystems but find a place for humans
living harmoniously within it. (birds chirping) – You don’t realize
this but this used to be a partial desert. – Mmm, was just grass. – Yeah, and this is what people can do. You can create heaven on Earth. (birds chirping) – Start growing food. Food is central to the
way we live, our health and our whole ecosystem, environment. Even if you’re in an apartment, you can, you know, windowsills, pots, whatever. You can start. And, that’s the first step. Once you engage with growing
and experiencing nature, then things start to happen. – I get asked this a lot. You know, what can somebody do if they’re not a farmer or
they’re not on the land, what can they do to change it? Well, they can do a lot. The best thing that anybody can do is to vote with their wallets. While in some cases it
may be more expensive, do what you can, you know. If you see people in your
area that are producing food that is ecologically healthy, they’re doing it in a way that is looking after the environment, then that adds up. You know the more people that do that, the less expensive it will become as that becomes normalized. – You know from an
individual’s point of view, the biggest change by
far that we can achieve in our own, by changing our own lifestyle is to reduce the amount of meat we eat. That will have a much bigger effect than what we do transport-wise
or almost anything else. – There’s a lovely poem that talks about we don’t have to be good, we
don’t have to walk 100 miles on our knees repenting in the desert. We just have to do what the
soft animal of our body loves. And, I really like that. I really like that. For me, this turns out to be what I love. And, I have a suspicion
that this is actually the blueprint and there’s something when people get to it,
everybody would want to live this way, I suspect. But, it might be a really long journey for some folks to get to that knowing. (lively music) – Last year, I made a submission to the Council long-term plan
that I thought climate change was by far the most
urgent and important issue that Councils should be concerned about. And, they said, “And, what
would that look like?” I got a reaction. So, I ruminated on it for awhile and I took it back to a
group that I was part of, called Project Wairarapa and they said yes, let’s do this. You should have heard the
buzz at that first meeting. It was fantastic. And, that feeds me, that encourages me that I’m doing something useful. It’s my time to give back to the community that’s been so good to me,
where I’ve raised my kids, and had such a good life. – So, my vision for the future,
I have to be really clear. It doesn’t have anything to do with things working the way they do now,
but with renewable energy. That’s actually not a possibility. Working on renewable energy
and being quite different from what we do now,
evolving into something else, is the vision I see. Now, how well that’s all working, how high a quality of life that is, how fair it is, how equitable it is, how stable the governments are, how much war has come
between now and then, completely depends on
what we do right now. – I think that the place that we’re going is a place that we cannot
see from where we are. It’ll only emerge or become visible as we move toward it. But, so I’m not gonna say okay, you know, here’s the blueprint
for the future system. I’ve thought it all out, you know, and now I’m gonna tell you what it is. But, I do catch glimpses
sometimes, you know. One thing that comes to me
(birds chirping) is that in the future,
we’ll feel really at home in the world. We will be intimately familiar with the landscape around us. We will be in rich communities. Take the best experiences
you’ve had in your life, the most authentic, the most vibrant, those don’t have to be exceptions. Trust what feels loving,
trust what feels good. Trust what feels aligned
with who you really are. If you live by that and spread that vibe and other people start living by that, then the whole planet is gonna change. “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” (upbeat music)

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