Author: Peter

Event: Earthship Presentation

Thursday 23 February, A & I Hall Bangalow 6:30pm, Station Street, Bangalow, New South Wales

Earthships are sustainable “Off-Grid” Homes Made of Recycled Materials. The Ultimate in Green Buildings. The acclaimed Earthship Biotecture Multimedia Seminar and Q&A covers all aspects of Earthship Biotecture, the international sustainable “off-grid” housing concept that incorporates recycled materials into “groundbreaking” housing structures.

The seminar covers:

– Earthship Short Film Screening

– 1.5 hr. Earthship Presentation

– Questions & Answers with Michael Reynolds

– Panel Discussion. Michael Reynolds is joined by sustainable living experts.

Images of current, recent and past Earthship projects throughout the United States, Haiti, Canada, Spain, Belgium, France, India, Georgia and more are shown and discussed throughout the presentation. Earthship retrofit, taking traditional structures “off-grid,” growing food and fishing for your dinner in Earthships will be covered, along with basic Earthship building techniques. Michael Reynolds, Creator of Earthship Biotecture is the Seminar presenter, facilitating open dialogue and interaction with attendees.

Please reply to Freddy for more info and to book a seat:

Alternatively, tickets are $28 and can be purchased from:

East Coast events brought to you by Essence Projectile Arts & Events.

Project Borneo: The Rise of the Eco-Warriors


Next Thursday environmental filmmaker, Cathy Henkel, is coming to Byron for a presentation about Project Borneo: The Rise of the Eco-Warriors.

This is an opportunity to hear the latest news and find out how you can be part of this innovative and inspiring project.

The presentation is in the Verandah Room at the Byron Community Centre from 5.30 – 7pm.

You are welcome to forward this to your networks.You can also find out more from our website –

After the presentation you are welcome to the Owl and the Pussycat for drinks and a catch up.



Australians for Affordable Housing

Sarah Toohey, the campaign manager from Australians for Affordable Housing, was in Lismore recently for the Northern Rivers launch of this national campaign.

If you’re feeling housing affordability stress then jump on their website ( and add your story.

They’re on Facebook – and Twitter – @HousingStressed


Get involved – lets put a stop to coal-seam gas mining

The LOCK THE GATE Alliance is a national alliance of over 90 community, industry and environmental groups and over 670 supporters concerned with the devastating impact that certain inadequately assessed and inadequately-regulated fossil fuel extraction industries are having on our short and long term physical, social, environmental and economic wellbeing. We are particularly concerned with the damage caused by the coal and coal seam gas (CSG) mining industries.

*sourced from Lock the

How to build sustainable homes without spending a penny

Article from

From Earthships to underground houses, The Moneyless Man says building low-impact housing for free is theoretically possible

Sustainable and stylish: Moneyless Man says it’s possible to build for free. Photograph: Simon Dale/Lammas

Access to land is one of the key obstacles in our path towards true sustainability, and without a radical shift in land policies, a moneyless society will remain what it is today – a philosophical one.

But if you do want to become communally-sufficient and moneyless, you’ll first need access to a piece of land. While this is not a problem in the Hammersmith of William Morris’s News from Nowhere or Thomas More’sUtopia, within today’s society it usually means the land needs to be bought, even if just as a one-off payment to free a piece of enslaved land from the wage economy. But there are exceptions.

In the 1950s, Vinoba Bhave set up a huge movement called Bhoodan (meaning land-gift) in India, to which ordinary landowners donated 5m acres – an area the size of Wales – to be put back into common ownership so that peasants could live and farm on it. While western culture makes such a movement unlikely, it’s never impossible. For example, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Landshare project matches those who have land but need help with it with those who can help but have no access to land. And it’s growing rapidly.

So it is obviously difficult, if not impossible, to currently talk about building a home for free. There are huge issues concerning planning permission and council tax. For planning, campaigner Simon Fairlie’s Chapter 7 has tons of great free advice, and eco building organisations such asLammas are a huge source of inspiration. For council tax, work activists such as John Harris and Lawful Rebellion provide a fascinating resource to draw on. Council tax is effectively a tax on being alive – many countries, such as Ireland, use other more equitable systems.

Next, you can then think about building your own low-impact dwelling. Theoretically, this can be done for free using human labour and local materials – like the old thatch, stone and wood cottages of pre-industrialised times – or by utilising the masses of stuff we’ve already produced. Here is a short selection of the many options open to you, some of which can be built without costing any money:

Earthships: The brainchild of Michael Reynolds, these are a type of passive solar home, made from recycled and natural local materials. Earthships can be self-sufficient in food, water and energy. They incorporate fantastic design – glass bottles are even used to create stunning lighting effects – making them visually beautiful to boot.

Underground houses: Subterranean homes maximise space in small areas, the excavated materials can be used in the building and they are wind-, fire- and earthquake-resistant. One of the greatest benefits of underground homes is their energy efficiency, as the mass of soil or rock (the geothermal mass) surrounding the house stores heat and insulates the house, keeping it warm in winter and cool in the summer.

Roundhouses: Circular houses, with a frame of wooden posts covered by wattle-and-daub or cordwood panels finished with cob. Their conical roofs are usually either thatched or have a reciprocal frame green roof.

Straw bale homes: Houses built using straw bales to form the walls of the building. In the UK, the bales can be made of wheat, rye or oat straw. They are also naturally well insulated.

Of course, doing all this completely for free is fairly unrealistic today. But even if you choose the relatively upmarket Earthship on a few acres, it at least means you will only have to spend a fraction of your time in the money economy paying the bank back money.

Ultimately, I believe it is a fundamental human right for every person to have the opportunity to live without money if that is their belief, as stated under Article 9: Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion of The European Convention on Human Rights. That’s why I will soon be campaigning with the Freeconomy Community for the right to live moneyless, allowing people to choose to pay their taxes and National insurance contributions from tithes and labour, or whatever alternative legal tender the government decides to offer. Watch this space.

• Mark Boyle is the founder of the Freeconomy Community and has lived moneyless for the last 19 months. His book, The Moneyless Man, is out now, published by Oneworld – sales from the book will go to a charitable trust for the Freeconomy Community. This is the last in the Guardian’s Moneyless Man series



We’re a part of a world-wide movement of local communities building resilience in response to peak oil and climate change. Our aim is to provide an open network for everyone interested in living sustainability throughout the Northern Rivers. This site provides information, contacts, resources, videos and details of events and meetings that are going on in Byron Shire and the North Coast of NSW.

We meet once a month in Mullumbimby – check the calendar for the next date. Your participation is warmly invited.

Land & Farm Share Models

Mullumbimby Community Garden has recently received funding for local food projects.

Organic Farm Share is the first of its kind – a complete local food system, growing, processing and distributing fresh organic food to members (owners).

The Organic Farm Share model challenges current practices of food production & distribution and simplifies them. Organic Farm Share aims to regenerate land, supply highly nutrient dense food & minimise environmental pollutants.

Landshare in the UK has successfully matched landowners with gardeners in need of a garden plot.

Landshare brings together people who have a passion for home-grown food.

It’s for people who:

  • Want to grow veg but don’t have anywhere to do it
  • Have a spare bit of land they’re prepared to share
  • Can help in some way – from sharing knowledge and lending tools to helping out on the plot itself
  • Support the idea of freeing up more land for growing
  • Are already growing and want to join in the community

Landshare came out of TV’s River Cottage. It began when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall helped some Bristol families grow veg on derelict council land. The experience was so inspiring that River Cottage decided to see if it would work nationwide. Now Landshare is a national movement of more than 50,000 people.

It began with the tiny seed of an idea – and it’s growing and growing.

Landshare International is now looking to start similar projects around the globe.

Heart and Soul

Heart and Soul was the first name given to this idea – exploring the internal psychological and spiritual changes we need to deal with in order to let go of our ‘addiction’ to oil. To deal with the denial most of us have – even if I know intellectually that we/I cannot keep using oil products the way I have in the past it is really challenging to go there even in my imagination… to live in a post oil world… how would that be?

Heart and Soul also explores the forces and beliefs that have moulded us from childhood and thus created our society as it is today, with our fears and feelings of lack, powerlessness and isolation.

If you have any ideas or contributions for exploring these areas, please let us know.

Housing Models

Sustainable and Affordable Housing in Byron Shire

In its Affordable Housing Strategy the Byron Shire Council looks at making Council property available for affordable housing. Let’s come together and discuss our options.

The Housing Group of Transition Byron Shire is looking at examples of housing cooperatives, housing sydicates and eco-housing from around the world. If you are interested in joining a sustainable and affordable housing group in Byron Shire add your comments here. Meanwhile, have a look at our Sustainable Affordable Housing page to read about the solutions other groups have come up with elsewhere.


Comprising low cost, secure, long-term rental as well as budget ownership of carbon neutral houses, townhouses and flats.

    For example, the old convent in Mullumbimby. Ideal for co-housing
    New developments in greenfields sites in and around existing towns
    Large developments comprising a hundred or more homes, like the cutting edge 19980s eco suburb, Village Homes in Davis, California, but with facilities like a general store/coffee shop that provide a core and make for a proper village. This could include co-housing. Visit the Village Homes website –
    It is thought that around thirty percent of these large subdivisions could be affordable housing.
    Closely knit communities of dedicated individuals who wish to live and demonstrate/teach living very low impact living, like the Lammas project in Wales. Probably structured in the form of co-housing. Visit the Lammas website for design and structure and the Hockerton Housing Project website (from England) for good examples of classes and workshops.
    “A wholistic, fully sustainable and less vulnerable way of living, where the basic necessities of food, water, power, clothing, furniture etc are all produced locally, putting an end to our precariously balanced and vulnerable way of living.” – A VillageTown. It’s a project that recreates the lovely atmosphere of a southern European town, surrounded by villages that butt-up against the central town, forming a development of 3,500 to 10,000 people. A population this size can create a local economy that is self-sufficient in everyday needs and as a result would be much less affected by national and international economic or other upheavals. Landmark localisation and organic architecture make for harmonious living. Full details at Village Forum
    It is thought that around thirty percent of this VillageTown development could be affordable housing.

There are many ways to set up housing groups – here are some examples:

Housing Cooperatives:

  • BEND – Bega Eco-Neighbourhood Developers is a not-for-profit Incorporated Association in Bega, NSW. Within BEND an affordable eco-housing cooperative formed and partnered with an existing Community Housing provider.
  • At Christie Walk, a small eco-city development in Adelaide affordability was achieved by people creating a non-profit development cooperative and building company. See

Tenant Syndicates:

Architect and town planner, Gabi Bohnet, describes the Tenant Syndicates in detail on the page Living Space for Everybody. Here is a quick introduction:

In Germany the Tenant Syndicate ( acquires properties and permanently removes them from the speculative housing market. There are currently 33 independent housing projects in the syndicate, which are all autonomous and self-organised. Their style and methods of operating may vary widely but they are all connected in that each one has a representative of the Syndicate on their board of directors with veto power, should the group ever be inclined to sell out.

Each housing project pays a small amount of their rental income into a solidarity fund which is used to legally and financially support new projects. Other finances have been mostly sought through private direct credits of lenders who find this socially ethical project worthwhile. The Tenant Syndicate is willing to include projects overseas.

Both the Cooperatives and Syndicates have in common that the members / tenants participate in designing their own living space and surroundings. This allows each project to become architecturally, ecologically and socially authentic and real.