Category: Blog

Summary Sustainable Economics forum – Tuesday, 4th Septemeber, 2012

Hi all you wonderful people who care…

We had an energetic gathering for our Sustainable Economics forum on Tuesday night, 4th September, 2012.  Thanks to our three wonderful speakers who managed to cover huge topics in about 10 minutes each!!  For those of you interested here is a little run down of the evening.

Liz Elliott explained the history of how the banks got so much control over our lives through deregulation after the Glass Stagall act was repealed in 1998. This act had separated the money of mums’ and dads’ mortgages and the speculative money market and it’s loss meant that the private banks could use the mortgages as ‘guarantees’,  selling fictitious financial products which has resulted in the bankruptcy and unemployment of millions.  Liz believes that when private banks create money they get to determine social priorities.  Thus, we get housing bubbles, war and speculation not affordable houses, water and education.

Pierre Bresh shared the history and workings of LETS (Local Energy Trading Scheme) and it’s current digitally based evolution as the BSCE (Byron Shire Community Exchange System)  If you’d like to broaden your ability and range of giving and receiving without cash and meet more wonderful people this is a great way to do it – go to

Helena Norberg-Hodge encouraged us to focus on localisation as a way of strengthening our community fabric, including the economic… especially the localisation of our food supply through community gardens, farmers’ markets and edible school gardens. She also suggested supporting the local economy by shopping at local businesses rather than at chain stores.  Community education is an important element of this change so that people understand the health benefits of eating fresh, local food over food that comes from far away.  Larger issues include: raising awareness of the need to change and circumvent regulations which make it hard for small, local businesses; creating a revolving fund for infrastructure like warehouses and trucks that link local farmers  to the community and organisations like BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies). Check out and (see links below).  Helena also recommended Michael Shuman (see calendar of events)

A lively conversation followed with Paul Spooner stressing the importance of priority being given to local people when issues of tenders come up (eg local markets); Richard suggesting we put our money where our mouths are and contribute $1 a day towards a community fund; and an invitation to visit Bunya and Anaheke at Brunswick Heads Primary School on Thursdays 10-3 where you can buy produce from the school garden…

Jason Lasky volunteered to coordinate a Sustainable Local Economics group and if you’d like to be involved you can contact him here and please comment below and subscribe to comments.

Thanks for all your sharings and also to Peter and Sapoty for your dedication to Transition and to Wayne who washed the cups – such a welcome contribution..
love Liane xxx

Here are some articles and links to LETS (Community Exchange System) and Timebank:

Local Living Economies: The New Movement for Responsible Business by Judy Wicks

The Local Living Economies Movement is about:

  • Maximizing relationships, not maximizing profits
  • Broad-based ownership and democracy, not concentrated wealth and power
  • Sharing, not hoarding
  • Life serving, not self-serving
  • Partnership, not domination
  • Cooperation based, not competition based
  • Win-win exchange, not win-loose exploitation
  • Creativity, not conformity
  • A living return, not the highest return
  • A living wage, not the minimum wage
  • A fair price, not the lowest price
  • “Being more, not having more” (from the Earth Charter)
  • Interconnectedness, not separation
  • Inclusion, not exclusiveness
  • Community and collective joy, not isolation and unhapppiness
  • Cultural diversity, not monoculture
  • Bio-diversity, not mono-crops
  • Family farms, not factory farms
  • Slow food, not fast food
  • Our bucks, not Starbucks
  • Our mart, not Wal-Mart
  • Love of life, not love of money
Byron Shire Community Exchange
Byron Shire Community Exchange

Byron Shire Community Exchange:
Mobile format:
Postal: 39 Main Arm Rd, Mullumbimby, 2482
Phone: 02 6684 3704
General Queries/Feedback:
Membership Queries:

Spain’s crisis spawns alternative economy that doesn’t rely on the euro:

If you’d like to be involved in this Sustainable Local Economics group contact Jason Lasky.

Please comment below and subscribe to comments to be notified of new comments.

Hamlets, organic structures, low-impact living, moneyless living

Collected by Robert Zandstra



Closely-knit communities of dedicated individuals who wish to live and demonstrate/teach very low impact living, like the Lammas project in Wales. (Probably co-housing community).

Visit the Lammas website for design and structure –

The Hockerton Housing Project website (from England) for good examples of classes and workshops:




There is the possibility of a land grant for those wishing to establish, demonstrate and teach low impact living.

This is a reality in Wales and is under consideration for England. The Lammas ecovillage project won a £350,000 grant to build a centre for the research, education and promotion of low-impact development. The building will form a centrepiece to a new-build project of 9 eco-smallholdings in the Preseli Hills in North Pembrokeshire. The grant is part of a UK government initiative in which 10 community projects from across the UK have been awarded up to £500,000 for pioneering carbon-reduction approaches.

Lammas also provides advice and solidarity to those pursuing low impact living elsewhere.

For details about the project see



Heydon Prowse visits the pioneering off-grid Lammas project in Pembrokeshire [Wales] to learn how they blend green building technology and perma-culture economics to fuel a thriving community

By Heydon Prowse,

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

10′ 16″ video clip:-





Low impact comfort…

 Click here for photo

 Click here for 8′ 48″ video clip from UK CH4’s ‘Grand Designs’:



A nice place to chill out….

Click here for photo and detailed info:- wales-uk

‘That Roundhouse’……. [removed due to website failure JL]



A wonderful place of peace!

Click here for photo:-



Unable to access the Findhorn Foundation virtual tour, which may have photos of the meditation room interior.



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



Posted by Mark Boyle

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


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’s Utopia, 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 as Lammas 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:



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.



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.



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.



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


[For photo and links in original article, click ]

Shara Community Gardens beginnings


Shara Community Gardens beginnings

The students of Mullumbimby High and Shearwater Steiner got together for the last month of school and completed a 12 day intensive Certificate 2 Permaculture Course which culminated in a PermaBlitz which kick-started the new Ocean Shores Shara Community Gardens, here’s a small peek at what they achieved.

Mullumbimby / Shearwater High School / PermaBlitz / Shara Community Gardens / The Permaculture Challenge from Jasmine Whyte on Vimeo.

Transport & mobility links

This Transport list is maintained by Sapoty Brook. Please email with suggestions.
We invite you to comment and recommend useful links.

Electric Cars

Bicycles, Trikes, and Scooters (including electric)

  • Go Further Faster on an electric bike.beyond-oil
    Sapoty has Mountain Bikes [2 models], Step Thru Bikes, Folding Bikes, Conversion Kits, and Electric Motor Scooters [Registerable].
    He is also developing a cargo carrying trike called SolarEV.
    Contact: Sapoty Brook, Mullumbimby
    m 0407 213 267
    h: 02 6684 2927

Bicycle Shops

  • Byron Bay Bicycles
    2/Plaza Cellars, 90 Jonson Street, Byron Bay NSW 2481
    (02) 6685 6067
  • Sunrise Cycles Byron Bay
    102 Centennial Circuit, Byron Bay NSW 2481
    (02) 6680 9590
  • Transition Cycles & Fitness
    49 River Street, Ballina NSW 2478
    (02) 6686 6522
  • True Wheel Cycles
    Anglican Church of St Martin’s, 42 Stuart St, Mullumbimby NSW 2482
    (02) 6684 1959
  • Byron Bay Threesome
    2/9 Marvell Street, Byron Bay NSW 2481
    (02) 6680 7906
  • Byron Bay Bike Shops. Bay Cruisers Pty Ltd.
    69 Shirley St, Byron Bay, NSW, 2481.
    (02) 66807906.
  • COG Cycle & Outdoor Gear
    2/31 Lawson Street, Byron Bay NSW 2481
    (02) 6680 7066
  • Byron Bay Freeriders Bicycle Club
    102-104 Centennial Circuit, Byron Bay NSW 2481
    (02) 6680 9590
  • Vitality 4 Life
    10 Brigantine Street, Byron Bay NSW 2481
    (02) 6680 7444

Taxis and Car Rentals

Public Transport

  • Going Places
    This is an outstanding source of transport information.
    Lists local bus services including timetables. When will they go electric?
  • Tweed Byron and Ballina Community Transport
    Head Office Shop 9/14 Middleton St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
    1300 875 895
    Fax: 6685 7027
  • Premier Motor Service
    Premier has two routes through the Northern Rivers:
    Lismore – Brisbane: Lismore Alstonville, Ballina, Byron Bay, Brunswick Heads, Tweed Heads, Gold Coast, Brisbane.
    Sydney – Brisbane: Sydney…Grafton, Mclean, Iluka, Woodburn, Ballina, Byron Bay, Tweed Heads, Gold Coast, Brisbane
    Phone: 133 410
    Office: 10 Investigator Street, South Nowra NSW 2541
  • Greyhound/McCaffertys Australia
    Route: Sydney – Brisbane – Sydney
    Sydney – Brisbane: Sydney…South Grafton, Ballina, Byron Bay, Murwillumbah, Gold Coast, Brisbane
    Half fare concessions are available for students, apprentices, trainees, Job Seekers, and pensioners (more options available to pensioners).
    1300 473 946
    Fax: (07) 4632 5457
  • Countrylink
    Bookings can be made online with a credit card up to 2 hours before the service departs from its origin. If you don’t have a credit card you can still make a booking online and pay by using “Pay It @Post”, providing you book at least 7 days in advance. Email reservations will be accepted up to 48 hours prior to departure.
    (Rail and coach reservations, train arrival & departure times and accessibility help)
    Phone: 132 232
  • Byron Night Shuttle
    6687 2104
    Mainly weekends
  • Bat Bus service
    For groups of young people aged 12-25 in the Byron Shire, who need help with transport.
    Phone: 6685 8771
  • Northern Rivers Carpool
    The Northern Rivers Carpool is a free, online service for anyone who wants to save money, meet new people and reduce their carbon footprint while travelling to work or study. The NR Carpool is easy to use. It takes two minutes to join the network and then NR Carpool will search its database and match you with other people travelling in the same direction.
  • Jayride car pooling – ride share lists
    Share empty seats when you drive and make your travel fun and cheap. Find transport by carpool, rideshare, bus, shuttle, relocation cars and more…
    Jayride – Byron Bay carpooling

Food links

We invite you to comment and recommend useful links.

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.