Moving in, Deep ecology, Microforests, Micobats, News, Events


Open Day at Narara Ecovillage, Sun Feb 28

WHEN: February 28, 2021 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Our Open Days give you a window into what Narara Ecovillage is all about, and show how we are putting our ideas around ecological, social and economic potential into action. Walking tours of 1.5 hours leave the Village Centre from 10am, including stops at:

  • shared food growing, natural retreats and Permaculture spaces
  • shared community and work places
  • examples of highly efficient low-carbon homes
  • clever and affordable ways of sharing a lot for your home
  • And more based on what you’re interested in on the day!

Cost: $10; Free for Narara Ecovillage Network (NELN) members 

Bookings essential: Register here

The ecovillage Coffee Cart will be open from 9.30am for refreshments, and plants will be available for sale.

Sociocracy in Action: Nailing Picture Forming Sun 28 Feb, 2-4pm

Tap into the wisdom of the crowd

  • WHEN: 28 Feb 2021, 2-4pm
  • WHERE: Village Hall, 33 Gugandi Rd Narara 2250
  • Register Here 

Learn Better Ways of Working Together

This two-hour workshop gives you the opportunity to learn and practice skills essential for fully understanding an issue and all its elements and then generating potential solutions that include everyone’s best thinking.

  • Explore all of the needs and issues affecting a situation
  • Include voices of all stakeholders
  • Generate a range of potential solutions
  • Ensure the solutions represent all parties to the problem
  • Make problem solving a positive, creative process

We will cover how to:

1) fully understand all the issues involved in a decision or proposal

2) include the voices of different stakeholders

3) get buy-in by generating a wide variety of options


Observe and participate in a picture forming process. Learn the steps and essential elements of effective picture forming so that the needs of all stakeholders are considered in solutions.

TICKETS: $30.00 Full; $25 NELN members; Free for Ecovillage members

  • Register Here 
  • Discount tickets are available for NELN members. The Narara Eco Living Network is a not for profit educational and outreach body established by members of Narara Ecovillage Co-operative to promote more sustainable living in all its forms. All are welcome to join. Join the Network here

Microbat Nightwalk, Community Environment Network (CEN), Fri Feb 26, 5.30–8.30pm

About: Join CEN and Wildlife Carers, Clare Rickell and Kathy Davis from both WIRES and Wildlife ARC

  • Learn all about our local native species of tiny flying, insect loving microbats that call the Central Coast home.
  • Go on a guided night walk through Strickland State Forest and gain skills on how to identify microbats by sound and what habitat they like to occupy.
  • Find out how you can support microbat habitat in your own backyards and beyond.

Where & When: Narara Ecovillage, Fri Feb 26, 5.30 – 8.30pm

Cost: $5-25 More info & registration here

Village News & Learning

Moving in together

  • Question: What does an intentional community look like?
  • Answer: whatever form its members give it.

At Narara Ecovillage, a group of ordinary people has come together and created a community: planning, raising money, learning and doing the work ourselves. While we are quite diverse, we have all elected to join this ecovillage, and are committed to helping it thrive and spreading the word.

Each village member has their own story, and brings unique gifts, knowledge, perspective and capacity to the project. The community is shaped and reshaped by these myriad particular contributions. 

Lorraine Hawdon has recently joined the village & already helped shape the community, including by co-founding a Froggers group.

My First Three Months at Narara Ecovillage 

-Lorraine Hawdon

My first three months of Narara Ecovillage (NEV) membership have been a wild ride indeed and I’ve only just begun! Along the way, I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learnt, contributed, and benefitted, and the fun I’ve already had!

Things get done around here, not always quickly, but definitely not alone. NEV is not for everyone but it does not try to be.  There are lessons here for communities, suburbs, groups, workplaces and gatherings about how we can work together to fulfill our dreams of living more sustainably in every aspect of our lives; socially, emotionally, financially and spiritually.

Let me give you one example: The occasion is the NEV Christmas Party 2020, organised perfectly by three new members. We all contributed food for a ‘Covid Safe’ dinner

Long tables laden with delicious individual finger food were set up in the Village Hall. We did a few “other” allowable activities before eating:new member introduction session, singing (covid safe) and talking and plenty of laughter. Later in the evening the tables were cleared, and dancing (covid safe again!) began. Someone started washing up and was hard at it whilst others of us danced. Then they stopped, someone else took over, and the cycle continued. This is how the cleaning got done. Efficiently, thoroughly and smoothly. Not by one or two but by many, taking it in turns before returning to socialising or dancing. It was, indeed, a wonderful occasion. For me, this provided a perfect example of one way in which both labour and fun are shared at NEV.

My contributions thus far have been small but always appreciated. I’m fortunate to currently live and work within 30 minutes of NEV so I pop down when I can and do some work. For me, this has mostly been working in the Nursery. Open Days have also proven a useful way to help out. There are always plenty of tasks to do, and members are not shy about asking for help. However, they also respond to a “no” or “not at the moment” in a positive and thoughtful way. I joined NEV thinking that I didn’t “need” any more new friends. Inevitably, I’ve made friends and for that I’m extremely grateful. I’ve been invited into many homes and enjoyed fabulous company, as well as learnt much about sustainable housing. Quite frankly, I have not found so many caring and intelligent people in any one place ever before.

One week, I took the plunge and house sat for a resident family. Although I had to work during the day, people popped in during afternoon and evenings to see if all was ok, others introduced themselves as they passed by or whilst I was watering the garden, tending chickens or walking. Nights outside were noisy with a chorus of frogs and cicadas. Inside, I slept soundly accompanied by the gentle lull of these creatures singing through the walls. My stay happened to coincide with a VERY hot weekend in early December. On the hottest day of the year, I was sitting inside enjoying the comfort of a beautiful straw, timber and cob house. It was 35 degrees outside and 26 inside. Perfect!

Inadvertently, I became part of a ‘Froggers’ group at NEV. I was promoting ‘FrogID’ week through our communication chat and the next thing I knew, there was a small group of enthusiastic people with a common environmental interest meeting up to record, discuss and discover NEV frogs. Our little group has since grown and we will continue our frog discovery and record keeping.

Apart from the positive experiences of socialising, learning and contributing, there are other benefits of NEV membership. ‘The Coffee Cart’ provides coffee and appetising food at reasonable prices, and some of the food is already grown at NEV. The Co-op shop saves us money, reduces single-use packaging and helps us eat more healthily. There is also one member who grows and sells an array of delicious mushrooms!

It will be a while before some of us move to NEV, but I’m very glad I’ll be there one day. There is work to do: lots of work. There are community issues to be sorted. There are decisions to be made. There will be disputes to be resolved. It is not always easy, but I know for certain that by working together it will be done. Finally, and importantly, I know I’ll never be bored or lonely at NEV!

 So, what is deep ecology?

-John Seed

“it is not enough to have ecological ideas, we have to have ecological identity,  ecological self”

Arne Naess

I have worked for worldwide rainforests since 1979. Although many of our efforts succeeded, for every forest saved 100 have disappeared. Clearly you can’t save the planet one forest at a time. It’s one green Earth or a bowl of dust.  Without a profound change of consciousness we can kiss the forests goodbye, the ones we’ve “saved” alongside the rest.

Deep ecology is a key to the change we need. To deep ecology, underlying all the symptoms of the environmental crisis lies a psychological or spiritual root – the illusion of separation from the rest of the natural world which stems from anthropocentrism or human-centeredness.

Conditioned since the Old Testament to “subdue and dominate” nature, the modern psyche is radically alienated from the air, water and soil which underpin life, and this is reflected in the rapid shredding of all natural systems in the name of economic development. 

Deep ecology reminds us that the world is not a pyramid with humans on top, but a web. We humans are but one strand in that web and as we destroy this  web, we destroy the foundations for all complex life including our own.

While we maintain a self-image created in the matrix of anthropocentric culture, a shrunken and illusory sense of self that doesn’t include the air and water and soil, we will experience nature as “outside” our self and fail to recognise that the nature “out there” and the nature “in here” are one and the same.

Many people INTELLECTUALLY realise that we are inseparable from Nature and that the sense of separation that we feel is socially conditioned and illusory.

But as the late Arne Naess, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Oslo University, the man who coined the term “Deep Ecology” wrote: “it is not enough to have ecological ideas, we have to have ecological identity,  ecological self”.

But how can we nourish our ecological identity? In answer to such questions, Joanna Macy and I developed a series of experiential deep ecology rituals called the “Council of All Beings” and in 1986, with Arne Naess, wrote a  book called “Thinking Like A Mountain – Towards a Council of All Beings” (which has been translated into 12 languages). Along with others, we have been facilitating these workshops around the world since then.

In this workshop we remember our rootedness in nature, recapitulate our evolutionary journey and experience the fact that every cell in our body is descended in an unbroken chain 4 billion years old, through fish that learned to walk the land, reptiles whose scales turned to fur and became mammals, evolving through to the present.

We further extend our sense of identity in the Council of All Beings itself, where we find an ally in the natural world, make a mask to represent that ally, and allow the animals and plants and landscapes to speak through us. We are shocked at the very different view of the world that emerges from their dialogue. Creative suggestions for human actions emerge and we invoke the powers and knowledge of these other life-forms to empower us in our lives.

One of the rituals we will share is honoring our pain for the world: we grieve for all that is being torn from our world, the species lost, the landscapes destroyed. Only if we can  allow ourselves to feel the pain of the Earth, can we be effective in Her healing. This is why the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Naht Hanh, has said that in order to heal the Earth,  “the most important thing that we can do is to hear, inside ourselves, the sounds of the Earth crying”. 

This workshop enables us to find an end to the illusion of separation and experience our rootedness in the living Earth.

Deep Ecology Workshops

After a couple of years break I’m organizing a series of experiential deep ecology workshops on the Central Coast (Feb 27-28) , Wollongong (March 27-28), Melbourne (May 21-23), The Channon, NSW North Coast (July 10-11) Cost is $400 to $150 on a sliding scale, with all proceeds donated to rainforest conservation in Ecuador.

Unfortunately all these workshops are full. I’m delighted to say that five members of NEV are participating. 

I will organise another workshop on the Central Coast in the Spring: anyone who’d like to get an email once I have a date, please let me know

*John is a member of Narara Ecovillage

Chinese New Year at the Village 

New village member Andy Long, from the Central Coast’s very own Community Circus, Roundabout Circus, fire juggling at the village’s Chinese New year Celebration.

Positive Change Readings 

Image: planting a forest at Kerala: Source: Crowdforesting

Dense plantings to encourage & protect biodiversity

Densely planting even very small patches of land can significantly improve soils, reduce soil loss, and increase biodiversity, offering growing space and havens for a variety of wildlife, including microbes. And it can be done almost anywhere, including in urban spaces. 

The micro-forest movement is relatively recent, and taking off in tiny patches around the world. 

Here are some news readings about this positive change:

Technical resources & how-to info:

Do a Thing a Day

Find news

Murdoch & Facebook are slugging it out. Meanwhile, we can get news directly from websites.

There’s a lot of news out there. Here are just a few.

Some Australian sites

The weather

Fact checking sites

Other world sites (English language, a bit random) more

From our Network

About Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) Australia

-Tanya Mottl

About GEN

The Australian branch of the Global Ecovillage Network aims to promote ecovillage lifestyles, regenerative communities, intentional communities, and indigenous communities, living in harmony with the natural ecology in Australia.

Global Ecovillage Network Australia’s Objectives

  • Educate, network and support alternative sustainable living solutions that specifically includes cohousing, eco suburbs, ecovillages, intentional communities and transition towns within Australia.
  • To promote a culture that supports the GEN sustainable dimensions of community under the banner of social, worldview, economic and ecological themes.
  • To connect GEN Australian members to the greater GEN global network to facilitate cross cultural understanding, cooperation, world best practice and global friendship.

For more information:

  • Connect with us on FB
  • Join our newsletter on our website
  • Or call Tanya on 0410 293 971 if you’d like to know more about the Social Media training for NFPs and how you can use your enthusiasm for social media to help the #regeneration 

Free resources from GEN that might interest you

Also this link:Regenerative Community Design Webinar, with Daniel Wahl and Mugove Nyika (No need to enrol- just scroll down the page and watch the video)