The Overview Effect is the cognitive shift astronauts experience when viewing Earth from space; where the way they see the world changes and they come back to Earth profoundly connected to nature and community. What would our world look like if we lived from the perspective of this ‘Overview Effect’? Join James Perrin as he speaks with influential thinkers, environmentalists, humanitarians, and businesspeople to explore some of the problems we currently face, and the opportunities and solutions to come from them. James builds upon his background as a chemical engineer who has been at the forefront of the good business/B-Corp movement in Australia, and as someone who has launched not-for-profit initiatives and given countless public talks on environmentalism and ethical business.
Jimmy Halfcut sees a return to whole rainforests
My guest today is… pretty hard to miss.
He’s got half of a massive beard, talks like a kookaburra, and is a force of Nature in the charitable fundraising world.
He and his organisation, Halfcut, have been campaigning HARD to raise funds for the protection and regeneration of our native Australian rainforests.
I used to be a street fundraiser. I’d be out on the streets, Monday to Friday, 9-5, trying to stop people to get their credit card details for environmental causes. It’s hard work, and you face constant rejection.
My guest today, Jimmy Halfcut, has found that sweet spot in making fundraising fun and aspirational. Motivated by the shocking fact that HALF of our world’s rainforests have been cut down, his organisation encourages people to shave half their beard, braid half their hair, or get creative in whatever way they can to raise awareness and funds for our rainforests.
And the thing I really love about his approach is that it is so open and collaborative.
In a world where we are always faced with competing interests, just think about political parties or corporations, the Halfcut crew are building alliances with businesses, other charities, and Aboriginal custodians, all to protect our rainforests.
In this wide ranging conversation we talk about a lot of things, including the current situation with the world’s and Australia’s rainforest. We talk about the competitiveness of charities and how this plays into our existing capitalist paradigm. We talk about the growing divestment movement, that is, people switching from their existing bank, super fund, electricity retailer, and more, in an effort to put their money where they would rather see it used for good.
And Jimmy shares his own personal stories, including how as a young kid he watched as his backyard was destroyed in the name of development for a highway and the impact that had on him; and how he and his partner went from exploring the world and seeing rainforest conservation globally, to going through a traumatic personal incident and how that gave them purpose to continue on for a cause bigger than themselves.
I am so grateful to have met this guy and had the opportunity to connect. I just know you’ll love him too.
Mandy Nolan live @ the Resilience & Regeneration Roadshow
Today’s episode is from the fifth and final leg of the Resilience and Regeneration roadshow, this one live from Federal, in collaboration with Renew Fest and Resilient Byron.
The timing is fitting because THIS WEEKEND, the 7th-9th May, is RENEW FEST! And if you are in the Byron region (or even not in the Byron region), get to Renew Fest, it’s going to be a full weekend of deep listening, connection, systems change, and regeneration. I will be holding live conversations with some amazing people, and there are dozens more giving other workshops and talks. There will be stalls, there’ll be music, you’ll be inspired. Check it out: Renewfest.org.au
OK, so back to Federal… I used to live in Federal; it’s this beautiful hinterland town about 20-30 minutes out of Byron, and it feels like another world out there. It’s full of very progressive thinkers, it’s a very close community, and I had the pleasure of gathering in the Jasper Corner community hall with comedian, writer, and soon-to-be political candidate, Mandy Nolan.
For those that don’t know, Mandy is a local legend in the Byron region. She is a renowned comedian who uses humour to connect with and cut trough to her audience and to address real issues with real emotion.
She’s someone who has lived and faced the issues of domestic violence and mental health, she’s advocated for environmental causes, and she’s spoken openly and vulnerably about these things for a long time, both through her comedy work and through her regular column in the independent newspaper The Echo which she’s been writing for 20 years now.
Bets of all, she’s someone who is willing to cut through the bull shit. She says what’s on her mind, she calls it like it is, and, for someone who is entering the political realm, it is a breath of fresh air.
This was such a fun conversation. In true Mandy style it’s full of both hilarity and depth, two things that make us very human.
Simon Richardson sees the value of political collaboration
I don’t know about you, but I really can’t stand the divisiveness that we see in politics and the media these days.
Every day it’s he said/she said, this party vs that party, left vs right, black vs white, right vs wrong.
At first it’s infuriating (and a lot of people get swept up in the anger of it), but after a while it becomes debilitating, and I can totally understand why so many people become apathetic to politics or political issues.
We have this two-party system and, let’s be honest, they’re not really that different from one another… I mean we’ve got the choice between an upper-middle-class-white-guy named Scotty or an upper-middle-class-white-guy named Albo...
But even worse is that rather than have an assembly of independent representatives working collaboratively to achieve outcomes for the collective, we have this duopoly with so much power that the only way people can get elected in the first place is to align themselves with a party; to 'pick a side'. And that party has its decisions made from a few at the very top, influenced by lobbyists and businesses with vested interests, so it's NO WONDER people lose faith in the political system!
My guest today is a retiring politician; he is retiring as the Mayor of Byron Shire Council this week on the 30th of April and (perhaps because he's retiring) he speaks freely and openly about the ego of party politics. He shares stories from his career and he shares his perspective on how we can approach the same issues that we ALL face by stepping back and seeing the bigger picture of us as a collective humanity.
He opens up (from the get-go) about his personal life and his experience watching his wife go through cancer, and he shares how his views and approaches to controversial issues have changed over the years to be one of cooperation, of trying to achieve the desired outcome regardless of his identity or whether his ‘tribe’ liked him.
I can tell you that the Byron community (or Byron Bubble as it is often referred to) can be ruthless sometimes, and he has certainly had his fair share of criticism from both the right (for being a greenie), and even more so from the left (for not being green enough!).
He himself will tell you how he went from being an environmental activist on the front lines at blockades to, as he calls it, 'putting on a suit and getting a haircut' to join the political realm.
So like any politician he has been a lightning rod for people’s opinions at times, but one thing I can’t fault is that he has gotten up day after day for over a decade, he’s faced criticism, he’s faced disasters, community issues, and god forbid the never ending commentary around potholes (which I did promise him I wouldn’t bring up), but he’s approached each day with vigour, he’s spoken his mind, and he’s served to the best that he can, even whilst facing personal crises.
Please enjoy this conversation with the outgoing Mayor of the Byron Shire Council, Simon Richardson
Catherine Ingram live @ the Resilience & Regeneration Roadshow
Today’s episode is the fourth in a series of five live conversations as part Renew Fest and Resilient Byron's ‘Resilience & Regeneration Roadshow’; this episode from Ballina with special guest and local, Catherine Ingram.
Keen listeners will remember Catherine from a previous episode on the show (Ep16) in which we spoke deeply on her essay called ‘Facing Extinction’, and if you listened to that episode (which I *highly recommend*), you’ll recall her profound thoughts and reflections on our life as humans and the possibility or, as she says, the likelihood, that we may not be long for this planet. In that episode she shares her wisdom on not what we must do, but how we must be; not the things we should do to ‘fix’ the situation, but HOW we must approach life.
So in today’s live conversation, Catherine and I talk in more detail about what resilient and regenerative communities could and should look like... but not before facing some hard truths. And in the face of what feels like uncontrollable environmental and societal collapse she asks, “How do we manage our minds & hearts so that WE don’t collapse?”
We talk about the concept of resilience, and how many consider it to be quite rigid; this idea of things going back to the way they were. Catherine says this is a symptom of our privilege. That we have certain expectations of longevity and good health and lavish lifestyles and economic growth and we just EXPECT the party to continue.
She offers us a different definition of resilience, true resilience, one of being open to change and uncertainty, which allows us a very different lens through which to see the world.
She says that when our expectations don’t meet our reality, for example when facing impacts of social and environmental crises, rather than thinking about how we can be individually resilient, we must consider what we can give and contribute to our ever-changing world
This one, as all conversations with Catherine, was deep and profound. I think you’ll love it.
Re-imagining our food system @ The Great Local Lunch
Do you eat food?
Do you care where your food comes from, how it was grown, and who grows it?
If the answer is YES, then this is the episode for you, because today’s episode was recorded during the National Sustainable Living Festival’s ‘Great Local Lunch’, where I had the absolute pleasure to join a bunch of legends who are re-inventing and re-imagining what our food system could & should look like.
This was SUCH an interesting cast of characters, who are all at THE pointy end of regenerative farming, wild foods, and our future food systems.
We recorded these chats whilst Costa was hosting a live production set in the background… so there is some background noise, but it all just adds to the vibe and the feeling from the day.
In this episode you will hear from:
Maree Lowes & Charlie Arnott – Co-hosts of new impact production 'Eat Dirt', which starts with the premise that we have only 60 years of topsoil remaining, and aims to use storytelling to connect people to their food
Peter Hardwick - Wild food researcher and forager who has spent a career learning the wild origins of our foods. Peter speaks to how we limit ourselves from the enormity of edible plants out there that we don’t regard as standard due to our societal norms; plants that grow without fertiliser, without irrigation, and are resistant to pests and diseases
Blair Beattie - Co-owner of Harvest restaurant and currently working with to bring Farmer's Footprint to Australia. Blair is working to connect people to our food system in meaningful ways. He’s also always good for an expletive-filled rant.
Joel Orchard – A first-generation small-scale farmer and Co-founder and Chair of Young Farmers Connect, and someone who is really building this community of people re-connecting to food production and choosing to be custodians of our food system.
Jacob Birch – an Aboriginal man and researcher at Southern Cross University exploring the nutrient profile of native grains, who explains the cultural and ethical challenges of commercialising these ingredients. Jacob highlights to importance of having native people involved in the growing and selling of our native ingredients, lest we extract and commoditise these ingredients at the detriment to their traditional custodians
Venetia Scott – a new farmer working in the space of agroecology, and someone who re-structured her entire life from working in law and doing what society told her she should do to shedding her suburban life and working with the land. Venetia shares beautifully her story from turning her back on a secure income, turning to a different story, and reconnecting to Nature.
This episode really has everything… life changes, indigenous perspectives, wild ideas…. Blair swears, I inhale one of Joel’s dried crickets, there's a bunch of stuff going on in the background, and I really hope it gives you multiple perspectives from some incredible change-makers in our food system.
So please enjoy these conversations from guests at the NSLF’s Great Local Lunch :)
Richard Jones live @ the Resilience & Regeneration Roadshow
This conversation was recorded live, in Bangalow, as the third of five live interviews as part of Resilient Byron and Renew Fest's ‘Resilience & Regeneration Roadshow’
These are community forums in villages around the Byron Shire bringing people together to discuss and action how we can create resilient communities.
I was so grateful to have had the chance to sit in live conversation with Richard Jones who, back in the 70s wanted to make and sell ceramics at the markets but, by his own admission “kept getting side-tracked”
Those side-tracks included supporting major environmental campaigns, helping to establish Friends of the Earth Australia and Greenpeace Australia, and THEN serving in the NSW parliament for 15 years, often holding the balance of power on the cross bench and using it to negotiate to save old growth forests, create new marine parks, and protect Aboriginal rights.
Some side track!
Richard is an absolute joy to speak with, and you can’t help but smile listening to his bubbly enthusiasm.
But his quirky nature has meant that during his time in politics he was often chastised as a 'pot smoking nudist'… (I don’t know about you but a pot smoking nudist seems way more relatable than most politicians we see these days!)
Richard and I talk about his trips to inner space (literally, his acid trips), his reflections on politics and using his position of influence for good, and what he wants to see to create resilient communities in our local regions.
Importantly, he talks about how we need to change our expectations… for example how is it that one person can own a huge block of land and do nothing with it, or expect to rent it out at a massive price?
What if we use our land resources for appropriate housing or small scale agriculture, creating opportunities for agricultural jobs for young people and local food production, whilst also helping to address the issues of housing security and isolation?
Richard’s zest for life is infectious, and I think you’ll really enjoy hearing his perspectives and reflections on life.
You’ll also be pleased to know that Richard now has come full circle and makes and sells ceramics at the markets, under the banner Rainforest Ceramics, with a portion of all sales going to rainforest conservation.
Please enjoy this conversation from the Bangalow leg of the Resilience & Regeneration Roadshow, with Richard Jones.