Dec 072013 Melbourne

Permablitz (noun): An informal gathering involving a day on which a group of at least two people come together to achieve the following:

  • create or add to edible gardens where someone lives
  • share skills related to permaculture and sustainable living
  • build community networks
  • have fun

Permablitzes are free events, open to the public, with free workshops, shared food, where you get some exercise and have a wonderful time.  To be defined as a permablitz each event must also be preceded by a permaculture design by a designer with a Permaculture Design Certificate.  The network runs on reciprocity, and in order to qualify for a permablitz you usually need to come to some first, although there can be exceptions in this case.  We’ll explain more about all these ideas below.


 Posted by at 3:52 pm
Dec 072013

This group is currently in the foundation phase, and Aims to assist in networking  Community Environment groups – initially in Sydney Australia

All Links tagged SCEN are either part of the core network or an affiliated site or organisation

WordPress network at

 Posted by at 3:21 pm
Aug 202013

We need nature in our lives more than ever today, and as more of us are living in cities it must be urban nature. Biophilic Cities are cities that contain abundant nature; they are cities that care about, seek to protect, restore and grow this nature, and that strive to foster deep connections and daily contact with the natural world. Nature is not something optional, but absolutely essential to living a happy, healthy and meaningful life. This site is devoted to understanding how cities can become more biophilic, more full of nature, and to telling the stories of the places and people working to creatively build these urban-nature connections.

Biophilic Cities: What are they?

Biophilia is a term popularized by Harvard University myrmecologist and conservationist E.O. Wilson to describe the extent to which humans are hard-wired to need connection with nature and other forms of life. More specifically, Wilson describes it this way: “Biophilia…is the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms. Innate means hereditary and hence part of ultimate human nature.” (Wilson, 1993, p.31). To Wilson biophia is really a “complex of learning rules” developed over thousands of years of evolution and human-environment interaction.

Evidence of the emotional and psychological benefits of nature is mounting and impressive (research shows its ability to reduce stress, to aid recovery from illness, to enhance cognitive skills and academic performance, to aid in moderating the effects of ADHD, autism and other child illnesses). Recent research suggests even that we are more generous in the presence of nature; all these values are in addition to the immense economic value of the ecological services provided by natural systems.

Support for the practice of biophilic design has been growing and there are now many exemplary examples of buildings that seek to integrate natural features and qualities. We recognize the need for biophilic workplaces, for healing gardens and spaces in hospitals, and for homes and apartments that provide abundant daylight, natural ventilation, plants and greenery. Less attention, however, has been focused on the city or urban scale, despite the fact that the planet continues an inexorable trend in the direction of urbanization. Urban residents need nature more than ever, and much work is needed to find creative and effective means for incorporating it into urban environments.

It is likely that the benefits of close contact with nature are deeper and even more profound, and the potential to make a difference by integrating nature directly into our lives, even greater than we realize. Nature ought not to be an afterthought, and ought not to only be viewed in terms of the (considerable to be sure) functional benefits typically provided (benefits of trees, green rooftops, wetlands for managing stormwater, for mediating air and water pollutants, for addressing urban heat island effects, and so on). The elements of a deeper concept of integrating nature into everyday living include a recognition of some of the following:

Important Ties to Place. There are considerable place-strengthening benefits and place-commitments that derive from knowledge of local nature; from direct personal contact; enhanced knowledge, and deeper connections = greater stewardship, and willingness to take personal actions on behalf of place and home;

Connections and Connectedness. Caring for place and environment, essential for human wellbeing and in turn essential ingredient in caring for each other;

A Need for Wonder and Awe in Our Lives. Nature has the potential to amaze us, stimulate us, propel us forward to want to learn more and understand more fully our world; Nature adds a kind of wonder value to our lives unlike almost anything else;

Meaningful Lives Require Nature. The qualities of wonder and fascination, the ability to nurture deep personal connection and involvement, visceral engagement in something larger than and outside oneself, offer the potential for meaning in life few other things can provide;

Urbanists and city planners have special opportunities and unique obligations to advance biophilic city design, utilizing a variety of strategies and tools, applied on a number of geographical and governmental scales. The agenda is one that must extend beyond conventional urban parks, and beyond building-centric green design. It is about redefining the very essence of cities as places of wild and restorative nature, from rooftops to roadways to riverfronts. It is about understanding cities as places that already harbor much nature and places that can become, through bold vision and persistent practice, even greener and richer in the nature they contain.

What a biophilic city is or could be is an open question, and it is hoped that this website will help to stimulate discussion of this. As a tentative starting point I offer some of the following as key qualities of biophilic cities:

  • Biophilic cities are cities of abundant nature in close proximity to large numbers of urbanites; biophilic cities are biodiverse cities, that value, protect and actively restore this biodiversity; biophilic cities are green and growing cities, organic and natureful;
  • In biophilic cities, residents feel a deep affinity with the unique flora, fauna and fungi found there, and with the climate, topography, and other special qualities of place and environment that serve to define the urban home; In biophilic cities citizens can easily recognize common species of trees, flowers, insects and birds (and in turn care deeply about them);
  • Biophilic cities are cities that provide abundant opportunities to be outside and to enjoy nature through strolling, hiking, bicycling, exploring; biophilic cities nudge us to spend more time amongst the trees, birds and sunlight.
  • Biophilic cities are rich multisensory environments, the where the sounds of nature (and other sensory experiences) are as appreciated as much as the visual or ocular experience; biophilic cities celebrate natural forms, shapes, and materials;
  • Biophilic cities place importance on education about nature and biodiversity, and on providing many and varied opportunities to learn about and directly experience nature; In biophilic cities there are many opportunities to join with others in learning about, enjoying, deeply connecting with, and helping to steward over nature, whether though a nature club, organized hikes, camping in city parks, or volunteering for nature restoration projects.
  • Biophilic cities invest in the social and physical infrastructure that helps to bring urbanites in closer connection and understanding of nature, whether through natural history museums, wildlife centers, school-based nature initiatives, or parks and recreation programs and projects, among many others;
  • Biophilic cities are globally responsible cities that recognize the importance of actions to limit the impact of resource use on nature and biodiversity beyond their urban borders; biophilic cities take steps to actively support the conservation global nature;

These are but a few of the ways a city might be seen as biophilic. What do you think? Are there other ways, and other important qualities or dimensions not listed above?

Check out Tim Beatley’s Imagining Biophilic Cities for more.

 Posted by at 10:49 am
Jul 182012
About the ProjectWhen Annie Leonard and her friends at Free Range Studios set out in 2007 to share what she’d learned about the way we make, use and throw away Stuff, they thought 50,000 views would be a good result for her ‘20-minute cartoon about trash.’ Today, with over 15 million views and counting, The Story of Stuff is one of the most watched environmental-themed online movies of all time.

Annie founded the non-profit Story of Stuff Project in 2008 to respond to tens of thousands of viewer requests for more information and ways to get involved. We create short, easily shareable online movies that explore some of the key features of our relationship with Stuff—including how we can make things better; we provide high quality educational resources and programs to everyone from teachers and people of faith to business and community leaders; and we support the learning and action of the over 350,000 members of the Story of Stuff community.

The Story of Stuff Project is proud to be fiscally sponsored by San Francisco’s Tides Center. We are supported by grants from private and public foundations, revenue from speaking appearances and DVD and book sales, and contributions from people like you.

Please help us keep our films and other content free by making a secure, tax-deductible on-line contribution today.

 Posted by at 5:54 pm
Jun 062012

Rather than talk about the problems, we seek to “do something” by building alliances between businesses, government and the community. We identify problems and then find answers that achieve measurable benefits for the environment and our community.

As part of our work, we campaign on environmental and social issues. Sometimes on our own, but more often in partnership with others. See our Campaigns section on this website for more detail on our work.

Who’s behind ‘Do Something’?

‘Do Something’ was established by Planet Ark founders Jon Dee and Pat Cash in association with Tina Jackson, former Executive Director of the National Trust of Australia.


 Posted by at 2:12 pm
May 252012
 Posted by at 1:08 pm