Tiny Houses • Eco Villages (polkadot community) March 2019

"If its not fun, it's not sustainable"
~Jimmy Hirst

Over the last two days I attended the second Polkadot Tiny Houses & Eco Villages Seminar after having had a wonderful experience attending the first seminar in August 2018.

I know some people hear ‘Tiny home’ and instantly think “I could never!” thinking instantly of the idea of having to squeeze every part of their life into a tiny footprint but the movement is so much more than downsizing.

The greater discussion here is one of intentional living and of building communities in a sustainable way. It’s a message of regeneration, not only for the environment, but also for connection with each other in a world where we are more and more disconnected from each other. It's not necessarily about downsizing your living residence, which is definitely not for everyone.

The talks held at this seminar approach sustainable living, not only from the basis of downsizing and minimising physical footprint, but rather from a holistic perspective, taking into consideration all aspects of living for the betterment of all life on this planet.

Conversations abounded, both with the speakers and with those attending, addressing many issues we (humans as one tribe) face in continuing to live on the planet, such as housing affordability, designing in alignment with nature and permaculture, economic impacts, peer-to-peer systems, retrofitting, and the fundamental need of human connection with each other and our environment.

There is a shift in consciousness happening in the world as we become more aware of the change that must happen for us to continue to live on this planet. Our resources are not infinite, and we are fast approaching what is known as Earth Overshoot Day (the day of the year when humanity has used more from nature than can be produced for that year).

As Morag Gamble presented statistics in her talk showing research from Global Footprint Network (the organisation who observes and records humanity’s use of natural materials and the damage they cause and who provides the Earth Overshoot Day info) I was shocked to hear that globally Earth Overshoot Day was August 1st for 2019 and, even worse, for Australia it’s only a few weeks away on March 31st. This should be enough to make a change for the better and it’s not too late.

It’s also not all doom and gloom. These events are positive experiences of exploration, inciting and inspiring us to Kanjini (the indigenous view similar to African Ubuntu representing reconnection with each other); to come together to find a solution, by community, for community. Together we can create a new, better world.

I want to add to this an explanation of my opening quote by Jimmy Hirst as this resonated with me in a powerful way. We humans are creatures always seeking pleasure, we crave the release of Dopamine in our bodies; that feeling of pleasure and enjoyment and reward. As such, any progress we wish to make absolutely must include some form of enjoyment for us to want to participate and continue to do so. This is the key to getting people involved in movement.

Jimmy and the Polkadot team have done a wonderful job of putting these events together, from the food, the speakers including celebrities (or at least they are to me!) like Morag Gamble, Bryce Langston and Lara Nobel, integrated panel discussions, and the Tiny Home displays right down to the remarkably entertaining MC, Tim Burns who segues between talks with finesse while wearing board shorts and bare feet. Polkadot has plans for a festival in the near future also, which should be an amazing amalgamation of fun, learning and community.

I’ve barely brushed on the topics discussed at this event or the deep conversations had, and to give it the attention and kudos it deserves would make this a very large post. Suffice it to say that if you care about making a difference, being a force for positive change, as I do, then I encourage you to look up Polkadot. Come along to the next seminar to learn more from the community groups, civic leaders, academics, experts and leaders, as well as from each other. Learn, grow, connect.

Oh, by the way, my favourite Tiny Home on display was the Mooloolaba 7.2 by Aussie Tiny Houses as seen in this posts images. The design is open, contemporary and includes great use of compact space.

For more information:

Jimmy Hirst is director of Polkadot • Tiny Houses and event organiser. More info here: https://www.polkadot.org.au

Our Permaculture Life: Morag Gamble is living, breathing and working permaculture principles and founded the Permaculture Education Institute. More info here: https://permacultureeducationinstitute.org/

Bryce Langston is a YouTube celebrity when it comes to tiny homes with his show 'Living Big In A Tiny Home'. More info here: https://www.youtube.com/user/livingbigtinyhouse

Lara Nobel is an Architect and Carpenter with a profound knowledge of living and building tiny with her business The Tiny House Company. More info here: http://www.tinyhousecompany.com.au/

Aussie Tiny Houses is the designer and manufacturer of The Mooloolaba 7.2 more info here: https://aussietinyhouses.com.au

Global Footprint Network is the organisation researching Earth Overshoot Day. More info here: https://www.footprintnetwork.org/our-w…/earth-overshoot-day/

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Guest Post by Penne Chantel