New Stories

Nurturing the Feminine Soul in Mother Earth

From Monoculture To Diverse Ecosystems

posted 14 Jul 2018, 21:06 by Peter Harney

At the recent 150 Years Gathering at Treacy in Parkville Melbourne to mark the arrival of Ambrose Treacy and his co-workers to Oceania, ideas were put forward regarding the self-organizing and self-renewing principles present during times of change and transition in institutions.  

The Two Loop Theory provided insight into how various groups actively promote the emerging future, as human and the wider planetary consciousness brings forth a new way of being earth community.  Participants were asked if they were midwives (those who assist new life and birth), fixers (those who work conscientiously to maintain the status quo), illuminators (those who constantly throw light on what is broken and what is striving to be born) and the wayfarers (those who risk and lean into the future attuning constantly to the movement of the wild earth spirit who blows where she wills).  Where do we expend your energies?  Are we prepared to change for the sake of the planetary community of life in order to co-create a world more grounded in sustaining the diversity of life?

If we are intimately interconnected with the whole earth community then this theory challenges present governance
 structures, how we engage with the agenda of the world, how we organize communities and how we direct and expend our energy and resources.
The first stage in the process of creating a more sustainable future is genuinely connecting with the wider earth community (see Peter Plastrick, Madeline Taylor and John Cleveland (2014) Connecting to Change the World).  We need to share new ideas, develop and experiment with new infrastructures, name our assumptions, risk to be on the edge or even outside the present system so as to release the unpredictable and novel Spirit of Co-Creation.  Stage two is about sharing the new springs of hope and inviting others to dare to do something different in alignment with the new prioritising of fundamental values.  The fixers have their role of warning of the dangers but must guard against three debilitating voices – the voice of judgment, the voice of cynicism and the voice of fear.  The illuminators continue to ask the hard questions and look for answers in new spaces. Stage three sees new centres of practice emerge, new systems of support and connection and a diversification of how to belonging to the larger group.  Of course the wayfarers and the midwives are looking beyond the present and move to action, failing often in their attempts so as to learn and explore different possibilities.

As Goethe says unless you know this dying and birthing you are merely a dreary guest on earth.

An assumption of the emerging future is that a different and challenging spirituality will be integral to the new way of living. It will be responsive to the agenda of the world and attuned to sustaining the diversity of life on the planet.  Systems usually adopt a ‘monoculture way’ of operating which leads to ‘group think’ and institutional protection so evident in the recent review of the banking sector.  What is needed is a move to a more diverse and vibrant ‘ecosystem way’ that is self-renewing and self-organizing. 

Surely we must now focus on the positive signs of new life and see where this creative and diverse ecological life is budding forth.  Communities of life seem to be finding new expressions in places such as the Viridian community in Brisbane, where the residents have moved out of traditional ‘monoculture’ type communities and joined a new community with enormous diversity of spiritualties, lifestyles and ways of seeing. It is an engaging place to visit and engage.  The Archer Mountain Earth Community has over the past 18 expanded its border to embrace a wider community who gather on the second Sunday of each month to share insights from the unfolding story of 13.7 billion years of creation and its implications for spirituality and life on our planet.  This has led to the embracing of a variety of perspectives that offer insight and enrichment to those who gather.

We are already exploring new possibilities as the Spirit continues to move in our midst.  What is needed is leadership that is reshaping itself to be local, mutually collaborative and facilitating diversity.  We are the co-creators of our future, which emerges when we listen attentively to the cry of the earth and those made poor.  As Pope Francis said recently, when asked who were the poorest of the poor today, he responded ‘Mother Earth’.

How do we connect and help restore ‘Mother Earth’?  Are we being asked to create communities that are of their very nature connected to earth and lived within open and diverse local communities?  Can we encourage the wayfarers, illuminators and midwives to do their work of tilling the soil so as to give birth to new and diverse life forms? 

P H July 2018

The Wonderful World of Trees event - a huge success

posted 21 May 2018, 15:42 by Peter Harney

Over the weekend of May 19 & 20 the Archer Mountain Earth Community offered hospitality to 19 members of the extended community gathered around Dr Kevin McDonnell who offered an exciting and informative journey through the life of trees.  The focus was local trees that are thriving on the earth of the Archer and those that have created a subtropical rainforest on Neurum Creek.   Some Strangler figs in this forest are possibly 500 years old.  The loggers who did not like the oils that exuded from their trunk spared them.  Some trees have a very effective defence system even against the human species.

We began with an exploration of the ancient Gondwanaland that was covered in lush rainforests and conifers which gradually changed into subtropical forests as the continents began to form, as Gondwanaland broke apart over millennia.  The continents of Africa and Australia continue to move gradually north by a few centimetres each year.  The conifers at the Archer are, Cook Pine, Kauri Pine, Hoop Pine, Bunya Pine and one foreigner from Brazil, Paranha Pine.

The eucalyptus tree, which is the dominant species in the area, sends out a distinctive scent that heralded the land of Australia for those who came by sailing ship to these shores.  The eucalypts have up to 700 species and they make up most of the tree community of the Stanley Valley.  Trees are complex living systems that release into the atmosphere 10 times the volume of water than an equivalent area of ocean.  Trees sequester carbon dioxide and provide the human species with clean oxygen necessary for life.  Eucalypts exude a distinctive oil that they release into the air giving large expanses of eucalyptus a covering of a distinctive blue haze.  This has resulted in the name ‘The Blue Mountains’ for the Great Divide west of Sydney.

A walk in the subtropical rainforest led by Phil Boyle introduce the group to the Strangler Fig whose fruit contains a flower within it, which is fertilized by minute wasps.  Phil cut a fallen piece of fruit and there were the flowers and wasps inside.  What a wonderful example of the ingenious ways of nature for regeneration. The forest path was lined by stinging trees, native elm, black bean, white booyong, red kamala, laurel trees and soaring white oaks with their elegant buttresses giving them stability and much needed carbon dioxide and water.  The fallen giant fig ended the journey into this ancient forest.   It had become a ‘nurse log’ now regenerating new species and an abundant diversity of life through the flooding in of winter sunshine.

The final session of the afternoon was led by Michelle Coates who showed how to make earth friendly domestic cleaning agents and how to create essential oil balms for healing.  The tree’s very essence is to give life and to give its life to the full.

After a fireside chat that gathered the thread of learnings from the day, the stage was set for Sunday morning where the great forests of the planet were to be introduced. 40% of the world’s oxygen is produced by rainforest and the tropical forests provide $108 billion a year to healing and health care. Sadly Australia has lost 25% of its rainforests, 45% of open forest, 32% woodland forest and 30% of Mallee forest in 200 years.  Those gathered resolved to take action with others to ensure the future regeneration and flourishing of trees.  They have planned for AELA (Australia Earth Law Alliance) representatives to speak to them in the near future in order to form alliances with like-minded groups. 

The two days were celebrated through the planting of a Norfolk Island Pine, one of the Gondwanaland conifers that was not on Archer land. 

In an article by John Feehan from the University College, Dublin, the group stopped and pondered this statement:
…from a mustard seed of nothingness that contained all the possibility within itself, at the beginning of all things 14.7 billion years ago…This is the Universe Story familiar in outline now to most of us, and how thrilled to bits Nicholas of Cusa would have been had he been alive today instead of in the 15th Century, when his imagination conjured with images of all that is, all that (as we would say) evolution has achieved, as not just God’s revelation of God: but as the very unfolding of Godself….each aspect of creation in its own way is a living ex-plication of an aspect of divinity. 

PH (21/05/2018)

The Wonderful world of Trees

posted 13 May 2018, 15:08 by Peter Harney

Join Dr Kevin McDonnell, our scholar in residence for the month of May at the Archer Mountain Earth Community. See the flyer below for details.


posted 13 May 2018, 15:03 by Peter Harney

Beat Plastic Pollution, the theme for World Environment Day 2018, is a call to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time. Around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. 500 billion disposable plastic bags are used worldwide every year. In total, 50 per cent of the plastic we use is single use.  Nearly one third of the plastic packaging we use escapes collection systems, which means that it ends up clogging our city streets and polluting our natural environment. Every year, up to 13 million tons of plastic leak into our oceans, where it smothers coral reefs and threatens vulnerable marine wildlife. The plastic that ends up in the oceans can circle the Earth four times in a single year, and it can persist for up to 1,000 years before it fully disintegrates.

This year’s World Environment Day provides an opportunity for each of us to embrace the many ways that we can help to combat plastic pollution around the world. And you don’t have to wait until 5 June to act.There are so many things that we can do – from asking the restaurants you frequent to stop using plastic straws, to bringing your own coffee mug to work, to pressuring your local authorities to improve how they manage your city’s waste. Here are some other specific ideas:

  • Bring own shopping bags to the supermarket
  • Pressure food suppliers to use non-plastic packaging
  • Refuse plastic cutlery
  • Pick up any plastic you see the next time you go for a walk on the beach
What else can we do to tackle this problem? 

Share your ideas on social media using the twitter hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution.

Maleny Wood Expo

posted 19 Apr 2018, 20:06 by Peter Harney

5-7 May. Maleny Wood Expo. Join Barung Landcare at the Maleny showgrounds. Gates open at 8:30AM. Onsite parking available by donation. 

More information can be found here.

Love Song to the Earth Concert

posted 19 Apr 2018, 20:05 by Peter Harney

5 May 7pm - Love Song to the Earth concert hosted by SCCAN at the Lake Kawana Community Centre. 

Early bird tickets available now (click here)!

New Renewables Village coming to World Environment Day

posted 19 Apr 2018, 20:02 by Peter Harney

The Sunshine Coast Climate Action Now (SCCAN) is hosting the Renewables Expo in conjunction with the World Environment Day Festival on Sunday 3 June.

This year, SCCAN plan to demonstrate a working renewables village linking solar and wind power with battery storage and electric vehicle with a small dwelling. Local businesses and organisations with an interest in renewable energy will again be exhibiting their products and services.

For more information on the Expo visit the SCCAN website here.

Sunshine Coast celebrates World Environment Day

posted 19 Apr 2018, 19:59 by Peter Harney

Come to the Sunshine Coast World Environment Day Festival on 3 June at Maroochydore Rotary Park Cotton Tree from 10am to 5pm.  Great food, bands and environmental ideas.

The One Who Planted Trees

posted 19 Apr 2018, 19:57 by Peter Harney

Jean Giono, a journalist, tells a wonderful story of Eleard Bouffler who he met while walking in Haute-Provence, a desolate and arid area in France.  This solitary peaceful shepherd having lost his wife and only son, planted thousands of trees and was able to release the hidden life of the earth that was lying waiting to be re-born.  The ancient streams began to flow again and the region became a place of natural beauty enjoyed by many people from around the world.

The Archer Mountain Earth Community invited the extended community to come on two Saturdays in April to plant 400 trees.  It was an ambitious exercise in transforming the seeming dormant earth of the Archer.  The process of digging a hole in the soil of Earth, throwing in an handful of tree starter and then some garden-soil.  Meanwhile the sapling trees were soaked in water and seasol liquid fertilizer before being planted.  Around each tree newspaper was spread and covered with a layer of dark forest mulch.  Like Elead Bouffler this small group of 33 achieved the seeming impossible - they planted 400 native trees.

In 5 years those who visit the Archer will walk through their very own native forest, filled with the song of native birds and the radiant colours of butterflies all enjoying the gift that this group of volunteers created when they dared to take time to plant trees.

PH on behalf of the Archer Mountain Earth Community (April 16, 2018)

From Easter Rising to the new life of trees

posted 8 Apr 2018, 12:46 by Peter Harney

Easter sunrise came suddenly.   The sun, hidden by dark rain clouds, in an instant broke through with brilliant radiance to light the landscape with a flood of golden light.  The Archer Mountain Earth Community, gathered at Julian Cabin overlooking the Stanley River valley, were awe struck at the sight.  Their anticipation was heightened by the playing of the ‘Deer Cry’ and Irish ballad describing the coming of light of the Mystery that breaks forth each morn. 

The following Saturday brought 21 friends of the Archer to plant trees.  After being welcomed onto country by Tony Hempenstall they enjoyed the story of ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’.  A simple elderly man planted tens of thousands of trees in the desolate mountains of France in the latter years of his life that changed a desert landscape into a forest where the ancient streams began to flow again.  On the slope near the sanctuary over a 100 trees were planted each one with great care and attention in the spirit of the elderly Frenchman.  Hand-planters were used to dig the holes; garden soil and tree-starter were mixed and placed in the hole before the sapling was planted.  The Archer extended community will plant more trees next Saturday April 14th starting at 9.30am so all are welcome.

Come and enjoy a day giving back to creation some of what creation has given you.

PH on behalf of the Archer Mountain Earth Community (April 9)


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