Ecozoic Living

Cosmic Collecting 4 Nov 2018

posting by Jana

One of the resources featured in this post is the theory of the growth mindset by Carol Dweck.

One of the resources featured in this post is the theory of the growth mindset by Carol Dweck.

I’m distracted as I write this, watching a magpie feed its fledgling on a branch outside my window. The young bird seems to be practicing foraging in between serves from the adult, picking away at the bark of the big pine. What are you noticing where you are?

Here are some resources for Ecozoic Living (learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner) that came across my path this week. You’ll find more resources for each of these items further down the post.

The Growth Mindset

In the learning department, I was introduced to the work of Carol Dweck on mindset, specifically the difference between a growth mindset and fixed mindset:

growth mindset - the understanding that abilities and intelligence can be developed

fixed mindset - the belief that traits, intelligence, talents are given or fixed

Here’s a quick intro video, followed by a few links to learn more.

Want to learn more?

  1. Maria Popova summarises Dweck’s mindsets work here at (short)

  2. This article in the Atlantic is about what the growth mindset is and isn’t. (medium)

  3. Order a paperback copy of the book Mindset by Carol Dweck. (long)

The Order of the Sacred Earth

In conversation with a new friend over lunch in her back garden, with grunting male koalas for a soundtrack, I learned about an initiative founded by Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jennifer Listug to bring people together in a community of vowed commitment in service to Earth.

It’s a self-organising movement of people living the question of ‘how do we become the best lovers and defenders of the Earth possible’ (from founder Skylar Wilson in the video below).

Want to learn more?

  1. Here’s a review of the book Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action. (short)

  2. Interviews with the founders. (medium)

  3. Buy the book. (long)


One of my favourite in-box treats is the Sunday newsletter from In this week’s edition, blog creator Maria Popova introduces her new book, Figuring.

 explores the complexities, varieties, and contradictions of love, and the human search for truth, meaning, and transcendence, through the interwoven lives of several historical figures across four centuries — beginning with the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion, and ending with the marine biologist and author Rachel Carson, who catalyzed the environmental movement. Stretching between these figures is a cast of artists, writers, and scientists — mostly women, mostly queer — whose public contribution has risen out of their unclassifiable and often heartbreaking private relationships to change the way we understand, experience, and appreciate the universe. Among them are the astronomer Maria Mitchell, who paved the way for women in science; the sculptor Harriet Hosmer, who did the same in art; the journalist and literary critic Margaret Fuller, who sparked the feminist movement; and the poet Emily Dickinson.

Like her blog, Popova’s book is about ‘an inquiry into what it means to live a good life.’

Maria Popova. Photograph by Elizabeth Lippman for  The New York Times

Maria Popova. Photograph by Elizabeth Lippman for The New York Times

Want to learn more?

  1. Check out (short)

  2. Listen to Maria Popova’s On Being interview: (medium)

  3. Buy the book. (long)

Year of Living the Community: Week 34


posting by Jana

by Courtney Martin and Wendy MacNaughton (click on pic for link to purchase)

by Courtney Martin and Wendy MacNaughton (click on pic for link to purchase)

This is precisely the time when artists go to work... There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. That is how civilizations heal.
— Toni Morrison

This week BrainPickings featured the print work of illustrator Wendy MacNaughton and writer Courtney Martin, described as 'a mighty manifesto for our time and a testament to the only mechanism by which the creative spirit has ever pulled humanity out of every abyss of its own making.'

Read more about the project and find links to the artists' inspirations at

It's pretty Ecozoic advice, I reckon:

This is your assignment.

Feel all the things. Feel the hard things. The inexplicable things, the things that make you disavow humanity’s capacity for redemption. Feel all the maddening paradoxes. Feel overwhelmed, crazy. Feel uncertain. Feel angry. Feel afraid. Feel powerless. Feel frozen. And then FOCUS.

Pick up your pen. Pick up your paintbrush. Pick up your damn chin. Put your two calloused hands on the turntables, in the clay, on the strings. Get behind the camera. Look for that pinprick of light. Look for the truth (yes, it is a thing—it still exists.)

Focus on that light. Enlarge it. Reveal the fierce urgency of now. Reveal how shattered we are, how capable of being repaired. But don’t lament the break. Nothing new would be built if things were never broken. A wise man once said: there’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Get after that light.

This is your assignment.

Year of Living the Community: Week 33


a post by CCP convener, Jana

the 'canvas' awaits

the 'canvas' awaits

As part of the Experiment in Ecozoic Living, I've been enjoying participating in a Coursera specialisation on Journey of the Universe: A Story for Our Times.  Three of the four courses are a varied and deep immersion into the idea of the Ecozoic era and the new universe story; the fourth is a 'capstone' course with a project focus. Learners can choose to work in one of three areas: Arts & Media, Education, or Transformation. As a way of exploring Ecozoic Living from a new angle, I've chosen Arts & Media and hope to complete a found-object sculpture. 

The idea of the sculpture is 'Gateway to the Ecozoic', thinking in terms of the 'shift in consciousness' towards human beings learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner. Ecozoic Living is a conscious choice to enter into a new way of being, like opening a gate onto a new path. 

On the weekend, I found my 'gate.' (The actual farm gates and Victorian fence gates at the reclaimed building supply place were cost prohibitive but there was a rickety old metal screen door frame going cheap.)

This week begins the search for objects. I'm hoping to incorporate all five elements: fire, earth, water, air and metal as well as some plants. And I hope I'll be able to make it kinetic and interactive. It's supposed to be completed by mid-June so I've got my work cut out for me. 

Other projects in the course include a Cosmic Drive someone is hoping to create along a stretch of highway in Tasmania, a public information campaign on how to continue to observe one's Hindu commitments in ways that are more 'mutually beneficial' to the Ganges and the people of faith in that region, and an amazingly comprehensive curriculum about the new universe story based on the Montessori model of education. 

Unfortunately, there has been a technical issue and once we review other participants' projects we can't access them anymore. Someone in the group has taken the initiative to invite us to share more with each other on one of the discussion forums, which is great. I'm not alone in my hope that participating in the course will inspire, connect, and equip me for Ecozoic Living. 

It's amazing to realise that people all over the world are engaging with these ideas and the new universe story in such creative ways. 

this beautiful collage 'borrowed' from

this beautiful collage 'borrowed' from

Year of Living the Community: Week 31


Jana, posting for the CCP Experiment Team

Limes in abundance are part of the lush growth of  The Mulch Pit  community garden in Darwin. Photo by Cosmic Person and  TMP facilitator Lucy . 

Limes in abundance are part of the lush growth of The Mulch Pit community garden in Darwin. Photo by Cosmic Person and TMP facilitator Lucy

(Permaculture is) a revolution. But it’s the sort of revolution that no one will notice. It might get a little shadier. Buildings might function better. You might have less money to earn because your food is all around you and you don’t have any energy costs. Giant amounts of money might be freed up in society so that we can provide for ourselves better... So it’s a revolution. But permaculture is anti-political. There is no room for politicians or administrators or priests. And there are no laws either. The only ethics we obey are: care of the earth, care of people, and reinvestment in those ends.
— Bill Mollison

In the course of finding material for this week's daily Cosmic Quotes, I looked to Bill Mollison, founder of modern permaculture. Mollison died in September last year; his birthday is coming up this week, 4 May. He would have been 89 this year. His co-developer, David Holmgren, is considerably younger and is still going strong. Earlier this month Holmgren was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from CQ University which last year launched a graduate certificate program in Permaculture Design. 

My permaculture teacher is an amazing woman named Rosemary Morrow She's taught permaculture all over the world and continues to guide groups via Skype in Afghanistan, Greece, Argentina (to name a few pins on her map of influence).

I think this was succinctly put by Bill Mollison (co-founder of permaculture) when he said: Permaculture enables what is morally required and scientifically necessary. So for me, a scientist with moral learnings and wanting to be part of the solution and stop being part of the problem, permaculture through its principles and strategies meant that I didn’t have to do my own research, nor put together my own framework. It fell into place and gave my life foundations and meaning. I love living permaculture because the techniques are not always evident and so there is always room for creative personal response.
— Rosemary Morrow

It was a permaculture design class with Rosemary in Darwin 8 years ago that inspired Cosmic Person Gai Nowland and me to suggest to a group of friends that we try converting an unused hard scrabble parking lot into a garden. Soon enough - since things grow quickly in the tropics - The Mulch Pit emerged. Gai coined our motto all those years ago: Veggies grow in veggie gardens, flowers grow in flower gardens...and people grow in community gardens.

The Mulch Pit  permaculture garden, Rapid Creek NT

The Mulch Pit permaculture garden, Rapid Creek NT

It was the permaculture basic motto that caught my attention all those years ago and still guides my life and work. Care for people; Care for the Earth; Enough for all. I think it's pretty Cosmic. 

Here's the Cosmic Quote from Bill Mollison:

Year of Living the Community: Week 28


Greg Quicke aka Space Gandalf from ABC Stargazing Live

Greg Quicke aka Space Gandalf from ABC Stargazing Live

The CCP team watched one night of the ABC Stargazing Live 3-night program this week. Sadly, we can't claim to be amongst the 10,000 viewers who discovered a new solar system when 'The show's viewers were called on to hunt exoplanets (beyond our solar system) by analysing observations of about 100,000 stars via the Zooniverse website and recently downloaded data from the NASA telescope.' A professor of astrophysics at Oxford, Chris Lintott, said the discovery will help them test how planets are made. Closer to home, experts were unimpressed (a NSW prof says,'These discoveries are common as dirt nowadays' - party pooper). Brian Cox, host of the program, thought it was significant, and that's good enough. 

Plus we were introduced to Space Gandalf.  

As for the navel gazing, CCP is checking in with Arne Naess's idea of living in a Deep Ecology way. The notion of 'tends toward' is helpful so that this doesn't become another way to beat ourselves up. How are we tending towards these things this week is vibrant reflection for 'learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner.' 

Deep Ecology & Lifestyle, Arne Naess (1984) 

Deep Ecology & Lifestyle, Arne Naess (1984) 

Year of Living the Community: Week 27

everything you need to become an amateur astronomer  here

everything you need to become an amateur astronomer here

Suddenly, all that's known about the universe at this moment is going to be on TV. How cool is that? 

That's the week for CCP planned then:


Over three consecutive nights across both ABC, ABC2 and ABC iview, renowned British Professor Brian Cox and presenter Julia Zemiro are joined by a cast of Australia’s leading scientists and some familiar faces to inspire the nation to ‘look up’ and appreciate the unique wonders of space and our cosmos.

Broadcasting live from the Siding Spring Observatory, on the edge of the Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran, NSW, Professor Cox and Julia will lead a breathtaking journey through space, using state-of-the-art technology and interacting live with viewers. 

Professor Cox and Julia will be joined by experts including astrophysicist Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith from the CSIRO; astronomer Greg Quicke; Indigenous Australian Michael Anderson who, as a senior Lawman and a knowledge holder, shares some of the ancient wisdoms of his Peoples' connection to the universe; and 'Citizen Science' advocate Dr Chris Lintott. Joining the experts will be familiar faces including actor comedian Josh Thomas and Gardening Australia's Costa Georgiadis as they take part in exploring space. ABC News Presenter Kumi Taguchi will also help anchor the series and take part in regular live crosses. 

There’s nowhere better in the world to cast your eyes to the heavens than the Southern Hemisphere. Here we can see more bright stars and constellations than in the Northern Hemisphere – and it’s not just because the skies are clearer. From the great southern land, we look directly out into the vast heart of the Milky Way. Siding Spring Observatory is regarded as Australia’s premier optical and infrared astronomical observatory, operated by the Australian National University, and it’s from here that viewers will be taken on a stunning ride through the universe.

With a mixture of live crosses and pre-recorded segments that will take viewers on a space odyssey, Professor Cox and Julia will look at the Milky Way (episode 1), Planets (episode 2) and Aliens(episode 3), teaching us everything we’ve always wanted to know about the Solar System. 

In their own unique style, the pair will tackle some of the most intriguing questions in astronomy, such as what happens if you were sucked into a Black Hole, and do aliens exist? Closer to home, there will also be hints and tips for getting started in stargazing and advice on navigating your way around the skies.

Following each night’s Stargazing Live broadcast on ABC will be Stargazing Live: Back To Earth, a 30-minute special on ABC2 in which viewers can use social media to put questions directly to Professor Cox and Julia, send in their favourite astronomy pictures and take part in astronomy related discussions and debates live on air.

Throughout the series, the Stargazing Live audience will be encouraged to help make scientific history as they’re invited to join an online experiment to discover a brand new planet, far outside the confines of our solar system.

Year of Living the Community: Week 26


blooming tumeric in the CCP HQ rooftop garden...we grow soil and occasionally harvest vegetables

It's goal setting time as we hit the 6 month mark in the experiment in Ecozoic Living: learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner.

The primary learning goal is to complete and publish the Certificate Course in Ecozoic Living. Draft scripts for sections one and two are complete; three is half-way done (the curriculum will follow the same structure as this post). 

Learning to be present
Reinstating the arts salons that the team has been known for in the past: celebrating present moment creativity and mindfulness. 

Learning to be present to the planet
Jana is enrolled in a forest therapy guide course in the second half of the year.  "The practice follows the general principle that it is beneficial to spend time bathing in the atmosphere of the forest." The hope is for Jana to become certified as a guide in order to share this practice of being present to the planet with the Community of the Cosmic Person. 

Learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner
We plan to go for a second round of Adelaide City Council Green City Grants to add more green to the CCP HQ, and we're on the lookout for Earth advocacy opportunities. 

In addition to these specific developments, the team will continue to facilitate the website, Facebook page and conversation group, and the twitter feed. The intention is to inspire, connect, and equip others for Ecozoic Living. It's our effort to be the change we wish to see. 


Year of Living the Cosmic Community: Week 25


from little things ... little things grow bravely

What can it possibly mean for one person, or even 3 people, to experiment with Ecozoic Living? What can it mean for the people involved; what can it mean for the planet? 

Next week marks the 6-month anniversary of the Year of Living the Community of the Cosmic Person in which shared householders Paul, Mandy, and Jana have given focus and attention to 'learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner'. We'll think ahead to the next six months in the anniversary post, but for now a look back. 

The first movement of Ecozoic Living is learning. In these first six months, here is some of the learning we've been doing.

  • The CCP experiment community have been learning the Universe Story. We've watched Journey of the Universe a couple of times (once thanks to Cosmic Person John B). We've been reading, too:  The Universe is a Green Dragon, Journey of the Universe, The Universe Story, and Big History. It's been an immersion into the story of the unfolding universe as our story, as cosmic creation story, as mythic well of spiritual energy for fresh understanding of the role of the human species on the planet. 
  • Jana has completed and shared lots of learning from three of four courses in the specialisation 'Journey of the Universe: A Story for our Times' created and presented by Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grimm, and Brian Swimme, under the auspices of Yale University on Coursera. These courses offer various reflections on the universe story from the sciences and the humanities and provide opportunities for learners to discuss the meaning and potential of the story as a source of personal and communal empowerment in the face of the global environmental crisis. 

Learning to be Present
The second movement in Ecozoic Living is learning to be present. It's about exploring the human capacity for self-conscious awareness and seeking to put it to 'good use'. The team has been clarifying in conversation and writing what the principles and practices of developing conscious self-awareness means to each member and how we would like to support others in this discipline. We glean input regularly from sites like the Garrison Institute, Brainpickings, and the Foundation for a Mindful Society

Learning to be Present to the Planet
This third movement focuses human consciousness onto the planet. For the CCP experiment community, it's a matter of celebration and lament. Our commitment is to be present to the planet daily: Mandy's walks in the Adelaide Hills; all of us watching David Attenborough's Planet Earth II together; Paul going to the event Dangerous Song - Blue in the city centre last night; Jana finding a new spot of natural beauty every day for the Cosmic Quote video. It's riding our bikes to work, it's leaving the office to sit in the sun, it's sitting on the roof in silence under the stars. It's not turning away from tweets and articles that tell the stories of coral bleaching, pipeline access, coal mine expansions, scientists having to stockpile and secure critical data. The world is beautiful; aspects of the human presence in it are heartbreaking. We are learning to be present to these evocations and to let them shape and guide us.

Learning to be Present to the Planet in a Mutually Beneficial Manner
This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of Ecozoic Living: how to actually participate in the flourishing of life on Earth. The CCP experiment community is trying to be bi-focal about it: reflecting on our own actions and doing what we can to inspire, connect, and equip others for Ecozoic Living. How we live at CCP HQ, how we get ourselves around, our consumer choices in terms of food, entertainment, clothing ... it's all reflected upon and discussed through the lens of 'mutually beneficial manner.' We've highlighted some of our activities on these blogs, from clearing lantana to begin restoring a rain forest property, to installing a vertical garden that we'll share with the neighbourhood, to steeping ourselves in cultural and cosmic diversity. 

Obviously, this website, the resources available on it, and the Facebook Page and Conversation Group related to it are some of the initiatives we've taken up for supporting others in Ecozoic Living. In addition, each of us sees our work (Mandy as university professor; Paul as ordained minister; Jana as researcher in the philosophy of law) as the ways and means to support others in the Great Work.

Back to those initial questions -
What does it mean for us to learn to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner?
It's the pleasure of a sense of purpose and participation in something intimately connected to self whilst also being infinitely beyond self.
What does it mean for the planet for 3 people to seek to embody the Ecozoic Era? 
Nothing in the grand scheme. Scale is a measure we understand, and by this measure our little experiment does not even register. But scale is not the only measure. What if meaning itself is the measure? 

Year of Living the Community: Week 22


The camp at Standing Rock protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline was cleared by police last week. 

The camp at Standing Rock protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline was cleared by police last week. 

Standing Rock Sioux member Chase Iron Eyes said closing the camp would not lessen the protesters’ determination. “You can’t arrest a movement. You can’t arrest a spiritual revolution,” he told reporters.

To be in solidarity with the Earth. To live as if Earth matters. This is Ecozoic Living. 

In the CCP experiment this week, things weren't so dramatic as in North Dakota but the Earth solidarity was equally undeterred. Solidarity with the Earth and learning to be present to the planet in a mutually enhancing way is required at every level and layer of human expression. In the story of 14.7 billion years of evolution, it's as if every second counts. In the story of billions of galaxies, each comprised of billions of stars and planets, it's as if every bit counts. 

Here's how we aimed to make our bit count this week: 

  • Jana was encouraged by a brief email exchange with Mary Evelyn Tucker about this project, which resulted in a New and Improved "People" page of this website. It's pretty great to be able to reach out to one of the thought leaders of the Great Work of our time and get a quick and encouraging reply. We are trying to create an access point to thinking that transforms our relationship with the planet and our participation in the flourishing of the whole community of life on Earth. 
  • The vertical garden at CCP HQ continues to develop, with this week seeing the addition of planters underneath the system to catch water run-off and increase food production. A neighbour saw us at the Adelaide Central Market, where she was buying tomatoes to go with basil picked from our community offered garden. It isn't world-changing or ground-breaking; it's just good. Another bruschetta made with low food miles...
  • The team watched part 2 of Planet Earth II; this episode was on mountains. It's possible that Sir David Attenborough has done more than any other person alive today to evoke wonder and awe at the diversity of life on this planet. Watching snow leopards in the Himalayasnever filmed before, filming themselves basically with remote motion-triggered cameras, has made us all look at the musk lorikeets taking a bath in the gutter of a city street with that much more wonder. We are only one part of this world...




Year of Living the Community: Week 21

Place as Storyteller

this place is a CCP storyteller: where the experiment team shares life and work (as often as we can) with others in a property collective 

Dr. Romaine Moreton: professor, filmmaker, poet, artist

Last night in Adelaide, Romaine Moreton was talking at a conference about her transmedia production "One Billion Beats." The name is a reference to the number of heartbeats the 100,000 year history of human community on the Australian continent represents. The project tells the story of the portrayal of aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in film, and how the artist and her collaborative team understand these portrayals to have shaped not only non-aboriginal culture's perception of aboriginal people in Australia, but also the self-perception of aboriginal people. It's a stunning work that presents challenging metaphors about the effects of colonisation, like the butcher shop. Here's an article from the SMH about the inaugural run of the show; Moreton said last night that she hopes it will tour in 2018.   

At one point in the Q&A, Moreton said, "The place becomes the storyteller." And later, "You belong to the story." 

What places tell your story? 

To which stories do you belong? 

Romaine Moreton in a scene from "One Billion Beats" photograph by Heidrun Lohr