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Katie

Australian tiny home on wheels in outback
Urban

Australians realise they are overhousing themselves

Over a century ago, Australia’s 1911 census registered the average household as 4.5 persons, compared to the average today of 2.6, yet Australian homes have increased a staggering 40 per cent in size since 1984. The average family home has increased from 162 square metres to a whopping 227 square metres.  Just because they can.

Now news articles call on Australia’s middle classes to imagine owning a home under $100k, living completely unplugged, and moving it to a new location in retirement … being debt free in a flexible creative community, with an abundance of leisure time.

Its a big country with a tiny population and consequently, according to the WWF Living Planet Report of 2008, the Australian ecological footprint  on the earth is 2.8. That measure in layman’s terms is that they are using 2.8 times more resources than the earth can sustain.

As well as one of the largest building footprints in the world Australians send out an average of 18 tonnes of carbon per household.

This is all a backlash from the previous century where six or seven people packed in  a 2-bedroom house.

If those stats aren’t enough, Australians are also among the longest commuters in the world, above New York and LA.

Architecturally-designed eco homes, solar-panelled, moveable, self-sufficient, are the new status symbol. Time to relax and enjoy the family, or grow vegetables, instead of being gridlocked in a traffic jam.

It’s all possible. Most baby boomers have moved on from our gas guzzling cars of the 70s and 80s, to smaller, smarter economical ones.

Why wouldn’t they do that with homes when they are not sustainable?  Anyone scrolling through social media or Instagram lately, or watching lifestyle television shows, would be aware of eco or small homes popping up all over the place.

Some look like pods from Mars and others gypsy caravans on wheels, but the trend is being dictated by an awareness of a lower carbon footprint and a foreboding sense of our finite energy reserves.

I hazard a guess here, but nobody in Australia will be selling a 400-square metre home in 10 years’ time!

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Community

George Soros: Banking “parasites” still leeching off us

Billionaire George Soros says the banking sector is a “parasite” holding back the economic recovery and an “incestuous” relationship with regulators means little has been done to resolve the issues behind the 2008 crisis.
“The banking sector is acting as a parasite on the real economy,” Mr Soros says in his new book “The Tragedy of the European Union” (Buy in the UK).

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Land

Buying land in Alaska

Discovery press office is crowing about a new off-grid series it has just commissioned:

Witness the challenge of purchasing a home that has no running water, electricity, indoor bathrooms or, in some cases, access roads when BUYING ALASKA heads to the last great American Frontier to learn what it takes to own a treasured piece of the untamed north. (Or you could put a posting on www.landbuddy.com).

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Shoulder to shoulder
Urban

Men need Garden Sheds

Shoulder to shoulderThe Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA), has been beavering away for some years now, trying to help depressed, lonely males. They call themselves Shed Men and they aim to provide men with sheds, so they can become Shedders. I know, I know.

This year AMSA will benefit to the tune of $3million from Austraia (And the world’s) first ever National Male Health Policy.

Its success is based on the observation that “men find it much easier to talk to one another when they are shoulder to shoulder rather than face to face”, said a spokesman.

The stereotypical Australian male is a swaggeringly macho XXXX-drinker, which is fine until Bruce grows old or retires or is bereaved or otherwise vulnerable. The stereotype fails and they become isolated. So the Shed Men provide community sheds, where there are bits and bobs of tools and machinery lying about. There’s the wherewithal to make yourself a cuppa.

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Spirit

Plenitude

Many, including writer Juliet Schor,question the underlying assumptions of the consumerist mentality. She has just written a new book about it – Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth.
Once most Americans could meet basic biological needs, spending took on a heightened social meaning. Spending has become a social phenomenon, consumerism now builds on our fear of failure. That fear has costs. Schor’s question: Is the high cost of all the stuff we’re accumulating worth the escalating costs to our families, communities and the planet?

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Community

Green nonsense from pooped-out Brown

British prime minister Gordon Brown made an eco-promise when he first got the job – he would create 5 eco-towns.  Then it was ten eco-towns. Now it looks like we will be lucky to get two eco-towns – whatever they are.

So his claim in today’s speech to Labour Party conference that he would create a quarter million green jobs is likely to be just as much of a pathetic fallacy.

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Spirit

SS numbers are easy to fake

Social Security numbers can be easily predicted from your DOB and address according to new scientific paper

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Energy

British people power

UK gov proposes community power generators should be allowed to feed-into the national grid, but stops short of making it mandatory

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Solar carports

As the recession worsens, cheap energy is more important than ever. Across America, and the world, everything from wood fires to solar shingles are being employed in order to survive and cut costs

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How to live cheap

Cash-strapped teacher Kath Kelly claims she has been living on just £1 ($1.70) a day for the past year. And she has written a book about it.

Miss Kelly, 47, ate at free buffets, shopped at jumble sales and scavenged food discarded by grocery stores and restaurants.

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