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Bruce Abbott : Balga Marmon / Blackboy Man

Bruce AbbottBruce Abbott established ‘Replants.com’ in 2000, an award winning Fremantle enviro-business rescuing native plants and animals from developments where bushland is being cleared. As a leading grass-tree supplier – to date, Bruce and his team have successfully relocated more than 20,000 grass trees. Replants promotes greater connection and understanding of culture and environment within the community. Replants.com’s headquarters on Wray Avenue comprises an impressive grass tree garden and a community & cultural space, where Bruce is actively involved in and facilitates community environmental advocacy, education, discussion and action. A large component of this involves the promotion of Indigenous Cultural knowings and beings, as achieved through many initiatives including regular Nyungar cultural evenings with respected Elder Dr Noel Nannup. Bruce is also currently working with Dr Nannup in the Cultural Corridors Project, a long-term ecological and cultural restoration project in the Wheatbelt.

As a response to his invitation to contribute to “Real People - Real Difference” he submitted a piece he wrote for a Sustainability Practitioner and Artist collaboration project he participated in last year. It outlines his vision for participating in and co-creating an environmentally and socially just world.

A deeper understanding of the nature of commerce. An understanding that someone who is deeply connected to their heart and the country in which they live will relate to it in a completely different way to someone who sees it through the construction of mind. The fundamental question of whether we should keep slicing away at our natural asset base. My favourite saying attributed to Lao Tsu, one of the Founding Fathers of Taoism, “disputation is a sign of not seeing clearly”. My own desire to be at peace. These are all parts of what has led me to a deeper understanding of myself, how I fit into the world in which I live and ultimately my vision for a sustainable future.

The view, cynical or otherwise, that our participation in democracy comes around every three or four years when we hit the polling booths misses the real voting happening 24/7. Whether conscious or not, every time we buy a product we support a whole production line of activity and the mindset that surrounds it.

I was blessed, or cursed - depending on your disposition, with a strong environmental and revolutionary upbringing. Having been around the traps for a while I was struck by the changing requirements of the revolutionary foot soldiers. Initially the provocative change agents, as more of the conceptual work was done the demands of the job moved into facilitating the change. Banging people over the head is appropriate sometimes and often fun but ones arm tends to get tired. How would my mates cope with actually having to sit down and talk to those who they opposed. The epiphany came when working with some developers. I came to see that while I saw the continual destruction of the environment for housing estates as a negative thing, they saw it as positive, citing the new schools, houses communities, let alone all the jobs it would generate. The epiphany was that unless ones heart is connected to what you are doing it is unlikely the quieter intuitive knowings of the Earth and its creatures will be heard or even acknowledged.

Be conscious of what you do and spend. Take responsibility for your world. Connect. Look deeper into why people do what they do. Listen.

Cut through the bullshit. You gotta love Ronald Reagan and his home spun apple pie analogies. Well, giving Ron the nod, here we go with a couple.

Once upon a time we had a big apple pie call the Earth’s Natural Asset Base. Now over time we’ve eaten quite a lot of that pie, and now we are down to about 15%. Question. Should we keep slicing off bits of the pie without replacing it ? Or maybe we could talk about Mom and Pop who saved all there life and got a nice little nest egg for their retirement. That little egg let them live off the interest and not even touch the egg. That was their plan to leave the egg for their grandchildren. Would it be Ok for the evil son to sneak out some cash every week ?

Blah Blah – could be banging someone over the head. The point being no one I have asked this question thinks it’s ok to further diminish our natural asset base. I believe it is critical that we start clearly asking this question. Once we ask the question and get an answer, the discussion goes from why it can’t happen to how it can.

Ultimately for me the whole sustainability discussion is framed in the bigger question of why we are here? What is our purpose? If we are disputing we are not seeing clearly. I choose to be at peace when moving through my life. I choose to have fun and be a creative inspiration to those around me. How does our contemporary culture support us in these aims? The goal in my view is to participate in culture in order to create and reinforce a culture that supports these aims.

So to sum up every choice we makes reinforces or weakens the structure in which we exist. Our choices are creative acts. Critical to our sustainable future is the creation of a culture that honours diversity of creative acts and is open to “see clearly” rather than “dispute” - Flesh out the beauty and ugliness and marvel at the exchange.

Key to my sustainable vision is the creation of the processes that facilitate the creation and blossoming of such a culture. It has taken me a long time to come to it but I do believe it is all about the process.

 

  • WINNER 2011, FINALIST 2012 - Fremantle Chamber of Commerce Sustainability Initiative - Mayor's Award

 

More information on Replants...

 

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