On day nine of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India, our tour party spent the night at Swaraj University, a more structured educational off-shoot of Shikshantar. The Swaraj University campus sits in a tranquil 15-acre space located in a scenic valley between two mountain ranges, 15 kilometers outside of Udaipur. The site is a zero-waste space and has an organic farm, herb gardens and an Ayurvedic healing centre.
On day eight of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India, our group collaborated in a day of permaculture discussions and garden work with our friends at Shikshantar. In a co-creative process, the CERES Global group and members of the Shikshantar community learned about permaculture ethics and design principles, explored visions for the garden on the Shikshantar premises, and got our hands dirty working on innovations to bring the garden to life, building relationships and learning new things about ourselves and each other in the process. However, our yield from the day was not necessarily what we expected going in.
It is not often one comes away absolutely mesmerised from talking to a person, but such was our experience on this day. On day seven of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India, a small number of our group visited with Kishore Saint, a retired geographer and friend of Shikshantar. Kishore-gi shared with us some of his life experiences living in Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom, reflected on insights into community he gained from interacting with tribal peoples in Rajasthan, and concluded with an exhortation for us to change the world by looking within ourselves.
On day six of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India we visited a municipal waste dump on the outskirts of Udaipur. Dump sites are always the dirty little secret of industrial development and commerce. They are the hidden landscapes of every city, a landscape so toxic and forbidding to life. In the Udaipur dump site, however, a community of “rag pickers” live and work in the mounds of refuse, earning a living from picking and selling recyclable materials from the waste piles.
On day four of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India we visited a small-scale organic farm and a migrating camel caravan on our way back to Udaipur from Malari village. In these engagements our group learned more about traditional organic farming and animal husbandry methods, along with the unique cultures of our hosts. Their hospitality in sharing food and friendship was greatly appreciated, a model of gift culture in action.
On day four of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India we visited a village called Malari, 100 km north of Udaipur. In a day of fascinating interactions, we learned about the local dairy and herding economies, got some hands-on experience with local farming practices, enjoyed warm impromptu hospitality from our village hosts, and shared in a transcendental experience of dance and music.
On day three of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India, our guides from Shikshantar—Vishal, Manish and Nishtha—led us on a fascinating journey through the old city of Udaipur. The winding alleyways, bustling markets, colourful buildings and diverse people, are collectively woven together in a rich tapestry of stories and history. On foot is the best way to experience the richness of these stories and notice things you never would have time to see transiting via faster modes of transportation.
From 2nd-12th December 2017 I co-facilitated a CERES Global tour to India, themed around sustainable development, permanent culture and un-learning. My focus for the tour was to collect data for […]
From 26th June – 9th July 2017 I co-facilitated an environment and sustainability-themed study tour to South Korea with undergraduate students from La Trobe University. This is the third iteration […]
Cultivating a holistic environmental politics and regenerative sustainability practice is one of the great challenges of our time. Part of this cultivation prompts us to network with leaders in the practice of sustainability transitions and learn from on-the-ground projects that are doing this work. One of these projects is the Herb Whisperer farm, an hour north of Beijing in China, run by the “Herb Whisperer” himself, Thomas Avery Garran.
The research achievements of La Trobe University academics working in Asian societies and partnerships was presented today at the La Trobe Asia Research Showcase. Academics, including myself, presented our research […]
From 13th-24th July, I and Ben Walta from CERES Global led the Environment and Sustainability in China Study Tour to Shanghai and Beijing. This study tour was the first in […]
In my third and final piece on urban green spaces in Seoul, I would like to talk further about my new favourite place in the city: Seoul Forest. Reclaimed from […]
There is no better way to take the heartbeat of a city than to get out and explore on foot. However, the streets of major cities have largely become arteries […]
There are some magical green spaces across the metropolitan area of Seoul. These shoots of green temper the brutality of concrete and steel in the city’s urban environment. While the […]
Sharing impressions from visits along the Tasmanian coastline, too beautiful not to share…
It is easy to get lost in hubris when it comes to the transformative impacts of sport on the real world. There is something about international football tournaments in particular […]
The host countries of major sporting tournaments like the FIFA World Cup are usually obsessed with the international status and prestige that comes with hosting these events. More interesting however […]
This piece was originally published in the Tumen Triangle Documentation Project – Issue Two published by Sino:NK In mid-2013 I visited Rason for the first time, though not my first […]
Chongjin is North Korea’s third-largest city and capital of North Hamgyong Province. The city is best known as the locus of steel production in the DPRK, having been established as […]