A VISIT TO PIGFACE POINT:
AN ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLE EDUCATIONAL SITE.
Affluent, industrial consumer society is grossly unjust and unsustainable. It is only possible for one-fifth of the worlds people to have that way of life because they are taking and rapidly using up most of the worlds resources. We must move to far less affluent lifestyles, highly self-sufficient communities and local economies, more cooperative ways, and an economy that is not driven by market forces or profit and has no growth at all. Pigface Point is being developed as an educational site that will introduce people to these themes, especially the existence of workable and attractive alternatives, i.e., to "The Simpler Way".
Some themes, items, displays etc observable.
- Displays and diagrams showing global resource scarcities and distributions, especially re C02 emissions and petroleum.
- Low dollar and resource living costs per capita.
- Self-sufficiency, do-it-yourself, home-made things, living simply.
- Various alternative technologies, including solar panels, windmills, garbage gas, water wheels (one 4.5 metres tall), solar panels, water wheels driven by river tides, pelton wheel, teaspoon turbine, two windmills, one home-made on a 17 metre tower, 12 volt electrical circuits and machinery. Soon to add a solar thermal technologies section, including Stirling engines, trough, dish and central receiver system working models, solar chimney model, distilling, light pipes, fresnel lenses, and stem power. Water recycling, e.g., via reedbeds.)
- Significance of hand tools, e.g. pedal-powered grinder.
- Earth building; animal sheds illustrating different techniques, mud brick making.
- A very cheap house (built to council standards in 1989 for $8,000.)
- Gardens, animals, poultry, sheep, goats, bee hives. (Fish tanks soon.)
- Various arts and crafts, include sculpture, painting, model making, blacksmithing, wood turning, bush carpentry, pottery, stone work, candle making, paper making, leather work, rush and basket work. Home-made large ornamental garden pots and columns.
- "Non-alienated" labour; collapse of the work/leisure distinction.
- The sort of neighbourhood workshop we should have on every suburban block.
- Overlaps; e.g., how the garbage disposal problem can solve the fertiliser problem.
- Environmental connections; ecologically appropriate ways. Environmental sensitivity items; e.g., walks along the scale of the planetary system, and the evolutionary time scale.
- Some Permaculture themes, including organic gardening, composting, zoning, stacking, zero-energy inputs, integration of animals, tree crops, forest-gardens, seed saving, propagation, water plants.
- Recycling, using local waste material, scavenging, a recycling area.
- Rough but adequate standards; things that are convenient and functional but not elegant. Cheap and simple things are often quite good enough.
- Implications for Third World development; illustration of appropriate technologies, economies and systems for resource poor regions.
- The crucial importance of local economic self-sufficiency.
- Large scale models showing the way neighbourhoods could be redesigned to become highly self-sufficient, and the basic form of a highly self-sufficient 1000 person rural village, illustrating "footprint" implications.
- Principles for the new economy required, especially localisation and large non-monetised sectors (e.g., commons.)
- Extensive landscaped leisure areas, showing how neighbourhoods could be made "leisure-rich", stocked with active and passive sources of recreation, (e.g., flying fox, ropes, caves, castles
- Above all, to show that the required simple and self-sufficient way of life could be highly interesting and rewarding. Many people mistakenly assume the "limits to growth" case means we must make sacrifices and reduce our "living standards" in order to solve global problems. They do not realise that The Simpler Way could provide a better quality of life than most people experience in affluent society.
Pigface Point is not a community; Council zoning permits only two houses on the site. The main purpose of the site is not to provide an example of how all should live, but to have displays, models, etc which point towards the sorts of changes that will have to be made in our settlements, our economy and in our technologies in order for our society to become sustainable.
We are hoping to take on a part-time coordinator in the near future, and to set up a panel of voluntary tour leaders. Our longer term goal is to have cabins on the site enabling weekend "courses" enabling special groups to engage in more intensive experience of alternative ways, so that they can be more effective change agents in the wider community.
Pigface Point is part of the Global Eco-village Movement, which includes thousands of small communities around the world working to show that consumer society is not viable and that there are workable and attractive alternatives.
We do not charge for the tours or courses we conduct.
Ted Trainer, C/- Social Work, University of New South Wales, Kensington. 2052.
Phone 0407011149 (H) Email: F.Trainer@unsw.edu.au