Category Archives: Gift Economy

Free OS Permaculture


Great changes are taking place. These are not as a result of any one group or teaching, but as a result of millions of people defining one or more ways in which they can conserve energy, aid local self-reliance, or provide for themselves. All of us would acknowledge our own work as modest; it is the totality of such modest work that is impressive. There is so much to do, and there will never be enough people to do it. We must all try to increase our skills, to model trials, and to pass on the results. If a job is not being done, we can form a small group and do it. It doesn’t matter if the work we do carries the “permaculture” label, just that we do it.” ~ Bill Mollison

Saturday, April 22, 2017

11 am – 5:30 pm

Join us for a uniquely creative social permaculture activation day with a focus on

Community Currency (permanomics)

Community Resilience (design for disaster)

Community Neighbourhood Design (placemaking)

Free for all participants.

Part of the City of Surrey’s Environmental Extravaganza.

Open to anyone who considers themselves

a part of the Ecological, Permaculture,

or Transition movement.

Presented by Village Surrey and the Alexandra Neighbourhood House.

Pre-registration required

Bruno Vernier has taught in self-paced Learning Centers and been involved in the Open Source movement, his focus on Community Currencies has connected him with several world leaders in this field.

Delvin Solkinson is a graduate student of permaculture education who continues to study with many masters and maestras of the movement while creating a series of free, open source learning and teaching tools.

Kym Chi is a dedicated advocate of earth stewardship, people care and regenerative action for future resiliency. She teaches Permaculture and works for One Straw Society, a non-profit focusing on food sovereignty.

Open to anyone who considers themselves a part of the ecological, permaculture, or transition movement.

Limited space, register in advance, email


The Gig Economy: My Presentation and Notes from the CDC @ BCCDA 2017 Conference

My father had one job in his lifetime, I will have six jobs in my lifetime, and my children will have six jobs at the same time.” ~ Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar

For many, the quote above makes no sense at all; some think it doesn’t apply to them as they have traditional, stable jobs and careers…for others, that is already an everyday reality. For me, coming from places where collapse and change were so common that people made jokes and songs with them (and where you had to be creative about how you got your basic needs met), and with a deep understanding gained through permaculture life-design and observing (sometimes also coaching) unusual people live diverse lives, this concept is not only not new: it is seen as an opportunity, a waking call to re-think what we are, how we live and why we work.

Here, for those of you attending my presentation at the CDC Conference organized by BCCDA yesterday (March 27) and today (March 28), and for my usual readers, I post as promised my PPT and notes. You are free to connect with me for further exploration of these topics, having a tea together and talking about how to change the world, creating a social business together or just brainstorming ideas of what’s needed and what’s possible.

In the upcoming weeks and months, I will be sharing more details about my integrated vision of how to make this work for us and the clients we serve. A version of my posts will appear as articles at both the Canadian Immigrant Magazine (one of my “gigs”) and the Canadian-Filipino Magazine (again) in case you want a printed or more “polished” version.

I want to credit Diane Mulcahy, the author of “The Gig Economy” with whom I’m in contact via email, for her amazing and innovating book which served as a main source of inspiration for this presentation; I have taken the liberty of adding my own ideas (mostly coming from my permaculture systems thinking) to her “10 rules” of how to survive (and thrive) in this emerging economy. I also want to acknowledge Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, university professors and authors of “Designing your Life” as I took some of their ideas and spiced them up with my own knowledge and experience as a certified career councellor and life coach. You can find information about how to get their books and materials at the end of this post.

Finally, as a permaculturist and social justice activist myself, I will add some ideas that go beyond career counselling: I see the Gig Economy as both a result of our times (and a sign of deepening inequality, loss of values and the emergence of potential abuse and exploitation of those less privileged ) and as an extraordinary opportunity. If we leave it be, we will see more and more of the former (abuse and exploitation and the celebration of unhealthy, unethical and selfish as a “model” to follow)…but if we “design” the change and intervene in the right places, we may end up with a re-distribution of work, a re-evaluation of why we are here and what our priority are and a focus on holistic and global health and equality, ethics and co-operation instead…

Without more preambles, here is my presentation, enjoy!

“Look to this picture above for a minute…what do you see? What’s the first word or thought that comes to you?

Some will see this as a sunset: the day is over and darkness is approaching…others will see it as a sunrise: the sun is raising after a long dark night.

What about the tree and its branches? What season is that? Again, some will see this as the start of the fall: the tree branches look bare, as if all the leaves have fallen…others, will see that it may actually be spring, and the bare branches are now beginning to cover themselves with small buds…

I chose this picture to represent my views on the emerging gig economy because it can be seen as both: the start of a dark period for workers or the rebirth of independence and the opportunity to re-think career, work and even life design!

In the next hour and a half, we will explore the options and you will decide whether this is an end, a beginning or both and what is our role as career practitioners, program developers and managers, funders and social advocates.”

You can download the entire PPT with my notes here: Navigating the Gig Economy PPT with Notes by Silvia Di Blasio

The Books:

The Gig Economy:

Designing Your Life: (for book and materials you can download):

Note: this presentation was recorded. If the video is good, I will be publishing it here too for those interested.

More than ever, we at the end of the last century were finding ourselves with big houses and broken homes, high incomes and low morale…we were excelling at making a living but too often failing at making a life. We celebrated our prosperity but yearned for purpose. We cherished our freedoms but longed for connection. In an age of plenty, we were feeling spiritual hunger.” ~ David Myers

Stories from the Gig Economy


Have you heard of the “Gig Economy”? Even if you have never read that term, you or someone you know may be affected by it. The Gig Economy is a growing trend and it is expected it may become the only way around work in the near future.  But what is it?  Diane Mulcahy, author of “The Gig Economy”  and teacher of the pioneer MBA course of the same name writes: “If we think about the current world of work as an spectrum, with traditional full-time work/career on one end and unemployment on the other end, the broad range and variety of alternative work in between is the “Gig Economy”: it includes consulting and contractor arrangements, part-time jobs, temp assignments, free-lance, self-employment, side gigs and on-demand work through increasingly trendy online platforms such as Upwork and TaskRabbit.”

As a life and career coach also concerned about the state of the planet and society at large, I want to explore both sides of this growing trend. In my everyday work I have seen it happening: more and more employers cut jobs and force existent staff to do the same work previously done by two or three people. Employees are expected to upgrade their skills using their money and time and benefits are being reduced to the minimum, if not scraped all together. Contract work is more and more common and people no longer stay in one career. Where high school was enough 30 or 40 years ago, now even a bachelor degree is not enough. The more affected are the usual vulnerable ones: immigrants and refugees, women, seniors, people with disabilities and the young or under-skilled.

While these types of work arrangements have existed for decades, they are now becoming the norm: some people go into the Gig Economy looking for freedom from the 9-5 trap that produces boredom, lower productivity and burnout. Some see these types of arrangements as a great opportunity for travelling, learning new skills and having more flexibility around family and other interests. Some see the benefits of having multiple incomes as a safer than a steady income that may stop altogether at any time. Some see this as a curse they want to avoid…

The Gig Economy has pros and cons: for employers, it is a way to hire people just when they need them and save money that they would otherwise have to pay on benefits, vacation and idle employees. For workers and professionals, it means the end of “stability” and a “career” as traditionally known. On the other hand, it represents an opportunity to be more in control of your budget, time and skills and more flexibility to be with your family, travel, learn and engage in new projects. It is for sure an antidote to boredom and 9-5 jobs, but it means you need ti generate other incomes, be creative about your time and constantly update your skills (all at your own expense).

Next year, I will be presenting this topic at a BCCDA Conference and writing some articles on this. I see the potential for social entrepreneurship, re-localizing the economy and regaining control over people’s true resilience, but I’m also concerned about the reality of exploitation, abuse and a way back to times when people had to fight for their workers’ rights.

For this reason, I want to collect stories from real people who have been impacted by the Gig Economy: was it something you sought or were forced by circumstances? How has been it for you and your family? What have been the challenges and the opportunities? What kind of supports do you need for it to work? Do you see it as an opportunity to re-think work and how we do business and if so, how do you think this may impact the social construct of our communities and the planet?

If you are also engaged in Transition, Permaculture or any other way of regenerative work, social or resilience/healing work, I am interested in how this connects with what you do…where do you see the potential?

Send your stories, comments and questions to me at or visit my website at:

Looking forward…


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