Category Archives: Simply Living

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


Navigating the Gig Economy – Part 1

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.
Delicious Ambiguity.”
~ Gilda Radner


Welcome to 2017 and the start of an uncertain future…I don’t know of any time where the future has been “certain” but there were periods in the past (and applicable to some places and peoples, to be completely honest) where things seemed much more predictable that they look now.

Uncertainty can be frightening and paralyzing but can also be an opportunity to ground yourself into what’s always “certain”: that as long as you are alive and here, you have a choice. The choice of being intentional and proactive instead of reactive, the choice to respond in a way that works for that you believe on.

One of the trends we have been witnessing in the last decade is the emergence of the “Gig Economy”: more and more jobs are now contract, part-time, outsourced or project-based.

For employers, paying workers to stay 9-5 with no guarantee (or need) for productivity is becoming more and more disadvantageous. Contracting people for what needs to be done saves them time and money as there is no need to pay for benefits, vacation, employment insurance and the like.

Automation, demographics, trading and outsourcing are also factors affecting worker stability, and that without going deeper and mentioning the real limits to grow at the resource, energy and financial levels or the more social and psychological nature of boredom, skills gap or mismatch, lack of motivation, abuse and oppression, etc.

For workers, the Gig Economy can be a real challenge, especially in the case of vulnerable workers such as people with disabilities or chronic conditions, low skilled workers, women, seniors and people from minority groups such as immigrants, refugees and people from the LGTB communities. These are sectors of the population who have always experienced instability and uncertainty in their jobs. The Gig Economy has the potential to make things worse for them, but also to give them tools to empower themselves.

The Gig Economy is not new: we always had contract and temp jobs in the past. What’s new is the trend for these practices increasing…and showing no signs of going anywhere soon.

While “stable” jobs are not going to disappear, they are being reduced. Different studies predict that in the next decades (if we survive climate change, resource depletion, social, economic and financial issues and the like), between 40% and 60% of the population may be engaged in some sort of “Gig Economy”. This includes social entrepreneurship and small business in general.

If you still believe in the formula “Go to School, Get a Job+Get Married, Make a Career, Buy a House+Car+Form a Family, Retire and Enjoy”, your expectations may be shattered by the realities of the Gig Economy. Most people alive today has already have two or more jobs, those in their 20’s or 30’s can expect to change jobs at least twice per decade, if not more…salaries are stagnant and benefits are being reduced or completely dismantled.

For many, however, the Gig Economy may be a door to enjoying life in a very different way and the liberation from the enslaving 9-5 job. If designed and planned, the Gig Economy can give you time off between gigs to explore Nature and your inner world, enjoy quality time with friends and family, contribute to your community and support others in their life paths. The Gig Economy also gives you the opportunity to explore different career paths, work in different areas of interest and develop diverse skills instead of being attached to one sector, profession or occupation your whole life!

The Gig Economy has also another potential: to re-build our local economies and communities in a very different, more sustainable way and to take advantage of the many gifts each one of us brings to this world.

Diane Mulcahy, author of “The Gig Economy” and lecturer of a course of her own creation and with the same name, has developed a set of “Ten Rules” to succeed in the Gig Economy.

In the upcoming weeks, I’ll be posting my own interpretation of these “rules” as a preparation for my presentation at the BCCDA 2017 Conference for Career Development Practitioners.

If you are a Life or Career Coach or someone who has been affected or is curious about the Gig Economy, you may want to start following these postings. You’ll find my own twist (I am a career and life coach myself with a twist that embraces an eco-psychology approach), which includes my studies and activism around transition out of fossil fuels, climate change, resource depletion, social justice and permaculture, among other areas of interest.





Earth and People Friendly Holidays: Giving Ideas

It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
~ Mother Teresa


It’s Christmas time for many: for some, a time for celebration and renovation of faith and for others, a celebration of Winter Solstice or Yule;  even for others, a time to be with family and friends and for even more, a burden that involves crazy spending and scrambling for gifts and endless decoration.

Then January is a time for regrets: of eating and drinking too much, of big bills that need to be paid, of huge amounts of packaging going to landfills and even unwanted or cheaply made gifts that end up in the trash.

Here is my small contribution to you: a list of alternatives, choose what works for your pocket, for the Earth and your community, but most importantly, for your soul:

  • Give time, compassion and undivided attention: we are too busy all the time and forget how transformational is to be listened to and seeing with deep attention by another human being. Offer no judgement and no interruptions or distractions. No fixing or rushing with solutions, only empathy…you can create little “certificates” or you can post your offer to your social media circles. Or you can send individual emails to those you want to offer your unconditional attention and compassion.
  • Give a service on which you are gifted yourself: You may know how to give a massage, or provide coaching, repair something, build or create something. You may be good with kids, or seniors, or animals or plants…and there’ always someone who may deeply benefit from those skills.
  • If you don’t have the skill (or the time) or the person you want to benefit lives far away, considering buying a service or an experience instead of stuff: a gift certificate towards training the other person may enjoy (a PDC?*), or towards something they need or love: a spa, gardening supplies, a concernt, an event in the city, etc.
  • Consider giving in different layers such as a long-term, community-based gift that reaches to many: starting a meetup group in your neighbourhood/library to discuss EDAPs*, to discover and support each other’s new path, to discuss feelings around what’s happening in the world, to share skills and fun and find support for whatever is going in your lives.
  • Share resources, beauty and knowledge with others, one of the bests ways and underappreciated ways to give: blog, share in social media, post in your neighbourhood, call for an informal meeting or post on a public board things that make people smile, or are useful, or warm their hearts. It may be anything from a drawing or a cartoon to a link to free resources…use your creativity!
  • Commit to do at least one work from the heart every single day: I have a friend who starts his day by sending prayers and blessing to everyone in Facebook; another who answers every single email from every single person or organization with at least one nice line of acknowledgement; there are infinite ways to give to others and make their days shine.
  • Give craft created by you by upcycling things and providing instructions: with this, you are giving not only something useful and/or beautiful, you are also giving a skill.
  • If you are buying something for others because they need it or you know will make their lives more whole, wrap the gift with a scarf, a throw or a handkerchief or make a cloth bag so they receive a double gift and the landfills get some respire.
  • Give the gift of donation to a good cause: do some research and see how they will be using your money. Are they fully aligned with your values? How do they treat the Earth? How much of that money will go for causes you support and how much will it go to cover for administrative stuff?
  • Consider supporting local artists, authors and crafters as well as farmers and markets when you buy something as a gift.
  • Consider giving yourself some time off, undivided attention and compassion, to take time to listen to your own internal conversations and acknowledge them all without judging; to discover your own gifts and offering them to the world on an ongoing basis through your work, a business or your creations…

In the spirit of giving, I share here some free or inexpensive resources and services you or your loved ones may appreciate:

The Center for a New American Dream has excellent (free downloadable) booklets you can check for ideas on how to simplify the holidays with kids, seniors, pets, etc.:


For permies* all over the world and those sitting on the fence and curious about permaculture and how to co-create a better world, free eBooks:

Teaching (for permaculture teachers but the guidelines apply to any teacher who wants to be more inclusive and use non-violent communication and approaches:

Free tools for permaculture design or decoration:

Note: consider donating or buying something to those who share their skills and creations for free or make this world more beautiful and livable with their work.

Other Earth friendly gifts:

Earth to dinner table conversations and toolkit for discussing climate change:

Climate friendly meals these holidays (and onwards):

Social Permaculture – Inner Permaculture: take a free non-violent communication course:

The Wilderness Awareness School and the 8 Shields Institute have some free workshops that are really good as an initiation for nature connection and finding your path and gifts in life.

A gift to yourself or to someone you trust: “Design Your Life” consultation (first consultation is free, subsequent as arranged, please find payment policy in my Ethical Pathways website:

Appointments for the above sessions can be delivered in person for people living within Lower Mainland (BC), via email, Skype or phone (for anyone else in the world). Sessions are available in English and/or Spanish. You can also give the gift of an online session with free follow ups through my “store” at Etsy: Ethical Pathways Life Coaching Promotion

Do you have fun and Earth and people-friendly ways to spend these or other holidays?

Do you have other ideas for gifts?

Please share them here in the comments section!

Glossary explained*:

PDC: Permaculture Design Certificate

EDAP: Energy Descent Action Plans

Permies: people who practice permaculture

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