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Change is Where You Are

Morag Gamble describes her incredible life’s journey from Melbourne, Australia, to Europe and Ladakh, and then home to work, seeding solutions with people from all over the world

Because you are here reading this, I’ve no doubt that we share a deep concern about the state of the world and the pressing challenges we face locally and globally. For a long time, the many dimensions of these crises have been the fuel that have motivated me. That, combined with my awe of Nature and love of life on this beautiful planet, is why in my twenties I chose to dive head first into a permaculture life. Recent events, connected to human impact on the planet – such as the raging bushfires that killed billions of native wildlife, to the hunger pandemic in refugee settle­ments accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic – amplify my commitment to be in planetary service through practical permaculture activism for a positive future.

Where it Began My activism started as a teenager in the ’80s. I began to notice what was really going on in the world and I was horrified. I couldn’t believe we lived with the threat of nuclear war in ‘mutually assured destruction’, so I joined peace rallies and anti-nuclear organisations. I started to understand how badly things were going in our food systems when a freak dust storm made up of 100,000 tonnes of topsoil from farmland, plunged my city, Melbourne, into darkness; further from home, one million people died in Ethiopia from starvation. I was devastated by the accelerated clearing of old-growth forests near me for paper pulp, so volunteered with The Wilderness Society.

At a rally I saw the banner “If you’re not looking for a solution, then you’re part of the problem.” It really hit home and challenged me to step up to do more. My blinkers had to come off. Once you’ve noticed these things, you can’t truly ‘un-notice’ them. I’m sure many of you will relate to this and have also been touched deeply by something around you that has moved you to act, and relate to what youth are feeling today.

top  Liz in the ornamental garden, great for pollinators, wildlife and bringing joy main  The raised bed vegetable garden, built over a couple of years with reclaimed wood

I was distressed by the realities of the world and with the raw enthusiasm of a naive teen (I was naive – not all teens), I tried to tell everyone what was going wrong and that we all needed to change – for the sake of the planet, for humanity, for the forests, for other species. I was well-intentioned, but I’m sure I was critical and judgemental. As you can imagine, friends drifted away. I learnt quickly that is not the way to help change happen! I even represented my state in the United Nations Youth Association, but still I didn’t feel heard.

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