Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Success at Screening of The Economics of Happiness

Andrew Lucas and Helena Norberg-Hodge

The Melbourne screening of The Economics of Happiness happened on National Permaculture Day, Sunday 1 May. I think fair to say it was a success, with around 300 people coming. The documentary showed both the negative impacts of globalisation on our culture and happiness and environmental and economical stability, plus featured many positive stories of communities who are relocalising, reconnecting with their neighbours and patronising their local businesses. 

 The Q&A Panel: Adam Grubb, Andrew Lucas and Helena Norberg-Hodge

After the screening, we had a Question and Answer session with the film maker, Helena Norberg-Hodge, and Permablitz founder, Adam Grubb, and transition initiative enthusiast and founder of Transition Bell, Andrew Lucas. Themes raised during question time included:
  • how to include the older generation or ethnic groups that the sustainability/transition movement does not initially attract: pass some of your produce over your fence to your neighbour! Even if you don't share a language, you may find your neighbour starts handing you some produce of theirs. Andrew tried and succeeded
  • what to do about going to a Permablitz and the first thing you do is head to Bunnings for a shovel (national hardware store that local hardware stores struggle to compete against): try your local hardware store, or Freecycle or Sharehood: not every house needs a shovel!
  • how to get companies re-regulated so the people have more control: demand it from your politicians

One fact that interested people was a study on spending $100 at a bookshop. They found spending $100 at a book chain meant that only $13 stayed in the local economy, while $40-odd stayed in the economy if spent at an independent bookstore. This extra money went to management who were co-located, as well as services provided locally like accountants, lawyers and tradespeople.

My main aim for hosting the screening was to act as a catalyst for more local activity plus increase the membership of permaculture and transition initiative groups. Going by the buzz in the foyer both before and after the screening, I think the activity definitely affirmed many people were heading in the same direction together and were pleased to see they weren't alone. The groups who helped put the screening on (Permablitz, Permaculture Inner North, Sustainable Fawkner, Transition Brunswick, Transition Darebin and Transition Banyule) all had many people put their name down to find out more information. I'll admit, even though I organised the event on behalf of Permaculture Inner North, not many people put their name down for this. But it was great people connected with the other groups: there is a lot of crossover between us all. 

 The crowd

Thanks to Helena for appearing at the first Melbourne screening, to Adam Grubb, Andrew Lucas and Andrew McClelland for being on the panel, to the above mentioned community groups for spreading the word and to Moreland and Darebin City Councils who supported the screening both financially and through marketing.


  1. Wow, Sarah, that is fantastic. Congratulations on pulling off such an amazing event. I wish I could have been there.

    Living in the Adelaide hills I'm now starting to connect with my neighbours through local produce. My plot is in the back corner of the property and backs onto two other properties who also have their plots against the fence.

    Often we are out 'tending' at the same time and this year discovered that we were all growing zucchinis. We agreed that next year we will coordinate better so we grow different stuff so we can swap while we tend, instead of just comparing size!

    Congratulations again, I'm glad it was such a success!

  2. Hi Nat. Your connection with neighbours over the back fence sounds lovely. Stacey mentioned she now meets so many of her neighbours since she planted a vegie patch out the front. I'm awaiting a cookbook I ordered: The Classic Zucchini Cookbook. Very handy when there's a glut of zucchini (also has pumpkin recipes I'll use for my 22 pumpkins I harvested from two plants)