Wednesday, September 12, 2007

daily journal


Aug 13, 2007, Auroville, India, Well the first GEN EDE course has started today. There were participants.

Participants:, Vaikumar is Secretary of GREDS, he’s the head of an Ngo in Cudalor working on organic agriculture
Pradyut Nayek, Village & Post – Basanti, 24 Pargauaus (South) West Bengal, India, C 094375 36334, from Bengal, but working in Orissa, with tribal’s to implement organic agriculture and wants to implement development projects.
Pobchan LeelasartsuntornI, 25/2 M005 Tambol Klongg, Klong Luang, Pratumtani, 12120 Thailand, is working for a Thai NGO that does street theater on social and environmental issues and wants to start an Ecovillage community. Tel/fax 662 904 5665, mobil
Dr Amales Misra 8/1b Raipur Rd (E), Kolkata 700032, West Bengal, India, ph 09433 943194 is the director of a small NGO working off the coast of Bengal and is an expert in Vermiculture And wants to create an EcoVillage on this island
Osmane Aly Pame PO Box 5622 Dakar Fann, ph 221860 5363 from Senegal has just been hired as the Living Roots Director for Africa
Jake Pollack Living Roots (LR) teacher, speaks tamil, study philosophy/religious studies, into yoga and Indian culture. Jake has studies at
Kundan Singh LR Teacher, doing research into Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga
Jordan Chabalowski , 858 River Lea Ct, Memsha, WI 54952, USA, A student for the Fall Semester of LR, is a college campus activist on environmental issues
Hugo Oliveira, R.Lere De Vasconcelos M 40, 1 Andar 1170 200 Lisbon, Portugal, Europe, he is working with a Thai NGO and has taken this course before and he is keen to do EcoDesign for the project he’s working on.
Rosa Blanco Apdo 614 2400, Desamparados, San Jose, Costa Rica C.A. tel (506) 259 7130
a dentist from Costa Rica and AV Guest for 1.5 month and has lived on a community in Costa Rico and want’s to try starting an EcoVillage in Costa Rico.
Sara Yasmine Ribeiroo, Av. Boavista, def, Brastol, J66 3:Dto, 9100 132 Porta Protugal, C 35193 9563392, H 0035122 6069851 was born in Egypt, raised in Machu till 12 yrs and then returned to Portugal where she will start her uni course in Landscape Architecture.
Job Jensen, Frans Halcstraat 7, 1816 CM Alkmarr, Natherland,
studied dance at university, and has wanted to start an EcoVillage.
(Nico) Carlos Nicolau Antunes, Av Arantes Oliveira, 27, 11 C, 1900-221 Lisbon, Portugal, M351962 695956, born in Mozambique, actor, director and Teacher, presently teatching at Evora University, Portugal, he would like to recycle one of the many abandoned villages in PortugalLidia Robertson, Rua dos Lusíadas No 10 - 1 Dto, 2780-341 Oeiras, Portugal. Tel. 00351 214435249 / 00351 965811177. Responsible for workshop introducing schoolchildren to the relations between nature, tribal peoples & music.

Nikolai Working in Fertile with Johnny, has organized Earth Days in AV
Auro Ancole Nilatangam, 605101, Auroville, South India born and bred in AV, is working for N&N and AV Today
Eugen (AV) Courage, Auroville 605101 India, 2623137, Eugen (Swiss) works as an independent architect, a real estate appriser for the Housing Service and town planner for Auroville. His office is in Courage.

Manjot, Botanical Gardens, Auroville 605101, Ms Fix it extraordinaire, did her MA in International Finance, hated it and is now joining Auroville, she’s made more friends in 6 months than most Aurovillians do in 4 yrs…
Marti, Success, Auroville, 605101, On the GEN Board, on the GEN EDE board, taught Uni in France, an environmental activist, photographer extraordinaire,
Tlaloc New Creation Field, Auroville, 605101, Teacher Living Roots Auroville. Has taught on Sustainable Development at University. Has worked in Micronesia, Australia, Hawaii and India on environment/sustainable issues. A wanderer and wonderer and loves the exotic road. His base is Auroville.

Here is one person’s insight into the participants:
Pradyut always has interesting things to say. He speaks from a wealth of experience.

Rosa always ask great questions, and teaches us songs from around the world. She also plays lovely music from her bag of musical instruments around the world.

Job is always forthcoming with his concerns and always ask for clarification if he doesn’t understand. This trait is invaluable for other in the class who also may not understand but don’t question

Jordan is always positive, friendly and supportive. He brings very good energy to the meetings.

Tlaloc is the joker, making jokes about any and everything.

Jake speaks so quietly and gives us chants to follow in banjan style. He is also torn between the course and organizing the Living Roots program.

Sara writes notes non stop, is usually late for all sessions and when she gives input it is good input.

Hugo was quite but has a lot of knowledge about ecological design having taken this GEN EDE course several years ago with one of the best EDE teachers, Max Lindiger, but wanted to take the course again because he will soon be designing a EcoVillage for a NGO in Thailand where he is volunteering.

Pobchan wants to start an EcoVillage in Thailand where she is from. She is part of a drama troupe who are educating children and adults about a wide range of social issues. She always starts her talk with “I don’t speak good English’ and after she would say something she would ask ‘Do you understand?’. Most of us always understood Pobchan.

Amales is usually quite and reserve, but he has a lot of knowledge. He has a bit of a disadvantage due to the English that most of the speakers use is difficult for him to understand. During the course he has unlocked his acting potential and really likes to perform.

Osmane is taking the course so that he can start an ecovillage in Senegal when he returns.

Nokolai is usually quite but gives good input when he’s on a topic he feels passionate about.

Ancolie was a bit quite in the beginning but she quickly changed and offers her input often on a wide range of topics.

Nico seems to see things as black and white or take positions and will not be shifted from them

Lidiya is Sara’s aunt is interested in the course because she feels that teaching about sustainability is very important. She is usually quite and takes things in.

Kunda started the course as an academic and wanted to engage everyone in academic rigor. He mellowed out as the course moved on.

Vengadesh thought his English was good enough but the problem is the pronouciation and the speed of the presenters. So he gained very little from the presentations. He quit after the first week. We had sent all the Indian NGO’s a note stating that they would need sufficient English to do the course.

Eugen spoke little in the beginning but in the end talked a lot. He always came late and left early and didn’t really bond with the group.

So a nice mix from around the globe. We had several hip ups technologically speaking, the projector/computer interface was not possible (it had to do with Mac compatibility or lack there of). We thought it was our problem but it was the computer/projector interface.

The Theater Sports was a highlight of the evening. Everyone had a great time making fools of themselves and laughing. This was part of the glue that started to bind our living community together…

Matrimandir: We visited the VC and watched two movies on Auroville and the Matrimandir, the ‘temple and soul of AV’. Then we went to the Matrimandir and visited inside and went up to the inner chamber. This hollow sphere with its marble areas and long ramps leading up the inner chamber is an unusal building. We were able to meditate for 10 mins only because we were on a tour and that is the allotted time. One interesting thing happened when some of our ‘community’ were in the IC. They sat next to a very large and unfit older person. The walk up to the IC made his heart beat wildly and so he was very laborious breathing which was due to the over stressed heart. Our guide came up to him on several occasions asking him to be quiet!


20/8 morning meeting:
Here is the feedback:
Please have participants list for all the participants
A list was complied and sent on Tue/Wed via email to all participants
Please try and get handouts prior to the class.
We sent an email to all participants requesting again to send us the handouts prior to the presentation. We also explained that Aurovillians don’t always get around to doing things prior to their presentation…
Please have daily review and feedback time integrated into the program
We have implemented this in
Please have one venue for all the presentations and have a bigger place
The issue of punctuality has come up again, several of the participants continue to be late.
The issue of bike flats and having the bikes ready access at lunch (not parked at College Guest House)

Day 13, 29/8
Tlaloc then gave examples of how PSD works in the hot desert area, the cold temperate areas (Sweden, Canada), tropical (Hawaii) and the hot wet tropics (Auroville-which is the hardest area), and temperate (Portugal, USA etc). PSD works very well in all different climatic zones. However the one area that is difficult is the hot humid areas of the world. By using insulation in roofs and walls and smart glazing or double glazing to restrict heat and cold gains and loses in your home, coupled with sitting of house can make homes very comfortable without the use on any other energy (electricity, gas, air conditioning etc).

After lunch Tlaloc went over retrofitting and how to make existing housing stock more energy efficient. He also went over how you could incorporate ponds, baffle walls, window placement, pole houses to utilise the wind and other natural elements to make inside living comfortable. Cultural design was also discussed, eg window placement where people are sitting on the floor.

We tried to do a workshop on students designing their own PSD house, but this failed due to the students not having enough information from the presentation. However they did learn that envelop, insulation, windows, positioning of house were very important areas to make one’ house more energy efficient.

In the evening Jesse did Theater Sports with the group and most of the group really enjoyed it. Great performances were had by Amales, Jordan, Job and Sara. Rosa and
Hugo were working on giving another workshop on Permaculture’s zone I from 8-10pm.

Day 14, Local Foods, 30/8
We rode our bikes to the Botanical Gardens where Stephan gave us a presentation on the work he is doing on seed production of heirloom seeds species of the night shade family, squash, corn, and a few other species and of the extension work he’s doing with farmer in our bio-region and also in other areas (Ooty, near Bangalore). He also shared some experimental work he’s doing with charcoal in growing and shared the test results (very high production and no pest). He stressed the need to grown and promotes heirloom seed varieties. Later he showed the seeds he gives to local and distant farmers and some people took them to try in their respective areas. However Pobchan didn’t, she couldn’t due to Custom officials in Thailand. This was a pity.

After this Pradyut and Tlaloc gave a walking tour of the BG and discussed the different plants and technologies in the area. Then they all biked to Solitude to have lunch. Krishna and team provided an organic meal for us. It was only OK. Nothing to shout about. However some people have said that this was a very good place to eat. Before we ate Krishna gave us a talk on the food we were going to eat and after lunch he gave us a talk on the origins of Solitude and the philosophical bases of the community and farming practices e.g. they follow M Fukuoka’s (One Straw Revolution) philosophy of farming. It is a continued trail and adaptation. However overall the farm is doing well. It was interesting to see the way Solitude generates its income. The running cost of the farm is covered by the daily lunches that the community provides to guest and Aurovillians. This is a very creative solution to the crops they are growing and adding value to their crops.
After this Krishna took us on a tour of the farm and showed how they are trying to incorporate Fukuoka’s philosophy. Pradyut shared a lot of his knowledge and it was a great sharing of information.

Then we went to Buddha Garden where Priya gave us a very sobering view of organic farming. Her presentation made a lot of people a bit down because of all the obstacles she faces. We also found it interesting that they were using hybrid seeds (almost a contradiction of being an organic farm). After the explanation we did a tour of the farm and however we lost a number of participants by the end of the tour. Those who did the entire tour came to the conclusion that the others were not inspired by this negative tour at all and so didn’t want to continue. There were some successes, like the banana and papaya plantation. We had suggested that Priya use the seeds of Botanical Garden but she said that she had tried them on a number of occasions but they never had good germination. We thought this was very interesting since Stephan had told us contradicting information. So we don’t know where we stand on all this. The vast majority of participants liked Solitude Farm’s the best.

Then we biked back to College Guest House and other destinations. We all got together for dinner at Town Hall with another great meal and then onto Centre Guest House to watch How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. Which is a very inspirational film on how Cuba was able to beat the US embargo and Russian’s elimination of its subsidies to its satellite countries. They introduced a wide range of energy efficiency, organic farming, community health that gives us all a model of what we need to do in the future. A very relevant and inspiring film about pace setters of an eco world.

31/8 Day 15 Restoring nature:
The presentation was running by Paul from Botanical Garden (BG), he works in ecorestoration since seven years ago in BG, bringing back what was lost after the total deforestation ten years ago in BG’s fields before Auroville brought the land.

He basically suggests to observe nature and it patterns, it wisdom, trying to mimic this, using native and local species rather than exotic, this will facilitate it care of water and energy, also this will provide the attraction of local animal species (different birds, little mammals), for this more biodiversity, therefore we will help to develop a sustainable habitat.
Paul gave a very personal point of view, aim towards the search of the utility of our relationship between the Nature, arguing that when we have some interest in the human being development is easier to find ways to work pro-nature providing security in the survival of the species involved, for the potential benefit that it represents to humans.
name: auroville
pass: aurotree

After Paul, Regina show us some pictures of Auroville, some decades ago, with the beginning of the reforestation process, and some other pictures from the canyon and swales that with the aim of water harvesting, aurovillians had develop through the time. Interesting to see the pictures and then walk through the same place after the lunch, feeling the work and the time that hug this lands, completely dry now but silently waiting for rain, walking in line one after the other, climbing banyan tree, waiting for Sara who knows perfectly the sensation of each stone, each leave of grass, each thorn in her barefoot feet.

In the evening we celebrate Manjot’s birthday finally, after some delay but full of love and sweet chocolate cake!!

Afterwards Job (with Rosa’s assistance) gave a creative dance workshop. Job was leaving the next day so he wanted to give us a gift (the dance workshop) which everyone really enjoyed and we were into it for about an hour but then the rains decided to intercede. So we moved the dance inside and we had a great time dancing but the workshop was over. Most of the participants slept at the American Pavilion (where the workshop was held) due to the rain that went for many hours into the night.

1/9 For the afternoon the participants had requested a workshop on Role Play and resolving conflict. So a workshop was planned but Elvira, the presenter fell sick so couldn’t do it. So Hugo and later Rosa burned a lot of DVD’s on the materials participants had seen during the workshop. This continued for the next few days. Most of us had dinner at Centre Guest House. Lidia left the program today. She did not have the funds to do any further. She thought that she could get more funds from Europe; however she couldn’t so she withdrew today.

Sunday: We met at Aurelec Cafeteria for lunch. The participants enjoyed the wide variety of food. After that we went to visit Rolf in Petit farm where he showed us his house, his water catchment system, his water inventions, Manfred’s soap making and some of his mineral salt activities. He even made an Argon machine which Wilhelm Reich developed.

Then we went to meet Kireet at Gaia’s Garden and then he took us for a walk to see the work he is doing with check dams in Auroville. Kireet has been instrumental in stopping all rain water flowing into the oceans (along with all the greenbelters who are doing regeneration work). Now very little rains ever go into the ocean. The trapped water that percolates back into the ground recharging the aquifer. We were all impressed with this amazing project. Later we toured Kireet’s Gaia’s Garden which is a very well maintained guest house.

Most of us met for dinner at the VC.

3/9 Social Enterprise
Marc led the workshop on the principles of Social Enterprise. Showing us the differences between a fair trade and the “free commerce trade”, explaining that fair trade is not a charity movement but an empower people movement for those who want to be empower and begging their own business.

He explained some of the criteria of a fair trade business that should be followed before embarking on a fair trade endeavor.
- creating opportunities - transparency in accounts
- training capacity - promote fair trade
- pay fair price - equality of gender
- working conditions -child work
-Ambient issues -commercial relations

After Marc, Uma introduced to us “Tsunamika”, one of her ideas and creation, inspiring people to keep going with their lives after the tsunami hit the coast. People from the villages, basically women, started to get together to be trained to produced this little doll, the size of a thumb who will became a symbol of hope and friendship around the world. More than one million of little Tsunamikas were made and send around the world without as a gift, without selling them or exchange them for money.
Uma has a lot of innovative ideas, using design principles to helping others and the humanity in general. She also explained “Small Steps”, which highlighted a the simple way of taking action do to something positive for the environment.

Osmane took his leave from us today, his flight connections to Africa are very difficult and only a few flights per week. So we have lost three participants in the space of 3 days.

We had dinner at the Visitor’s Centre

4/9 Personal Empowerment and LeadershipMarc and Elvira ran this workshop.

Then Marc did a workshop on the Great Idea Workshop. He informed us that this was the first time he had ever done this as a workshop. He normally just does this on his own. This was developed by from Stanford University, CA, USA. Some people thought the workshop could have done in about ½ to ¾ of the time it actually took.

After lunch Elvira did a workshop on conflict and role playing. She gave us a handout which identified about 8 rolls and the rest which were chosen by the participants and the rest of the participants were observers, however Elvira asked us to note the times and ways in which the moderators addressed the conflict. Everyone who had a part in the role play did a very good job (Elvira had given us all handouts which identified the issues and roles everyone had and then the players just interpreted the role play. It was very realistic for those of us who were observers. Elvira debriefed the actors after the role play so that they wouldn’t harbor any ill feelings from the acting.

Overall the day was very interesting and we learned a number of ways of trying to deal with conflict.

Dinner was at the Town Hall however Tlaloc, Jake and Kundan had another meeting there for the Living Roots program so we had a much smaller group.

5/9 The energy of the group has fallen due to three of our members leaving. Sara has also informed us that she is leaving on Thursday. Most of the participants showed up 15min late. Several also fell asleep, during Isha’s presentation. She and Tlaloc explained the historical setting of the Aurovillians, the SAS (Sri Aurobindo Society: who at the time of 78’ were the owners of Auroville and of the great conflict that took place for over 10 yrs) and the eventual moves by Auroville to ask the Central Gov to step in and protect them from the SAS. At the time the intent of the legislation that but Auroville under the control of the Indian Government was only to protect Auroville, but to give us self rule and operations. However recent events seem to point to the Central Gov trying to gain control of Auroville.

Auroville is an unusual EcoVilllage with its relationship with a Federal (Central) Government. This is not a good model for any EcoVillage to follow. Self determination and self sufficiency are hallmarks of an EcoVillage, these principles should never be compromised. EcoVillages have to have a working relationship with governments at the shire and state level but would hopefully this would be minimal. So it was stressed that all the participants should try and maintain an arms length approach, yet co-operative approach with local and State governments.

After Isha’s talk tlaloc had the participants working on their EcoVillage Design or telling about their dreams of what they envisioned.

We went to Indus Valley for lunch. Indus Valley Café is the only eatery in Auroville that works on the gift economy. It serves North Indian food daily. The gift economy means that people elect to pay whatever they want. The café has been operating for over a year and has a steady clientele. After lunch Pobchan, Amrels, Pradyut went to Upasana to visit Uma and her design studio. Due to this they and a couple of others were late for the afternoon session with Lyle.

Lyle is on several finance committees in Auroville and he gave a very informative talk on the finances of Auroville. Auroville has a very large budget and raises 95% of its own budget (Auroville also gets many grants from overseas but this total is not included in the operating budget of Auroville). Lyle also discussed some disturbing trends within Auroville. The Secretary is trying to be a signatory of all checks (cheques) within Auroville. Aurovillle has been arguing against this move. This is seen as another example of more interference and another example of the Central Government’s grab for more power.

Lyle said that for any community to be sustainable communities needed to have three main criterias about their finance. The first was transparency, all members of the community needed to have access to all financial transactions. The second was accountability. There has to be a paper trail of all incomes and expenses and books need to be kept to show this. The third was????

All of Lyle’s references on finance was about Auroville however Tlaloc would point out how these issue were relevant to other EcoVillages in general. Everyone enjoyed the workshop because it raised a number of relevant issues for anyone wanting to start and EcoVillage.

Lucas gave a workshop on EM (Effective Micro-organisms). He stress the importance of changing our perceptions from fearing virus and bacteria’s because the vast majority of them are beneficial not harmful and they play a major roll in re-generating soil, purifying water, creating life on earth, breaking down waste (there is no waste in nature – ones waste is another’s food) etc. EM was developed by Dr. Teuro Higa, from Japan, and it has many applications. From sanitation, to using in dumps, to agriculture, to control of mosquitoes (Lucas doesn’t think this works – but we have noticed a drastic fall in mosquitoes after they applied EM in our meeting hall) etc. Lucas was kind enough to donate his power point presentation to the participants and also a short movie about EM. Lucas claims the cost if very inexpensive. However the one thing that is a problem with EM as is Bio-Dynamics is the re-occurring cost of the inputs that are manufactured and sold. Lucus also informed us that there are many Indian (and other country imitations) of EM but their effectiveness is highly questionable.

6/9 Appropriate Technology: There was a last minute hiccup, the lecture hall we were going to use at CSR (Centre for Science and Research – which we had reserved a month ago) had to be postponed because another seminar took priority over ours (Tency the person who manages part of CSR and the lecture hall was using it for a group of people from Japan). So being the true we are, we had a session on having participants sharing their dreams about what they envisioned for their EcoVillage. There were a wide range of ideas and dream and format that the participants shared with us. They were as diverse as we are (yet we also feel unified as a learning and sharing community).

After tea the group headed over to CSR to find out about this major research institution and about Appropriate Technology. Appropriate Technology was coined by EF Shumacher (Small is Beautiful – 73’). This book created a movement of AT and this has spread around the world. There are a number of criteria’s that AT uses. Its simple to use, it uses renewable energy or fossil fuels efficiently, can be made and repaired by the user, it is often made from the materials at hand within the environment that it is going to be used, it is often directed at third world cultures (but not limited to).

Alok gave a presentation on the AT research going on in Auroville. They covered solar research, ferro cement, water treatment,

After seeing all the AT at CSR we went across the street to Auro Mode, where we went to look at their DEWATS living system sewage system. This system purifies the water via holding filtering beds and reed beds which produces safe water when it finally passes through the last reed stage. This system can be used for small communities or a cluster of houses if you have access year round water. We also saw?????

Then we went to the Solar Kitchen to eat and then we went on the roof to see the parabolic reflector. Parabolic concentrate the sun’s energy on a focal point and can create very high temperatures. The Solar Kitchen’s parabolic creates steam which is used for preparing the lunch evening meals.

We also visited Prosperity, which is an Aurovillian complex which houses the New Pour Tous (where people can take food and other household items), Nandini where people can get their curtains, pillow cases, and other decorative household items, the Free Store where people can get clothing items and a wide range of items which people drop off (second hand) however there is also a lot of new items which come from the other units within Auroville (that make clothes etc and they donate these new items),

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Reproduced for private study purposes by Ecological Solutions Pty Ltd.
Intentional communities are groups of people who deliberately settle an area (rural or urban) together. Their aim is to
enhance the material and social quality of life, at less cost to the biosphere, by sharing and by working together. This
co-operative activity may involve the self-regulation of group behaviour, efficiencies of group purchasing, joint labour or
division of specialist tasks, the establishment of a LETS' economy, or the communal creation & sharing of facilities such
as horse paddocks, a sawmill, a preschool or tennis courts. Intentional communities seek to redress the shortcomings of
modern fragmented, competitive & antipathetic 'dog-eat-dog' societies.
In a time of widespread structural unemployment, resource shortage, environmental damage and governmental
complexity, such a comparatively) low-impact, low-demand, self-managing lifestyle is integral to fashioning a sustainable
civilization. Rural land-sharing communities are actively 2 encouraged (by Labor governments) in NSW, which has
codified their development rights
Of course, traditionally peoples came to constitute what were, effectively, intentional communities, but they did so over
millennia of evolution rather than by choice and legal structuring. For them, the law (or lore), and the distribution or use
of land, was known & imbibed from birth and felt as inevitable. However, in this modern era of social fragmentation, high
mobility and specialization there is extensive estrangement from such certainties.
Experience shows that it is advisable for intentional communities to adopt, at the outset, a legal structure formally
documenting critical aspects of their inter-relationship. Failure to do so may result in confusion and injustice should trust
and idealism sour under the inevitable pressures of life. Inspiration, reason and comradeship are needed to interpret and
enliven the written constitution, but it is unwise to rely upon these alone: they can dissipate quickly once doubts and
bickering set in.
A strong & appropriate legal structure will assist settlers in focussing on primary and secondary aims, overcoming
obstacles and protecting individual rights & investments. It will regularize such matters as allocation of homesites and
farming areas, protection of private capital assets, rentals and sales of interests, decision-making, disciplining of deviants,
vesting of a member's interest on death and allocation of assets upon dissolution. Being a legal entity facilitates the
vesting of land title, permits contracting as a group and limits individual liability.
It may appear attractive, easy & enlightened to hark back to traditional societies and avoid written or verbal rules, but this
idealistic approach must be treated with caution. It tends to be unrealistic and bound to culminate in disappointment, and
due less to wisdom than to a knee-jerk reaction against authority or sheer laziness as regards rigorous thought and
responsibility. Many self-managing (anarchist) communities have adhered to a formal constitution. Eventually a
community may evolve spontaneously and reliably to share a high. Sensitivity, understanding and morality. formal rules
may then wither and die as irrelevant and unnecessary, but this stasis must be eventuated by gradual group attunement: it
cannot be pre-supposed.
Probably the biggest concern in an intentional community of striking a balance between privacy & .security (on the one
hand) and communal decision-making & obligations (on the other). In a typical Australia "cookie-cutter" suburb, with the
land fragmented in a formal & antiseptic way, it is quite possible for neighbours to live side-by-side and barely know each
other. They have absolute privacy in their surveyed lots and security against trespassers or for mortgaging purposes. Yet a
lot of the quality & potential of life is ousted. There is no obligation to co-operate with a neighbour, there is no persuasion
towards basically like-minded & co-operative communities and there a diminished impetus towards economic & social
etc. sharing.
State legislation invariably forbids subdivision without the necessary (expensive) town planning approvals and
registration of surveyed plans 4 , and imposes heavy penalties for default'. What constitutes a subdivision is defined as
(briefly) any division of land into parts so as to render different parts thereof 'immediately' [NSW only] available for
separate disposition or separate occupation. However, a lease for more than five years of part of a building (as distinct
from any land) does not constitute a subdivision 6 . A lease for any term not exceeding 5 years (now 10 years in
Queensland 7) without the right of renewal is exempted: an exemption which is theoretically capable of abuse, for instance
by the creation of successive independent leases couched so as to commence at future dates, or by blurring the right to
'separate occupation' e.g. on some days or times of the year, or by postulating some delay which makes the occupation less
than 'immediately available'. Caselaw has not explored such manipulations, which would be easy enough to explore in an
intentional community situation. All of this just shows the shortcomings of the law as an instrument of control.
A wide range of legal structures have been used by intentional communities, and in this essay each one is examined &
evaluated. The conclusion is that, from an idealistic point of view, the co-operative is best; however, from a practical
viewpoint the company is to be preferred.
In NSW, active encouragement is given to the formation of intentional communities in rural areas. SEPP 15 has recently
been reintroduced by the NSW Labour government, after its removal by the previous Coalition government, as a planning
policy made pursuant to Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. The initial incarnation of this policy began in
197910 and communities approved under it were known as "Multiple Occupancies": a term which still pertains. Such
communities are exempt from land tax". SEPP 15 does not stipulate what legal structure is to be used, but in most cases
one would expect the vehicle adopted to be a company or co-operative.
This Policy aims:
(a)to encourage and facilitate ' the development of rural land sharing communities committed to environmentally sensitive and sustainable
land use practices, and thus
(b) to enable:
(i) people to collectively own a single allotment of land and use it as their principal place of residence, and
(ii) the erection of multiple dwellings on die allotment and the sharing of facilities and resources to collectively manage the
allotment, and
(iii ) the pooling of resources, particularly where low incomes are involved, to economically develop a wide range of communal rural
living opportunities, including the construction of low cost buildings, mid
(c) to facilitate development, preferably in a clustered style:
(i) in a manner that both protects the environment and does not create a demand for the unreasonable or uneconomic provision of
public amenities or public services by the State or Commonwealth governments, a council or other public authorities, mid
(ii) in a manner that does not involve subdivision, strata title or any other form of separate land title, and in a manner that does not
involve separate legal rights to parts of the land through other means such as agreements, dealings, company shares, trusts or
time-sharing arrangements, and
(iii) to create opportunities for an increase in the rural population in areas that are suffering or are likely to suffer from a decline in
services due to rural population loss.
Any development of this nature requires a Development Application to the local council, but such applications can
basically be made upon any single allotment of rural land (10 hectares or above in size) anywhere in scheduled areas of
the state (basically rural areas excluding the western division), unless it is more than 25% prime crop or pasture land, or in
a water catchment or environmentally sensitive zone. Once approved, no subdivision is possible. The council must
consider the proposed distribution of land between dwellings and communal areas, public road access, water supply,
waste disposal, impact vegetation cover, the risk of flooding, bush fires, landslip or erosion, visual impact, Aboriginal
claims etc. An acceptable management plan must be submitted regarding these things. The permitted density of dwellings,
is capped by a formula geared to the area of the land: for instance if the land is in area ['"A"'] between 10 and 210 hectares
the formula (with fractions of 0.5+ being rounded up and those below rounded down) is:
4 + (A - 10)
Whilst it does not bluntly say so, SEPP 15 seems to envisage that the community may prescribe or allow certain rights to
privacy and for individual (as distinct from collective) agriculture in "home improvement areas", which are defined as the
area of land, not exceeding 5,000 square metres, around a dwelling. This term, although defined in SEPP 15, is only
mentioned in one other place12 , which deals with items a council has to consider and seems to juxtapose the area
proposed for community use with the area for residential accommodation and home improvement areas. However, SEPP
15 makes it clear that the definition of "home improvement areas" is intended to "designate the use of the area of land so
defined and not for the purpose of creating a separate entitlement". Clearly, whilst (in my opinion) SEPP 15 "by a nod & a
wink" wisely envisages rights to privacy & to reap where one sows (and even - under the internal contractual rules - to
exclusive possession, as against other shareholders at least?), there is no separate subdivision.
Legislation enabling the subdivision of land into certain common areas held by a body corporate and other private areas
held by its members, exists in Victoria 13 , NSW14 and Queensland. In NSW this legislation was adopted relatively recently,
and there are some instances of broad-acre intentional communities incorporating under the Strata Titles Act, which is
intended for high-rise subdivision. In all these instances the vehicle becomes a body corporate empowered and regulated
under the relevant legislation: there is no need for any other common law or statutory form of structuring to be adopted.
This legislation enables the horizontal & vertical subdivision of land into separate lots, held amidst common property, and
the disposition of titles thereto. This form of tenure allows a group to buy land and to subdivide it, with blocks not
necessarily contiguous, yet to retain control over lands held in common and over internal roads, rather than surrendering
such control to the local council. The council would exercise control over certain aspects of the development, including
e.g. firebreaks and road standards, at the Development Application stage. The standards applied would not necessarily be
less than those applicable to subdivisions. Every lot, and the commons, would be liable to land tax unless worth less than
the exemption ceiling (currently $160,000). For rating, land tax and resale purposes, the owner of each lot is treated as a
fee simple owner.
A very wide range of internal arrangements is possible, covering a minimum of public facilities to the most idealistic &
extensive set-up of communal facilities such as schools, halls and industrial sites. All sorts of factors could be accounted
for, including pets, noise levels, -.use of sprays, standards of construction and preservation of an environmental, political
or social theme An executive committee would be elected at an annual general meeting to manage the enterprise, as with
Strata Title developments. A system of by-laws and refereeing of disputes is envisaged.
This new form of subdivision is being pushed particularly by developers on the outskirts of cities and 'resort' developers
who wish to eventuate a series of semi-autonomous precincts (e.g. associated golf course, hotel, commercial, marina &
residential) within the one complex. However, this form of subdivision can be readily adopted to intentional communities,
both urban and rural.
The big 'plus', for an intentional community, is that individual home or business sites are owned, and can be mortgaged, as
freehold, but they exist within the broader framework of a highly regulated intentional community. This can adopt very
detailed by-laws regarding, say, which areas can be used communally for agistment of animals, or recreation, forestry or
growing fruit & vegetables. There can be huge cost-savings and huge increases in available amenities from such
processes, if they are correctly planned and executed with good will. Conversely, terrible messes can eventuate if this
planning is botched or ill-will sours. its execution. In this way the 'best of both worlds' may be achieved: that, is, privacy
& security within a precisely-defined territory and financial flexibility within the enriching context of a broader
community of like-minded people.
The 'negatives' are that local authority development approvals, subdivisional & legal costs (drafting complex internal rules
etc.) and registration expenses become very expensive. A quite different form of 'negative' relates to the ethos of this
legislation, at least so far as intentional communities are concerned. By surveying off private blocks, it is alleged, social
and geographical. fragmentation within the community is formalized and entrenched. A presumption is raised against the
social and territorial holism of the group: the emphasis is upon the parts rather than the whole.
Unless care is taken, community title may tend to enable mere speculators to buy in and parasitize upon the efforts of the
group to form a community, until such time as they can pocket an unearned, windfall capital gain. Settlers could,
however, bind themselves (in the management deed) to surrender their normal freehold rights and to accept only the value
of improvements upon resale. The value of improvements, as regards both material and labour, is something which can be
assessed by a trained valuer to within 5% of actual market sales.
My own opinion (which has reversed in the past decade) is that the privacy & security given by a community title
structure makes it a desirable vehicle if the additional capital is available to effect the necessary structuring & subdivision.
Others, whose opinion I respect (and which has been reversed in the contrary direction!) believe to the contrary. The jury
is still out.
The big advantage of structuring as a company is that they are quick and easy to set up. Cooperatives, by way of contrast,
are likely to take months of bureaucratic processing to register. A shelf company, with the desired name (if available) and
share structure can be purchased for about $900 within hours. This is a substantial reason why many intentional
communities adopt a company structure. Annual returns only cost $200.
The company enjoys 150 years of direct evolution, since 1844 when the Roman concept of corporatization merged with
that of extended partnership to enable the modem trading corporation to become the basis of commercial life. If shares are
being offered on the open market,' and if more than 20 shareholders are to be involved, then careful attention must be
given to drawing up a legal prospectus16. If more than 50 shareholders are involved the company must be public rather
than proprietary, but this makes little difference save for more expensive annual returns.
The shareholders elect directors at Annual General Meetings, and the directors are entrusted with the day-to-day running
of the enterprise. The constitution can be very flexible as regards what matters require approval by special resolution (a
2/3 vote, although this can be varied), or what proportion of directors must approve a board resolution. Some communities
seek to require unanimity, or a 99% consensus, or some other very high degree of agreement: 1 am dubious of this and
have seen it result in hopeless, frozen stand-offs which only an expensive Supreme Court decision might resolve. A guard
may be made against fraud of directors by adopting in the constitution a clause forbidding a transfer or mortgage of
community lands, and then registering a caveat against the title citing such constraint.
This structure has become highly sophisticated and flexible, and is governed by the federal Corporations Law Great
flexibility is permitted for internal organization and detailed rules for running the enterprise can readily be adopted in the
Constitution (previously termed Articles of Association). There is limited liability, so members are not individually liable
for debts of the group.
Intentional communities which have incorporated and organized themselves in this way, or intend doing so despite the
risks, should ' be aware of several further pitfalls which this method involves. The first is that, unless strict restraints are
placed upon share transfers, they are likely to lose any sense of community, since entry and exit becomes simply a private,
commercial matter without veto powers in the rest of the group. The second is that, if vendors of such shareholding
interests are entitled to capitalize upon increments in the value of the land then the group is open to the membership of,
and to exploitation by, mere speculators. Provisions in the Constitution can guard against such dangers.
Co-operatives are self-help democratic organizations, giving equal voting rights to each member. Membership should be
available without social, political, racial or religious discrimination. Their prime aim is to provide members with services,
not profits. Co-operatives are linked by State and national federations, and internationally. This network provides' many
services, such as banking, development guidance and legal advice.
The law regarding the establishment and operation of co-operatives is contained in State legislation 17 which provides a
range of suitable objects and powers which can be tailored to meet the circumstances. The modern legislation in NSW no
longer distinguishes between kinds or types of co-operative, and does away with the old concept of ultra vires. However,
this is not the case in Queensland, where different types of co-operative (such as a trading co-operative, mutual buying
leagues or a community settlement society) are discerned. This last relates to acquiring land in order to settle or retain
people thereon, and of providing any community service or benefit, and is pertinent to intentional communities. A group
must not call themselves a cooperative, or sell shares in itself, until they actually achieve registration.
Co-operatives are expressly outside the Corporations Law'8, but this exclusion does not apply when securities (shares) are
being offered to the public 19 and care must be taken, when offering securities to the public, that an adequate prospectus is
Legislation regarding co-operatives also contains provisions ensuring proper financial administration, handling of
exigencies and appeal to the Registrar in some instances. There is thus a comprehensive statutory safety-net protecting
both co-operatives and their shareholders from common hazards. The ability of the Registrar to scrutinize the affairs of a
Cooperative, or to refuse to register an unacceptable rule-change, should not be viewed as an interference or danger: these
powers can only be exercised within defined situations and are aimed at protecting shareholders.
Everything can be done and achieved under the co-operative structure which can be done under other structures.
Co-operatives, like companies, are distinct legal entities, capable of suing and being sued, of contracting and of holding
land. Their members are protected from liability for the co-operative's debts. There is a ceiling (20%) on share-holding21 ,
however those with extra funds can loan them to the co-operative, perhaps by way of debenture issue.
The Rules may be amended usually by a 2/3 vote at an Annual General Meeting, and By-laws may be made under them
for the day-to-day operation of the community. These By-laws cover such aspects as the allocation and settlement of
house sites, territorial rights, the renting of premises, payment of annual levies (by cash or work), the settlement of
disputes and codes of behaviour. There are certain formal requirements for an Annual General Meeting (at which directors
are elected), and for annual returns to the Registrar.
Registration of a co-operative is achieved by contacting the local (State) Registry, which will provide model rules. The
Registrar must be satisfied that the proposed enterprise has a solid footing. It will be adequate if a sufficient number of
people (5 in NSW, 25 in Queensland 22) wish to form a co-operative, if they have an option to purchase land (or evidence
from the vendor that such an option will be granted) and if they can show that a Development Application for Multiple
Occupancy upon that land is likely to be successful. They should also work out carefully what their costs and funding will
So as to minimize the likelihood of excessive bureaucratic delay when seeking registration, it is best to adopt the standard
constitution, or that of an al ready-established co-operative community, without seeking novel alterations. Applications of
this latter sort tend to get lost in the "too hard basket. It is important for the spirit and unison of ' the "sustainable lifestyle"
movement that the co-operative structure, with its democratic idealism, potentials for formal federation and international
fraternity, be fostered.
Tenancy in Common
Where land is held by tenancy in common then all the names of those who own the land together are entered upon the
register and each tenant-in-common is entitled to a separate and distinct Certificate of Title 23 . This will express them as
holding shares of a particular proportion, which need not be equal. There is a statutory presumption that 24 where names
appear together on the Certificate of Title then they hold as tenants in common
All tenants- in-common are entitled to use the land, or to equal shares in the rent. No one tenant-in-common has a right to
possession of any particular part of the property, however the owners can lease portions for periods less than five years
[which in practice would tend to be renewable] so as to keep within the anti-subdivision laws . These leased areas need
not formally be surveyed -- a good sketch is enough for the Registrar-General. Tenants in common are jointly and
severally liable for council rates, but as between themselves they are only liable for that part of the rates proportionate to
the interest held. There is no limited liability for debts incurred as owners or contracted in the group name.
Tile land cannot be sold or mortgaged unless all co-operate. A building erected by one party, being a fixture on the land,
belongs to all the tenants in common and one tenant cannot (in the absence of a specific contract) recover from another
any share of the money spent making improvements etc. If the tenants cannot agree then partition, or sale in lieu, of the
property can be forced by a court (which may appoint a trustee)26 , however inconvenient or disadvantageous this might
be, or a financial adjustment may be ordered.
Members may enter into a management contract with each other, regulating aspects of their relationship, but breaches of
the subdivision code remain illegal and internal 'deeds, contravening same, whilst they may be fine as establishing a
consensus between the tenants-in-common, are ultimately unenforceable insofar as they give exclusive possession of
separate portions for periods in excess of 5 years.
Each member is free to dispose of an interest as s/he pleases, but the internal rules of the group may regulate this (e.g. by
requiring that the share be offered to the remainder first). Such a contractual regulation will not prevent a disposition
contrary to it: only give a right of suit for breach of contract. The interest may be devised by will, or, if not, passes
according to the normal rules of intestacy. If, due to death or a sale, any alteration must be made to the names on the
Certificate of Title then a formal transfer must be recorded at the Registrar-General and stamp duty paid, so expense is
incurred. There is no exemption from land tax unless approval as an MO has been obtained.
Tenancy in common is far from an ideal structure for an intentional community. It has no inbuilt democratic constitution
for decision-making, no major group ideals or financial controls and no history as a multi-faceted group vehicle. Even
with a well-developed internal arrangement. there will be extra costs and risks to face. Surprisingly, many Multiple
Occupancy settlements (usually the smaller ones) hold their land in this way 27. It is possible for such groups, if non profit,
to form a co-operative and transfer the land to is without attracting stamp duty28.
Joint Tenancy
A Joint Tenancy is similar to, a Tenancy in Common except that the rule of survivorship applies and upon the death of
one Joint Tenant ' the interest passes to the other(s), whatever any Will might say. In NSW a Joint Tenancy is severed,.
and becomes a Tenancy in Common. whenever one party transfers his (her!) interest. However, in Queensland it is
necessary to make an application to the Court under the Property Law Act in order to enable a sale to go ahead. This
arrangement of title is only suitable for a permanent couple relationship and should be avoided in an intentional
community, however small the number of settlers.
Partnership is the relation which exists between persons carrying on a business in common with a view of profit'9. A
partnership name (unless it is simply their own names) must be registered at the Department of Consumer Affairs Office.
The death of one partner dissolves the partnership, but another partnership may spring up just by continued business
endeavour amongst the survivors.
Thus, an intentional community settling land together with a view to making profit by joint enterprise (for instance by
running a dairy herd) may find themselves unwittingly deemed to be a partnership by force of law. In a partnership there
is no limited liability. The partners are liable, jointly and severally, for all the debts of the partnership and recourse can be
had against their private possessions. Partners are presumed to be agents for the other partners in any transaction
connected to their business. If there are more than 20 partners then they must incorporate.30
Usually partnership agreements are written, but they may spring into existence and become legally binding simply by
acting and trading in association together. They come under the Partnership Act unless it. is expressly excluded. A
partnership might be construed from the circumstances, as may an implied trust, and this possibility. could save some
settlers who have been so unwise or blinded by naive idealism as to have invested upon the land of another, without any
formalization of affairs, only to find themselves threatened with expulsion. In such a case, the elements of a partnership
must be shown: the enterprise must have been carried on for material gain, with a continuity of business transactions and a
sharing of profit or loss.
Partnership is not recommended for a sustainable community. It can be a very messy relationship, especially when there is
no written deed. It may have a place where the group is relatively small and stable, trusting, with their relations detailed in
writing and where their interests are commercially inclined. However, such folk would be much better advised to form a
company or co-operative.
Under a trust one person, group or (preferably) corporation holds the legal title for the benefit of others. These others (the
beneficiaries) can be an unincorporated association, but if so they should take care to ensure that their membership is well
defined. Merely using the word "Trust" has no legal effect. everything depends upon the terms of the Trust Deed. Some
kind of Trust may however, be construed from the circumstances, even where nothing is written or express. This may be
the case where various people have donated or worked towards the purchase and maintenance of land held by another
Being, or calling oneself, a Trust gives no advantages above being a company or co-operative and there are several
disadvantages. Any change to the name(s) of trustees, e.g. upon death or alteration, involves amendment of the Certificate
of Title and consequent cost. Legal control over the operation usually rests with the trustee, who may be remote fro ' m the
actual settlers and difficult & expensive to call to account. Settlers may not be well protected under the Trust Deed and
may lose years of investment and effort when the trustee forces legal power upon them. There are no income tax
advantages. The insertion of a 'second tier' of control has no advantage', save perhaps where idealistic objects (e.g.
permaculture or a certain religious lifestyle) are the core of the enterprise, and even then it would be better to use as
vehicle a company limited by guarantee with those objects enshrined as its purpose.
Unit Trust
The unit trust is a revival of traditional legal arrangements made for dividing high-rise buildings before the passage of the
Strata Titles Act. Its revival and application to broad-acre properties enables illegal subdivisions and contravenes
opposition by the Department of Environment and Planning to freehold fragmentation of rural land. In motivation, the
unit trust was partly a smart entrepreneurial attempt to cash in the hard-won Multiple Occupancy policy for the benefit of
land developers and small-scale speculators, and partly an attempt by genuine, community-minded settlers to assure
themselves (as individuals) substantial legal rights.
Under this legal structure the land is held in trust by a company, from which the settlers as shareholders hold leases over
their blocks. In an attempt to avoid being struck down 'as illegal subdivisions, these leases were usually disguised as
short-term (for a period of less than five years), but renewal if the settler obeyed certain covenants, or were not to vest
immediately (but rather after a day or two). These arrangements and disguises have been advised by Queen's Counsel to
be mere legal fictions and to constitute illegal subdivisions. Consent authorities are likely to inspect internal legalities and
to reject defective Development Applications.
Incorporated Association
This legislation 31 permits the incorporation (for a small fee) of more than 5 (NSW) or 7 (Qld.) people for any lawful
purpose, provided the association does not have trading, or securing pecuniary gain, as an objective. Incorporation grants
limited liability, perpetual succession, capacity to sue and be sued etc. There are certain statutory requirements (such as
holding AGMs and preparing accounts). Incorporation may be refused if it would be inappropriate by reason of the scale
or nature of the activities or property, or the extent of dealings with the public. Superficially, this cheap and easy structure
might be appropriate to intentional communities wherein the individuals look after their own income, however it is
generally inappropriate since capital may not be divided into shares or stock held by members, nor may members have a
disposable interest in its property, even on winding up. To some extent, members might secure themselves by lending
their money to ail incorporated association, upon such terms as they frame, thereby enabling it to purchase the land.
However, in the last analysis this structure is intended more for sporting & social clubs, community groups (e.g.
environmentalists) and the like, not intentional communities.
Extended Family
The case of Dempsey v South Sydney Municipal Council32 has potentially revolutionary implications. This case decided
that people need not be related by blood to constitute a family. If they think of themselves as a family then they are one,
and the major objective test is whether they eat together. Existing planning instruments everywhere permit a family home
upon each rural lot, and indeed some planning instruments expressly envisage a 'home' consisting of units which are not
under one roof. Defining when a detached 'unit' is in fact a separate 'home' approaches legal impossibility: certainly if it
contains its own bathroom & kitchen facilities it may have gone too far, but what constitutes a ' kitchen? Probably
hard-wiring of refrigerators and stoves is necessary, and merely a few plug-in appliances will fall short. Theoretically,
then, it would be possible for any number of people, constituting such an [extended] family, to build a single huge,
rambling house and settle land together without getting development approval as a multiple occupancy..
However, this approach is not particularly recommended. Individual settlers, should they become estranged from the
family, would find it hard and expensive to define any their contribution and gain some refund. There would need to be
very strict guidelines on behaviour and decision-making. There would be no exemption from land-tax. The construction
of, or extensions to, the central house would need Local Council building approval in the normal way.
There is a great potential for intentional communities, both in the countryside and in urban areas. Probably there is no
other way to create self-management efficiencies and to tackle the structural unemployment accompanying modern
technological advances. The jury is out on whether Community Titled communities have an inherent warp against truly
communing, or whether in fact. the increased security they supply can provide -at a stiff financial price - a much firmer
foundation for communing. If no community titling is effected, in most instances the preferred vehicle for legal
structuring should be the company or co-operative.
© David Spain (B. A; LL.B.. Hons.) Solicitor, Supreme Courts of NSW & Qld. 16.09.98
1. Local Employment Trading System. This is simply a small local economy whereby goods & services are traded
at agreed rates, in a cashless economy, the trades being registered on computer by a central clearing house.
2 State Environmental Planning Policy 4 15 gazetted 09.04.1998.
3 See, for instance, an extensive study of such internal constitutions in Gaston Leval, Collectives in the Spanish Revolution
(Freedom Press, 1975).
4 See e.g. Part 12 of the Local Government Act (NSW, 1919).
5 S.339 Local Government Act (NSW, 1919)
6 Re Lehrer & the Real Property Act (1961) SR (NSW) 365.
7 Section 1.3.5 Integrated Planning Act (Qld. 1998) - this Act terms subdivision
"reconfiguring a lot".
8 S. 1.4 Local Government (Planning & Environment Act (Qld. 1990); s.4 Local Government
Act (NSW, 1919).
9 By State Environmental Planning Policy No 42-Multiple Occupancy of Rural I-and (Repeal)
10 State Environmental Planning Policy # 15 (1979).
11 S. 10(rl) Land Tax Management Act (NSW 1956).
12 Clause 9(1)(c)
13 Cluster Titles Act (Vic. 1974).
14 Community Land Development Act (NSW 1989) and Community Land Management Act
(NSW 1989).
15 Body Corporate and Community Management Act (Qld. 1997). This was previously the
Building Units andGroup TillesAct.
16 Under Part 7 of the Corporations Law.
17 E.G. Co-operatives Act (NSW 1993); Cooperative and Other Societies Act (Qld. 1967); Cooperatives Act (Vic. 1996).
18 S. 41(1) Co-OperativesAct (NSW 1993); s.8(1) Co-Operatives Act (Vic. 1996).
19 S. 41(3) Co-Operatives Act (NSW 1993).
40 See Part 7 of the Corporations Law.
21 S.289 Co-Operatives Act (NSW 1993)
22 S.27(1) Cooperative and Other Societies Act (Qld. 1967)
23 Real Properly Act (NSW 1900) s. 100(2).
24 Conveyancing Act (NSW 1919) s. 26(1).
25 Especially ss. 323, 339 of the Local Government Act (NSW 1919).
26 Conveyancing Act 66G (NSW, 1919);
27 Evidence of John Weller, solicitor, to Commission of Enquiry into Multiple Occupancy in
the Tweed (1986).
28 Cooperatives Acts. 14 (NSW, 1993)
29 Partnership Acts. 1 (NSW 1892).
30 Corporations Law (Cth., s. 112).
31 Each state has an Associations Incorporation Act.
32 35 LGRA 432.

Interface case study

Interface case study

After founding Interface in 1973, Ray and his company revolutionized the commercial floorcovering industry by producing America's first free-lay carpet tiles. Now, Ray has embarked on a mission to “be the first company that, by its deeds, shows the entire industrial world what sustainability is in all its dimensions: People, process, product, place and profits — by 2020 — and in doing so, to become restorative through the power of influence. He’s leading a worldwide effort to pioneer the processes of sustainable development.
Today, Interface is the world leader in the design, production and sales of modular carpet, and a leading producer of broadloom carpet and commercial fabrics.
The entrepreneurial drive and competitive spirit that in 1973 drove Ray to found Interface was the same catalyst for an environmental awakening that has once again transformed an industry. Today, Interface stands at the forefront of a new industrial revolution. The company has reduced its environmental footprint significantly, redesigning processes and products, pioneering new technologies and reducing or eliminating waste and harmful emissions while increasing the use of renewable materials and sources of energy.
From corporate offices in Atlanta, Ray serves as Founder and Chairman of a globally positioned company whose core business is still modular soft-surfaced floorcoverings. Interface has diversified and globalized its businesses, with sales in more than 100 countries and manufacturing facilities on four continents. In addition to carpet tiles and broadloom carpet marketed under several brands, Interface also manufactures commercial panel and upholstery fabrics.
While Interface is noted in its industry for its commitment to high quality design and innovation, the company is recognized as a leader in the green business movement. Inspired chiefly by Paul Hawken's treatise, The Ecology of Commerce, Ray heightened the company's awareness and led changes in technology in an effort to move toward being environmentally sustainable. Admittedly, Interface is not there yet; however, the company is developing processes and technologies to get it there. What this means, primarily, is learning to harness solar, wind, biomass and other forms of green energy and providing raw material needs by harvesting and recycling carpet and other petrochemical products, while eliminating waste and harmful emissions from its operations. Ray believes that if Interface, a petro-intensive company, can get it right, it will never have to take another drop of oil from the earth. The philosophy guiding Ray's passion for this cause is simply that it is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing, too.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Ecocogicallly Sustainable development

Spirulina: Case Study in Susustianability

Spirulina: Case Study in Susustianability

Why spirulina in Auroville?

Spirulina appears to be the ultimate source of nutrition available to mankind today. Investigation has found spi to be the most powerful and well-balanced source of nutrition available on the planet. Under the microscope, this micro-organism has the form of a spiral, which explains its name. Its scientific name is Arthrospira. NASA found it to be an excellent, compact space food for astronauts, and have said: "1kg of spi is equivalent to 1,000kgs of assorted vegetables".

To produce 1 kg of spi we need very little water (the only significant loss is through evaporation) and we can even use brackish or alkaline water, unsuitable for agriculture. Growing spi also requires very little surface area of land, with the further advantage that the land can be marginal, unusable and non-fertile. What spi does need, however, is sun and heat! Spi protein uses 1/3 the water of soybeans and only 1/50th the water needed for beef protein. Spi protein needs 20 times less land than soybeans and 200 times less than is required for beef production. Spi can help in the struggle with global warming as it fixes carbon and produces oxygen.

At the farm we don't use TNEB electricity for the production; we use only solar pumps for the water supply. With last year's production we were able to supply 1,370 people with their daily basic intake of 1 gram of spi. Even if Auroville is going to grow hugely in number of habitants , there will be no problem at all in producing enough spi within the community to supply this "nutrient rich super food" on a daily basis for all, plus enough to meet the needs of the bio-region.

When looking at current community consumption patterns, it appears that many Aurovilians are becoming more aware of their food intake, and hence of the value of spi.

Auroville and spirulina

Already in the 1970s, Aurovilians Bob and Deborah Lawlor started a small scale algae farm in Auroville's Success community with a mixture of green algae, mostly chlorella and scenedesmus. In their attempts at growing spi, they found that after a few weeks indigenous varieties of the chlorella species outgrew and replaced the original strain of spi. Although their project was very basic and operated with simple means, it was one of the first experimental spi farms worldwide, and even now is considered to have been of great value. So much so, that it is mentioned in the books written by Ripley D. Fox (the spi guru for the last three decades).

SPI cultivation: Keeping Out Weed Algae

Hundreds of aquatic organisms can bloom in nutrient rich water in warm sunshine, just as in a natural lake or swimming pool. Unlike a garden, weeding out unwanted algae is a difficult task since this algae is microscopic. Preventing weed algae from taking over is the key to growing a pure culture.

Conventional farmers kill weeds and pests in their fields with pesticides and herbicides, leaving residues in the environment, on farm workers, and in your food. Scientists keep out weed algae without toxic chemicals using a specially designed pond system and balancing the pond ecology. Producing spirulina under these controlled conditions does not allow growth of contaminant or weed algae as in lakes and waterways.

It can be grown with brackish water and non-fertile land that cannot be used by other crops. It can produce 20 times more protein per acre than soybeans.


Conventional Foods Have Hidden Environmental Costs

We are aware how agriculture destroys natural resources. However, many production costs are externalized, meaning we pay in other ways. Hidden costs include depletion of fresh water, fertile topsoil and forests, pollution from pesticides, herbicides and toxins. People pay long term medical costs from unhealthy foods with chemical additives. We leave payment to future generations.

All this means food production is far more costly than the price you pay at the checkout counter. Adding up all these external costs, some have calculated the true price of a fast food burger to be $100, not $2.49!

Conserving Fertile Land and Soil

Over 60% protein, higher than any other food, spirulina's rapid growth means it yields 20 times more protein per acre than soybeans, 40 times more than corn, and over 200 times more than beef. Spirulina does not require fertile land.

One kilo of corn protein causes 22 kilos of topsoil loss. One kilo of beef protein causes 145 kilos of topsoil loss. Growing spirulina causes no soil erosion.

More Efficient Water Use

Spirulina uses less water per kilo of protein than other foods. Water is recycled back to the ponds after harvesting. The ponds are sealed with food grade plastic liners, so very little water seeps through the ground compared to land crops. The only significant water loss is through evaporation.

Spirulina protein uses 25% the water as soy, 17% as corn and only 2% the water required for beef protein. Spirulina prefers brackish to valuable fresh water. At Earthrise Farms, only 6 gallons of water are needed for a 10 gram serving of spirulina, less than 15 gallons for a serving of bread, 65 for milk, 136 for eggs, 408 for chicken, and 1,303 gallons for a burger.

More Efficient Energy Use

Spirulina requires less energy input per kilo than soy, corn or beef, including solar and generated energy. Its energy efficiency (food energy output per kg / energy input per kg) is 5 times higher than soy, 2 times higher than corn, and over 100 times higher than grain fed beef. As cheap energy resources are depleted, costs of energy dependent foods will rise with energy prices.

Big Oxygen Producer
Forests help absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide. Trees are the best land plants for fixing carbon, from 1 to 4 tons per hectare per year. Spirulina is even more efficient. In the California desert, spirulina fixes 6.3 tons of carbon per hectare per year. It produces 16.8 tons of oxygen.

Regreening Our Planet
Microalgae, like spirulina, deliver food and biochemicals more efficiently, without destroying valuable resources. As algae production expands using non-fertile land and brackish water, we can stop cutting forests to grow new food. Cropland can return to wilderness. When more people eat lower on the food chain, we can halt pressures to destroy wilderness, and help regreen our planet.

Ripley & Fox

Dr. Ripley and Denise Fox developed the Integrated Health and Energy System for developing world villages. Over the past 20 years, the Foxes built experimental spirulina projects in villages in India, Peru and Togo. Dr. Fox wrote:

"Every nation is supported on the shoulders of its villages. We believe by providing technical assistance to improve sanitation and agricultural output, by recycling the wastes already present, and by saving the trees, we can increase the vitality of these villages."
Their system design won the 1987 European Award for Appropriate Environmental Technology, sponsored by the EEC and the UN Environmental Program.

Health and Spirulian:

Potent Anti-Viral Activity
In April 1996, scientists from the Laboratory of Viral Pathogenesis, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and Earthrise Farms, Calipatria, California, announced on-going research, saying "Water extract of Spirulina platensis inhibits HIV-1 replication in human derived T-cell lines and in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. A concentration of 5-10 µg/ml was found to reduce viral production" 1.

HIV-1 is the AIDS virus. Small amounts of Spirulina extract reduced viral replication while higher concentrations totally stopped its reproduction. Importantly, with a therapeutic index of >100, Spirulina extract was non-toxic to the human cells at concentrations stopping viral replication.

Physical Properties

General Analysis


100% Spirulina


55 - 70 %


fine powder


15 - 25 %


dark blue-green

Fats (Lipids)

06 - 08 %

Odor and Taste

mild like seaweed

Minerals (Ash)

07 - 13 %

Bulk Density

.35 to .60 kg/liter


03 - 07 %

Particle Size

64 mesh through


08 - 10 %

Vitamins (per 10 grams / % U.S. Daily Value)


per 10g




per 10g



Vitamin A



460 %

B1 Thiamine

.35 mg

1.5 mg

23 %

Beta Carotene

14 mg

3 mg

460 %

B2 Riboflavin

.40 mg

1.7 mg

23 %

Vitamin C

0 mg

60 mg

0 %

B3 Niacin

1.4 mg

20 mg

7 %

Vitamin D

1200 IU

400 IU

300 %

B6 Pyridoxine

80 mcg

2.0 mg

4 %

Vitamin E

1.0 mg

30 IU

3 %


1 mcg

0.4 mg

0 %

Vitamin K

200 mcg

80 mcg

250 %

B12 Colobalimine

20 mcg

6 mcg

330 %


0.5 mcg

0.3 mg

0 %

Pantothenic Acid

10 mcg

10 mg

1 %


6.4 mg


* %

Minerals (per 10 grams / % U.S. Daily Value)


per 10g




per 10g




70 mg

1000 mg

7 %


0.5 mg

2 mg

25 %


15 mg

18 mg

80 %


25 mcg

120 mcg

21 %


80 mg

1000 mg

8 %


* mcg

75 mcg

* %


* mg

150 mcg

* %


* mg

3400 mg

* %


40 mg

400 mg

10 %


90 mg

2400 mg

4 %


0.3 mg

15 mg

2 %


140 mg

3500 mg

4 %


10 mcg

70 mcg

14 %


60 mcg

* mg

* %


120 mcg

2 mg

6 %


* mg

* mg

* %

Natural Pigment Phytonutrients (per 10 grams / % total)



per 10g

% spirulina



1400 mg

14 %



100 mg

1.0 %



47 mg


Natural Carotenoids (per 10 grams / % total)




per 10g

% spirulina



54 %

25 mg

0.25 %

>>>Beta carotene

45 %

21 mg

0.21 %

>>>Other Carotenes

9 %

4 mg

0.04 %



46 %

22 mg

0.22 %


19 %

9 mg

0.09 %


16 %

8 mg

0.08 %


3 %

1 mg

0.01 %


2 %

1 mg

0.01 %

>>>Other Xanthophylls

6 %

3 mg

0.03 %

Total Carotenoids


100 %

47 mg

0.47 %

Natural Phytonutrients (per 10 grams / % total)



per 10g

% spirulina

Gamma Linolenic Acid

Essential Fatty Acid

130 mg

1.3 %



200 mg

2.0 %



10 mg

0.1 %


Carbohydrate & Sugar

460 mg

4.6 %

Amino Acids

Essential Aminos

per 10g


Essential Aminos

per 10g



350 mg

5.6 %


280 mg

4.5 %


540 mg

8.7 %


320 mg

5.2 %


290 mg

4.7 %


90 mg

1.5 %


140 mg

2.3 %


400 mg

6.5 %


per 10g



per 10g



470 mg

7.6 %


320 mg

5.2 %


430 mg

6.9 %


100 mg

1.6 %

Aspartic Acid

610 mg

9.8 %


270 mg

4.3 %


60 mg

1.0 %


320 mg

5.2 %

Glutamic Acid

910 mg

14.6 %


300 mg

4.8 %

Total Amino Acids : 6.2 grams per 10 grams

Sustainable Production?

Hendrik (manager of the project) noted that the water table hasn’t fallen but the water had turned more brackish (more salt content). This isn’t a problem (at present) because spirulina needs brackish water to live in. The effluent is pumped onto the beach and is dried by the sun. There is no adverse affects of the effluent. One of the main reasons this project isn’t totally sustainable (but comes closer than most projects in AV) is the ‘feed’ for the spirulina (sodium decarbinate for every 5 kg of SD they harvest 1Kg of spirulina) plus nitrate, urea and synthetic trace minerals. This comes from China, so transport and the high use of fossil fuels to produce these is the main problem. In the first trial of growing spirulina in AV in 74’ we used cow urine. I realise that selling spirulina on the open market makes this problematic.

Average production here/yr (500Kg in 99’, 1200Kg in 07’) demand is 3000Kg and growing. The markets for spirulina are spreading within India so the further the markets the more fossil fuels will be uses.

Aurospirullina uses PVs to pump all his water needs and uses solar energy for the bulk of the drying operation. Aurospirullina uses electricity for drying (after sun drying you still need to get rest of the moisture out) and grinding it to powder. This energy use is very small. Overall the Spirulina Project is one of the closest Sustainable projects in Auroville. As our bioregion continues to drain its aquifers we will see more salt water intrusion. This is a major threat but not due to the Spirulina operation.