World energy and finance expert Nicole Foss in Manjimup, hosted by Stellar Violets

by | Mar 27, 2012

March kicked off a treat when we hosted Canadian energy and finance speaker Nicole Foss for our very first event in Manjimup. She’s been and long gone. But we’re still here, and the future of our communities is still ahead for us to bring into being. So perhaps this belated little post will serve as a timely reminder to consider her key messages.

For those who don’t know Nicole Foss, read about her background and credentials here. I was connected with her by tour organisers and all-round Fremantle legends Tim and Shani, who I met at last year when they gave a sustainability workshop at the Northcliffe Family Centre.

We were truly heartened by the broad regional representation at our Thursday evening event; around 40 people travelled from the surrounding small towns of Balingup, Bridgetown, Nannup, Pemberton and Northcliffe. Who would’ve thought, Manjimup, a progressive think-tank town?

The picture Foss painted for the future was far from rosy; she synthesizes extraordinarily thorough cross-disciplinary research into a fairly accessible – ok, I had to really concentrate – presentation about the series of inter-locking crises we’re already seeing play out globally. Foss is intelligent, extremely well read, well qualified, passionate and articulate, and after a read of her bio you’d be forgiven for expecting a stuffy academic type who’s out of touch with practical reality. In person, she’s a personable, approachable lady and gifted communicator.

Her messages may have challenged our deeply-ingrained, dominant economic and social paradigms, but in the end, they’re difficult to question, because if we face the truth of it, they actually make good sense.

Foss provided grounded-in-the-earth ideas about how we might best to prepare ourselves, and our communities for a future where energy and other resources become scarce and expensive, and we face serious economic crises and challenges.

What the attendees said…

I only wish more in our so-valuable community… in fact everyone I care for and more… could have also heard her speak. I encourage those who were not present to seek out some of Nicole’s audio presentations.

Nic Giblett, Manjimup

Nicole Foss highlighted the importance of building community and social resilience with regards to future liquid energy decline, and, economic challenges.

Marie Little, Northcliffe (BSc. MIH. PHD Candidate)

To those who ask, “what if she’s wrong?”, I refer to this well-circulated cartoon about the climate summit by cartoonist Joel Pett:

For more of Nicole’s work, check out The Automatic Earth website. She is often touring and speaking, so check the site for the latest tour dates.

As for us, we’re about to go on a study tour to New Zealand that will include the Australasian Permaculture Convergence in Turangi, followed by Permaculture Design Certificate course in Margaret River with Fair Harvest, and THEN we’re planning to host a workshop in non-violent communication, to be held in Manjimup May 19 and 20. 

Antartic beech forest image credit: Rob Price