Global Citizen

Hey Folks – I’ve been busy in the past month doing my education, advocacy and campaigning work with the Global Poverty Project and The End of Polio campaign.

While I am away from my beautiful Happy, simply home (sobbing…) I still live by it’s ethos, concept and ideology no matter where I am. As I travel around I can’t always be in a home that uses renewable energy or in a city that allows me to ride a bike everywhere. Consciously I make a priority to think of the impact of my actions. I then act upon on them, live them, enjoy them and refine them as much as possible.

A recent example of this is using a smaller hand towel after showering (military style shower of course – get wet, soap up, then rinse). A small towel is requires less to wash, dry and pack!

I believe all the small actions make a difference and that they can and should be fun, habitual and as simple as possible…

So in the past month I have presented to over 2000 people on the concept of Global Citizens so here is a little list I often share on what I believe being an active and caring Global Citizen is all about:


Has a strong sense of…

  • Social justice
    • Youth development
    • Community development
    • Gender equality
    • Human rights
    • Leadership
  • Environmental justice
    • Sustainability
    • Transport (walking, cycling & other non-polluting forms)
    • Waste management
    • Water consumption
    • Electricity use
  • Trade justice
    • Consumption and consumerism
    • Fair-trade / Ethical purchases
    • Local production
    • Working conditions of the people making those goods for you
  • Volunteers
  • Know about the Millennium Development Goals and what they try to accomplish
  • Is aware of the positive qualities of life in developing countries
  • Gives aid, charity and donations to suitable projects and causes that they have researched and taken ownership of so it is inclusive not a guilt off-set
  • Thinks about their consumption – 
  • and the unnecessary over-consumerism of developed nations today
  • Have an awareness of Indigenous culture, perspectives and way of life and also has empathy and compassion for the problems they face in their society
  • Actively advocates for positive change in our world → locally and globally
  • Thinks about some or all of these things from time to time
  • Engages in discussion about these things
  • Acts upon their thoughts and discussions for the betterment of people and places anywhere / everywhere

A nice phrase I like to keep in my head is a lyric from Spearhead’s Michael Franti: ‘are you a part of the pollution or are you a part of the pollution?’

Being a thoughtful, caring and active Global Citizen is great fun and never ending…

Happy, simply for me is a great part of me living my global citizenship.

You might like to see the Global Poverty Project’s Global Citizen website for more info on the topics, issues and actions people can take to see an end to extreme poverty (no it is not a fundraiser – just an awareness and action bank if you want be involved) –

Defining one planet living

I think this is an amazing summary of what the Happy, simply. – a lifestyle model and education project is trying to address in one regard – having less impact on the world. The other major aspect I hope to display and demonstrate with Happy, simply is how we can be happier with ‘less’. Shrinking our area need of arable land need not be disastrous or for the worst, I believe it is is for the better – individually, as a community, environmentally and globally.
Thanks Jeremy for another wonderful blog from Make Wealth History!

The Earthbound Report

The premise of this blog is that lifestyles in affluent countries are unsustainable. If we want to end poverty in the developing world without destroying the environment, we need to reduce our consumption. But by how much? What’s the target?

It’s fairly easy to set a benchmark for sustainability. A sustainable lifestyle would be within the planet’s limits, and to be a just lifestyle too it would need to be one that everybody could have. To work that out, you need to know how much of the planet is available to each of us.

All of life’s processes require land. We need land to grow the plants and raise the animals that we eat, to source the timber and cotton and other resources that we use, and to absorb the carbon we emit. That land requirement for each of us is our ‘ecological footprint’. (The image below is from the

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A day in the life in the Happy, simply home…

This is a little out-dated and I am drawing on my wonderful memories of only having lived in my home Happy, simply home for two weeks before having to leave…

I hope this gives a bit of an idea just amazingly happy and simple a typical day is in the Happy, simply. – lifestyle model and education project! For me at least!

  • A lovely wake up to the sounds of birds near the open window just a metre from my face and snug and cosy in the loft of the Happy, simply home.
  • A quick organisation of clothes from the loft on the rail hung from the ceiling and down the ladder into the rest of my lovely homeIMG_1099kapiti observer inside next to stairs
  • I would usually kick off a day with a walk, run or ride to get the blood moving and to be out in the day and see what the world is up to – fortunately from the Happy, simply home I have an array of choices of beach, mountain bike trails, hills and trail runsPaekakariki vista
  • Brekky is a simple pleasure and usually I don’t bother with cooking anything so a gathering of water from my water tank and a simple brekky of fruit and cereal
  • Time to work which is often a combination of emails, writing blogs, preparing presentation and running campaigns on social justice topics and issues with the Global Poverty Project and currently The End of Polio campaignkapiti observer working at desk
  • My work space is sufficient with a fold out desk, warm by 10am from direct sunlight and with a view of the outside and street  to keep me sufficiently distracted! IMG_1104
  • Lunch moves me to the other side of the home to the other desk in the room to prepare breads, spreads, crackers or whatever is floating about. Often I will sit in the door space or the front deck to eat and observe what might be happening in that little window on the world that dayIMG_1107Happy, simply. home
  • Clean up is easy with my kitchen on the front deck – water tank, a tub and drying rack – nothing fancy and where just enough is plenty
  • Afternoon might be some work, play, catch ups, etc in the home or community
  • By late arvo I usually look to head out again for a ride, swim (if warm enough) or long walk to try and catch an incredible Paekakariki sunset – my favourite free gift everyday!IMG_1076
  • Sufficiently warm from some activity I have a solar water shower off the back corner of the house and feel all sparkly and clean
  • As evening comes in I switch to solar powered LED lights, solar radio and prepare dinner on a camping stovesimple solar light
  • The night has me, reading, writing, thinking, talking and often walking just before bed to take in the day and often beautiful night sky and stars
  • Use of the compost toilet, teeth brush and up the ladder to the loft for a spot of reading before closing my eyes with a smile on my face in a home that was built by strangers who became friends and care about the world enough to volunteer and learn together to create the Happy, simply home

I know this is all a bit pathetic and ideological and it is a combo of most days…

The practical functions of the day are pretty simple with basic needs and therefore basic resources and surroundings.

I’m sure there would be a lot of questions ‘what about…?’ But really life can be as simple as you make it and often is for me in the context of a day like this, it is. I didn’t stumble into a lifestyle like this automatically or easily it has taken a lot of learning, conscious planning and deliberate decisions and actions but it is a very rich and fulfilling way of life – for me 🙂

Happy, simply.



Simplicity and Humility

One of the amazing things about Live Below the Line is the incredible sense of humility I get from it each and every time…

Amazing view of the shearing shed on my sister's farm

Amazing view of the shearing shed on my sister’s farm

I would have thought by now having done an accumulative period of around 12 weeks of Live Below the Line over the years I would be expecting it or used to it but this time, just like the rest, has me full of mercy, resolve and lover of life and humanity.

Again for me it is the incredibly awe and appreciation of simplicity I get from Living Below the Line. It is a week where I eat better, walk more and have a greater appreciation of the simple and available things in like (obviously not being things!).

Can tell you the meals are pretty simple - pumpkin, potato, carrot, rice and lentils

Can tell you the meals are pretty simple – pumpkin, potato, carrot, rice and lentils

The other wonderful side-effect of LBL is the resolve of being a more active and effective global citizen. While I get the appreciation of simplicity for the week there are 1.2 billion others who live in the insecure and threating realm of simplicity because they don’t choose it and certainly not for a 5-day period as I am.

I would love for everyone to give Live Below the Line a shot – living on the extreme poverty line for your food and drink – even if just for one day. It is simply the most inspiring and insightful experience anyone in the developed minority world can have in their own country to understand how the majority of the world lives – remembering that the challenge is set at the peak price of extreme poverty and only for food and drink while the 1.2 billion people who actually live in extreme poverty would be anywhere below that mark and forever.IMG_1220

In the four years of being a part of the Live Below the Line campaign the World Bank statistics have dropped from 1.4 billion to 1.2 billion, that is a drop of 200 million people who now have at least basic access to food, water, shelter, education and healthcare. I know that I have been a part of that in some small way, even just learning for myself what it means to Live Below the Line but I hope others get to join the movement that can see an end to extreme poverty within a generation – because it needs you!

Happy, simply, inspired, a little hungry and resolved to do whatever I can to see an end to extreme poverty…

Simplicity and Live Below the Line


Oats, pumpkin, potatoes, apples, carrots, lentils, rice, orange, onion, garlic & pearl barley - just enough being plenty!

Oats, pumpkin, potatoes, apples, carrots, lentils, rice, orange, onion, garlic & pearl barley – just enough being plenty!

Live Below the Line is a campaign started by a couple of good friends of mine a few years ago to give people perspectives into the lives of people who live on less than what you can buy in the US for $1.25 or less / day (the World Bank definition for extreme poverty).

In the past couple of years I have done it for a few weeks or longer than the official 5 days. For example this time last year I did it for 5 weeks while cycling 1000 miles from Portland, Oregon to Whistler, Canada – LBL 2012

This year I am only doing it for the official 5 days as I am back in my birth place of South Australia and staying with my mum who gets concerned (and read here annoying) if she can’t over feed me! Plus I just found out from July to December this year I will be working on polio eradication with UNICEF in Chad which means I will get my fair share of living on the basic of the food chain – sorghum and millet being the staple in Chad and down the bottom end of that food chain!

Photo taken from what the world eats - This one is a family in a refugee camp in Chad

Photo taken from what the world eats – This one is a family in a refugee camp in Chad

Anyway of significant relevance to this blog are the amazing perspectives, conversations and inspirations that come from doing Live Below the Line in a developed country context. Having been able to live my simplicity, self-sufficiency and sustainability more this year thanks to the Happy, simply concept and lifestyle I think diet can be a wonderful component of that…

The big differentiation here is that Live Below the Line is about creating awareness and education on the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty and for me it is also about showing those in affluent western societies how we can learn from an experience like this (when we get to choose it!) and live more with less.

During this week I will be giving a lot of presentations for the Global Poverty Project, Live Below the Line and The End of Polio campaigns and ideas in schools but new to my advocacy this year will be the lessons learnt in the past year of living more with less and where the simple things in life are almost always the better for us.

I certainly acknowledge that there is a big gap and grey area between glorifying poverty (when others can’t choose simplicity) and promotion of simplicity (when we have enough to choose it) but this is exactly what I will playing around with in this 5 days of my Living Below the Line