Late Night Meanderings

It is 1:14am.

Have given up on sleep and decided to Blog instead.

PLENTY has happened over the past few weeks, most of it good, some of it great, and a few things that actually take my breath away and inspire a hefty helping of awe!

There’s also been some disappointment, but we’re not going to talk about that.

What I’d like to talk about is some recent observations I’ve stumbled across.

People are overloaded with information.  Not a groundbreaking realisation, I know.  Perhaps even an inalienable truth of living in the developed world in 2013.

What has piqued my interest though, is how people deal with the bombardment of stimulus and information thrown at us from every angle.

I sent out a tweet earlier today that read: Dear fellow Do-Gooder types: If you spam people with heavy/political/controversial stuff all the time, they will disengage.

Well, needless to say, that got a few smart assed responses from some of my closer and more direct family and friends.  But I meant it.

I think we all know that the world is a pretty messed up place.  Anyone with an Internet connection and search engine is able to access accurate, relevant, and timely information on what is going on around the corner, or around the world if we seek it out.

I also think many (I actually hope MOST) people want to pitch in and make a difference and change their world for good.

It would be an amazing breakthrough if we could engage the right people at the right time, and give passionate people opportunities to volunteer what they can to a “perfect fit” goal, endeavour or event.  We have the technology – we just need to mobilise.

Then I thought… so why don’t more people get off their bottoms and do something?  I can honesty say that the energy it takes to make an excuse to NOT do something is often greater than the energy it takes to do something useful and constructive.

Some people have done very well out of mobilising individuals and corporates into action, and giving them attractive incentives to work together for both sides.  Some Sparkle lady (who’s first name currently escapes me) has made a fortune tying corporates in with not for profits and NGO’s that will maximise their public profile and are well aligned and placed to help clean up their corporate responsibility image.  I digress…

The next piece of the thought journey I’ve been meandering down tonight came when my husband complained that I always get waaaaaay more likes on Facebook for my posts than he does.

“That’s because I talk to people, in the real world and on FB.  I compliment them and mean it when I do, smile, TRY to listen to them and that makes it easier for them to talk to me in return.”

He responded with a typically crass comment which I will censor from this blog, but it did make me laugh.

“The truth is baby, MOST people would much rather talk to you than to me.  You are smarter, more influential and far more intelligent than I am.” I continued on.

“Yeah, and when people talk to me they are afraid I might punch them in the face.” He joked.

“Or you’ll say something to freak them out completely by being too abrupt or honest or inappropriate or something.” I said, smiling on my face and in my heart, because that honesty and intelligence and scathing wit my husband wields is a very VERY large part of why I am still very much in Love with him after 9 years of marriage.

That is where that conversation ended and this blog began.

People gravitate to what is easy and comfortable and even familiar.

I think it is great that we have causes and beliefs that we feel strongly about and want to get other people involved with as well.  But the best way to encourage people to be interested in something, or listen to something you’d like them to hear or engage with is to find common ground.  If you engage with someone through warmth and kindness, they feel it.  Even through digital media I believe.

A bombardment of facts and figures, pretentious corporate speak, industry jargon, painful images of atrocities, or “urgent action required” emails is not going to engage anyone but a teensy weensy group of revolutionaries and activists who are already highly engaged in social change and fighting the “good fight” for justice, or animals, or whales, or our environment… or whatever their personal passion and soap box might be.

If we want people to get organised, get involved, get passionate about positive change – we have to make it simple, accessible and personally attractive to them.

So, I guess what I am saying, is that whoever you are, and whatever message you are trying to get across; you’ll have more success with a smile and a nod and an “I iz cheeseburger” cat meme type image than you might with cold hard facts, distressing truths, painfully poignant images, or bully tactics.

And there’s probably no point scaring or guilt tripping people into action.  Fear and guilt are very powerful motivators for a short time, however, someone finding something they really engage with, and being given useful and fulfilling opportunities to help causes; THAT is a match made in heaven.  And a match made in heaven that will hopefully lead to a life long relationship between an individual and a cause.

Just some late night thoughts and a little peak into the conversations that occur in the wee hours at the Hobbit Homestead.

Goodnight world.

Self Imposed Rampant Consumerism Ban

The 4th of February saw me having an unlikely (and moderately unwelcome) epiphany.

I shop way too much.

Doesn’t matter if I am home or abroad, I accumulate crap (usually to give to others) and end up drowning in clutter and chaos.  

Now, I am not quite “hoarder” status, but I do have an entire room dedicated to boxes of things I have purchased with the intent of giving them away.  I also managed to fill three extra suitcases with trinkets and souvenirs from our trip to South America.  A lot of this stuff is actually quite cool IMHO – but unnecessary nonetheless.  


What do I propose to do about this moderate affectation which is contrary to my eco-warrior preachings?  I am going to take 6 months off of accumulating crap.

Here’s the rules of engagement:

1) No new purchases for Dee.  

That means no clothes, no cosmetics, no anything excess to requirement.  The kids will still get things they need like clothes and stuff – but I’ve arranged to have OTHER people shop with/for them even if it is with our money.  The reason for this is that it helps alleviate some temptation (I LOVE shopping for the kids and would probably go overboard to quench my consumerist needs) and also, I am hoping others will be able to be more functional than I can be when shopping for the kids.  I’ve got enough stuff tucked away to easily get through the next 6 months, and I’ve already noticed that I am being more frugal with things like my mascara – which vanity has led me to believe IS ACTUALLY a necessity. 

2) Can Rent/Borrow to my hearts content

The reason for this is that I am throwing/hosting/helping with COUNTLESS charity and social events in 2013.  Historically, I’ve had quite a path-of-least-resistance mentality which has seen me purchase and often discard heaps of rubbish and stuff.  I have an entire closet full of party stuff – from plates and plastic cutlery all the way through to water jugs and decorations.  So I will use/reuse and rent what I need and STILL throw the most epic parties in the South Pacific.  

3) Gifts are okay

I have very cleverly placed my birthday smack dab in the middle(ish) of this challenge.  I’ve always had serious issues receiving, and been a bit overboard on giving.  I have heard “We never know what to get you, you obviously already have EVERYTHING” innumerable times.  I can’t cheat and just get Grumpy Hobbit Hubby to buy me things though… that would be lazy of me.  But it means that I might be asking for things over the next few months, and it’s anyone’s right to say no to me, but I am interested to see how this part of the challenge pans out.

4) Consumables Okay

I will still be hosting fab foodie events at the Hobbit Homestead.  Although I am getting even more anally retentive about not buying things with excess packaging and trying to buy fair trade stuff and as much organic and local produce as possible, consumables for myself and my family and friends is still something I can splurge on.  I am defining consumables as: Food, beverage, core cleaning products (so no fancy smelly things or dishwasher cleaner or extras, but eco-certified cleaning products are fine.)  I also will only purchase basic soap and no luxury shampoos or body washes.  *sniffle* it is going to be tough, but it is a vice and I know it, and I have plenty of perfume and soap to get me through, so don’t worry, I won’t turn into a smelly hippy or even worse hipster.  LOL!  I made myself lol.  

Moving on.

5) Online purchases such as music, books, audio books etc. are fine too

As long as nothing gets mailed out, and there is no packaging, I can enrich my life with books and music in a digital format.  Why? CAUSE I SAID SO OKAY!  A girl can’t go cold turkey on goodies for six whole months.  Besides, I have a whole bunch of reading to do in order to do justice to my new post as a Global Poverty Project representative and sustainability advocate.  Learning is paramount to doing these roles justice.  I am tossing up whether event tickets are okay too.  I think yes, as events are good for the soul and I can purchase the tickets online without much consumables.  I wouldn’t buy a T-shirt or anything at the concert, but yeah… would like to know what people think.

So that is some more Happy Hobbit Happenings.

Hope you are having a great day wherever you are and whatever you do when you read this.  AND THANK YOU for taking the time to do it.  




Matakana Awareness Raiser Event

Awareness Raiser Event:

West Family Bach Matakana


When: Saturday, March 16th 2013 12:00pm-5:00pm       Where: West Family Eco-Bach Matakana

Event Brief (What to expect):

This Awareness raiser/networking event is an opportunity to enjoy an afternoon at a private home/bach in Matakana that is entirely off grid and energy independent.

A group of engaged, influential & passionate people will be meeting to enjoy good food, exciting & diverse entertainment, good company, networking opportunities & a chance to find out how they can lead a more sustainable & satisfying life.

This is a chance to speak to people who are keen to talk about sustainability, both locally and globally.


Tickets cost $20.00 per person (including children)

RSVP by March 2nd 2013

Email Dee to confirm tickets –  I will give you an account and email a ticket and all the information to you concerning the event.

Ticket price will include:


–       Free shuttle bus from Matakana Village to the venue set amidst 50 acres of pine/eucalyptus & native forest (approximately 10 minutes each way) Shuttles will commence from 11:00am – it will take 2-3 hours to shuttle guests from Matakana to the site, so please arrive early and be patient.  Enjoy the markets and beautiful Matakana Village while you wait for your turn to come up the hill.

–       Welcome drink (beer or wine)

–       Delicious (and sustainable) meal which will be served from 1:00pm – 4:00pm

–       Unlimited non-alcoholic beverages

–       Musical entertainment

–       Information on ecological building solutions, sustainable building options, electric vehicles, & most importantly making easy & effective choices every day to ensure you get more benefit & have less undesirable impact on the world around you

–       Short presentation by a spokesperson from the Global Poverty Project

What this is NOT:

THIS IS NOT A FUNDRAISER & you will not be asked to open your wallets beyond the ticket price & a reasonably priced cash bar (extensive selection of $5.00 beer & wine)

This is also not a poorly run “hippy” convention.  This is a chance to come & have a good and close look at a functioning, well built, beautiful home that is 100% off grid.

Most importantly, its a chance to meet and talk to a group of really clever people who know lots of things about making good decisions (big ones and little ones) that can ACTUALLY make the world a better place, for us as individuals, & also in a much bigger sense.


For further information please contact:

Dee West

(m) 021 968 748 (h) 09 413 6400 (e)