Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Watch a Word-Changing Film

Last year I made a world-changing film for, and with, a group of year 5 and 6 students. I just watched it again with around 4000 students at a talk I gave at the Halogen Young Leaders Day in Brisbane. The participants were really juiced on it and had lots of their own world-changing ideas.

The film has had a few thousand views on Myspace and Youtube and there's a bunch of positive energy around the project. I hope to make a longer world-changing film for kids and teens. 

I'd love you to check it out, pass it on and leave your comments and suggestions either here or on Myspace or Youtube.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Find a Farmer's Market

I know those woody-flavoured bananas at the supermarket that have been gassed to make ripe are pretty hot but, believe it or not, there's something better.

There are a bunch of good Farmers Markets where we live. In the past we've been lazy and haven't gone but we're getting better. People give you weird fruits like Wax Jambus. And they bargain you down in price. Low carbon miles, often organic or no sprays, not plastic wrapped, supporting local growers and putting us back in touch with our food.

I've got to get back to my double-banana. How long's it been since you've had one of those babies?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Do the TED Shuffle

TED's not the coolest name ever. I once had a dog called Ted. He died. Poor dude. But over at they're doing the coolest stuff ever. (FYI, this is not my dead dog's website.)

The TED conference happens every year in California. A whole bunch of amazing people from Bono to Richard Branson to folks you've never heard of from the areas of Technology, Entertainment and Design are asked to give the talk of their lives. Max time 18 minutes.

The sessions are online at and you find the wildest stuff there. Talks on Creativity, Happiness, Crow-operated Vending Machines, Second Life, Rethinking Poverty, SkyCars and Sliced Bread.

Spend five minutes downloading something cool (video or audio). It'll change you.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Take the Handmade Pledge

I know it can be devastating when someone hands you a present made out of pipe cleaners for Christmas. And you have to say how nice it is even though you have no idea what it is.

But by making gifts you give something personal and you get better every time you do it. Change the whole paradigm where people expect an expensive, shop-bought gift.

Check out, a site dedicated to the coolest hand made gifts from around the world. In particular,

[And if you really do want to make something out of pipecleaners, here's where to start: ]

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Switch to Green in 5

Check this - a super-easy action that took less than 5...

I upped our Green Power quota with our electricity dudes. For a few bucks extra a month they'll buy green power from renewable resources on our behalf.

Australian Green Power provider links are here or if you're in North America, try If you do it, check if it's accredited green power.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Learn Stick-to-it-iveness

So the jug I fixed broke. I could go and buy another one for a hundred bucks. But I won't. I'm busting out the silicone.

Not only am I cheap but I don't want to chuck every electrical item a year after I buy it. I want to be the guy who can fix stuff. I've never been that guy and I figure it's time to get into character.

I like the word stick-to-it-iveness, that drive that makes you finish the things that you begin. That jug is my nemesis. I'm currently using a chopstick to activate it. I must win.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Where'd Your Dinner Fly From?

Am I such a connoisseur that I need my diced tomatoes flown in from Italy? And am I so arrogant that I won't let a non-authentic Japanese noodle pass my lips?

This morning I spent 5 minutes pulling everything out of my cupboard. More than half the stuff had been shipped in from overseas. So I've taken a pledge to look for food grown in my community first.

They say the benefits are not only cutting down on food miles but also eating fresher food, creating social connections, cutting down on sprays and chemicals. I have to research the impacts on third world economies. There's more on local food here at

This was inspired by Action 51 over at We Are What We Do.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Write to Someone Who's Lonely

My Nan's in a nursing home and, while she's well looked after, I live a long way away and don't get to visit her as often as I'd like. I have a lot to thank her for - hundreds of games of Boggle, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit as a kid, trips to the city to see Rocky  movies and buy books in gigantic bookstores. She's an important force in who I am.

This morning I spent my five writing her a letter while my wife printed a photo and my boys made her some artwork. I usually think of doing something like this but then don't make time to do it. Hope this is the beginning of something.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Read to a Child (Even if You Are One)

Stories are a place where you get to do stuff you'd never do in the real world. Like I recently read a Barack Obama bio, so I got to hang out with B-Rock for a couple of weeks.

Everybody loves to be read to but, for kids it's especially important. Listen to this, from Action 2 in Change the World for Ten Bucks - 'Reading and listening to books actually rewires a child's brain, speeds up their grasp of language, helps reduce stress and boosts self-esteem. So how terrible that 60% of children go to bed without a story.'

So go find a kid to spend 5 minutes reading to. Or, if you are a kid, start a campaign and don't let up till someone agrees to read you something every night. Maybe you'll get to hang out with Barack or some other cool cat.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Plant Something to Feed Yourself

We're on the verge of growing Australia's Biggest Watermelon. Sure, we only have leaves right now but I can sense that something big is about to go down in that patch.

We've never consciously grown anything before but Landcare had a Watermelon Challenge and we spent fifteen minutes (ish) digging up a square of yard and throwing in the seeds, Jack and the Beanstalk style.

Now we're just kicking back waiting for the carbon-mile-free, prize melon to reveal itself. Some school students completed this challenge in my film here. It is also Action 103 in Teach Yr Granny to Text here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Pass Your Books On

This is based on Action 065 from the book, Change the World 9 to 5.

I'm a chronic book-horder. I think I like buying books more than I like reading them.
But I'm gonna start letting go.

I have two copies of the book, Change the World for Ten Bucks and I stuck one copy in my son's school bag to donate to the school library when he next goes. Then I'm going to let go of a bunch of my other books, too. Why not just go the the library? Do I need to own everything

I feel lighter already.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mend it Rather Than Replace it

This is Action 032 in the book, Change the World for Ten Bucks.

I can't afford to get anything fixed. It's cheaper to chuck things in landfill than fix them.

The 'play' button just snapped off my jug. As I lifted the lid on the bin, milliseconds from dropping it in and jumping in the car to buy another poorly-made kettle destined to implode just after the warranty expires, I stopped myself. I thought, 'I'll ask Mike.'

Mike's been pulling stuff apart since he was a kid. (And actually putting it back together.) He unscrewed a few things, poked around, told me I needed glue. So I glued it. And it works.

Less landfill. Fewer resources. Money saved. Warm, fuzzy feeling. Praying it stays stuck.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Take a Regular Dose of Obama

Barack Obama is a big believer in the We Are What We Do mantra:

Small Actions x Lots of Peeps = Big Change.

It's what got him elected.

To stay focussed and maintain belief in your ability to make profound change through small, regular actions, a dose of Barack can really help. This morning I watched 5 minutes of his inauguration speech. Check it out online. Here's to B.O. (Barack Obama, not pit-stink) and changing the world.

* NB: Must stop watching videos and start actually doing something.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Praise People

This is action 059 in the book, Change the World 9 to 5.

I work from home so I went out into the kitchen and praised my family for one thing each. I think they thought I was slightly creepy. Not that I never praise them. I just don't usually do it with a slightly creepy look in my eye as though I got the idea from a book... which I did.

But when I gave them all a gold star the creepiness was forgotten in favour of pride.

Not sure I officially 'changed the world' today but I'm gonna keep working on the praise thing this week. Maybe it'll be less weird via email.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Turn Down the Hot Water Temp


That was a simulation of me being scalded in the shower when somebody in another room turned on the tap. Quite realistic, huh?

My hot water is so hot that I always have to mix it with cold to use it. Most hot water heaters are set to 75 celsius (167 Fahrenheit) or higher, burning tonnes of fossil fuels unnecessarily.

I figure I'll avoid third-degree burns, save a stack of cash and change the world by turning it down to 55 celsius (130 Fahrenheit). If you're not an adult, pressure your folks to do it. 

It actually only takes four minutes, leaving a lazy minute to kick back and smell the compost... or whatever else is close to yr hot water heater.