Enabling change in our Society, Environment and Economy (SEE)

Integrated solution

People and the planet.

By SEE-Change Member, Stina Kerans

There are numerous pressing issues in the world today and determining their priority can be a challenge.

SEE-Change is an example of people working towards a suite of common causes individually, but is there a way to demonstrate an improved or integrated urban solution that addresses all the SEE-Change directives in one example? What would this example look like? What would be its financial model and social outcomes? How would the production of food and energy be integrated into this?

Standing alone looking after one’s mortgage, rates, garden, solar panels, chickens and children has a list of inputs and outputs. To solve some of our environmental and social issues may require a re-think of this recent ‘nuclear family’ model to determine if it just assists companies in their sale of reproduced goods and services.

If the parts make up the whole, then personal outcomes determine global solutions.

Is autonomy really ‘sustainable’?

SEE-Change_autonomous living

Consider how the way we house ourselves greatly impacts on the planet and our lives and that maybe it’s time to explore, develop and trial a more sustainable and less costly way to house ourselves.

Our youth especially are struggling at the thought of obtaining a home and if they do manage to buy a small apartment of their own – how long will it be before they need more space? Tens of thousands of $’s are lost each time a property is bought and sold – around $35,000 every home change.

Australians, on average, buy and sell every 7 years. Yes, that averages out at every one of us throwing away $5,000 every year.

Our elderly are at the other end of the life cycle facing the financial trap of retirement villages that depend on employing people to take care of residents needs. The only other alternative is ‘aging in place’ with carers coming daily. Although it is a lovely idea of staying in ones own home, what happens if you can’t drive a car, and the carers don’t really care about you or your possessions? And the outcome often leads to loneliness, or lack of meaningful contact with others and the loss of this persons contribution.

Did you know that more people die of loneliness each year than tobacco related diseases? Research shows that “Joining a community organisation for fun was better for health than giving up smoking” – Berkman and Syme Findings (California) and that “Being involved with community groups and having strong social networks are as good for health as healthy food and exercise.” – Dept of Public Health, University of Flinders.

So many of us know all too well that too little money causes distress and keeps us from thinking of our global issues. There are a couple of old sayings that are relevant to this dilemma: “A penny saved is more than a penny earnt”, and; “money can’t buy us love” – or respect.

Imagine how it would change your life if your weekly expenses of power, phone, water, food and transport were considerably reduced! Imagine building up enough respect and ‘credits’ in your ‘people bank’ to be potentially looked after right up till your death by those living within walking distance of you!

There are housing models around the world that reintegrate the best practices taken from our sustainable past with our present life style desires.

Now Queanbeyan is about to see the commencement of an innovative and inspired new model of financing housing that not only greatly reduces weekly costs, eliminates the tens of thousands of dollars lost each time a home is bought and sold, but most importantly forms a synergy of people that reduces our dependence on oil and its unsustainable impact on our planet.

We are looking for people interested in working with us to build this new model and earn/trade their way into a home in this project. We are just starting an outreach to find residents for the last 8 spaces left in our demonstration project and will give SEE-Change members the first offer.

Testimonial from a Prospective Sun Villages Resident, presently an eco-village resident in Qld Australia:- “I am impressed by the legal/financial structure of the project which presents an intelligent and people-centered approach to meeting people’s needs for housing in a way that limits the parasitic nature of our current system (banks, agent, govt etc) – the “leakage” as you referred to it.”

There is much to share, and so much need to think and explore different models of housing, so why not find out more or add your bit.

Book into one of our information and discussion sessions: phone Sun Villages 0413 523 788.

P.S. We are looking for a PH.D student to do a case study on this repeatable model of financing housing, as affordability is a very hot topic at the moment and is one of our bi-products.

With thanks to our


  • ACT Government Environment and Planning
  • The Association of Independent Schools of the ACT (AISACT)
  • Catholic Education Office (Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn)
  • Education and Training Directorate
  • ACT Government