A Culture Beyond 'Leave No Trace'

Newkind is here to champion a way of life that moves beyond the current throwaway culture that is the predominant norm in our society. This fast-paced, convenience culture of packaged everything and single-use items is destroying more than the physical earth, it is damaging our psyches and dampening our souls. It is up to us to shed light on this, to slow down our consumption and wastefulness, and address the issues that are causing us to behave in such way.

The current culture of using disposable packaging speaks of a more deeply seeded issue that connects to the idea that nature, environment, animals and anything else that we can manipulate and overpower is there for our personal use or benefit. This is obviously a false and damaging assumption. To fail to consider the amount of energy or the nature of the extraction that was involved in order for products to be created and used for a few moments, or a few months and then discarded into landfill, is a deeply seeded cultural issue and it says a great deal about our relationship with nature, with the environment, and with each other. 

The true and lasting revolution will be a personal one.

It is our individual and collective behaviours that should be addressed. It is our culture that must change, and culture is created by behaviours repeated over and over again. In truth, this revolution will live and die by the individual efforts exerted towards changing our own habits. So if we can host an event that facilitates new behaviours, and those behaviours are supported, facilitated and encouraged, then eventually, slowly but surely, we will shift our culture. Our policies, our politics, our social structures and economies are reflections of our more deeply seeded culture.

To address this practically at Newkind, we require all participants to bring their own water bottle to refill, their own mug for drinks, and their own plates and bowls to receive food in. We do not provide spare paper plates for those who forget, and we don't have bins on the site to throw anything into because there should be no need. No takeaway coffee cups. No napkins. No paper plates. No cans of drink. No water sold in plastic bottles. It is simply not necessary. 

The consumption of sugary and alcoholic drinks in aluminium cans, as well as water in plastic bottles that are then thrown into bins that go to landfill, is heartwrenching when we reflect on the throwaway culture that it reinforces. Even to recycle such items is a waste of energy and involves manufacturing that should be done away with. Certainly, some things will need to be recycled and this is obviously wise and encouraged. But to continue buying water in plastic bottles, instead of owning a water bottle that you keep forever, is disrespectful, damaging and a symptom of a sick and dying culture. 

'Leave No Trace' has come to mean, just send it somewhere else. Our shopping centre food courts are already 'Leave No Trace.' Our city streets are leave no trace. Our highrise office buildings are leave no trace. There's nothing to be proud of the current 'leave no trace' policy. It just means take it away from here and send it to landfill. What we should be working towards is a culture that takes pride in forever. A culture that respects process, and patience, and understands that a disposable razor or plastic straw has a cost on us all. 

Our takeaway, disposable, instant gratification, together for a minute, thoughtless of the future culture, needs to return to the acknowledgement that every single act and action will inevitably reverberate throughout eternity and for that reason, everything actually IS forever. The only decision is what butterfly effect do we each wish to create. There is no planet B or plan Z. There is no spiritual home away from this rock floating through space. There is no side chick to go to when things get too hard. This planet is home, it is Mother, it is Source, and our relationship with this planet is a reflection of our spiritual awareness and intellectual maturity. 

With our composting toilet systems, our food scraps going to compost, with food purchased in bulk from farmers and producers, we ensure that we have zero wastage. Any sacks or crates or buckets that are included in the procurement of foodstuffs is accounted for and included as materials to be used and not waste products. In 2017, the entirety of the waste that went to landfill for the full 5-day, 500 person event was 28kg, and these waste materials were accumulated during site build from materials that had already been salvaged or upcycled. To give you an idea, 28kg is the amount of waste that the average Australian family produces in a week. All recyclables were personally delivered by the Event Director to the Mornington Park Waste Transfer Station to be recycled, and all compostables were composted. A 28kg waste bill for a first time attempt at running a zero-waste event for 500 people is something we are very proud of, and something we look forward to bettering in 2019. 

*The average Australian produces 1.5 tonnes of waste in a year. Much of this household waste is avoidable – like plastic packaging and food waste. Aug 20, 2014 - Greenpeace Australia