Category Archives: Blog

Ecoburbia Tour – 19 June 2016

(Video below)
Ecoburbia is part urban infill development, where we have converted one house into four self-contained living units, tripling the population density without adding to the house’s footprint.
Ecoburbia is part urban farm with chickens, goats, compost and fruit trees, plus a large shared veggie patch.
Ecoburbia is part demonstration sustainable house, with cutting edge energy systems, water collection and dispersal systems and innovative passive solar design.
Ecoburbia is part educational opportunity and community hub, with regular tours, workshops, films and other community events.
Ecoburbia is PARTLY FINISHED . . . .
Interested? Contact Shani on or Facebook of course

– Sorry about the sound, try headphones. Most of the info is all in the video so will stick to what stood out to me.
– Video – David Holmgren Retrofitting Suburbia
– From the house itself – 50% of veggies, 100% of egg and milk
– Rat are near phobic
– Pelmets have better thermal efficiency
– Before pics which was 3 years ago
– 6 unrelated people is max for shared house. Otherwise it’s a boarding house
– Search multi generational living
– I wish I was like Tim or that is my future aspiration. So handy and knowledgable.


Paris Velo Liberte

Paris Velo Liberte

Paris’ ambitious public-private Vélib’ bike initiative encourages residents to forgo cars for bikes and public transportation. In the process, the program has fostered a unique popular culture, complete with its own language, jokes and pick-up lines. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe has undoubtedly taken heart: Its success has inspired cities like Rome, San Francisco and London to begin adopting similar programs of their own.


Edible Weeds Forage Walk with Sparkles of Odd Fodder Cook Book 06/06/16

Edible Weeds Forage Walk with Sparkles of Odd Fodder Cook Book 6th June 2016 Notes:
– WARNING: Please do your own research as I will be doing on each plant as I was taking as many notes, in the short time, as I could.
– Please also read this article on why weeds are not bad, very nutritious and good for our soil – 3 Important Things I Have Learned About Weeds
– Sparkles gave us a card with a weed so if we spotted one we’d read out it’s stats. Like baseball cards for weeds. She also forages for a living to provide nutrient rich greens to local restaurants.
– In summer when making energy they lose water.
– 8 plant families make up average Oz diet.
– Our soils are deficient of selenium and copper.
– So Cape gooseberry is considered a weed here but when it’s sold at high prices in organic food shops it’s packaged as inca berry from South America.

Amaranth – is better than spinach. The red colour is anti tumour cancer etc
Sunflower – I didn’t know it was a weed!
Storksbill – Remember if it’s by the streets it will have dogs pee so pick them away from the streets
Purslane – Good source of omega 3 and supplement for type 2 diabetes
Nasturtiums – one of the best circulation and immune stimulant. Yummy flowers and leaves!
Pig face – can be used like aloe Vera, fruit is similar to figs and leaves are edible too
Chickweed – anti-inflammatory & more than enough Vitamin C
Sow thistle – pest attractant. Maoris call it puha and use it with pork, the sap is regenerative. May come with yellow flowers or the white puffs of dandelion
Groundsel – The whole plant is medicinal
Petty spurge – NOT EDIBLE! The sap is used for medicinal purposes and mostly for skin issues
Brazilian cherries – We picked some of these on the way and they were very tasty
Wild lettuce / Milk thistle – origin of all lettuce
Warrigal greens – quite salty, has a lot of oxalic acid which binds with calcium so go easy as we produce our own
Honey locust – good fodder, tasted good, soak overnight and then boil to make a drink. Paras update: I did the soak and boil and have to say apart from the honey/toffee sweetness it does have a very strong taste so maybe try it in small amounts.
Borage – good bee food, flowers are edible
Comfrey – make good wraps and compresses. Blend it
Sour grass – it’s Vitamin C. Clovers look similar but red and white clovers are safe. Taste like the ‘khatamitha’ we used to eat from the school playground and hear stories or how they were tangy because of pee.
Cats ears – little hairy and they hyper accumulate heavy metals so be careful
Black Nightshade – Oz ones are not deadly. Leaves and berries are edible. Forefather of the tomato family. Highest nutrient dense leaves, never eat green berries unprocessed. Eat the black berries.
Prickly pear – fruit is edible cooked or raw. All of it is edible. Don’t harvest from above or windy day for safety.
Mallow – totally edible, mucilage thing, Vitamin C and A, raw or cooked, root too
Dandelion – very nutritious, botanists dedicated just to this plant, very edible
Nettles – good for tonics, the sting is used for arthritic treatment, stingers are silica, natural antidepressants blend it. Paras note: Before I ate one I rubbed it on my face for the sting, didn’t get much
Goosefoot / Fat hen – highest calcium, gets big and lives in 42 degree heat, spinach substitute



The End of Victimhood – Matt Kahn /

The End of Victimhood – Matt Kahn /

– You’re not their target. It’s their instant replay of how they were treated in their past.
– See if it as an invitation to see what it’s like to be in their life.
– This is when you should give complements.
– You’re not here to teach them a lesson.
– They’re not talking to you but looking for the angel in you. Say thank you… I really appreciate that. For sharing with me what is lingering in your field.
– Don’t reflect their energy back to ‘make them see what they are radiating’.
– Something about who has more energy will win and the loser will reflect the winner. Powerfully certain person wins. So we have to be equally confident with a negative person.
– When you win they’ll come back with scepticism or sarcasm so think that you’re winning.

– Jokes about Care Bears are not very grounded because they do all this love work but have not come together to talk about why they’re not wearing any pants.
– This is not an excuse to stay in abusive relationships!
– Victimhood is connected to domination. Someones behaviour has shut you down so you can’t respond with a blessing. They lash out unconsciously and you forget that you’re an angle to liberate them. And all you think is ‘they must be destroyed’.
– If you feel pain durning this that is where you know love should go.
– Just say THANK YOU. Thank you, you’re only lashing out at my pony energy because you know I’m an angel in disguise here to liberate you. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
– Breaks down crucifixion symbolism.
– It’s not how they treat you, it’s how you respond that will change what you experience.
– So people who say nasty stuff are just looking for angles to liberate them.


The Way of the Bow by Paulo Coelho

Click to get the ebook

The Way of the Bow by Paulo Coelho
– Your allies will not necessarily be the kind of dazzling people to whom everyone looks up and of whom they say: ‘There’s none better.’ On the contrary, they are people who are not afraid of making mistakes and who do, therefore, make mistakes, which is why their work often goes unrecognised. Yet they are just the kind of people who transform the world and, after many mistakes, manage to do something that can make a real difference in their community.
– Have the qualities of water: flowing around rocks, adapting to the course of the river, sometimes forming into a lake until the hollow fills to overflowing, and they can continue on their way, because water never forgets that the sea is its destiny and that sooner or later it must be reached.
– The bow is life, the arrow is intension, target is the objective to be reached,
– Look at the skilled hammersmith working steel. To the untrained eye, he is merely repeating the same hammer blows.
– Thank you Elliott Hulse for the recommendation.

Table of contents
– Allies
– The Bow
– The Arrow
– The Target
– Posture
– How to hold the Arrow
– How to hold the Bow
– How to draw the Bow String
– How to look at the Target
– The Moment of releasing the Arrow
– Repetition
– How to observe the Flight of the Arrow
– The Archer without the Bow, without the Arrow, without Target
– Tetsuya’s Story


Negotiation and Conflict Resolution by Open2Study

The course can be found at Each module had 10 videos, 9 quizzes and 1 assessment to be completed in the week of the module.
Thanks Bindi for the link.

Module 1: Thinking Like a Negotiator
1: When Should We Negotiate?
– Negotiation is problem solving between people who are in an interdependent relationship. They depend on each other.
– It involves concessions. Giving something up to the other side. Can be material, financial, effort, etc.
– Negotiation is a learned skill.
– There is negotiation of Opportunity and of Necessity. Opportunity is not compulsory but there is a chance. Necessity is the one you HAVE TO undertake.

2: Exploring Different Negotiation Styles
– Distributive negotiations are finite amount of resources. Only focus on certain things or a single thing and not interested in what else can be brought to the table. Like 60-40, win-lose. Integrative negotiation also known as win-win negotiation is getting common ground and see what else there is to bring to the table. So 50-50 wont work as someone may need more time or more resources and justifies that.
– Zero sum game means there is only so much.

3: The Language of Negotiation
– Positions are usually a starting point. We need so and so by Monday or 5,000 bob final offer.
– Interests sit behind the positions. Things that drive you like why you want something.
– In general terms, a position is what you want and an interest is why you want it.
– It’s better to focus on interests as they are malleable.
– Example is saying ‘The only SOLUTION is’ vs. ‘I think an OPTION is’.
– If the other side gives you a position you could ignore it or look at the interest behind the position to see how you can work on that. Ask why they are taking the position.

4: Thinking Strategically
– Strategy is a predetermined approach with contingencies. If this then that.
– Use the Conflict Styles Matrix/Framework. The image will explain better. Note: Accommodation in the video is called Yielding.  (Image –
– Remember to use the right strategy for the right situation. E.g. Over using Competing strategy will look like there is a conflict everywhere and the need to win all the time. While Avoiding strategy will feel they can’t achieve things.

5: Shifting Your Perspective
– Myopia is tunnel vision. A stronger sense of Empathy for the other side is needed. And not seeing it as a sign of weakness. Exercise: Write down a conflict you are in but from the other side and how you’re contributing to the conflict.

6: Thinking Errors in Negotiation #1
– Cognitive heuristic is the brain taking shortcuts e.g. always trust people in uniforms/well dressed. And you need to find ways to not do it.
-3 ways to reframe as below.
a) Interests based approach. E.g. can we see the best way to use our resources to benefit both of us.
b) Rights based approach. E.g. I have a right to a share of resources too.
c) Power based approach. E.g. My work is more important than yours.
– There are also win and lose frame. Better to avoid loss framing.

7: Thinking Errors in Negotiation #2
– Availability bias: mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to a given person’s mind when evaluating a specific topic, concept, method or decision. If information is presented in an easily digestible way, it is likely to be more appealing and convincing than information that is more complex.
– If information is readily accessible, it may not necessarily be reliable.

8: Thinking Errors in Negotiation #3
– Anchoring bias: Making sense of what you’re getting it by comparing it with what you know. Using a good anchor like when buying a house you can see what the surrounding houses cost.
– Someone offers 20k for you wanting to sell for 35k when the fair price is 25. They come up to 25 so you go down to 30 to match their offer and then you say lets meet halfway and both agree to 27.5k where you win 2.5k.

9: Thinking Errors in Negotiation #4
– The Irrational Escalation of Commitment: Avoiding losing face, talk badly about others and more than whats on the table, losing sense of perspective and not thinking rationally about what is at hand. Getting stuck in a cycle of commitment to recoup sunk costs. Let it go!

10: Getting Your Thinking Right Before You Negotiate
– Humans like to get into groups and box things.
– Attribution error: Blaming someone on the behaviour because they’re part of a group or associate with certain people. Stereotyping.
– In multiparty negotiations groups form according to interest. Or it becomes us and them, for or against which is not good.

Module 2: The Five Phases of a Negotiation (6 Jun – 12 Jun)
1: Preparing to Negotiate
– 5 Phases of negotiation:
a) Preparation and planning,
b) agenda setting,
c) making proposals,
d) bargaining and
e) finalising agreements.
– 3 things before negotiation begins:
a) Research on the house, location etc.
b) Planning would be inclusions, repairs and settlement apart from just price.
c) Emotional preparation like dealing with the move, change of situation, other strong emotions and why you’re feeling like that.

2: Planning a Negotiation – The Bargaining Zone
– Have a checklist of all things included in the bargaining mix.
– Look for a ‘zone of agreement’ where you meet to get the agreement. They start high, you start low but at some point you will need to get to the zone after the sham bargaining.
– In the book Getting To YES they talk about BATNA: Best ALTERNATIVE TO a negotiated agreement. Before you negotiate, what is the best alternative just in case the negotiation doesn’t work. You can call out the other side if they don’t have this.

3: Agreeing on the Agenda
a) Set the context, why are you meeting?
b) What will be covered and get an agreement on that.
c) Manage the objections.
d) How will the meeting be run so the process is not being challenged.

4: Probing for Interests
– Better to focus on interests instead of positions as positions is either/or while interest is both/and.
– Talks about positions and interest and finding the mutual interests. Graphic here –

5: Making Proposals and Counter Proposals
– One side starts a proposal and when the other side counters the bargaining begins.
– Probe on interests.
– Suggest alternatives.

6: Finding Common Ground
– Move the conversation to a higher or more general level to search for common ground.
– Manage words and get creative.
– Thinks like Time, Mutual respect, Fairness could be worked on.

7: Bargaining
– Bargaining is driver by things like price, terms, conditions. Trading concessions basically.
– Have good knowledge of the situation.
– Don’t make unilateral concessions i.e. giving something away for free. There should reciprocity.
– Concession should be of equal value.
– Use phrases like ‘If you can then I will’.

8: Trading Concessions
– Be conscious of the tactic to know how to respond.
– 3 Typical Tactics
a) Good cop/Bad cop.
b) Bogey – say you can never agree, it’s forbidden. And then later maybe you could agree if the other side makes a large concession.
c) The Nibble – Like when you buy something and when paying for it the person says would you like or you need this little more thing with that. It’s called a nibble. You need this tie with that suit.
– These work because of the contrast principle, scarcity idea.
– 3 Strategies to counter the tactics.
a) Name it. Call a tactic what it is. E.g. You’re brining the issue right at the end of the negotiation that we haven’t talked about.
b) Ignore it. Don’t react just treat it like the little thing it is and say something like lets not talk about this as it was not on the agenda.
c) Respond in kind. E.g. if they ask to throw in delivery at the end you can say yes but only if you pay a little bit more.
– Just make sure to keep the negotiation moving forward.

9: Coming to Agreement
– Summarise the agreement. Could just be verbal.
– What gets formalised is what gets agreed to.
– Go through the contract in detail especially pro forma contracts.
– Think about the words you use. Guarantee, Warranty, Assure, Ensure, Perfect. These could imply taking 100% liability.
– Make sure you don’t look too happy because the other side will feel like they got the wrong end of the stick.

10: Implementing Your Plan
– With a contract it’s already in play of who does what by when etc. What is called a service level agreement. You don’t want to drag out the service level agreement/contract every time you have a meeting.
– Manage ongoing relationship.

Module 3: Conflict Resolution – Theory and Practice (13 Jun – 19 Jun)
1: What is Conflict? Are Conflicts Different from Disputes?
– Difference between negotiation and conflict and conflict and disputes. Conflicts engages the person that it takes over the lives.
– Difference between conflicts and disputes are – Conflicts are more prolonged and strongly felt than disputes. Conflicts require more analysis before taking any action than disputes. A dispute is contained to a single issue, whereas in conflicts the issues often multiply.
– You can take a bargaining approach (better for disputes) to compensate or analytical approach (better for conflicts) to think things through.

2: Theories: Biological Explanations for Conflict
Biological approach / inherency school / in our nature. Talks about different peoples theories. Animal aggression has 3 main purposes – To balance out the population, survival of the strongest, protection of the young. Aggression and group identity are connected.

3: Theories: Learning Theories of Conflict
– Learning approach / contingency school / learned. Talks about different peoples theories.
– Frustration- Aggression hypothesis. Where aggression is the result of blocking, or frustrating, a person’s efforts to attain a goal.
– Familial context, sub-cultural context, symbolic messages are other theories of learned conflicts.

4: Conflict Resolution – Human Needs Theory
– You all know Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs. You can’t move higher up on the needs until the lower needs are actualised.
– Human conflict is caused by the frustration and suppression of basic human needs.
– Paul Sites articulated 9 universal human needs:
a) Consistency in response.
b) Stimulation.
c) Security.
d) Recognition.
e) Distributive justice.
f) Appearance of rationality.
g) Meaning
h) Control
i) Burton added a 9th need called Role defence. Said it was the most dominant of needs.
– Burton states that conflict needs to be first be analysed before it can be resolved. He also said that at the bottom of the hierarchy we have NEEDS which will never change for anyone around the world. Next is VALUES, they are pretty fixed but may change over time. Finally is INTERESTS which can be negotiated.

5: Constructive and Destructive Conflict
– Constructive conflict is resolved using collaborative measures, people learn from them, it’s contained to the major issues and not let them grow.
– Destructive conflict is damaging, carries on even after issues are resolved, parties use power.

6: Coping with Strong Emotions and Stereotypes
– When you’re faced with danger the amygdala sends a signal to the central nervous system to get into flight or fight response.
– People like to simplify because of lots of information. Malcolm Gladwell talked about thin slicing in one of his books.
– Propaganda is used for this.
– Strategies to cope with the emotions:
a) Be specific (on the behaviours and cause).
b) Us-us orientation (both sides in the problem).
c) Negotiate constructively.
d) Educate yourself.
e) Putting things into perspective.

7: Third Party Interventions to Conflict
– Levels are Negotiation > Mediation > Conciliation > Arbitration > Tribunal > Court. (See below)
– Mediation there is low level input from a third party intervention and supporting the parties communication, structuring it more.
– Conciliation has more power from the third party, problem solving.
– Arbitration is where third party receives information and delivering their findings.
– Tribunal which is a quazi-judicial process.
– Court where the judge … judges!
– Good practice is to set ground rules and structure communication.

8: Conflict Analysis
– Table on how to breakdown conflicts. Row headers are Parties, Pressures, Projections (Fears), Past, Problems. And gives a good example of how to use it.

9: Generating and Costing Options
– Brainstorming to find solutions. Then move to costing to see which one has the most pros and least cons or what reflects the best values for all concerned.

10: Resolution a Lasting Solution
– Don’t mix the 3 with their solutions.
a) Conflicts need resolution. A final and lasting resolution.
b) Disputes need settlements.
c) Problems need management.

Module 4: Communication Skills (20 Jun – 26 Jun)
1: Communication Skills for Effective Conflict Resolution and Negotiation
– Listen effectively. What do they want to achieve.
– Ask good questions. Match the question with the type of response you’re looking for. Do you want further answers or do you want to close the topic.
– Assert yourself. Be clear but don’t get into a screaming match. Even tone.
– Reframing. Change the way people view an issue.
– Cross cultural communication skills.
– Non-verbal communication.
– Build common ground.
(See below topics for further info)

2: Bridging the Gap Between Knowing and Doing in Communication
– We have predetermined scripts and conditioning to handle conflicts so be aware of them.
– Role play is good.
– Debrief after a negotiation to see what can be improved.

3: Active Listening
– Focus on what the other side is saying.
– Turn your own head volume down.
– 3 skills for active listening.
a) Following – Ensuring that you’re following what they are saying. It’s not about being agreeable. It’s about being strong on your point but being respectful on the other side too. Minimal encourages are things that encourage the other side to speak more like ‘uh-huh’, ‘hmmm’, ‘yep’, ‘I understand’.
b) Reflecting – Reflecting to them what you’ve understood from what you’ve heard. So what you’re saying is…. say what you feel you heard. Empathise the emotion you’re feeling that they’re feeling.
c) Summarising – Wrap what has been said. I’ve understood what you’ve said, is there anything else?

4: Effective Questioning
– Know types of questions. Rise or lowering inflection in the question.
– 2 types of questions.
a) Open ended questions. Which, where, when, who, why, how. Also stuff like ‘can you elaborate on.
b) Close ended questions. These have only yes or no or direct answers.
– Use a combination of both.
– How to ask a ‘why question’. Don’t sound like a police. Soften it with curiosity.
– 3 types of questions.
a) Hypothetical.
b) Double barrel question. 2 questions in one. Avoid these!!! People who talk a lot or too fast do this and I don’t know what to answer by the end of their rant!
c) Leading questions. Don’t you think that? Wouldn’t it be…?

5: Non-Verbal Communication
– Facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, touch, proximity, position.
– Remember cultural differences in each case.
– Breaking eye contact is pretty universal.

6: Reframing
– Take their aggressive lines and reframe it and feed with back in a softer version in an alternative way of looking at it.
– Toxic words strain the atmosphere. Angry (can be replaced with upset). So don’t tone it down too far but reduce the toxicity of it.

7: Pathways to Common Ground
– Areas both parties agree on.
– They both need to see the problem as the enemy and not one another.
– From I and You to We and Us.
– Emphasise what you agree on especially when summarising.

8: Word Choice – Assertiveness
– Asserting your side of thing in the face of resistance.
– Emphasise what your interests are.
– Say things with ‘I’ (called an I message). I need this, I’m feeling this. Paras note: Something I think couples should use when having an issue. I feel this when so and so happens.
– Passive approaches don’t get you anywhere. Be active. Sit down.

9: Communicating More Effectively Across Cultures
– High context cultures. The context contains additional meaning. E.g. Asian’s are high context. Feels coded or lot of fluff. Not seeing the clear answer from their answer.
– Low context cultures. The context is minimal. What is said is more important then the context it’s said in. Short and sweet and can look rude.
– Learn about the culture you’re dealing with.

10: Developing Your Communication Skills
– Identify the skill gap. Where are you now, your pluses and minuses. Give yourself a goal.