Recycling was once seen as an inconvenient request our local council made – we had to separate the ‘waste’, that we had become accustomed to simply throwing in the rubbish bin, into a separate container. Today recycling is a part of our everyday lives and it’s expected to happen at home, in the office, shopping centres, restaurants and hotels.Read More
As we approach the end of the 10th year of Rahamim's ministry, we have been reflecting with gratitude on the vision and commitment of those who conceived of the ministry of Rahamim, and then brought it to life.Read More
Did you know that you can recycle:
- Personal and laptop computers and all cables
- Tablets, notebooks and palmtops
- Computer monitors and parts (e.g. internal hard drives and CD drives)
- Computer peripherals and accessories (e.g. mice, keyboards, web cameras, USBs and modems)
- Printers, faxes, scanners and multi-functional devices
- All televisions
for free by dropping them off at a TechCollect collection point?
To find your nearest TechCollect collection point, click here.
To learn more about recycling e-waste (including why it's important), click here.
We've just found a beautiful microscope in our collection, fully equipped with a camera able to produce photos and video - so let us know: what would you like to see under the microscope?
Choosing what we eat is something most of us are lucky enough to do at least three times a day. As Michael Pollan states, with each meal we have an opportunity to vote to change the world. With World Food Day approaching on October 16, this is a great opportunity for us to stop and reflect on our choices.Read More
How can we live more justly in the Earth community? As our Mercy values and constitutions affirm, “we are integrally connected with each other and with the whole of creation” – is this reflected in our homes and other buildings? If not, what changes are demanded of us in our adaptation, design and construction of the buildings in which we live and work in order to ‘break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness’ (Pope Francis: 8th Work of Mercy) in our use of land, materials and Earth’s life-support systems, especially water?Read More
Scientific discoveries over many generations have given rise to new awakenings, new ways of ‘seeing’ for the human, not only through microscopes and telescopes but also within our inner life of spiritual meaning. This is particularly so as we begin to comprehend the meaning of the 13.8 billion year unfolding story of the universe.Read More
The recent ABC TV series, War on Waste, alerted Australians to the extraordinary amount of plastic we use and send to land fill each day. Our Institute’s ‘War on Waste’ moved to a new level in 2016 with the launch of the Sustainable Living Policy, ‘An Integrated Approach to Sustainable Living’.Read More
A worm farm is exactly what it sounds like – a home for worms who minimise food waste by turning organic kitchen waste into rich fertiliser for your soils and plants.Read More
Earth Hour is a successful Australian campaign designed to care for Earth. That has come to mean drawing attention to energy use, tackling global warming and encouraging people to talk about what we can do to help.Read More
The Ash Wednesday ritual, during which we use symbols of Earth, ashes mixed with water, remind us of the interdependence of the human with the essential elements of all life in the Earth community...Read More
The gathering for Mercy Day included Sisters from the Bathurst region and staff from the ministries based at St Joseph’s mount. The ritual, prepared by Sr Patricia Powell rsm, combined the celebrations of Our Lady of Mercy with the seasonal celebrations of Spring EquinoxRead More
A federal candidate’s Forum at Rahamim Green Drinks will see Calare candidates address community concerns on climate, ecology, land and water, this Friday at 5:30pm, Busby St. In advance of the forum Bathurst Community Climate Action Network has received Calare candidate responses to their questionnaire on climate change and energy policy.Read More
Have you noticed, when driving on country roads, there seems to be fewer kangaroos in your headlights these days?
This is one of the reasons why World Environment Day celebrations at Rahamim were in the form of a Sunday afternoon children’s Kangaroo Tea Party this year.
Kangaroos were the guests of honour with fun games (like the bone identification game and joey mortality rate activity), kangaroo craft, dancing, trivia, face painting and a community colouring-in competition about Kangaroos on Mt Panorama (Wahluu).
Everyone at the Kangaroo Tea Party had fun and learned some interesting (and very concerning) facts.
Firstly, did you know that kangaroos are a slow-growing species, so the idea of a ‘population explosion’ is actually impossible? A kangaroo doe will likely raise a joey to independence at four years of age, if she lives on she will remain fertile until age 12, with one joey possible per year. But the mortality rate of the joeys is at 73% because of threats like dogs, foxes cars, fences, and disease. During drought this rate rises to 100%!
Secondly, of the eight joey survivors possible, statistically only one of those will be female, so the doe will only replace herself once during her lifetime. So even when left undisturbed in optimal natural conditions, kangaroo populations will not keep increasing, but will become equally balanced or stable. Among other risks to populations, we can add the 85% reduction in woodland habitat Kangaroos need, as well as shooting quotas of 15-20% per year for industrial-scale slaughter. This culling remains largely unscrutinised - the largest commercial hunting of land-based wildlife on the planet!
Rahamim’s Kangaroo Tea Party Event was jointly hosted by Charles Sturt University’s CSU Green and the Bathurst Kangaroo Project, an internationally-supported effort communicating science to raise awareness of the facts about the threats to kangaroos.
To learn more facts about kangaroos visit www.kangaroosatrisk.net.
Last weekend a group of us piled into a couple of mini buses and a small fleet of cars to visit points of interest along the Macquarie River (in Bathurst, NSW), known for thousands of years as the Wambool. The tour was organised by the Rahamim Ecology Centre, a ministry of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea, and led by environmentalist John Fry and Aboriginal elder Dinawan.
In her introductory remarks, Sr Patricia Powell rsm said there was a difference between "knowing" the river and "knowing about" the river. To "know" something or someone comes through repeated contact over time. I know my sister; I know how to drive a car. You can know "about" something by reading about it in a book or having someone mention it in conversation. The first kind of knowing is a soaked-in knowing; the other kind can evaporate without practice or contact.
Our tour of the river was to get to know it better by spending a little time with it, listening to the wind through the casuarinas, the sounds of crickets and frogs, noticing its different colours and flows. At each point of interest, we all fell silent for a moment just to listen. Just doing this, with others, was a very moving experience.
We began our tour at White Rock, near the confluence of the Fish and Campbell Rivers. The meeting of the rivers was also a meeting place for Aboriginal people in times gone by, a place for marriages and to work out disputes. We continued through cabbage-growing country, stopping on the opposite side of the river off Montavella Road, a place I know well because it's where I take my dog for swim.
We looked at steep, eroded gullies that once held water more gently; we heard about the stumps of the giant casuarinas that used to follow not just the main river course but the smaller tributaries; we heard about hunting parties in the 1920s that would come back with hundreds of platypus that were there for the taking. We heard about the giant cod that used to be here; an abundant supermarket that supported life for aeons.
We made out way through town and out to Raglan Creek and the old brick pit favoured by migratory birds. We looked at the reeds that filter water naturally. Instead of diverting 10 megalitres a day of treated water to a gold mine, as has been proposed, John Fry suggested the water be brought to a carefully constructed wetland here, where it could soak into the ground and restore a little of the river to something like its former glory.
Tracy Sorensen is Secretary of Bathurst Community Climate Action Network. Visit www.bccan.org.au.
Friday 29 April 2016
“Our Common Home”, the inaugural Calare Eco-Summit (in Central-West NSW), designed to connect all organisations concerned about ecological issues in our electoral region, was recently held in Bathurst, hosted by Rahamim in conjunction with a number of other ecological organisations. This is the first in a series of summits of its kind.
Inspired by the 2015 encyclical letter on ecology and climate by Pope Francis “On care for our Common Home”, the summit sought to demonstrate how diverse organisations (such as community groups, ecologists, local government and faith/spiritual organisations) could better take up our shared responsibilities for the Earth community.
Rather than create another ‘umbrella’ organisation, the aim was to find synergy, responding to the question “What can we do together that we cannot do alone?”
The program, facilitated by Roz Townsend and Neil Davidson, enabled 18 organisations to get to know each other, to create confluence, coherence and smarter collaboration to better face our region’s climate, energy, biodiversity, water, waste and land management challenges.
World Café discussions generated deeper resonance, enabling conversations between diverse individuals and organisations, especially around the question “What conversation, if begun today, could ripple out in a way that creates new possibilities for the future of our region?” Some examples of topics that arose include:
- The power of conversations to shift awareness
- Creating a framework to create conversations of the future, spreading ideas and networks for a better outcome
- Changing approach to issues from “Challenges” to “Opportunities”
- Experiential education: the impact of hearing from practitioners on site in the field that can be applied in ‘real’ life
- Galvanising individual voices, who experienced disruption, into united groups
- Developing a regional vision for adaptation and building resilience for climate change, in spite of our political environment
- Controlling our destiny: getting Bathurst self-sufficient for food and off the national energy grid.
The group explored issues, exemplars, barriers and possible ways of advancing these topics. Some diagrams helped explore the dynamics of coming together across difference and getting past the often incomplete and sometimes stereotypical assumptions about where an individual or organisation might be ‘coming from’.
Through introductions to Neil Davidson’s systems thinking, participants recognised the need for a greater collective ‘systems understanding’ if we are to come together around common purpose/s – at any of many scales: project, city, bioregion – to regenerate environments and codesign viable futures.
There was a collective realisation that we each need to permit ourselves and others to ‘be complex’ – in order to bring our whole selves to be present in systems context – this needs safe spaces, trust-building toward trust-worthy relationships, and a bit of assistance to allow coherence to build in systems context.
The Eco-Summit was planned by a steering committee comprising members of Bathurst Climate Change Action Network, CENREC, Skillset, Bathurst Regional Council, Greening Bathurst, Bathurst Wholefood Co-operative, Bathurst Goldfields, Charles Sturt University and Rahamim Ecology Centre.
On Monday 11 April 2016, a round-table discussion was held at Rahamim about Kangaroos living on Mount Panorama (Wahluu).
The information presented came from 3 researchers (from University of Western Sydney, Sydney University of Technology and Charles Sturt University), WIRES, a senior lecturer in journalism at CSU, the Green Army, as well as national award winning conservationists Helen Bergen and Ray Mjadwesch. The 32 other attendees represented at the table included residents of the Mount, CSU Green, BCCAN, Skillset, Rahamim and several other residents.
Here is a summary of some of the most compelling facts:
- Common perceptions that kangaroos are in ‘plague’ proportions are false. It is impossible for this scenario to occur with Eastern Grey kangaroos because of high infant mortality rates (73%) and short fertility periods of Eastern Greys.
- Eastern Grey kangaroos need native woodland to thrive. Mt Panorama (Wahluu) is one of very few woodlands available to kangaroos in our region.
- Understanding what causes kangaroos to stray on to the race track is essential. Indiscriminate culling of adult kangaroos can increase the risks, causing erratic behaviour in their young, straying from safe areas.
- Culling to the point of extinction of a species from a particular area is illegal.
- Wild kangaroos of Bathurst are famous worldwide, make for a compelling story-line for national and international journalism and hold invaluable potential for tourism.
- Most local residents of the Mount live in harmonious relationship with the kangaroos and want them to stay.
At the round-table, the following simple actions were recommended:
- Improved fencing around the race track and removal of hazardous redundant fencing around the mount
- Improved safe zones for kangaroos
- Stop indiscriminate culling
- Council to work closely with local experts and consult scientific findings prior to making decisions about wildlife.
For further information, visit Bathurst Kangaroo Project.
This year, Earth Hour celebrations coincided with two other events on our calendar: Autumn Equinox and Easter.
Autumn is a time of thanksgiving for the harvest – for its time of nourishment, and it is also a time of leave-taking and sorrow, as Life declines.
As the dark grows, it establishes balance with the light; Autumn Equinox is that point of balance. We feel our own balance of light and dark within.
In our part of Earth, the balance has shifted into dark. We feel the shift within us, seeing the descent ahead, the darkness growing, remembering the coolness of it.
For millennia, in Greece, this time has been the holy celebration of Persephone’s descent to the Underworld. Her descent is voluntary – she simply understands the necessity of the journey – the mystery, knowledge of life and death – for this she gives thanks. But she sets forth into the darkness.
The Christian calendar, mirroring the patterns of the seasons, marks a similar movement at this time. The Journey of Life-Death-Life played out in the person of Jesus as he enters into the suffering and death of Good Friday, and new and eternal life of the Easter resurrection.
Autumn Equinox and Easter is a time for grieving our many losses, as individuals, as a culture, as Earth community, as Universe, but also for making space, in hope, for new life.
In the crisp air and yellowing leaves of Rahamim, those gathered marked the occasion with ritual and celebrations including poetry reading, a kids home-made lantern procession, a bon fire and woodfired pizza, drumming workshops and the screening of Leonardo Di Caprio’s series Green World Rising, powered by Rahamim’s bike-powered movie set-up.
The lines of Susan Murphy’s Minding the Earth, Mending the World was material for reflection on such an occasion:
…In this universe … life implies death, and being here now implies disappearing later.
When we can embrace this reality more fearlessly just the way it is, we find it fits us perfectly well – always has. The way opens, the sky does not fall in, the ocean confides its songs, each drop of dew forms in exactly the right time and place in the grass…
Everything sentient together.
Adapted from Glenys Livingstone, PaGaian Cosmology, 2005.