Kitchen Table Sustainability launched at Bond University

9 December 2008

Successful book launch at Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland, 3 December 2008



I love the new building of the Mirvac School of Sustainable Development at Bond University.

It reminds me of the concept of “eco-revelatory design” made popular by a great new book by Randy Hester, Design for Ecological Democracy (2006).

All of the building’s many innovative sustainability features are easily recognisable, with signs everywhere to explain the features of the building and landscaping.

The only problem is that it’s hard to find the front door. Ecological design sometimes trumps social design”¦

                        Introducing the book’s other authors”¦


We had no problem finding the front door when we launched our new book, Kitchen Table Sustainability, in the courtyard of the new building on a balmy December evening last year.


The event was graciously organised by my friend, Danny O’Hare, Associate Professor of Urban Planning, Mirvac School of Sustainable Development.


Professor George Earl, Dean of the Faculty of Business, Technology and Sustainable Development at Bond University and formerly Head of the School of Sustainable Development, officiated after Danny welcomed about fifty guests.


I spoke briefly about the new book and the challenges we face in my capacity as an Adjunct Professor in the School. We had a lively discussion.


My favourite question came from a knowledgeable source, planner and activist, Brian Feeney, who asked whether it was acceptable for communities to frame their visions without consideration of the Earth’s carrying capacity.


“It’s not,” I replied. “We need to strengthen community capacity about the limits to growth as part of community engagement processes.”


I drew people’s attention to Chapter 5, which discusses community education issues in detail.


A grateful thank-you to Danny and George for an excellent event, great food and wine, and thought-provoking discussion.


Following the launch, as the building’s sensors turned off the lights and ventilation, Karl and I decamped to our favourite waterside cafe for a late dinner.


We were grateful to our colleagues and delighted to see the book coming to life. But we found it hard to leave the topic alone.


Tired and grateful for the hospitality of our hosts, we speculated on the effects of predicted sea-level rise on this beautiful setting as we gazed out at the waterfront housing and tucked into our coffee and desserts.