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.

Rapturous reception at Avid Reader book launch for KTS

After years of drought, Brisbane was treated to a sparkling evening shower on Friday night, December 5th and a rapturous reception for Kitchen Table Sustainability.


Four of our book’s five authors were present at the book launch at popular West End bookstore, Avid Reader.


Cathy Wilkinson flew in from Swedish Lappland, Steph Vajda and Yollana Shore are West End residents. Karl and I drove from Nimbin in New South Wales.

Avid Reader Proprietor Krissy Kneen welcoming guests


Over 100 people crowded into the bookstore to hear Drew Hutton, founder of the Queensland Greens, launch the book with stories of community campaigns to save West End and Brisbane from planning disasters.


Bursts of applause greeted news of the generous and skilled pro bono graphics and public relations support provided to the authors by Jen and Dougal of Jaxzyn and Maureen Mullins and Elaine Hill.


Popular local real estate agent, Leo Tsimpikas, was applauded for his generous support as the landlord for my West End office during challenging times when many community engagement projects were being pursued.


Avid Reader Bookshop proprietor, Krissy Kneen, complimented the authors and Earthscan, the publisher, on the beautiful appearance of the book and encouraged guests to purchase it as a Christmas gift for their friends. Many books were purchased that night.


I welcomed guests, explained everyone’s contributions, including that of co-author Nancy Hofer in Vancouver and thanked many helpers, including her husband, Karl Langheinrich. I explained that Avid Reader had been the “kitchen table” at which many of the ideas in the book had initially been discussed.


Steph then read a passage about the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia and Cathy (embraced by her two small children) read a passage from Chapter 10 entitled, “Your input will be taken on board”. Yollana reminded everyone of the intergenerational aspects of sustainability and engagement and thanked guests for coming to share in the celebrations.


Guests waited to have books signed by the four authors and conversations continued into the evening on the footpath as people lingered to talk about the book, its ideas, sustainability and community. And how refreshing the rain was.


A great night was had by all.


The grateful authors feel blessed by the love of friends and family and the support of a strong activist community.


Co-author Cathy Wilkinson, who travelled from Swedish Lappland for the launch
The authors signing books


Grateful acknowldgement of photos: Angel Kosch