When poetry can be enough

Sometimes, by accident when reading, or talking, or listening, I come upon words and ideas, or silence; and then what I see or hear can be enough.  Sufficient.  Sustainable, sustaining. May I offer Will Shakespeare’s 29th sonnet in this sense, and invite you to read it aloud with a song in your heart: When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state And trouble deaf heaven with my... Read More

Real food pop up cooking school

Kate Walsh, a Sydney real food seller and promoter, has pop up cooking classes this July. Learn how to make real butter, sausages, tortillas, pickles, ricotta and other foods from the farmers and producers who make them for a living; from Feathers and Bone to Pepe of Pepe’s butter. Information is here.    Read More

Uncertainty – a homage to a new year

We swim in uncertainty. Lucky us. Here – (play music) – comes the sun . . . . . . will it? And, yes, I see it does now, the magic of it beyond words. Hold tight the zephyr of cold air from this last night’s sunless moments that mixes now with dawning’s warmth. Breath out, breath in. Mark how the sun’s warmth banishes cold.  Such is dawn. And give thanks, shall we, now to uncertainty, to the zephyrs that remind us of it - and to warmth, new dawns... Read More

WIRES needs your bugs

WIRES need us – our bugs, that is WIRES are experiencing a 27 per cent increase in wild critters needing their care.  Causes of the dramatic increase are diverse – habitat loss, climate change . . . But the rescued critters need to eat – maggots, worms, bugs . . . and so WIRES need us to give them what spare bugs we have.  Read More

Savouring another’s powers of observation

A  Sydney-living Aboriginal elder with powers of observation I can only dream of sent me this note today: ‘Had a wonderful thing happen a couple of days ago – the first really warm day we’ve had, and the lawn underneath the Empress tree was black,    When I looked down, each blade of grass had a little black native bee sunbaking on it.   They seemed to be enjoying it so much, turning around every couple of minutes to get the sun on another part.   The... Read More

An example of a Lombok villa going green

Yesterday I saw some villas in Lombok where the owners have done their best to make them sustainable. High on a hill looking out to the Lombok Straight and over the village of Senggigi and others below, the Studio Villas, have a range of materials and designs to sustain the use of timber, soil, energy and water.  The rainwater is harvested into a total of 130 thousand litre tanks underneath the houses.  They are noticeably cool inside and use traditional design  - cross breezes,... Read More

kite flying in the land of rats for breakfast

The thick bread slice I’d left on the bench was gone. I’d been away five minutes, maybe. Through the dawn dark outside the raw, soaring, male voice called men to prayer. But the floor, the benchtops, the table were still.  Empty. Suddenly the darkness embracing me a moment ago outside the wall-less, door-less, window-less roofed kitchen pavilion asked me in distinctly Western terms, “How now brown cow?” I had quick company, and the morning was getting busy already. Where... Read More

Headlights in the dark: “Why I write’ by George Orwell

Words matter.  They can have work to do, or not.   But why write?  What, exactly – if exactness may be found here, is going on when we write?   In his essay, “Why I write”, George Orwell gave four reasons why he writes, and I’ve extracted them below.  I agree with him, particularly his comments afterwards about how they may vary over time, including this one: “Looking back through the last page or two, I see that I have made it appear... Read More

What would the boy say?

The boy, maybe 6, pushed the bike up the steep steps towards where I stood on the road. The girl was next, about 4. But it’s hard to know the age of the poor, they age differently. A heavy bag drooped with weight either side of the bike’s middle bar. Their haul. Maybe sand from the creek running into the beach just a hundred meters off, or mud, or rubbish. Their faces became complete smiles in return for mine. “Salamat sori”, I said. Two soft ‘Sori’s’ came back. With... Read More


Ten to five am. The call to prayer amplified from the temples fills the dawn air. Beautiful to some. Disliked by most Westerner’s I speak to, mainly Aussies.  Barely noticed, it seems, tho’, by most of their children who go to school here. The call is music in the dark to me, very primitive, some mornings achingly beautiful.  Other mornings, just a plea to be ok by folks reaching for the light.  (Count me in.) Mirrors, then, for how each of us start the day by reflecting... Read More

  • Michael Mobbs

    Michael is a former Environmental Lawyer who is uniquely placed to consult in four main areas:

    • Sustainability Coach and Speaker,
    • Sustainable Urban Farm Design greening, watering and cooling the cityscape, roads, parks, suburbs,
    • Major Projects Consultant Commercial and Industrial,
    • Residential Sustainability Consultant.
    For permission to re-print any articles or to book Michael for a speaking engagement go to Contacts. Please ensure all quotes from Michael's blog include a reference to sustainablehouse.com....au.