A One-Week Urban Residential Course

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Waiting list available for next dates


TBC, 2015

Brighton, Victoria


Early-Bird Offer – $950


This course is designed for those interested in developing approaches to sustainability that go beyond ‘tech fixes’, efficiency improvements, awareness raising & behaviour change, to genuinely address the great challenges and opportunities of our time.

Sustainability awareness & rhetoric is everywhere these days, but in many ways we continue to worsen the problems we are trying to fix. This course creates the space, engages the experts, & introduces the tools for us to examine the most common misconceptions & pitfalls of sustainability, & develop a deeper understanding of how we can achieve truly sustainable societies.

During the week expert facilitators will help you develop your knowledge, thinking & practice around all aspects of sustainability, including transport, energy, waste, food, health, cleaning, design, education, community development, sustainable business & economics, & the mythology that underpins it all, as a basis for how we might create a healthy integrated picture of all of the above. While we ‘live the life’ with experiments in our own efforts to live more sustainably together.

The Tao (or ‘The Way’) series of courses are led by Anthony James, Head of the OASES Graduate School & Convenor of the Understandascope, & were developed with the late Professor Frank Fisher, Australia’s Inaugural Environmental Educator of the Year & Understandascope founder.

Course Hosts & Facilitators

Anthony James

Head of OASES; Convenor of the Understandscope & postgraduate programs, NCS, Swinburne

Keith Badger

Chair of the OASES Board; former MD & VP Australia & NZ, Midas International

Debby Badger

Yoga Teacher, & Deep Time Walk Coordinator, Port Phillip Eco-Centre


Olivia Cheng

Shiatsu & Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner & dietary therapist


Special Guest Presenters

Stephan Harding

Resident Ecologist & MSc Coordinator, Schumacher College, UK

Schumacher College Staff Profile

Josh Floyd

Founding Partner, Centre for Australian Foresight


Simon Lockrey

Research Fellow & Area Leader, Centre for Design, RMIT

Profile @ RMIT

Bridget Gardner

Director, Fresh Green Clean


Marcus Garafillis

Co-Founder, Local Organics


Who Will This Course Benefit?

This course is intended for all people with a deep interest in sustainability, whether you have advanced knowledge & experience in the field or not. This course will provide a unique challenge & opportunity to develop your thinking & practice, whatever your background or interest.You might be interested in experiencing an overview of our postgraduate programs, or you might be a graduate seeking to develop your thinking & practice further, in community. This course is appropriate for all professions, backgrounds and interests, whether you have corporate responsibility in this field, working in government or the not-for-profit sector, or are simply seeking to become a more informed citizen & contributor to your community.
The Tao of Sustainability is designed to be fun & supportive, suitably challenging & confronting, & ultimately illuminating & liberating. The material covered is designed to improve your sustainability practice in every part of your life, in turn contributing to the development of a more humble, self-aware, and engaged society that may more effectively transcend our growing sustainability challenges.

The Learning Experience

Understandascope stall2The Tao of Sustainability offers an opportunity to explore new concepts & practices of sustainability, developing our abilities in systems thinking, personal & organisational change, leadership & community development, while we generally develop a deeper understanding of what it means to be human in the world.This process is held in a safe community environment where participants are encouraged to share their stories and experiences as part developing our understanding & practice of sustainability.Participants will live in a large, comfortable, residential home in Melbourne’s bay side suburb of Brighton, sharing accommodation & engaging in mindful community living.

The course is inspired by, & features, the work of Frank Fisher, Fritz Schumacher, Donella Meadows, George Lakoff, Ivan Illich, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther-King, Nelson Mandela, Arne Naess, Alan Watts, Henry David Thoreau, CS Lewis, Fritjof Capra, Joseph Campbell, Ken Wilber, Annie Leonard, Michael Marmot, Gregory Bateson, Paolo Freire, Ozzie Zehner, & Tim Jackson.

2010-9 025The course includes:

  • Welcome & orientation
  • Introductions via some (share-able) stories of personal transformation
  • Wonderful shared meals & conversations
  • A range of expert presentations & workshops, to debunk persistent myths, & explore ideas that can ‘cut through’ in our efforts towards sustainability
  • Tours to local infrastructure & a day trip to the Latrobe Valley coal mines & other nearby infrastructure (this is a unique opportunity to go into the coal mines)
  • Integrative conversations where we seek to make new sense of all the parts
  • Reflective space
  • Optional sessions available for group readings, yoga, meditation & cooking.

In partnership with…



Anthony James, Head of the OASES Graduate School, & Convenor of the Understandascope, with a number of co-hosts, facilitators & special guest presenters.


TBC, 2015.


$1,050 or $950 early bird (inc. all food, accommodation, tours & materials).


Participants will live in a large, comfortable, residential home in Melbourne’s bay side suburb of Brighton, sharing accommodation, knowledge, wisdom, change strategies & mindful community living.

Download the Registration Form →
Waiting list available for next dates