Michael Mobbs is a national treasure. I learned about him, and his micro-revolution, earlier this week at a Transition Bondi event in Sydney. He’s a recovering lawyer who has taken his inner-city house off the grid. Yes, that’s right. Disconnected from the sewer system. Disconnected from the water supply. Disconnected from the electricity grid. And, producing food to eat and share. Living the mantra “I can do this”, Michael Mobbs has created an incredible template for urban self-sufficiency. He properly lives the cliché that we should be the change we want to see in the world. And boy, it was deeply inspiring to hear some of his stories.

You can watch the full video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VVmQwZ_LWs&feature=plcp … it’ll be one of the best hours you’ve spent in ages.

Here’s a couple of things that deeply struck me:
– typically, the food we eat each day requires about 10,000 litres of water to produce. Each person. 10,000 litres. So, having 2 minute showers to conserve water is nothing compared to how our consumption decisions can weigh heavily upon the earth.
– the more we focus on law-making, discussion and jargon…the fewer the environmental benefits that accrue: “the only thing I believe in is the food I just ate, harvested by ordinary people doing wonderful things.”

Michael Mobbs is eminently practical. Visionary too, but I think it’s his pragmatism that most struck me. During the discussion, Michael exhorted us all to be comfortable making mistakes, and I could tell for sure that he lived this advice deeply. Afterwards, I asked him what his biggest mistake had been. I’d wondered, during the evening, what kind of mistakes might have taught him the most. Would they be about his head? Would he have learned to think differently through his sustainable house/food/life transformation. His heart? Would he have dealt with emotional battles in different ways given the benefits of hindsight. Or would it be his hands? Did he mess some things up on a practical level? His answer was almost instant. And it was eminently practical. He wishes he’d placed the water tank higher, to pressure feed the water and reduce energy reliance from the household pump system.

Michael has two books: Sustainable House (2010) and Sustainable Food (2012). I plan to carve out some quality time soon to devour both, thinking about what mistakes – head, heart, and hand – I feel ready and willing to make, and which ones I can (mercifully) navigate around thanks to the incredible groundwork that Michael Mobbs has done in carving out the path for all the rest of us.