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Ian Cleland Ian Cleland

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The walking Man

About Me

I have been an advocate of sustainability since the 70’s with the core area of interest in energy efficient building and systems.    
Starting in March 2010 I am walking from Melbourne to Brisbane via the Bi-centennial National Trail. The objectives of this walk are to:

  • Facilitate workshops in every city and town along the journey to gather and share information for the creation of sustainable communities. These workshops will:

  • Create a network of local resources that can be shared across the whole society.

  • Create dynamic links between major population centers and rural country areas.

  • Create trust that develops positive constructive dialogue which is solution focused.

  • Develop strategies that work with local industries to develop sustainable businesses and industries.

  • To be inclusive of all people who want to be involved in the process.

  • Film a documentary and gather stories about people I meet along the way to tell their story.

My focus is to facilitate changes that stick because people develop trust and are able to create their own sustainable future that is aligned with the values of the whole community.

This is not about me promoting my own dogma but to find ways that bring all interests to the table to create the best solutions to the problems that are facing all of us and move toward sustainable futures.

Educational Background

At the beginning of the 70s and with the advent of the oil crisis, I became involved in creating my own sustainable future. My wife, Kate (partner of 35 years) and I were called "The Biodegradable Clelands" by our friends as our views were seen to be very left field. My core interest was in sustainable building design. This resulted in my involvement in the Mud Brick Association, APACE and ANZSES. At the beginning of the 80s, we left Sydney for the north coast of New South Wales. We spent five years building and designing a number of energy efficient dwellings, including our own just outside of Byron Bay. Also at this point I became involved in teaching the knowledge we had gathered over the years to people looking for more than alternative living environments, but also, a different mental space.

In 1985, we moved to Brisbane and started a sustainable living spaces business, which included encouraging our clients to use hemp fabrics for furniture upholstery and soft furnishings. Sustainable products modeled our business. At the beginning of the 90s, when everybody else was feeling the pinch as the economy was going into recession our business was thriving with a turnover of $1.8 million. In two years, however, circumstances changed and forced us to the edge. We returned to Sydney to start from scratch.

I spent a number of years reconciling the loss of the business and I had become disillusioned with sustainability. I bounced around looking for the right opportunity for a number of years. It took a trip to Asia for work in 2001 until I returned in November 2003, to find and decide on my direction. This realization was that the planet is about people. As different societies, nationals and a species, we are the ones manipulating our environment to serve our own needs and because our built environment is not part of the natural system we cannot ever truly be sustainable. The best we can offer is to create a system that maximizes the potential for survival of our species and work to sustain the natural systems that support us.

To that end I now pursue the new direction of human sustainability; that is to have as many people realize their own potential in the society in which I live enabling them to realign their beliefs and values to that of a more sustainable society. I now consider myself to be a change agent through the process of facilitation and coaching; working with people to eliminate the limitations that stop them achieving what they want in their lives.

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