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Turkish fast food: Real food fast

The definition of ‘fast food’ according to the Wikipedia is food cooked in build and in advance, kept warm or re-heated to order....

Slow Fish a great success

Slow Food in collaboration with the region of Liguria, has just finished celebr4ating the event Slow Fish 2007. It was a great success with 42,000 visitors, a much higher number than expected. ...

National Sea Change Task Force urges more flood studies

ABC Wed Jul 11 07 The Mayor of Maroochy Shire on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, Joe Natoli, says it could be another 12 months before the CSIRO is able to undertake a flood modelling study in the Sunshine Coast region because the research body is under-funded. ...

Treechangers change country culture

An influx of treechangers into a rural community can keep population levels steady but it can change the needs and expectations within the community. ...

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Seachange-Treechange-Hillchange - a change to slow movement

A seachange is a radical transformation; a dramatic change in one’s life.  “Seachange” doesn’t mean a change to the seaside, although many people undergoing a seachange have moved to the coast or to beach areas. Family time
Family time
It means revaluating your life and making dramatic changes to ensure you live your values, and that you can look back on your life with satisfaction.  It is about getting in touch with what is important and following through to make what is important a living experience.  Seachange is a subset of ‘downshifting’.

The desire for a seachange is driven by an almost insatiable hunger for self-fulfilment or real happiness. Most western countries are driven by GNP (gross national product) indicators, and this translates to people being driven to make more money.  We have been fed a lie – that more money is better; if Happiness
we have more money we will be happy. There is only one country in the world that seems to have the right idea – Bhutan. In Butan Gross National Happiness (GNH) is used as an indicator of development.

Seachange has become a buzzword that has been the subject of government reports and academic studies. It seems most people would like a seachange but not all people are brave enough to make the change.  And this desire for a dramatic transformation is not new. People have been escaping, or dreaming of escaping, from high-pressure metropolitan lifestyles for decades or longer. What is different now is that people in large numbers are really escaping and making the change.

And there is not one single demographic that are doing it. People from all walks of life and from almost all age groups are making the change – downshifting or seachanging. In Australia, around 70 percent of seachangers are of working age.

Downshifting and seachanging can be the same thing but they need not be.  For example, you can downshift and stay in the city, and you can seachange and keep a high income.

In instances where the seachange is to coastal areas, the phenomenon of seachange has put development pressure on many coastal communities. Seachangers, because of their sheer numbers have the force toBeach change
Beach Change
impact the social, economic and environmental features of their destination.  Obviously, jobs and business opportunities follow population growth but the nature of demand in seachange destinations leads mostly to growth in the bottom-end of the service economy.

The expansion of coastal urban development places increasing pressure on the natural environment because of habitat loss, waste disposal and pollution. This expansion also puts pressure on social and economic structures in the community.  For example, seachangers put extra pressure on schools, hospitals, and other social services. Often Seachangers have lower incomes than long-term residents, so their economic contribution to the community is not enough to offset the extra economic pressure they place on infrastructure and services.

In some cases the small seaside ‘village’ that had drawn the seachangers becomes more metropolitan-like over time as people making the change move in.  They are then less attractive to new seachangers and these people are starting to look elsewhere for the kind of lifestyle they desire. Also, in many places the seachange has become prohibitively expensive and many people are now considering the option of a ‘treechange’.  How slow can you go?
These ‘country changers’ are a subset of seachangers.  These people are downshifting from the capital cities to scenic rural localities, still within commuting distance from city life – although the idea of commuting long distances is counter to the treechange or the slow movement.  In areas experiencing rural decline or areas devastated by drought, treechangers can bring welcome economic relief.

Although many coastal towns still have a sense of community, many are becoming either too big or suffer too many newcomers to maintain any sense of community.  These places can become almost as hectic as the urban environments the downshifter have left.  This is where treechangers have the advantage – most rural towns have been able to maintain their sense of community and are much Downshifters are people who are sick of traffic jams in the cities who want to move to somewhere much more friendly, mush easier to live and work in.

How slow can you go?

It used to be that almost every kid who grew up in a rural town left to seek a higher education in the city and never returned.  That has changed a little but the biggest impact on the population of rural areas in many Western countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA is the migration of downshifters who opt out of city life for the treechange – the slower pace of the rural environment.  The numbers of people seeking a treechange or a seachange are quite staggering.  For example, demographers in Australia are predicting up to one million people will downshift during the next three years.  This new group of people is so large that it is considered another cultural group.

And it is not the older retiree population that is making the change.  In Australia four out of five (79 percent) of people migrated to high growth coastal regions in 2000 were aged less than 50 years.

New research is the United States indicates that 50 percent of people who opt out of the city, end up back in the city within five years – and surprisingly 20 percent within the first year. What makes people go back?

Treechangers are just a trickle now but it’s starting to develop and if we’re going to harness that we need to put in place infrastructure developments – we need to look a telecommunications, we need to look at our infrastructure, our transport and we need to make it viable for these people to move in greater numbers.