Cultural Ecology in Australia

Paul Fitzgerald Ceremony

Surfing Cultural Ecology in Australia

by Ben-Zion Weiss


In Australia the phenomenon of cultural creatives is not well recognised even though according to studies by researchers like Professor Ervin Laszlo of the World Shift 2012 organisation, they make up around %35 of the population overall. I would argue that there are places like Bondi, Byron Bay in NSW, Daylesford and Warburton in Victoria, Maleny in QLD and Denmark and Margaret River in WA have populations between 35 and 50% cultural creative.

Cultural creative are people who are searching for new ways of being. They share certain values like:

  • Authenticity, actions must be consistent with words and beliefs
  • Engaged action and whole process learning; seeing the world as interwoven and connected
  • Idealism and activism
  • Globalism and ecology
  • The importance of women

Core “Cultural Creatives” also value altruism, self-actualization, and spirituality.


They also part of what is being called a new wisdom culture:

The Emerging Planetary Wisdom Culture is actually appearing now as a new layer beyond national and ethnic cultures. As our modern materialistic way of life falls apart, it opens space for a new civilization to emerge. As we track the trends, we see a powerful movement toward a clean, green economy and the restoration of nature. As a wave of change moves through the culture, large populations now agree that a wise culture means taking care of all the children, not just the privileged.


However one of the characteristics of this emerging culture is that it is under the radar and therefore is greatly under-acknowledged. It is not reported in the mainstream media, not supported by the corporate or the government sectors and so even people who are cultural creatives think they are only some 5 to 10% of the population.

From the point of view of spreading the message of the Tao, this group are likely to play a significant role because they are particularly drawn to a new non-religious spirituality. Another parallel phenomenon is that of Blessed Unrest, which is the title of a book by Paul Hawken who studied the number of NGOs in the world. He came up with some 1 to 2 million, which like the cultural creative are also under the radar.

From billion-dollar nonprofits to single-person dot.causes, these groups collectively comprise the largest movement on earth, a movement that has no name, leader, or location, and that has gone largely ignored by politicians and the media. Like nature itself, it is organizing from the bottom up, in every city, town, and culture. and is emerging to be an extraordinary and creative expression of people’s needs worldwide.


These 2 global studies are also relevant to Australia, as an OECD country with a wealthy population who are very confused about their own cultural identity as Australians and who carry some collective guilt about the mistreatment of Aboriginal people and of the White Australia Policy which was instituted with the formation of the nation in 1901.

See below for references and more detailed information:

“In the United States, the alternative culture Ray calls “cultural creatives” is the most hopeful segment of the population. It is made up of people from the middle to the wealthy classes, numbering nearly twice as many women as men. According to Ray, at the turn of the century the share of this subculture was 23.4 percent of the U.S. adult population, slightly less than the 28 percent found subsequently by the 100 W survey. The factor that identifies the cultural creatives is less what they preach than what they practice, for they seldom attempt to convert others, preferring to be concerned with their own personal growth. Their behaviour, especially their lifestyle choices, differentiate them from the other cultures.

The common thread among the members of this emerging subculture is their holism. This comes to the fore in their preference for natural whole foods, holistic health care, holistic inner experience, whole system information, and holistic balance between work and play and consumption and inner growth. They view themselves as synthesizers and healers, not just on the personal level but also on the community and the national levels, even on the planetary level. They aspire to create change in personal values and public behaviours that could shift the dominant culture beyond the fragmented and mechanistic world of the moderns.

Twenty years ago the cultural creatives made up less than 3 percent of the total but at the turn of the century they totalled over fifty million people—and their numbers arc growing.

These trends are not generally known, even by those who participate in them. Moderns firmly believe they are the representative majority and will remain so. Traditionals claim that they are the up-and-coming mainstream, citing as evidence the proliferation of conservative radio stations and the swelling membership of some mega-churches and conservative denominations. Cultural creatives, on the other hand, underestimate their own numbers. Many of them believe that they are no more than 5 percent, or at most 10 percent, of the U.S. adult population—far from their estimated 24 percent or 28 percent share.

The U.S. cultural creatives are not alone: similar subcultures are emerging in many parts of the world. A survey carried out in late 2005 by the Italian branch of the Club of Budapest found that about 35 percent of Italians live and act as cultural creatives. Similar figures are coming to light in surveys in other countries of Europe, as well as in Japan, Australia, and Brazil. “

From The Next Evolution of Human Consciousness [Excerpts from Ervin Laszlo’s book Quantum Shift in the Global Brain]

see also websites and you tube:



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