Lilith and her sister, Rebecca were pretty close. They had both inherited their father, Byron Gee, and his belief that individuals work to change the world, but at the same time family is the central still point in a world of disharmony.
Where Lilith’s path followed a thread of social benefit linked to business and community development, Rebecca worked to change what she saw in front of her. Rebecca Gee was 32, single, with two children, and seemed to Lilith, always prepared for whatever the world would throw up next.
Lilith was one of the relatively small number – 110,000 – who had dived into the City headfirst and chose to live their lives at one with its threats and opportunities. Rebecca was one of the vast majority – more than a million every day – who used the City when they needed to, either for work, pleasure or study.
In 2018, Rebecca bought into The Habitat, a co-housing development in Melbourne’s sandbelt suburbs. A few years earlier, one of the luxury private golf courses in Moorabbin changed hands after its owners suffered some severe financial setbacks. The new owners couldn’t make it work, so it passed on to another consortium of owners who liked the idea of their own few hundred hectares of prime market garden land.
In 2016, Oxfam approached yet another set of new owners with a plan for a self-sufficient co-housing complex on the site. Somehow the accountants managed to make it palatable and the deal was done.
In just a few years the site had generated a global reputation on a par with the Welsh Centre for Alternative Technology. WWOOFAs from around the world had put it on the map of pilgrimage sites for those seeking viable examples of sustainable living in the modern world.
The residents lived in individual units with shared common facilities such as laundry, refectory, child-minding and entertainment areas. Solar arrays and wind turbines produced power, water was captured used and reused, waste was handled on the Habitat site through a bio-digestion plant.
Funds were generated through market garden activities, tree farming and wood production, and a sophisticated biomass pyrolysis plant that produced sought-after charcoal products.
The Habitat was both a working, profit making inner-urban farm and a research centre. Business alliances funded research projects in soil improvement and environmental retrofitting. By linking to the workshop capacity of the under-utilised Moorabbin Airport (light aircraft having been penalised by carbon taxes and oil costs to the point where the ‘hobby’ of flying was almost impossible), the Habitat was able to develop small industry capacity.
The Habitat was part of a global exercise, with other sites at Anderson Base (Guam), Dili (East Timor) and Bogor (Indonesia). the powerful possibilities of the web linked Rebecca and the other residents to the world.
But at this moment, Rebecca was not connected to the world. She was connected in a three-way video call with Lilith and Adam…