Bruce Meder launches his book of opportunities
IF you want to help change the world, even a tiny little corner of it, or even change the conversation, Bruce Meder's new book Opportunities Emerging: Social Change in a Complex World is not a bad place to start.
After a lifetime working in community development, the mathematician, social activist and earthquake survivor will launch his self-published book in Coffs Harbour on May 17.
Australian-born Bruce Meder was working for Christchurch City Council when the second major earthquake in six months struck the New Zealand city.
The 6.3magnitude February 2011 earthquake killed 185 people; injured thousands and caused widespread destruction.
Houses all around his seaside suburb of Redcliff were torn apart, flattened or left dangling precariously.
"Our suburb was very badly hit,” Bruce said
"My then-partner lost her two part-time jobs and became despondent being at home and seeing that damage every day.
"She couldn't find work and eventually moved back to Sydney, where she got a job.
"Research showed that for those who got into helping straight away, their spirits spiked up and remained high for about a year, then dropped.”
"Authorities dragged the chain, then wanted to impose authority - I don't trust bureaucracy. People who get into those positions are often driven by ego.”
His experiences in the aftermath of the earthquake not only led to him eventually moving back to Australia, but helped him to crystallise the ideas that power this book, which Bruce said had been 40 years in the making.
"Community development is more than a job, it's almost a lifestyle,” he said.
Describing himself as "not a big city person”, Bruce said he loved the Coffs Coast.
"It's a fabulous part of the world - I have made contact with a group of people who share my values and my ways of life, and it gives me time to write,” he said.
Bruce has found it is often ordinary citizens who react quickly, provide useful support and contribute creative ideas.
Bureaucracy can impose regulations, stymie initiative, take over control or dampen enthusiasm, creating a withering effect.
Bruce moved to the Coffs Coast five years ago and is currently working part-time in transformative justice, a program he is enthusiastic about.
He is also one of the founders of Coffs Harbour's orienteering group.
Clearly and simply written, with succinct real life anecdotes sprinkled through the book to illustrate points, Opportunities Emerging is jargon-free, practical and has already drawn praise from academics and thought leaders.
Bruce Meder shows how even very small changes can have big results, especially over time.
The location of the book launch could not be more appropriate, considering the importance of coffee to this book, or rather C.O.F.F.E.E.
C.O.F.F.E.E. stands for Creative Opportunities Flow From Encouraging Encounters and each of these words are signposts pointing along sections of this social approach..
The book launch event will be held at 5-7pm on Wednesday, May 17 at Coffs Harbour's Dark Arts Café in Cox Lane.
All interested people are invited to attend and Bruce said he was thankful for all the assistance with the launch he had received, especially from Glen, the owner of Dark Arts Cafe.
Further information is available at Bruce's Facebook page or his blog, http://www.rainbowjuice.org.