Preparing for What’s to Come – Onwards in 2014 (Qld, Australia)

The PRI Maungaraeeda, Sunshine Coast, is preparing for what may come and showing others how to prepare.

As reports come in about record cold weather in the USA and as we just experienced record heat in our state of Queensland, Australia, and other states are seeing likewise, where apparently native bees have died and bats and flying foxes have fallen from the sky due to heatstroke, we at the PRI Maungaraeeda, Sunshine Coast are preparing for another busy year educating people to prepare for what may be coming.

Our goose sitting on eggs in the middle of winter last year…

Despite all the scientific bickering about global warming and climate change, it is obvious by observing nature and its cycles that we are currently undergoing a major change. Seasonal weather is changing, the wet season starts later here and lasts into winter (normally the wet season is our summer, starting November/December and finishing around April), winter is now milder (many animals were displaying spring behaviour last winter) and we are getting extremely hot days (41 – 45 degrees Celsius for 4 days last week, which is very unusual). Things are changing, and no matter whether you believe it being due to climate change or not, we need to prepare for change to come. As we are unclear what these changes are, we can only do our best to prepare for extreme weather conditions, be it extreme heat, cold, wind or wet.

"Prepare for disaster" is a motto we all need to start living by — not to be pessimistic, but to take positive action in order to ensure the continued survival of us as humans. This may sound grim, but if we just look at everything that is happening in the world today, from nuclear disaster and subsequent oceanic pollution, to fracking and other methods of resource extraction which is extremely polluting, to simply noticing the price of food consistently going up, we need to be able to grow our own food, create a supportive community around us and be prepared for whatever may come our way.

Watering seedlings in the shade house

We are currently already talking about taking the following steps to ensure a better chance for us to cope with possible weather changes:

  • Creating another shade house (we currently have a small one, we need to make another bigger one so that we can protect certain plant species)
  • More water on the property and longer retention methods (more dams and swales, so that water is slowed down and stored on the property)
  • Becoming more self reliant for our energy needs (investing in more solar panels to run the property and finishing the bio-digester to have bio-gas operational)
  • Researching possible plant species that will cope with a warmer, dryer climate, as things seem to be heating up here in Queensland (and the rain seems to come in extremely heavy downpours)

Third stage of the bio-digester. Inlets, outlets and the toilets above the bio-digester
to be readied to create bio-gas from manure.

Of course, for the Northern hemisphere this may be totally different. Water retention methods and energy self reliance are always important, no matter where you are. But people in the Northern hemisphere may need to set up hothouses instead of shade houses and look at different, cold-hardy plants. People in the Northern Hemisphere will have to observe what is happening in nature for them, and how their cycles are changing.

We also may need to focus more on annuals rather than perennials in our garden as we will be able to change annuals quicker if we discover they cannot handle the weather changes. We need to put more systems in place so that plants will be able to cope with heavy water inundation or extreme heat.

Some people may find this all to be needless worrying, others may find it doomsaying. But nobody ever regretted being prepared. We do not know what may come, and in my opinion (which does not count for much, but which I will give anyway) is that we have passed the tipping point. Whatever may have caused us to be in this position, I believe weather conditions will worsen in the years to come. And here at the PRI Maungaraeeda, Sunshine Coast, we strongly believe in being prepared.

The PRI Maungaraeeda, Sunshine Coast has only 4 places available for the 72-hour Permaculture Design Certificate starting 26 January, 2014, at the time of this publication. Outside course hours we offer many opportunities to become involved in community (including self reliance) activities, which will enrich your Permaculture experience.

Zaia Kendall

Zaia grew up in a family of musicians in Holland, and has a background in top sport and web development and design. She co-founded the PRI Luganville and PRI Sunshine Coast Inc with Tom, and runs all the background stuff, like finances, business administration, website design and maintenance, writes articles, records and edits videos and also organises the cooking and the kitchen on site. She has been researching and studying nutrition and health for 20+ years, has a certificate in Nutrition and continues to study by research, reading and daily observation. She is a certified member of the International Institute of Complementary Therapists and is a holistic food, health and lifestyle coach. She is also an active member of several musical projects and bands, involved in community music and runs occasional percussion workshops. Visit Zaia's website at DIY Food and Health.


  1. Well I’m in Britain and can honestly say hand on heart the climate and the weather have been different every single year of my life and hope to god it carries on changing.

    The seasons starts and ends move around and often one merges into the other so some years it feels like there are two not four.

    But it is the preparedness that is so important. Reducing consumption of stuff we are told we need by big business and their tame governments is a key start point. Moving then to localised living becomes not only logical but sensible and easy.

    With that said the only way to really prepare is to rediscover the flexibility that we all exhibit as children, at least that is my opinion.

  2. We all agree with the sentiments and cherish the work on Sunshine Coast.

    Love the glimpse of the seedling shadehouse, any chance of more photos, design plans and materials list?

  3. Hi Zaia. Down in Victoria, I’m halfway through a 4 day stretch of weather over 40 degrees. It is certainly unprecedented. Thanks for listing your four strategies / steps to cope with changing / variable weather patterns. They sound very sensible and achievable. I wish you well.

  4. the easiest and cheapest way to construct a shade house is drive star pickets in the ground at your desired width, distance them sensibly for the length of the shade house, and slide 2 inch poly pipe in a hoop over the pickets, the length you cut the poly pipe will determine the height of your shade house, then simply cover with shade cloth and secure shade cloth with nylon zip electrical ties, easy done, then sit back and have a beer and admire your handy work:)

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