City: Melbourne

Country: Australia

Profession: Environmentalist, Photographer, Ideator, Community artist

Why did you become a part of Inspiration Bible: Living in a rich country (Australia) and visiting frequently across Asia I have been constantly inspired by seeing people, communities and organisations with very little resources give back so much to the lives of others. It is the reminder for me to keep working for positive social and environmental change whereever I am in the world. When I heard about the project I see it as a wonderful vehicle for spreading the word about some of these incredible initiatives in the majority world, and an invitation for those of us in privileged minority world to reach in to collaborate across the global divide. Human potential has no cultural, demographic or geographic limits and often the most powerful change initiatives emerge from the magic liminal space between worlds. ‘Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.’ – Arundhati Roy

Michael Chew is an environmental campaigner and program manager, community cultural development practitioner, and freelance photographer/designer. Holding degrees in Fine Art, Physics, Humanities and Social Ecology, he brings wide ranging ideas to creative and community projects. He co-founded the Melbourne Environmental Arts Festival, creating an engaging multi-venue community festival that both celebrated and explored nature, alongside our problematic relationship with it. He has explored the human-nature connection subsequently through various creative projects. Co-founding the NGO Friends of Kolkata, to coordinate international volunteer programmes, he has run participatory photography projects in India, Indonesia, East Timor and Bangladesh. After returning to Melbourne from a year working on climate adaptation in Bangladesh, he co-founded Friends of Bangladesh to continue climate justice solidarity work. He sees international volunteering as powerful opportunities for privileged communities to see their global responsibilities and potential for transformative action. Michael completed a masters in Social Ecology in 2013 with the VC Excellence Award in Sustainability, exploring the role of creativity to mediate human-nature relationships. He currently works in sustainability education at Maribyrnong Council, while pursuing various creative projects.

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