Leo Lazarus

I am a small number of circles Earth has made around the sun. I am a poet, writer, traveller, engineer and lover of all forms of life. Born and raised in Melbourne, I made my way to the fringes of the city in 2015 and began to form a deep and intimate connection to the land of the Warrandyte State Park, Wurundjeri Country. The Birrarung (Yarra River) wound coils through the rocky, sparse country and poetry arose in my heart. Since then I have been balancing an engineering career, with a focus on water networks, sewerage treatment and waterway ecology, with my passion for travel writing and poetry. My work has taken me to amazing parts of the world as a teacher of Human Centred Design for Engineers Without Borders, including Cambodia, India and Nepal.

I became aware of Gaia Forest in 2018 after meeting Tenzin on a Deep Ecology retreat. Community living on the land seems to be the antidote to so many challenges facing us in these times of chaos. Truly caring for the land, rejuvenating land and being fulfilled in the process, is overwhelming without a strong community. Too, living in community can teach us to shed social conditioning which places the individual above the group. For us to return to old ways, but wiser for the lessons, requires us to learn how to harmonise and co-operate.

To Gaia Forest I bring my love of nature, my enthusiasm for hard work, an engineer’s brain some days of the week, a poet’s on others, and a sharing in a vision for a beautiful, intergenerational community which inspires, soothes, and guides people towards a bright future. I envision a writing centre to accompany many other modalities taught and practised at Gaia Forest, where people can come to immerse themselves in natural wonder, use writing as a tool for exploration of the inner and outer realms and weave together whichever practises are calling them.