Since 1979 he has been involved in the direct actions which have resulted in the protection of the Australian rainforests.
In 1984 he helped initiate the US Rainforest Action Network which grew out of the first of his many US roadshows.
In 1987 he co-produced a television documentary, "EARTH FIRST!" for Australian national television about the struggle for the rainforests. This has since been shown in many countries. A front page story about John's work in the Christian Science Monitor at this time referred to him as "the town crier for the global village".
He has created numerous projects protecting rainforests in Sth America, Asia and the Pacific through providing benign and sustainable development projects for their indigenous inhabitants tied to the protection of their forests. These projects have been funded by the Australian Government aid agency AusAID, The Australian Council of Churches and various foundations. Donations to Rainforest Information Centre projects are tax-deductible in Australia and the US.
He has written and lectured extensively on deep ecology and has been conducting Councils of All Beings and other re-Earth ing workshops around the world for 25 years. In the US, his workshops have been hosted by Esalen, Omega, Naropa and the California Institute of Integral Studies.
With Joanna Macy, Pat Fleming and Professor Arne Naess, he wrote "Thinking Like a Mountain - Towards a Council of All Beings" (New Society Publishers) which has now been translated into 12 languages.
In 1995 he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) by the Australian Government for services to conservation and the environment. He is a Fellow of the Findhorn Foundation and occasional Scholar-in-Residence at the Esalen Institute.
From 1984 to 2007 he travelled around the world each year with roadshows raising awareness about the plight of the rainforests and raising funding for their protection.
In 2007 he launched the Rainforest Information Centre's climate change campaign and has offered "Climate Change, Despair & Empowerment" presentations and workshops in Australia, Canada and the US.
He spent much of 2009 working on the campaign to protect the world's largest remaining population of Asian elephants - film clip
In December 2009 - January 2010, he completed a 30 lecture tour of India sponsored by the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs' "Australia India Council" . He also had his first exhibition of sculpture since 1975 ("The Two of Us" with his mother Judy Cassab)
In 2010 he and Judy had art exhibitions at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery and the Solander Gallery in Canberra. He focussed his activism on protecting the sacred mountain Niyamgiri from desecration by bauxite mining. See the 10-minute clip. He facilitated deep ecology workshops around Australia with Megan Wallace. Thinking Like a Mpuntain was published in Korean and Tibetan languages.
In 2011 he organised Sydney actions against the Borneo timber mafia, worked on Tasmanian forest issues, his Taiwan roadshow supported the anti-dams movement and he launched a new series of Climate Change Despair and Empowerment workshops. His chapter on "The Religion of Economics" was published in the University of Western Sydney's "Social Ecology". In August he organised the Canberra segment of an international day of action for the Amazon rainforest.
In 2012 he worked on tree planting projects in India and Kenya, and continued to facilitate experiential deep ecology and climate change workshops around Australia. He initiated a new workshop form called “Buddha Touched the Earth” exploring the connections between Buddhism and deep ecology and co-facilitated a number of these workshops with Buddhist teachers from the insight and zen traditions.
In 2013, he worked primarily on a campaign to protect the Cardamom Mountains rainforests in Cambodia including an alliance with Buddhist monks and making a short film. He wrote an article about Buddhism and ecology which was published by the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. Began presenting “The Religion of Economics” around Australia. Initiated food security permaculture in Zimbabwe. The last few years he has been offering deep ecology presentations and workshops as well as poetry and music at Australian festivals like Rainbow Serpent, Peats Ridge, Southern Oracle and Harmony. Helped make a film about Los CedrosNature Reserve in Ecuador which he has been supporting since its inception in the late ‘80’s . As an “ambassador” for The Pollination Project, John was able to secure numerous $1000 grants for enviro projects around the world. Moved to Narara to help build the Narara Ecovillage. Joined the Board of the Lupunaluz Foundation creating jaguar corridors in Peru. On 11.12.13 a son, River, was born to John and his wife Megan Wallace.
2014 Sabbatical. “Thinking Like a Mountain – Towards a Council of All Beings” translated and published in Mandarin.
2015 Following 3 years of campaigning, the Cambodian government finally agreed to save the Cardamom Rainforest by announcing an end to its proposal for a dam on the Areng River. Seed’s early 1980’s influence on US radical environmental movements written up by Prof Chris Rootes. Organised “The Future of Money” seminar at Narara Ecovillage. Talk about the Los Cedros Biological Reserve at Pachamama Festival, Sydney. Spoke on “Buddhism and Ecology” at Adelaide interfaith forum. Council of All Beings for youth in Sydney. Deep ecology workshops and presentations in Australia and New Zealand.
2017 Supporting indigenous survival in India and Mothers Radiation Lab, Fukushima, workshops at Regrowth festival, New Zealand, Shephers Ground, Port MaQuarie, Bathurst and Melbourne . Japanese translation of “Thinking Like a Mountain – Towards a Council of All Beings” to be released by Amazon as an e-book, started new crowdfund platform ....
2018 Focussed on protection of Ecuador’s rainforests and the Los Cedros Biological Reserve in particular. Deep ecology workshops in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle, Cairns. Helped spark the rebirth of the Melbourne Rainforest Action Group and launch its campaign to expose the role of BHP and other Aussie mining companies in laying to waste Ecuador’s rainforests.
2021 – after an arduous and prolonged struggle with life threatening cancer, John is back in the saddle. This year he has rejoined his Rainforest Information Centre colleagues working for Ecuador’s rainforests and is facilitating deep ecology workshops on the NSW Central Coast, Wollongong, Melbourne and The Channon.