Climate Justice: A story of betterment and hope

Here you go, just kidding. Here you go, just kidding.

That’s kind of how it’s felt for those waiting for Australian Government action on climate over recent decades.

It’s time to change that.

For too long discussions about have focused on loss; loss of reliable high-paying mining and engineering jobs, with no replacements in sight. Loss of environment and species.

The story we need to tell is one of betterment and improvement.

Of guaranteeing a living-wage job, for every person who wants one in every community.

Of making sure every person, in every community has a roof over their head, drinkable water in the tap and food in their belly.

Of enabling First Nation people to manage their traditional land, in the best interest of us all.

Of embracing First Nations culture and history, unique in the world in holding stories which provide a living memory of managing and surviving a rapidly changing climate.

Of energy independence for every community in every state – no matter how remote – and for our nation as a whole.

Of reducing energy consumption and costs for every household.

Of reducing the burden of negative impacts from pollution for people with respiratory illness, immediately and permanently.

Of ensuring every person has access to affordable, safe and reliable transport.

Of helping our neighbours achieve Millenium Development Goals by providing access to cheap, reliable and zero-carbon energy via responsible renewable energy exports.

Of preparing for disruptions like automation, and making sure all jobs lost are meaningfully replaced, with reliable and well paid work making use of existing skills.

Of supporting regional communities to transition to self-sustaining local economies

Of protecting local ecosystems and communities for generations to come.

Of making sure nobody is left behind in the process.

We need to tell that story.

We also need to be honest with people; we can’t pretend coal, gas and oil are viable industries. We can’t pretend those jobs are still going to around in ten years. We need those jobs to be gone, for the betterment of all.

But those who have jobs on the line need to know how we will make sure their lives and livelihoods are not only protected, but improved.

If we fail on that count, we may never win the support of the very people and communities we need, in order to make our collective transition work.

What is sexism… And can men experience it?

According to Wikipedia sexism is: 

Sexism or gender discrimination is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender. Sexism can affect either gender, but it is particularly documented as affecting women and girls. It has been linked to stereotypes and gender roles, and may include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior to another.

The first line of that definition, taken alone (as it often is) conflates “sexism” and “sex discrimination” as being one and the same thing, but they’re not quite.

In truth sex discrimination is only part of the puzzle required for something to be considered sexist.

Sex discrimination is the first line:

“prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender.”

So what is sexism?

From my understanding – sexism is the inclusion of the second & third lines:

“it can affect either gender, but it is particularly documented as affecting women and girls. It has been linked to stereotypes and gender roles, and may include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior to another.”

Of course, being from Wikipedia someone has thrown in a “may” before the very important words “include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior”…. Who want’s to bet that was done by a man?

The “may” should be removed from this definition, as it is the presence of that superiority/inferiority paradigm which defines whether or not something is sexist.

This is sleight of hand and is also commonly heard in discussions about ‘racism’ too. How many times have you heard someone say:

But isn’t that racist?

Continue reading What is sexism… And can men experience it?

Universal Basic Income – What to do about wealthy people?

The idea of a Universal Basic Income seems pretty straight forward. Everyone gets a minimum payment to cover life’s costs. Sounds good, all things being equal.

But all things are not equal.

Rich people do NOT need universal basic income and indeed should not get it. Or should they?

Maybe the answer isn’t means testing the payment of UBI, it’s means-testing the ability to access it. Controlling access is not a new idea.

Take superannuation – everyone gets paid a regulated minimum amount of Super – but can only access it under certain conditions such as retirement, dire medical issues or potentially losing home due to non-payments.

Your UBI could be paid into a government-held bank account, which can be accessed dependent upon a few very simple conditions. Those conditions would need some smarter people to work out properly…

But lets ‘spitball’ some ideas to start with:

  • Your yearly income is less than 200% of the ‘average’ (median) income, or $200,000 per year (adjusted for inflation)
  • Your total asset value does not exceed 1000% of the ‘average’ (median) asset value, or $5 million (adjusted for inflation)

Continue reading Universal Basic Income – What to do about wealthy people?

I Have – in solidarity with #MeToo

IF I said I have never treated women inappropriately, ignored sexual harassment and/or inappropriate behaviour in workplaces and society more broadly, or taken part in their objectification, I’d be lying.

Any honest man would have to say the same thing.

Unfortunately the society I grew up in raised me to believe that objectifying women was normal, and that cat-calling, butt-slapping and other forms of sexual harassment were acceptable behaviour.

They are not.

It’s really brave, inspiring, and horrifying, all of these women sharing their #MeToo stories about men’s behaviour. So in an act of solidarity, after speaking with friends, I am going to share some #IHave stories.

I hope this honesty is taken in the vein it is intended, as a condemnation of this pattern of behaviour, not a normalisation or acceptance of it:

I have… Continue reading I Have – in solidarity with #MeToo

Campaigning: Most of the time it’s an unpaid and thankless job.

I tell you what. I’ve been working on campaigns since 2003 and while it’s led me to being a much better person, given me a lot of skills and some AMAZING friends and contacts; it’s mostly a fucking thankless job.

Most of the time you are not winning.

Most of the time you are fighting like hell just to hold on to what we’ve got. Sometimes you are losing. Losing lives to suicide. Losing lives to deaths in custody. Losing land to clearing. Losing biodiversity. Losing community. Losing culture. Losing a chance at a safe future free of human-induced climate chaos.

Most of the time you are not getting the thanks you should get.

Most of the time you are getting called names. Most of the time you are getting harassed. Most of the time people just want to argue with you, so they take positions they don’t really hold just to test you. Most of the time you are left seething with rage. Most of the time you are upset. Most of the time others have no idea what is going on in your head.

I’ve been character assassinated.

I’ve had people say I’m a stooge for big business, that I’m only in it for ‘personal glory’, that I only do this work because they think I “want to be Prime Minister”. I’ve lost jobs over it. I’ve quit jobs over it. I’ve lost friends over it. I’ve dumped friends over it. I’ve fought with family. I’ve been ridiculed by friends and family.

I’ve been told I’ll never make a difference.

I’ve been repeatedly told my actions have no impact.

But then we’ve won. We’ve suddenly, out of nowhere had a win. A tactic has worked. A government has caved in. A government has been defeated. A company has given up. People have changed their minds.

After over a full solid year of committing THOUSANDS of hours to lead a solid team of volunteers organising an awesome campaign, I’m fucking exhausted.

I’m not financially better off. In fact I’m out of pocket – from supporting the team financially during emergencies, from working less to commit more volunteering time without losing my own sanity.

But I’ve also never been more proud of myself.

I’ve never done anything in my life that was more important than this.

And the only thanks I really care about, I get all the time – from Clinton himself.

It’s always worth it. But it ain’t ever easy.