The struggle

Every day seems like a struggle at the moment.

To wake up. To get out of bed. To get dressed and feed the animals. To leave the house. To leave the driveway. To get on the train. To stay on the train. To walk to work. To be at work. To do my work. To leave work. To get on the train. To stay on the train. To go home. To feel content at home.

If it wasn’t for the love of my dogs, I’m not sure how I would be coping right now. I have family and friends and support networks. I have a psychologist. I have a doctor. I have a home and a job and transport. I have a soulmate. If my life were a ‘cup’ it would really be quite full.

And yet I feel so fucking empty.

I feel so full inside that I might explode, but I still feel hollow. It’s a contradiction, I know.

But what of this world in which we live? What effect should it have on a conscious and caring human being? What effect on an empath, on a person driven by logic, science AND by love? On a person for who solidarity is central to their own identity, a person who wears their heart and their values on their face for every person to see?

What effect should it have on me?

Because I’m waking up nearly every morning feeling depressed. I’m not really coping with all of the extra stress. I’m not really dealing with the fact that we are already in the midst of an existential catastrophe and yet half the world still wants to argue with me over the price of our humanity…

It fucks with me.

I’m sick of all the conflict, every single day. Not just the conflict in which I take part – though I am sick of so much of that too. But mostly it is the conflict all around me. The constant fight over what drives our society, and who profits from our economy. Because it sure ain’t people like me.

I’ve worked hard my whole life, as have my whole family, and nearly every person within a degree of separation from me. Yet we are all in debt. And yet, as we face down an impending pandemic (COVID 19), even in the worlds most advanced economies most of us are still worried about our lack of sick leave.

Me included.

I don’t even have enough leave to take off yesterday, or the day before. And yet I had to, because this world has got me waking up nearly every morning feeling depressed. It’s got me angry and sad and frustrated and feeling pretty close to giving up on a regular basis.

So I took two unpaid leave days, but not for anything fun. I used that time to speak with a doctor, find a new psychiatrist and have my first session.

It’s never easy that first session with a new psych. You have to relive your own traumas and reveal your fears all over again, and if you are like me then there is quite a lot of them. And it’s the first time you’ve ever even met the person. You can see the judgement in their eyes even as you can see their professional training strain against it.

You can feel the anxiety and wonder ‘what does she think of me’.

Honestly I don’t even know if I want to know the answer. What I really want though is some answers, and some solutions to our problems.

Yesterday I had to spill out my life story in a 45 minute conversation with a stranger, and I had to pay for the privilege. I walked away feeling drained and depleted. I can’t even get back in to see her for another 3 weeks, and I got nothing new to help me yesterday. Not this time anyway.

I need a break. I need some time off to recuperate. But more than that I really need to see some change.

We can not keep on kicking the can of climate change down the road. We can not keep burning fossil fuels. We can not keep allowing inequality to rise. We can not keep letting political leaders get away with telling us bold-faced lies. We can not keep locking up refugees, people with a disabilities, mental illness, different politics, or who simply fell into poverty.

We as a civilisation can not just keep on living like this, or at least I can’t anyway.

So I hope you’ll join me in making sure we have change, because I really, really, really want to stay.

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