Category Archives: Solutions

eBook Release – Desperately Seeking the Fair Go

The best of Oz past, the smartest of Oz present, an enduring Oz future

Most Australians want a more stable and cooperative society, stronger communities and families, more equal distribution of wealth and better care of the environment. However free-market ideologists have badgered and deceived us into selfishness, fear and mediocrity.

We Australians have shown, over our short history, we can be innovative, resilient, bold, generous and welcoming. We have abundant skills and resources. We have clean technologies and techniques. We are creative. We can harness the economy so it delivers a fair go for everyone, without trashing the land and planet.

We can live well and generously in this ancient, fragile land.

Continue reading

Advertisements

A System to Support Healthy Communities: Policy Ideas

Most of us do not want the world our society has become. It is too frenetic, too stressful, too superficial, too unequal, too acrimonious, too violent, and getting worse. Surveys show we want more time with family, friends and community1. More than 90% of us would prefer a greener, more stable society2, where the emphasis is on cooperation, community and family, more equal distribution of wealth, and greater economic self-sufficiency3.

Many studies now show that for a more fulfilling life, and to restore the planet to health, we need to restore connections with each other and with the natural world. Our emotional and physical wellbeing are best served by a small, supportive community and by regular connection with the living world around us. Caring for the natural world requires us, or some of us, to know each locality intimately4.

Local communities can only be stable and healthy if they have a viable local economy. Many studies show local businesses recycle a large fraction of wealth within the community, whereas businesses owned nationally or globally drain wealth to a distant few. For our physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing we need to tilt the balance back from global to local5. We will still want many national and global activities, we do not need to be isolationist nor 100% locally self-sufficient. However we do need to be in control of the larger-scale activities, and they need to be supportive of strong and healthy local communities.

So we need to think about a different system. Below are some of the things we will need to change if we are to create a system that supports strong local communities, healthy living and a healthy planet.

These ideas may serve as a framework for a Progressive party or movement.

Read the whole essay.

Indigenous Wisdom in Our Midst

filedesc The Australian Aboriginal constellati...

How should non-Aboriginal Australians relate to our indigenous people and their culture?  Should we bother?  What should we “do” about Aboriginal “problems”?

I have learnt over a longish life that when we get to the essence of seemingly difficult or intractable issues there can be simple answers.  Simple, though not necessarily easy.  Challenging perhaps, but ways forward can be readily identified.  So it is proving with my own, fairly recent experience with Aboriginal culture and people.

Continue reading

Impossible, But Those Germans Do It Anyway

The main research windmills at NREL

The main research windmills at NREL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Renewable energy is expensive.  It’s unreliable.  There’s no way to store it.  Anyway the scientists are still arguing about global warming, so why wreck the economy for something that might not exist?

We all know these things here in Australia, but here’s a weird thing.  Those tree-hugging pixie-lovers the Germans are converting to renewable energy anyway.  They plan to phase out nuclear power within a decade.  The official target is to reduce fossil-fuel use by 80% by 2050, but many people think it will be reduced to zero before then.  Already more than 25% of electricity comes from renewable sources.

Continue reading

Integrated Landscape?

The challenge for our generation is to create an enduring way of being, in Australia and around the world, so that our children may look forward to an indefinite future of healthy life in a healthy landscape.  Appropriate economic and social processes will be essential to creating such a collective lifestyle, but our agricultural and other involvements in the natural world of course have an even more direct role.

This topic was raised in a commentary by Braidwood local Ben Gleeson that questions much official thinking about rendering the land “sustainable”.  He champions the idea that our duality of productive farmland, on the one hand, and wild nature, on the other, is inappropriate.  Before getting to Ben’s ideas, I want to set a broader perspective.

Continue reading

Major Corporations Quietly Reducing Emissions—and Saving Money

While Congress has halted work on federal climate legislation, many U.S. business are stepping up to reduce emissions. What’s driving them?

By Maria Gallucci, InsideClimate News

A federal carbon cap-and-trade program is dead for the foreseeable future. So is a once promising national clean energy standard.

With climate policy paralyzed in Washington, a number of leading U.S. corporations are going it alone, squeezing big reductions of climate-changing emissions from their operations and supply chains. With stakeholder criticism and other pressures building, more and more are also releasing rigorous climate data in their financial reports and enlisting third-party firms to make sure it is accurate.

Continue reading

Story For Our Future

“Story” by Julie Tucker Hughes, indigenous artist, a Kaurna/Narrunga woman, South Australia.

Let me resume this blog with a life-affirming vision.  My wish is for our descendants to live fulfilling lives into the indefinite future.  What must we accomplish, eventually, for it to be possible?  Here is an extract from my draft book Our Place (see My Books tab).  The painting is by indigenous artist Julie Tucker Hughes.  See more of her story.

Continue reading