Tim Hollo: Growing up through the common

Can we turn the 2020s into ‘The Regenerative Decade’? In this series of interviews about what that would imply, we talk ecology, deep adaptation, grief, compassion and passion, connecting with nature, resilience, revitalisation, restoration, revolution… – the bigger picture, in other words.

Guest in our 19th episode is Tim Hollo, Executive Director of the Green Institute. An hour about how we can build a better world once we are coming out of the Covid tunnel, and about what it will take to start the transformation.

At the Green Institute, Tim leads thinking around ecological political philosophy and practice, and drives policy discussion around Rights of Nature, Universal Basic Income and participatory democracy.

He is currently a visiting fellow at the Australian National University’s School of Regulation and Global Governance, RegNet. In 2013, he founded Green Music Australia, an organisation which brings together his environmental activism with his experience as a musician, having recorded eight albums and toured nationally and globally.

In this week’s Regenerative Hour, we ask Tim to elaborate and update us on what he wrote in the remarkable article he published in February titled The end of the world as we know it.

“We’re living in extraordinary times that demand brave and creative solutions. If we’re able to imagine a different city, we’ll have the power to transform it.”
~ Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona

Links and resources related to the interview:

→ Meanjin – 3 February 2020:
The End Of The World As We Know It
Article by Tim Hollo

→ Book by Charles Massy – 2017, 592 pages:
‘Call of the Reed Warbler’

→ Open Democracy – 8 March 2017:
Eight lessons from Barcelona en Comú on how to Take Back Control
“After 20 months in charge of Barcelona, here are eight things we have learned from Ada Colau and Barcelona en Comú.”

→ The Guardian – 22 June 2016:
How to win back the city: the Barcelona en Comú guide to overthrowing the elite
“A guide for world cities: how a 10-month-old community group took power from a political caste which had been in charge of Barcelona for four decades”

The regenerative interview with Tim Hollo is followed by an excerpt from Charlie Mgee‘s also very regenerative online launch of his new anthem for the permaculture and climate movement, titled ‘Climate Movement’, after which we round off the hour with an excerpt of Vivian Langford’s interview with Winton Higgins about “the bystander effect”. More info and details below.

Tim Hollo

“We need to think of a better way to be.”
~ Tim Hollo, in The Regenerative Hour

Meanjin Quarterly has just published Tim Hollo’s meandering musings on power, Neville Power, and this crown-shaped virus: Can Coronavirus Help Us Reshape Power?

Tim explains in his newsletter: “There’s always a lot of talk, at moments like this, of them being points in history where change can happen. Of course that’s true. But my question is: how? If we take a moment like this and try to push our increasingly flagrantly undemocratic governments to implement specific policies, I believe we are doomed to fail, we are underplaying our hand, and we are abdicating our own power to achieve extraordinary things. Now is a time when we can reshape power. If we choose to do so.”

These ideas will be explored in the Green Institute’s next Covid Democracy webinar on 4 June 2020 with Scott Ludlam and Assoc Prof Carolyn Hendriks from ANU’s Crawford School, traversing From the Local to the Global and Back Again.

Carolyn is one of Australia’s leading experts in deliberative democratic practice, with extensive experience building grassroots democracy. Scott is part of the new Progressive International project launched recently with Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy and many others. Scott will tell us about that project, as well as the myriad local projects he observed while researching his book.

The Coronavirus pandemic both lays bare deep and ongoing injustices in our society and provides a moment to re-evaluate and reset our political conversation. There are extraordinary signs, at the local and the global level, that communities are ready to make a tremendous shift.

The political response to this crisis, with authoritarian over-policing and stimulus geared to supporting capital over people, shows how our current governing systems are skewed in favour of the powerful.

But the community response, coming together in mutual aid projects, and the overwhelming majority of people choosing to self-isolate and physically distance while connecting with each other online, demonstrates that a different way is possible. At the same time, groups and people across the globe are finding that this moment is enabling connection and solidarity like never before. Global webinars and meetings are bringing radical ideas to mass audiences. And projects like the Progressive International are forming.

Former Greens Senator Scott Ludlam is putting the final touches on his book about “people and movements who have changed the world for the better”. He is a powerful critic of government captured by the interests of the wealthy, and so far Australia’s only representative in the Progressive International.

Associate Professor Carolyn Hendriks, from the ANU’s Crawford School is one of Australia’s leading researchers and experts on democratic deliberation and citizen engagement and a Senior Visiting Democracy Fellow at Harvard University’s Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

→ You can register for this webinar here

The institute’s next Covid Democracy webinar is to be held on 18 June 2020 and will feature renowned science communicator Julian Cribb and brilliant cardiologist and climate activist Dr Arnagretta Hunter, discussing the recent roundtable and report of the Commission for the Human Future. Tim writes: “This will be a challenging session, calling us to confront the depth of the intersecting crises we face, but also providing us with the space to consider the depth of change we need.”

→ You can register for that webinar here

Join Tim Hollo live in the tunnel

Tim runs a session for the Reset Reading Group called ‘Revitalising Democracy’ where the focus of the discussions in the group will be how we can build a better world, and what that better world will look like. It starts on 1 June 2020 and you can sign up here.

Tim also has a democracy webinar coming up on 21 May 2020:

Covid democracy webinar

Invitation text by Tim Hollo, the Green Institute

Work. Life. Democracy. Pandemic. The Coronavirus pandemic both lays bare deep and ongoing injustices in our society and provides a moment to re-evaluate and reset our political conversation. Around the world, there’s a growing sense that Universal Basic Income could be an important part of how we make our societies more democratic, more fair, and more resilient in the face of the rolling crises that will be the signature of this era.

Right now, at a time of pandemic, we need that hopeful vision more than ever. And, for those of us who follow the science and expect this crisis, which came so quickly on the heels of the bushfires, to be followed by more frequent and severe crises in the years ahead, it’s an absolutely vital vision.

Join the Covid Democracy webinar on Universal Basic Income on Thursday 21 May 2020 for a dose of that hope.

Guy Standing, who’ll be Zooming in for our conversation from Europe, is one of the most interesting writers and thinkers in the world on the question of work and life. He brought the idea of the “precariat” – workers in the precarious economy – into popular use, and has published two books on the what, why and how of Universal Basic Income. It’s worth joining the webinar just to hear from Guy and ask him questions.

But we’re also delighted to have NSW Greens MLC, Abigail Boyd, and writer, academic and advocate, Professor Jane R Goodall, joining us.

Jane brings a beautiful ecological and feminist perspective to her thinking on UBI, fleshed out in her wonderful book, The Politics of the Common Good, and is always worth talking to on these issues. And Abigail, who merges a finance background with a passionate commitment to fairness and justice, has recently launched a campaign in NSW for a state-based UBI and will talk us through how that might work.

As usual, we’ll ensure that a good half hour will be available for Q&A and discussion, so come with questions and an open mind, ready for a great conversation.

Register here for the UBI webinar

PS: Those of you who missed the tremendously inspiring Indigenous Democracy Now webinar last week with Tjanara Goreng Goreng and Lidia Thorpe can catch up here. It’s worth setting aside 75 minutes to take it in! And don’t forget, in early June, we’ve got Scott Ludlam and Carolyn Hendriks beaming into your home to talk democratic opportunities!

September 2020 update

Tim Hollo wrote in a Green Institute newsletter on 29 September 2020:

“Six months ago, just as coronavirus was reaching Australia and we were beginning to grapple with what a pandemic response might look like, the Green Institute called a snap webinar, Staying Together While Keeping Apart, to discuss how to ensure that, through looming lockdowns, we continue the vital work of cultivating connection, cohesion and democracy.

The conversation, possibly the first Covid-focussed webinar in Australia, was a tremendous success, showing a huge appetite for conversations about the implications of the pandemic for social and political change. So we decided to develop the idea into a series on Covid Democracy, exploring in depth the possibilities of this moment for the kind of deep, systemic change we know we need.

Over half a year, we’ve hosted 9 conversations featuring 26 speakers, discussing countless ideas, from Indigenous democracy to cooperatives to Universal Basic Income. We thought that now, with new cases approaching zero and the path out of lockdowns and border closures becoming clear, it was time to look back at the series and consider what next.

Here, collected for ease of reference, are the videos of the nine webinars:

What a fantastic set of conversations this has been! If you’ve missed any, I can highly recommend watching the videos, or listening while going for a walk. You’ll find them informative, inspiring and fun!”

Launch of Climate Movement single

“As many countries around the world emerge from lockdown, we as a global community face a crossroads. Through the darkness of recent times, there has been some light. We have seen that it’s possible to have skies free of planes, roads free of cars, factory chimneys free of smoke. We’ve seen that rampant consumption, long work hours and compulsive travel aren’t the only ways of being in this world. Many people have discovered the magic of growing food and baking bread, of wandering parks and of having time to spend with the kids.

Now that governments attempt to ramp up stagnant economies, it’s time to demand from them the world we want, and avoid the patterns of the past that keep pushing is over the cliff. There are so many solutions to the climate, biodiversity and humanitarian crises we collectively face and many of us hold the key to their proliferation. If only we can gain the courage to boldly deliver our message to those in positions of power greater than our own and have it heard.”

Formidable Vegetable + Spoonbill (feat. Brenna Quinlan): ‘Climate Movement’

“This collaboration between Formidable Vegetable, Spoonbill, Brenna Quinlan and Dropbear is a call to action for a regenerative future. In an increasingly chaotic and destructive world, Permaculture is one of the best tools for designing community-scale solutions for regenerative global change. Find the skills you have and use them now with others to build the community we desperately need.”
~ Charlie Mgee

“We are taking a leap making RetroSuburbia available for whatever people choose to pay.

We fervently believe that gift, exchange and sharing economies all need to grow rapidly to fill the real needs of people and planet. These economies have traditionally depended on the trust and reciprocity we associate with family, friends and local community.

“Pay what you feel” asks you to respond from the heart as you choose what to pay for what I hope will be life changing content.”

~ David Holmgren
co-originator of the permaculture concept

Access the online version of ‘RetroSuburbia’


The first step is local

“If we wait for the governments, it’ll be too little, too late. If we act as individuals, it’ll be too little. But if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time.”
~ Rob Hopkins, Transition Movement co-founder – in his 2008 Transition Handbook

By Mik Aidt

“Just in time,” wrote Hopkins, but hey! That was 12 years ago. As the many exponentially rising graphs from our scientists keep reminding us, time is running out. Will we be able to move and empower our communities, as Charlie Mgee so passionately raps about it in his new song, ‘Climate Movement’, quickly enough?

With the transition to a carbon free society, it is not a question of why or how any longer. It is a question of whether we’ll succeed in doing it fast enough. “Winning slowly is the same as losing,” as climate activist Bill McKibben has expressed it.

The neighbourhood I live in is classic suburbia, where nothing is happening, except the occasional noise from a lawn mower or a car starting. As far as I can tell, people are not moving or in any way “feeling empowered” around here. They are closing their doors and care more about jigsaw puzzles and when football will be back on their tv screens than whether we should start dealing with our emissions and reduce our consumption and keep that pause button pressed down.

Refusing to be a bystander
BZE Community Radio had an interesting talk with Winton Higgins, a writer, about our individual responsibility for climate change – and how we can choose to act on that responsibility. He compares it to a situation that happened 80 years ago and talks about “the bystander effect” and how dangerous it really is when most of us prefer just to look the other way and pretend there is no climate emergency, that “We’re all good”.

Making the decision not to be a bystander, that is where it all begins. That is the first step. It is when you say: “I’m going to break the pattern. I’ll change my story, and in that way help changing the bigger story. I’ll be the difference.” It is when we dare getting into real decarbonising action mode: Radically simplifying my own life, being conscious about my carbon emissions, cutting them wherever I can, and helping my local community with the transformation, the transition, the community reform, the Great Turning, the Passage, whatever we prefer to call it – the redesign and reinvention of the way we live our lives. It begins with that realisation how terribly things can go wrong if we accept continuing to live our lives as bystanders.

That climate movement, which Charlie Mgee and Spoonville are rapping about, where we make the right decisions and where we have trust in each other – and that local community building that Tim Hollo talks about, and in one of my previous podcasts, Gilbert Rochecouste, as well as permaculture co-founder David Holmgren, and transition movement co-founder Rob Hopkins, and so many others thinkers and doers… that community-led regenerative “awakening” of some sorts is happening, all over planet, the climate movement is growing and making progress – in conjunction with permaculture groups, transition groups and towns, Extinction Rebellion groups, Fridays for Future groups, climate emergency declaration campaigners, and an impressive range of other movements.

It is growing… but it is still powerless and fragmented, speaking from the fringes and corners in society – not united or speaking with clarity, coming across to the nation as a whole, and not presenting us to one convincing model for how we get ourselves out of this carbon pollution mess at the speed and scale which is required now.

That’s still work in progress.

Which is why – in Greta Thunberg‘s words – everyone is needed. Which includes you who read this. Creativity, new ideas and fresh rethinking is needed. To push the movement forward, maybe it is exactly yours creative and courageous contributions the world has been waiting for. Whether in a group or as a single human being, we are never too small to make a difference.

“Sacrifice the weak…” Picture from Nashville, Tennessee, USA, on 22 April 2020.
The extreme right is increasingly thinking in the same lines about climate change.
The image is widely circulated on Twitter and social media.
It was featured in Umair Haque’s blogpost, ‘How Freedom Turned Sociopathic in America’

“When you look at a generation of leaders failing ruinously to deal with any of the great challenges of the 21st century — inequality, climate change, mass extinction, stagnation, and now, a pandemic — it’s because most of them are profoundly, immovably hostile that there is such a thing as a society we should and must care for to begin with. When you look at fractured, riven countries, one after the other plunging into authoritarianism, it’s because large numbers of people have become deeply hostile to the notion of living in or being part of a society — not just theirs, but living beside anyone and caring for them, investing in them, nurturing them, period.”
~ Umair Haque, ‘How Freedom Turned Sociopathic in America’, 12 May 2020

Normalising mass death
The worst-case scenario with coronavirus is not mass death. It is like in the 1930s with the bystanders who knew the holocaust was happening and did nothing: the worst-case scenario is that people come to accept mass death – that we accept that right now someone in the United States will die from the coronavirus every half minute as something where we say, “well, that’s just how it is.”

It didn’t and it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether we want mass death or safety and health is a question of which decisions we make. And of whether we accept to be bystanders when our leaders make the wrong the decisions.

There is maybe going to be a vaccine to solve the corona crisis one day – but there is no “vaccine” for the climate calamities we’re creating if we don’t stop polluting the air. It will be shock after shock on our economy. It will be terrifying times. The way we are going at the moment, a third of the world’s population could be blanketed in Sahara-like heat in 50 years from now.

Brian Kahn wrote an article he calls “Accepting Death Is Not An Option”, where he says:

“The climate crisis requires us to think completely differently about the way the world is constructed and build something new, something that doesn’t exist yet. Anyone that tells you we don’t have a choice in solving the problem – that we must simply accept our lot as foot soldiers in the service of the economy, and that division is the only way forward – is lying.

We do have a choice, and mass death is not acceptable – nor inevitable. But more than anything, the only way through both the corona crisis and the climate crisis is banding together and finding what Greenspun called the ‘sweet spot between feeling the urgency and then not being so overwhelmed and hopeless that you give up’.”
~ Brian Kahn

“If we continue as now, my son’s generation will most likely become the last generation on Earth”
“When I became mother to a beautiful little boy three months ago, I cried twice. The first time I cried with happiness over the little miracle that I had brought to the world. The second time, I cried for fear of the scary prospects which climate scientists from all over the world are warning us about. The forecasts, frankly speaking, are bleak. If current CO2 emissions continue, the average annual temperature in Denmark at the end of the century will be 3-4 degrees higher than in the period 1981-2010. It may not sound like much – it is less than the temperature change from night to day – but with such a temperature change, our country will look markedly different, and large parts of the globe will most likely be uninhabitable.”

~ Gertrud Dam-Dalgeir, Physicist, Cand.scient., in the Danish newspaper Politiken

Start your lives over
Rumi, a Persian poet who lived on this planet of ours in the 13th century, some 800 years ago, wrote:

“Whatever customs humanity had becomes waves of compassion.
Nothing with shape and dimensions can keep still when passions move.
Start your lives over.”

~ Rumi

Extinction is a choice. Collapse… climate breakdown: these are choices we being deceived to think we’ll just have to accept now – in order to protect the business model that it is okay to pollute, it is an “externality” to extract and burn climate-wrecking fossils – to fly and cruise wherever we like and not give a damn about that our actions are destroying someone else’s future.

We can do better. And we’ll have to get organised about making that call in our own homes and communities – places where each of us actually have an impact and can make a difference.

We’re already many. For a start: there are 1,500 councils around the world that have discussed these topics and decided to declare a climate emergency. In the UK, 30 businesses have done the same. Universities and schools. Even during lockdown, it has been growing every day.

In the midst of all the despair, sickness, isolation and death that the coronavirus has confronted us with, from an ideas-point-of-view, we’re on an exciting journey through “The Tunnel” at the moment. Short term: the coronavirus lockdown and networking through brilliant zoom meetings connecting unprecedented numbers of people across borders and distances. Longer term: by linking, bridging and connecting the magniture of good ideas, visions and aspirations which all point in the same direction into a wave that overturns governments.

When we are hit by bushfires, flooding, hurricanes and death, we don’t need a prime minister who will pray for us. We need new legislation, regulation and lawmaking. We need laws that protect people and ecosystems above profit-making. We need people power over financial power – which means that in a country where two in three agree that Australia is facing a climate change emergency and should take emergency action, it is no longer acceptable that one single person who has millions of dollars in his bank account is able to influence who wins an election. In a functioning democracy, when two-thirds of a population actually agrees on something as important as this, their elected leaders – if they truly represented the people who voted them in – would be listening and acting accordingly.

We need to restore our political system so it isn’t broken by donations and ‘dark money’ from polluting industries and vested interest groups.

“Our democratic systems are betraying us.”
~ Tim Hollo, in The Regenerative Hour

What we need at this stage is not leadership. We should not wish for some strong ‘Climate-Churchill’ who we imagine could step in and save us – declaring ‘War on Climate’ the same way Churchill declared war on Hitler in 1940, even though he had a majority of ‘bystanders’ against him in the beginning.

Faithful listeners of The Sustainable Hour will remember how in 2016 we set out on a search for “Who will be Australia’s Climate Churchill“). As former Western Australia premier Carmen Lawrence wisely told us already then, what we need is awareness and knowledge… in short: education in the wider population about what is going on. It is making the right decisions as individuals and in our communities. It is more people demanding better.

We do need political power to do the “heavy lifting” that is needed to solve a problem of the magniture as the climate emergency. But as Greta Thunberg rightly pointed out in June 2019, “We need a system change rather than individual change. But you can not have one without the other.”

System change
We do need political power to do the “heavy lifting” that is needed to solve a problem of the magniture as the climate emergency. First of all, we’ll have to make it increasingly more expensive – and eventually illegal – to pollute the air, in acknowledgement and appreciation that our common future and safety depend upon this.

So what that means is closing off the subsidy tap that has been flushing billions and billions of taxpayer dollars into the polluting fossil fuel industry. It means a complete ban on all new and planned fossil fuel projects. It means introducing taxes on gasoline and on fuel oil for ships and airplanes. Flights on short distances, like: below 1,000 kilometres, could be banned too. We can make public transport in the cities free. Build new and wider bike paths and better foot paths so people can manage at least half their transport needs in the cities by bicycle or by foot because it is no longer dangerous.

We need a food system that is resilient during crisis. We need farmers to introduce regenerative methods that work with natural processes instead of against them. We need businesses that fully respect the principles of a circular economy where nothing is wasted or burned.

In a democracy, no political leader can implement any of this kind of transformative change unless enough people have such a deep desire to see it happen that the entire “story” in society about how we want to live our lives has changed.

That’s why starting local is our only path forward now. Changing the story is something we can all assist with. It requires we begin not only to open our mouths and speak about it, but that we start being the change, living the change, and inspire others to join in.

When enough individuals in a community have become better connected and when we realise how many we are as we connect with our neighbouring communities, and when we find out that we all agree on a range of new initiatives, then we grow – first in confidence, and then in influence. That is the way history is changed.

Implementing new laws that decarbonise our societies is of course not as difficult as our current politicians make it sound – and the coronavirus crisis has just illustrated how much can be done when the political will is there, across the floor. But it requires that we find a way to “change the story” in media and among ourselves. And it requires restoring the exact same level of confidence and trust in our climate scientists and these curves and graphs they show us as we have had in the chief medical officers and doctors during the corona crisis. In the same manner, it requires political leaders who invite the chief climate scientist to take a microphone on centre stage at a press conference aired on national tv.

Courage and caring
There’s been lots of roadmaps produced to show us how we transform our society to 100% renewable energy, pointing out how it will save us money and improve our lives. But the new roadmap for those of us who care and who focus on localised transformation, those of us who intuitively have had realisations similar to Tim Hollo’s and Gilbert Rochecourste’s, those of us who want to see not just a climate-neutral economy, but a human-centered and ecosystem-protecting economy – that roadmap hasn’t been written yet.

Australia has a group working on it in a structured manner, though. Every month they meet in Zoom to discuss how Australia’s economic system can be transformed so that achieving ecological health and social justice become the foundational principles and primary objectives of the economic system. During 2020, they aim to co-create Australia’s first National Civil Society Strategy and Action Plan for the New Economy.

In Holland, 170 Dutch academics has called for their government to implement their ‘New Economic Manifesto’ with five key policy strategies for moving forward during and after the Covid-19 crisis, envisioning how this current situation can lead to a more sustainable, fair, equitable, healthy, and resilient form of economic development going forward.

To take us where we need to go will require even more of us stepping in with our creativity and our ideas. We need to develop better ways to get more of our friends, colleagues and neighbours on board. Exchange experiences with what makes a difference. We need to invent more effective methods to get those who are closest to us out of this collective ‘bystander mode’ where everyone on one hand is observing how Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Gas are running our governments, and how the climate is changing and putting us all at risk, yet on the other hand does nothing about it.

It begins with individuals like you and me speaking up and doing things we never thought we had the courage to do – in our own neighbourhoods. To have the courage to do something surprising – beginning with Rumi’s “I’m starting my life over”, and then actually getting on with it.

As pioneers, first responders and first-movers, we’ll have to continue inventing and reinventing new ways of living, and living well, in this world, because we must be able to do so without polluting the air or damaging the environment around us. Which is not easy. But can be done.

This is a community rebellion: It is local. It is regenerative. It is educated and connected.

It is about paying attention to others. Caring. Finding the time to create trust and to be attentive not just to ourselves and close family, but to the other human beings living in our local area, and to all our fellow living beings on this planet. From whales and bears to bees and butterflies.

At its core, this is one of those historical moments in time when it becomes clear that humanity is split in two: There are those who care – and those who don’t. There are the first responders – and the bystanders.

The coronavirus crisis has shown us very clearly that caring is a winning strategy. There is no future for selfishness and greed. Those who want to ‘go it alone’, ‘sacrifice the weak’, loot the shops for essentials while ignoring their own contribution to the big disruption that is coming and how their choices affect others, will wither away in those bunkers they are burrying themselves in.

Since you got this far, you’ve most likely made up your mind about which side of the bystander-line you will be on, but also – like the rest of us – you are on the lookout for what could trigger a faster, bigger, wider and deeper, more whole-of-society transformation than what the permaculture and transition movements have been able to achieve so far.

It is beginning to crystalise, when you realise that it may boil down to that one single word, care.

To care or not to care – that is the question, as we said back in 2017 in The Sustainable Hour.

Yes, it is big stuff, it is drama, but working together is fun too – it is exciting!

“To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion,
to be worthy, not respectable,
and wealthy, not rich;
to study hard, think quietly,
talk gently, act frankly,
to listen to stars and birds,
to babes and sages,
with open heart,
to bear all cheerfully,
to all bravely await occasions,
hurry never.
In a word, to let the spiritual unbidden
and unconscious grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.”
~ William Henry Channing

→ Free, Fair & Alive:
Provisioning Through Commons
“Trained to see the dismemberment of complex production processes as efficient and natural, and its segregation from consumption as a core premise of “the economy,” economists tend to overlook a more elegant, practical approach to provisioning — commoning.”

→ Schumacher College – 2 April 2020:
Local Resilience in a Time of Crisis
“For those of us working for change at local, municipal and regional scales, this is the moment when many of the solutions we’ve been promoting are needed and the conditions for building the foundations for longer term change are favourable.”

→ Resilience – 6 May 2020:
From the Covid Economic Disruption to a Sustainable World
“If we are to follow this path that sustains life rather than the one that is destroying it we need more than the collection of great ideas and projects being put forth by so many brilliant people. We need a comprehensive, holistic plan. This will not be easy but the alternative will be far more difficult.”

Common Cause Foundation: “Opportunities to create an environmental step-change”

How to work together for a common cause

“Tried and tested ideas to inspire action on environmental problems; let’s create ambitious and durable change!”

Common Cause asks which works best to get people engaged on social and enviromental issues by activating intrinsic values – values which are about improving others’ lives, not selfish interest. They write:

“At Common Cause Foundation we’re a small, passionate team working, amidst a large and growing international network, to strengthen and give voice to the compassionate values that underpin social and environmental concern.

Research, by Common Cause and others, shows most people care deeply about one another and the world around them, valuing things like equality, compassion and kindness. However, a large majority of people underestimate the extent to which their fellow citizens care about these things – and this can hold us back.

Conveying a more authentic understanding of what people typically value has potentially transformative consequences: people who hold truer perspectives of others’ values report deeper connection to their communities, show greater motivation to become civically engaged, are more likely to support action on social or environmental challenges, and have higher wellbeing.

→ Read more on Common Cause’s home page: www.valuesandframes.org

How everything can collapse – a manual for our times

The new book “How Everything Can Collapse: A Manual for our Times” by Pablo Servigne and Raphaël Stevens is released in June 2020 by Polity

“What if our civilization were to collapse? Not many centuries into the future, but in our own lifetimes? Most people recognize that we face huge challenges today, from climate change and its potentially catastrophic consequences to a plethora of socio-political problems, but we find it hard to face up to the very real possibility that these crises could produce a collapse of our entire civilization.  Yet we now have a great deal of evidence to suggest that we are up against growing systemic instabilities that pose a serious threat to the capacity of human populations to maintain themselves in a sustainable environment.

In this important book, Pablo Servigne and Raphaël Stevens confront these issues head-on. They examine the scientific evidence and show how its findings, often presented in a detached and abstract way, are connected to people’s ordinary experiences – joining the dots, as it were, between the Anthropocene and our everyday lives. In so doing they provide a valuable guide that will help everyone make sense of the new and potentially catastrophic situation in which we now find ourselves. Today, utopia has changed sides: it is the utopians who believe that everything can continue as before, while realists put their energy into making a transition and building local resilience. Collapse is the horizon of our generation. But collapse is not the end – it’s the beginning of our future. We will reinvent new ways of living in the world and being attentive to ourselves, to other human beings and to all our fellow creatures.”

Read more

→ The book’s foreword by Jem Bendell

→ Jem Bendell – 23 March 2020:
The Climate for Corona – our warming world is more vulnerable to pandemic
“If the impact of Covid19 is another step in the collapse of modern societies, then it is likely it will have been another climate-driven step in that collapse. Understanding that context is important for deeper learning about reducing future harm.”

Deep Adoptation Forum podcast
Publishes key content of the Deep Adoptation Forum, including from Jem Bendell’s Q&As, as a podcast.

→ Inside Climate News – 8 April 2020:
Unchecked Global Warming Could Collapse Whole Ecosystems, Maybe Within 10 Years
“A new study shows that as rising heat drives some key species extinct, it will affect other species, as well, in a domino effect.”

→ The Guardian – 8 March 2020:
‘I’m profoundly sad, I feel guilty’: scientists reveal personal fears about the climate crisis
“Feelings of powerlessness and despair for the future are evident in letters written for a six-year ‘passion project’.”

→ National Geographic – November 2018:
The Big Meltdown
“As the Antarctic Peninsula heats up, the rules of life there are being ripped apart. Alarmed scientists aren’t sure what all the change means for the future.”

→ Gizmodo – 10 May 2020:
Accepting Death Is Not An Option

“We have to come out [of the pandemic] in sync.”
~ Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland

Some good news from Europe about a more human-centered development towards the climate-neutral economy. The zoominar had more than 2,000 attendees. If you don’t have an hour and a half to listen to it all, click here to jump straight to Mary Robinson’s introductionary presentation, which puts it all in a larger context.

New business ventures in the #GreenRecovery

Jeffrey York, a professor of sustainability and entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado, suggests that entrepreneurship could be the solution to the climate crisis. He suggests that new business ventures can help rebuild an economy focused on long-term environmental sustainability and economic stability.

• Environmental entrepreneurship offers solutions that create ecological and economic benefits
• Being an environmentalist and a businessperson helps entrepreneurs recruit a broader range of people, inviting in environmental champions and small business experts
• Environmental entrepreneurs focus more on values and family, rather than just government policy and economics
• The political divide on climate change is blurred and more green building adoption occurs when there are more entrepreneurs present

→ The Climate Center – 6 May 2020:
COVID-19 is a dress rehearsal for entrepreneurial approaches to climate change

→ The Guardian – 9 May 2020:
UK plans £250m boost for cycle lanes and fast-track e-scooter trials
“Campaigners call for redesign of transport system to help prevent bounce-back in air pollution.”

→ Degrowth – 8 May 2020:
Collaborative Feminist Degrowth: Pandemic as an Opening for a Care-Full Radical Transformation
“Change needs to be systemic to match the scale of the emergency and the inequalities uncovered and reproduced by the pandemic. This crisis can and should be used as a collective learning point for a transformation towards an alternative feminist degrowth future.”


Change the Story Workshop

Tuesday 2 June 2020 from 17:00-18:30 – virtually via Zoom

Free interactive training session presented by Mike Pulsford, a Community Organiser with the Australian Conservation Foundation.

Are you interested in learning how to better connect with and influence people? Like to be able to tell positive stories that motivate others to help protect and regenerate our planet?

Hosted by Geelong Sustainability

Facebook event page

→ Get a (free) ticket here: www.geelongsustainability.org.au

Add your name: Victoria needs a safe bike network

A Green New Deal for Victoria is an opportunity to transform Melbourne by creating more space for people riding their bike.

A safe, separated bike network for Melbourne would:
👷 Create jobs in engineering, construction and manufacturing.
🌱 Boost urban renewal and cut carbon emissions.
🚗 Reduce congestion while also reducing air pollution
🚲 Improve people’s health, getting us fit and active!

→ You can sign the petition here: www.greens.org.au/vic/campaigns/gnd-transport

Voices for Greta

Step into the climatesafety bunker – our carbon clarity clubhouse

Are we ready to shift our mindset and choose a different future?

I am. If you are too, let’s meet. And I don’t mean physically, for now, but in The Tunnel – the digital tunnel.

We have a members’ area on climatesafety.info which is growing little by little. Its a space for figuring out how we can act as individuals and as a community in a climate emergency.

The choices we make right now matter. Have a positive think about how you will step in and become part of a regenerative and transformative renewal. It’s all happening in The Tunnel. What we need to do, is get ready for the action, once we come out on the other side.
~ Mik Aidt

Become a member of Centre for Climate Safety

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“The most important word in today’s world is ‘together’.”
~ Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General

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One comment

  1. Let’s hope we can all contribute to igniting a climate change awareness virus that becomes a pandemic.

    A proposal that would help to consolidate the necessary critical mass in the community would be a coordinated strategy among all the players with individual platforms – Greens, ACF, GetUp, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, 350.org, BZE, Climate Council, Market Forces, Climate Works, CSIRO, BoM, MISS, Extinction Rebellion, Climate Emergency Declaration petition campaigners, school kids, Community Renewable Energy groups, Lock the Gate, Doctors for the Environment, Farmers for Climate Action, Climate for Change, Climarte, SLF, Victorian Climate Action Network, Insurers, Indigenous communities, rural residents ….and many, many others.

    For years/decades we’ve been handing the political right in politics a ready-made ‘divide and conquer’ scenario that ensures minimal change to the status quo. The ‘enlightened’ climate movement is completely fragmented.

    This is a serious problem.

    We’ve squandered the past 50 years by approaching the solution from the useful but incremental perspective of ‘individual awareness and local action’. Now we must – urgently – integrate and fully utilise the disparate areas of awareness and momentum of the many informed groups that we already have in the community.

    However, to do this, some critical questions need asking:

    • Where will the leadership come from to create and run a ‘national war cabinet in waiting’, comprising ALL these groups and advised by experts? (Right now each entity seems intent on maintaining its autonomous membership/funding base – but that doesn’t preclude some kind of ‘federation’).

    • Could such a ‘cabinet’ produce an IPCC-like consideration and synthesis of each of their members’ solutions and strategies for our climate, our society and our economy?

    • How could the The Australian Greens – or a completely new political party – gain enough community support and authority to get elected, in order to formalise the standing of the ‘climate war cabinet’ and to declare an existential and formal emergency as governments in Australia have successfully done in dealing with the health and economic effects of COVID-19?

    • How could policy formation and the massive national changes that we urgently need be extended for long enough that the community will see the emergence of a sustainable net benefit?

    COVID-19 shows that individual acceptance and broad support follows when there is a clear and shared emergency message and equally clear progress reporting, and that there is genuine fairness and intelligent buffering of the impacts of the necessary changes.

    This concept requires an integration of past and current debates that we’re just not having – but at least COVID-19 is providing a unique opportunity for us to change course before we drive off the cliff..


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