Sunday, 20 April 2014

Climate Reality

So I met Al Gore. And Kumi Naidoo, head of Greenpeace International. In Johannesburg South Africa. With 700+ other people from around the world.

I've been on a journey for a long while and I'm still on it. Not just a journey to South Africa. A journey to understand our crisis. Our crisis of climate destabilisation and species loss.

I've had a growing need to up the ante for myself and I have done it again. Attending the Climate Reality Leadership Training in Johannesburg, connected me with others that feel the sadness and the urgency of this crisis. We also share a passion for taking action to roll back the crisis however we can.

I learnt of William Kamkwamba from Malawi, who at 14 and starving, figured out how to make a wind powered electrical generator from scrap bicycle parts to power lights and radios. Then he built some more to help irrigate his village's farms. I learnt of Africans planting trees and teaching communities to grow their own food crops. Of solar thermal and photovoltaic plants built around the world. Of countries and states that have put a price on carbon pollution and are reducing emissions. 

These people and projects give me hope and inspiration to take the next step on my journey. I've joined Pingala, a community solar energy organisation, aiming to establish local renewable energy for local customers in Sydney. I've connected with ClearSky Solar that have similar projects running in regional NSW.

I'm left with a thought from the training, a quote from the American modernist poet, Wallace Stevens:

After the final no there comes a yes. 
Or to paraphrase, after the final hurdle comes success.

So if you have a project that could make a difference, seize the day. 

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Get Wealth Out of Politics

I'm proud to say that this post is about an idea I put forward to the Australian Greens Thought Experiment. And obviously many people have the same thoughts and ideas.

For the past few days, while some of us wind up or down for the Easter break, the Australian Greens have launched an online though experiment to collect innovative ideas from the community. You can add ideas and you have ten votes to give support ideas. You can give from one to three votes to any idea including your own.

There have been many related ideas and votes for renewable energy and urban renewal and education programs all of which are worthwhile projects.

But for the past few days, there has been an idea that keeps topping all the others and it is to:

Amend the constitution to allow only limited government funding of election campaigns.  
This would stop wealthy companies contributing to election campaigns and thus controlling the government and its agenda. Such constitutions are in place in northern Europe.

It's been exciting to see this idea rise from third to second to first and stay there for the past day. Thanks Green thinkers. Let's work out how to make this happen.

Here's a screen grab from just now: