Tag Archives: activism

Saving civilisation is not a spectator sport

By Lester R. Brown (written for US audience)

Given the enormous environmental and social challenges faced by our early twenty-first century global civilization, one of the questions I hear most frequently is, What can I do? People often expect me to talk about lifestyle changes, recycling newspapers, or changing light bulbs. These are essential, but they are not nearly enough. We now need to restructure the global economy, and quickly. It means becoming politically active, working for the needed changes. Saving civilization is not a spectator sport.

Inform yourself, read about the issues. If you want to know what happened to earlier civilizations that found themselves in environmental trouble, read Collapse by Jared Diamond or A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright or The Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter. My latest book, Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, can be downloaded free of charge from Earth Policy Institute’s (EPI’s) Web site, earthpolicy.org, along with complementary data sets and a slide show summary. If you find these materials useful in helping you think about what to do, share them with others.

Pick an issue that’s meaningful to you, such as tax restructuring, banning inefficient light bulbs, phasing out coal-fired power plants, or working for streets in your community that are pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly, or join a group that is working to stabilize world population. What could be more exciting and rewarding than getting personally involved in trying to save civilization?

To continue reading, click here.

Volunteers needed – Replace Hazelwood

The campaign to Replace Hazelwood power station with renewable energy (and energy efficiency) is gathering strength. You may have seen the coverage in the media recently as well as Hazelwood’s owners’ outrageous attempt to sabotage energy efficiency programs.

Hazelwood brown coal-fired power station near Morwell is Australia’s most polluting power station. Replacing it with renewable energy and energy efficiency would reduce Victoria’s emissions by around 12% and Australia’s by 3%. If we want to reduce emissions, we must start by replacing Hazelwood.

To do this we need your help.

The state and federal Labor governments are now under pressure to act after Kevin Rudd’s backflip on climate change.

So, now is the time to get the message out in the community.


Over the next two months local community climate groups are going to be doorknocking in the key inner city electorates of Melbourne.

Door knocking is easy, fun and one of the most effective ways of getting our message into the community and having an impact on politicians.

Here is how it works. We start at 1pm and do about an hour of training, we knock on doors for less than two hours (in pairs) and then get together for a cuppa or a drink and talk about how it went.

It’s easy! Residents are friendly and usually very happy to take some information or sign the petition.

No prior experience or detailed technical knowledge about Hazelwood necessary – we will provide training and materials. Doorknocking will be done in pairs.

YCAN will be hosting two doorknocking sessions:
Saturday 19 June in Fitzroy, 1-4pm
Sunday 4 July in Richmond, 1-4pm

There is also doorknocking happening in Brunswick, Kensington, North Melbourne and Westgarth/Northcote.

So please join us on a coming Saturday or Sunday by clicking on the link below and registering to doorknock. There is also a video showing how it works below.


To find out more about doorknocking and the Hazelwood campaign go here http://www.climateactioncentre.org/replacehazelwood

The Transition Decade Launch

Sunday 14 February
Melbourne Town Hall, Swanston St, City.

Seats are limited, to book your free seat go to: http://t10.eventbrite.com/

Featuring: The Governor of Victoria Professor David de Kretser AC
Uncle Bob Randall traditional owner of Uluru
Professor Will Steffen, Executive Director, ANU Climate Change Institute
Senator Christine Milne
…and many more.

At both the state and national levels, local leadership has failed to deliver even very small cuts in carbon emissions. Not surprisingly at the international level, the recent Copenhagen negotiations have produced no meaningful outcome either.

We have to face it, conventional political change methods have not worked.

We have run out of time for half-measures. It is now imperative that a safe climate is restored as fast as humanly possible. This will require zero emissions, and more, at emergency speed.

It seems that what is essential to accomplish is impossible to achieve. Clearly a breakthrough is needed.

The Transition Decade (T10) initiative has been designed to meet this dual challenge of going for the goals that are really needed and getting effective change too. The strategy is to harness the power of collaboration.

An alliance of committed groups has been formed to drive a collaborative framework through a decade of structural and social change. The launch will create the opportunity to take the size and effectiveness of this alliance to a whole new level. The launch of the Transition Decade will showcase leading work by groups that are using this shared time frame and scale of change, and will set out the many ways that thousands of organisations and millions of people can join the alliance.

Can we do it together? Will a shared plan work? Come along and decide for yourself!

Book your seat at: http://t10.eventbrite.com/

Brought to you by the founding members of T10, the Sustainable Living Foundation, Beyond Zero Emissions, Friends of the Earth and the Climate Emergency Network.

Political activists are happier!

Which way of life is the more desirable—to join with other citizens and share in the state’s activity, or to live in it like an alien, absolved from the ties of political society?

Aristotle, Politics (350 BC)

Research by psychologists Klar and Kasser recently published in the Political Psychology journal has found evidence that activists are happier than non-activists and that doing something politically engaged improved vitality levels compared with doing a similar, non-political task.

Klar and Kasser surveyed university students in two separate studies, and found that those that identified themselves as activists or were located via an activist network were happier and more fulfilled than non-activists. This of course doesn’t identify whether happy and fulfilled people become activists or if activism makes you happy and fulfilled.

Another experiment then split the sample (again university students) into those taking part in a politically engaged activity (writing to the cafeteria director asking for food to be sourced more ethically and locally) and a similar but non-political activity (writing to the cafeteria director asking for tastier and more varied food). It was found that those who wrote the political letter reported feeling more energised and alive afterwards than those that did not.

The full article can be downloaded from here.

And for your entertainment courtesy of 350.org – what the happy people got up to in 2009 – much more to come in 2010…