Millennials’ biggest concern is climate change & destruction of nature

Climate change was chosen as the top concern by nearly half of participants in the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Survey 2017. The survey included over 24,000 young people who responded in 14 languages. The majority of participants also agreed that humans are responsible for climate change. 

 

 

Millenials worldwide also showed concern for a wide range of social ills:

1. Climate change / destruction of nature (48.8%)
2. Large scale conflict / wars (38.9%)
3. Inequality (income, discrimination) (30.8%)
4. Poverty (29.2%)
5. Religious conflicts (23.9%)
6. Government accountability and transparency / corruption (22.7%)
7. Food and water security (18.2%)
8. Lack of education (15.9%)
9. Safety / security / wellbeing (14.1%)
10. Lack of economic opportunity and employment (12.1%)

 

“This survey reaffirms the image of young people I have from my meetings with youth around the world: they are optimistic, empathetic and view themselves as global citizens. I hope we can answer their call for a more equal, transparent and open world.”
– H.R.H Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway

 

The Global Shapers Forum is a network of young people under the age of 30 which sprang out of the World Economic Forum.  This collective of dynamic, inspiring young people is driving global change through a diverse range of grassroots projects in cities across the world.

 

 

Re-post ~ The 10 biggest global concerns, according to millennials | Treehugger

Read full report ~ Global Shapers Survey 2017

The Social Progress Index: a GDP alternative for the 21st Century

The Social Progress Index has been developed to provide accurate and detailed data on fifty social and environmental outcomes, in an effort to improve upon traditional, purely economic, measures of success such as GDP. These fifty outcomes are grouped into three main ‘dimensions of social progress’: Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity.

 

The 2017 Index, which was released in June, shows Denmark as the country having the highest overall social progress, with Australia coming in joint 9th along with New Zealand.


The above graph of social progress relative to GDP shows that there is a lot of ‘noise’ around the trend line, meaning that statistically, GDP and social progress do not necessarily go hand in hand. This is particularly true once countries reach a certain level of GDP, where the curve begins to level out and further increases in GDP produce little or no improvement in wellbeing according to social indicators. This is why its creators believe that the Social Progress Index is important, because GDP as a measure leaves out so many factors which influence human wellbeing, such as environmental sustainability, freedom from discrimination and access to education.

 

 

Accurate data on how communities are performing in different areas gives leaders the ability to take a more strategic approach to improving quality of life by prioritizing their investments in areas of greatest need, just as having accurate measures of GDP helped the US government to lift itself out of the Great Depression in the 1930s.

 

Read more ~ The Social Progress Index website and The Social Progress Imperative website

Collaboration sees Aboriginal people back as custodians of their lands

The Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation are taking an active role in the management of six state and national parks and reserves which are within the Country which was returned to the Dja Dja Wurrung people in a recognition agreement in 2013.

The Dhelkunya Dja Land Management Board, will manage the parks and reserves in partnership with Parks Victoria. They have appointed CSIRO to lead the creation of a Joint Management Plan, which will have Dja Dja Wurrung’s 20-year vision for people (Jaara) and country (Djanderk) at its centre.

 

A gathering of Dja Dja Wurrung people, at Hepburn Regional Park, one of the six parks being jointly managed by the Dhelkunya Dja Land Management Board.

 

Graham Atkinson, chairperson of the board, who was instrumental in negotiating recognition of traditional ownership with the state government says:

“Our Country Plan acknowledges that we must transmit our cultural heritage to younger generations. The Dja Dja Wurrung people have kept their connection to country alive through oral history, as well as through researching historical publications written at the time of European settlement.”

Dr Ro Hill, who will be leading the CSIRO team as they develop the joint management plan, recognises the importance of ‘weaving together’ traditional and scientific knowledge in order to benefit from both. He also believes that some of the ways of seeing the land enshrined in traditional knowledge, such as a focus on larger, more visible species, may be make the parks management strategy more accessible to the public. In the same vein, he notes that the holistic way of understanding how humans and the landscape are connected has influenced national parks management worldwide, as exemplified by Parks Victoria’s ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy People’ campaign.

Re-post ~ Returning good health to country and spirit by Mary-Lou Consdine in ECOS

New guide to small scale community solar released

The Coalition for Community Energy (C4CE) has released a new edition of its Small Scale Community Solar Guide, which aims to help more community renewable energy projects to get off the ground.

 

The guide comes in response to the growing popularity of community solar and showcases seven successful community solar projects which have been set up using different structures. It includes details of the financial and legal structure of each and recommendations about which setups would be best suited to different types of initiatives.

Projects include Lismore’s Farming The Sun initiative, which is a collaboration with Starfish Initiatives and demonstrates a community – Council partnership model.

Starfish also collaborated in writing the guide.

Tom Nockolds, co-author of the guide and co-founder of Pingala, said the C4CE expects the community renewables sector to continue to grow.

 

“Communities are fed up with all the politicking around energy in this country, and are just getting on and creating their own clean energy projects,” he said.

“They are learning from each other, and they are having an immediate, positive impact in their local areas.”

 

The aim of the guide is to spread this learning and impact as far and wide as possible.

 

Download the Small Scale Community Solar Guide here.

Repost ~ New community solar power guide released | The Fifth State

Well-managed refugee resettlement can be win-win in rural areas

Refugee advocate Ataus Samad from Multicultural Queensland’s Advisory Council believes that, with the right support and incentives, refugees and migrant workers can be resettled into rural and regional areas, for the benefit of all concerned.

 

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Sweet potato farmer Jean Ntakarutimana and his family, who are happily re-settled in Gracemere, QLD.

 

Jean Ntakarutimana and his parents on the farm with their new employer, Eric Coleman

 

This was certainly the case for Jean Ntakarutimana who struggled to find work and settle into Australian life after being transferred from a Tanzanian refugee camp as a teenager. Ntakarutimana now works on a sweet potato farm in central Queensland, a move which has been so successful that he has now brought his extended family to live and work with him.

 

“We’re happy to be here, the rent is cheap, everything is easier,” Mr Ntakarutimana said.

 

The arrangement has also brought benefits for Eric Coleman, the owner of the sweet potato farm, who enjoys the happy nature and hardworking ethos of the family.

 

“I think the best thing about Johnno and his dad is they come from an agricultural background, so it’s not actually foreign to them but I think the employment agencies are probably running them into places like Brisbane and trying to get them jobs in an environment that’s totally foreign.”

 

He would like to see employment agencies put more time and funding into providing English lessons, driver licences and tickets to make the prospect more attractive for potential employers.

 

Ataus Samad agrees:

 

“If we want to develop our regional and rural areas, we need people. We need to create an environment that will encourage people to settle,” he said.

 

By working closely with refugees and migrants, as well as with employers, Mr Samad has been able to successfully transition groups of refugees into rural life using an employment-first approach.

Re-post ~ Refugee resettlement in regional Australia brings success but needs more incentives by By Inga Stünzner on ABC News

Give electric power tools a fair go

A NSW philanthropist has come up with and ingenious way to share her passion for renewable energy. Zeromow gives people, including those who work with power tools every day, the chance to try out an array of battery powered garden tools, including a fully electric ride-on lawnmower. 

 

Non-road spark ignition engines and equipment (NRSIEE), which include mowers, chainsaws, leaf blowers and outboard motors, are not subject to the same controls as on-road engines such as those found in cars. They can therefore be significantly more polluting. A government fact-sheet points out that:

 

“a two-stroke leaf blower used for one hour can produce as much hydrocarbons as 150 cars over the same time.”

 

For this reason high-emission NRSIEEs are banned in many other countries.

Sally Perini, who lives in the foothills of Sydney’s Blue Mountains, set up Zeromow after falling in love with electric cars and switching in order to ‘walk the talk’ and reduce her impact on global warming. Sally was then inspired by Mike Vaughan who set up Enviromowing in Brisbane, which is a mowing service powered entirely by electricity (including vehicles and equipment).

Sally hopes that by allowing other gardeners and landscapers to try her electric tools ~ which she charges from her own solar panels or another source of renewable energy ~ she can help fast track the changeover to the quieter, more efficient lithium-ion battery equipment and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released.

Sally Perini is also one of the philanthropists who has donated money to Starfish’s earthfunerals initiative, which has allowed us to establish our first Natural Burial Ground. We are honoured to be in such great company!

Re-post ~ Fossil fuels and Australian tools: It’s time to go fully electric by Sophie Vorrath for One Step Off The Grid

The Nuka System of Care ~ Indigenous healthcare for the people, by the people

A revolutionary health care system run by and for indigenous people and incorporating indigenous healthcare perspectives has become an international model for health care reform.

Since Southcentral Foundation (SCF) began overseeing healthcare provision for Alaska Native and American Indian people in Alaska, emergency room visits have dropped by 36%. Deaths from cancer, heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease have dropped by 26%, 47%, and 59%, respectively and infant mortality has also dropped by 58%. This has all been achieved while also cutting costs.

 

In the lobby of Southcentral Foundation’s Anchorage Native Primary Care Center, Alaska Native artists sell their work under “Bird Spirit Mask” by Inupiat artist Sylvester Ayek. (Photo Courtesy of Southcentral Foundation)

 

SCF serves a population of 136,000 native people spread out over 108,000 square miles, including more than 200 native villages, many of which are only accessible by boat or air. The system involves partnerships with 51 village health clinics, medical teams who regularly travel to villages and tele-medicine, and is centred around the Native Primary Care Centre in Anchorage, where nearly half of the entire population of Alaska lives.

The health centre has the feel of a community centre and is decorated with indigenous art and craft, which increases pride and self-confidence in its ‘customerowners’ (as users of the clinic are called). It also has open offices and offers integrated treatments including complementary and traditional medicine, support with substance abuse, mental health, and home health. This all forms part of a preventative approach which aims to deal with the root causes of illness and to encourage healthy lifestyle choices.

 

“Emphasis on prevention and integrated healthcare delivery results in less demand for specialty care and fewer emergency room visits. Equally important is the understanding that physical health is bound to social and spiritual wellbeing. Wellness, in this model, comes from facilitating cultural connection and strengthening families and communities.”

 

SCF recognises that indigenous people are at particular risk of health issues because of their history, with the fallout from years of epidemics, high levels of child abuse in missions and boarding schools and the loss of culture, community and identity all contributing to current high levels of domestic and child abuse and drug and alcohol misuse. To counter this, the effects of multi-generational trauma are treated by tribal doctors along with current health issues in an integrated, holistic process.

 

A customer-owner receives care from Tribal Doctor Steven Booth in Southcentral Foundation’s Traditional healing clinic. (Photo courtesy of Southcentral Foundation)

 

Preventative, holistic healthcare would seems to make sense for us all, but the Nuka System of Care developed by Southcentral Foundation has particular relevance for indigenous communities because of the specific issues those communities face and the way it leverages the rich traditional knowledge that is already present.

SCF offer training, site visits and consulting to share this system with other healthcare providers worldwide.

Re-post ~ Native Wisdom Is Revolutionizing Health Care by Shari Huhndorf in SSIR

Food production is easier in rural areas, says Australian vinegar mogul

 

“You’ll find everything you need in the regions, cheap land, infrastructure, staff and the raw materials. If you want to go looking for opportunities, go west into the gold rush.” ~ Ian Henderson, Lirah Vinegar

 

These are the words of Ian Henderson, the man who, in the space of just 12 years, has turned his vinegar-making business from a one-barrel operation in a shed into a global exporter with a new $5 million factory.

 

Lirah Vinegar’s new state-of-the-art factory in Stanthorpe, QLD

 

Henderson points out that there are many benefits to living and running a business in a regional area, not least the lower housing and property prices. He leveraged this lifestyle bonus in job advertisments and easily attracted a team of highly qualified graduate employees.

“I have clinical pathologists, one of my vinegar makers has a master’s degree in electrical engineering, we have medical bio-technologists, we have honours chemists, we have physics and maths grads. All of my staff, largely gen Y’s, every single one of them owns a home, nobody rents.”

This is in stark contrast to the situation in the city where businesses often operate in less-than-optimal conditions and many young people feel priced-out of the housing market.

Mr Henderson would like to see more of the flourishing food production industry move out of cities and into rural areas, as he says interesting jobs are the only thing sometimes lacking in rural life.

With his business going from strength to strength, Mr Henderson wants to share the love with other producers, in what he sees as a win-win for both companies and regional areas.

 

Re-post ~ High-tech vinegar a success story of the new bush ‘gold rush’ by Phillipa Courtney on ABC News
Website ~ Lirah Vinegar

Arts festival cements community in regional town

In April this year, the Cementa Arts Festival once again brought vibrancy and innovation to the the small town of Kandos in NSW.  There could have been a post-industrial void caused by the closure of the town’s major industry, the cement works. However the art festival and its spin-offs have brought thousands of visitors to the town and created links with artists whose fresh perspectives the locals are slowly warming to.

 

At nearby Ganguddy/Dunn’s Swam local groups Powerhouse Youth Theatre and Dauntless Movement Crew presented Pagoda Parkour as part of the Cementa festival.

 

Kandos used to be home to the largest cement works in the Southern Hemisphere and was even originally named for its links with the cement and mining industry. When the plant closed down in 2012 many jobs were lost and it was feared that the town would die.

Ann Finegan, an academic and contemporary arts worker, had a bigger vision however. She saw the closure of the cement factory as an ‘opportunity for transformation’.

 

“We believe the presence of this industrial heritage in the rural heartland of NSW provides an ideal context for the demonstration of contemporary art’s capacity to describe, engage, critique and celebrate both the world and our living in it.”

 

 

Artists doing residencies in Finnegan’s high-street art space, which was previously a haberdashery, began engaging with the community and the idea for the Cementa festival was born. This focus on community engagement and working with the regional setting has carried through to become a dominant flavour of the biennial festival.

 

“Artists cannot be in the festival unless they have done a residency in Kandos or have work related to the town in some way,” says Finegan. “We’re really working to deepen regional engagement.”

 

This year’s Cementa Arts Festival hosted more than 60 artists and is a heartening example of what is possible for small rural towns transitioning from an industrial heritage.

 

Repost ~ Cementa arts festival: building a cultured environment at Kandos by Katie Milton in The Sydney Morning Herald

Read more ~ Cementa Arts Festival Website

Australia’s female farmers are the ‘invisible women’ driving innovation in sustainable agriculture

48% of real farm income in Australia is produced by women, yet their work often goes unrecognised. However, this may be changing, as a recent article in The Guardian highlights the up-and-coming female farmers who are emerging as thought-leaders and innovators in sustainable agribusiness.

 

Anika Molesworth was named Young Farmer of the Year in 2015

 

When looking for examples of empowered female farmers, you need look no further than Anika Molesworth. She completed her undergraduate degree in agribusiness by correspondence after watching a ten year drought ravage her family’s farm in western NSW. She is now studying for a PhD in agriculture climate science and is experimenting with new technology on the farm.

“The younger generation are so much more aware of what is happening around the world. We do go travelling. We are studying with colleagues from all over the world and we are bringing those ideas to the farming landscape.”

 

Many women (50% of women on farms) support farming families through their work off-farm. As well as increasing farm income, this is one way that Molesworth hopes to have a greater impact on farming practices, by combining her farm work with being a consultant and educator in sustainable farming.

There are also those seeking to change how female farmers are viewed and understood at a societal level; Invisible Farmer, a new project funded by the Australian Research Council, aims to remedy the gender inequality which has been endemic in farming for centuries, and continues to be so, partly due to the fact that sons traditionally inherit the farm. The project aims to ‘create new histories of rural Australia [and] reveal the hidden stories of women on the land’. Katrina Sasse, a 29-year-old farmer from Morawa in Western Australia brings the encouraging news that around 10% of daughters are going back to work on family farms, and the number is growing.

 

“There are a lot of stories where women feel discontented because they feel ignored or they have been pushed away and they don’t have any influence in the decision-making on the future of the family farm.”

 

Sasse’s research looks at ways to get daughters more involved in family farms by examining what their strengths are, what they can bring to the business and how they can be included in the succession plan.

 

Read More ~ Women: the silent partners of agriculture by M. Alston of Charles Sturt University

Re-post ~ ‘Invisible farmers’: the young women injecting new ideas into agriculture by Fiona Smith in The Guardian