Friday, December 2, 2016

SPENDING THE INHERITANCE: A reader questions whether our fixation on economic growth at any cost is destroying society, as well as the planet.

SPENDING THE INHERITANCE: A reader questions whether our fixation on economic growth at any cost is destroying society, as well as the planet.

Language a powerful tool

Understandably, women and girls may be feeling a bit disheartened across Australia as 2016 draws to a close. Hillary Clinton’s shock defeat by Donald Trump in the US presidential election hurt for many of us. It was also a shock reminder of the misogynistic behaviour our first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, was subjected to when she held Australia’s top job. 

Women face everyday sexism every day. In Australia, research by Plan International revealed that just 8 per cent of girls and young women feel they’re always treated equally to boys. Only 14 per cent say they always receive the same opportunities to succeed as boys. 

Following our event on how to tackle everyday sexism, participants including government representatives, researchers, journalists and the online community outlined strategies we can all adopt, both men and women, to fight gender inequality: 

Check your language, don’t say “you run like a girl”. Instead of telling girls they look beautiful, tell them they’re strong. Call out everyday sexism, and stop laughing at sexist remarks. Check your unconscious bias, there’s no such thing as men’s work or women’s work, boys or girls chores.

Value women for their personalities and intelligence, not just their looks. Celebrate women leaders, and encourage girls to dream big. Lead by example as children mirror our behaviour, it’s our responsibility to ensure their generation leaves no glass ceilings intact.

Susanne Legena, Deputy CEO,

Plan International Australia 

What do we really need?

Christmas is a holiday celebrated by Christians as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus.

It appears that other religions and heathens have now hopped into the festivities. It's amazing how Western societies have commercialised this holiday, as they do to nearly every important event, in order to make a dollar and give the economy a boost. 

Our economic system is gradually poisoning the earth and if left unchecked will eventually kill it and we will be buried along with it. The main cause of the earth's possible death is human illusion. It is the illusion that we can go on having economic growth year after year, that we can go on expanding, exploiting the poorer countries, using the earth's resources inefficiently and polluting our air and water forever without destroying the earth. 

Our economic system is obviously not sustainable. Politicians are constantly raving on about about economic growth as the most important issue facing our country and it is. But the economic growth needs to be slowed down, not increased.

Our economic system is turning us into machines designed to consume at any consequence. Gandhi once stated: “The earth has enough for everyone's need, but not for everyone's greed”. That is of course assuming that we can stabilize the growth of our population. There are 80,000,000 more humans coming next year. Advertising agencies do a wonderful job convincing us we need certain products. We are treating the earth as our enemy instead of our friend.

Scientists are not going to solve our problems. We have more scientists than ever before and the state of affairs continues to get worse. We humans are clever but not wise. The damage done to our environment during this festive season is enormous, but few people seem to care.

Humanity is digging a huge hole that could become its grave. If one wants to get out of a hole the first thing one needs to do is to stop shoveling. Christmas is just a period of rapid shoveling. We need to re-discover our environment and develop the right relationship with the land and its resources.

The destruction of nature will be followed by the destruction of ourselves. It seems that we are rapidly travelling down that very road. I hope everybody gets what they "need" for Christmas. 

Sumner Berg, Beechworth

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