Fire Summary

An interesting and worrying read.

. Incalculable damage.

Environmental Health in the Kimberley

From ABC Radio National. An Aboriginal led initiative is what is needed. Reading this in 2020 is almost like reading my exit report after my EH position was defunded in 2017 after which the Shire transferred me to youth work. With the same problems.

Sorry about the formatting. My iPad WordPress app is contrary.

rom https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/healthreport/environmental-health-in-the-kimberley/11779592

Environmental health in the Kimberley

On Health Report with Dr Norman Swan

A study in the Kimberley in Western Australia has found that the environment in Aboriginal communities explains a high percentage of hospital admissions and many millions of dollars in costs.

These same environmental factors increase the incidence and severity of over 40 diseases and are likely to explain a proportion of the gap in life expectancy and wellness between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians.

The study was driven by Nirrumbuk, the Kimberley’s Aboriginal owned environmental health enterprise.

Guests:

Ray Christophers
CEO, Nirrumbuk Environmental Health & Services

Chicky Clements

Field Support Officer, Nirrumbuk Environmental Health & Services

Host:

Dr Norman Swan

Producer:

James Bullen

Transcript:

Further Information

Nessity

Reading a pretentious piece about the essence of beingness caused me to ponder the proclivity of people to coin -ness words when an established alternative already exists. In this case, being.

The best example is the extremely annoying wellness used instead of health. It was adopted so very wholeheartedly by my Ministry of Health colleagues. It was woofully defined as the holistically based ongoing healthcareness of the patient rather than treatment of symptoms, enabling upward mobilisation of completeness of being, encompassing the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-beingness and feeling aliveness of not just the patient, but his grandparents. Or some such bullshit. God, how they played with words instead of getting on with it.

I was incensed when Waitemata Health introduced an alternative medicine clinic and employed a real doctor to oversee it. I offered him a copy of Snake Oil Science but he refused to read it, because, he said, the title demonstrated the author was prejudiced before he even began. Alternative medicine should be approached with an open mind. Ummm, yes. With science also.

I wrote a satirical piece for the staff newsletter about how the hospital would be saving money on anaesthetic and painkillers by painting the surgical wards green. Crystals would be hung in the waiting rooms so that at least a third of the patients would feel better and just go home. Surprisingly, the CEO liked it. I think maybe he thought the ideas might work.

But I digress.

Some people casually dismiss the importantness of the problem I don’t. I believe the seriocity of the risk to our language is very real.

Both #ness and +ity form abstract nouns from adjectives. #Ness is a neutral suffix which has no effect on the stress of the word; while +ity is a posttonic suffix which causes stress on the preceding syllable.

I found myself delving further into the -ness –ity issue. There are legitimate alternatives – for example capaciousness and capacity – but they have evolved subtle differences in meaning.

Ableness/ability. Let’s not go there.

In fact, having got this far. Let’s not proceed any further. I’ve made my frustrationicity plain.

Besides, in all honestness, I’ve forgotten where I was going with this.

Fewmets

I was trying to write an ode to coffee.

It did not work.

At the end of the second line I paused to think. I finally scrapped the idea after the word ‘few’.

While thinking I glanced at the auto suggest offering by my iPad. Fewmets. A word I met first when I was thirteen, reading The Sword in the Stone by T H White. Not really a word in common usage. How on earth did that get into the iPad lexicon?

Also known as theine, mateine, guaranine, or methyltheobromine, we know it best as caffeine. It coincidentally does have an association with fewmets via the famed Kopi Luwak .

Not with a Bang, Nor with a Whimper

https://www.thedailybeast.com/get-ready-for-more-coronavirus-nightmares-thanks-to-climate-change

Not with a bang, nor with a whimper

But a sneeze, Mr Eliot

Or gushing bowels, or vomit

Or blood from every aperture

With our children asking “Why?”

That changes the day’s mood somewhat.

The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot

Mistah Kurtz-he dead
            A penny for the Old Guy

I

    We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats’ feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar

    Shape without form, shade without colour,
    Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

    Those who have crossed
    With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
    Remember us-if at all-not as lost
    Violent souls, but only
    As the hollow men
    The stuffed men.

II

    Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
    In death’s dream kingdom
    These do not appear:
    There, the eyes are
    Sunlight on a broken column
    There, is a tree swinging
    And voices are
    In the wind’s singing
    More distant and more solemn
    Than a fading star.

    Let me be no nearer
    In death’s dream kingdom
    Let me also wear
    Such deliberate disguises
    Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
    In a field
    Behaving as the wind behaves
    No nearer-

    Not that final meeting
    In the twilight kingdom

III

    This is the dead land
    This is cactus land
    Here the stone images
    Are raised, here they receive
    The supplication of a dead man’s hand
    Under the twinkle of a fading star.

    Is it like this
    In death’s other kingdom
    Waking alone
    At the hour when we are
    Trembling with tenderness
    Lips that would kiss
    Form prayers to broken stone.

IV

    The eyes are not here
    There are no eyes here
    In this valley of dying stars
    In this hollow valley
    This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

    In this last of meeting places
    We grope together
    And avoid speech
    Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

    Sightless, unless
    The eyes reappear
    As the perpetual star
    Multifoliate rose
    Of death’s twilight kingdom
    The hope only
    Of empty men.

V

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.


Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Picture

Picture

Picture

Picture

Sociology

OPINION

Climate change splits the public into six groups. Understanding them is key to future action

ABC Radio National By Rebecca Huntley for Big Ideas

Updated Wed at 10:14am

A young girl holds a sign that says "stop gambling with our future" during a climate change rally.

PHOTO: We must create a chorus of different communities demanding a viable future. (Getty: Mark Evans)RELATED STORY: I debunked undying climate change myths so you don’t have toRELATED STORY: The two climate change conversations we need to have at the same timeRELATED STORY: As Australia burns, Scott Morrison is rattling off an alibiRELATED STORY: How to see through the climate change rhetoric: a pocket guide to the basics

In Australia there is now widespread public acceptance of the reality of climate change; we seem to see its effects almost hourly.

But the electorate still votes for political parties with environment policies that I would call recalcitrant, and with significant groups of climate deniers in their ranks.

The issue of climate change has become a battle of ideologies, values and worldviews, something that has become much more pronounced in the last decade thanks to our political class and to parts of the media.

Knowing what we know about human beings, our psychological and evolutionary makeup, there’s no evidence that these divisions are going to be broken down by more scientific evidence or just the passage of time — not that we have much time to spare.

And we should not assume that as climate change becomes worse, these divisions will start to heal.

For these reasons, I have long been keen to understand the ways people respond to climate change — and the language we need to use to convince people to take action.

Six groups of people

Dr Rebecca Huntley.

PHOTO: I have spent the past 15 years listening to Australians talk about climate change. (Supplied: Rebecca Huntley)

Last year I spent time with researchers at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, which has conducted countless scientific studies on public opinion and behaviour around climate change.

Much of what they do is informed by the Six Americas study, a segmentation first conducted in 2009.

It measures the American public’s climate change beliefs, attitudes, risk perceptions, motivations, values, policy preferences, behaviours — including voting patterns and media consumption — and underlying barriers to action.

It groups the public into six different segments, varying in size and well differentiated in terms of their attitudes to climate change and their views about action.

  • The Alarmed: This group is fully convinced of the reality and seriousness of climate change and already taking individual, consumer, and political action to address it.
  • The Concerned: This group is also convinced that the globe is warming and that it’s a serious problem, but have not yet engaged with the issue personally, including not always voting for political parties with strong climate policies.
  • The Cautiousthe Disengaged and the Doubtful: These groups represent different stages of understanding and acceptance of the problem. None are actively involved.
  • The Dismissive: This group is very sure that climate change is not happening, and often actively involved as opponents of a national effort to reduce emissions. Some of them are in significant positions of power in government, industry and the media.
A chart showing six segments of the American public and how much they support climate change action.

INFOGRAPHIC: The public is grouped into six segments depending on their attitudes to climate change and their views about action. (Supplied: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication)

As someone who has spent about 15 years listening to Australians talk about climate change, this approach immediately resonated with me. It made sense.

The qualitative research I’ve done has revealed the extent to which attitudes about climate are informed not by an understanding of science, but by world views, values, political identification, social and cultural conditioning and gender identity.

Shifting segments

As I contemplated this Six Americas study, the mammoth task of the climate change movement was taking shape in my mind.

We need to increase the Alarmed cohort, absolutely no doubt.

But we also need to develop and hone their skills of talking to others not of the same mindset.

And we need to provide social and emotional support as many of them — many of us — struggle with feelings of grief, dread and burning anger about what’s happening to the planet and the response of many of our political leaders.How spending $200 a year could help prevent climate change
On average, Australians are willing to chip in an extra $200 a year to prevent climate change. It turns out that money could go a long way.

We need to shift more of the Concerned group into the Alarmed group.

We need to find a way to convince the Cautious that urgent action is necessary.

This, very difficultly, often requires language that isn’t fraught with tones of crisis. More on this in a moment.

We need to engage the Disengaged — probably the hardest task of all, because it requires us to rebuild their faith that our democratic institutions are capable and willing to do something about it.

And finally — in my opinion, and I say this with no trepidation whatsoever — we need to drive the Dismissive group out of positions of power in our government, stop the flow of their donations into our political parties, and find smarter ways to engage with them in the media, including social media.

What underpins our response to climate change?

There is an Australian version of the Six Americas study, led by Donald W Hine from the University of New England.

It took a similar approach and came up with five groups — which echo the Yale segments but without the Disengaged.

It was conducted in 2013 — a relatively long time ago given all that’s happened since — but remains highly valuable because it takes into account a broader range of cognitive and emotional factors that underpin human responses to climate change.

These include:

  • How close do people feel to climate change effects?
  • Do they see local manifestations or not, and do they identify them as being connected to climate change?
  • Do they feel an emotional connection to nature?
  • How much do they trust climate change authorities or authorities in general?
  • How much do their self-reported feelings of shame, guilt, anger and fear condition them to respond in certain ways to the climate change issue and remain open or closed to solutions?

These are now the questions I ask myself in the process of developing, conducting and analysing any research on climate change.How climate change has impacted the world since your childhood
Global warming is already changing the world before our eyes — let’s see what has happened in your lifetime.

Language matters

I’ve also spent a lot of time wondering about the efficacy of the language around climate change, around emergency, crisis and urgency.

The facts of climate change and the need for rapid response absolutely merit these terms.

To not use them seems to be more than a sin of omission but an outright lie to the public about the scale of the threat and what’s at stake.

Those in the Alarmed group feel more than comfortable with this message.

Some of the Concerned group respond well to messages of urgency, and others not so well.

But the language of crisis and emergency can actually turn off those who are Disengaged and Cautious, and make them more critical of attempts to address climate change.

An Australian flag flutters in the wind in a dry landscape in country Australia.

PHOTO: The ABC’s Australia Talks survey found people in Queensland and the NT are more conservative on environmental issues. (Getty: Virginia Star)

These people can have a strong belief that the issue is overplayed by the media and “politicised”.

They dislike the gloom and doom tone of the debate, its remote and inaccessible language, and the fact they feel guilty and depressed when listening to climate change messages.

They rightfully question whether our political and business leaders have the capacity or the desire to ensure that any transition to an economy built on renewables doesn’t penalise already struggling groups in our society.

My research has taught me important lessons about climate change communication: be solution-focused and positive, understand the values of the people you are trying to convince, do not fuel division and conflict, and relate solutions to our sources of happiness and common concern.

The challenge is how to activate cooperative values rather than competitive values.

In my view, we must stress what we have in common: the desire for secure work, safe neighbourhoods, a good standard of living, security and happiness — whatever that might look like for different groups of people.

A transformative moment

We also need to find ways to shift those in the large Concerned segment into the Alarmed cohort.

A moment from my own recent past shows it is possible.

In December 2018 I woke up, made myself a cup of coffee and turned on the TV.

I saw hundreds of teenagers skipping school and protesting in the streets about climate change, with handmade signs that spanned from the serious and angry to the humorous and profane.

“There are no jobs on a dead planet.” “You’re burning our future.” And my favourite: “Why should we go to the school if you won’t listen to the educated?”

A group of young female students in school uniform hold signs calling for action on climate change.

PHOTO: After watching young people strike, I made a decision at that moment to put climate change at the heart of everything I do. (ABC News: Jedda Costa)

As I sat sipping my coffee, I thought to myself, “Good on those kids telling the powers that be, the older generation, that they need to do more about climate change.”

And then it hit me. At almost 50 years of age, I am part of that older generation, part of that generation with a platform and a voice some of these young people don’t have yet.

It was as if those teenagers were speaking to me.

In that moment something shifted inside me, a sensation hard to describe and yet I can recall it now with clarity. It actually felt physical. I felt like they were telling me to do something.

And so I made a decision at that moment to put climate change at the heart of everything I do: in my work, as a parent, as a consumer, as a citizen.

It’s a factor in every decision I make about the research jobs I will accept, about the energy that I will have in my house, about the transport that I will take, about the food that I will eat and about where I will invest my superannuation.Subscribe to the podcast
The best of talks, forums, debates and festivals, casting light on major social, cultural, scientific and political issues.

This transformative moment, the moment I tipped from concerned to genuinely alarmed, didn’t happen because I read an ICCP report or sat through a presentation from a climate scientist about CO2 levels.

I reacted to a crowd of children holding up signs in the streets, girls who were only a few years older than my eldest daughter. Suddenly it became very personal.

That I can make a contribution to this movement, probably the most important in our history, is such a relief to me and helps me manage the angst that overwhelms me from time to time in the night.

My first task is to understand how we maintain our optimism as we move deeper into a climate change-affected future.

I, we, can protest, change the terms of our super fund, install solar panels, and vote for parties with strong climate policies — or any climate policies, really.

Three large wind turbines against a country mountain backdrop.

PHOTO: We have to stop voting for parties who don’t have sufficient climate policies. (Getty: Martin Ollman)

But one of the most important things we can do is understand why other people feel the way they do about climate change, and learn to talk to them effectively.

What we need are thousands, millions, of everyday conversations about climate change.

That will help enlarge the ranks of the Concerned, engage the Disengaged and make the Cautious more convinced of the need for action.

This will then expose those who dismiss both the science and the solutions, the denialists — who are today a minority, albeit a powerful one — as what they are: out of step with the rest of us, determined to put our collective wellbeing and our way of life at risk.

We must not let their voices be the loudest in the public arena.

We must create a chorus of different communities united in asking, indeed demanding, that we act now to preserve a liveable world and a viable future.

This article is an edited extract of the MSSI Oration given by Rebecca Huntley at the University of Melbourne. It was recorded and broadcast by ABC RN’s Big Ideas program.

Dr Huntley is one of Australia’s foremost researchers on social trends. She is an adjunct senior lecturer at the School of Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales. She also presents The History Listen on RN each week.

Trajectory

Noteworthy

….. we have evolved massive creative brains, capable of planning and predicting the future, of invention and creativity, and this had helped us extract ourselves from many of the historical shackles of natural selection. We have externalized the stomach with the invention of cooking, so we don’t have to digest a whole range of chewy molecules, because they are already partly broken down by our unique control of elemental fire. We have bypassed many aspects of a life of nomadic sustenance, as well as hunting and gathering, by settling and domesticating all manner of beasts of the field and plants of the ground. This also has changed our culture, technology, and even our genes. We have radically eliminated diseases that scythed down ancient popu­lations with casual indifference — plagues, malarias, cancers, pesti­lence. Smallpox once killed hundreds of thousands every year. Since the 1980s, as a result of vaccination, there have been no cases of smallpox. Polio looks set to follow soon as a disease only of inter­est to historians. These sorts of evolutionary pressures have been radically altered as a result of invention and science and the tech­nology that has come about through our own evolutionary trajectory.

From: A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes
Author: Adam Rutherford
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Copyright 2016, 2017 by Adam Rutherford.

Trajectory is an interesting choice of word.