Anxious Kids

I’m reading a book called ‘Anxious Kids: How children can turn their anxiety into resilience’ by Michael Grose and Jodi Richardson (2019). I bought it for guidance on helping my grandchildren navigate the current COVID-19 pandemic and the changes to climate from global warming – not entirely unrelated concerns.

On the anxiety-calmness continuum I usually sit in the middle, but I can be triggered into a higher state of anxiety from time to time. My mind can be nudged or triggered to entertain negative thoughts and worst-case scenarios.

By my age most of us have had our share of anxiety-inducing circumstances and by one way or another I have managed to pull through most of them, not perfectly, but adequately. I still have a lot to learn and this book for anxious kids could be helpful, not only to my young grandchildren, but to me as well.

To help explain anxiety to young children (ages 5-12) the authors recommend a book by Karen Young, called Hey Warrior. I ordered it online and had it posted to my oldest granddaughter. The little Warrior character turns out to be our amygdala. Soon after reading it and learning how her amygdala operates to protect her, my granddaughter was inspired to create her own illustrated story to explain how anxiety feels to a 10 year old:

I especially like the image of the amygdala warrior (the anxiety friend) reduced to a puppet under our control when we remember to breathe deeply to restore our calm.

Kudzu Republic

Donald Trump was grudgingly accepted by the Republican Party in 2016 to eliminate the Democratic Party’s control on government just as the Kudzu vine was enlisted to combat soil erosion caused by relentless dust storms on the American prairies in the 1930s.

There are several similarities between Donald and Kudzu. Both outsiders, or in the ecology vernacular, exotics; Donald a notorious, unprincipled real estate baron from Manhattan, and Kudzu an ornamental creeping, twining plant from Japan.

Donald Trump has subverted traditional Republican principles and created a new party in his own image. Basically, he is a shameless outlaw with total disregard for the separation of powers of the three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial). While each branch is given specific powers so as to check and balance the other branches, Trump has glued them all together with the help of his mates Mitch McConnell (legislative) and Bill Barr (judiciary). Together they have hijacked the republican party and are steering America into dangerous, lawless territory.

The damage Kudzu can do to American ecosystems is well documented. Congress listed Kudzu as a Federal Noxious Weed in 1998. Kudzu grows rapidly, 30 cms per day, with mature vines extending 30 metres. It out-competes and smothers native vegetation and tree crops by shading them from the sunlight they need to photosynthesise. Cascading effects can be observed throughout an ecosystem as insects and animals that adapted alongside these plants are also lost and biodiversity is compromised.

Trump’s reality-TV-presidency has allowed the world to witness the damage he is doing to American citizens.  His apathy, neglect, ignorance, lawlessness, dishonesty, incompetence and divisiveness are threatening America’s greatness. It’s ironic that his 2016 campaign battle cry was ‘Make America Great Again’. 

Trump’s lack of leadership throughout the global Covid-19 pandemic is endangering American lives and delaying economic recovery. He mostly focuses on stock market indices to spin his tale of how well he believes the economy is going because he has a huge personal stock market portfolio; but economy-wide indicators of economic activity show that USA is officially in recession and the unemployment rate has approximately tripled before declining recently. Any way you want to look at it, the US economy has shrunk under Trump’s “leadership”.

The rules of engagement in this Kudzu Republic of USA have been styled on the Banana Republic playbook in which the most senior government officials coerce other officials to wage personal vendettas against political enemies and to ensure their corrupt friends are given impunity.

As once magnificent trees fall prey to the relentless onslaught of the Kudzu vine and eventually become unrecognisable, the once sacred Rule of Law is becoming unrecognisable. ….

Swedish Death Cleaning

You don’t have to be dying to want to sort out the stuff that will inevitably have to be thrown out, sold off, or given away when you die. Margareta Magnusson has written a book on “the gentle art of Swedish death cleaning”, with practical lessons on how to deal with your earthly possessions. Some things of value that you no longer need can be given away now, especially if you are downsizing to a smaller living space or you are too old to wear or use the thing.

The Covid-19 lockdown is an excellent opportunity to get your house in order, to discuss with your children and grandchildren if they are interested in having any of your possessions now or in the future. Don’t be surprised if they don’t want any of it. But if there is something special they would like one day, then make a list so all members of the family know what will end up where. If there are going to be fights over who gets what then have them now, not when you are our of the picture and can’t referee. Contentious items can be sold and the proceeds can be shared equitably.

We are not burdened with the need to own lots of things, so there won’t be much of a material nature to divvi up. Still, we are collectors and our collections will have to be dispersed eventually. I don’t have to decide about my collection of knitting yarns and every manner of craft-like item and tool. They can go straight to charities and randomly find new homes. My husband’s huge Jazz collection is another matter entirely.

Along with its personal value the Jazz collection has significant market value. During the 30’s through to the 60’s, artists like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and John Coltrane delivered the best in modern jazz. Blue Note, Verve and Prestige were prominent record labels. This very special collection has become important to me if only because it is very important to him. To honour him it would have to go to the right home. He would have to choose it, not me, not the children. And so he made the call. Upon his death the entire collection will be donated to the Jazzworks Music Institute in Brisbane.

Make decisions about your possessions NOW, not on your death bed. Your family will be distraught enough when you die, don’t make it harder for them.

A heat pump solution

Showers powered by the sun are delightful and the energy cost savings are significant. Sadly, our roof-mounted solar hot water system must come down. While the body corporate has not passed a by-law to prevent the installation of solar hot water systems, our motion to ratify our installed system was unsuccessful. At an extraordinary general meeting for which we had to pay ($1445), the vote was close, 9 in favour and 9 against. With no clear majority in favour, we now have to uninstall it or embark on a dubious, long and uncertain journey of seeking support from the office of the Commissioner of Body Corporate and Community Management, arguing that the decision was unreasonable and should be vacated (overturned).

In honour of the democratic process we plan to let the decision rest.  In these uncertain times when all of our waking moments are dominated by Covid-19, we don’t wish to add further angst to any of our neighbours. We need to pull together and focus on the solutions that will end this pandemic as soon as possible.

Fortunately, the solar hot water system has found a new home. Our elder daughter and her family will soon have it installed on their roof, among their score of panels already harnessing the energy from Queensland’s super-powered sunshine.

Every other townhouse and unit in our complex has gas hot water systems and gas cookers on their stove tops. We refuse to go back to gas. We want to ride the renewable energy wave. Luckily for us there are two types of hybrid hot water systems that use the Sun’s heat source. Heat pump technology is the second type. It doesn’t deliver quite as much savings on energy bills as solar but it comes close.

Heat pumps rely on atmospheric heat. A compressor liquifies refrigerant to heat the water. The refrigerant R134a in the Hydrotherm heat pump has a global warming potential (GWP) of 1300. It belongs to the hydrofluorocarbons (HCF) family of refrigerants in contrast to the chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) families known to deplete the ozone layer.  However, R134a’s relatively high GWP is concerning from a climate change perspective.

While not ideal, the heat pump is a renewable energy compromise for homeowners saddled with body corporate constraints. No common property is violated. No roof line is defiled. No body corporate approval is required. Compared to the 90% reduction to hot water bills from solar, the 70% reduction from atmospheric heat is adequate. In addition to these savings, the Queensland Government offers generous rebates on heat pumps because of their reliance on renewable energy.

So what is Australia’s Climate Policy?

We have failed the 1.5C challenge, an aspirational global warming target suggested in 2008 by vulnerable countries in the Alliance of Small Island States and subsequently adopted by the 2015 Paris agreement.  What hope do we have now? In the words of Ross Garnaut, a distinguished Australian Economist, “the best that we can hope for is holding global increases to around 1.75C” and even that will only be attainable “if the world moves decisively towards zero net emissions by the middle of the century”.  While he believes Australia is well placed to reap the rewards from immersion into a zero-carbon world it will need a different policy framework. (The Conversation, November 5, 2019)

The two key cost-effective mitigation (avoiding emissions) strategies are:
1. Carbon tax
2. Emissions trading

Both of them are a form of carbon pricing. With a carbon tax, the price is set and the market is left to determine the level of emissions. In the second one, government sets the magnitude of emissions and the market determines the price.  William Nordhaus, Yale Economist and Nobel Prize winner, introduced carbon pricing as a cost-effective tool to stabilise global climate back in 1977.

Carbon emissions have a social cost that is not reflected in the market price for energy. For an efficient allocation of resources all costs need to be considered. The social cost of carbon emissions is the marginal increase in the present value of future economic damages (such as floods, rising sea levels, heatwaves, damage to crops, poor health and altered ecosystem services) resulting from a marginal increase (usually 1 tonne) in carbon emissions.  (Tietenberg and Lewis, 2018, p.54)

The World Bank reports that today there are around 40 countries and 20 cities, states and provinces that have adopted carbon pricing mechanisms. Combined, these carbon pricing schemes cover about half of their emissions, representing 13 % of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. 

Despite a general global consensus that carbon pricing is the single most effective mitigation instrument, Australia got rid of theirs after trying it for only two consecutive years. The Clean Energy Act 2011, introduced by the Gillard Labor Government, created an emissions trading scheme covering about 60% of Australia’s carbon emissions. It was administered by the Clean Energy Regulator for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 financial years and subsequently repealed, a victim of politics. The Abbot Liberal Government replaced it with an Emissions Reduction Fund in 2014.

Today, as bush fires ravage the eastern coastline of Australia with unprecedented fury, the inertia and confusions of the Morrison Liberal Government toward climate change do not bode well for an effective policy being introduced anytime soon. Carbon pricing remains a contentious issue in Australia. After all we are the world’s biggest exporter of coal.

So what is Australia’s Climate Policy? We are now left with a dizzying array of schemes.  

The centrepiece of Australia’s climate change policies is the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) which provides incentives for eligible emissions reduction activities. Individuals and organisations taking part can earn Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs). For each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e) stored or avoided by a project, one ACCU is earned. ACCUs can be sold to generate income, either to the Government through a carbon abatement contract, or on the secondary market.​ With more than 12 million ACCUs generated in the 2016–17 financial year, the Fund is one of the world’s largest domestic carbon offset markets.

We also have a Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the electricity sector and encourage electricity generation from sustainable and renewable sources. The scheme encourages investment in new large-scale renewable power stations and the installation of new small-scale systems, such as solar photovoltaic and hot water systems in households. ​

RET and ERF are administered by the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) which also takes responsibility for the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme and the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units.  The CER has recently launched Australia’s inaugural Quarterly Carbon Market Report (Quarter 3, 2019) boasting the substantial contribution that RET and ERF schemes make to reducing emissions in Australia. In 2019 at least 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e) abatement was delivered, compared to 12 million tonnes in 2011. In Quarter 3 of 2019 alone these carbon markets accounted for over 13 million tCO2 -e of carbon abatement.

The National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP) agreed by The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council consists of a package of measures designed to improve Australia’s energy productivity by 40% between 2015 and 2030. As an example of the types of measures, in the NEPP for businesses and transport sectors voluntary action is facilitated by providing information on websites and finance from grant programs, the ERF and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).  The NEPP 2018 annual report acknowledged that this facilitation approach has not provided sufficient incentive to reach the full potential for cost effective-energy productivity in these sectors. 

Research and development grants, demonstration and deployment for clean energy innovation are available from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) whose purpose is to accelerate the transition to renewable energy that’s affordable and reliable. Seed funding for emerging technology is provided by CEFC and ARENA.  Renewable energy storage projects to help stabilise a renewables-powered grid (such as batteries and pumped hydro) were among the technologies supported by ARENA in 2017-18.

If an organisation, product, service, event, precinct or building can meet all the requirements of the National Carbon Offset Standard, they can be certified as carbon neutral. Some of the benefits of certification include energy and cost savings and an enhanced image of corporate social responsibility which could give them a competitive edge as a leader in the move towards a low carbon economy.

The Solar Communities program provides funding up to $12,000 for community organisations in selected regions to install rooftop solar panels, solar hot water and solar-connected battery systems for community-owned buildings.  In consultation with the Department of Environment and Energy, the $5 million program is being delivered by AusIndustry Grants Hub

You can avail yourself of these various incentive programs (if you can find them on the websites of the relevant government departments). The choice is up to you, but you’ll have to be determined to find the one best suited to your household, business or community before the funding runs out. The Liberal Government has replaced the “stick” of carbon pricing with the “carrot” of incentives. The burden of climate policy implementation is left to the people.

Unbearable heat, vicious fires, relentless droughts and super-charged cyclones are already impacting our way of life and well-being.  While Government deliberates on its climate policy framework, adaptation strategies must now go hand in hand with mitigation.

References

Nordhaus, W.D.  (1977) Economic Growth and Climate: The Carbon Dioxide Problem, American Economic Review 67 (1), 341-346.

Tietenberg, T. & Lewis, L. (2018) Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, 11th ed. New York: Routledge

Ross Garnaut, The Conversation, Nov 5, 2019
https://theconversation.com/australia-could-fall-apart-under-climate-change-but-theres-a-way-to-avoid-it-126341
Ross Garnaut conducted the 2008 and 2011 climate reviews for the Rudd and Gillard governments. His book Superpower – Australia’s Low-Carbon Opportunity is now published by BlackInc with La Trobe University Press.

Resources:

Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, Funding
https://www.environment.gov.au/about-us/grants-funding

National Energy Productivity Plan
https://www.energy.gov.au/government-priorities/energy-productivity-and-energy-efficiency/national-energy-productivity-plan

Quarterly Carbon Market Report
http://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/DocumentAssets/Documents/Quarterly%20Carbon%20Market%20Report%20%E2%80%93%20September%20Quarter%202019.pdf

Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Annual Report
https://arena.gov.au/assets/2018/10/annual-report-17-18.pdf

ABC NEWS, 2030
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-01/is-australia-on-track-to-meet-its-paris-emissions-targets/10920500  Video by Four Corners, “Are we doing enough” can be accessed from this site.

Queensland Government initiatives
https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/climate/climate-change/response/initiatives-actions

The Right Time

Two firies died yesterday fighting bushfires as Australia suffered its second day this week of record breaking temperatures. Below is my brother David’s editorial piece.

The Right Time

The Prime Minister asserted now, in the death struggle to control devastating bushfires, was not the right time to discuss the potential impacts of climate change on weather and natural disasters. Where was the minimally adroit journalist to ask “so, when might be a good time ScoMo”? Why can’t the public, who he governs for, hear what he has to offer on the subject?

In the interests of respectful dialogue, let’s hear the story advanced by the ignorant right drones. I invite the government to produce and publish a paper clearly stating what the prevaricators believe and why they believe it. Please bring a copy to an open forum to discuss its merits in comparison to the weight of scientific opinion. (Remember how we used to respect the advances of science and empirical inquiry?)

Also bring a pencil to make draft corrections and a highlighter to mark those details that may require validation by a fact check service or reputable citations. Oh, and please bring evidence of the 10,000 hours you have invested in developing expertise in climate science.

This may not be the best time, in the heat of the moment as it were, but when might be that time? How about waiting until your pants are on fire, liar liar.

David Muscio

Resilience

Resilience is about coping with a new reality that’s beyond our control. It’s about finding strategies that help navigate the way ahead with a focus on the small things that are in your control. Often changing perspective may be the only positive course of action but it has the power to open the door to the possibilities of new beginnings and directions.

Whenever there are big changes like moving house, welcoming the first baby into the family, facing the traumas of misfortunes such as divorce, accidents, retrenchment, our resilience will determine how well we cope.  As parents we need to help our child develop a resilience to navigate the minefield of social engagement with other children, in the playground, class or on the internet, especially in the face of bullying.

Traumas, I’ve had a few but one stands out by far.  

It was Friday morning piano lessons before school. Seven year old Heidi was in with Mrs Smith and five year old Gemma, who had just finished her lesson, was waiting back in the car with me and loudly reading Dr Seuss, “Are you my Mother?”  We were a threesome, a team. We had been a single-parent household for 4 years, and had developed our own style of resilience following their father’s departure to the arms of another woman.  We had moved to a pretty coastal town on the south coast of NSW, a perfect place to raise two very young children and earn a bit of money teaching part-time at the local high school.

Off we went to school. I watched them dance through the school gate, blond pony tails swinging until they were out of site. I wouldn’t see them again until Sunday; their father would be driving the three hours from Sydney and doing the school pick up to take them to his place.

Weekends without them were lonely but it was December and I kept busy with preparations for my new full-time teaching job starting in January at a school on the northern outskirts of Sydney. On this particular weekend, their grandparents had arranged to drive them back home on the Sunday afternoon and spend a few days with us.   

When the phone rang at noon on Sunday, it was my distressed, sobbing mother.  Both girls had been in a serious road accident and were in hospital. They had been playing in a park at Doll’s Point with their father and had been hit by a car while crossing the road to an ice-cream van. They were taken by ambulance to Kogarah hospital, unconscious. The unimaginable was happening.  It wasn’t a nightmare, it was a horrible reality. I had to get to my precious children. I had barely enough wits left to devise a plan.

I phoned my friend Tricia to tell her about the accident and that I would be leaving very soon.  She immediately said “I’ll come too”.  We didn’t know how long we’d be gone, but she was confident her own family would be cared for – she had a good husband and good parents.

The long car trip was emotionally excruciating, and it wasn’t over once we arrived at the hospital. The girls weren’t there. They had been transferred to the Prince of Wales Children’s hospital in Randwick because Gemma was gravely injured and needed specialist care. Heidi had multiple injuries, a broken leg among them.

They had been separated.  Heidi was in a ward with other children and Gemma was in the intensive care unit in a deeply unconscious state. There were no predictions on when or if she would wake up. My beautiful little girl had the tell-tale bruising of a serious head injury. 

A few days later the nurses moved Gemma to be with her sister, in the hope that familiar voices could help her wake up. On the sixth day, while their father was visiting, she did.  When I entered the room I heard their father say, “Who’s that?” and Gemma’s sweet voice say “Mummy”.  Our hearts were brimming with joy.

By the end of the second week in hospital, having two broken little girls was my new reality. It was nearly Christmas and anyone who could go home was being discharged.  Their injuries were serious but I planned to do everything I could to restore their well-being and enjoyment of life.  

I am forever grateful to the key people who helped me cope and encouraged me forward.

My friend Tricia and her family gave me immediate practical support.  Bunked down on mattresses on the floor at her father-in-law’s home nearby the hospital, Tricia sheltered me through my terrifying fears and unbearable sadness that first night. Her caring presence helped me survive an overwhelming sense of grief. She walked through the darkness with me. I bonded with her for life.

My beloved parents lifted me up with their love and confidence in my inner strength. Their tireless help driving their injured granddaughters to and from school helped me tremendously in the early days of my new teaching appointment.

Many people sent us best wishes, many visited us in hospital. A boyfriend who I loved passionately but had recently split with in a very complicated way travelled from England. Our reunion was bittersweet.  He wanted to return to Australia and get back together again. I couldn’t promise how I would feel in the four months it would take to leave his current life. I had just come through my darkest hour, and I was somehow changed.  My priorities were different.  Romance was not one of them right now. But I was very grateful to him for his visit.  It was comforting to know that the girls and I had clearly been important to him.

Of course there is a lot more to this story than I am relating here, but my purpose is to inspire you to build your own style of resilience, to join clubs or develop new routines that lead to friendships with people you could reach out to in times of trauma.  When the unexpected happens, seek the practical support from others to help you cope and adapt. Don’t try to go it alone.

Below are some helpful links for building resilience

https://positivepsychology.com/resilience-in-children/ https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/resilience-training/in-depth/resilience/art-20046311

We’re out of gas

In the New York Times Bestseller Drawdown: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming edited by Paul Hawken, I learned that heating water for showers, laundry and washing up accounts for a staggering quarter of residential energy use worldwide.  This prompted me to resume our efforts to replace our existing gas hot water system with one powered by the sun.

Solar water heating is “one of the most effective technologies to convert solar energy into thermal energy” Drawdown, p.36. In Post-WWII cheap energy squeezed out the solar hot water industry in USA, but it was embraced by Japan, Australia, Israel and parts of South Africa.  Today, 90% of homes in Israel and Cyprus have solar water heaters, thanks in part to them being mandatory since the 1980s. China too now has widespread use of solar water heaters, boasting more than 70% of the world’s capacity.

We originally planned to install a split system with the 270 Litre tank placed exactly where the old gas tank sat, but it’s illegal to have the tank too close to the original gas line. We were out by millimetres.  Not to be deterred, we decided on a single panel and tank (200L) combo on the roof. The total cost was $4,665, but thankfully we get $945 solar credits (a rebate from the government under the Renewable Energy Scheme).  This leaves us with an upfront cost of $3,720, and we can look forward to returns on this investment in the near future.

The solar panel will need to be pitch framed to achieve the right angle to optimise the energy from the sun.  Not aesthetically desirable, but at least it will sit toward the back of the townhouse.  Lucky for us, changes were made to the Building Act 1975 in 2010 which remove restrictions by body corporate Covenants prohibiting the use of particular energy saving features on the grounds of visual appeal of a residential estate. Our body corporate is clearly ignorant of this change because when we first requested permission to install a solar hot water system last year, they said NO. Our research into the building codes of Queensland paid off. “No” is no longer an acceptable answer.

We are Origin Energy customers who have recently signed up for a 100% green energy plan. Getting rid of the gas hot water system was stage 2 of getting out of fossil fuels – natural gas, like coal and crude oil, is formed from the buried remains of animals and plants that lived millions of years ago. Our recent Origin gas bill for hot water and a gas stovetop cooker combined was $684 pa, almost 50% of our total annual energy expense.  A major portion of the gas bill is an overhead expense for having the gas line connected.

Gas is a non-renewable resource, and an over-use of it in the past has led to the new technology of Fracking. Hydraulic fracturing of deep shale deposits by a process of horizontal drilling requires large quantities of high pressure water, sand and chemicals. Groundwater will be depleted. Fracking chemicals will leak into the groundwater and pollute the atmosphere.  Methane from the gas, a major contributor to climate change, can also leak into the atmosphere. If Origin Energy proceeds with their plans to frack gas in the Aboriginal communities across the Northern Territory we will have to look around for another energy provider.  

Gas, fracked or otherwise sourced, needs to be phased out along with other fossil fuels if our climate change odyssey is to change direction anytime soon.

For an interesting information sheet on natural gas visit https://www.eia.gov/kids/energy-sources/natural-gas/

A pipe’s cruel legacy

Grandpa loved his pipe. Though it smelt like tomcat piss Sir Water Raleigh was his weed of choice.  Grandpa was a professor and loved to smoke in the privacy of his study while he read, researched and thought great thoughts, mostly early in the mornings along with coffee.

Seduced by the euphoric powers of his pipe Grandpa continued to smoke until the day his dental hygienist noticed something sinister in the back of his mouth. That very afternoon sitting in a specialists’ observation chair a large chunk of flesh, including that little flapper that hangs from the top, was whisked into a specimen jar. The first instalment of smoking’s cruel legacy had arrived. 

I suspect the pipe wasn’t the only culprit. As a child, Grandpa was subjected to relentless second-hand smoke.  In the house and in the car both his parents constantly smoked cigarettes with windows and doors firmly shut. It was cool to smoke back then and very little was known about the risks.

The second instalment came a few years later when cancer appeared on the roof of his mouth. This required a gruesome operation requiring a flap (including an artery) taken from his forearm and grafted into his mouth.

To this day, 12 years after he quit cold-turkey, Grandpa still loves the smell of a smoking deck. Amazing modern medicine and fierce determination to stay away from his pipe has kept him alive. Sadly this was not the case for his younger sister who chose to smoke herself to a torturous death in her early sixties, much to the frustration and anguish of loving daughters, grandchildren and husband.

…………………

The third instalment arrived a few days ago when Grandpa had a large tumour scraped out of his bladder. It was an intricate, delicate procedure that involved breaking down the tumour and bringing it out via that tiny tunnel through the penis.

The results arrived late on Monday. The good doctor called that evening after he had the chance to review them. In summary, the tumour removed from the bladder is one of a diverse group of cancers, and it is invasive.  Chemotherapy and maybe radiation will be required. It was not clear whether the cancer had invaded muscle in the bladder. That would be bad.

The doctor wants to research the results further and discuss them with his oncology colleagues. He will get back to us as soon as possible.

Grandpa is a much loved man. Not only by his immediate family, but by pretty much everyone who knows him.  His family will support him through this. He gives us strength and courage. His interpretation of the news is that it’s not negative, it’s cloudy.  So on we go, doing the things we do, shuffling our priorities to account for this new information.

Environmental worldviews

Human-centred Vs Stewardship Worldviews

My environmental worldview aligns with stewardship. Many resources are finite and shouldn’t be wasted, humans have a responsibility (duty of care) to leave the earth in a condition similar to how they found it because earth and its resources are on loan from future generations. This requires finding sustainable ways of improving our quality of life without negatively affecting the ability of future generations to achieve their needs. It is a future-focused world view.

In contrast a human-centred worldview holds that natural resources are for their benefit alone. The value of Earth and other species is based on how useful they are to humans. Success for people who hold this view is measured in terms of their ability to control nature to meet their needs and wants. All economic growth is deemed good and the potential for it to continue is almost unlimited.  Long-term costs due to environmental damage are disregarded. It is a short-term view emphasising profits and short-term efficiency.

Differing environmental worldviews are at the heart of the climate change debate raging today. 97% of scientists state that lowering greenhouse gas emissions is critical to the mitigation of human-induced climate change. What you do with this information, what ideological stance you adopt, what behaviours you reassess, what action you take, what political party you vote for, will reflect your environmental world view.

It is no surprise that many people are confused.  I have often heard people say “I don’t believe in climate change”.  Scott Morrison, Australia’s Prime Minister, is a major reason for the confusion. When school students strike for climate change, he tells them to go back to school and don’t be so anxious. Anybody in the older generation (who hasn’t been involved in life-long learning) would be forgiven for thinking that there was nothing to worry about and that in all clear conscience they can go back to their lives and resume business as usual.

Australian schools have an excellent Geography curriculum.  Geography students are learning about climate change and they would be delighted to sit down with parents and grandparents to share their knowledge. If you are a fence sitter on the climate change debate I recommend you get a hold of a year 10 Geography textbook such as Pearson Geography 10 (ISBN:9781442553903). You will learn about places and people and how they interact with the biophysical environment.  If learning a bit more about geography excites you and broadens your mind you will be able to decide what side of the fence you truly belong.