Confronting Advertising: the elephant in the bus shelter

This is an edited version of a presentation to the UNSW / Australian Earth Laws Alliance conference, Building the New Economy, Sydney, August 15. It is also the first stage in a larger research paper being prepared for the Green Institute. Comment, feedback and ideas are welcome.

——————————————————————————————

Confronting Advertising: The elephant in the bus shelter

Here is how Nancy Shaley, president of the Shaley Agency, describes her profession: “Advertising at its best is making people feel that, without their product, you’re a loser.” Continue reading →

World in Transition

The world is rapidly changing around us. It always has done. Change is one thing that is constant.

Although with global warming, rising sea levels, growing inequality, the digital revolution there is force behind the notion that we are living through a period of significant transition – both a time of fear and opportunity.

Transitions happen at a global, community and personal level. They can make the world, societies, the land and environment along with people healthier, happier and more sustainable. Or they can move us towards an ugly society and barren world.

A film festival occurring in Melbourne and Adelaide is dedicated to exploring the idea of transitions in the world through documentaries. Continue reading →

Art and Activism

Green Agenda is very pleased to be publishing the following speech Alex Kelly gave on 27 June 2015 to the 2970 Degrees conference held on the Gold Coast. 

Radically Re-Imagining the World as our Climate Changes

Good afternoon. It’s an honour to be here at such a dynamic event. And what a pleasure to be in such a beautiful and creative region of the country. Continue reading →

Response by Russell Edwards to “It’s the culture, stupid!”

Tim Hollo’s essay was a delight to find. What a relief to see such important truths voiced in a prominent arena. To point out that the cause of the ecological crisis is culture, not choices; that the crisis will only be averted by undermining and ultimately replacing the dominant culture; that making a tactical choice to endorse the existing culture, in any instance, harms the crucial long-term project of deep cultural change; that among the most damaging aspects of existing culture are its tendencies towards hyper-individualist self-maximising dominion; that this culture is actively created and maintained by those who benefit from it, by marketing and political messaging — these are insights that ecologically aware people commonly hold. But, especially in this era of so-called pragmatism, rarely are they set out explicitly and systematically, as Tim has done. Hopefully Tim’s essay can serve as a reminder for the green movement to step back from time to time and refocus on our underlying task. Continue reading →

Response by David Holyoake to “It’s the culture, stupid!”

While not a direct response to Tim’s essay, the following article from David Holyoake, from a new UK arts activist collective, Forever Swarm, explores similar themes from a UK perspective. The article was first published in Voices, Global Call for Climate Action 7 April 2015.

Arts and culture – the missing link to winning the climate fight  Continue reading →

It’s the culture, stupid!

Culture is a wonderful word, isn’t it? It’s one of those words which means different things to different people and in different contexts, from opera to the microbes that turn milk into yoghurt.

For our purposes, the relevant definition from the Oxford English Dictionary is “[t]he ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society”. American artistic activist Arlene Goldbard defines it more poetically as “the fabric of signs and symbols, customs and ceremonies, habitations, institutions, and much more that characterize and enable a specific human community to form and sustain itself.” Continue reading →

What does it mean to “change everything”?

Examining green values in the context of Naomi Klein’s call to action

It is the issue that will define a generation. Climate change has been at the forefront of green politics for decades and has over recent years dominated political discourse — making international headlines, toppling world leaders and consuming billions of dollars and huge political capital.

Despite all of this however it can feel as if we are getting nowhere. Despite recent international announcements, and shifts in the coal and renewable energy industries, keeping global warming to a safe(r) level seems to becoming increasingly difficult. Our political and business leaders continue to tinker around the edges while the planet burns.

Continue reading →

Why Green Agenda?

Welcome to Green Agenda, an online publishing project of the Green Institute, that aims to explore contemporary green politics and philosophy.

Green Agenda had its genesis in conversations about the broken state of political debate in this country. There is more, and must be more, to politics and public debate than repeating the ways in which any particular government is bad.

When as a society we are seeking to meet the challenges of our times, we need to do so by discussing and debating alternative ideas and thinking; weigh up different ways of seeing the world and different visions for what we want our community, nation, and planet to be.

Continue reading →