The Trouble With Consensus Is … We Don’t Do It Enough

Co-founder of the Victorian Greens Facilitators Network, Jim Buckell, responds to Sarah Maddison

In her interview with Clare Ozich in Green Agenda, Sarah Maddison puts consensus decision making under the spotlight. In doing so, she perpetuates some common myths: it’s too slow; makes for bad decisions; marginalises dissent. Then she advances a new one (to me anyway): it can apparently be impossibly difficult to review or overturn an old consensus decision.

I’m certain these pitfalls are not systemic. They don’t arise because consensus is a flawed concept. These myths take hold because so few of us see consensus practised well, including Sarah Maddison I suspect. Groups take all manner of shortcuts or press to a vote because of time constraints. Continue reading →

Forests Not Woodlots

This article was written in response to Rosemary Beaumont’s article: It is Everyone’s Forest

Rosemary Beaumont’s article is timely. The Great Southern Forest is part of a larger picture which will see the fate of over 6 million hectares of Australia’s most loved native forests decided between now and 2021. Either they will be handed to the logging industry for another 20 years, effectively to become woodlots, or the federal government will resume environmental oversight and give the forests a chance. Continue reading →

Towards a four-day work week

We started the company, two of us in a room, working five eight-hour days, and late if we had to: the same hours we were used to at the advertising agency we’d just left, scrounging for work, taking what we could get.

Little by little we got better at what we did, and after two or three years we’d improved our skills and our processes, grown to five people, and we were in a position to do something with that productivity. So we started taking Fridays off. Continue reading →

The End of Coal: Transition

The Green Institute has published a collated paper on The End of Coal. The essays in the paper argue that not only that change is coming, but also that, if we embrace and accelerate that change, it brings with it tremendous opportunities to build a better, fairer democracy, economy and society.

In our second piece publishing extracts from the paper, Green Agenda is pleased to publish two different perspectives on the transition from coal for  communities and workers and the opportunities provided for economic renewal.

The first essay is from Amanda Cahill reflecting on her experiences working with communities facing the end of coal. The second is from Drew Hutton arguing for a different democracy to accompany a new economy.
Continue reading →

The End of Coal: Introduction

The Green Institute has published a collated paper on The End of Coal, asking the questions:  How should governments respond to coal’s rapid and terminal decline? Will governments and corporations act to protect people and the planet, or will they try to extract the last drops of profit from coal before it is left it behind?

The essays in the paper argue that not only that change is coming, but also that, if we embrace and accelerate that change, it brings with it tremendous opportunities to build a better, fairer democracy, economy and society.

Green Agenda is pleased to publish a selection of the essays collated in The End of Coal, starting with the Introduction by Green Institute Director, Tim Hollo.
Continue reading →

Green Ethics

An interview with Peter Singer

Peter Singer is one of Australia’s most influential and controversial public intellectuals. A moral philosopher and bioethicist, Peter is best known for his books Animal Liberation, a seminal text for the animal rights movement, and Practical Ethics, which explores why and how a living being’s interests should be valued.

In 1996 Peter and Bob Brown published The Greens, the first book published in Australia setting out the political philosophy, policy framework and history of the Greens as a political party. Both Bob and Peter stood as Greens candidates for the Senate in 1996, the year Bob was first elected to the Senate. 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 →