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My policy wishlist for Australia’s response to climate change

As of 2020, scientists estimate a remaining cumulative emissions budget of 400 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases measured in carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) to keep global average surface temperature within 1.5°C of preindustrial levels (Rogelj et al. 2019).[1]

Business-as-usual adds 40 GtCO2 to the atmosphere each year, using up our 1.5°C budget in 10 years. The budget estimated to correspond with a 2°C temperature rise is 1000 GtCO2, which is likely to have far more devastating consequences than already experienced at 1°C warming and at the 1.5°C warming we are hoping to keep within (IPCC (2018).

Annual emissions must reach net zero for the global climate to stop warming. If human activity can emulate natural carbon systems, removing more emissions from the atmosphere than we emit, we can begin to reverse this climate chaos. It takes time to reduce emissions. The UNEP Emissions Gap Report (2019) estimates that emissions reductions of at least 7.3% per year are required to keep warming within 1.5°C.

Comprehensive modelling of climate solutions indicates the diversity avenues for emissions reduction—from technological to behavioural—that are already available for implementation and are economically viable. Models show that climate solutions save more money than they cost (Hawken 2017).[2] Yet these solutions are not going to be implemented fast enough by market forces—they need to be facilitated and incentivised by the world’s leaders and governments.

These twelve proposals comprise my climate policy wishlist for Australia:

  1. Set targets to halve annual emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2040
  2. Re-focus the economy on improving human and planetary wellbeing rather than GDP growth
  3. Transition to net zero emissions energy sources
  4. Transition to net zero emissions construction and buildings
  5. Transition to net zero emissions manufacturing and consumption
  6. Transition to net zero emissions transport
  7. Protect, restore and manage of bushlands, forests, wildlife, biodiversity and ecosystems
  8. Transition to sustainable agriculture and farming
  9. Family planning programmes, empowerment of women and reduce inequality
  10. Incentivise the market toward net zero- emission production and consumption e.g. carbon tax
  11. Use Government contracts to incentivise shifts by giving preference to businesses committed to net zero emissions targets
  12. Education, research and implementation of the above and other climate solutions.

The overarching vision is of a transition to zero emission energy sources and electricity, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, consumption and land use.

To secure a sustainable future, decision-making at multiple levels must put the long-term wellbeing of people and the planet, before short-term monetary gains. It is pivotal that Government initiate, support and fund these changes.

Download Word file here for adaptation and submission to MPs.

1. Set targets to halve annual emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2040

Australia is a wealthy nation that can help lead the way to net zero emissions over the next three decades. We want our Government to commit to at least 7.3% annual emissions reductions across Australia’s production of direct emissions and consumption of indirect emissions. This could see us halve Australia’s annual emissions from 2020 levels by 2030, and riding on this success reach net zero emissions by 2040. The Government can facilitate and incentivise these changes in our production and consumption via the below suggestions.

2. Re-focus the economy on improving human and planetary wellbeing rather than GDP growth

GDP is a measure of income and spending. The inadequacies of GDP have been acknowledged since its initial design. GDP counts the bad as good (such as money spent on wars, oil spills and treating illnesses); it ignores many goods (such as parents caring for their own children and growing one’s own food); and assumes that GDP increases are shared by the entire population (while not distinguishing to whom the income and spending is distributed).[3] Economic growth is not intrinsically good. GDP growth is good growth if improves the wellbeing of people and the planet, and it is bad growth if it does not. Following New Zealand and Bhutan’s example, we want our Government to focus on a Happiness Index or Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) rather than GDP. We want national, state and local policies to be directed at the latter, aiming to maximise wellbeing at minimal economic and environmental costs.

3. Transition to net zero emissions energy sources

One key to a net zero emissions economy is the transition of energy sources from fossil fuels to renewable, net zero emissions energy sources. We want our Government to:

  • transfer fossil fuel subsidies to renewable energy subsidies
  • enable distributed “smart” power grids, such as networks of rooftop solar energy sharing where possible
  • fund publicly-owned solar and wind farms, onshore or offshore, methane digesters, and energy storage
  • cease putting public funding into outdated infrastructures such as building new coal plants
  • fund the re-training of fossil fuel workers to attain jobs in net zero emissions energy and other jobs in the net zero emissions economy
  • leave fossil fuel reserves left in the ground, prohibit the building of new coal mines.

If existing fossil fuel reserves are mined, sold and burned, it will put 2,500 GtCO2e into the atmosphere (Berners-Lee 2011: 175), increasing temperatures to such an extent that it would render all life on earth extinct. Therefore, countries and companies must be content to leave their reserves in the ground. There may be a demand overseas right now and continuing this export market may boost Australian tax income, but this demand is short-lived as renewable energy becomes cheaper than fossil fuels. We must put the long-term health of people and the planet before these short-term profits. Australia is a decade behind other countries yet with our sunshine and our ingenuity we can still be leaders in the new market for solar energy and battery storage.

4. Transition to net zero emissions construction and buildings

We want our Government to encourage the retrofitting of old buildings and to work with construction companies and researchers so that new buildings can be net zero emission both in the way they function and in the materials, technologies and processes used in their construction and maintenance. This includes through insulation, green roofs, smart glass, smart thermostats, alternative cement, recycling, etc.

5. Transition to net zero emissions manufacturing and consumption

While Australia does far less manufacturing than they used to (e.g. of white goods, fashion, cars, toys, etc.), we want our Government to encourage zero emission manufacturing (onshore and offshore) and reductions and changes in consumption, promoting what some call “sustainable materialism.” This means considering the full lifecycle of products, from the raw materials extracted from earth, to the electricity used to manufacture and transport products, to emissions involved in use and the after-life of the product (directing this toward re-use rather than landfill). Possible policies include:

  • outlaw built-in-obsolescence, incentivise the creation of long-lasting products that can be repaired rather than ending up in landfill (which wastes the emissions involved in the whole product lifecycle)
  • fund new jobs and businesses in product parts and repair, and innovations that reuse and repurpose goods
  • encourage thinking about and reporting on the whole product lifecycle from extraction of raw materials through the production process, use and after-life
  • support innovations in recycling of plastic and metals
  • support a shift to ecologically sustainable, long-lasting fashion, outlaw “fast fashion” and fabrics that put microplastic into the ocean when washed
  • provide infrastructure and training comprehensive recycling and composting
  • incentivise massive reductions in food waste at all stages of food production and consumption, including farms, households, restaurants and supermarkets
  • support the cultural shift to plant-rich diets
  • ban air-freighted food imports,[4] encourage locally-grown and self-grown produce
  • work with waste management and landfill companies, as well as building demolition and citizens to educate, fund and incentivise proper handling of refrigerants especially after use, the problems with leakage etc.
  • consider setting up an Ethical Manufacturing Agency of sorts that would fund guidelines, review and reporting of products imported to or made in Australia. This includes ensuring not only that organisations abide by the Modern Slavery Act but also that they meet basic sustainability requirements such as no built-in-obsolescence, design for repair (making parts readily available), and that they are working to align with net-zero emissions targets.

6. Transition to net zero emissions transport

We want our Government to support a transformation of transport such that:

  • encourage the availability of low-cost, net zero emission vehicles, e.g. by reducing import taxes, providing subsidies, etc.
  • build the infrastructure for electric vehicles, with solar- and wind-powered recharge stations
  • facilitate affordable, clean and easily-accessible mass transport, from improving the time and reducing prices of buses and trains to investing in electric high-speed rail (like in the Netherlands)
  • facilitate innovations in net zero emission fuel for airplanes
  • until this is achieved, encourage the reduction of carbon-intensive flights via a large flight tax, using this money to restore forests and fund other climate solutions.

7. Protect, restore and manage of bushlands, forests, wildlife, biodiversity and ecosystems

We want our Government to fund jobs that protect, restore and manage Australia’s bushlands, forests, wildlife, biodiversity and ecosystems. Australia’s Indigenous peoples have managed these lands for millennia, and the Government could seek their advice and employment in land management roles.

8. Transition to sustainable agriculture and farming

We want our Government to collaborate with livestock and agricultural farmers in developing net zero emissions agriculture. This includes:

  • increasing use of trees including encouraging use of silvopastures (forest pastures), growing tropical stables rather than normal staples (for example, more bananas, avocados, breadfruit, and legumes, over wheat, corn, rice and pulses) and tree intercropping
  • moving from extractive agrochemical industrial farming to regenerative agricultural practices, creating robust, complex communities of plants that have a higher carbon intake and healthier soil, reducing the need for pesticides and chemical fertilizers

This involves education, investment, changing business practice and changing cultures and food practices.

9. Family planning programmes, empowerment of women and reduce inequality

Stabilising humanity’s population growth is a pivotal element in reducing annual emissions. We can help by supporting programmes that empower women, educate girls, and alleviate poverty. This includes:

  • community-led family planning programmes
  • community-led education programmes
  • structural changes that enable greater equality within and between countries (e.g. relieve debt burdens, encourage self-sufficiency over cash cropping, etc.)
  • fund businesses working in local contexts with low-income people to improve cookstoves and support women smallholders.

10. Incentivise the market toward zero- emission production and consumption e.g. carbon tax

We want our Government to help mobilise a sustainable economy through market mechanisms such as a carbon tax, anti-trust laws and reducing inequality for a better functioning democracy. A carbon tax of US$70/tCO2 can reduce emissions by 10-40% in different countries (UNEP 2018: xxii). Leading scholars recommend a carbon tax of US$50/tCO2, with a plan to steadily increase it to US$400/tCO2 (Rockström et al. 2017). The business community welcomes the market predictability this would provide. Anti-trust law prevents monopolies, such as those we have allowed in our media. It is the role of Government to prevent monopolies as a basic condition for market economies to function. Inequality feeds a cycle of wealth-power-wealth and erodes democracy. Reducing inequality and seeking “complex equality” is one way to enable your own democratically-led decision-making.

11. Use Government contracts to incentivise shifts by giving preference to businesses committed to net zero emissions targets

We want our Government to use their contracts to shift the focus of businesses to long-term human and nonhuman wellbeing over short-term monetary gains.

12. Education, research and implementation of the above and other climate solutions.

We want our Government to increase funding for research and implementation of climate solutions. This includes:

  1. carbon sequestration that works with natural processes (e.g. biochar)
  2. careful and holistic approaches to geoengineering
  3. education programs for citizen and businesses on high impact avenues for emissions reductions (from LED lighting to water saving, household recycling, buying less, ridesharing, insulating houses, reducing use of heating/cooling, taking less flights, driving less or living car-free, using recycled paper at home and work, investing in rooftop solar, etc.)
  4. all other climate solutions.


Berners-Lee, Mike, How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything, Vancouver, Greystone Books, 2011.

Chancel, Lucas and Thomas Piketty. Carbon and Inequality: from Kyoto to Paris. Paris: Paris School of Economics, 2015.

Hawken, Paul, Drawdown: the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming, New York, Penguin, 2017.

IPCC. Global Warming of 1.5 °C: An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. United Nations International Panel on Climate Change, 2018.

Kubiszewski, Ida, Robert Costanza, Carol Franco, Philip Lawn, John Talberth, Tim Jackson and Camille Aylmer, “Beyond GDP: Measuring and achieving global genuine progress”, Ecological Economics, 93, (2013), 57-68.

Raworth, Kate, Doughnut economics: seven ways to think like a 21st-century economist, London, Random House Business Books, 2017.

Rockström, Johan, Owen Gaffney, Joeri Rogelj, Malte Meinshausen, Nebojsa Nakicenovic and Hans Schellnhuber, “A Roadmap for Rapid Decarbonization”, Science, 355, 6331, (2017), 1269-71.

Rogelj, Joeri, Piers M. Forster, Elmar Kriegler, Christopher J. Smith and Roland Séférian, “Estimating and tracking the remaining carbon budget for stringent climate targets”, Nature, 571, (2019), 335-42.

UNEP. The Emissions Gap Report 2018. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 2018.

——. Emissions Gap Report 2019. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme, 2019.

[1] These estimates, are in the 50-66% probability range, are adjusted for 2018 and 2019, and they include a provision of 100 GtCO2 projected to be released by melting permafrost.

[2] The total spending involved in implementing the top 80 solutions is estimated at $29,609 billion, while the total savings are $74,362 billion—this is to say, these solutions incur a net saving of $44,753 billion over the period 2020-30. Also see Project Drawdown’s website:

[3] For more on this see Kubiszewski et al. 2013; Raworth 2017.

[4] Shipping is 100 times more carbon efficient than air-freight, yet locally-grown, seasonal foods are even better (Berners-Lee 2011: 83).

Business leadership in climate change

I am consistently surprised by the initiative and leadership taken by businesses to address the climate crisis. Not all businesses obviously (e.g. ExxonMobil, the Koch brothers and the other vested interest that have funded climate denial movement and created vast climate confusion), but MANY businesses and business analysts, scholars and consultants are doing a extraordinarily better job than many governments have when it comes to taking the science seriously and responding accordingly.

As the urgent action to slow and reverse global warming became increasingly clear to me, and to so many others, my focus has turned to the ACTIONS in multiples spheres – individual, community, national, global; cultural, structural, lifestyle, psychological – to make vision an integrative path to sustainable futures (or, as process philosophers among others call it, a path from industrial civilisation into “ecological civilisation”). More on this later.

Today I just wish to share an accessible summary of climate change and its implications, a summary I wish I had many years ago. It has a business focus, a report published by Harvard Business School, and an appendix of graphs and references.

Climate Change in 2018: Implications for Business

Harvard Business School report by Rebecca M. Henderson, Sophus A. Reinert, Polina Dekhtyar and Amram Migdal

Abstract: “This note provides general information about climate change and its implications for business. Included is an overview of climate change science and a number of its impacts, including rising sea levels, changing weather patterns and extreme weather, pressure on water and food, political and security risks, human health risks, and impact on wildlife and ecosystems. Next, responses to climate change are outlined, including improvements in energy efficiency, moving away from fossil fuels, changes in land use and agriculture practices, and geoengineering. The note concludes with the debate over how much should be spent to mitigate and adapt to climate change, who should pay, and the implications for the private sector.”

Link to PDF:

Getting real: promising population stats & pending challenges

Hans Rosling gives an illuminating TedTalks presentation on one of my greatest ecological concerns: over-population.


Let each box = 1 billion people.

In 1960 it was relatively accurate to divide the world into the “First World” and “Third World”, the “rich” and the “poor”, the “developed world” and “developing world” or the Centre and Periphery.

In 1960 we were 3 billion people. The blue was the 1 billion at the top of the pyramid, dreaming of buying a car and a dishwasher. The green were the 2 billion at the bottom of the pyramid, saving for a pair of shoes and trying to feed their families.

In 50 years much has changed. 3 billion has turned into 7 billion. 4 more boxes have been added to the table.

Brazil, Russia, India, China, (the BRIC nations), are rising up. While the 1 billion blue affluent people now take planes to remote destinations for holidays, another green box of 1 billion people are buying cars, and 3 green boxes equating to 3 billion people are buying bicycles. We still have the 2 billion at the bottom looking for food, and saving for a pair of Havaianas. So an extra 4 billion in the middle mean a wider “gap” but that is filled in with a massive middle-class majority. Maybe we’d think of them as “Second World” or “semi-periphery” nations, or nations within nations seeing as the spread of income within nations also varies greatly.

So comes our familiar (and what I consider to be quite a horrifying) graph:

Now unless we want the whole world to look like the suburbs of Mumbai (no offense to my Indian friends who live there, but it really is a horribly over-populated loud dirty chaotic city), we can’t grow at this exponential rate forever…

Rosling gives a realistic picture:

Only 2 more boxes, 2 billion more people, bringing us up to a grand total of 9 billion. And I guess ideally, eventually, all those boxes are stacked on top of one another at the far right, enjoying their holidays all around the world.

Ho hum, and how is this, pray tell, going to come about?

Many, including Rosling, predict that the formula for a stabilizing population is to decrease poverty. A little family education for women and contraception availability (along with motivating men to wear it and Catholics to allow it) also helps. Apparently this is what the statistics say, loud and clear, so let’s go with it.

With poverty as it stands in 2010, with 2 billion at the bottom, by 2050 this 2 billion will be 4 – hence the 4 boxes on top of one another.

In order to stabilize population at 9 billion, these 4 billion people NEED to be out of absolute poverty – they need to be able to afford food and shoes, and be dreaming of bicycles and cars. If not by 2070 they’ll turn into 8 billion, bringing us up to 17 billion.

Following this line of thinking I see two questions that are imperative for anyone who doesn’t want to share the planet with another 16,999,999,999 people. These are:

  1. How are we going to ensure those 4 billion are in shoes and getting on bicycles by 2050?
  2. What can be done so that the 5 billion humans driving cars and flying planes don’t pollute the planet & exploit the non-renewables so much that all 9 billion don’t end up back at square one, scavenging off the left-overs from today’s greed?

Hm, tough questions, did I hear someone mention mining the moon and moving to Mars?

Brisbane’s Narrative Wreckage: Cataclysmic Interruptions and Redemptive Solutions

Content in living out your life: work, money, weekends, holidays, home, kids… and then something happens: a cataclysmic event changes everything.

Be it a sudden illness or a natural disaster like the flooding Brisbane is now facing, everything you know – everything you care about, everything you have dedicated your life to, everything you imagined for your future – can disappear in an instant.

As I write, Brisbane faces 12 people dead, 43 missing, 20,000 homes, and 3000 businesses under water. No words can convey my sorrow and empathy for all those whose lives have been upturned.

The events reminded me of an analogy I came across in my narratology studies. The analogy of a “Narrative Wreckage”.

Events like are described as an “ontological assault” that throws even the most ‘basic, underlying existential assumptions that people hold about themselves’ into disarray. [1]

I imagine many people living in Brisbane are presently feeling such pain, among the many physical ones.

Occurrences like this cause worlds to be “unmade” – one’s identity and thoughts about the future are thrown into sudden disarray.

One’s basic sense of time is destroyed. Storytelling takes a massive turn. One’s life-narrative must be reconstructed.

At points like this that the Buddhist philosophies of non-attachment show their value: the less attached you are to the things lost, the easier the loss is to deal with.

Even if attached to the things lost (which most of us are), the incoherence in your life narrative can still be repaired.

The repair, depending on the damage, will likely see the creation of a new narrative: one of renewal and redemption, one of hard work and incredible reward. I don’t know if in these situations it helps to consider “the hard road to the good life.”

In an article in the Journal of Happiness Studies, a collaborative group of narratologists write about ‘narrative variations on the good (American) life’ that describe:

‘a gifted (chosen) hero whose manifest destiny is to journey forth into a dangerous world in order to make it better (to redeem it), and who, sustained by deep (intrinsic) convictions, confronts many setbacks along the way, but learns from each of them, and continues to grow.’

The stories ‘celebrate personal growth and redemption stories’ while also affirming ‘the sense that one is special and destined for greatness, that the world is dangerous and in need of the protagonist’s reforming efforts, that the righteous protagonist should never conform but always trust his or her inner convictions, and that good things will come out of suffering, no matter what.’ [2]

This narrative is so familiar – in our literature, movies, religions and even in our daily stories – yet that doesn’t take away from it’s deep psychological value, nor the difficulty of the experience as it is being experienced. Hindsight is great.

Each of us may be an Average Joe yet through narrative we turn into heroic protagonists, setting out on our own quests and adventures, most likely with something narratlogists call a “generative” aim – leaving some kind of personal legacy, creating positive value for future generations, demonstrating the meaning of one’s life (be it lives created eg via making babies, or through lives touched eg through relationships). [3]

No doubt cataclysmic events like this change lives. It changes the future. You may even look back one day and be thankful for the path the cataclysm led you to.

As an observer of the cataclysmic trajectory humanity’s narrative seems to be heading, I hope it isn’t insensitive to think about what the Brisbane floods can teach us all?

Human induced global warming or not, our radical global population growth and unsustainable lifestyles indicate our collective narrative is near wreckage.

People may argue that our population will slow as people come out of poverty and women are educated, but where is the sign that either of these things will happen in the near future? The economic pyramid depends on the large base and a huge gap simply in order for the middle and top to move up and live better. The lifestyles of the rich rob the poor of their choices, and rob future generations of their resources. I am, in every aspect of my lifestyle, a cog in this system. While this system poses threat to the narratives of many individually, and collectively, the institutions and society we are born into is not easy to escape, and even harder to challenge.

At difficult times like the Brisbane floods we see the media, the government, the nation, and much of the world, unite in effort to help those in need. Our common humanity triumphs over the economic, cultural, religious, and ideological differences that so often tear as apart.

As we join together to restore the order, to help those in need get back on their feet, I am reminded that humans care. When we see others suffering, we know that it could be us in their place, so we treat those people how we hope they would treat us. Our more superficial aspirations may distract us at times but at the end of the day I think we each feel connected to everyone and everything that surrounds us and that we are a part of.

This gives me hope.

I hope we can find ways to repair the cataclysms that face us in this moment, and to avoid the cataclysms that (on our current trajectory) appear to lie ahead.


[1] Crossley, Michelle, (2002) Introducing Narrative Psychology, Narrative, Memory and Life Transitions. pp. 11-12.

Michelle refers to Narrative Wreckage analogy from Frank, A (1995), The wounded storyteller: Body, illness and ethics, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

[2] Bauer, J. J., D. P. McAdams, et al. (2008). Narrative Identity and Eudaimonic Well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, p. 98.

[3] Baddeley, J. and J. A. Singer (2007). Charting the Life Story’s Path: Narrative Identity Across the Life Span. in Handbook of narrative inquiry : mapping a methodology. ed. D. J. Clandinin. Thousand Oaks, Calif., Sage Publications: xix, 693 p. 191.


I snapped this in Budapest 2006

Where are we, where are we going, and how?

‘I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.’ George Bernard Shaw.

The following snippets of youtube videos are inspired by an initiative called “Awakening The Dreamer” which involves a half-day seminar that uses these video and more to step through where we are, how we got here, where we want to go, and how we can move toward that goal. taking groups through these questions. I attended the seminar and was impressed with how succinctly these clips summed up the present human predicament that I had been researching last year. Their conclusions, the same conclusions as mine, combine sustainable living, social justice and spiritual fulfillment, and in the end come down to one thing: INDIVIDUAL’S MAKING CHANGES LOCALLY, WHICH ADD UP TO GLOBAL CHANGE. Their videos inspired me to put this post together, so that the message can get out there as fast as possible. You may have seen some of these already, but if you haven’t seen any of them then this sequence of clips will take about one hour… something to do over the (what in Australia is going to be quite a rainy) Easter long-weekend. Enjoy!

Where are we?

A world divided into the “haves” and “havenots” – where the “havenots”, almost half the world, don’t have a place to shit, and a growing number of the “haves” are depressed, dissatisfied with the fulfillment material consumption and acquisition brings, and more and more are becoming mentally ill and committing suicide.

A miniature earth:


It’s just not fair:


But this is not an accident. Inequality is designed into the system. That’s why we in the western world can buy lots of things for cheap, can earn more than we spend and save money to buy houses or travel.

While apologists of global capitalism still adamantly state that the capitalist model is the best path to eradicate poverty; economist and policy director Andrew Simms clearly proves this “trickle-down” theory nothing but a myth. Simms shows that on our current trajectory it would take 15 planets’ worth of earth’s biocapacity to reduce poverty to a state where the poorest receive $3 per day. In other words ‘we will have made Earth uninhabitable long before poverty is eradicated.’[1]

The “developing” countries are in fact a ‘transmission belt’ with value (for example raw materials) forwarded to the ‘developed” nations such that ‘the total arrangement is largely in the interests of the middle class.’[2] It seems that poverty is ‘no longer a side effect, but an intended product of globalization’ with its continuation ‘seen as beneficial for the middle class’ likely to cause a resistance to ‘change and redistribution.’[3]

It seems clear that while markets ‘won’t do the job by themselves’, and governments are ‘often cruelly short-sighted’, for the IPE structure shift to a sustainable model it will ‘be a choice, a choice of a global society that thinks ahead and acts in unaccustomed harmony.’[4] A shift in values from capital-accumulation to social justice and environmental responsibility is likely to result from a widespread realisation that continuing on our current trajectory will, without a doubt, end with devastating calamity. It seems that only a well-informed global population, with leaders and citizens of developed and developing nations acting out of “enlightened self-interest” and for ‘the wellbeing of their children and children’s children’, will allow the IPE structure to enter a sustainable paradigm. [5]


How did we get here?

Dawn of human conscious, collective learning, development of separate identities, and the industrial revolution. Our human journey:


The story of stuff, by Annie Leonard:


Where do we want to go?

Well, I know I don’t want humanity to go extinct. Nor do I want future generations of humans and animals to live on a toxic planet as a consequence of the chemicals we use to support our consumption and acquisition…

What alternatives do we have? We need A NEW DREAM… one that is environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling. (See the Awakening The Dreamer initiative).

The new dream begins with the realisation that “success” is really about the amount of happiness in your life – not the amount of money in a bank account. People are starting to value creativity over capital, experience over “things”, and time over consumption and accumulation. Is there any better feeling than the one felt when you make another person happy?

The new dream is based on an identity that transcends our individual self, appreciating our connectedness to all people, to all life, to our land, and our universe. Our new dream does not fear change, it embraces the transitivity of everything that exists, seeing everything as a process. Life will never be static. Reality is dynamic, and as humans we each have a part to play in creating a sustainable and peaceful planet for ourselves and future generations.

How are we going to get there?

Invest in Cradle to Cradle design – turning waste into food:


Invest in “Social Business”:


A “Global Mindshift”


Hold our governments accountable to the Millennium Development Goals:


Other exciting ideas and initiatives:

Why should we care?

Our planet is alive. We have adapted to live as part of her ecosystem, if we destroy this for ourselves, we have no where else to go:


Her resources are limited, our needs are expanding and infinite:


Whatever we do to our web, we do to ourselves:


The world is not made up of me and “the other”:


Listen to the wombat – “all is one”:


Where should we to start?

Reflect on our world-view and question our assumptions.

Rethink our values and communicate them with others.

Ask ourselves: what is my role in making the world a better place?

Be the change: know that one person can make a big difference:


And then don’t hesitate, make plans and put them into action!

“FOUR YEARS. GO.” A campaign to shift humanity onto a sustainable, just, and fulfilling path … by 14 February 2014.


Want some ideas about what you individually can do, check out this page on the Awakening The Dreamer website

Start by sharing this message – let’s change the world in the next four years!


[1] Andrew Simms, ‘Trickle-Down Myth’, New Scientist (18 Oct 2008). p. 49. Andrew Simms is the policy director of the New Economics Foundation in London. In this article Simms steps through the mathematics to show the system is designed such that for the poor to get ‘slightly less poor, the rich have to get very much richer’. This means it would take ‘around $166 worth of global growth to generate $1 extra for people living on below $1 a day’.

[2] Ibid. p. 84.

[3] The Hague Institute of Social Studies, Collateral Dammage or Calculted Default? The Millennium Development Goals and the Politics of Globalisation, 2003. p. 35.

[4] Jeffrey Sachs, Common Wealth : Economics for a Crowded Planet (London: Allen Lane, 2008). p. 81.

[5] Ibid. p. 5.