If we create a culture that promotes well-being and prosperity for all,
then we will be in a position to discover who we really are.
                                                 Martin Seligman

GetUp has an email campaign to politicians about the Trans Pacific Partnership. While there are a massive number of things wrong with the TPP, perhaps the worst (as with WTO) is the abrogation of democracy itself. A life-sustaining society must allow for community self-regulation.

Here is the email I sent to our local Liberal member:

Dear Louise,

Some things go beyond partisan politics. One of them is the preservation of democracy as a means of community self-regulation for community well-being. The proposed Trans Pacific Partnership abrogates democracy by allowing foreign corporations to sue Australia if we pass laws that are not consistent with their commercial interest.

Surely this is absurd in its own right as well?

The Trans Pacific Partnership also abrogates democracy by being negotiated in secret. Surely this is not consistent with traditional Liberal values?

Yours,

 Andrew Gaines

 

There was a discussion on the Australian Facilitators Network about mindfulness. Here is my contribution.

I delight in this Buddhist prayer:

May you be free of suffering
May you know the joy of your own true nature
May you be happy
May you be at peace.

To me the essence of mindfulness is activating our Witness or Observer Self. This is the part of us can see exactly what we do without judgement. It is right next door to the Critic, which can see the same thing and sometimes give us holy hell for it!

Simply introducing the contrast between the Witness and the Critic can be a door opener for people. Being alert, we can sometimes catch when our emotional stuff is being reactivated. And, being alert we can sometimes catch exceptionally good states of consciousness... and even return to them.

I have a concept that I call ‘Workshops on the fly’. For example, while people could learn about the Witness in a

In Charles Dickens’A Christmas Carol Ebenezer Scrooge is horrified by the vision of the future that the ghost of Christmas Future presents to him.

I have just been horrified (and spurred to even more action) by a set of maps of the effects of climate change on different cities and regions of the world as we look to the future. The lead author of the study, Dr Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii, introduces the term ‘climate departure’.

Climate departure is when the lowest temperature for a given month will be higher than any temperatures we have experienced over the last 150 years.

Perhaps an example will make this clear.

Snowflakes melt, but snowmen grow.

It seems to me that usually when people attend workshops, panel discussions, lectures and the like, while they may gain some knowledge or brief inspiration, the long-term effects are modest. Inspiration is valuable, but to be most effective it needs to coalesce into something larger. It’s like the difference between snow melting on the ground and snow being packed together to build a snowman. There is no ‘stickiness’: accumulated mass or momentum.

What I would like to see

I have a concept that I call ‘workshops on the fly’ – moments when we can open up a conversation about sustainability, or introduce a valuable thinking skill. These do not have to occur in formal settings.

For example, a friend of mine wrote this poem on the occasion of his nephew getting a Ph.D. in Environmental Science. It tells our story in a beautifully succinct and engaging