Protect the Great Barrier Reef

There’s a Government review currently underway pertaining to the organisation that manages the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Although most Australian’s want to see the GBR protected and sustainably managed, there are some aggressive lobbyists that would like to see some of the existing protection measures rolled back.

I’ve just finished putting together a page for the WWF website that provides information on how to make a quick submission as part of the review process to help maintain and, if possible, improve protection of the reef. The submission window closes on Friday, so if you have a moment go check out the page and make a submission. The more submissions (even short ones) the better.

Thanks 🙂

Make Poverty History

BrandChannel: Make Poverty History – Passion statement:

“Brand” and “charity” — many people still feel uncomfortable uttering these words in the same breath. Some of the members that make up Make Poverty History’s coalition still feel uneasy about combining the two. But as Live8 (a worldwide series of concerts staged to focus the world’s attention on decisions being made at the G8 summit) proved in July, Make Poverty History is a brand, and a powerful one at that.


Just a quick plug for the soon-to-be-released CD, Sound Environment – a percentage of proceeds is donated to WWF-Australia (disclosure: I work for WWF).

I didn’t have anything to do with the track listing, but IMHO there are some pretty cool choices on there (including Art of Fighting, Ben Harper, Decoder Ring, Eskimo Joe, Gomez, Radiohead, Xavier Rudd to name a few – there’s 35 tracks in all). Shock Records has put a lot of work into getting the CD off the ground. If you order it through the WWF-Australia website you get $5 off (but it’ll also be in stores too).

Getting to “I can…”

We’ve had some very good discussions today around some up-coming campaign planning. One of the things that we’re talking about is changing perceptions from “it’s all too big/hard” to “I can do something”.

I extracted a list of things that I think we need to keep in mind when developing our strategies for our non-political campaigning (that is, campaigns not focussed on politicians directly).

  • Make it personal
    We need to make the issues relevant to the individual before they will enact change in their lifestyle/habits. For longer-term issues this may mean making it relevant to them in the context of their children or grandchildren – but the effect is to bring a realisation to “now” of something that will likely happen in the future.
  • Make it visible
    We need to work out ways to make the invisible visible. To make energy/water use something that we can see, for example. We need to make visible both the damage of our current habits and how much of an impact changes, even small ones, can make.
  • Make it actionable
    Work out real, concrete steps that people can take to make that difference. Purchasing recycled paper, switching to clean energy, buying a hybrid, turning out unused lights. Tangible actions that people can take and see visible improvements.

The aim is to move the theoretical “too-big” problems into the personal, and to give people a sense that what they do will and does make a difference, positive or negative. A potential side-effect is then people will start to ask their government representatives and employers what they are doing, effecting change on a wider scale.

Very interesting and inspiring stuff.

Agents of change

Had a very interesting, albeit too brief, discussion with one of my colleagues yesterday about the concept of the press as agents of change. Her position was that the press follow the lead of the public and of government, business etc. This differed from my view of press holding a certain responsibility for guiding the debate – hers was that the press is a reflection of the existing debate.

I didn’t initially agree, but I respect her experience and expertise enough that I began to question that long-held belief. Still processing, but while I was thinking about it I asked her thoughts on the shift in public opinion surrounding refugees.

Her thoughts are that this shift is largely a result of the internal ruptures the Howard government is currently experiencing – first with Petro Georgiou and Judi Moylan – then others. Her belief is that it was grassroots activist groups, and in this case specifically the mainstream churches, that did the shifting of public opinion. This, in turn, prompted political and press action.

It is an interesting perspective. I’m still not convinced either way, but it certainly got me thinking – shaking up hard-set ideas is always a good thing – and I wanted to share it with y’all.

Pushing Power to the Edges

Worldchanging: Pushing Power to the Edges. Highlighting a new report into civic engagement and technology.

A key recommendation of the report: nonprofits and NGOs will have to adapt their cultures and practices to keep pace with technology and to use it effectively. They’ll have to develop an understanding of the Internet demographic and its relevance to their work – e.g. the Internet is particularly effective in reaching, not necessarily all potential constituents, but at least “influentials” who may be catalysts for organization and action.

This is certainly the way I see the website at WWF. There are, of course, many ways to do this, and there’s bound to be push-back as the changes take place. Some of the challenges we face…

Gig + Fairtrade at Mars Hill

Been meaning to mention – I have another gig at Mars Hill cafe (Parramatta) next Thursday. This one was originally going to be a full-band gig but a number of things got in the way of that, so it’s another solo show (mainly acoustic with a bit of sampled/sequenced stuff thrown in). I’ll be doing a slightly longer set this time and will be onstage about 9:30pm. Sean Brokenshire is playing earlier in the night, probably starting at 8:30pm.

The gig is part of what the cafe is calling “Awareness Month” which aims to increase community awareness around poverty and the things we can do locally and globally to help out. As part of their activities they are providing the option of fairtrade coffee. This is in part a trial to see how it goes with a view to perhaps providing it as a permanent offering, so if you come down be sure to check it out and let them know what you think.

I offered to help out with organising a presentation for the month and Margeret Di Nicola from Oxfam has graciously agreed to speak on the 20th (that’s Sunday) at 3pm. If you are free please come down and support both the cafe and Oxfam and learn a bit more about Oxfam’s fairtrade campaigns (particularly their coffee campaign).