A podcast to blow your mind – Gangster Capitalism

I have an unhealthy addiction to podcasts. My daughter recently told me to, “take off your headphones and listen to me”. I am not proud. Being told off for all the right reasons by a 6 year old is humbling. I took them off as I explained to her the concept of ‘addictive storytelling’ using the example of a show she loves on TV. Where this is a gripping narrative story, I can’t stop at one episode. I need to know what happens next. I am working on it, one episode at a time, obviously.

One that has my complete and now divided attention is Gangster Capitalism (C13 Originals). I want to borrow from the tagline but I am surely able to make my own marketing for a show I love, after indulging in the first 4 episodes. It is an investigation into the college admissions scandal in the USA, which blew up in March 2019. To be honest, I hadn’t taken much notice, here in Australia, we have our own problems (see: Australia Election 2019).  The headlines did not pique any interest and I just thought this was more white collar crime that would never amount to any convictions or reflection for our ally nation. Maybe I was wrong, a small number of parents and coaches have pleaded guilty to the charges or fraud and bribery. Some parents will go to any length to help their children, some adult children, to get ahead in the game, that is from one private institution to another until death do you in.

That’s Olivia Jade on YouTube, telling us how college means nothing except for the parties. I guess when you don’t pay for your tuition and you never had to study to get in, it means very little for you to have a spot on a rowing team when you were never even in a fucking BOAT!

So far this podcast has been valuable in teaching me the role of race in this scandal, how money can actually talk and the most gripping topic, justice and how it might play out for all the kids who missed out because some asshole with a bottomless purse pulled rank.

More info and reading here.

Go forth and listen.

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Climate Overwhelm – curated podcast shortlist to ease the dread

On the back of a 10 week sustainability course run by local government, I have started to have apocalyptic dreams. I mean, A-POC-A-LYP-TIC. It frightened the hell out of me and I wondered if I was in too deep in the bad news without a skerrick of optimism for the future of our planet and our existence.  I am very aware of younger generations (thanks to 2 adorable tackers) and the inevitable hardship they will face from rising temperatures and foreboding sea levels, while we sat around on our hands, letting the agricultural and mining industries dictate how climate change would be managed. It is infuriating.

My sustainable journey is a long one but more recently I have used podcasts to catch me up on the latest science and politics of climate change. I have favoured future thinkers, climate science leaders and advocates to inform me.  I want to possess the language, the science and the motivational tools to drive people beyond education into action. These interviews have really helped inspire me to spread the message and believe a sustainable future is possible, look out – sensible suggestions abound.

DrawdownThere are 3 podcast conversations that stand out but the interview with Paul Hawken (Project Drawdown) with Damon Gameau for Dumbo Feather is like a musical journey. The way he softly explains Drawdown, his large scale project to research and publish the top 100 solutions to reverse global warming will have you digging (well, actually not digging, NO TIL) but definitely researching further. I learned many things about food ag, the mining industry, education for women and what is wrong with activism right now. Plus a quick fact, we use our cars 3-4% of the time, did you know that? What are the possibilities of shared car use to reclaim car parks for green spaces?

Ezra Klein interviewing Melinda Gates live, 30 mins in, he asks her why she is optimistic about the future and her answer is largely to do with innovation and research in biological and computer sciences to solve some of the large scale global problems we face. Melinda Gates is taking the world by the horns, I guess she can with all those billions but she could be doing a lot worse so I am celebrating her efforts to bring peace and security to the whole world through philanthropy via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Click image to read the report for yourself

And then there is my local community radio station, Triple R that deliver a show every Wednesday called Greening the Apocalypse, which is a great resource for all things happening in our natural world with guests covering a huge range of topics. Recently I listened to Ian Dunlop, who’s background in energy exploration and engineering make him well primed for understanding and influencing corporate responsibility and David Spratt, a climate scientist and policy analyst, discuss their new report  What Lies Beneath. It is a hard chat and oft-times difficult to comprehend the enormity of the task ahead but it is also realistic and thought provoking.

So there it is, a curated, quick podcast list on all things climate change from 3 of my favourite podcast channels. Go forth and listen.

 

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The Local Cafe that could

I have recently been conducting a mental survey of my local cafes that offer a discount for reusable coffee cups. My interest in this cause came off the back of the popular ABC series, War on Waste, where a whole episode was dedicated to Melbourne’s take-away coffee addiction.

In conclusion, the show sent a simple message to cafes to help customers think wisely before opting for single use disposable coffee cups, that is, offer a small discount ($.20 – $1.00) to customers who supply any variety of reusable cup. The benefits are endless but let’s highlight a couple:

  • less waste to landfill & incorrect disposal of plastic/paper combo diminished – the environment wins; and
  • café reducing their overheads and need for storage of disposable cups

I am writing this letter because Bayside cafes seem to have a problem recognising the environmental destruction caused by take-away cups, the manufacture and the litter. For the most part, my local cafes have made no effort to challenge their customers to consider their contribution to our appalling waste management record.

One café in Beaumaris told me that they didn’t provide a discount because their disposal coffee cups cost too much money. I told them I didn’t want to use their expensive cups at which point they said, “but we still have to pay for them.” The irony was completely lost on the waiter. Another café in Sandringham mentioned that they were going to offer a discount when they started selling keep cups, I couldn’t see the correlation. A small recognition or appreciation for putting the environment first would go a long way.

I am now opting to buy my daily coffee further afield albeit still in Bayside. There are 2 spots that have shown environmental stewardship in this regard, they are AM:PM on Highett Rd, (Highett) which offer a .50c discount and Public Grind. Let’s celebrate hospitality that encourages awareness of waste and make a coffee that tastes good and feels good too.

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GREEN COFFEE – Reusable Coffee Cups Are Just The Beginning

I am a coffee addict, so recently, while watching Craig Reucassel spread a message for a sustainable future in his TV series, War on Waste, banging on about the disaster of disposable coffee cups, I immediately upped my game. I purchased a new keep cup by Frank Green and I use it most days. It’s not flawless, it’s get stinky if I don’t wash it straight away and it leaks after I wash it but I deal with these matters because it is a better alternative than a disposable cup, which for the most part, are NOT, I repeat, NOT RECYCLABLE. 

I aspire towards a #zerowaste lifestyle. With kids, it’s near impossible but we do our best and in our efforts to uphold our most important values surrounding nature and the environment, we are, as a family, making a difference.

 

My biggest contribution is through a community compost. It’s community because it started in my neighbour’s backyard and then it spread. She had 2 compost bins sitting idly and a few veggie patches that needed some compost love. Within 3 months time of working her compost with the knowledge I had acquired through a permaculture design course (PDC) and a little trial and error, we were off. She also had chickens, their poo make the best compost ever and the eggs, well, what’s not to love? I collected compost from friends/neighbours and cafes. The cafes were my biggest hurdle, suprisingly, it should have been the easiest contribution, they have the most waste.

I asked cafes to supply food waste, they wouldn’t, they said it was too difficult to separate meat and dairy from fruit/veg. Is it really? The eggs you crack can’t go in a separate bucket? So I settled with used coffee grains, I would pick up at least one bag a week. Then another local cafe I noticed used more sustainable packaging for their cylinder coffee waste, it was from NZ, here’s a supplier if you’re interested. So I opted getting my used coffee grain for the compost from them instead. Still no food waste.

Then today, something clicked. Why don’t I care if the cafe I frequent on a daily basis gives a shit about the environment?  What’s their one thing that sets them apart from all the other businesses. There are definitely restaurants and cafes out there that are working towards carbon neutrality, Ladro’s Pizza comes to mind, they have a closed loop system that processes food waste in 24 hours and you can buy in a bag for $2, BRILLIANT.

Fighting for the cause alone, running around helping cafes/businesses become more sustainably viable is exhausting and piecemeal. Cafes need a checklist and then we, as consumers, need a green star system or a badge that is obvious and honorable and will help consumers and businesses make better decisions about the source of their produce, packaging, food waste management, getting customers involved with backyard plots, community composting, food swaps, keep cup discounts. Consumers need guidance but small businesses need help too, it’s an exchange of resources and knowledge that will take us towards zero waste lifestyles.

See sharewaste – an app/website linking community composters, I have already had someone dump their food waste into my bin. Bokhashi is a brilliant intermediate composting system for business or homes without space for a garden compost bin.

 

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Dad’s ultimate tip – Invest, Voila!

I was 17 and had a metaphorical foot on the pedal. I was working a summer office job, saving for a car that I would buy the minute I turned 18 and passed my licence test. Dad said, ‘let’s make a deal.’ The deal was that he would match my savings dollar for dollar. I was a damn good saver and had a whole summer to work, full time with no real expenses, I was living at home.  

By the end of January I had saved $2000, with Dad’s financial input I would have enough to purchase a second-hand car. I started circling the Trading Post ads that fit my budget and desire, ideally I didn’t want to emulate the shit-brown colour car my sister had acquired but I knew looks weren’t everything. My 18th birthday was nearing and Dad tried to make a new deal. He said, ‘you can use your Mum’s car whenever you like, why don’t you put your money into shares?’ This sounded to me like the worst idea ever but, what did I know? I eventually agreed and thanks to Mum’s generosity it turned out I didn’t really need my own wheels.

Mum’s car

Mum and Dad left for a ex-pat position in Singapore at the end of that year and Mum’s car became my car. I kept saving and eventually had enough money to buy a one way ticket to London. My spending money was the investment from 3 years before, which had doubled.

That 2 year sabbatical from Melbourne was the beginning of my life as an independent woman, I was 21. I can’t think of a greater gift than a investment in my future travels, the experience itself was epic. Great idea Dad, you’re the best.

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Karma Police

It was this track, released some 20 years ago, that was played live and acoustic in a loungeroom on Saturday night at a party, that made me want to share  this Radiohead anthem. I heart Radiohead.

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Protest

I can put my money where my mouth is, easy. But can I help raise funds for the same cause? Maybe I can make you, the reader, click with curiosity.

In Australia, we have an unfair and damaging approach to people seeking asylum. Refugees need our support more than ever, they face an uncertain, terrifying future due to unnecessary demands for refugee applications to be received by early October.

The ASRC (Asylum Seeker Resource Centre) is continually raising funds to support refugees/people in crisis. This is not someone else’s drama, we live in a globalised world and refugees are our brothers and sisters. Please donate something so they can live their lives knowing people actually give a shit.

If you have already donated recently to this cause, then tell your friends to do the same. Wave the flag. Protest this unhealthy scaremongering of people in need by the Australian Government.

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