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Issue No 369 – On deniers in diversity and climate and those who fight on

This week marks the first time @FifthEstateAU and @RealMarkLatham have had their handles put together in the same tweet. Hopefully it’s the last.

Diversity Council Australia’s Lisa Annese wrote a great piece on why diversity and inclusion policies were good news for everyone – women, men and business. The article also looked into why there’s so much hatred regarding these concepts, and how to get people on board.

Unfortunately she tweeted it to Mark Latham, who promptly sent his right-wing army into action.


In the article, Annese wrote that the data on the benefits of diversity and inclusion – benefits that extend to both men and women – was from experience something that “detractors may not be ready to hear”.

She was right, it seems. The tweets are still coming in thick, with not-too-diverse opinions from a not-too-diverse group of people lighting up our phones about “leftist” plots to disempower white males.

From the comments, we’re sure many of them haven’t even bothered to read the article.

Annese notes “the psychological phenomenon of confirmation bias – of doubling down on the original thesis even in the face of clear evidence” in her piece, which we’re now seeing in full effect.

While she says studying this phenomenon would be interesting (we agree), she says “it’s more valuable to pick apart why anyone would throw shade at collective efforts to achieve a more equitable society, and explore how to go about bringing them along on the journey of inclusion and fair-gos”.

Let’s hope organisations like the Diversity Council can continue to work on opening up some of these most closed of minds. And while we don’t recommend feeding the trolls, it would be great if some of our readers show support for Lisa and her point of view on Twitter.

Even better, how about some companies get on there and reiterate why diversity has been good for their business?

The short attention span and climate

Speaking about Twitter and the ever shrinking bandwidth spawned by new media brings to mind an interesting interview with former head of Treasury Martin Parkinson who was shockingly sacked by former PM Tony Abbott and later re-instated as head of Malcolm Turnbull’s PM department.

Parkinson told Glyn Davis, vice-chancellor of the University of Melbourne, in the Policy Shop podcast, that the short media cycle is partly to blame for the lack of analysis of important issues, such as climate change.

In the 1980s, he said, journalists had more time to write longer, more analytical pieces about policy debates, which helped inform public debates but “if you look around now, the journalists don’t have the opportunity, they don’t have the time to do those thoughtful pieces”, an article in The Guardian reported.

Parkinson said the media cycle’s “gotcha” moments means that policies are not discussed either in the media or by the proponents themselves who are forced by the pressure to take “definitive positions on policy before it is finalised” making it “much, much harder to do this sort of thoughtful, careful analysis and policy design that in the past we were able to do”.

This is bad news when it comes to deeply important and complex issues such as climate. We’ve seen plenty of 140-character assassination attempts on good policy climate and otherwise (see gender diversity above) and we’re not sure whether the new 240 character bandwidth makes it any better.

But there’s another complication. On climate Parkinson said there was almost a conspiracy of silence between the true believers of climate change and the true deniers of climate change.

“The true believers did not want to talk about adaptation because they felt that that would take away from a focus on mitigation, and the true deniers didn’t want to talk about adaptation because to do so you would have to talk about the fact that climate change was real,” he said.

We’ve noticed this. It’s tough to admit we need to shore up our buildings and cities now because so much may already be lost.

So here are two challenges. Read the books, take long discussions, don’t be afraid to argue and get heated (out of the sun preferably) and drink plenty of water (in preference to wine).

We have massive issues to deal with in the years ahead. In particular as Mother Nature doesn’t tolerate fools, she’s already launched her counterattack on our disrespect and we will be forced to consider ways to draw carbon out of the atmosphere, while of course, refraining from adding more. So it could well be geo-engineering that we will turn to. Well it was geo-engineering with our carbon plays that got us into this mess in the first place.

To do it without imploding the planet from another unforeseen direction, we will need deep thought indeed. And we will need really brave thought warriors to lead the way.

Brave warriors

Luckily there are brave souls grappling with reality and deep thinking on our behalf. Such as Beck Dawson, Sydney’s chief resilience officer, who Sandra Edmunds profiled earlier in the week. The story is great reading.

And at the international level we saw this week French President Emmanuel Macron seize the tiger by the tail and show that other nations can play at being global leaders.

Macron challenged the US president directly and offered grants to several US-based scientists to relocate to France as part of his fabulous “Make our Planet Great Again” grants. Showing how wit can be added to the cocktail of bravery plus deep thought to encourage the rest of us. See the full story here

While our Dear Follower… follows

On the opposite side of the fence are those holding us back no matter what the cost is to the planet or any of its inhabitants.

Unfortunately, this includes governments. In the US, we know the story and the poor sustainability folk there are at the start of a brutal regime on climate. If you know anyone over the Big Pacific Ditch, please sent them words of encouragement and let them know we know what it’s like. They can get through this.

See details of the emerging policy carnage on Greenbiz here if you can bear the gore.

In Australia our Feds are following suit (following, following, always following).

Most recently is their attitude on the renewable energy target.

This week, we’ve learned, it’s forced GPT to pull back from its determination to lead the property sector in large scale solar by putting 100,000 panels on its vast roof spaces.

GPT national manager for energy and environment Steve Ford told Fairfax this week that the Feds refusal to continue the Renewable Energy Target after 2020 means that large generator credits are no longer guaranteed, undermining the viability of the company’s planned solar investment.

Along with other property companies GPT had committed to achieving zero carbon emissions by 2030 and the panels would have supplied a cool 15 per cent of its total energy needs.

“There’s a perception that the LGC price will fall away and collapse after 2020,” Ford said

“We can’t find anyone right now in Australia who can tell us what’s happening.”

Other landlords have also been moving into solar in a big way and it’s uncertain how the changed policy landscape has affected them.

The remaining option Ford said was to move to smaller solar projects of less than 100 kilowatts where credits were guaranteed over a 10-year period.

Well that’s what you have to do when the big stuff fails. You go to the smaller options – but in massive numbers. It works with people too. You unleash the noisy majority. That’s us folks. And remember, there are more of us than them.

Read all about what your beautiful, courageous and wonderful fellow humans are doing here on TFE. You will find oh, about 10,000 articles now, mostly good news stories.

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