The Carbon Pricing Debate — A Battle for Australia’s Soul

BY BEN HABIB. In the past fortnight, Australian political discourse has been dominated by the debate over the pricing of carbon. The Prime Minister’s announcement of a draft carbon pricing policy with the Greens and the independent members has sparked off a vicious volley of hyperbole from those who would object to carbon pricing. The electorate has vacillated somewhere between cautious and hostile on the policy announcement. The ALP has not helped its cause with four years in government characterised by inaction, hot air and spin. We sit now poised at the beginning of a debate over a great systemic reform that will shape our nation for years to come. In many ways, this debate is a battle for Australia’s soul.

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Making Climate Change Happen, Part IV — The Power of Being the Change You Want to See in the World

BY BEN HABIB. Mohandas “Mahatma” Ghandi once famously exhorted his countrymen to “be the change you want to see in the world”. That is precisely the purpose of taking personal responsibility for one’s own response to the climate change threat. When we practice what we preach, we give moral authority to our message, we send an economic signal to the market, and we send a political signal to our elected representatives that is more powerful than our vote. A critical mass of people making integrated, climate-conscious lifestyle and political choices, can demonstrate a constituency for change to governments, the business community, and the broader society.

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Making Climate Action Happen, Part III — Scrutinising Our Underlying Beliefs

BY BEN HABIB. Anyone who has tried to change any aspect of their behaviour will know that to create lasting change, knowledge is not enough. All the positive intent in the world is not enough. How do we go about altering environmentally unsustainable lifestyle patterns? Where do we start? It begins with identifying, scrutinising and altering the multi-layered beliefs systems that underlie our behaviours. Without addressing these underlying beliefs, any gains we make will be fleeting.

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Making Climate Action Happen—Part II, The Behavioural Change Process

BY BEN HABIB. As anyone knows who has tried to stick to a diet or given smoking, people cannot transform unhealthy behaviours without changing their underlying beliefs. If you crave that smoko break or can’t resist a Big Mac, you’re probably not well placed to reform these behaviours in the long term. Behavioural change takes place in five distinct stages—pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance—which people progress through in a cyclical rather than linear fashion. As you read on, have a think about which stage you find yourself at in relation to your personal response to climate change.

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Making Climate Action Happen—Part I, The Plague of Manufactured Consciousness

BY BEN HABIB. Climate change is an existential threat to human civilisation, a threat which we ourselves are contributing to as individuals and as members of various social collectives. The damage we are doing is a product of destructive behaviours that are underpinned by ideas and assumptions that are not our own, which originate as the propaganda of our economic systems.

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Wodonga & Albury Toward Climate Health — An Interview with Lizette Salmon

Lizette Salmon from Wodonga & Albury Towards Climate Health (WATCH). WATCH is an apolitical community group which advocates for sustainable climate solutions through engagement with political leaders and the local community. It promotes activities and events in the local community to meet, discuss, establish informed views and take appropriate action on climate change.

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Questioning the Sustainability of ‘Perpetual’ Economic Growth

Part of living lightly involves acknowledging that some of our ideas that have served us well in the past are no longer appropriate for the times we are moving into. One of these sacred cows is the concept of perpetual economic growth. On a finite planet, bound by the laws of physics, chemistry and biology, perpetual economic growth is impossible without the severest of consequences human societies and the ecosystems that support them. We need to be honest about our current predicament, educate ourselves about possible alternatives, and work together to build the foundation for a post-growth economy.

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Transitions Towns and the Post-Carbon Future of Albury-Wodonga — An Interview with Ian Longfield

In this edition of the Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga podcast we’re joined by Ian Longfield from Transition Towns Albury-Wodonga. Ian has campaigned on peak oil issues since 2007 after becoming aware of the problems of energy descent during a 2005 land planning seminar. It was through his professional involvement in property development and agency that he became increasingly concerned at our unsustainable pattern of urban development, incompatible with a future dominated by peak oil and climate change. Our interview discussion ranges from geopolitics to individual action and everywhere in between, so buckle up and enjoy this engrossing conversation.

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