Category Archives: Climate Unfrocked

Bullsh-t Detector at Work

Green Doctors: suitable cases for treatment

On climate, a lot of medicos are out there on the nuttiest end of the doom spectrum. But I had no idea their hysteria could even out-do and embarrass Greenpeace, The Guardian and Tim Flannery’s Climate Council.

Last month three anaesthetists published a peer-reviewed paper in Australasian Anaesthesia discouraging birthing mothers from using nitrous oxide for pain relief. The trio warn, “While it may be innocuous for the pregnant woman and unborn baby, that is certainly not the case for the environment.”

About 200,000 Australian pregnant women per year choose the help of nitrous oxide.[1] The learned paper wants them to use more climate-friendly pain-killers, and/or epidurals, hypnobirthing, massage, acupuncture, and Tens — elaborate equipment called “Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulator”. They’re all costlier, but hang the expense.

I hasten to add that two of the trio of authors are females, albeit gung-ho for purported planetary healing. Dr Alice Gynther is from Western Health Melbourne and Fiona Pearson from Sunderland Royal Hospital UK. The lone male Forbes McGain of Western Health is a stalwart of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA). I’ll chart DEA’s extremism later in the course of my obstetric odyssey.[2]

These three mothers’ helpers write

By educating medical staff and pregnant women about the carbon impact of N2O, ensuring that it is delivered and used as efficiently as possible and considering the use of more carbon-friendly alternatives, we can reduce GHG emissions from the labour ward and help to mitigate the effects of climate change. Ensuring that midwifery, obstetric and anaesthetic staff are aware of the environmental impact of N2O is crucial… 

In order to support women’s autonomy and help them make informed choices regarding their labour analgesia [pain reduction], we have a duty to explain the risks and benefits of the different analgesic options. As climate change is a threat to public health, the carbon footprint of [nitrous oxide] is arguably a ‘risk’ worthy of inclusion in such discussions. Ideally such discussions would occur during antenatal classes, that is, well prior to childbirth itself. This knowledge, coupled with the lack of good evidence for nitrous oxide’s analgesic efficacy, may reduce the number of women choosing to use it for labour…

 I can picture the scene at the doctor’s.

Woke medico: Good morning Alice! How about saving some greenhouse warming via an epidural? 

Mother-to-be Alice: Dr Wittgenstein, I actually came here to talk about the risk of pre-eclampsia to my baby. How self-centred of me! What do the climate scientists models’ predict for 2050-2100? What can I and my baby do personally to offset China’s 12 billion annual tonnes of emissions, which I understand are accelerating?

Woke medico: No pain, no gain. You go, girl!

The reports’ authors say nitrous oxide is only 7 per cent of all “long-lived” greenhouse gases, and only 1 per cent of that 7 per cent is from women reducing their distress in labour.[3] But being sciencey types, the authors work out how much global warming is created by Victorian women in labour using nitrous oxide. Their model involves a 70kg woman starting with 4cm cervical dilation. First-timers average 5.5 hours and others 4.5 hours. They suck nitrous oxide for 60 seconds per contraction and have three contractions each 10 minutes, hence 18 minutes on the gas per hour. Then the authors add the extra greenhouse damage like

♦ Coal-fired Victorian electricity (75% of output) used to power the medical pumps

♦ Making of mouthpiece, needles, syringes, tubing and contents, sterile single-use drapes, gown and gloves and

♦ Incineration of clinical waste products

Their dreadful conclusion is that emissions-wise, Mrs 70kg might as well have driven an average-polluting car almost 1500km. An epidural equated with just six kilometres breezing along the boulevard in an econobox Barina.

Not all medicos are obsessed about global warming. The green/Left Guardian quotes Gino Pecoraro, president of the Association of Specialist Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: “During childbirth, some women wouldn’t care how many coal-fired power stations are needed to reduce their pain. If pregnant women in labour were denied a proven safe and effective pain relieving method, I’d think we’d be going down the wrong path.”

 The Guardian quotes Greenpeace types (of all people): “Rapid phase out of coal and gas, by far the biggest climate culprits, is the fastest and most effective way to tackle the climate crisis, rather than focusing on the relatively low emissions from obstetric medicine.”

Flannery’s Climate Council also prefers banning coal, oil and gas first before chasing down emissions from behind the drapes in labour wards. In a fleeting flash of sanity, the Council says, “No individual mother should be made to feel guilty about her choice of pain relief.” But it continued, “Parents could do more to protect their child’s health, their wallets and the climate by doing simple things like getting gas out of their homes.” I didn’t realise swapping out gas heaters for electrics was a “simple thing” and a friend down the road says it cost him $6-7000.
The Guardian piece by journalist Isabelle Oderberg finished,

I don’t see anyone asking men queuing up from colonoscopies or transurethral resections of the prostate to give a Tens machine or massage a go. They’re knocked out quicker than you can say ‘Bob’s your uncle’.

While the report in itself may not be “incorrect” in any way [all climate propaganda is good propaganda. TT], it feels like the lowest hanging, cheap-as-chips fruit. Context is everything and, in a world where people who aren’t men [I think she means “women”] are fighting for their right to be treated with care, equality and compassion, the release of this report in this way was deeply ill-advised and made for painful reading.

WHILE our anaesthetist trio finds innumerable fringe studies about alleged health impacts of global warming, they haven’t caught up with a report last February by Britain’s Office for National Statistics that warming in England and Wales alone in the past 20 years can be credited with a net 550,000-plus lives saved. That’s because mortality from cold outweighs by around ten-fold any mortality from heat.[4] Extrapolate the England/Wales result to northern Europe, Asia and America and global warming is a giant health benefit to humanity, even without considering the boon to agriculture.[5]

Noted climate blogger Joanne Nova sums up all this fuss, a little unkindly, as “Junk models meets junk research, junk journals, and junk reporting.” Her commenters also show some robust common-sense. Like Annie, for instance:

Carrying a growing baby and giving birth is perhaps the most rewarding and frightening and triumphant moment in the lives of many women and I feel that using that to score points about Greenhouse gases is sick.

It is evil to suggest denying pain relief at what can be an extremely frightening and painful time for women. How can this ugliness be allowed to continue in a supposedly civil society?

And another:

What? No information on how much Nitrous the MEN will need when they give birth? It’ll be a LOT!” 

I’ve mentioned that the paper’s co-author Dr McGain is a stalwart of the Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA). Of all the global-warming groups among medicos, DEA seems the loopiest about “preventing catastrophic climate change” and the alleged perils of “the current market society”.

DEA teams flung their weight behind the Teal candidates in five electorates to oust Morrison’s conservatives last month, putting “Climate Action Now” signs on their Teslas in Wentworth “at their own cost to raise awareness” and running a “picnic party for our planet”in Boothby (Adelaide). They’ve been advised by a “Scientific Committee” featuring Nobelist Peter Doherty at one end and the ABC’s once-was-medico Dr Norman Swan at the other.

Back in 2019 DEA was already

♦ declaring a climate “health emergency”

♦ demanding a ban on new oil, gas and coal-seam fields[6] and

♦ pronouncing that “Climate change is killing people.”[7]

It campaigned for the demolition of the Port Augusta coal-fired power station, which happened, but DEA’s pipedream of substituting solar thermal energy fell to bits after failing to secure finance. DEA has also striven to lock coal-seam gas in the ground. It gave 100 per cent credence to a report, “Lethal Power”, by Greenpeace activists that coal-fired power plant emissions are killing 373-1310 citizens a year. In a revealing aside, Greenpeace added that the health damage equated to $15.40 per megawatt hour, or about a quarter of the value of electricity’s then-cost. Oh boy, that means that only three years ago our electricity was costing $60 per megawatt hour, compared with $130-200  on recent 2023 futures contracts.

One DEA enthusiast, a Dr Kimberley Humphrey, bewails that “the rate of suicide among young people is also increasing with the threat of global warming and this needs to be prevented by young people able to see we are doing something to save the planet.” If activists would cease scaring the daylights out of little Billy and Sally, the kids might have less incentive to self-harm.

DEA now expresses some Schadenfreude that our health sector “is responsible for a whopping 7 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions.” Maybe we should dispense with health services by 2030, along with fossil fuels, to save our perspiring planet.

Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

[1] In the Joan Kirner Hospital labour ward (Melbourne, Australia) in 2020, 62 per cent of women used the gas

[2] The following seven colleges have declared their ridiculous “climate emergencies”, along with 2300 individual medicos:

* Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)

* Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP)

* Australian College of Emergency Medicine (ACEM)

* Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP)

* Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)

* College of Intensive Care Medicine (CICM)

* Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA)

[3] From the paper: “More than 1 per cent of worldwide GHG

emissions resulting from N2O are anaesthetic in origin, which is a substantial figure, given that a total of 40 per cent of global N2O is anthropogenic.”

[4] Even in India, cold deaths outweigh heat deaths by 7-to-1

[5] In another recent study, titled “Global, regional, and national burden of mortality associated with non-optimal ambient temperatures from 2000 to 2019: a three-stage modelling study,” 68 scientists representing universities and research institutes in 33 countries spanning all regions of the world, concluded that as the earth modestly warms, deaths caused by non-optimum temperatures are declining by tens of thousands of people each year.

[6] In today’s real world, PM Albanese’s Resources Minister Madeleine King vows never to put a limit on how much coal Australia will export, with Australia possibly still exporting coal to Asian trading partners past 2050, and Labor is scrambling to protect two big aluminium smelters from grid crises. 

[7] From the 2019 DEA media kit: “Interview and photo opportunities — Doctors in scrubs, surgical masks and stethoscopes will gather to issue the Climate Emergency declaration on Saturday 6 April at the Menzies Research Institute, 17 Liverpool Street, Hobart at 10:20 am.”

Compost That Corpse. It’s for the Planet

I’ve been preening for years since I donated my body to Melbourne University anatomy students. What a fine citizen I am! You can picture the students crowding around, with me as the centre of attention:

Student Mary-Lou: “Such remarkably flat feet. I do look forward to dissecting them.”

Student Trent: “Yes, and I’m seeing enough titanium here to build a small aeroplane.”

But five academics at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have pricked my bubble of virtue. Their research at the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) shows my corporeal donation is a threat to the planet via climate-changing CO2 emissions. I might only generate half a tonne post-life, compared with, say, China’s 12 billion annual tonnes.[1]But as a world citizen I should “tackle” (I love that word) climate change to preserve the planet and civilisation. According to the Climate Council’s Professor Will Steffen, our excess emissions threaten even homo sapiens per se.[2]

Ever constructive, the UTS Five offer a planet-friendlier option than my body donation — I should turn myself into high-quality compost. Climate-friendly human compost is already legal in Washington State, Colorado and Oregon, priced at about $US7000 per person.

To sketch the background, a chorus of every UTS academic, student and staffer believes 100 per cent in the heat-exaggerating forecasts of climate scientists’ models. It’s doom for everybody without zero net emissions by 2030, 2035 or 2050 (take your pick).

As UTS trumpets,

Our society faces a climate emergency. UTS believes climate change requires urgent and transformative action. Inspired by the 2019 Global Climate Strike, UTS signed a climate declaration, pledging to take greater climate action. UTS aims to commit more resources to climate change research and skills creation, increase (sic) sustainability education across our curriculum, campus and community programs. By continuing to bring communities, industry and government together to debate the contested themes around the climate emergency [but no skeptic themes welcome] , we can argue the need for a climate consensus; and work towards carbon neutrality on campus.

Coal miners’ losing their jobs? UTS has that covered. As a research director Chris Briggs puts it,

We’ve been doing research on jobs in renewable energy and how we might transition workers in coal regions into new industries. There’s not a lot of information on renewable energy jobs … and so we’ve been seeking to fill that gap and help these regions transition across to clean energy.

I do sometimes wonder if well-paid and productive coal, gas and oil workers actually want to be transitioned by UTS into jobs like collecting the dead wedgetails under bird-mincing wind turbines and dusting off hectares of solar panels in the outback.

The five academics’ Sustainable Futures home looks like a sister body to Melbourne University’s Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) which Pro Vice-Chancellor Mark Hargreaves plopped into the university’s green bin last year. Heaven forbid that UTS Vice-Chancellor Andrew Parfitt is impelled by loss of revenue from China[3] to emulate Hargreaves, especially as 2022 is the ISF’s 25th anniversary.[4]

Anyway, the UTS Five, who long for carbon taxes (p83), have done a 100-page report to Cemeteries & Crematoria NSW which regulates the private operators. The report promotes environmental sustainability and aims “to spark conversations across the sector, and among consumers and families, and promote best practice sustainability by looking at what is currently occurring both globally and in Australia.”

On body donations, the authors say (p71-72),

From a sustainability perspective, evaluating donations of bodies to science is not straightforward. While prolonging the ‘useful’ life of the body, donation to science still holds sustainability implications. Firstly, the body is embalmed, usually using formalin, a toxic substance. Secondly, the body is kept in refrigeration for up to four years, with a resulting energy footprint relating to electricity use. Finally, at the cessation of its use in anatomy labs, the body is then cremated in a conventional cremator or buried—meaning that its overall environmental impact is generally not less than that of a body disposed of immediately after death—and may, in fact, be higher.

 However, the ‘usefulness’ of the body to medical knowledge and education cannot be easily weighed in an assessment of environmental impact … [D]onation of bodies to science does not present a solution to environmental impacts, but presents a means by which individuals can feel that they will be ‘useful’ after death and can contribute to medical knowledge and education. 

In its discussion of “emerging alternatives” the report foresees a small market in NSW for composting, although regulatory bans would first have to be lifted (p62).

The composting of human remains is a new innovation (sic) emerging in response to demand for gentler and more environmentally friendly options. The method emerges from the livestock industry, where composting has long been considered the best way to manage animal remains…

According to US studies it’s cheaper and less emissions-intense than burials and cremations.  The world leader in the human composting business is called Recompose, based near Seattle. Its 24 female and five male staff and advisers “approach this work with energy, tenacity, and joy” as they “use the principles of nature to transform our dead into soil.”

 It took Recompose’s founder, the aptly-named Katrina Spade, a decade’s pioneering to start operations, in a light-industrial suburb and behind big roll-up warehouse doors. A visiting reporter called it

an environmentalist’s version of a sleek, futuristic spaceship: spare, calm, utilitarian, with silvery ductwork above, a few soil-working tools (shovels, rakes, pitchforks) on racks, bags of tightly packaged straw neatly stacked on shelves, fern-green walls, potted plants of various sizes.

One immense object dominates the space, looking like an enormous fragment of white honeycomb. These are Recompose’s 10 “vessels,” each a hexagon enclosing a steel cylinder full of soil. One day in mid-January [2021], eight decedents were already inside eight vessels, undergoing the process of natural organic reduction (NOR) or, more colloquially, human composting.

Using the Recompose formula under the heading Healing the Climate, I’d be stacked inside a steel rotatable cylinder for 30 days with three cubic metres of alfalfa, woodchips and straw, and then taken out for several weeks further curing. As a final product I’d become one metre of “nutrient-rich soil amendment” and save the planet from 0.84 and 1.4 tonnes of CO2. As Recompose says,

Human compost can be used on trees, yards, house plants, and flower gardens, just like any other type of compost (such as compost created by food scraps or garden prunings).

Recompose charges $US7000 per composting, the same as the median US cost of cremation ($US6970) and a good discount to burial at $US7848. Ms Spade says, “We have transformed over 100 bodies into soil and have over 1000 Precompose members. That means we have already saved the emissions equivalent of 10 million miles driven, 480 homes powered for one year, or 450,000 gallons of gasoline.”

As for routine interments, the UTS Five give conventional styles a bad rap for hurting the climate. It laments the “significant emissions” from fossil-fuel-powered cremation – cremation is used for two-thirds of Australian disposals. The combustion is better created from solar or biogas-powered operation, they say.

“Many consumers hold a perception of cremation as ‘cleaner’ than other body disposal options—an interesting perception given cremation’s high energy consumption and resultant pollutant release … Each cremation emits around 160kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (Potter, 2019) …  Adelaide Cemeteries Authority research indicates that the total greenhouse impact, taking into account electricity, transport and resources inputs as well as natural gas, of a single cremation is around 430kg of CO2 equivalent.” (p54).

The authors also give low climate marks to burials, unless in coffins made of seagrass, willow, bamboo, cork, wicker, cardboard or wool (p28). A standard burial involves 780kg or nearly a tonne of greenhouse emissions, they grumble.

They seem to like a US company offering $US1500 mushroom-suit shrouds for burials, made from organic cotton and a bio-mix of mushrooms. Another promising technology is cryomation, using liquid nitrogen to freeze the body to make it crystalline and brittle. It is then shattered into 1mm pieces through ultrasonic vibration, which turn into mulch when buried. “It is expected to have a significantly lower carbon footprint than conventional cremation, as it avoids the need for fossil fuel inputs, however studies on [cryomation’s] energy footprint do not appear to be available currently.” (p60). Their focus groups weren’t impressed by it.

Leaving no stone unturned in their research, the UTS people discovered a Swiss company, Algordanza, that will synthesise 500 grams of your ashes into a diamond, a pricey option taking half a year. “Given that the method involves conventional cremation, international transport of remains, high-tech treatment of synthesised remains and then return international transport, it is difficult to imagine that this method of memorialisation offers any environmental benefits over other methods,” the report concludes (p70).

I’m sure you think “Algordanza” is a play on Al Gore dancing, but it’s actually an old Swiss Rhaeto-Romanic word for “remembrance”. To my surprise I’ve found that Algordanza now has a specific Australian operation for the very well-heeled.

As you can now see, I have heaps of options if I cancel my personal donation to Melbourne University. I’m rather torn between composting and unleashing the “exceptional sparkling” of myself as a radiant-cut Al Gore diamond.

Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

Editor’s note: More pictures of the Sculthorpe Memorial, featured atop this page, can be found here. Nothing, though, can rival a visit to the cemetery, especially on a sunny day, when the rose-tinted glass cupola floods the statuary with a warm and glowing light. The cemetery is located on High Street, Kew, and open from 8am until 5pm. Visitors might also pause immediately upon passing through the gates and glance to the right, where a very strange memorial to the Syme family, founders of The Age newspaper, combines a potpourri of occult and Theosophical symbols. All it lacks is the personal endorsement of Madame Blavatsky.

[1] And India plans to double its coal use by 2040.

[2] Steffen: “The ultimate drivers of the Anthropocene if they continue unabated through this century, may well threaten the viability of contemporary civilization and perhaps even the future existence of Homo sapiens.”

[3] UTS’s 2018 annual report said UTS “reached our target of 30 per cent of our student load to be international students”, of whom “more than fifty per cent come from China” (p10).

[4] The Institute’s top “climate champion” was Professor Bob Carr, the NSW ex-premier who retired from the institute last month after three years’ celebrating the closures of cheap, reliable coal-fired electricity

Suffer the Little Children to Come Unto Green

POSTED ON BY TONY THOMASIN UNCATEGORIZED11 MINUTES READ

In the run-up to the federal election, teachers and third-party groups are inveigling schoolkids with propaganda about the green/Left independent candidates. In this essay I’ll take a look one such tool of sly persuasion, dark green climate activist Damon Gameau’s latest film, Regenerating Australia, which is heading for authorised mainstream usage in classrooms and spruiks nameless green/Left independents. Then I’ll document half a dozen class-lesson templates about the film, created by Cool Australiawhich is a Leftist online platform used by 52 per cent of Australian teachers with their reach to 3.2 million students.[1]

Two minutes into Gameau’s film, a fictitious planet-saving independent, “Lucy Jameson”, gets a surprise election win to rapturous acclaim. “The message from the voting public could not be clearer,” says the newsreader, claiming “frustrations with leadership and politics had boiled over”. Set in the future, the film fantasises that demonstrations by two million people led to a poll or referendum of 12 million Australians, with 82 per cent wanting net zero emissions by 2040.

So how is the flick being received? Let’s start with Melbourne’s upmarket Brighton Primary School. The principal, Steve Meade, organised a screening for May 3.[2] There are starring roles for Kerry O’Brien, the leftist ex-ABC icon; the Climate Council’s Tim “Wonthaggi”Flannery (of course), and greenish independent MHR Zali Steggall, who hails the film’s new federal law protecting “30 per cent of Australian native forest and bushland”.

Principal Meade invited along ersatz independent candidate for Goldstein, Zoe Daniel (ex-ABC) and Climate 200’s Svengali, Simon Holmes a Court, for the event’s question-and-answer session. Conservative parents mutinied and the school deleted the invitation and rescheduled the event with no mention of the Daniels/Holmes a Court’s Q&A. Principal Meade justified his stance with the time-honored nonsense about less than ten years to save “our kids and the planet.” [3]

The Herald Sun quoted one parent, “Political activism has no place in the classroom. I don’t think children in primary school need to be politicised in any way.” Brighton’s Liberal MLA James Newbury quoted outraged Bayside parents, summing up their objections thus: Our public primary schools should be places of learning not a shopfront for political activism. State Labor is taking advantage of young kids by politicising our schoolyards.” Several other schools in the Goldstein zone had previously featured Zoe Daniels, who is no doubt looking forward to further invitations.

Departmental anti-indoctrination rules vary by state (and are usually ignored). I set them out here last month. For example, SA Education Department policy is, “Members of parliament and candidates are welcome at schools and preschools within their electorates when it will not disrupt normal activities. School and preschool visits must not be for political or campaign purposes.” I doubt the guideline endorses candidate visits a mere fortnight pre-election.

Gameau’s 17-minute Regenerating “documentary” is heavily supported by WWF-Australia and  philanthropist Ian Darling’s Shark Island Foundation. Gameau claims Regenerating is based on a thousand interviews in 2020 with people of diverse views – though the film involves not one iota of doubt about green cure-alls. Set at end of 2029, it’s a prequel to his full-scale futuristic epic 2040  and also fantasises that every green gimmick has worked like a charm2040 was seized on by teachers who force-fed it to 1.5 million students and downloaded 2 million copies of the notes.

All this planet-saving has taken its toll on Gameau, as The Guardian reports:

He says that in the wake of the first Lismore floods, he was on a plane when he heard the news about the record heatwave in Antarctica – with temperatures nearly 40 degrees above average – and he “just burst into tears.

Dry your tears, Damon, momentary spikes in Antarctic temperatures are insignificant and the icy continent hasn’t warmed for 70 years.

I suppose some Gameau emotion is understandable as he couldn’t get back to his home town of Broken Head (Northern Rivers) when the floods hit, and his two daughters had to be rescued by a friend on a longboard. This has zero relevance to CO2 emissions, a fact emphasised by omission. His film doesn’t mention the planet hasn’t warmed for the past seven years and six months, according to the UAH satellite monitoring, and Australia has not warmed since end-2012.

Instead, in a rather sadistic (or sentimental) touch, the film shows in 2029 our last coal-fired power station’s stack, likely to be blown up, but with coal workers’ names first inscribed on it. It’s also rather sadistic for Gameau, circa 2029, to plant mini-forests on what looks like Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena. A lot of balls will get lost in the trees. The scariest scene in the film shows Melbourne’s Luna Park headed for at least 3m of sea rise by 2100 – that’s 4cm a year from now on. Even the alarmist IPCC expects well under a one-metre rise by 2100.

Gameau modestly likens his climate pitch to that of slavery abolitionists and the human rights movements. He finds Australian traditional democracy dissatisfying, and his film introduces some Swiss-style decision-making via on-line voting, restrictions on political donations and “citizen juries”. He claims that the masses are disillusioned with politicians who won’t recognise “the Code Red for humanity, the window is closing, now or never” and their alleged capture by the fossil fuel industry and the (Murdoch) media.[4] Hence the film’s urging for more direct local power for climate activists. Gameau says he has no political ambitions.

Naturally the film reaches a “clear consensus on First Nation’s Sovereignty”, but a kicker is that we also create a “Youth Parliamentary Advisory Council” with teenagers – Heaven help us! – advising parliament. Youthful woman speaks: “We hope to see climate change on the forefront of their (politicians’) minds and really pushing the fight for climate justice.”

Gameau’s shtick is to only terrify schoolkids a little, while claiming they can run around “taking action” to save the planet. “If you’re going to sound the fire alarm, you’ve got to show people where the exits are,” he explains. Kids come up to him crying with relief that the planet can be saved after all. There’s no mention in the film of China and India, with their vast expansions of coal-fired power that will swamp every emission cut by the West.[5]

For the scary stuff he depicts the 2020 bushfires as (bogus) demonstrations of climate change. He has a firefighter saying, “We could hear the screams of people” and a distraught housewife thinking of setting fire to her own house because of her stress. Gameau fantasises that devastating fires later in the 2020s leave “hundreds of Australians dead, and saw any doubts about climate change finally put to rest.” So much for not scaring kids.

But on the plus side, future-Australia has no trouble putting in a three-hour Melbourne-Sydney rail link, implying top speeds of circa 400kph, with an extension to Brisbane in 2032. Clever electricians install a sub-sea power line to Singapore turning us into a renewable energy export superpower, in the fantasy of Nicky Ison of WWF (curiously labelled as with AMEO – Australian Energy Market Operator). A dozen actors in a conference room – many in jeans and sneakers — see Singapore on a screen lighting up with Australia’s green electrons. They leap to their feet waving arms and exchanging high-fives. The price of renewables and batteries has of course “plummeted” and the country runs solely on renewable energy for an entire month. (After which the wind drops and we have blackouts?)

In Gameau’s imagination, we send off hydrogen-powered ships laden with “ammonia and green steel made from our iron ore and renewable energy.” We revel in a billion-dollar seaweed industry and offshore wind farms, while the feds pass a law banning single-use plastics and the Murray-Darling is granted “Rights of Nature” (whatever that might be). Every green triumph creates “thousands of new jobs”. Bikie gangs are so happy with roof gardens and extra street greenery that there is “reduced crime and reduced anti-social behaviour, because we can deal better with the world when we are getting to nature.”

Melbourne’s dark-green Mayor Sally Capp shares filmic fantasies that her electric bus fleet cuts emissions and boosts jobs. Don’t tell her that in Paris in the past month, two electric bus fires caused 150 of them to be taken out of service as a precaution.[6]

Gameau is now winding up an Australia-wide tour of about 70 screenings. The scheduling during the federal election campaign was not intentional, he says.

The screening in Batemans Bay, NSW, seemed more like a revivalist meeting with attendees calling out “yeeeew!” and “boom!” The Guardian enthuses:

A dance troupe from the local Walbunja people of the Yuin nation perform, and when they greet the audience in Dhurga, a blonde-headed girl licking a choc-top yells back “Wallawani” and pumps her hand in the air. As the event ends, one woman walks out of the cinema and stretches her arms up into the night sky. “My God, I so needed that.” 

SO NOW to the  “curriculum”. Schools have jumped aboard via Cool Australia, the third-party provider of free downloadable prefabricated lessons. The packs are  described by Cool as “the Regenerating Australia curriculum”. Cool is adulatory in tone about the cast who “shared their hopes and dreams for the country’s future.” The class brainwashing campaign got under way last February with this spiel:

Calling all teachers in Australia! 

You’re invited to a free virtual teacher preview screening of our new short film, Regenerating Australia, ahead of the national release in March!

Join us for a live Q+A with Director Damon Gameau, Cool Australia’s Head of Education, Mark Drummond, and WWF-Australia’s Earth Hour Coordinator, Jasmin Ledger, to learn about the free educational resources we are developing and how schools can get involved in Regenerating Australia! 

Cool says,

The Regenerating Australia curriculum has been designed to tune your students into the concepts covered in the film, and deep dive into the solutions presented. The lessons in this unit can be used in isolation or mixed and matched in any sequence that suits your curriculum planning. We recommend that you start the investigation of regeneration with the ‘Watching the Film’ lesson for your year level.

Cool tells teachers to take their classes to cinema screenings (there goes a morning’s real education), or get their own licensed copy and “School Action Toolkit” and “Fact Sheet”.

 Here are a few specific lessons of the Gameau curriculum (paywalled, my emphases).

# Sample One:

Subjects: Civics and Citizenship

Year Levels: 9 & 10

Topics: Democracy and politics.

Teaching Time: 180 mins (best taught over two lessons). Yikes!

Quick summary: 

Have you ever wondered what it might take to rejuvenate Australia’s democracy and get you (sic) adults involved throughout the process? In this lesson, students watch a section of “Regenerating Australia” that explores a rejuvenated and transparent democracy system and begin  to unravel truths. Students will research their local MP and find out how they vote on issues, then become active participants in the democratic system by communicating with their local MP about a topic that is important to them. Finally, students will return to the questions asked in the barometer activity to reflect on whether their understanding has changed.

Learning intentions:

* Students will understand how and why individuals and groups participate in, and contribute to, the democratic process

* Students will recognise some of the challenges to sustaining a resilient democracy

Students will become familiar with ways that the resiliency of the Australian democratic system can be improved.

A characteristic of Australian school education is that kids learn how things “should” be before they learn what they are.

Sample 2:

 Activity: Regenerating Australia – Watching the Film – English & Geography – Years 9 & 10 

Teaching Time: 90 minutes.

Quick summary: 

In this lesson, students will build an understanding of the concept of ‘regeneration’ and its benefits for our communities and ecosystems. They will complete a 3-2-1- Bridge Visible Thinking Routine and review a set of key terms related to the topic before watching “Regenerating Australia.” Students will be invited to evaluate the content and develop questions about the film’s content. The class with (sic) re-watch snippets of the film to extend their understanding, then work collaboratively to dive deeper into the topic of regeneration in a jigsaw-classroom activity. 

Sample 3:

Activity: Regenerating Australia – Watching The Film – English, Science and Civics and Citizenship – Years 5 & 6.

Topics: Sustainability, Regenerating Australia

Teaching Time: 90 minutes.

Quick summary: 

In this lesson, students will work towards understanding the concept of ‘regeneration’ and the impact of regeneration on our communities and ecosystems. They will review their understanding of a set of key terms, then watch the film “Regenerating Australia”. They will make their thinking about the film visible through the See/Think/Wonder tool, then read through a factsheet on regeneration. They will summarise their understanding of regeneration, then extend their understanding through a Gallery Walk activity, before returning to their summaries as a reflection exercise.

Learning intentions:

* Students will understand the concept of ‘regeneration’

* Students will understand the impact of regeneration on our community and ecosystems.

 Sample 4:

Regenerating Australia – Watching The Film – English, Science and Civics and Citizenship – Years 7 & 8

Topics: Sustainability, Regenerating Australia

Teaching Time: 120 minutes. [That’s half a day’s schooling up the spout].

Quick summary: 

In this lesson, students will understand the concept of ‘regeneration’ and its impact on our communities and ecosystems. The teacher will activate children’s prior knowledge on the topic in a vocabulary matching game, prompt their critical thinking skills using the 5Ws, and invite students to develop questions about the concept of regeneration. They will view “Regenerating Australia”, then return to their questions and summarise the key themes. Students will be invited to explore their school with an open mind and capture spaces that could benefit from regeneration. 

Learning intentions:

* Students will understand the concept of ‘regeneration’

* Students will understand that regeneration is something that we can implement in our communities and ecosystems.

Sample 5:

Regenerating Australia – Film And Production Analysis – English – Years 9 & 10

Teaching Time: 180 mins (this lesson could be split over a number of teaching periods).

Quick summary: 

In this lesson, students will view the film “Regenerating Australia” and then watch a video interview with the Writer and Director, Damon Gameau. They will respond to a set of questions that will prompt them to consider the intended impact of the film and the structural and/or visual choices that were made in order to create this impact. Students will use their knowledge on regeneration to create a news report about a real or imagined example of regeneration.

Learning intentions:

* Understand how cultural perspectives and other texts can influence the construction and interpretation of news reports

* Be aware of how people, cultures, places, events, objects and concepts are represented in texts, including media texts, through language, structural and/or visual choices

* Know how to create informative texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments.

Sample 6:

Activity: Regenerating Australia – Regenerate Your Community – Design and Technology – Years 7 & 8

Topics: Critical and Creative Thinking, Regenerating Australia, design, environment. 

Teaching Time: 95 mins.

Quick summary: After watching Regenerating Australia, students will work through an investigation of creative and critical thinking tasks to gain an in-depth understanding of what regeneration and sustainability mean in the context of their local communities and areas.

Teachers say the curriculum is too crowded – but they can always squeeze in some more net-zero propaganda.

Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

[1] Cool Australia brags that Teachers Health insurance fund, with its 300,000 clients, is “Our Coolest Partner”. Other funders include various Rich-Listers’ foundations (e.g. the Fox family, Purves, Fairfax, Smorgons), billionaire-run Atlassian, Google and Cisco, plus odds and sods such as the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation.

[2] Herald Sun April 17, 2022: Brighton Primary School parents furious after political candidate asked to speak. Paywalled.

[3] The Liberal’s Goldstein MHR, Tim Wilson, was also invited but it’s not clear to which event or both.

[4] Stanford University has just received a $US1b donation for an alarmist climate institute. Sceptic bloggers live off tip jars.

[5] China plans to boost coal capacity by 300 million tonnes this year, from its already-record levels.

[6] Gameau: “With the NSW Government recently pledging to convert its 8,000 diesel buses to electric by 2030, we are on the way to lighter-touch long distance travelling.”Amon Gameau

The Green Goblins Terrifying Our Kids

There’s a problem with being a councillor on Tim Flannery’s Climate Council. While they’re very good at scaring Australians with climate apocalypse hob-goblins, councillors are now also frightening themselves, their kids and grandkids.

The Council is the go-to resource for Australia’s lapdog media, getting in 2020-21 more than 19,500 media mentions and 22,000 media items elevating “trusted voices”.[1] When the-prime minister Tony Abbott axed the government-funded Climate Commission in 2013, it morphed into this Climate Council funded by donations.

Pre-election, it’s gone even more demented than usual, complaining on March 31, for example, that the horrible Morrison government has “no effective mechanisms to “eliminate coal, oil and gas”. I suppose the Council would first “eliminate” all base-load electricity, then “eliminate” Australia’s non-electric cars, trucks and buses (98 per cent of the total) and then “eliminate” everything being made of plastics.

Simple, really. What else would you expect from experts led by Tim “Wonthaggi” Flannery, who prophesised that “Even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and river systems”, and Will Steffen, the council’s chief doom-cryer.[2] Worth noting, Steffen’s recent co-authored paper in Nature included the grotesque correction reproduced below.

Council policy is that by 2030 (a mere seven and a half years’ ahead) Australia should cut emissions by 75 per cent below 2005 levels and reach net zero emissions by 2035. In the disruption to our way of life, this would make the Soviet revolution of 1917 seem just a hiccup.

The Council’s “eliminate” document claims that Australia is an “international pariah” for slacking on net zero emissions. It’s taken less than a month for this hyberbole to collapse, since Western Europe is now fast back-pedalling from renewables programs that made them hostage to Russian energy. As Matt Canavan, the rational National, told an aghast ABC on April 26, “The net zero thing is all sort of dead anyway”. Unlike the Climate Council, he wasn’t engaging in hyperbole:  Britain is pausing it, Germany is building coal- and gas-fired infrastructure, and Italy is re-opening its coal-fired power plants. Canavan didn’t get around to mentioning China’s plans to boost coal capacity by 300 million tonnes this year, from its already-record levels.

Rather than Flannery or Steffen, I’m actually interested today in a third Climate Councillor, Dr Kate Charlesworth. The Council describes her as a “mother and public health doctor”. She’s undoubtedly well qualified in treating hospital patients but, like many of the medical, psychology and psychiatry tribes, she’s been badly bitten by the baloney bug. She drifted away from laudable UK hospital work to Cambridge University, studying how to reduce English Health’s carbon footprint. She now works in NSW as “a medical specialist on environmentally sustainable health care” — the very first such role in Australia, fighting “the biggest health issue of all: the climate emergency.”[3] Cancer? Heart attacks? Diabetes Type 2? They’re just also-rans. The three-time mother also wrote, “We must act urgently and decisively to protect ourselves and those we love. This is literally becoming the fight of our lives.”

I agree with her tract, “A new guide for parents: managing eco-anxiety in your kids”, that “it’s tough being a parent”. She cites the unrelenting grind of packing school lunches, getting the kids to look away from their screens for a few seconds a day, and sundry COVID woes. But her appraisal of the purported “climate crisis” dwarfs all that:

My eldest child is now 11. So I’m adding one more issue to my list of parenting challenges: managing eco-anxiety. My psychology and paediatric colleagues report that once children get to the ‘tweens’ they start to comprehend the urgency and enormity of the climate challenge, and with that can come anxiety and depression.

A recent survey of 10,000 children and young people (aged 16-25 years) in 10 countries (including Australia) found that 59% were very or extremely worried about climate change, with 84% at least moderately worried. Of note, climate anxiety and distress correlated with ‘perceived inadequate government response and associated feelings of betrayal’. 

I’d interrupt Dr Charlesworth here to mention that this study in The Lancet was funded by climate activist group AVAAZ, and included such non-sciency activist blather as, “These psychological stressors [feelings of betrayal] threaten health and wellbeing, and could be construed as morally injurious and unjust.”

It’s not as if kids from age six leaf through alarmist IPCC reports at bedtime. Such kids would be happier if adults stopped berating them with climate-extinction doom and party-political propaganda. For example, in Germany last year, seven climate activists as young as 18 went on a 27-day hunger strike and several ended up in hospital.

Dr Charlesworth continues that kids’ eco-anxiety is all too real, based on “robust” scientific evidence (no, it’s based on much-adjusted data, and also on climate models tuned to hide their many weaknesses and to get plausibly-alarmist results). She claims we are beginning to witness the actual “climate breakdown”. Really, Dr Charlesworth?

After a century of warming, Australian farm output is expected to hit new output and value records — an “incredible” $78 billion, according to the ABARES Agricultural Report of December 2021. As federal agriculture minister David Littleproud put it,

Production is expected to increase for every major livestock commodity and almost every major crop. It is the first time in half a century that production will increase for so many products at the same time.

If this is “climate breakdown”, let’s have more of it. Dr Charlesworth, why not pass on the good news to your anxiety-riddled kids?[4]

Her article passes along what psychologists recommend and reject as means to calm kids climate anxieties, for example: “Attempts to discredit the science, diminish their reaction or shield them from the truth will only worsen the situation.”

These psychs, along with Dr Charlesworth, also want kids to “join a local climate action youth group. This is building your child’s ‘self-efficacy’: their belief that they can make a difference. This step has really important mental health benefits, as action is one of the best antidotes to anxiety.” One such group is Roger Hallam’s Extinction Rebellion. Hallam does videos such as ‘Advice to Young People as They Face Annihilation‘ which kids might not find all that re-assuring.

Dr Charlesworth says that if kids are budding lawyers, steer them towards suing the government for wrecking their climate future: “These are fantastic examples of children taking agency over their situation.” And, she might have added, massively wasting kids’ and everyone’s time, as these stupid cases all fail.

Her final advice to parents: “So, at the upcoming election, vote the way your children would, if they had the chance: vote for climate action.” Her sources for this indoctrination include the Australian Psychological Society, a cabal of kiddy-scarers:

Alarmed small children may show behavior changes —“ e.g., in their play, drawing, or dreams that might suggest that something is unsettling them.” They might find it easier to talk about environmental issues via a toy or puppet. Try asking, “And how are you feeling today, Teddy?”.

Psychiatrists aren’t any better. One leading  Melbourne shrink wrote in 2019:

In Australia there continues to be Government denial. Our leaders could be seen psychiatrically as deluded and a danger to others and if so certifiable. At worst they can be seen as guilty of crimes against humanity and nature-homicide and ecocide — and indeed in the future they may be found to be …

Australian pediatricians are matched for wokeness by their offshore counterparts.  

In 2020 the International Pediatric Association adopted a declaration about climate’s “existential and universal threat”  to children, and about achieving “climate justice in an ecologically grounded and sustainable world.” Child health facilities are to be re-purposed for climate propaganda, by “engaging clinical and non-clinical staff in practices, hospitals, and health systems as advocates”.

Child health professionals are to use “the framework of anticipatory guidance at office visits for discussing climate change with families.” Just picture it: bring in seven-year-old Daphne to get her eczema fixed and you’ll first get an earful from the staff about the wonders of wind turbines.

The gamut of child health professionals are now supposed “in unison” to advocate for causes like green electricity, “plant-based food” (delicious!), electric cars, and “inter-species justice”. To prepare the ground for all this, there would be professional education for  “Child health professionals at all levels of training and in all venues of practice, on all aspects of the climate crisis.” This education includes

…collaborative movements such as One Health, Planetary Health, and Traditional Ecological Knowledge, which identify the root civil-political, social, economic, cultural, ecological, and philosophical causes of climate change.

The international association laments that too many health professionals fear spruiking climate stuff publicly. One survey showed 22 per cent thought their peers would object; 16 per cent thought the topic too controversial, and 14 per cent didn’t want to risk their careers over it. The association claims its declaration will soothe such concerns, advising that “public engagement is expected of pediatricians.” Professionals are now meant to “advance and support” kids’ own climate-crisis advocacy (as if kids acquired their views independently).

Amongst all the nonsense are a couple of good ideas, like less jetting to glamorous conferences (a great tax lurk for medicos). Such conferences should now offer “primarily vegetarian, climate-conscious, and locally-sourced meals.” Maybe lentil soup, mealworms and grilled grasshoppers.

The donation-funded Climate Council has grown to a $6 million a year propaganda behemoth with a $4 million salary bill.  It started in 2013 with $1m.  I suspect someone’s tipping in multi-million dollars there now. As for the nitty-gritty, the only (derisory) public disclosure about salaries is that 24 key managers got in total $545,733 last year.

All up, $6 million is a lot of money to spend on hogwash.

Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

[1] Climate Council Annual report, p7

[2] “The ultimate drivers of the Anthropocene if they continue unabated through this century, may well threaten the viability of contemporary civilization and perhaps even the future existence of Homo sapiens.”

[3] She’s also a member of Doctors for the Environment Australia, the Climate and Health Alliance, and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Climate change and Health group.

[4] The deluded Climate Council claims, quoting our equally silly Academy of Science: “The long-term drying trends in southwest and southeast Australia, punctuated by severe droughts, are already hammering our most important agricultural regions.”

Why Teachers Get Away with Preaching Green Rubbish


Tony Thomas

In the impending May federal election, how are young voters (18-24yo) going to vote? For sure they’re keen on the Greens Party, and for sure they’re biased against the Coalition.

To elaborate, the March Newspoll of The Australian showed 17 per cent of youngsters (18-24) intending to vote Greens compared with 9% of all voters. Youngsters favored Labor 47 per cent (all voters 41 per cent) and youngsters gave the Coalition a derisory 24 per cent support (all voters, 34 per cent). On two-party preferred, the poll went 66 per cent of youngsters for Labor and only 34 per cent for the Coalition (all voters 55/45 per cent).

How the UK combats activism in the classroom

I’d say they’ve emerged from 13 years of brainwashing by teachers, with further years at university getting them fully indoctrinated. States have anti-brainwashing policies, but the ability of all teachers to understand them, let alone implement them, is doubtful. In NSW and ACT in 2015, school leavers who scored in the bottom 50 per cent ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) scores made up half of all teaching degree offers. There were 28 offers made to students scoring an ATAR of 0-19, 29 offers to those scoring 20-29, and 73 offers to students with an ATAR of 30-39, according to a leaked study by academics which the universities had sought to suppress.

It’s no accident that schools are awash in green-Left dogma, such as from WWF, Cool Australia and Oxfam. Here’s a little time-line.

1985: Joan Kirner, soon to become Victoria’s Education Minister and Premier, argues that education must be reshaped as “part of the socialist struggle for equality, participation and social change, rather than an instrument of the capitalist system”.

February 2005: Wayne Sawyer, the president of the NSW English Teachers Association and former chairman of the NSW Board of Studies English Curriculum Committee, bemoans in his editorial for English in Australia that the Howard Government was re-elected. He cites this as evidence that English teachers have failed in their job.

2006-22: Teachers uncritically force-feed literally millions of schoolkids Al Gore’s movies Inconvenient Truth and Inconvenient Sequel, often multiple times in various years, followed by Damon Gameau’s green propaganda movies 2040 [2019] and Regenerating Australia [April 2022].

December 2008: Federal Labor Education Minister Julia Gillard and Labor education ministers from five states[2] concoct the “Melbourne Declaration” leading to “Sustainability” and the environment becoming one of three cross-curriculum priorities in Australian education.[2] This gives free rein in schools for direct green/Left indoctrination and via third party curriculum material.[3]

December 2015: School lessons compiled by the Australian Academy of Science and used by a third of secondary science teachers and 50,000-60,000 students include this for 15 to 16-year-olds:

♦ “Ask students if they have ever taken action or advocated for a cause.

♦ Lesson outcomes: At the end of this activity students will … appreciate the need to lobby at all levels of government to ignite and lead change – even if it is unpopular with the voters.

♦ “If you were concerned about Earth’s sustainability, who would you vote for?” 

♦ Could we do without It [mining]? Would you work for a mining company?”

November, 2018: Woodville High (SA) teacher, ex-Fair Work inspector and union delegate Regina Wilson, 58, posts to the Australian Education Union’s Facebook page her vow to “ensure that the next generation of voters in my classroom don’t vote Liberal”.  She is the international student program manager at the 1000-pupil school and teaches classes in Years 8, 9 and 11. She claims in her defence that she is being targeted because of her gender. She retires with thanks from the principal a year later.

November 2020: Education Services Australia (ESA), a company set up by federal-state education ministers to provide free supplementary online materials for teachers (“Scootle”), gives Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating 17 hits, virtually all laudatory; Labor PM Gough Whitlam gets 56 hits, none hostile and most laudatory, and the Liberal’s PM John Howard gets more than 20 hits, none laudatory and most hostile.

June 2021: A climate-change manual for 5-14yo’s by the Primary English Teaching Association of Australia says,

Chapter 9 is a call for action. Without students taking personal action to mitigate climate change, there is no point to this book.

It urges schools to get kids chanting

an Earth-focused school or class ‘anthem’ at assemblies. (This) is a great way to build emotional attachment to the planet. 

Education Publishing Australia gives the book its “Educational Resource” award for 2021.

September 2021: Cool Australia promotes to kids “Seated protest of national anthem:

  1. Strengths — Anyone who witnesses the national anthem can do it; Easy – doesn’t cost money or require organisation; Non-violent 
  2. Weaknesses – May not get a chance to share reasons for sitting downDoesn’t necessarily change any other people’s behaviour.”

I wrote here about the UK’s 1996 legislation and 9000-word Guidance Notes in February banning teachers from politically-partisan teaching in class. “Political” there refers not merely to political parties but to all politically contentious themes and materials such as Black Lives Matter, #metoo and Britain’s recent imperial history. By law, UK teachers must treat such issues with a “balanced presentation of opposing views”.

In Australia’s state-based education systems, green-Left politics has already bolted through classrooms, partly by government design. The nadir is third-party green/Leftists like Cool Australia’s free prefabricated online lessons used by more than half of Australia’s teachers. So I’ve asked each education department – and NZ’s too – what restrictions it puts on partisan teaching.

Replies came in promptly and courteously, with only Queensland and NT failing to respond. Summaries are below. None have anti-political policies remotely as strong as the UK system. Unlike the UK, no state has an outright ban on school political activity by under-12s – think here of the School Strikes for Climate.

Federal Department of Education: 

It directed my query to the states.

Victoria 

Schools must ensure the teaching and learning resources they use are challenging, engaging and age-appropriate with content that is not offensive to students or the wider school community.

The Department provides guidelines to inform teachers’ and principals’ decisions regarding the selection of teaching and learning resources.

Schools and teachers work hard to develop their students’ knowledge about Australia’s representative democracy and key institutions, processes, and roles in Australia’s political systems, in an apolitical manner.

The Teaching and Learning Resources — Selecting Appropriate Materials policy is available online.

Partisan or party political materials, including materials that advocate for or against a particular political party, candidate or political issue in relation to an election campaign, must not be distributed, promoted or displayed in a school, other than for educational purposes.

The policy on Political activities is available online.

The “Appropriate Materials Policy” says schools shouldn’t offer materials and resources that offend students or the school community because of their “obscene, offensive or controversial nature” or by being age-inappropriate. Principals should alert the school community in advance to use of possible controversial texts, and give students and parents alerts. The principal should provide respectful and conciliatory responses to objections.

The Materials policy links to further “Guidance”. Teachers must anticipate reasonable objections and on request, offer alternative resources to be integrated into the class program, so the students involved are supported and not isolated.

Texts officially recommended for the Victorian Certificate of Education do not need further vetting for VCE students.

Teachers should use movies only in conformity with the movie’s rating, e.g. G, MA 15. Invited audiences for school public events and performances should be age-appropriate.

The Department gives schools a list of sensitive topics. In normal teaching, controversial subjects cannot be avoided. It is concerned about racial or religious themes or satires, sex themes, drug addiction, violence, suicide and “excessively bleak scenarios”. (Do “excessively bleak scenarios” include the imminent collapse of civilisation and even life on the planet based on climate scenarios from unvalidated computer modelling?).

Valid objections should involve the objector believing the student would be harmed in some way.

Objections based solely on the grounds that the teaching and learning resources are alleged to be educationally unsound or aesthetically unsound do not warrant action in relation to these guidelines but should be managed in accordance with the school’s general complaints policy.

This clause is in severe contrast to the UK Act which bans one-sided teaching of contentious matters. For example, I think Victoria permits principals or teachers to brush off any parent complaint about brainwashing, with parents having no legal recourse. To clarify, one would have to drill down into each school’s individual complaints-handling.

New South Wales

I was referred to departmental weblinks. Key extracts:

Schools are neutral places for rational discourse and objective study. Discussion of controversial issues in schools should allow students to explore a range of viewpoints and not advance the interest of any particular group [including green groups?]. Contemporary material of an overtly political nature must not be distributed to students unless the material is for study purposes and is curriculum-relevant. Parents, carers and students may hold different views, to be treated respectfully.

The study of controversial issues provides valuable learning experiences when managed appropriately. Staff and students may advocate for issues or activities that are important to them, consistent with expectations in the department’s Code of Conduct for staff and Behaviour code for students. Principals, teachers, external providers and visitors are in a privileged position to influence students. All staff therefore have a responsibility to address the study of controversial issues in accordance with this policy.

Teachers, other school staff, contractors and volunteers maintain objectivity, avoiding distortion of discussion and acknowledging the rights of students, parents and carers to hold different viewpoints. Where possible, pre-check presentations and materials used by visitors and external providers for appropriateness and advise the principal.

Establishing how parents will be informed about programs and involved in consultation is a school-based decision.

Controversial issues are not static and are impacted by changing attitudes, world events and social values. They may be questions, subjects, topics or problems creating contention and debate. Controversial issues will differ across schools and communities. Teaching approaches to controversial issues need to be sensitive, objective and balanced. They should ensure that a range of views on a subject are taken into account.

Welcome to country and/or the acknowledgement of traditional owners is not considered a controversial issue.

In regard to the last point, why aren’t welcomes to country deemed controversial?

Schools are not places to proselytise, that is, to convert students who are not already members of a particular belief system . Schools should not be used to advance political platforms or for recruiting into partisan groups organised upon restricted party lines. Material inconsistent with the values of public education or the school’s purpose and goals or that advances the interest of any particular group, political or otherwise, must not be distributed.

I hope that includes WWF, Earth Hour, Greenpeace, School Strike for Climate and ACF.

Teachers are in a privileged position to influence students. A teacher’s personal view should not impact on teaching a subject. Sharing their knowledge or view may be necessary to assist students to form their own views or to answer a query. The response should be balanced and presented as one opinion to be considered critically along with any others. Teachers must ensure that all views and evidence are presented impartially in all discussions of controversial issues. Visitors and external providers are not permitted to proselytise.

Local Members, whether in Government or Opposition, should be warmly welcomed at schools within their electorates.

All materials that include controversial issues are to be reviewed and approved by the principal in advance. This responsibility cannot be delegated to people from outside the school, including the publishers of material for use in the school. Distribution of material makes the school a ‘publisher’ and therefore answerable for the views expressed.

South Australia

The department replied: “The Department for Education’s ‘Political matters policy’ is an internal-facing document for departmental employees, but we can share the following excerpts with you.”

Employees must not use their position to advocate for any political party or view. This extends to employees using their position to help or facilitate a political party, lobby group or vested interest in using department facilities and resources, or gaining access to department employees or related persons, for example parents or students.

Discussing political issues with children and students should always be driven by the educational program, not by partisan groups or individuals. A balanced view must always be presented to students.

Department equipment and materials must not be used for the promotion of a political party, candidate or lobby group. The distribution or display by any means, including emailing material for a party, candidate or lobby group, is not permitted.

Members of parliament and candidates are welcome at schools and preschools within their electorates when it will not disrupt normal activities. School and preschool visits must not be for political or campaign purposes.

 Tasmania

Tasmanian teachers are required by the Tasmanian State Service Principles, (State Service Act 2000), to be apolitical and to act in an impartial, ethical and professional manner. In addition, teachers follow the Australian Curriculum, which includes the subject area of Civics and Citizenship.

Western Australia

The stipulates the curriculum and teaching in government schools is not to promote any particular political party . It also stipulates that information intended to generate support for a political party is not to be disseminated on school premises (section 121 on page 100pdf). This is narrowly confined to political parties, rather than sensitive political issues.

ACT

Teachers in ACT public schools are to abide by the Code of Conduct for Teachers, School Leaders and Principals.

Section 17 of the Code says teachers have the same speech rights as everyone else. However, teachers need to ensure that there is no reasonable perception of conflict of interest between their private political opinions or activities and their official responsibilities.

Teachers need to be careful about expressing political opinion in the workplace and sharing their views with students. All ACT public servants, including teachers, are also subject to the ACT Public Service Code of Conduct. This code illustrates by saying that teachers should not wear political slogans and proselytise to kids in class. But they could wear union T-shirts on Fridays to promote the union and invite other teachers to hear about the union in the staff room during breaks.

New Zealand

There are no legal provisions that specifically prohibit the promotion of political materials by teachers in schools. New Zealand operates largely off a system of constitutional convention, which includes the neutrality of the state services, and this is overseen by the Public Service Commission. Teachers are, however, subject to the Code of Professional Conduct as set by the regulatory Teaching Council. It is a set of aspirations for professional behaviour – not a list of punitive rules. It reflects the expectations teachers and society place on the profession. As part of the Education Act, it is binding on all teachers.

I suggest conservative parents hold principals’ feet to the fire over indoctrinations, with the help of these policy extracts.

 Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

[2] The WA Education Minister was an independent.

[3] The “sustainability” push in schools dates to a UN conference in Stockholm in 1972, when the scares de jour included future mass starvation, acid rain and (malaria-fighting) DDT. Two UN conferences in Belgrade and Tbilisi, Georgia in 1976 and 1977 reinforced the plan for kids as activists– both venues being on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain with their own environments exploited and trashed. The Rio Earth Summit followed in 1992, launching “Agenda 21” to drench kids globally in environmentalism and use their pester-power to shame parents into green activism.

[4] Sustainability education is futures-oriented, focusing on protecting environments and creating a more ecologically and socially just world through informed action. Actions that support more sustainable patterns of living require consideration of environmental, social, cultural and economic systems and their interdependence… The third concept is aimed at building capacities for thinking and acting in ways that are necessary to create a more sustainable future. The concept seeks to promote reflective thinking processes in young people and empower them to design action that will lead to a more equitable and sustainable future… Designing action for sustainability requires an evaluation of past practices, the assessment of scientific and technological developments, and balanced judgements based on projected future economic, social and environmental impacts. 

Sounds a tall order for 10 year-olds.

Manipulating Kids, It’s Child’s Play for Climateers

On your calendar, mark tomorrow — Friday, March 25 — as Climate Stupidity Day. There’s Earth Hour Schools Day, sponsored by lobbyists Cool Australia and WWF, and yet another looming School Strike for Climate manipulated by adults from the Youth Climate Coalition.[1] [2]

At the moment the world is on the brink of global hot war over Ukraine, and Europe is frantically back-pedalling from its Russian-backed switch to green energy. But down in Australia the green crusade rolls on, with schoolkids – pre-schoolers too – marshalled to the front line.

It’s all so insane I hardly know where to start. For example, the ex-Just Jeans and other Rich-Listers who bankroll Cool Australia are accessing preschool and schoolkids literally by the million, i.e.[3]

♦ 3,200,000 million students per year

♦ 182,000 members (teachers, early learning educators and parents)

♦ 2,100,000 lessons taught annually

♦ 52% of Australian teachers 

Cool knows it is on a winner. It says 45 per cent of teachers are teaching outside their field of expertise, and 76 per cent find their workload unmanageable. So Cool’s free, downloadable lessons keyed to the curricula are like manna to teachers.

Teachers and kids are to turn off the lights for an hour tomorrow (Friday). Switching off electric appliances is also recommended, though I imagine freezers, intruder alarms and smartphones are reluctantly excluded. I doubt that kids in Mariupol will empathise, given that Russians knocked out electricity there altogether.

As for tomorrow’s School Strike for Climate, it actually straddles Four Days for Future. For example, the weekend program for kids in Naarm (alias Melbourne) includes a few Saturday workshops. Sunday’s none-too-arduous activities include “resting” and planning stunts for Monday’s strike.[4]

The nonsense all dates back three years to disturbed teen Greta ‘How dare you!’ Thunberg. The actual school-strike aims need only to be stated to reveal their absurdity:

We are striking to send a clear message to the Environment Minister and the whole Federal Government, that we want climate action now, and we will not stop fighting until we see the action that is needed to achieve climate justice… all [of us] telling our governments that now is the time to act and put people before profit! [5]

The kids have been taught the gross untruth that our fossil fuel industry is massively subsidised and want an end to that.[6] In the real world it’s renewables that are getting the subsidies,  $7 billion on 2019 figures. More broadly, the school-wagging kids demand

1/ Net Zero by 2030 which means no new coal, oil or gas projects.

2/ 100% renewable energy generation and exports by 2030

3/ Fund a Just Transition and Job Creation for all Fossil Fuel Workers and their communities.

The last point is a classic, as the former power workers now cooling their heels in Victoria’s coal-rich LaTrobe Valley would tell the bureaucrats and politicians who haven’t been notably successful in finding them those much-vaunted well-paying green jobs they were promised with their last pay packets.

The missing ingredient in school climate teaching is their ‘science’, which ignores the genuine variety demonstrating that

1/ There has been no global warming for the past seven years and three months.

2/ Weather disasters globally have not increased and global warming has saved a net 500,000 lives in England and Wales alone in the past 20 years (deaths from reduced cold minus deaths from increased heat).

3/ CO2 is boosting crop yields enough to more than cater for population growth.

The previous kids’ school strike was last October. As the Sydney Morning Herald helpfully recorded,

Australia’s education unions have thrown their support behind Friday’s strike. ‘Students and young people are counting on us. Australia must take an ambitious pledge to the Glasgow COP26 Summit and work towards a safe, fair and prosperous future for young Australians,’ the joint statement from the Australian Education Union, Independent Education Union and National Tertiary Education Union said.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe, October 14, 2021 —

We know students are counting on us to support their democratic right to express their views and take direct action on the impacts of climate change and to put pressure on the Morrison government. 

The strikers’ backroom adults are promoting a current election emphasis, e.g. here’s an alleged schoolkid email by an “Owen” – pronouns “he/they” – from Gadigal/Bidjigal/Warrang alias Sydney:

Our Election Actions are a range of diverse climate actions that local groups across the country will be hosting such as climate forums, artistic expressions of climate protest, activities which help students register to vote, fossil fool fiestas and much more! We will be sending a clear message to voters as this election, we are asking people to stand up to our politicians and #VoteForOurFutures.

The teachers’ unions are feeding their 300,000 supporters with climate propaganda from Education International, which has supplied them with a “Teach for Climate Action” toolkit. And behind Education International’s propaganda is the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals with their green-left-socialist assumptions and agenda. At a pre-Glasgow Asia-Pacific “Mobilising Educators” conference last year, Education International general secretary David Edwards told so-called educators that

climate education must be grounded in scientific facts. But [I love the ‘but’] it must also centre on climate justice, which entails understanding the economic, social, cultural, historical and political causes and implications of global temperature rises.

He demanded that his adherents prioritise climate education such that “every student leaves school climate literate.” Typical propaganda in EI’s teaching kit includes (my emphases)

What can teachers do? 

♦ Focus less on the inevitability of disasters, as worsened by climate change. Instead, delve into their economic, political and cultural dimensions…

A massive falsehood is involved in that claim. The climate-related death risk from weather disasters — floods, cyclone, droughts etc — has fallen more than 99 per cent during the past century’s mild warming of about 1degC.

♦ Carry out socio-affective or empathetic exercises. Encourage students to share their fears, hopes and anxieties, especially in post-disaster environments. Unpack stories of historical disasters. Explore and envision the futures students want in the face of climate change. 

No wonder so many Australian kids are coming down with climate-teaching-inflicted anxiety issues.

As for Earth Hour, it’s been limping along since 2007 when it was launched as an initiative by WWF and co-sponsored (no kidding) by the green-leftist Fairfax newspapers. A few ethical Fairfax journalists mutinied at being told to bung on the favorable news coverage. This recent claim of Earth Hour is particularly spectacular: “1 in 3 Australians took part in Earth Hour last year. Let’s make this year bigger and better.” I suppose, by next year, Earth Hour will claim that ‘1 in 2 Australians took part in Earth Hour last [i.e. this] year.’

Nothing surprises me about Earth Hour claims, e.g. climate change causes “Fires, floods, drought and pandemics”. Never let a crisis go to waste, even a notional one! Earth Hour’s tossed-in claim that outbreaks of nasty viruses are due to the prevalence of SUVs and reliable baseload power gets that leaky Wuhan virus laboratory nicely off the hook, which was perhaps to be expected.

Cool’s website lists a running total of pre-schools and schools that have signed up for Earth Hour. Climate consciousness is scheduled at Little Adventurers, Penrith; Little Scribblers, Peakhurst NSW; Creative Kids Pre-School, Mornington, Vic; Tiny Town Children’s Centre (location unstated); Only Early Learning Centre, Baulkham Hills, NSW; Guardian Child Care and Education (at least one of the eastern states’ chain); Fit Kidz, Warrawee, NSW; Harold Wheen Preschool, St Clair, NSW; Angel Tots Early Learning Centre, Salamander Bay, NSW; Bluebird, Croydon, Vic, and Tiggers Place Early Learning Centre, Waterford West, Qld.

The identifiable primary schools listed are   St Johns Grammar Junior School; Auburn South; Mount View, Glen Waverley Vic; Bonython ACT; Nakara (Darwin); Dromana (Vic); St Justin’s Primary; St Finbars Primary; Holy Family Catholic Primary; Wonthaggi North, Vic;  Corpus Christi Primary; Ardross Primary; Allanson Primary; St Patricks Catholic Primary; Carnegie Primary; Mill Park Heights Primary; St Peter Julian Eymard Primary; and Delaney Creek Primary. All schools and pre-schools listed on March 23 total only 66. Doubtless many schools and pre-schools will take part without actually signing on.

I checked 90 per cent of the pre-school and primary websites for overt climate propaganda and didn’t find any — presumably the adult educators will use free-range explanations for why lights are needlessly switching off.[7]

Cool and Earth Hour want “early learning” (pre-school) classes to download some of their 60 pre-digested climate lessons. Schools are supposed to sign up to “Switch Off” and watch climate propaganda films like Damon Gameau’s ridiculous future fantasy 2040 and his new sort-of-doco Regenerating Australia. I say “sort of” because it’s set in 2029 and looks back at a decade “that saw Australia transition to a fairer, cleaner, more regenerative economy that values Australia’s greatest assets – First Nations’ wisdom, our unique natural environment and our sense of community.” It doesn’t just star failed weather prophet Tim Flannery but also ABC stalwart/alumnus Kerry O’Brien. Year 9 and 10 kids have been competing to make 60-second climate propaganda films for Cool, “shot in the style of a news program.”

You guessed it! These kids’ film must also be set in the future, where CO2 emissions are defeated (and unicorns dance in the meadows). “The video is to be set in 2030, and must explore a solution to one or more impact (sic) of climate change. Students must also explore how this solution benefits people and nature in their local community.”

The winners actually get to meet Damon Gameau in person “and an industry expert from WWF-Australia!” Appropriately, entries close this April Fools Day.

Yet another futurism can be found in an Earth Hour English Year 9/10 lesson:

Quick summary: Working in pairs students are asked to investigate how news stories about climate change were reported 10 years ago compared to the present day. They then imagine the news about climate change 10 years in the future based upon the actions they can take for climate change today … Students then determine an action they could do now to fight climate change, and what news this might create 10 years in the future. They then create a news piece around this story, presented to audiences from the future.

I feel sorry for the kids. Any story from the regular media of 2012 would be saying, “We have only ten years to save the planet”, and any story from today’s ABC or Nine and its former Fairfax mastheads will also be saying, “We have only ten years to save the planet”. Same-same for news stories in 2032, I predict.

WWF and Cool have worked up an officially accredited professional development course on climate change. Teachers are not merely using lobbyists’ propaganda, lobbyists are officially training them.

This course will help inspire your students to feel optimistic about their future by investigating how animals adapt to climate change.[8] You’ll discover how to teach curriculum-aligned lessons using WWF-Australia’s Earth Hour. You’ll build your confidence to teach about climate change in geography and science by learning:

 ♦ How others teach about climate change in their curriculum.

 ♦ How to explore climate change by focusing on animals.

 ♦ The basics of climate science such as weather, global warming and climate change.

 ♦ How to teach about climate change and care for students’ mental health. 

Despite the crowded curriculum and literacy challenges, Cool, WWF and Earth Hour have been wasting kids’ school time this week with their propaganda film festival. Schools that have signed up for Earth Hour access six “incredible documentaries” on climate and alleged biodiversity horrors. Here’s one of the films – perfect for brainwashing impressionable kiddies towards Extinction Rebellion:

Wild Things – a lens on the frontline of environmental activism

Filmmaker Sally Ingleton spent a year with environmental activists across Australia – at rallies, sitting in rainforests, standing up to bulldozers – and the result is 2020’s feature-length doco about the current generation of ecowarriors. It’s a snapshot of a time when young people are fighting to be heard against a backdrop of drought, fire and floods.

Never let it be said that Cool Australia doesn’t encourage class debate on the (dodgy) science of climate change. Here’s a pseudo-debate template for the classroom:

Are we doing enough to address Climate Change?

Agree:

♦ Govt has a carbon tax

♦ Govt have (sic) electricity saving schemes

♦ Investing money in alternative energy sources

♦ Lots of environmental organisations about (sic)

Disagree: 

 ♦ Don’t trust the media [Hear hear! Except they probably mean to attack the media from the Left]

 ♦ Fossil fuel companies still using coal [Huh?]

 ♦ Important for our economy (export import food)

 ♦ Too many cattle farms — need alternative food sources. [Such anti-farmer propaganda is rife in schools].

Another class pseudo-debate is about how to get rid of coal fired electricity – Queensland coal electorates please take note:

The potential solutions to reducing coal fired power stations are: 

1/ Have a carbon tax that allows alternative energy to compete with coal fired power stations and use the money from the tax to give everyone a tax reduction. 

2/ Have a carbon tax that allows alternative energy to compete with coal fired power stations and use the money from the tax to build solar farms, energy research, invest in energy efficiency and better public transport. 

3/ Have a carbon trading system where a fixed amount of carbon pollution can be purchased at market prices. 

4/ Ban any future building of new coal fired power stations. 

 One Cool lesson includes material reading like nonsense, even by the standards of alarmist true believers,for example:

Thought starter – Which comes first; climate change, the greenhouse effect, or global warming?

Ignoring the semantic muddle, the real answer is that ice core sampling proves warming happens first, followed by CO2 rising around 800 years later. In other words, throughout paleoclimate CO2 is a consequence not a cause of warming.

All up, kids in education are drenched in climate alarmism for some 16 years from pre-school to university. One needn’t ask who’s winning this culture war — and which side takes refuge in believing the sound policy course is to go along to get along with the alarmist implacables.

 Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

[1] The School Strike for Climate crusade couples itself with the anti-Australia Day/”Survival Day” push. Here’s from an email ‘SS4C’ sent me last January 25:

My name is Ethan; I am a Wiradjuri striker living on Darug Land in Warrang (or so-called Sydney) & I’m Heidi; I live on unceded tipina, paredarerme pungenna Country (Oyster Bay Nation), trowunna/lutruwita (Tasmania).

We have a question; what is there to celebrate about so-called Australia? Is it a justice system that targets, imprisons and kills First Nations Mob? Is it the fact that sovereignty has never been ceded and giant corporations continue to profit off of destroying sacred lands and water? The answer is: there is nothing to celebrate… 

[2] AYCC answers its own question, “Who is this organised by?”

The idea for the strike came from kids in Central Victoria who are worried about climate change and tired of our politicians not doing anything about it. We, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, have put an invitation out for other kids who share our concerns to join us.

[3] Cool Australia brags that Teachers Health insurance fund, with its 300,000 clients, is “Our Coolest Partner”. Other funders include various Rich-Listers’ foundations (e.g. the Fox family, Purves, Fairfax, Smorgons), billionaire-run Atlassian, Google and Cisco, plus odds and sods such as the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation.

[4] Email from SS4C, 22/3/22

[5] ibid

[6] “Four Days for Future is our way of showing the government that our future is far more important than funding fossil fuel-giants for profit.”

and

“Despite the clear science they continue to accept huge political donations from the Fossil Fuel Industry.” SS4C emails

[7] I was astounded to discover that Dromana Primary’s

Science and Aboriginal Studies Program looks at science through an Indigenous lens. The program focus is for students to engage in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s unique culture through ways of being, knowing, thinking and doing … Acknowledging that Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have worked scientifically for millennia and continue to contribute to contemporary science.

Who knows, after 60,000 years of scientific endeavour Aborigines might have pioneered inter-planetary  travel except that the British invaded them in 1788.

I found from the websites that it is now common for each day at a pre-school to start with an Acknowledgement of Country. If this goes on from say, ages 3 to 18, the kids would do 3,000 Acknowledgements in the course of their school education.

[8] The alarmist crowd has twigged that scaring the daylights out of kids with futuristic horrors — think here of polar bears dropping from the clouds, as per one infamous scare clip. It seems this approach has been recognised as counter-productive, so the narrative now is to promote feel-good emission actions to save the planet, based on the amusing assumption that China, India and Russia will join the crusade.

Roads, Rates, Rubbish and Climate Ratbaggery

To date, 108 of 537 Australian local government councils have declared “climate emergencies”. This initiative involves saving the planet, as distinct from attending to councils’ tradition role of concerning themselves primarily with the three Rs of local government: roads, rates and rubbish. A green activist site, Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation In Action (CEDAMIA) tracks all these councils on a spreadsheet. Globally, there the group boasts 2000-plus councils.

The Port Macquarie-Hastings City Council’s “Climate Emergency” declaration of March 2021 is listed at CEDAMIA’s site but the sad compilers have put a delete-line through it with the note, “rescinded 16 February 2022.”

The rescinding was, like the 1914 deed of Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, a shot heard around the world. Or anyway, enjoyed on sceptic blogs in both hemispheres. I hope it will inspire other councillors to push back against the Greens who have used their dark arts (“How Green Zealots Take Over Councils”) to marshall council assets to stoke their own socialist ambitions.

Some conservatives see these “emergencies” as harmless, albeit expensive, tomfoolery.[1] But the underlying agenda from CEDAMIA is acutely political, namely

Significance of a Climate Emergency Declaration

Declaring a climate emergency and acting on it is a top-level ask …. If we win this ask and it is implemented properly, then this would stop new coal, oil, and gas projects, and existing ones would be phased out. Dirty power stations would be closed down as part of an orderly transition to 100% renewable energy. Energy efficiency would thrive, forests would be regenerated, habitats would be protected, air pollution health effects would vanish, public transport, cycling and EV’s would flourish, and even the Great Barrier Reef might stand a chance of regenerating.

This manifesto for dancing unicorns is backed by a plethora of activist groups that include Bill McKibben’s sinister 350.org, currently sacking scores of staff because of past budget mismanagement. In a briefing during the late-2021 election campaign in Port Macquarie, Mayor Peta Pinson described the her town’s “emergency” declaration as straight out of one councillor’s Extinction Rebellion playbook.

The detailed agenda for Australian councils after they declare their local Emergency! is recommended by the nefarious Council Action in the Climate Emergency set up by hard-line activists Bryony Edwards and Adrian Whitehead, who also claim to have founded Beyond Zero Emissions and Save the Planet. The Edwards/Whitehead formula involves “emergency” actions by council post-declaration including

♦ Climate to be No 1 priority after core council functions

♦ Training of all staff in the climate-catastrophe hypothesis from chief executive down, including training in lobbying higher levels of government.

♦ Climate propaganda to feature as lead issue in “all general council communications, including the homepage of the website and any community newsletters”.

♦ Leverage councillor support to a 60-70% “super majority” preparatory to mobilising the community for political pressure for net-negative emissions by 2030

♦ A whole-of-council review to push climate, “including reviewing council’s fund management and procurement policies”

♦ Identify and commit “all available discretionary funds that can be directed to the climate emergency response.”

Getting back to Port Macquarie, Cr Sharon Griffiths is a third-termer and 30-year small business owner. She sponsored the rescission motion and is (incredibly) quoted by the ABC, saying, “I actually don’t believe that climate change is as big as an issue as people think it is really.” She has teamed with Mayor Pinson, a self-styled “community warrior” who became the town’s first female mayor in 2017. Pinson runs the newly-elected “Team Pinson” ginger group of five on the nine-member council. She’s been on holidays and sadly incommunicado.

Phoned by Quadrant, Griffiths seemed impressed to discover her global fame. She said there hasn’t been much hostile feedback about the rescission because Emergency! supporters had their say when the Council Agenda was published. “Those people always present the same climate story and information, with nothing substantial underneath,” she says. “We’re a conservative area and we don’t like waste of council resources [on climate activity].” She’s hostile to council pursuing climate concerns about “what might be”, rather than urgent practical matters. In particular, the council should be making good on tens of millions of dollars in damage from the 2021 floods, she says. (Our interview was just before the latest floods). The ABC quoted Mayor Pinson on the so-called Emergency!: “Yes, we note that we’ve had these natural disasters but the world has had natural disasters. They’ve had it over the history of man and these things unfortunately do happen.”

She’s also quoted in SA’s Port Lincoln Times (paywalled), “We have tested community sentiment on this issue and read the room. There are pockets of people actively involved in shaking the tree, but they’re shaking the wrong tree. We need to get back to what our community expects of us.”

EVEN the federal government has no power to declare a “climate emergency”. So why,Cr Griffiths wondered, are local councils buying into it? “[Taking] budgets away from core infrastructure to address something that we have no control over — I just can’t adopt that…” In election material she explains, “Our priorities for the next term include delivering key infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer upgrades, footpaths and walkways, tidying up our parks, gardens and road corridors and laying the planning foundations for future generations.”

The city (pop 85,000) is a Nationals stronghold and said to be something of a mixed and changing bag, with greenish inner-city types moving from the cities for their sea changes alongside locals who are upholders of Aussie culture, history and flag.

Councillors were bombarded for years with “emergency” demands such as this petition from change.org :

We have been given 12 years [update: now only eight years] to drastically reduce emissions, lest our world warm to the point where humans face an existential threat. [“Existential” literally means “life or death”]

I am calling on my local council to respect the will of the people and embrace climate action. We request that you declare a climate emergency.

One of the 3900 resident signatories added, “I am signing this because it is literally do or die. For the sake of our children.”  Other activists in the area include “Climate Leader” graduates of Al Gore’s Climate Reality brainwashing classes. The local activists’ shtick could be summed up in this anti-Adani tract put out by gadfly Harry Creamer, a retired middle-manager in the National Parks and Wildlife Service. As President of the Hastings branch of Climate Change Australia, he wrote (emphasis added): 

We are facing a climate emergency which threatens the future of human civilisation. The critical time to act is now [2017]. A society-wide mobilisation is required on a scale and speed of the Second World War. We did it then and we can do it now. A rapid transition away from coal, oil and gas to 100% renewable energy is needed…

I had a friendly chat with Creamer after hosing down his suspicion that Quadrant is part of Murdoch’s right-wing stable. He let slip astounding information, namely that Port Macquarie is not the global first council but the second to cancel its emergency declaration. The pace-setter was Wagga Wagga (pop. 56,000). To our readers in Paraguay and other far-flung locales, it’s a farming/transport centre 460km south-west of Sydney. Here’s what went on there.

ON July 8, 2019, Wagga Wagga Council meeting began with this prayer:

Almighty God,
Help protect our Mayor, elected Councillors and staff. Help Councillors to govern with justice, integrity, and respect for equality, to preserve rights and liberties, to be guided by wisdom when making decisions and settling priorities, and not least of all to preserve harmony. Amen. 

Two conservative councillors were cases of “apology, unable to attend”, while the Almighty, if present in the chamber, remained schtum. This created an opportunity for a Labor councillor and three pals to ambush the meeting with their climate-emergency motion. They voted down 4-3 an amendment by Cr Paul Funnell to defer the emergency vote to July 22, when all councillors could be present. The council then resolved 4-3

that climate change poses a serious risk to the people of Wagga Wagga and it should be treated as a national emergency.

With typical green/Left disregard for personal freedoms, the four also demanded that council staff be re-educated on climate alarmism and council resources be diverted to re-educate ratepayers into the new “climate emergency mode.”

Disharmony from the debate included Funnell dubbing parents who dragged their kids to green-religion climate rallies as child abusers, and a challenge to the alarmist ex-journo mayor Greg Conkey OAM to try doing the 900km round trip to Sydney in an electric car. (He succeeded). Godless signage soon went up around town castigating the Labor-led four as ‘sell-outs’. For the July 22 meeting, ranks swelled from seven to nine with the return of Crs Tim Koschel and Rod Kendall, and in short order Cr Paul Funnell had the “Emergency!” scotched 5/4.

It was all quite a stir in a conservative city which regularly votes in the federal National’s Michael McCormack (Riverina), a 2018-21 Deputy Prime Minister with a disdain for the climate narrative.

Melbourne retired geoscientist Geoff Sherrington has downloaded for us temperature data both Port Macquarie (114 years) and Wagga Wagga (144 years), which you can see here, along with the century-plus rainfall trends. It’s perfectly obvious that neither district is getting anything out of the ordinary from weather’s perpetual ups and downs, notwithstanding the long cycles of droughts and floods. Anyone blathering about climate emergencies there needs to consult the graphs – showing about a 1degC rise in a century with no obvious acceleration.

Climate “emergencies” concocted under CEDAMIA’s tutelage are just one way councils are being got at. Tim Flannery’s Climate Council has mobilised 165 gullible councils (including Port Macquarie and Wagga Wagga). They seemingly endorse “a thriving, zero emissions future” under the aegis of Cities Power Partnerships (its blurb doesn’t even say “net zero”). Flannery and his Climate  Council deliver nonsense to local governments casting every adverse weather event, sea surge and bushfire as “climate-fuelled” and preaching that the way to create nice weather is to abandon coal, oil and gas.[2]

A major money and time waster of councils is membership of Bonn-based ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability), claiming 2500 members in 125 countries. It has 30 Australian councils, ranging from Cairns to Mandurah WA, and supposedly including all capital cities. Members are supposed to do “sustainability” in all their activities and agitate against fossil fuels. Significant council members are Newcastle, Hobart, Adelaide, Wollongong, West Torrens, Wyndham, Melville and Mornington.

A typical ICLEI publication is “Daring Cities 2020” – cities that are supposed to take “exceptional climate mitigation measures” oozing equity and inclusivity as they divest from fossil fuels and run on “100% renewable energy” as part of their Emergency! virtue signalling.

I emailed nine prominent ICLEI councils to ask how much ratepayers’ money they spent on their ICLEI subscription. I needed to remind some of their transparency policies. It all became a can of worms. Cairns Regional Council says its annual dues to ICLEI are $3,340 (ex GST). Newcastle City provided the subscription formula (which I knew already) but not the amount. Darebin (Vic) sought more time. Sydney City sent me a snowstorm of about 60 annual reports, none with the requested information (I gave up looking after half a dozen). Perth said the ICLEI website was in error – Perth had ceased membership of ICLEI years ago, and is now a member instead of the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors, a national group advocating to the feds about climate change and other stuff. Perth has the good sense to not be a member of Tim Flannery’s Cities Power Parnership.

The other councils ignored my requests, namely Melbourne, Mackay, Byron and Adelaide. To be completely fair, Melbourne City Council at least sent me a satisfaction feedback form, so I “strongly disagreed” that “the City of Melbourne made it easy for me to get the help or information I needed”, adding “I would be critical of City of Melbourne without being asked.”

Local government climate lobbies continue metastising. Forty-five Australasian councils have joined the Global Covenant of Mayors, with Hobart’s Anna Reynolds on the global board of the 11,000-member group.[3] [4] This Covenant to save the planet through emissions reductions is co-chaired by ex-New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (2002-13), whose net worth is about $A80 billion. His private jets from 2016-20 emitted at least 10,000 tonnes of CO2 as he shuttled among his palatial residences in New York, London, Bermuda, Florida and the Vail ski resorts in Colorado.

As part of a global back-slapping exercise, last year the green/Left Lisbon-based Gulbenkian Foundation awarded the Mayors Covenant a million Euro prize ($A1.55m) for planet-saving. This followed Gulbenkian’s award of a million Euros to disturbed teen Greta Thunberg in 2020. (To give Greta her due, she passed on the money to her climate causes).[5]

These climate catastropharians have loads of rat-cunning. Unable to swing federal parliament, they’ve focused on city councils where their Greens are easy to elect. Then they push their Emergency! claptrap into the community using ratepayer resources. Hooray for Port Macquarie and Wagga Wagga as outposts of sanity in Terra Australis.

Tony Thomas’ 2021 essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher Connor Court

[1] Commenter on Wattsupwiththat: “Our local council in outer Melbourne is buying electric cars for council tasks. They cost twice as much as an ICE [petrol/diesel] vehicle of the same size. There is no way this is prudent use of rates.”

[2] “From heatwaves that killed hundreds to wildfires across North America, Europe and even Siberia, the deadly consequences of climate change, driven by the burning of coal, oil, and gas, are upon us,” said Will Steffen, Climate Council spokesperson and Emeritus Professor, Australian National University. 

“We have only a decade to deeply and rapidly cut emissions, and avoid even more catastrophic climate change that is incompatible with well-functioning human societies,” said Professor Steffen. 

[3] Hobart’s CO2 emissions are about 20,000 tonnes a year, compared with China’s 11,000,000,000 tonnes

[4] I notice Port Moresby is among these 45 do-gooder cities. Maybe they should prioritise law and order there rather than CO2 emissions.

[5] On the Gulbenkian selection committee for the Euro awards are two stalwarts of the Potsdam Institute , namely its fanatical founder Hans Joachim Shellnhuber (also climate ghost-writer to the Pope) and director Johan Rockstrom. Bad climate advice from the Potsdam crowd has contributed to Germany’s current embarrassing dependence on Russian oil and gas.

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9 comments
  • DougD – 2nd March 2022“As part of a global back-slapping exercise, last year the green/Left Lisbon-based Gulbenkian Foundation awarded the Mayors Covenant a million Euro prize ($A1.55m) for planet-saving.” Conscience money? Calouste Gulbenkian – Mr 5% – I think started the Foundation with the fortune he made from Middle East oil. He owned 5% of Royal Dutch Shell.
  • Elizabeth Beare – 2nd March 2022“This manifesto for dancing unicorns”
    lol, Tony, you never fail to nail it perfectly.
    The serious point of course is, as you outline so well, that this greenism pervades our local institutions and shifts them right off their proper course, which is local maintenance, development and services..
  • rod.stuart – 2nd March 2022Of late there has been lots of yacking about “misinformation and disinformation”, yet the myth pervades the zeitgeist that “emissions” have some effect on the weather.
    And all the while, there is not a hint of evidence that such is the case, and loads of evidence to the contrary.
    Who are the spreaders of malinformation but the Left?
  • Ian MacKenzie – 2nd March 2022I recall a bunch of councils declaring themselves “nuclear free” back in the 1980s. Some things never change, including that councils generally comprise a combination of those genuinely concerned for their towns and those with a bee in their bonnet. Whenever the latter have a majority, we can expect declarations of moral righteousness on the latest leftwing cause de jour. It is a reminder perhaps that while the term “virtue signaling” is of recent origin, the vanity underlying it is as old as mankind.
    Port Macquarie is a delightful town and well worth a visit – beautiful beaches and terrific seafood restaurants. A considerable proportion of the inhabitants are retirees, attracted by a fantastic climate and excellent medical facilities, which explains the town being referred to by some of the local medical staff as God’s Waiting Room. It might also explain a council which is focused on residents rather than global fantasies.
  • Biggles – 2nd March 2022Though I am foolish enough to pin my hopes on falling global temperatures, (due to the current Grand Solar Minimum), to stop the global warming nonsense, I fear that, even if three feet of snow fell in Collins Street in mid summer, that would not cause the global-warmists to change their ridiculous, unscientific stance.
  • Daffy – 2nd March 2022I note that ‘green’ councils refrain from doing the practical every day job of making public transport more attractive. Now that would be good; cuts down on the energy used by cars, (electric or not) in favour of the more efficient public transport. So do we see a proliferation of weather proof bus shelters springing up? No. At least, not in the Parish of Concord, my traditional lands. So I call out councils for sham posturing. If they were serious, they would be practical. They aren’t, so they aren’t.
  • lbloveday – 2nd March 2022I attended a rural Council meeting where my development application was heard and a man was there to hear his application for permission to aerial crop dust his farm (he was the pilot as well as the farmer).
    .
    His application was denied seemingly because the most vocal Councillor “was in Vietnam and saw the effects of Agent Orange”. Mind-numbing stuff.
    .
    We both won our appeals in the Environment and Development Court as self-represented litigants.
  • ianl – 2nd March 2022As counterpoint to these activist Councils (my own local is one such), the demand for high quality thermal coal, benchmarked from the Hunter Valley as 6000 kcal/kg, and high quality coking coal, benchmarked from the central Bowen Basin, has pushed prices to a height I cannot comprehend as rational. I’ve been a geoscientist in the industry worldwide for about 50 years (and yes, may or perhaps should retire soon) and I have never seen prices anywhere near this scale. This is as of February 28 last.Do climate activists appreciate the irony, I wonder. Seems doubtful.
  • Lawrie Ayres – 3rd March 2022The biggest problem is the apathy of the voters who ultimately are responsible for putting these green clowns in positions of power. We also know that the ALP will always side with the Greens no matter how ridiculous the proposition including councils declaring themselves nuclear free. I do hope these councils ban the use of nuclear medicine within their boundaries to prevent being called hypocrites. Maybe only renewable energy should be supplied to councils saving the world which could be done just by turning off the power on windless nights. I feel sure there would be many more rescission motions and new councilors. .

COP PLOP and FLOP

Tony Thomas

At least some of the media are making hay over the hypocrisy of the global elite arriving at Glasgow via 400 private jets to lecture us about CO2 emissions. The jets created such a shortage of parking slots that some were obliged to fly the extra 50-70km to Prestwick and Edinburgh just to park.

Jeff BezosAmazon’s $US180 billion man, flew in with his $US65 million Gulfstream to rendezvous with Prince Charles, who also arrived by private jet. Bezos had been partying in Turkey with Bill Gates on a rented super yacht, the Lana ($A3 million a week hire), with a few 150km side trips by helicopter. 

Within several hours last Sunday week leaders from Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Mauritania and Kenya came in by private jets. World leaders do need secure transport, but as one blogger commented, “The fools could just stay home and shut up.”

The best one-liner about Glasgow to date is from an ex-No 10 Downing special adviser Steve Hilton writing in the Daily Mail: “A gigantic flatulent mess of incoherence and sanctimony”. One such specimen: ex-President Obama jetting in to tell teen demonstrators, “You need to help educate your parents and grandparents, your uncles and aunts, your teachers, your employers.” Sure, Barack, that makes sense.

But my tale today is not about the presidents and billionaires but the 40,000 bureaucrats, activists, grifters and useful idiots now jamming Glasgow accommodation and gabfests. They’re being told by the ridiculous Prince Charles that this is the “last chance saloon” to save the planet and humanity, as they were told at the first Conference of Parties at Berlin in 1995 and every other one of the annual gabfests since.

Meanwhile, human-caused CO2 emissions have continued to rise and emissions from China and India swamp any cuts the virtuous West chooses to make. Despite trillions wasted on renewables, the growth in their share of global electricity generation from 1998-2018 was a big fat zero, as the International Energy Agency conceded.[i]

A list of named official delegates to Glasgow has just surfaced. It’s called the Provisional List of Participants. The UN itself calls them “PLOPs”. The list always generates mirth. For example, at the COP22 in Marrakech five years ago, there was an all-time record of 1600 named attendees from one single country, Morocco.

Someone asked the BBC last week why Glasgow’s shenanigans can’t be run online. The BBC oracle replied that organisers did try to run the three-week preparatory conference in June online. The BBC explained,

Unfortunately, it didn’t go well – time-zone and technology challenges made it almost impossible for countries with limited resources, progress was limited and decisions were put off.

As a result, many developing nations have insisted on having an in-person COP. They feel that it is far easier for their voices to be ignored on a dodgy Zoom connection.

They also bring a lived experience of climate change that it is critical for rich countries to hear first-hand.

sceptic colleague Geoff Chambers paraphrased the BBC: ­­You can hardly expect the leader of some small island state in some obscure time zone to get up at some unearthly hour to plead for his share of those hundred billion dollars on Zoom, can you?”

Not that these islands are actually threatened by rising oceans. Study after study finds these coral islands are expanding. Their erosion and salt damage stems from bad governance and wome­­n having far too many kids. Moreover, there are no hundred billion US dollars available. This was the amount the West pledged to be raised ­per annum from 2020 for the Third World, to atone for the West’s centuries’ of alleged climate crimes. China and India are currently demanding $US1 trillion for a compensation fund for struggling states like themselves.

The “Green Climate Fund” has to date approved $US8 billion of projects and disbursed a mere $US2 billion, including a paltry (relatively speaking)  $US600 million last year. The internal jockeying within the Green Climate Fund is so intense that some board meetings have collapsed even before an agenda could be agreed. Mr trillion-spending Joe Biden can’t be bothered delivering half the US’s outstanding $US2 billion pledge to the Fund. (Australia put in $200 million, thanks to PM ­­­Malcolm Turnbull, and that’s it from us unless potential Prime Minister Albanese has a change of heart).

The latest PLOP doesn’t list the 14,000 non-government hangers-on at Glasgow. But googling for a few Ocker delegates, the loopy anti-capitalist Melbourne University Sustainable Society Institute has headlined, “MSSI on the road to COP26 Glasgow.”(Others go by air). MSSI delegate Dr Don Henry is an International Board Member of Gore’s Climate Reality Project. Gore has piled up a $US330 million fortune from his zero-CO2 hypocrisy.[ii]

The other MSSI delegate is Hon Dr Janine Felson. Her “Hon” had me stumped until I learned she was awarded the title of Ambassador by the Government of Belize in 2007. She also runs around within the bureaucratic mazes of the dismal Green Climate Fund, and represents cynical little States like Maldives and Tuvalu demanding millions for (not) getting drowned by ‘rising seas’ that aren’t rising.[iii]

Belize, known until 1981 as British Honduras,  since you ask, is a central American basket-case (pop 400,000) a quarter the size of Tasmania with a useful sideline transhipping drug lords’ cocaine and cash. The CIA describes it thus:

Current concerns include the country’s heavy foreign debt burden, high crime rates, high unemployment combined with a majority youth population, growing involvement in the Mexican and South American drug trade, and one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in Central America.

The CIA adds that “corruption and official complicity in trafficking [of children and people] remained concerns, but no investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees were reported (2020).”

Obviously, Belize slum-dwellers would view the 1degC of warming since 1900 as their top priority.

Hon Dr Felson’s diplomatic travails for Belize include helping to sort out the World Trade Organisation Banana Dispute of the 1990s (to do with EU banana-tariff bastardry), and Peter Sellers-style sabre rattling with Guatemala over borders.[iv]

 This year Belize sent 33 delegates to Glasgow, about as many as Pakistan, New Zealand and Belarus combined.

Melbourne’s sister-cloister, ANU, has sent a CO2-spewing team of four to Glasgow, representing local indigenes and of course those non-drowning Pacific islanders. Delegate Dr Ian Fry, from ANU, is working out carbon rules sought by the islands to make the West deliver “real emissions reductions with rigour that stopped countries buying their way out of meeting goals.” Thanks, Ian. But since the Copenhagen COP debacle of 2009, I’ve had trouble taking Dr Fry seriously. Speaking as Tuvalu’s lead negotiator, Dr Fry told Copenhagen:

I am a humble and insignificant employee of the Environment Department of Tuvalu. This is not an ego trip. I have refused to undertake media interviews … I woke up this morning (stifled sob) crying (struggles to regain composure), and that’s not easy for a grown man to admit. (Emotional distress). The fate of my country rests in your hands. Thank you.

With difficulty, Dr Fry regained his composure and stricken delegates applauded. Among those deeply moved were an IPCC chair candidate, Jean-Pascal Van Ypersele, who confessed to being emotionally overcome. Later, some nark noticed that Fry was not from Tuvalu at all, in fact he was a lawyer from Queanbeyan, Canberra’s next-door neighbour and 150km from the ocean across rolling NSW hills. He’d also been a Greenpeace liaison officer. Enjoy Dr Fry’s speech here from 3 minutes.

Another ANU delegate will make the case for Fiji getting lots of climate funds for suffering CO2 damage. That’s odd because tropical cyclones/hurricanes have shown no rising trend(contrary to warmist propaganda) and there is no good evidence of sea level rise around Fiji,[v].

Another Ocker at Glasgow is Ben Oquist, executive director of the Australia Institute and a former Greens Party staffer. A man of many talents, Oquist can switch seamlessly from bagging the AUKUS submarines deal to healing the planet’s alleged fever.

A useful rule concerning Glasgow official delegations is, “The poorer the country, the bigger the delegation”. A quick scan reveals the Congo with 373 delegates, Ghana with 337, Sudan 236, Uganda 219, another entity called Congo 170 (that’s 543 all-up), Ivory Coast 169 (the same number as from the US), Malawi 138, Togo 128 and Gabon 125.

Burkina Faso suffers serious famine but not among the 109 delegates to Glasgow who are living it up there in good hotels. It knows the ropes, as it sent 100+ troughers to 2019’s COP25 at Madrid, including at least eight from a charity called Les Tresseurs de Cordes, or “String Braiders”. I wonder how much money was left for string braiding after deducting the Madrid travel costs. One of the world’s poorest states, Burkino Faso is afflicted with 3 million starving (total population, 22 million), Muslim terrorism, and a million internal refugees. Population pressures (not climate change) are causing over-grazing, desertification, and deforestation. Because 80 per cent of the population doesn’t have electricity, and what there is comes from fossil fuels, Burkino Faso is unlikely to sign up for Net Zero by 2050. The bright spot in Burkina Faso is its national anthem Le Ditanye (Victory), also known as Une Seule Nuit (One Single Night, not ‘one night stand’), and written by the country’s former president, an avid guitar player.

Equatorial Guinea (pop 1.4m, half the area of Tasmania) sent 28 to Glasgow. The latest CIA Factbook has this to say about the country:

Between 1968 and 1979, autocratic President Francisco MACIAS NGUEMA virtually destroyed all of the country’s political, economic, and social institutions before being deposed by his nephew, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, in a coup. President Obiang has ruled since October 1979.

If my arithmetic is right, Mr Obiang has been running his country for 42 years. He scored a 94 per cent vote (for what that’s worth) in the latest election in 2016. Another family member is his vice-president, Teo Nguema, described by an African blogger as “[ferrying] his glamorous blonde girlfriends around Paris in his fleet of Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Bentley and Porsches. And did I mention he bought the original gloves Michael Jackson used to wear? Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, popularly known as Teo Nguema, is the most extravagant Vice President in Africa.” Another COP delegate in 2019 was Agriculture Minister Obiang, whom I assume is also family.

KnowledgeBank says: “Equatorial Guinea has become the richest country, per capita, in sub-Saharan Africa since the discovery of oil and natural gas reserves in the 1990s, yet the majority of its people remain extremely poor.”

Notwithstanding the country’s lavish per capita GDP, it remains best described in Donald Trump’s earthy way as a ‘sh-t hole’. The CIA describes the risk there from a plethora of horrid tropical diseases as “very high”, not to mention the world’s tenth-highest rate of HIV-AIDS. It has the world’s ninth-worst infant mortality rate of 63 deaths per 1000 (Australia: 3) and spends only 3 per cent of GDP on health (Australia: 10%). On the positive side, Equatorial Guinea has been little troubled by COVID, recording a mere 168 deaths so far — an achievement possibly due to the widespread distribution of ivermectin as a prophylactic and treatment for parasitic infections. The bad news is that Equatorial Guinea’s trafficking of children and women domestically and for export is world-class. But its green credentials are minimal as its prosperity (at least for the ruling class) is based on petroleum extraction and logging.

The Marshall islands (pop 60,000) sent 35 delegates to Glasgow (even more than 28 to Madrid). Palau (pop 18,000) sent 27 which probably sets the record for highest per capita junketeering. Palau’s president had told the UN about climate change being “a ticking time-bomb – no one knows when or where the next disaster will strike – but we are keenly aware that it can wipe out years of progress in a span of hours.” He seems to be talking about cyclones, which have always blown around the Pacific and are no worse globally today than they ever were. At the same forum, Tuvalu’s president worked his metaphors even harder:

We are but on one canoe for humanity, no one country must jump ship! We either must paddle together to keep us afloat and safe. Or allow the canoe to sink, and we all drown.

Since Tuvalu is expanding in area, the canoe is not really at risk.

It’s a pity we don’t know the green groups’ members at Glasgow yet. Among the odd groups at Madrid was Chant du Guépard dans le Désert with two delegates – it translates as “Song of the Leopard in the Desert”. A leopard wandered through our tourist tents one night when we were on safari in South Luanga, Zambia, a while back, and I’d have to say its “song” was not melodious – more a rasping, like sawing a log. I can’t find out just what this leopard-song group does climate-wise.

Continuing with Madrid COP’s lot, quite a large delegation of ten turned up from the Mom Loves Taiwan Association. Burundi sent 32, including a Church of England Climatologist (who said climate wasn’t a religion?). The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation sent 20 delegates, and Workers of the World sent a team to finish off capitalism.

Nearly half of Cape Verde’s Madrid delegation of 27 were eco-feminists. One of the largest covens of feminists must have been The Women’s Environment and Development Organisation, with 51 delegates. Guessing at $10,000 unit travel costs, that’s half a million dollars. Purported environmental specialists like Friends of the Earth, WWF and Greenpeace blackened the sky with contrails to Madrid from their 50-100 delegates apiece.

At Glasgow this month, the only good news is that heaps of private climate hysterics couldn’t make it because of all the new red tape and COVID protocols. The Guardianlugubriously reported that two-thirds of Indigenes, trade unionists and youth strikers from the Cop26 Coalition gave up on their Glasgow plans.

The Climate Action Network and the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice were allocated between them just four tickets to negotiating rooms, and none for their polar bear puppets.

As one participant lamented, “It’s like trying to get into a late-night club – ‘Sorry mate, it’s full, one in, one out.’ The UK Government should reimburse all the thousands of people who paid to go to Glasgow and sit in hotel rooms.”

The UN organisers , apologising, encouraged attendees to do just that: stay in their hotels and watch stuff on-line. It all makes sense, doesn’t it.

Tony Thomas’s just-published “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from author at tthomas061@gmail.com or publisher Connor Court

[i] “Despite the impressive growth of solar and wind power, the overall share of clean energy sources in total electricity supply in 2018, at 36%, was the same as it was 20 years earlierbecause of the decline in nuclear. Halting that slide will be vital to stepping up the pace of the decarbonisation of electricity supply.”

[ii] An analysis by the National Center for Public Policy Research found that Gore’s Tennessee home “guzzles more electricity in one year than the average American family uses in 21 years.” The electricity used just to heat Gore’s swimming pool would power six homes for a year.

[iii] The Maldives cabinet in 2009 donned scubas and met underwater in 2009 as propaganda for the Copenhagen COP. It’s since built villas and airports apace and the PR/journalist guy Mark Lynas who organised the underwater stunt has now become a Visiting Fellow at Cornell University, where he’s published a new paper claiming a 99.9% consensus for warming catastrophism.

[iv] In a masterpiece of euphemism Hon Dr Felson’s biography calls it “the Belize-Guatemala territorial differendum.”

[v] Suva tide gauges are unreliable but detailed work on the nearby Yasawa Island “provided a clear picture of the sea level changes during the last 500 years: a +70 cm higher sea level, a -50 cm lower sea level and a stable sea level (with some possible ups and downs) for the last 150-200 years. Most important; there is a clear absence of a present sea level rise.”

The Strange Thoughts of Catastropharians

I was about to plough through the global politicians’ summary of the IPCC’s sixth report,[1] but then I saw the Australian psychologists’ guidelines for reading it safely.

How you read the IPCC report or climate media reports bears thinking about. It is important to be kind to yourself, and to be in as calm and grounded a state as one can be. Ideally do this with a trusted companion or a group of colleagues. Choose the time of day to read and a pleasant setting, perhaps first walking or meditating in a natural setting. It can be helpful to read slowly, noting your feelings, taking pauses to focus on your breath and checking in with yourself and with others. Try not to take in more than you can digest, and take time out for refreshments.

Their alert includes a twilight pic of a maiden on the end of a jetty, considering a dip pending the planet’s fiery demise. The Melbourne-founded group called Psychology for a Safe Climate provides the warning. I laid the IPCC aside and tucked up in bed with psychotherapist member Dr Sally Gillespie’s Western Sydney University  Ph.D. thesis “Mapping Myths, Dreams and Conversations in the Era of Global Warming”.[2]

I found another group spokesperson is Melbourne psychiatrist Charles Le Feuvre, who has written:

In Australia there continues to be Government denial. Our leaders could be seen psychiatrically as deluded and a danger to others and if so certifiable. At worst they can be seen as guilty of crimes against humanity and nature-homicide and ecocide — and indeed in the future they may be found to be …What is the nature of Scott Morrison’s denial? 

Le Feuvre, who sees the unfortunate Greta Thunberg as “an incredible role model” and “highly rational”, had his climate motives reinforced by the Wye River (Vic)  bushfires: “Our house was completely destroyed apart from a statue of Venus.”

Here’s Sally’s dream on Page 1 of her thesis, a dream that turned her into a climate activist:

It’s the end of the world through climate change. Whole continents are sinking beneath the sea as water levels rise. Millions of people are attempting to cling to the shore, and to their lives, fruitlessly. At one stage I swing in the air clinging to a rope as land masses shift around beneath me. At another stage I cling to the shore line and a poodle swims up into my arms. I steal biscuits for us, and someone says about the poodle “He’s a salesman”.

I know billions must die and only tens of thousands will remain… It’s horrifying. Any possibility of distancing myself from climate change reports collapses through this night vision which awakens such intense feelings of vulnerability, for myself and all others on Earth.

She doesn’t say whether the poodle is a Royal Standard, Standard, Moyen, Toy, Miniature or Tea-Cup, but it’s definitely not a goldendoodle, Labradoodle or Pekapoos.  Whichever the peckish paddling poodle might be, I share Dr Sally’s intense identification with all other poodles and peoples on Earth.

 The dream crashed through my justifications and denials, insisting that I live fully in the knowledge of the seriousness of climate change” she writes. “I closed my psychotherapy practice of twenty five years to focus on research into psychological responses to climate change and its reports … I start to calm down.

In another dream, Dr Sally is assigned to critique a Doris Lessing novel about climate change. She gets low marks from “a young woman, a smart cultural theorist” who provides comments written on ravioli.

The tantalising image of the ‘ravioli marks’ stayed with me, strangely apt in its sensual interplay of inner and outer, forms and fillings, offering richly-embodied sustenance and meaning.(p39).

She writes that climate denials are not directly comparable to Nazism. Thanks for that, Sally. But she does “observe some mutual resonances in our responses to them”. But Sally has her own “dictatorial fantasies”, writing

When my self-righteousness flares, dictatorial fantasies appeal, eager to impose my version of right thinking and behaviour in an attempt to bolster ego, constrain anxiety and control ‘the other’… I feel all this in my body as a dullness and heaviness–and a thud in my guts, something like uterine cramps with a bit of nausea. It’s hot, I sweat–hot flushes and global warming combined …

 When a hot flush creeps up on me as I read yet another report on melting ice caps, I feel overwhelmed by its slow burn along with my anxiety about living in a hotter world, and the powerlessness of my responses to stop either.[3]

To Sally, we denialists are desperately cowering from “unbearable anxiety or loss”, rather than laughing at doom-criers’ 50 years of failed predictions.

She created a seven-member group of mainly excitable women, some 50-plus, to share their own climate-apocalypse dreams –  “fellow crew members sailing a vessel of inquiry.” It’s thrilling to discover what makes climate  feminists tick. By their second meeting they’re fantasising about  surviving “systemic collapse.” They suspect their present core values might alter. For example, “stories of cannibalism are shared”. (p106).

Dr Sally: I wonder what those stories are serving for us at the moment, in teasing us into these questions. Not only the literal question: would I eat someone else or not? [but] what’s the value of human life and culture and society?

If you’re on the plump side and walking up Alexandra Parade, Fitzroy, cross the median strip if Sally’s team’s is coming. You just never know!

She writes in her journal:

This morning I find I have left the iron on for days, while I have been sick–I am horrified and guilty–it’s the emissions that I feel so bad about–more than fear of burning the house down or an expensive electricity bill. This cannot be undone. How to compensate? How to be more responsible, conscious? I decide to put the iron away. I hardly ever use it anyway–a relic from when ironing was a part of daily life, no longer necessary or important. (p139).

But Sally nonetheless does some planet-unfriendly flying:

I tell our group that “I have to confess” that I will be travelling to conferences overseas in a few months. (p144).

Some members contemplated their early demise via what we might deem “Darwin’s Law”.

Veronica leads the way by disclosing that she and her husband have decided they will be ‘suicide people’ in the event of a breakdown of civilisation. (p108).

Veronica recounts her involvement in the assisted suicide of a friend with multiple sclerosis years ago. She says:

because I’ve done that and… I have a spiritual belief in the eternality of the soul… that gives me comfort. So having gone all the way out there to the shit, and said “OK, I’ve got a plan”, it helps me… because however it goes I am going to be OK. And I don’t plan for it, I don’t have any suicide pills… it’s not at all crystallised or real… other than that I have a sense of trust with my husband that we would not be violent. 

I can imagine Veronica’s next visit to the pharmacy.

Mary X, BPharm (Hons)Here’s the Ventolin for your inhaler and ointment for your bunionectomy. The allergy-free suicide pills are not yet on the approved list so we’ll be charging you $37.80. Take two before meals and be sure to finish the whole packet.”

Sally’s group melts down over planet-friendly disposal of dead AA batteries. This angst is ‘battery incapacitation’ – no pun intended — and introduces into the ladies’ dreams.

Veronica: I have [dead batteries] hidden in one of my kitchen drawers. One day they will take over my kitchen and I’ll be like ‘Shit! I’ve got to do something!’(p167).

Sara: I am not going to spend hours upon hours thinking about where I should put the batteries. I want things to be easy for me … if I can find an ecological solution to something, fine–but if I can’t, then I have to accept I have to put it into the rubbish bin … because it does my mind in thinking about it.

Lisa announces that she has just had a dream about this very problem:

I didn’t know where to do it. I was surrounded by people. I surreptitiously just did it in a deckchair [laughter]. And it’s about shit. It’s exactly what we are talking about …  And I’ve had this dream before … I just couldn’t bring myself to tell [it]. It’s so strong, I couldn’t possibly forget it, and I have to say it now because it’s so appropriate… 

Sara immediately feels the connection between this dream and her feelings about dumping her batteries, prompting Lisa to speak about the lack of functioning toilets in her dream, further adding:

I just had to do it … everybody was just going on with their lives … I was just intensely embarrassed and uncomfortable and not knowing what to do … not knowing how to dispose of it without doing something gross … The dream was very visceral animal kind of thing. So when I woke up … my first thought was like I was out of control, and then I thought the way I’m living, we’re all living, is out of control. [Pause] It’s a mess.” 

If Sara invites you to lunch, be careful where you sit.

Sally pauses from running her group to dropping in on her local council’s environment meetings.[4]Describing her team as “seven brave souls”, she thinks their “breadth of expertise and interests was a major strength in this research”.

Speaking personally, I found Veronica the most spectacular member, in a car-crash sort of way. She watched the dopey documentary Gasland on television one night and sobbed “huge wailing tears–my parents live right near where fracking is going on, they’re having earthquakes for the first time in recorded history.” (p119).

She and her husband fled to Australia from “their very grief filled time” in the US, “in the hugest bastion of denial”. If she didn’t believe in the eternal soul, “I would be one angry bitch.” (p77).

Rather than coveting Zoloft like some of her peers, she says

climate information [makes] me want to go and crawl in a hole with a bottle of vodka–and a big ice bucket… Our awareness and perception of climate change is already taking a toll on our collective mental health… 

Sally writes that Veronica

broke into tears on her way to our meeting when she walked past a cat, explaining “I want a cat, but I don’t want a cat. And that’s climate change in terms of species preservation… I mean the tentacles of this issue are every freaking where!”

Amazingly, Veronica confesses that she used to be a beer lobbyist – “a whore for the beer institute” spinning to play down the risks  of foetal alcohol syndrome. (p186).

SARA: But why did you do it?
VERONICA: Because I had a husband to support. 

Sara challenges Veronica about her friends’ CO2 seriousness.

SARA: Do they use shampoo? 

VERONICA: Actually she uses shavings of a special kind of glycerine soap bar that … you put in a pump jar with water and it emulsifies.
SARA: Wow! I’ve gone through this whole process of trying to find shampoo and conditioner that is gentle to the environment but all that happens to me is that I get rashes so I’ve gone back to the chemical ones … It was really funny because I thought, “Here I am, doing the right thing”. 

LINDA: And you ended up with pustules! (p147).

 Here’s pen portraits of Sally’s brave souls, starting with Sara, who is upset by natural disasters, including the big Japanese tsunami.

Her eyes fill with tears as she speaks: I’m on this journey. But there is a part of me that just thinks, “Oh my God, Sara!… you are middle-aged and you’ve lost the plot!”(p58).

Linda is an anxiety-riddled community artist making TV-news friendly puppets for climate demos.  Her limited troupe of kids are no comfort.

They’re living their lives is that there is no tomorrow. They’ve kind of given up … that breaks my heart …  just fills me full of huge sorrow and fury and impotence. 

Linda in turn recruited Lisa, “a fellow artist who makes animations in collaboration with climate change scientists.” At Lisa’s home, Sally admires installations of fish tanks with Perspex messaging, and engraved soft-drink bottles “amongst the long grass in her front yard”. The bottles

have thermometers sticking out of their tops like straws – a provocative juxtaposition which links climate change with consumerism, endangered species and rising temperatures… We start our conversation on a chair and sofa, but Lisa is soon on the floor, and I follow, shedding shoes and formalities.(p63).

Lisa is no lightweight: she gained her doctorate in animation about subjective responses to [non-existent] crises in the Antarctic.

Lisa is a dancer who marries her artist’s love of the movement of line with the physical expression of the body. Her great interest lies in the use of gestures and lines to facilitate dialogues between different ways of knowing. Her own ongoing research practice defies easy categorisation. 

I’d have to agree with that, but let us return to what Lisa tells Sally

When I first started … someone asked me how I felt about the Antarctic environment … I remember feeling this incredible knot in my gut and my arms flailing, and going “I just don’t know –it’s just all over the place”, whereas I don’t feel that now… I still don’t understand climate change, but it’s sitting easily now. 

Sally leaves Lisa’s grass-overgrown territory

buzzing with thoughts and responses to our discussion. Out of the corner of my eye I spy yet another installation just behind the front fence; a fish tank with a plastic shrimp in it and a sign that says “Fishy Leaks.” I burst out laughing. Lisa’s stimulating and quirky perspectives add to the resilience of our group in the discussions ahead.” 

Zoe, a community policy-maker, is “heartbroken” over drowning Pacific Islands. Actually, the data from 221 Pacific and Indian Ocean islands show that they’re stable or growing.[5] Like myself, Zoe gets “fire in the belly” from dreams about Nicole Kidman, but with a different slant[6] (p66):

Nicole Kidman [is] sitting at a laptop computer by the edge of a billabong which is filling with rubbishy “consumer goods, and cars, and all of the stuff that is made from petrol.” [Not much stuff is made from petrol but let’s not quibble].

Zoe does not seem to be a Tony Abbott fan:

There’s a tone of voice that he uses that absolutely triggers something in me… like a snake wanting to strike, it’s an instinctive reaction. (p236)

Member Simon (30) got disillusioned on a Climate Camp march against a coal-fired power plant,

The march was right through a small town where most of the people worked at this plant, and so it was very confrontational to them … I just wasn’t sure that was the most productive thing to be doing, to be upsetting people that much.(p70)

Surprisingly, Simon is impressed by climate-sceptics’ science, including links to hundreds of peer-reviewed sceptic papers. He found sceptic science embarrassingly credible, confessing:

 Oh OK maybe some of the things that sceptics are saying aren’t completely, completely crazy.

I like Simon!

The other male, Sam, works in the energy sector, I assume in an environmental capacity.  His friends talk on camping trips about how humans are pests, just “a virus with shoes” which Gaia is keen to get rid of. (p74).  As the meetings progressed, Sally says the group’s

fears and our dreams became less apocalyptic … Hysteria markedly lowered as our discussions became more able to observe and reflect upon paradoxes and contradictions. (p136)

How I love such happy endings!

Tony Thomas’s just-published “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from author at tthomas061@gmail.com or publisher Connor Court.

[1] Politicians from the UN’s 190-odd countries vet the climate scientists’ draft summary and have final say on its contents.

[2] Psychologists for a Safe Climate lists Sally on its Program Development Working Group.

[3] Actually the Antarctic hasn’t warmed for 70 yearsand its sea ice is increasing. The Arctic has been gaining ice for a decade.  

[4] A discussion there was about changing the name “Climate Change Taskforce”. “People click off when they hear climate change,” the councillor says and Sally agrees.(p54).

[5] From just last month: New Study: 62 km² (+6%) Net Expansion In 100s Of Pacific-Indian Ocean Island Shorelines From 2000-2017

[6] Don’t tell my wife.

Sooking and Snivelling for Climate Justice

Doomed Planet

Tony Thomas

As we all know, universities’ tutorial and staff rooms are awash in climate-doom hysterics. But academics are not just horrifying their late-teen paying customers, they’re also traumatising each other. Here’s a real-life local example:

Another educator that my co-researchers and I surveyed mentioned that after their [sic] class one day they [sic] ‘had a long cry on my commute home, and wound up cancelling plans I had to meet friends that evening.’ Such experiences demonstrate that trying to support others to engage with and navigate their own ecological distress often leads to feelings of inadequacy and despair becoming contagious.

We can again be grateful to Dr Blanche Verlie of the Sydney University’s Environment Institute for this glimpse of mortar-board mayhem, further to her disclosures about high school brainwashing. She ran climate courses herself for five years and did her Monash PhD on climate education. She’s followed up with peer-reviewed papers and last week, launched a whole book on the traumas of climate educators and their students. It’s called Learning to Live with Climate Change (free to good homes) and I took part in the Zoom launch, one of the few males present.[1] The book “draws on and contributes to eco-feminist, posthuman, multispecies and affect studies.” Her particular villains causing global warming are — surprise! surprise! — white Western heterosexual settler-colonial male managerial capitalists.[2]

She warns that everything is connected and “leaving the lights on in Australia may mean death for polar bears”. I must have inadvertently slain thousands of the beasts.

As a tutor Dr Verlie taught 45 Melbourne students at RMIT University for three months on climate justice. She describes the shimmering “cloudy collective” that evolved in her classes. In my young days of hormone-clouded tutes, my focus ranged from skirts to staying awake, rather than shimmering cloudy collectives. In those years the looming threat of global cooling was keeping climate scientists in a tizz.

Verlie’s book “is written with climate change ‘educators’ in mind: teachers, activists, communicators, young people, parents, researchers, policy makers, community members, artists, politicans…” She describes herself as “a white settler-Australian” determined on “decolonial climate action”. Her co-authored papers include Becoming Researchers: Making Academic Kin in the Chthulucene.

 Whatever “the Chthulucene” might be, it’s dynamite on the Scrabble board — even if the concept remains thickly opaque about its

form of refuge from academic stressors, creating spaces for ‘composting together’ through processes of ‘decomposing’ and ‘recomposing.’ Our rejection of neoliberal norms has gifted us experiences of joyful collective pleasures. We share our experiences here in the hope of supporting and inspiring other emerging and established researchers to ‘make kin’ and challenge the potentially isolating processes of becoming researchers.

Dr Verlie’s book does help normal people understand why universities need safe spaces for their tribes. As Dr Verlie writes,

It is worth noting that these vignettes include stories of distress; I encourage you to approach them in a mode that cares for yourself and is responsive to your own ability to engage with the pain of climate change at the moment. As this book documents, climate change is deeply traumatic and while I believe we need to avoid the pitfalls of an individualistic approach to emotional resilience, this is not to say that practices of mindful self-care or professional counselling services have no value.

Dr Verlie provides dramatic quotes from her undergrad students. I suspect that before the kids had even hit RMIT, teachers groomed them through 12 long years of wallowing in climate hysteria, not to mention cravings for socialist world governance. There is so much insanity in the excerpts below the most extreme symptoms of derangement warrant underlining to make them stand out from the pack

♦ I’ve been crying myself to sleep a lot lately. And crying at random times too. It’s not as though I watch a video about climate change, and I cry during it. I mean sometimes that happens. It’s more like, something little happens, like my toast burns, and I have an existential breakdown because I think it’s a metaphor for how the world is burning because we aren’t paying attention.

♦ I found myself dry retching in the shower for over an hour one evening. The contractions of my stomach muscles, sense of my throat exploding, and my whole body convulsing, felt like I was trying to spew up some kind of demon, a wretchedness, a loneliness and desperation, a sense of loss for all that could have been but probably won’t, for that which is but will no longer be.

♦ I feel bitter towards individuals and systems and fail to understand why people are not being charged for climate crimes.

♦ It [climate] is a constant reminder that the Earth is f****d.

♦ The future, for me, is dark, cloudy, a black hole of uncertainty. I don’t know how it will play out.

♦ Our knowledges and ignorances about climate change will impact who will live and who will die.

# I am constantly butting heads with sceptics and non-believers (particularly my father-in-law) regarding climate change. It is so frustrating that fellow inhabitants don’t understand the magnitude of the situation, and worse still, they don’t care to learn more about it.

 It’s like, on warm, sunny winter and early spring days, with the light glistening through young green leaves. Everyone is happy due to the nice weather. But knowing about climate change, you know it means someone somewhere is not getting the rain they need. [Actually warming promotes rain, check with Prof. Andy Pitman at UNSW]. So it’s sort of, you can’t enjoy it, it’s an uneasiness amongst the glory that everyone else seems to be celebrating.

♦ I was thinking of the dark, foreboding nature of climate change, its creeping horror masked by invisibility in the here-and-now of hyperconsumptive capitalism. Sometimes I see climate change as a chasm opening up before me, and I stand on a precipice overlooking the deep ravine, teetering on the edge.

♦ My totally cynical view is that non-fossil-fuel-based energy production will only become the norm once the renewable-energy corporations can provide more money than fossil fuel corporations in bribes to political interests.

Against these morbid undertows, others of Verlie’s students were uplifted.

♦ I’m so glad I changed into this class – it’s more of a climate change therapy group than a university subject.[3]

♦ This class has given me hope as … I feel everyone is so smart, powerful and brilliant

♦ One day after class, I felt like I was floating on the way home. Maybe I was delirious because this subject matter is so exhausting. But I really felt buoyed by the energy everyone brings to class.

♦ I have been overwhelmed by joy, fear, and passion.

♦ But it’s [climate apathy] disheartening. You look around, and it’s like, where’d everyone go? And they’re running away…It’s like, (sigh), Jesus guys!

♦ I really valued the ferocious intensity of information that was shared with us.  

No student expresses the least scepticism about the horrow-show material: ‘I remember a unanimous feeling of frustration shared by the whole class.’ The groupthink sadly reflects today’s “monoversity” culture. The class also needed a renewables-powered spa retreat after class. Verlie writes:

As students and I discuss the systems that expose society’s most marginalised to lethal heat stress, our bodily reactions such as sweaty armpits, flushed cheeks and croaky voices belie the ‘thermal monotony’ of our air-conditioned comfort.

Outside the universities, climate derangement has been spreading like COVID Delta, as Verlie’s examples suggest:[4]

♦ A marine biologist vomits because of her distress about coral bleaching, mimicking her beloved polyps who purge themselves of their symbiotic algae in warming water. [Hey marine biologist! Barrier Reef coral cover is actually at record heights].

♦ Gender expert Rebecca Huntley, a frequent guest luvvie on the ABC, recounts a sensation that ‘actually felt physical, as if vital organs had moved inside my body’ when watching youth climate activists implore adults to ‘do something.’[5]

Verlie confided to her own diary:

Sometimes when I think of climate change, I see this dark, vague, tsunami towering behind me, a frothing wall of utter destruction of which we have felt tremors, but by turning our backs, have not fully comprehended. I catch glimpses of it over my shoulder, about to crash down upon me, obliterating everything, but in front of me, life goes about its daily flow, oblivious to the imminent disaster.

Here’s her summation regarding climate undergrads:

In one semester my students stated that climate change made them feel anxious, frustrated, confused, uncertain, cynical, scared, overwhelmed, emotional, devastated, depressed, frightened, angry, gloomy, resentful, challenged, isolated, desperate, disheartened, shocked, concerned, confronted, unsettled, bitter, sad, sick, upset, perplexed, guilty, stressed, amazed, daunted, defeated, dismayed, pessimistic, uneasy, tired, appalled and terrified. Given the incomprehensibly rapid and traumatic changes being wrought upon our planet’s climate, it is unsurprising that many of us are overwhelmed with climate anxiety.

Actually, July’s measured global temperature now is no higher than it was 20 years ago. Blanche, can this be “incomprehensibly rapid” climate change?

More seriously, Verlie and her feminist educators are concerned their proteges’ fanaticism might gravitate to eco-fascism. At Verlie’s Zoom book launch last week, Dr Sarah Jaquette Ray (Humboldt University, California) said she was “very nervous” about climate anxiety creating big emotions leading acolytes to aggressive eco-fascism. She praised Verlie for offering “an alternative path”.

Ray wrote in Scientific American (of all journals!) just last March:

It is a surprisingly short step from ‘chronic fear of environmental doom’ to xenophobia and fascism … Early environmentalists in the U.S. were anti-immigrant eugenicists whose ideas were later adopted by Nazis to implement their ‘blood and soil’ ideology. In a recent, dramatic example, the gunman of the 2019 El Paso shooting [22 people murdered] was motivated by despair about the ecological fate of the planet: ‘My whole life I have been preparing for a future that currently doesn’t exist.’ Intense emotions mobilize people, but not always for the good of all life on this planet.

I recently gave a college lecture about climate anxiety. One of the students e-mailed me to say she was so distressed that she’d be willing to submit to a green dictator if they would address climate change. It would be tragic and dangerous if this generation of climate advocates becomes willing to sacrifice democracy and human rights in the name of climate change.

The Christchurch mosque mass murderer (51 people slaughtered) also described himself as an “eco-fascist”.

Verlie gives similar warning in her book. She writes, “Throughout and following the fire season, approaches calling for a ‘war-like’ response to the climate crisis, including the suppression of democracy, increased in volume and frequency.”[6] Her footnote points to one-time federal Labor Climate Minister (and later School Education Minister) Peter Garrett’s speech last year wanting to put Australia back into a 1939-style footing for war on the (non-existent) climate emergency.

Getting back to the RMIT kids, Verlie’s tutes had high turnover:

In one of my tutorials there were a lot of student absences in the first few weeks of semester, but it was not the same students missing class each week. Some would show up one week, then not again for a while, then suddenly arrive energised and passionate …

Accompanying our discussions about such disconcertment, people sigh; smile; sweat; frown; pause; laugh; cry; lean back in their chairs; wriggle in their chairs; close their eyes; rub their eyes; roll their eyes; wipe tears from their eyes; establish, maintain or avert eye contact; hug each other; turn away from each other; listen or talk over each other; get up and leave; put their head in their hands, or on the table; stare at the ceiling; shrug their shoulders; slump their shoulders.

In an odd way she feels climate fanatics’ bodies reflect the gassy air:  

We are not just ‘like’ clouds. As breathing, sweating, radiating bags of gas and liquid that metabolise and reconfigure carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, human bodies are ‘only precariously contained in a skin sac.’

…These moody menageries emerge through, and in turn stimulate, our breathy practices of collectively storying climate change. Cloudy collectives are composed as our voices crack when we verbalise the violences of climate injustice; as we groan with exasperation at governments approving new fossil fuel projects; as we whisper our fears in climate grief workshops; as we shout ‘climate action now’ at rally after rally, after rally…

Don’t ask her students if they can unblock toilets or program a combine harvester’s sat-nav: “Some students took up roles facilitating environmental community building; others wrote and shared poetry; some made documentary films. Another organised a music festival and invited some of us to speak to the punters about climate change; as part of this we made a banner which read ‘loving low carbon life’ and took it to the People’s Climate March in the lead up to the Paris Climate Summit.

Quadrant Online joins the People’s Climate Marchers

Verlie writes: “Climate protests are always atmospheric… chanting ‘climate action now’ when corralled under a baking sun leaves you feeling both exhausted and justified.” [Conversely, would sleet leave her feeling unjustified?] She doesn’t say whether she actually joined Extinction Rebellion bourgeois types “playing ‘dead fish’ in public places to symbolise the possibility of human extinction.” Those who did, she says, often experienced emotional burnout needing therapy from XR’s ‘regenerative culture’ specialists.

Last week’s book launch learned that Verlie sees her task as bringing people face to face with the most incomprehensible unfathomable injustices, which had led to spaces “where people are in tears and can’t speak, and it is really hard work. You always run the risk of just being traumatic and it is immensely difficult.” She agreed that it was better to work with schoolkids about climate rather than the small privileged caste studying at tertiary level: “It will require transformation of what education is and how it works and that alone is a pretty big slog.”

She conceded students could be “grumpy from arguments with their parents” and from “how do we live on this planet that many economic systems are bent on destroying”. Questioned about how kids can ever learn to dream happily again, she replied that climate change is more about their nightmares and how one in five British kids had reported bad dreams about climate.

For myself, I’m having bad dreams about university education.

Tony Thomas’s just-published “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from author at tthomas061@gmail.com or publisher Connor Court.

[1] No male other than myself posted a question on Chat. Mine, unanswered, was “How can we persuade China to stop planning and building so many coal-fired power stations?”

[2] She mentions inter alia “a very specific version of the human, typically an entrepreneurial, white, able-bodied, heterosexual, male individual whose economic rationalism inevitably leads to planetary destruction.”

[3] Verlie adds: “We did, in some ways, go on to become a kind of climate change therapy group.”

[4] References cited by Verlie include “Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable.”

[5] Classicists will perhaps hear echoes of St Theresa: “The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it.” 

[6] Emphases mine throughout