(My dog Minnie looking slightly doubtful about her role in a climate change event)

Introduction

Section
4. Work, Volunteer, Act for the Environment
Page
4.1

I am often surprised when meeting and talking to people that they will say, “I like/love/enjoy” the environment, but then, in the next sentence, tell you about their work, or recreation that damages the environment, and their voting behaviour that supports parties and policies that will degrade the environment further. They seem oblivious to this disconnect, and, in most cases, I am sure that their affection for the natural world is sincere.

(Friends of Anderson’s Creek have worked for decades keeping their creek on the edge of Melbourne healthy)

I am not sure what is going on here beyond the very superficial observations of a lack of thought or awareness of consequences of behaviour, and the success of all manner of displacement exercises promulgated by the dominant paradigm. There is also the clear adoption of the hierarchy and context of the Growth religion which moves ‘the environment’ to the margins and renders it a small indulgence, if and when the proper business of life has been taken care of.

Despite this lopsided view of life, what we do in our day-to-day lives can have great impact. We may be lucky enough to have acquired the skills and had the opportunity to work for the benefit of the environment and many people have done this, for example David Attenborough (see 1.5.7), or artist Celia Rosser (1.7.8), or scientist and naturalist Vincent Serventy (1.5.5), or Australian politician Bob Brown. They have devoted their working lives to the environment, and accompanying them are thousands of people, lesser known, picking up rubbish along an urban creek, writing to their local council, working to make their workplace more environmentally aware, and protesting against an array of damaging activities. Section Four divides up these actions into three groups – Work (4.2 & 4.3), Volunteering (4.4), and Action (4.6, 4.7, & 4.8, e.g. voting, protesting, etc…), and also presents an insightful article by Jack Harich (4.5) that suggests a systems approach to these activities and clarifies the steps and processes that environmentalists take, as well as the barriers they must surmount.

(My dog Minnie looking slightly doubtful about her role in a climate change event)

 

Explore Other Work, Volunteer, Act for the Environment

4.1 Introduction

I am often surprised when meeting and talking to people that they will say, “I like/love/enjoy” the environment, but then, in the next sentence, tell you about their work, or recreation that damages the environment, and their voting behaviour that...

4.2 Work I: Background

It is not a good idea to commence a webpage by ‘running up the white flag’, but it has to be admitted that it is almost impossible closely to define ‘environmental jobs’! This difficulty was brought home to me most pressingly while managing the Gr...

4.3 Work II: Search and Preparation

Getting started in any endeavour is always the hardest part and environmental work is no exception. There are relatively few jobs of this nature and the paths to them can be diffuse and unclear. If you are lucky enough to attend a university or te...

4.4 Volunteer

Alongside working for the environment, there are few greater ways one can contribute than volunteering for the environment. One of the largest environmental volunteering projects I know of is The Atlas of Australian Birds. It was started in the...

4.5 Change Resistance, Jack Harich, 2010

“This paper seeks to help solve the global environmental sustainability problem by approaching it from a novel and possibly more effective perspective. Instead of beginning with the usual “What are the proper practices needed to live sustainably? ...

4.6 Act: Formal Processes

There are three main poles of power in the majority of countries: political, corporate, and media. Here we will introduce ways of interacting with political power (corporate power is examined in Section 9 and media power in Section 6). To avoid...

4.7 Act: Informal Processes

Having just made a case for participation in formal processes of consultation and influence, it seems strange immediately to qualify it, but I would be dishonest if I said formal processes are as effective as they used to be. This is not to say th...

4.8 Action Through the Lens of Power

Action for the environment has been presented so far in Section 4 as largely singular and independent, but, of course, it can only be understood fully within a broader context of power: power structures, power operations, power dynamics. Richard H...

Explore Other Sections

1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship
1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship 1.1 Articles 1.2 Art Installations 1.3 Books 1.4 Buildings 1.5 Film, Documentaries, Podcasts 1.6 Music 1.7 Paintings 1.8 Photographs 1.9 Poems 1.10 Spiritual Responses
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1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship

This section is designed to foster appreciation and insight that will – hopefully – lead to novel ways to build a better relationship between human beings and Nature. This section is also atypical ...
2. Reduce Consumption
2. Reduce Consumption

2. Reduce Consumption

I hope Reneé Descartes would forgive us for saying that, at least for the modern world, he was wrong.  When, in 1637, he said: “I think, therefore I am”, he could not have anticipated that the majo...
3. Replace God of Growth with God of Quality
3. Replace God of Growth with God of Quality

3. Replace God of Growth with God of Quality

In a supposedly secular age there has arisen a global religion and god like never before, a religion whose reach and power makes every other belief system before it seem pitiful and insignificant: ...
4. Work, Volunteer, Act for the Environment
4. Work, Volunteer, Act for the Environment

4. Work, Volunteer, Act for the Environment

What we do in our day-to-day lives can have great impact. Section Four divides up these actions into three groups – Work (4.2 & 4.3), Volunteering (4.4), and Action, e.g. voting, protesting, et...
5. Reduce Population
5. Reduce Population

5. Reduce Population

Even on top of Mt. Everest, in one of the remotest, most difficult places on earth, there is a great traffic-jam of people jostling for position. And yet, ever more vociferously, we deny that overp...
6. Ensure Media Acknowledgement of Environmental Context
6. Ensure Media Acknowledgement of Environmental Context

6. Ensure Media Acknowledgement of Environmental Context

The media is one of the three, great ‘poles’ of power in the world (alongside political and corporate power) and how they frame and present ‘the environment’ has a profound effect on how we respond...
7. Stop Further Loss of Natural Habitat and Species
7. Stop Further Loss of Natural Habitat and Species

7. Stop Further Loss of Natural Habitat and Species

New York is an exciting, mesmerising place. Human culture is extraordinary and often wonderful. Our powers of transformation of the natural world seem limitless. The trouble is, we don’t seem to be...
8. Assist Energy Descent and Transition
8. Assist Energy Descent and Transition

8. Assist Energy Descent and Transition

Our current energy largesse is an extraordinary ‘gift’, an unprecedented gift of the ages; millions of years to produce and from millions of years ago. Coal, oil and gas, forming...
9. Support New, Environmentally-Aware, Economic Systems
9. Support New, Environmentally-Aware, Economic Systems

9. Support New, Environmentally-Aware, Economic Systems

Just as with the previous section – ‘Energy’ – which is, inescapably, all about fossil fuels so pre-eminent and extraordinary has been their dominance and transformation of the world in the last 20...
10. Reduce Wastes to the Rate of Natural Assimilation
10. Reduce Wastes to the Rate of Natural Assimilation

10. Reduce Wastes to the Rate of Natural Assimilation

Section 10 will attempt to organise this enormous topic by addressing the context and status of pollution in 10.2, before focussing in on air pollution; particularly greenhouse gas pollution and cl...