What Kind Of Democracy Do We Need To Survive This?

By Tim Hollo November 11, 2019

Like many of you, I have friends and loved ones right now in the paths of some of the most destructive fires Australia has yet seen. I sit, horrified, in front of my screen, reloading pages, hoping to hear good news, thinking about what I need to do to prepare in case Canberra burns again this summer, as it doubtless will one year soon enough.

Like many of you, too, I’ve been shaking with anger at our political so-called ‘leaders’ refusing to acknowledge that these fires are fuelled by their obsession with coal, oil and gas, and daring to insult people who are brave enough to make the connection to the climate crisis in public.

It is increasingly clear that our current political system is simply incapable of confronting this crisis. This system was built around resource extraction, around power over others, around disconnection from the natural world. It was built in such a way that it led us to this point. It needs to be rebuilt if we are to turn things around.

At the same time, it’s increasingly obvious that this system is uniquely unsuited to helping us survive the ever more inhospitable world it has bequeathed us. An adversarial political system based on attacking one’s opponents and refusing to back down; a system which is so focussed on budgets that it defunds fire services in the teeth of coming emergencies – this is not a resilient system.

If we are to both turn around the ecological collapse and generate the resilience we need to not just survive but thrive in the years and decades ahead, we need to cultivate new democratic norms and institutions – a democratic system based on the lessons of ecology.

That’s why, at the end of this week, over a hundred of us will be gathering in Canberra for the Green Institute’s conference, Cultivating Democracy, to hear from experts, pick apart the ideas, and discuss what we can all do, collectively, to plant the seeds, nurture them, and grow an ecological democracy.

There are only a handful of tickets left, so make sure you register in the next day or two, or you’ll miss out.

In the last few days, Lidia Thorpe has become available to join the Indigenous Democracy session at the beginning of Friday, alongside Tjanara Goreng Goreng and others. And Celeste Liddle has moved to the Democratising the Economy session to replace Dennis Foley, who sadly had to pull out.

In addition to these amazing Aboriginal women contributing their voices, I’m delighted that the event will be catered by Dhurra Yhuuramuulan Catering, a local Canberra Indigenous-owned and run firm, providing mouth-watering food.

We genuinely have space for only about 20 more people, so please book now if you intend to come. We’d love to have your voice and ideas in the conversation!

And, for those anywhere near the fires, stay safe and stay strong.

Tim

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