“This is what democracy looks like!”

By Tim Hollo September 27, 2019

“This is what democracy looks like!”

I don’t know about you, but when I heard thousands of kids chanting that at the Climate Strike last week, it sent shivers of joy and excitement down my spine.

Proud father moment – that’s my daughter MC’ing Canberra’s 15,000 strong strike!

One of the things which sets the School Strike for Climate movement apart from many of the movements whose shoulders they’re standing on is that, while they do have key demands, they’re not asking governments for change. They’re saying, in the words of Greta Thunberg, “change is coming whether you like it or not.” They’re saying “the rules have to be changed”. And they’re right.

Greta’s statement that “we need system change, not individual change, but you cannot have one without the other” is, to my mind, a beautiful statement of ecological democracy. It encapsulates the fact that everything is connected. In an ecology, the parts matter as much as the whole, but it is only in that grand, diverse, interconnected whole that things come together.

It’s obvious to the strikers that our existing democratic systems have failed them (and all of us) abysmally, and that the democracy we all need is on the streets and in our communities at least as much as it is in our parliaments. And that we cannot have one without the other.

That recognition is central to what we’ll be coming together to discuss at the Green Institute conference in November: Cultivating Democracy.

We need to radically revitalise our democracy in order to face up to the climate crisis, to the biodiversity crisis, to the social and economic crises interwoven with both. But, more than that, we desperately need to cultivate deep democracy if we are to build the kind of cohesive, resilient communities that can survive and thrive in the climate-changed world that’s bearing down on us, even if we do pull out all stops now.

To me, that’s both terrifying and incredibly exciting. To repurpose Margaret Thatcher’s famous phrase: “there is no alternative” but to dig deep, plants the seeds, and cultivate democracy at every level.

So. Will you join us?

On Friday November 15, we’ll have a day of brilliant, challenging and inspiring speakers taking us through exciting ideas, old and new, for deeper democracy. Then, over the weekend, in parallel with Greens National Conference, we’ll have a series of deliberative discussion sessions, going through these ideas and working up ways we can translate them into action.

Places are strictly limited to 140, so do please get your tickets soon!

This is what democracy looks like!


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