If you lost the wealth of your brain’s services to you …
God forbid! as my friend Judy would say, with a tone of voice and look that will dispel dire misfortune now and forever.
… If you or your sister or your partner or child lost some of their brain’s services, what would you want of hospitals, doctors, allied health professionals and health agencies? What would you want of rehabilitation?
You might think the professionals are equipped with all the right expertise, and decisions would flow from there.
If only it were that simple.
Latrobe University researchers in conjunction with the Alfred Hospital hired Annie Bolitho & Associates to design and facilitate a citizens’ jury on brain injury in October 2014. A report drawing together the work of the jury has recently been released.
This diagram from an expert witness presentation by Dr Kate Laver (Flinders University) highlights the complex mix of inputs to the rehabilitation process.
You may have noticed that deliberation often emerges when people are doing things together. Spending time in a car driving to a meeting out of town, participating in a working bee or stuffing envelopes. In a recent workshop, Jade Herriman and I got people cutting and pasting, and making a book. They were putting their minds to what’s important to them about Glenbrook Lagoon in the lower Blue Mountains. At the same time they were hearing from Council some of the issues they face in their decision-making around managing a tricky situation involving weeds, nutrients and people’s feelings about the lagoon.
Here’s more about the workshop and the project. We used strategic questions to raise issues as people selected their materials and worked on their books, and learned a lot about this low-key way of hearing about how people understand a complex environmental problem in their neighbourhood.
Just read Stuart Brand’s ‘Whole Earth Discipline, an eco-pragmatist manifesto’. Brand was editor of the optimistic, 70s Whole Earth Catalogue. Now he’s back willing to consider radically different alternative alternatives, in the face of climate change.
He’s undertaken the book in the spirit of debate, and with ‘the long now’ in mind – the future 10,000 years. What bugs him is the pessimism of those who still hold ’70s’ view. He sees them as romantic’mossback environmentalists’. In transformative times, he regards environmentalism’s purposeful agendas as a problem. Why aren’t they willing to change their minds?
He’s changed his. With coal burning as a no no, he’s getting behind nuclear power. This puts him onside with James Lovelock, Tim Flannery and Bill McKibben who gave judicious support to an IPCC proposal that nuclear energy should provide an increased 2% of the world’s energy supply. Brand believes that ‘seizing the century’ involves getting on board with green biohackers, technophiles, GE researchers, urbanists and infrastructure rebuilders.
The book’s very upbeat. It really engaged me. Brand believes we can’t assume that future humans will be like us, either in terms of available technologies or basic concerns. In other words that having a cautious future orientation is paternalistic. We should be prepared to take steps along the way in an emergent adaptation plan, including nuclear energy. We shouldn’t turn away from anything that limits the burning of coal.
This book is very optimistic about science. Unfortunately, there are no great deliberations in society, either between between scientists, politicians, policy makers or the people when it comes to testing out assumptions about following where science leads. Ever wonder why so many spokespeople give views with the proviso ‘I’m not a climate scientist’?
Maybe that line isn’t really about climate science expertise. Maybe it’s really saying that there’s a lot more to climate politics and culture change than energy related problem solving.
It’s quite difficult to entice a reader into a book about Climate Change – there’s something so leaden and laden about statistics and science and dispute and above all virtue. So I decided humour would have to help me through. – Ian Mackewan on his novel Solar.
Chris Sounness from Victoria’s Department of Primary Industries does a good job making people laugh. I heard him at a Climate Science Communication Workshop held by the Australian Metereological and Oceanographic Society.
Farmers he works with worry about their water supply and temperature increases. Chris helps them understand what drives wet and dry seasons. Climate indicators such as the Indian Ocean Dipole and the Sub-tropical Ridge are becoming better known through his lighthearted approach to climate learning.
Chris is good at scientific presentations and materials. As a take home message, he and his team have come up with a series of animated Climate Dogs to tell the story, Ridgy, Enso, Sam and Indy.
Check out the climate dogs and see them doing their bit to herd rain in Victoria.
‘I want to get a good discussion going because the Southern Oscillation Index is a great tool for farmers at the end of winter, but at other times, it’s a bit of a rubbish indicator,’ Chris says. ‘It’s time to expand the vocabulary.’
Many in Chris’ audience may not see climate change as a result of human causality, but they’re becoming more interested.
Hey Chris do you know what Ian Mackewan won for Solar?
A pig and a lot of champagne! (PG Woodhouse Prize)
PS You can read more of Chris’ writing for ‘climate nuts and grain farmers’ at the-break-newsletter.