On a mission to support young people to have an abundance mindset

Its that time of year when we begin the onboarding process for our Cultivate Growing Young Leaders program and our school programs Kreative Koalas and The Archibull Prize

When our school programs in 2020 were officially identified as “Student Leadership” programs helping build natural disaster resilience I realised we had come full circle and there will be significant cross over in the introduction to all our programs of “Who We are and What we Do”

What do we do?

Picture You in Agriculture supports young people in the agriculture sector and young people in primary and secondary schools to solve tomorrow’s problems, today.

We offer a leadership growth journey in the agriculture sector for young people that is quite unique.

Agriculture has a wealth of excellent leadership programs that teach people how to be the best version of themselves and succeed in their careers.

We are giving it a red hot shot to teach young people to lead others and multiply their impact.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In schools we support teachers to show young people what they teach is real and show students how they can apply what they learn in the real world.

Quoting our leadership development stream coach Josh Farr

“In the modern world, in 1990, in 2000, in 2010, in 2021 its really difficult to know if the technical skills we are being taught are going to be relevant. We don’t know if we are going to need to know how to code or to analyse data. We do not know what the robots are going to be able to do. This is why in the workplace there is a move back to the fundamental human skills. “

The top 3 skills 21st century employers want are

  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Teamwork

How you communicate, empathise, the way you make people feel is fundamental.

There are so many ways of getting your ideas out to the world.

  • Verbally
  • Written
  • Artistically

The key is to find the medium that suits you and you enjoy producing and creating. Watch Josh talk about this here 

We provide opportunities for young people to find the medium that suits them, find their tribe and take action.

In essence we are agriculture’s equivalent of Oaktree and UNYouth

In life, our mindset determines which road we travel on. It gives me great joy to be part of a tribe supporting young people to have an abundance mindset.

#youthinag #optimism #resilience

What if there were no farmers could we feed ourselves from our backyards?

The team at Picture You in Agriculture has been surveying young people between the ages of 8 and 18 and adults with a tertiary education for 15 years to get an understanding of their images and perceptions of the industry that feeds and clothes us.

To see whether the community realises the depth and breadth of the role Australian farmers play in not only feeding and clothing us as well as managing  60% of the land in Australia we ask them three questions.

The answer to only one of these three questions is well known. The exact statistic is blurry depending on who is collating the data and their classification of what constitutes a “farmer”. Irrespective of that challenge Australians know Australian farmers look after a big chunk of Australia.

This year we decided to create a graphic to raise awareness of these facts. The below graphic is the first iteration.

The source of the data is the fabulous Climate Works Australia Interactive 

These statistics are important because:

  • Australian farmers produce enough food to feed 3 x the population of Australia. This means Australia is food self sufficient or food independent (see footnote)  and that’s pretty impressive and very rare.
  • Its imperative that Australian farmers have profitable, climate resilient farming systems because who is going to look after 60% of Australia if we don’t have farmers?
  • Australia is the hottest, driest continent. Water is a precious resource. Our soils are fragile. It is imperative our farmers be the best they can be

Above are the facts below is the reality

  • The majority of Australians think we import 50% of our food !!!!!
  • Australians know our farmers look after up to 60% of the Australia’s land.
  • The majority of Australians think we can grow fruit and vegetables. (horticulture) and crops on all our farmland.

Feeding and clothing people is a big responsibility and it is a risky business 

Not only do:

  • we want access to food when we need it (food security),
  • we want it to be affordable,
  • we want it to be safe, and
  • we want it to be nutritious.

And if we are forward thinking we want more

We want Australia’s land and waterways to be able to supply it for generations to come whilst ensuring we can live in harmony with all the magnificent wildlife we have here

How do we rank compared to the rest of the world?

Its pretty shocking that 1 in 5 Australians go to bed hungry every night yet 30% of us are obese and our environmental record is definitely one area we can do better  


Source

This is why it is a shared responsibility. It takes a village and more. Partnerships between those who produce ( farmers) and those who consume ( all of us) are so important and this is why our team love what we do.

Footnote

“Food security” means being able to afford to access to adequate and sufficient food, regardless of where it comes from.

“Food self-sufficiency” is when we grow all the food we need, right here in Australia .

Resource Recovery and Workplace culture – what does best practice look like

When you design and deliver a program that achieves this

the role models you meet and other people’s good behaviour tends to rub off.

Today I made my monthly visit to my local recycling depot run by my local council and there was mega activity  . 

I was witnessing our council’s replacement model for curb side collection in action.

My initial shock at what I was seeing was rapidly replaced by immense pride.

It was the most extraordinary experience  of workplace culture I have seen in a long time. Everyone I spoke to from the delightful person who checked in my recycling at the weighbridge to the young man who introduced me to Josephine who is the team leader for this extraordinary effort was so proud of what they were achieving for:

  1. worker safety
  2. environmental outcomes
  3. community cohesion and in reality community enlightenment

It was a lifetime highlight for me. Somebody at Kiama Council is doing something extraordinary for workplace culture. Mega kudos

So lets put this all in perspective. Recognising I am a rural resident so the previous curb side pick up service was not available for me and this is my understanding of how it worked (happy to be corrected) and this is how it now works ( again happy to be corrected).

In the past council provided the opportunity  twice a year for urban residents to use their curb side collection facility for unwanted household goods. Council team members collected no longer wanted household items from the curb side  and it all went to landfill. This as you can imagine also came with some potential worker safety and biohazard challenges

Today the new model sees urban ( and I assume rural ) residents take their own unwanted household goods to the recycling plant where it is determined whether or not their unwanted household goods fit into “RRR” (recoverable resources) or “landfill”

WOW  do the pictures tell the story

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All of this previously went into landfill

Now only this little bit ends up in landfill

Its not hard to see why the Kiama Council team are so proud

March in the Garden at Clover Hill

March 2021 will be remembered as the month women in Australia said #enoughisenough and 100,000 Australians  took to the streets to #march4justice

It has been wonderful to be take time out from the rage and celebrate the beginning of Autumn in the garden at Clover Hill.

Autumn is often a time of planning and preparing for the seasons ahead. During March the days are still warm. Traditionally as summer begins to fade, we look forward to the changes of Autumn arriving.  The nights begin to cool, and we wake to morning dew and changes beginning to happen in the landscapes around us.

In March 2021 we are seeing unseasonably wet weather with many parts of NSW have been declared a natural disaster area.

The dairy farm adjacent to township will be under water.

Up on the hill my garden is celebrating with windflowers and cyclamens that I am very chuffed to have grown from seeds I collected from my garden previously

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

and the fern house has finally recovered from the series of scorching hot days in December

Extreme weather events seem to be here to stay

And as my blog is been recorded by the National Museum as part of Australia’s history below is the Saturday Paper article by Mike Secombe that I  think best encapsulates the March 2021 zeitgeist and everything that is wrong with it.

The children of gods: how power works in Australia

By Mike Seccombe.

Christian Porter as a Hale School student.

CREDIT: SUPPLIED
The rarefied and entitled boys-only private school network has created massive imbalances and injustice in the halls of power, public policy and broader society.

Francis Greenslade was never really part of the privileged class that runs our country. But he came close enough to get a good look at it, warts and all. Greenslade – an actor, teacher, writer, translator, musician – is probably best known through his work on the ABC’s satirical television show Mad as Hell. But in his youth, he had another claim to fame, as a champion debater.

Greenslade got into debating as a student at his “posh” school in Adelaide, St Peter’s College, a boys-only school favoured by the South Australian establishment. Alumni include eight South Australian premiers, plus two who went on to lead New South Wales and Western Australia, as well as a rollcall of prominent political, legal, business and scientific figures, including three Nobel laureates.

Greenslade says he was definitely “not part of the Adelaide establishment”. His parents were scientists, comfortably middle class. But his school was elite, and there was a pervasive sense that the boys who went there were “the children of gods and we would inherit the universe”.

Not all St Peter’s boys bought into the sense of elitism, of course.

But there was definitely a cohort of boys, he says, who were “arrogant and self-entitled”.

“But I suspect they were arrogant and self-entitled before they even got to school,” he says. “It’s often the parents, I think.”

St Peter’s equipped Greenslade with skills as a debater and the qualifications for university. What it did not equip him for, though, was women.

“It was difficult,” he recalls. “I think that the main thing for me about going to a single-sex boys’ school is that once I got out I was not prepared for there to be a completely different gender. You know, talking to women, and just dealing with women as though they were people, did take me a while.”

At university, Greenslade’s passion for debating took him into even more rarefied company. He met people who are now politicians, judges, lawyers, the heads of ASX200 corporations.

This is hardly surprising. Not only does debating attract the brightest and most articulate students, it is often seen as part of preparation for public life, providing skills particularly useful in politics and the law. Greenslade never had ambitions in these areas; he simply enjoyed the cut and thrust of argument, the performance. He was very good at it, and went on to become an adjudicator of others.

And that’s how he first encountered Christian Porter, who was then a student at the elite boys-only Hale School in Perth. It was at a competition between school debating teams in 1987.

“I was the South Australian adjudicator in 1987 in Perth, so I would have adjudicated him. And I was part of the committee that chose the Australian schools team. So, I would have put him on the [national] team,” Greenslade says. “He must have been good … [but] I have absolutely no recollection of him at all.”

Greenslade does, however, have a very precise recollection of another member of the team, an exceptionally bright young woman – a girl, actually – from his home state, South Australia.

“She was a very, very good debater. She was selected for the state team in year 10, which was pretty unheard of,” he says.

He can still clearly remember the grand final debate of the 1987 national schools competition. The topic was “the future justifies optimism” and South Australia was to argue the negative.

The other team redefined the issue so cleverly that Greenslade – who was watching from the audience, but not adjudicating – recalls telling the South Australian coach: “I have no idea how they’re going to get out of this.”

It was that girl, the second speaker, who got them out of it. “And I thought, she won the debate for us.”

They were friends, and saw each other regularly at debating events over nearly a decade – including a big one held at the University of Sydney in January 1988, where he was awarded the best speaker gong. Greenslade was not, however, among those in whom she confided about what allegedly happened there. He supports calls for an independent inquiry into Attorney-General Christian Porter in the wake of the sexual assault allegation.

That exceptional young woman did not have the brilliant career her friends expected for her. She struggled with mental health issues and took her own life last year.

Late last month, friends of the deceased sent a letter to several federal politicians, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, along with a 32-page dossier written by the woman. In it, she graphically detailed her alleged rape, 33 years ago, by a person who subsequently became a federal cabinet minister.

Morrison says he did not read the dossier, but referred it to NSW Police, who said they could not proceed with a criminal investigation due to “insufficient admissible evidence”.

While traditional media did not identify the alleged perpetrator, social media did – to the extent that his name became a trending topic on Twitter.

On Wednesday of last week, Australia’s first law officer, Christian Porter, held a press conference and announced that he was the subject of the allegations. He categorically denied them.

“Nothing in the allegations that have been printed ever happened,” he said.

Porter said he would not stand down or stand aside. To do so, he said, would mean that anyone in public life might be removed from an elected position by the simple reporting of an allegation.

There were echoes of the schoolboy debater in his sweeping assertion that if this became the standard, “there wouldn’t be much need for an attorney-general anyway, because there would be no rule of law left to protect in this country”.

The prime minister agreed. As far as he was concerned, it was case closed. “He is an innocent man under our law,” Morrison declared.

But as many legal experts and others have pointed out, there are means of inquiry other than a criminal investigation that could be employed, and are employed frequently to determine whether all sorts of people – teachers, lawyers, sportspeople – are fit and proper for their roles.

The government, though, appears determined in its opposition to any further investigation of the allegations against Porter. Time will tell if that determination holds.

This is not just a question of law but, as Greenslade says, a matter of sociology. It’s about privilege and entitlement and the “club” of people like those he went to school with and debated against, who went on to careers in the law, judiciary, public service, business, media and, particularly, politics.

The composition of the Morrison government illustrates the point: 16 of 22 members of the cabinet are men. Save for one of these, all are white. The Saturday Paper has established the educational backgrounds of 15 of them.

Eleven went to non-government schools, mostly elite private ones. Seven of them, including Morrison himself, attended boys-only institutions. The Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, provides some diversity; his schooling was elite, but also co-educational and Jewish Orthodox.

This world is so small that both Communications minister Paul Fletcher, a former dux of the private Sydney Grammar School, and Health minister Greg Hunt, who attended the Peninsula School in Victoria, were also in attendance at the ’88 debating competition.

Porter is from a similar rarefied pedigree, the son of Charles “Chilla” Porter, an Olympic high jumper turned Liberal Party powerbroker in Western Australia. Chilla’s own father, Charles Robert Porter, served in the Queensland state government from 1966 to 1980 and was appointed the minister for Aboriginal and Islander Affairs in Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s fifth ministry.

But when one looks more broadly at the composition of the federal parliament, the numbers tell a similar story of homogeneity. Just 23 per cent of Coalition members and senators are women, compared with 47 per cent for Labor, and 60 per cent for the Greens.

The conservatives’ “women problem” – more accurately a lack of women problem – has been the subject of commentary for years. It flared up particularly about the time of the dumping of Malcolm Turnbull from the Liberal leadership, with claims of sexism and bullying.

Several capable women, among them Julia Banks, Kelly O’Dwyer and deputy leader Julie Bishop, subsequently quit politics. As Bishop reminded us again in an interview this week, a group of men describing themselves as the “big swinging dicks” conspired to thwart her career.

Other Liberal women complained at the time but stayed on. Senator Linda Reynolds was one of them, after she publicly lamented in August 2018: “I do not recognise my party at the moment. I do not recognise the values. I do not recognise the bullying and intimidation that has gone on.”

Reynolds, the Defence minister, is now a central figure in another gendered crisis for the government, accused of being insufficiently supportive after the alleged rape, in March 2019, of one of her staffers, Brittany Higgins, then aged 24, by a more senior staff member, in Reynolds’ ministerial office.

The male staffer was sacked days later over what’s been described as a “security breach”. Despite the fact Higgins told Reynolds what had happened, and that multiple senior staff, several of them in the prime minister’s office, knew about it, Morrison claimed to have been unaware of the allegation for almost two years. Until the story became public last month.

The political damage done to Morrison by his denial was exacerbated by an apparent lack of concern for the victim. He gave his wife credit for awakening his empathy, by asking him to consider what he would want if it were one of their “girls”.

A devastating rejoinder was delivered by Grace Tame, the Australian of the Year and a sexual abuse survivor, at the National Press Club last week: “It shouldn’t take having children to have a conscience,” she said. “And, actually, on top of that, having children doesn’t guarantee a conscience.”

When parliament resumes this week, Morrison will be down two senior ministers. Porter has taken leave while he tries to recover his mental health. Reynolds has taken time off due to a heart condition – pre-existing, but likely exacerbated by the stress of the Higgins revelations, including that she labelled her young former staffer a “lying cow”.

It is not just the Liberal Party that is burning here, though. A bigger, more widespread bonfire of the elite male vanities is blazing.

The sex discrimination commissioner, Kate Jenkins, has been called upon to lead an investigation of the workplace culture of the parliament – grudgingly established after the Higgins allegation. Jenkins believes Australia is now at a “turning point” in its attitudes to sexual harassment and assault.

“In my time working in this area … over the 30 years, I’ve never seen any moment like this,” she told the ABC last Sunday.

Cultural change, she said, was happening “across the board”.

Recent events have certainly lit a fire under elite boys’ schools, which so disproportionately turn out national leaders. And interestingly, the fire has been fuelled by their elite female equivalents.

About three weeks ago, Chanel Contos, a former student of Sydney’s Kambala girls’ school, began an online petition calling for schools to do more to instruct students about sexual consent, and at a younger age. She was driven by concern about the toxic masculinity evident among private schoolboys.

“I have lived in three different countries and I have never spoken to anyone who has experienced rape culture the way me and my friends had growing up in Sydney among private schools,” Contos told one interviewer.

Within a couple of weeks, the petition received more than 3000 responses from young women, sharing their stories of sexual abuse.

The private educational establishment responded with some commitments to do more about consent instruction, but also attempted to lay the blame for the apparent culture of misogyny on external factors: indulgent parenting, intoxicants and online pornography.

A note to parents from Tony George, the head of Sydney’s prestigious The King’s School, whose alumni includes federal Energy minister Angus Taylor and former NSW premier Mike Baird, questioned how effective more consent education could even be, given the examples of aberrant behaviour in politics, sport and elsewhere. George wrote, in part:

“… do we really think an intoxicated teenage boy is going to have the presence of mind to recall his sex education curriculum and restrain himself at a boozed-up party when given the opportunity to pursue his porn-filled imagination and desire?

“If footballers and parliamentary staffers can’t do it, I think not.”

Other defenders of the elite status quo have similarly blamed exogenous factors, particularly pornography, rather than the culture their institutions help foster.

“They are identifying the wrong problems,” says Catharine Lumby, who serves as a pro bono gender adviser to the National Rugby League, as well as being a professor of media studies at the University of Sydney.

“The problem is not online pornography. It is a gendered order in society where men, some men, think they can control women, and children, like property.”

Single-sex schools especially, she says, “are a bad idea”.

Not only do they encourage a sense of entitlement in their charges, a sense that they are better than others, those “others” include a whole gender.

“As a girl from a working-class background, I did an arts/law degree at Sydney University and I was shocked by the behaviour of the elite, privileged boys from single-sex schools,” she says.

“I will never forget when one of them brought a blow-up plastic sex doll for the lecturer to hold during a criminal law class on sexual assault.”

These days, Francis Greenslade wonders whether Australia’s private school system is desirable at all.

It’s a good question. The data shows not only that this country is sliding down international rankings in terms of education, but also that Australia’s educational outcomes are more polarised than in most comparable nations.

It is clear that students from less advantaged backgrounds suffer in under-resourced schools. But it is less clear whether those from more-privileged backgrounds actually benefit much, in purely academic terms, from private education. An array of socioeconomic factors means they would likely do well anyway.

Economists have a term for things that are valued more for the status they advertise than for their utility: positional goods. Perhaps a private school education could be seen in a similar way, as something valued for the status and contacts it provides.

It’s often said that the eye-watering fees paid for places at some of Australia’s elite non-government schools are an investment in a child’s future social network, far more than in their academic future.

Jordana Hunter, education program director at the Grattan Institute, says it’s complicated. “It can be hard to disentangle learning effects from networking effects. Networks seem to be quite significant in terms of success later in life. And that’s above and beyond a cognitive literacy and numeracy learning effect,” she says.

Which is to say, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Hunter offers another insight, of particular relevance to politics: “It’s hard to understand the concerns of people you don’t empathise with, and hard to empathise with people [who] you don’t know.”

And when you have leaders drawn from a very narrow, privileged background, that has serious ramifications – both in terms of understanding of sexual consent and beyond.

Consider, for example, the Morrison government’s response to the Covid-19 recession. Women, as the Grattan Institute detailed in a comprehensive report this week, lost their jobs at twice the rate men did. They were saddled with more unpaid work, including supervising children learning remotely. They were less likely to get government support, because JobKeeper excluded short-term casuals, who in the hardest-hit industries are mostly women.

Yet the government directed substantial support to sectors, such as construction, that were little affected. It pumped more resources into apprenticeships, which historically are 70 per cent male, and ignored tertiary education, which is heavily female.

Grattan’s chief executive, Danielle Wood, can cite innumerable examples, from childcare to superannuation to homelessness, where women are relatively disadvantaged.

It comes back to a lack of diversity among politicians, she says.

“They just haven’t had the lived experience. And they don’t necessarily deal with a lot of people that have had that lived experience. And so, we end up focusing on a narrower set of policy issues than we should.”

This criticism goes beyond gender to class and race issues, too. For the moment, the focus is on the treatment of women.

Kate Jenkins may be right. Perhaps we have reached a moment of real change. But the “club”, as Greenslade calls it, is very good at protecting its privilege.

It is also very good at silencing its critics by deflecting, intimidating, stonewalling and using the shame felt by its victims against them. But if the past few weeks have shown anything, it’s the power of those victims’ stories when they are told.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Mar 13, 2021 as “The children of gods: how power works in Australia”.

How to make the monsters go away

For the last 15 years I have been designing and delivering programs to help young people to be more resilient than I was when the perfect storm hit

One of those programs Kreative Koalas has been identified by an international organisation as having the capacity to help young people be resilient to natural disasters

I have never been more thrilled in my life to do a deep dive into the risk assessment process for  “How to deal with Latent Trauma

I know my programs teach others what I want to learn and I have never been more hungry to learn something in my entire life – How to make the monsters go away