Do our politicians care about us?

Its pretty easy  to think about the world and be cynical. I know at my age I can certainly write a list of the people who have let me down.

But we all know selling despair, ruminating  on the people you wished hadn’t crossed your path and on what could have been gets us nowhere. On the other hand selling hope and focusing on a bright future by engaging and working with the people who share your vision keeps the fire burning in our bellies

I keep the fire burning in my belly by surrounding myself with exciting young people. Young people in schools, young farmers and young activists for social and environmental justice .

Last Friday night  I attended the NSW ACT Young Achiever Awards to support Young Farming Champions Anika Molesworth and Joshua Gilbert who were both finalists in the Environment and Sustainability Category   

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Anika Molesworth Winner of  the Environment and Sustainability Award

Millennials and the generation before them don’t exactly  get the best wrap and are often described as self absorbed .  Reading the bios of the finalists in all categories  certainly drew everyone’s attention to a group of young people and their support networks who are turning  the self absorbed label on its head.

Why theses young people do what they do  and how they do it is both fascinating and inspiring.   Last year’s winner in the opening speech said something that gave me food for serious reflection. This young lady is a very passionate member of AYCC who lobbied their peers to sign up and vote at the last election. She quoted some phenomenal numbers as a testimony to their success.

She expressed her motivation by saying  something along the lines of “politicians don’t care about young people and young people don’t care about politicians”. She went on to say part of the mission of AYCC is to show young people how important it is to care about politicians and what they do and don’t stand for and to vote for the one’s that align with their values

Do politicians care about young people.? Do they care about us?  I think they do but I can certainly understand why people in general wonder what they do stand for. How do we fix a system where it appears that too many of our politicians only care about the needs of big business and the powerful people and not enough about the quality of life and well being of everyday Australians?.

AYCC have got it right. It’s up to everyday Australians to hold our politicians accountable and that starts with making sure we have the right politicians in office and support fiercely the one’s who align with our values.

Congratulations to Anika Molesworth, a fierce campaigner for #youthinag and the viability  and resilience of Australian farmers and social and environmental justice

Anika’s acceptance speech – its easy to see why she is in demand as a keynote speaker 

 

 

Leadership is not for the faint of heart

Over the years I have written a number of posts on leadership and from the robust discussions that followed the vocal majority in agriculture seem to prefer the notion leaders are born not made.

I am currently attending a number of courses/events that pitch themselves as Leadership Courses

It will be hard for them to trump one of the best experiences of my life yesterday which was attending (with 1500 other people ) the Simon Sinek “Start with Why” Leadership forum .

As Simon quite rightly shared with us

“how can we aspire to be a leader when we cant all agree what leadership is?”

Donna Digby who bought 18 women in the agriculture sector a combined 20,000 km to Melbourne to hear their hero Simon speak is the perfect example of the definition of leadership Simon promotes.

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As the motivational speaker and author explained, it really boils down to three things: selflessness, empathy, and an ability to manage anxiety on your team. Here is a look at each trait, and why it is so valuable for you to cultivate. 

1. Selflessness

People like to be around people they trust–it’s as simple as that. “Humans are constantly assessing people and organizations around them, and if they feel they’re selfish, they’ll keep a safe distance,” said Sinek. On the other hand, people tend to want to associate with people and brands characterised by an element of selflessness. Creating that human connection–building trust-is key, though it does take time. Just remember: You’re responsible for setting that tone, Sinek warned. “When the environment is one of a leader who [will] sacrifice, the way people respond is by sacrificing in return. Being a leader is a lifestyle decision; it means you’re willing to take care of others.” 

2. Empathy

Speaking of taking care of others, Sinek added, “the more we do good for each other, the more we want to do good for each other.” He recounted the time he picked up loose papers for a man when he saw them slip out of his bag. The man was grateful, but Sinek said his actions went further than that. They motivated someone who saw them to do something kind. Kindness begets kindness, Sinek went on. It’s holding the door for someone, making a new pot of coffee, and letting someone into your lane. Putting others ahead of yourself-“that is the practice of leadership,” he said. 

3. Grace under fire 

Stress and anxiety are enough to make people dishonest and to sabotage their performance at work. When your body is flooded with cortisol, or the chemical that produces anxiety, “you biologically restrict empathy and trust,” Sinek said. Don’t be that kind of boss–if you’re the one inducing fear and anxiety in your employees, you’re never going to have their trust. The solution is clear: Work on managing your own stress and “be the leader you wish you had,” he said. Your team will appreciate it.  Source 

Simon compared being a leader to being a parent.

‘You accept the responsibility  for the growth of another human being, often  making many thankless sacrifices. Leadership is a hard gig and its not for the faint of heart.’

Wonderful #sketchnote summary of Simon’s talk by the very talented Matthew Magain

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As I watch a lot of the current nastiness on Twitter particularly in the dairy industry I am so saddened to see far too many people creating a toxic environment where people don’t feel safe and the bullies rule. Its time for us all to become leaders and see our role as nurturers of others  and get our buzz not from the hurt generated but take pride in the growth and confidence building of others. Its time to get high on watching others thrive

The TED talk that made Simon a legend

Little vs Big Agriculture – are objective views lacking??

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Foodies I need help.

The Picture You in Agriculture team has paired up with the Intrepid Landcare tribe to create and deliver a program that builds on the success of the Art4agriculture initiatives – The Archibull Prize and the Young Farming Champions to help young people in schools get their heads around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and take local action

Schools participating in the Kreative Koalas program ( note landing page only at this stage)  will partner with Young Sustainability Ambassadors (Expressions of Interest open here  ) and investigate and reflect on seven of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

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We are finding ‘Responsible Production’ tricky. Coming from generations of primary producers that these days would be seen as Big Agriculture, my mission is to show the Little vs Big Agriculture story is not a binary argument – Good vs Bad or Romantic vs Reality or Sustainable vs Non-Sustainable or Non-Sustainable vs Sustainable but a continuum. I am looking for objective views and some great cases studies on both Little and Big Ag.

Landline is an obvious choice for content but no-one has yet identified OZ food bloggers/journalists of the likes of  Tom Philpot from Mother Jones, Nathanael Johnson from Grist  and  Helena Evich from Politico for me

Do we have food journalists that write level-headed assessments of Australian agricultural systems in plain English?  If the answer is yes – please share them with me

HT Richard Heath and Dr Heather Bray

Young people in agriculture lobby for action on stuff that matters to them

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I am a very different person to the person I was when I began my mission ten years ago to have my fellow farmers proud and loud of what they do and the industries they produce food and food and fibre for

I credit that change in the way I think and act to the young people I have met on my journey

I sell hope, they sell hope, together we have started a movement to create a new era of communication and transparency from the agricultural sector between farmers and the community. This allows farmers to raise awareness of the challenges they face to provide Australian families with safe, affordable and healthy food now and in the future.

Our programs and activities open the door for the community to ask questions and receive answers to questions on stuff that matters to them.

We do this because deep down our farmers feel unloved loved and undervalued. Our programs and activities provide matchmaking opportunities – a dating service if you like for farmers to connect with, and partner with the people in the community who love and appreciate them and people in the community who will love and appreciate them when they meet them

We do this by

  • designing and delivering events and activities through partnerships between young people in the agriculture sector and young people in schools using art and technology and two way conversations.
  • building capacity and the confidence of young people in the agriculture sector to share their story and deploy them using innovative vehicles such as The Archibull Prize to deliver agriculture’s key messages in a way that resonates with the audiences they reach with the mantra “People don’t care what you know until they know you care”

Whilst  I am very proud of this legacy, deep down its these young people that light my fire. On their journey they have developed the confidence and courage to share their story and lobby for action on stuff that matters to them

Let me introduce to Anika Molesworth and Kirsty McCormack – two young women in agriculture with a high profile in the media blazing a trail for us all

Farmers believe in climate change, so why don’t the politicians who say they represent them? 

“Anyone sitting in Parliament saying they represent rural and regional Australia should be figuring out how the decisions they make today are going to determine whether our farms are profitable in the years to come.”

“If we want something done about this then we need to do more than whisper across the back fence. It’s time to start shouting, and if our politicians fail to listen and catch up with the times then they risk being left behind.”  Anika Molesworth

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Social Media for the future 

“We’re a generation who don’t want to sit down and read facts and figures, we want to hear from individual people, and hear their stories,” Kirsty McCormack

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#youthinag #stuffthatmatters #YFC #ArchiullPrize

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.

The characteristic I most admire in people is courage.

Last week I attended the Australian Geographic Awards with Josh Gilbert’s family and partner. If ever there was an award’s event that celebrates courage, it’s the Australian Geographic Awards.

Yesterday I was reminded how lucky I am to be surrounded by so many courageous young people

Firstly there was this testimonial for Young Farming Champion Dee George. I know how much this will mean to Dee (you are a true champion Dee)

And there was this entry in The Archibull Prize based on the ethos of the Dr Suess book The Lorax. After 4 weeks on the road with the art judge videoing the students it had got to the stage where I was queen of the bloopers and struggling to turn the record button on and off at the right time.

What does all this have to do with Josh. Well Josh is like The Lorax

I love his sense of right and wrong.

I love that he recognizes the need to speak for those who have no voice.

I love that he sees the beauty of an unspoiled forest.

I love that he’s willing to stand up for what he believes in, even when it is the unpopular opinion.

But most of all, I love that he maintains a hope for the future, even when it seems so dismal.

And I love that he not only believes that one person can change the world, but like all the Young Farming Champions he puts his heart and soul into being part of a movement that empowers them to do so.

I videoed his presentation and his speech. It was a very courageous moment

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Farmers for Climate Action – debunking the myth that farmers are climate change deniers

A well known group of highly respected Australian farmers have put their hands up to debunk the myth that Australian farmers are climate change deniers

In a previous blog found here I shared the research that showed 2 to 4 times as many farmers identify as human induced climate change sceptics compared to the community in general. In contrast to this lack of alignment with 97% of scientists and the community, up to 90% of surveyed farmers acknowledged using climate change adaption and mitigation strategies.

So the question is “why” do so many farmers prefer identify as sceptics? This article by Gabrielle Chan in The Guardian – Climate change is spoken of in hushed tones but it wasn’t always this way provides some excellent insights.

 

Climate Change is now well and truly out of the closet for Australian farmers. Our farmers have a lot to be proud of whilst we are Australia’s fourth highest source of emissions (after electricity, stationary energy and transport) we are the only sector to have decreased emissions in recent years.Farmers have acknowledged they are part of the problem and they are very determined to be part of the solution.

At the moment, the electricity sector contributes around 34% of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia each year. This is more than double the emissions from agriculture. Unlike changing our personal and food waste habits, which will require a gradual cultural shift, changing our energy sources and reducing our energy consumption primarily requires political commitment.

We already have the technology and are seeing it adopted on a large scale around the world.Emissions reductions from the electricity sector could deliver the rapid and significant cuts that we need as soon as possible.

Excitingly our farmers are gaining public support and now actively lobbying our politicians to get on the clean energy train as this recent example shows

This article is a reprint from Australian Geographic by Gemma Hilton on Sept 27th 2016

Farmers asked to share their climate change experience

IF THERE’S ANY group of Australians who are likely to see and fully appreciate the impacts of climate change first-hand, it’s our farmers, who rely on the patterns and moods of the weather to make a living.

Farmers like Peter Holding, who is a third-generation mixed-operation farmer (wheat, canola, wool and lamb) from southern NSW. Peter’s family has been farming their land on the south-west slopes of Harden since 1929. He says he first really started to be impacted by the changing climate with the big, late-season frost event of 1998, followed by the unprecedented drought period of the first decade of the 2000s.

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Today, Peter is vocal about the need to do something about climate change. He is also a member of the newly formed Farmers For Climate Action, which is asking farmers around Australia to share their experiences of, and attitudes towards, climate change in a nation-wide survey. This is the first Australia-wide survey of its kind and was launched last week at a large, annual NSW agribusiness event called Henty Field Days.

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Volunteers from Farmers for Climate Action prepare to survey farmers at Henty Field Days, NSW. (Source: Farmers for Climate Action)

Peter says farmers are at the “frontline” of climate change, and he thinks attitudes among farmers are changing – however the survey, which has already received hundreds of entries, will paint a clearer picture.

Cattle farmer and businesswoman Lucinda Corrigan, who has already completed the survey, is now encouraging other farmers to do the same.

“We already know agriculture is Australia’s most climate-exposed industry, but precise impacts vary between regions and sectors. For me, in southern NSW, we’re seeing increasing temperatures and our rainfall patterns significantly alter, and this makes short and long-term planning for our agribusiness more challenging,” she says.

“It’s critical that as many farmers as possible get involved in this conversation because the decisions made today and tomorrow will affect us long into the future. We want to make sure we can keep farming into not just the next season, but for generations to come.”

Farmers For Climate Action will use the survey results to inform their practices and areas of focus. Farmers who complete the five-minute survey will also go in the draw to win a solar system and battery storage worth $15,000.

The survey has already has 400 responses from farmers – help Farmers for Climate Action reach 1000 responses farmers can undertake the survey here. 

 

Finding your WHY is vital

Changemakers fascinate me. People who wake up everyday and want to change the world or at the very least their part of the world.

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I am particularly fascinated by young changemakers or as they call themselves ‘disruptors’. Young people who are being a revolutionary – spotting something that needs to change and not being afraid to turn things upside down in order to achieve it.

Yesterday I got an opportunity to sit in on a roundtable in Canberra consisting of some of Australia’s most engaged young changemakers in the sustainability space.

The exercise that they did  that blew my mind involved mapping their personal and professional development journey.

Identifying the moments in time.

The:

  • inspiration points
  • pivot points

Identifying the key people on the the journey.

The:

  • champions
  • mentors
  • critics/naysayers
  • connectors

These young people were all under 35. They all had a strong community spirit and involvement in community from a very young age. Many identified being inspired by a guest speaker at their school. They all viewed life as an opportunity to grab with both hands.   And they had all changed the world. The world was a better place because they were in it

One thing that resonated with me was the impact of the political landscape on many of these young people. Young changemakers choosing career pathways based on who was leading our country at the time. Too often it was lack of inspiration from the top of the political tree being the pivot point in their journey.

Yesterday was definitely one of the highlights of my life – thank you  #YoungAustralians committed to a #brighterfuture

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