Friday, 24 March 2017

Reflections and feedback - update

Last year I wrote a post following my trip to Wimmera PCP, to present on the project and seek feedback. I found that visit quite thought provoking and it has contributed to the way I'm approaching the thesis, particularly in bringing together a lot of ideas around historical and socioecological themes of relationship to the land, or country, and ecosystem.

I said at the time that I would try to do similar posts on my sessions in the inner south east and with Southern Grampians and Glenelg PCP, so will try to do that here as I am now writing up that stage of the research, and it will help to clarify my thoughts, as well as do what I said I'd do.

Those two visits are much more distant in time now of course, and in different ways they were more challenging. By the time I made the Wimmera visit, the third and final visit, I think I was more organised and clearer about what I was doing, which of course in itself probably meant that the visit seemed more enjoyable and less challenging. However that doesn't of course mean the other visits were less valuable to the research, and in the discussion below I will try to tease out what I learnt from both of them in a broad sense as well as the specific feedback that participants gave. To be continued ...

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

What is money?

I don't think people really understand money, or a lot of them don't. They think it is both a true measure of value and that it has some intrinsic worth (both things can't be true, which is the first problem. A measure of value isn't value in itself)

But the more important thing is that money is a medium of exchange. It is not a true measure of value, and it does not have intrinsic value (it used to have intrinsic value when it was gold and silver, which are - no matter how rational or irrational the reasons - prized in their own right. But it isn't gold and silver any more).

So let's imagine you and I are farmers. We both grow enough fruit and vegetables to live on (we're vegetarian farmers! Yay!) and we grow other plants for fuel, clothes, medicine, etc - plus we have mud, rocks and stones for building and so on. But gradually, my apples flourish, while your potatoes have bumper crops. So we start trading, four apples for five potatoes (seems fair - apples are yummy, but potatoes need cooking)

But one day, I have to be away when you come to trade. So I write you a note, saying I'll give you the apples when I get back, so please just leave the potatoes and come over later so I can give you the apples.

So it goes on for a while, but gradually it gets more complicated - people start trading promises. So they decide they don't actually want apples right now, but they know the farmer across the hill does, and she actually has carrots, which they want. So rather than swapping the potatoes for the apples, and then going over the hill to swap the apples for carrots, they start using the notes instead. That's money. (Of course that's not the whole story because I left out all the gold and silver stuff, but it's the short version)

But all this time, they've still been eating most of the stuff they grew, and using the other stuff, and so on. It wasn't any less valuable just because they didn't pay money for it. So how did we end up in the situation where people believe that money is the measure of value and also has intrinsic value?

Well, long story, but - women tended to stay closer to home and do the local subsistence (and some small trading stuff), men tended to go out and do the big trading stuff. Also slaves stayed home, similarly. So we ended up believing that only the big trading stuff mattered, because patriarchy.


I'll publish this and then look at it again later and see if it still makes sense. It was inspired immediately by comments on the Guardian article today by Greg Jericho on 'stay at home' mothers and the OECD, and longer term by the ideas I've been working on in my thesis.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Haven't really abandoned this blog!

I haven't really abandoned this blog, it just looks like it!

I had a lot of partly finished posts set to go over the Christmas - New Year break, but got distracted and didn't finish them. Now I am back and writing up my thesis, there does not seem to be much to say. However I have just posted most of the posts that were sitting there, not as finished as I would like, but just to keep the blog alive until I gather some more steam to update it properly.

the EcoHealth Conference 2016 - some links and statements

Conferences 3
EcoHealth and OneHealth

Link for conference

Link for abstracts

Link for aspirational statement

Wording of aspirational statement
OHEH 2016
Communities of inquiry and practice towards a healthy future

Prepared by Emerging Scholars and Practitioners on the behalf of the multiple communities of inquiry and practice working at the converging intersection of human, animal, environmental and planetary health

The OHEH 2016 Aspirational Statement sets out the aspirations of Emerging Scholars and Practitioners located within communities of inquiry and practice working at the intersection of human, animal, environmental and planetary health. It is towards a collective community capable of imagining and manifesting a radically sustainable future to which we aspire. The aspirations outlined here represent the values and principles we feel are needed to orientate our efforts as a collective community towards this task. At the heart of this document is a firm belief that out of diversity come strength and resilience, and that a collective community drawn from diversity is stronger and more effective than the sum of its individual parts.

Why now?
In recent years new fields of inquiry have emerged recognising the complex connections that exist between human, animal, environmental and planetary health. Fields such as Ecohealth, OneHealth, Planetary Health, Ecological Public Health, Future Health, Environmental Health Justice, Environmental and Occupational Health, Human Ecology, Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development, amongst multiple others, are representative of the growing ecology-health nexus. The expansion of these fields speaks to a growing recognition of the complex interdependencies that exist between the social, physical and planetary dimensions of heath, giving rise to a convergence of ecologically informed health-related research and practice. We understand that such ways of conceptualising health are rooted in ancient and diverse ways of knowing. This is outlined in key United Nations documents such the Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

That such a convergence is occurring now is, perhaps, to be expected. Environmental science indicates that we will be the first generation of human beings to knowingly step into a new geological era. Receding before us is the Holocene – an 11,000 thousand-year-old period of extraordinary environmental stability that gave rise to societies of increasing social complexity. Looming in front of us is the Anthropocene – the era of humankind. The Anthropocene metaphor comes at a time when human influence upon the Earth rivals natural processes in shaping the evolutionary trajectory of all life. We recognise that our collective actions have fundamentally disrupted the biophysical processes that underpin ecological stability, pushing earth systems beyond a safe operating space for humanity and into an uncertain and largely unknowable future.
This ‘field convergence’ will present opportunities and challenges for scholarly and practice-based communities alike. In response, the purpose of this Aspirational Statement is to chart a direction for our respective fields and communities of practice in the context of field convergence, based on our shared goals, values and aspirations. The aim is not to deliver a ‘roadmap’ with a specific destination; but rather to articulate a broad set of principles to help us to work to create a more equitable, positive, healthy and sustainable future.

This Aspirational Statement is about ‘transformational change.’ Current ways of doing health research and practice need to evolve if we are to address the major human-environmental health issues confronting us in the Anthropocene era. In order to disrupt existing paradigms that have produced many of the challenges associated with the Anthropocene, we believe that we must occupy new and uncomfortable spaces, and commit to bridging disciplinary and practice-based divides to innovate and activate a global consciousness for collective action. Moreover, we hope this Aspirational Statement will inspire a new generation of scholars to take up the complex challenges before them, while encouraging our Elders to provide the mentorship that is supportive of the aspirations outlined in this document. We believe the following principles and values are fundamental to these change efforts.

Who for?
This document is for anyone interested in and inspired by connections between animal, human, environmental and planetary health.

Our Process
A group of emerging scholars and practitioners was motivated by their Elders to develop an aspirational statement speaking to the increasing convergence of actors, institutions and disciplines converging on issues of human, animal, environmental and planetary health. Prior and throughout the OHEH 2016 Congress an invitation was extended to delegates to articulate what they aspire to achieve in their work, which was subsequently shared with global communities operating in this space. This is a living document to be revisited as our collective communities continue to evolve.

Aspiration 1: Negotiating Shared Identity
We aspire to be a collective community that is courageous and passionate. As individuals and communities respectful of our diverse identities, we recognise that we are connected to each other and to the places that nourish us. From this understanding we aspire to connect across our differences. By listening and hearing from people, places and living systems fundamental to our collective wellbeing, we will continue to negotiate a shared sense of identity.

Aspiration 2: Leveraging Shared Values
We aspire to foster and act upon our shared values that include equity (intergenerational, intra-generational and inter-species), diversity, openness, responsibility, accountability and respect for the people, places and processes that sustain life. Our values drive our actions, shape our ways of knowing, and inform who we are.

Aspiration 3: Strengthening Collaboration
We aspire to address wicked social-ecological problems through collaboration. We want to create opportunities to collaborate and to reach out to others who share our aspirations. We want to facilitate understanding across cultural and community divides, and to cultivate a common language from which we may work together. We are interested in creative ways to achieve transformational change, drawing on science, technology, the arts and diverse ways of knowing/being. We recognise that power naturally arises in our collaborative work and commit to acknowledging and naming that power.

Aspiration 4: Integrating Knowledges
We aspire to embrace the complexity of our world while recognising that our knowledge is only ever partial and open to interpretation. We recognise multiple legitimate ways of knowing and we aspire to harness their creative and transformative potential. Our knowledge is informed by our lived experiences tied to the places in which we live, play and love, as much as it is by globalised ways of knowing.

My poster from the Ecohealth conference, December 2016

My poster at the EcoHealth Conference, December 2016

This is as big a picture as I can make it. If you click on the picture it will enlarge.
I've included the abstract I submitted below.


Abstract as submitted:
The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion in 1986 mentioned “a stable eco-system” as one of eight prerequisites for health. By the early 1990s, however, critics were already suggesting that health promotion was not addressing environmental issues. In the 2000s, Australian public health researchers, such as Hancock, called for ecological approaches to health, recognising that we are part of an ecosystem. Others, such as Townsend and Maller, began to investigate the benefits of ‘contact with nature’ for health. Some Australian researchers, such as Patrick and Kingsley, have recently begun to take an ‘ecohealth’ approach to health promotion. In my current research I have been looking at factors that help or challenge health promoters in Victoria in promoting both environmental sustainability and health equity. My findings show that gender is important, but it remains largely invisible and under-researched in health promotion and ecohealth. Ecofeminist theory can help to explain this, and also explain why the economist paradigm that privileges competition and use value of natural resources is politically dominant in nations such as Australia. My presentation will explain why it is important and valuable for ecohealth to recognise the significance of gender and the historical legacy of patriarchy.