in your face anthology

Hooray! Steph is in the Fablecroft In Your Face Anthology, which will launch at either Contact or Continuum 2016.

The stories we have already accepted are challenging and/or confronting but with a firm purpose – they are pieces that will perhaps make readers uncomfortable because they are a bit too hard-hitting or close to the bone, but which interrogate these themes and ideas, and make a point about the world we live in. It won’t be an easy book to read, but it is a powerful one.

inyourfaceIn Your Face is currently running a pozible campaign for extending the number of authors in the antho. You should contribute! To help convince you that this antho will be excellent, Steph is going to challenge you so hard with her story. YES GOOD.

In climate change adaptation (MAH INDUSTRY) we talk a lot about individual action, but both research and anecdotal experience shows that this is a pretty flawed approach. Real climate change adaptation (and, once upon a time, when it still might have changed the outcome, climate change mitigation) comes from mass activities. In Australia, this should mean government and industry. But it doesn’t. What it means is an emphasis on making little changes.

There’s a Water Corp WA advertisement this summer that talks about 2 minutes less watering of your garden every day, because your garden takes 40% of your household water. Never mind the water used by the bottled water industry, which you might be drinking, or the water used to generate coal power in WA. It’s about gardens that have been subject to water restrictions on and off my whole life, while we drive everywhere and contribute so much of the world’s emissions.

It’s polite to talk about individual action. It’s polite to make small changes and sleep guiltless. It’s promoted as enough to look after oneself and – something else will happen. 

In Australia, and all over the Western world, individual action is considered enough, and it permeates all aspects of our lives. If we don’t have enough water this summer, well, I did my best. You can’t blame me for trying.

I’m from a community and a cultural background stereotyped for its community support elements. I don’t want to rely too much on sweeping cultural statements, but it’s made a difference to my life – I know, deep down in my hati, that I have a moral obligation to support everyone, especially those who haven’t been as lucky or as privileged as I. I choose to do that in my professional life by building capacity for climate change adaptation. I build that capacity on an individual level but I do it through community and government mechanisms, and one of my main techniques is through building and supporting community connections.

But I work in an industry that focuses on individual action, ignoring that government, and industry, have such a big impact.

I wanted to use my story to look at something that I consider one of our most effective barriers to climate change adaptation, and something that has always confused me growing up in Australia: the ways in which we in Australia prioritise the individual over the collective.

I’m really excited to be involved in the In Your Face anthology. One of the ways we grow is by challenging ourselves, and I hope my story challenges you. I can come and yell at you, too, if that’ll help.

There will be reading notes for my story (haha), but for now, some things to think about/yell about:

  • The racial nature of climate change responses (eg Kiribati vs Australia)
  • The gendered nature of climate change adaptation (in communities that manually collect water, it’s women who collect water; in communities like Australia that focus on individual action at home, it’s often women who take up that extra work)
  • How will your local community adapt to climate change? Do you even know?

You are welcome to come and fight with me. I’m hoping Tehani gives us all permission to get into fisticuffs over this anthology.

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2 thoughts on “in your face anthology

  1. I do understand where you’re coming from with regards to collective responses to climate change rather than individual. The thing about collective action, though, is that it’s very powerful, very effective, and very much what the people in charge don’t want to be using because it is so powerful and effective. Like, if we get the idea that working together to achieve a collective end actually works, we’ll go back to wanting to work collectively to achieve things like social justice. Thus undoing a lot of hard individual work (magnified by things like money, privilege and power) for people at the top of our society and potentially changing the game for them entirely. It’s very much in the interests of the upper classes to convince all the rest of us that individual effort is the way to go. After all, it works for them (mostly, of course, because they have some very effective levers in the form of privilege, money, and power; plus they’re standing in the right metaphorical places) so if it doesn’t work for people who don’t have their advantages, well, that’s our problem, not theirs.

    1. I don’t like blanket global conspiracy theories about “the people in charge” because it undermines the excellent and legitimate work the governments of places like Kiribati and Tuvalu are doing to build capacity and provide for their communities in the face of climate change. Hence the reading notes around the racial component of climate change responses.

      The impacts of climate change are definitely emphasised and highlighted by lower socio-economic classes/poverty, which is what I said in my post. So yay that you agree?

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