Report on Canberra SCM discussions – Reducing our environmental impact and Gender inequality

SCM Canberra continues to meet monthly via Zoom, with a focus on social justice and activism. Our recent discussion topics have included Reducing Our Personal Environmental Impact, and Gender Inequality - summarised below. Our Zoom meetings are open to all and feature lively discussion with SCMers from around the world. Please get in touch via act@ascm.org.au if you'd like to join future meetings!

Reducing Our Environmental Impact

The focus of the meeting was discussing ways we can take action at the individual level, as well as broader, mass action, like lobbying governments, the private sector and organisations to change their practices. Among others, these individual actions included:

  1. Compost

  2. Use wax wraps instead of plastic to cover food

  3. Use rechargeable batteries if possible

  4. Use LED light bulbs

  5. Turn devices off if not using them

  6. Turn lights off if not using them

  7. Re-use water from the shower for washing machine or watering plants etc. For ideas, see this blog from ASCM senior friend Clare Nerida: smallstepsforsustainability.blogspot.com

  8. Time yourself using the shower and set an alarm, if water is an issue in your context

  9. If in a financial position to do so, check with your electricity provider to see if they have a green subsidy payment option

  10. Purchase devices that rank well environmentally and are energy efficient (research using Google)

  11. Buy recycled paper and recycled toilet paper if relevant

  12. Choose to receive mail electronically rather than paper copies

  13. Buy organic and/or locally produced products - not just food, but soap, shampoo, detergent etc.

  14. Check superannuation (in Indonesia BPJS) and investments to make sure they are not in fossil fuels

  15. Use public transport or cycle/walk where possible

  16. Consider purchasing an electric car if driving and if this is affordable for you

  17. Re-use plastic items - for example, turn plastic bottles into flower pots

  18. Purchase takeaway food and drinks using your own cup, plate etc instead of plastic

  19. Eat less meat/dairy (this is probably more relevant for Australians, as we are high consumers of meat and dairy)

  20. Use second-hand clothes

  21. Use second-hand/recycled furniture;

  22. Where possible, hold meetings online instead of using forms of transport that use fossil fuels. Where we do need to meet in-person, consider paying a carbon offset to promote investment in renewable energy

  23. When purchasing or renting a house, check its energy rating (relevant for Australia)

  24. Consider researching and investing in geoengineering solutions to global warming

Canberra SCM senior friend Robbie Tulip (who was unable to join the meeting) is one person working in the field of geoengineering; in 2015 he won a prize in the MIT Climate Colab Competition on Energy-Water Nexus (https://rtulip.net/about).

As mentioned at the end of the meeting, the ideas generated here and discussion will be used to develop an environmental policy for the Australian Student Christian Movement. For those of you involved in ASCM, stay tuned!

Gender Inequality

Our Zoom session on gender inequality, led by ACT staff workers Yixin Gong and Silves Ximenes, was a great discussion with suggestions and we are now positioned to move forward! On the note of moving forward, everyone seemed to agree that religion is not the problem because religion just follows tradition. Some countries use religious texts as a basis for laws, whereas in religion gender equality is still debated between adherents of the religion. We seemed to agree that the problem is people. Accessing education for women sometimes conflicts with some cultures or traditions. Some countries with very strong traditions still have difficulty accepting gender equality, and modern concepts from the west are feared because of the history of colonialism. Although we have a tendency to think that western countries have better female representation in government, we should remember that some south Asian and south-east Asian countries have had more women leaders than in many western countries.

Actually, western countries changed after the ’60s because of new technology. The second problem is new technology is still difficult to access in developing countries, such as washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, electric breast pumps, child care and things that make families' lives easier.

A lot of organisations only focus on brainstorming in developing countries without thinking that gender inequality comes from economic circumstances.

There is a lot of cases of child marriage around the world. Mostly the reason is economic insecurity. Even in Australia, we have child marriage but mostly among some migrant communities.

Why don’t we start from our personal lives, in our job and our families, so that in the future, our children won't need to worry if they are women?