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What the planet needs from men 

Brisbane Times, by Elizabeth Farrelly, 15 Feb 19…………women aren’t the only victims. Nature too bears the brunt. The world is being shoved off a cliff not by masculinity’s strength but by its terrifying fragility.Fragile masculinity is fear pressurised into rage; fear of losing control – of liberated femininity, of mysterious nature, of a world bucking its traces, of chaos. The anger is a desperate attempt to reinstate that control, illusory as it may always have been.

We [in Australia] have just endured a series of 40-plus days across much of the country, last month was the hottest on record. We joke. Thirty-six is the new normal, haha. I gaze with cold-envy at Antarctica, minus 29. But see this for what it is. This is the will-to-dominance: fragile masculinity in action.

Tasmania incineratesRiver systems shrink to nothingFish die in their millions. In Queensland up to half a million head of cattle lie rotting in the mud. In the Northern Territory, the soil itself has begun to ignite and thermometers melt in bare ground. On Tuesday, ploughing-induced dust storms obscured Parliament House. Globally, we’re witnessing catastrophic insect extinction, the start of the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history. The evidence is insurmountable.

Yet we continue to beat nature into submission, as if striving to make the world hotter and weather events more extreme. Other countries reduce emissions. Germany pledges to close its remaining coal-fired power plants in 30 years. Australia could match that. Both UNSW and the CSIRO with Energy Networks Australia argue that renewables could easily supply most or all of our future energy needs. Instead, we become the developed world’s only deforestation hotspot, expected to clear-fell a further 3 million hectares in 15 years.

The Darling Basin Royal Commission finds “gross maladministration” and “negligence” in our governments’ wilful ignorance of climate change. Even the courts, bless them, have started to disallow coal mines for their climate impact. Yet the government response is, well, nothing, actually. Minister Littleproud mentions “learnings” from the Darling but still our noble leaders favour irrigators, build motorways, approve new mines, deny climate science and ease the path to public subsidies for one the biggest coal mines on earth as though it’s all fine.

It’s not fine. This is domestic violence. This planet is our home and they thrash around in it yelling, intimidating, wrecking the joint. Like violent husbands they get all remorseful and beg forgiveness only to do it all again. Why? Because we’ve always thrashed nature, and nature has always coped. As a bloke once said to me: “You don’t want me to shout and get possessive? But I’ve always treated women like this.”

Stoically, the planet has housed and nourished us, tolerated us. But it can’t last. A dominance relationship is never sustainable, human-to-human or human-to-nature. Winning? To win this battle is to lose. The era of collaboration is here………….

It’s when people “stitch their self-worth to being all-powerful” that things go bad. An equal-status relationship – with a partner or with nature – requires listening, empathy, the antidote to shame.

We talk as though “traditional masculinity” were the enemy, as though we want men to evolve into something more like women. But that’s wrong.

What we need is not faux-women but nobler, more confident men. The man-heroes of the future, if we’re to have one, won’t be the brutes and sociopaths. They won’t be the cruel and the thoughtless, the boat-stoppers and coal-brandishers. They’ll be those who hold power but refuse to exploit it, renowned as much for their kindness as their exploits. Literally, gentlemen.

Male anger is leading us over a cliff. If men can find the strength to be truly vulnerable, they deserve to lead. If not, if they persist in this fragile rage, it’ll be up to Rosie the Riveter to save the day. Why? Because there is no spare room to sleep in. https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/what-the-planet-needs-from-men-20190214-p50xrq.html

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February 16, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, culture and arts

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