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Manipulating Kids in Bulk Lots With ‘Sustainability’

https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2024/05/manipulating-kids-in-bulk-lots/

Tony Thomas

A gegeneration means building and nurturing community. In a time of extraction, domination and division, a regenerative deed is a revolutionary act— Damon Gameau’s Regeneration website

The Australian school system is beset by falling standardsunruly students and managerial inadequacies. Worse, schools are now being captured by a cult called “Regeneration”. It’s led by charismatic actor-producer Damon Gameau as a tousle-haired and stubbled messiah in jeans and T-shirt. Schoolkids exposed to his particular brand of eco hysteria now total well over 1 million.

Manipulating kids — Part Two

“As our current system continues to buckle and unravel, new leadership will be required,” says Gameau, who explains:

Leaders with values of regeneration that can hold space for others who succumb to fear, and leaders who can point people to inclusive and holistic solutions. Regenerators who can plant the seeds in their communities, in their workplaces, in their children’s minds, and in their conversations real and online, of the better world that awaits us beyond extraction, dominion over earth, and rapacious economic growth. We are all going to be called upon to be those leaders in the years and decades ahead.[1]

Gameau’s “revolutionary” cult in schools is encouraged and endorsed by leftist politicians, education bureaucrats, principals, teachers unions, green-left lobbies and philanthropists.

At May 23, Gameau was claiming for his Regeneration messaging

♦ 1,534,783 students engaged

♦ 49,422 Action Plans activated

♦ $3,758,961 raised for solutions

“Regeneration” is legitimised and fed to kids through the cross-curriculum priority of “Sustainability“. This was brought in via the “Melbourne Declaration” of Labor ministers in 2008 alongside priorities for Aboriginality and Asian relations. “Regeneration” genuflects to Aboriginal knowledges (65,000 years’ worth!), thus catching two of the three priorities. Explaining Regeneration, Gameau on his home page draws inspiration from an American cult, the Rainbow Warriors:

When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again.

He’s drawn that end-of-days quote from native American prophecy. As quoted by an Oglala-Lakota woman:

Warriors of the rainbow is a prophecy told by many cultures including Cree, Navajo, Hopi, Salish, Zuni and the Cherokee … But did you know Christians have found similarities by relating the prophecy of the Rainbow Warriors to the Second Coming of Christ.

Come to think of it, Gameau’s ersatz religiosity is fine for  teachers who would never dream of mentioning Christ to kids. His own call to “harmonise the system” includes,

Despite the benefits it has brought to huge numbers of people, our current economic system is also damaging huge numbers of people, and is rapidly destroying the living world: it is extractive and degenerative. This action area addresses the flawed architecture of the current system and the invisible metrics of our ‘progress’ that have taken us to the brink of an unimaginable crisis. This is a place for bold new ideas and holistic systems thinking.

Gameau’s tools are his emotion-packed films for the young and naïve, preaching about a paradisal green society by 2030 or 2040. But this achieving this nirvana requires from the audience immediate activism against fossil fuels, industrial agriculture, consumerism, travel, plus Australia’s style of delegated democracy and general way of life. As Gameau puts it,

So many of our human activities are degenerative and extractive. They have taken us to the brink of an unimaginable crisis. Regeneration is a pathway forward. It is meaningful and inclusive; it puts life and connection at the heart of every decision & action.

Gameau gained his movie cred and fan-base with That Sugar Film (2014), a justifiable attack on hidden sugars in processed foods. He fed himself 40 teaspoons of this hidden sugar daily for 60 days and filmed his own deterioration.

Then he came down with the climate-apocalypse bug and, in 2019, released a 92-minute feature film, 2040, whose premise is that a green Australia has arrived by 2040. Released in Germany as We Save the World! the film overlooks the real world truth that nothing green ever works, but in Gameau’s fantasy future, every green fad is a winner. Add inspirational music and dancing unicorns.[2] Kids imbibing the message would probably rush out to do a School Strike for Climate.

In 2022, Gameau did his futurism shtick all over again, with pseudo-documentary Regenerating Australia, produced in association with the World Wildlife Fund’s green lobbyists. The movie brought forward the same futuristic imaginings to 2030. It stars ex-ABC icon Kerry O’Brien, the Climate Council’s dud prophet Tim Flannery, wet independent Senator David Pocock, Aboriginal savants and so on. Gameau’s premise: “What would Australia look like in 2030 if we simply listened to the needs of its people?” His answer: like a green wet dream.

Next, he co-sponsored the 2023 movie called Rachel’s Farm (84 minutes) starring real-life farm couple, actors Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown. Rachel touts “regenerative” or labour-intensive non-chemical farming while blaming climate change on Australia’s thriving farm export sector.

Now Gameau has a new movie, Future Council, in the can for an August release. He took eight kids aged 11-16 on a yellow-bus tour of Europe to film them confronting and lecturing executives of major fossil-fuel corporations. With its funky style and rock-music soundtrack, this hip movie’s messaging will be irresistible to idealistic schoolkids, as though it’s rebellious rather than reinforcing the reach of eco-Marxists and Big Government.

Gameau’s powerful ally in getting at students is Cool Australia, lately re-christened Cool.org to signal its international reach. See also herehere, here, the third link involving Cool teaching kids how to sit down during the National Anthem. It was founded by Jason Kimberley of the Craig Kimberley rich-lister clan – think Just Jeans reaping $64m for Craig in 2001. Its budget is peanuts relative to its impact.[3] Cool’s partners include green lobby WWF, philanthropies, Reconciliation Australia, the Human Rights Commission, AFL (of course) and the uber-ridiculous Earth Hour. Here’s some data on the films’ reception:

2040

♦ 40-plus school lessons from Cool.org

♦ 1,402,410 schoolkids engaged

♦ 39,577 student “Action Plans” created[4]

♦ $1,758,961 raised for climate activism.

♦ Box office, Australia $US1,183,405; world: $US1,364,243 (via IMDB Pro).

Regenerating Australia

♦At least nine class lessons so far from Cool.org such as Watching the Film (three versions), Regenerating Democracy, & Regenerating Your Community [5]

♦ 37,373 schoolkids engaged

♦ 2607 Action Plans activated

♦ Box office and donations: $A 417,534

♦ $2m raised from WWF for purported solutions.

Rachel’s Farm

♦ Action Plans/Students engaged: N/A

♦ Box Office: $US127,723

♦ Funds raised: $A827,206

Here’s Cool’s self-compiled report card, covering all varieties of its school lessons since inception in 2009:

♦ Schoolkids engaged — 18 million (p4)

♦ Lessons downloaded — 2.4m plus

♦ Schools involved – 8990 or 92% of Australia’s total.

♦ Teachers involved – 225,700

♦ Year 2022 stats – 25,000 teachers involved, 306,000 lessons downloaded, 2 million kids engaged (p4).

♦ 2023 stats – not available but last May alone, 40,000 lessons were downloaded, coinciding with teachers saturating kids with Reconciliation Week baloney.

A Cool survey of teachers found 35 per cent were teaching outside their knowledge-area and 76 per cent felt their workload was unmanageable (p6). Hence each Cool lesson, created by its team of education experts, is tidily mapped to the official curricula and packaged with worksheets for teacher and kids. This gives out-of-their-depth teachers a box-ticking excuse and incentive to download and use the prefabricated lesson.

I counted 43 different Cool lessons alone about Gameau’s 2040, including

Watching the Film; 2040 Vision for Your Community; Exploring the Themes of 2040; Fact Based Dreams for the Future [yeah right]; Tuning Into the Documentary (Primary); Taking Action for Year 2040; The Tone of Climate Change; The Seaweed Solution; Finding Out About 2040; Shaping a Sustainable Future; and you-name-it. There was no political balancing such as “Assess 2040 as climate propaganda.”

If you thought teachers were under time pressure, think again. Single lessons about Gameau’s brainsnaps can involve 2 hours 20 minutes –  a full morning of school. And that’s without even a 92 minute screening of 2040.

Cool gives teachers a Lesson Plan for 13-14yos doing English studies, “2040: The tone of climate change.” The Teacher Content download includes, 

The 2040 documentary and curriculum package will support your students in turning this [climate solution] knowledge into positive action for a better future…The film is the entry point to a global impact campaign that seeks to mobilise audiences to learn about, contribute to, advocate for and invest in regenerative solutions that improve the wellbeing of the planet, all people and all living systems. To join the Regeneration and share your vision for 2040, see the website.

Cool includes clips from 2040 and emissions hypocrite Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. Teachers give kids the message from Gore’s flick that “There will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro.” Teachers prompt kids, “This made me feel/think that the negative effects of climate change are certain and inescapable.”

Gore’s 2008 Kilimanjaro no-snow prediction in fact is another of his duds — from 2007-2024 days with significant Kilimanjaro snowfall have increased significantly.

Cool tells teachers to wind up kids to spread emotive messages to the school community such as,

(Angry) – Adults are ruining the world that we have to grow up in. Act Now!

Cool hypes Gameau’s doco as Regenerating Australia -Regenerating Democracy.   As its “Teacher Content” sheet (sign-in needed) puts it,

The film brings to life the greener, more vibrant cities and communities that the interviewees are asking for. We see what a high-speed rail network connecting regional areas and cities would look like [it’s actually a dead duck], what large scale wind, solar, battery and hydrogen projects would do for hundreds of thousands of employees, and show the impacts of landscapes coming to life when regenerative agriculture and reforestation programs combine with Indigenous knowledge and fire ecology to bring more people back onto the land.

This ‘mocked up’ look back at this critical decade is full of hope and aspiration, mapping out a pathway for change that can lead us to a more sustainable future. But it is a muscular hope, as each news event is grounded in the research and modelling of several organisations [like which? Extinction Rebellion?] that have been examining and advocating for such a transition.

The “solutions” pushed here at kids include “Valuing, amplifying and adhering to First Nations knowledge”, “Localized food systems” (Mrs Thomas grows tomatoes but possums and mynahs get to them first) and ” Community-led clean energy projects” (rather than communities now pushing back against windmills and transmission grids towering to their horizon).

Cool’s students’ lesson sheet on the film says

♦ After watching the ‘Reinvigorating Democracy’ section of “Regenerating Australia”,

complete the SEE/THINK/WONDER visible thinking routine

♦ What did you see in the film that you would like to see actually happen in Australia’s democratic system? Why?

♦ What do you want to say to your local MP? Is there something that really means something to you that you want them to care about? [Hint: climate]. You could take inspiration from “Regenerating Australia”, and implore your local MP to move beyond sustainability to a regenerative approach so as to reverse environmental degradation and make a positive impact on people and the planet. What could your local MP do to support regenerative development?

Another Cool lesson on Regenerating Australia involves

Year 9 and 10

Regenerating Australia: Watching the film

1hr 30mins [plus 17-minute film]

Overview

In this lesson, students will build an understanding of the concept of ‘regeneration’ and its benefits for our communities and ecosystems. They will complete a 3-2-1- Bridge Visible Thinking Routine and review a set of key terms related to the topic before watching “Regenerating Australia.” Students will be invited to evaluate the content and develop questions about the film’s content. The class with re-watch snippets of the film to extend their understanding, then work collaboratively to dive deeper into the topic of regeneration in a jigsaw-classroom activity. 

Learning intentions:
Students will understand the concept of ‘regeneration’ and understand that regeneration is something that we can do for our communities and ecosystems.

Success criteria:
Students can explain what the concept of ‘regeneration’ means in their own words, and describe an example of regeneration.

The Lesson Plan for teachers says

Emphasise that while the film is not ‘real’, the problems and people featured in it are real and the solutions identified could be reality!… Watch the film through without interruption at least once. Once the film has played through, ask students to revisit the key terms and note down anything from the film that helped them understand them better – did they see any examples?… Return to the film to watch specific parts of “Regenerating Australia” again, either as a class, in smaller groups or individually…

Time permitting, you may choose to invite the class to form a discussion circle for this part of the lesson: you and your students sit in a circle and participate in a student-led conversation that explores ideas, questions, experiences and opinions….Students practise listening to one another, making meaning, and finding common ground while participating in a rich conversation [This eliminates any scepticism about the Soviet-style group-think of the class]…

Nominate a different action area for each group member: • Harmonise the system • Rethink energy • Heal habitats • Purify air and water • Revive soils • Wild our towns and cities • Move lightly • Consume with consideration • Regenerate self and our communities • Share new stories…

Personally, I’d add, “Wash and iron your own duds, Mum’s busy”. Cool’s advice continues,

Would this example of regeneration benefit the community you live in? How? What else does this example of regeneration prompt you to think about?… Reassure students that you are supporting their learning and understanding rather than checking up on them!

On May 1 Gameau launched what he calls “The Regen Learning Hub”, 107 free Regeneration resources for students and teachers. Many of the lessons appear to be joint with Cool.org. His “Take Action” section called Rethink Energy reads:

Most energy companies also go unnoticed until there is a problem or a black-out and then they attract enormous criticism. As a result, they have become very risk-averse at a time when rapid change is required. The past cannot see the future but the future is cheaper, more efficient energy and owned by the people

Has anyone noticed cheaper power bills as renewables arrive?

The new energy architecture is lean, clean, and green: it harnesses the wind and the sun, it is smart and efficient and it electrifies everything. It shifts power from the few and the centralised, to the citizens and their communities. It cleans our skies, it quietens our cities and it powers us through the climate disruptions that lie ahead. This action area is for those people who are lit up by the largest energy transition in history.

A Gameau “Fact Sheet”  includes homilies for kids like

Over many generations, human activities have severely contributed to the degradation of the environment. This prolonged pattern of carelessness is degenerating life on earth, creating loss, suffering, and contributing to global warming. Every person, animal and plant on the planet is affected by its degeneration.

He blames this degeneration on a pack of causes including cars, buildings, oil, corruption, coal, industrial agriculture, over-consumption and fracking.

The required change in our approach can begin in our schools and in our families – and every living creature on the planet [including tarantulas?] can experience the positive effects of regeneration!…This is an understanding held by many Indigenous peoples around the world. The idea of custodianship of the land, seeing animals and plants as fellow brothers and sisters is very different to our modern world view of domination and extraction of nature. A cultural evolution that reconnects us to the living world is an important part of the regeneration and must be done to reverse the multiple ecological crises we face… The future of our planet and its inhabitants is now dependent on us to act and make a difference.

Not a deep thinker, Gameau didn’t dream his Regeneration stuff up out of nowhere. Since our Education Departments are now fine with it, let’s explore the cult’s origins.

Its prime source is the 2009 paper and 2015 update by the late Will Steffen and Johan Rockstrom et al  purporting to set out nine planetary boundaries and how they’re being breached. These boundaries have become “tipping points” always about to be triggered in the next five minutes. Steffen was for decades top doom crier to Australian governments, even in 2011 warning of the extinction of homo sapiens, which would be a shame.[6] Rockstrom heads the dark green Potsdam Institute, providing the theoretical underpinning for the Greens’ successful sabotage of the German nuclear and fossil-fuel grid. This sabotage has now led to sky-high electricity costs and key German manufacturers spilling out of the country.

The purported nine boundaries were taken up and pictorialized in 2017 by Oxford University’s Kate Raworth (still not a PhD), and in turn taken up by Gameau. Raworth touts what she calls “Doughnut Economics” and its abandonment of GDP-based economic management in favour of a no-growth society, anti-consumerism and feeling good. Raworth sees the unprecedented 21st Century task of her followers as bringing all of humanity into the “safe and just space” symbolised by her Doughnut edges.

Unsurprisingly her career path included leftist Oxfam, the Chinese satrap World Health Organisation and into the UN to work on its ranking of nations not by their GDP but by their citizens’ supposed quality of life (she could  teach our Federal Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy a thing or two). Raworth views Donella Meadows, one of the authors of the 1972 Limits to Growth manifesto, as a “visionary systems thinker” notwithstanding that the Limits’ scary forecasts all fell in a ridiculous heap.

In what Raworth calls the (imaginary) Anthropocene she uses trains and buses and doesn’t fly, though she made a spectacular exception in 2021 for a family trip to Australia.

For homework I checked her 2017 tract Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist. Her tract is beloved by the eco-Marxists and Greens, although she’s to the left of them. She suggests (p56):

What if every company strategised around a Doughnut table, asking itself: is our brand a Doughnut brand, whose core business helps to bring humanity into that safe and just space? Imagine if the G20 finance ministers – representing the world’s most powerful economies – met around a Doughnut- shaped conference table to discuss how to design a global financial system that served to bring humanity into that sweet spot. These would be world- changing conversations.

I was startled to find the Oxford scholar in her very first chapter (p31) giving Australia’s former Prime Minister Tony Abbott a spray for wanting to increase Australia’s GDP growth above 2 per cent. However, she soon segues to praise of China’s care for the environment:

In Yunnan Province, China, research scientists have made a Doughnut analysis of the social and ecological impacts of industry and farming around Lake Erhai, the region’s key source of water.

China’s conservation measures do appear to be succeeding for Lake Erhai, but this is atypical. On that same page Raworth adds,

And in Kokstad, South Africa – the fastest-growing town in KwaZulu Natal – the local municipality has teamed up with urban planners and community groups in using the Doughnut to envision a sustainable and equitable future for the town.

In the half-decade from 2017, the Doughnut’s “sustainable and equitable future” for Kokstad (pop 81,000) hasn’t worked out ideally, e.g.

Crime escalates in Kokstad, KZN

Incidents of housebreaking where in some cases criminals knock at the doors of civilians at night pretending to be police have become the town’s daily bread. The criminal incidents are said to be not only life threatening where some civilians have been shot dead at their homes, but it has also affected the town’s electricity infrastructure resulting in constant power cuts. Theft of electricity cables and copper pipes are happening on a daily basis … Murder cases where people get shot randomly in the streets or attacked in their houses have frightened the community and is affecting the local economy as businesses are looted daily and have to close early…

Robbers fend off police in shootouts. The streets smell of urine. Passers-by toss drugs to friends in cells behind the police station, which is surrounded by dirt and filth.

Dutch progressives in Gaasperdam, like Kokstaders and Gameau, love her Doughnut. One Guardian journo visited the foyer of a community centre, where a table had been laid with doughnut-shaped cakes baked in a vibrant shade of green. In the hall a piece of rope was arranged in the shape of a doughnut on the floor. The circle, the [biogas] flame and the rope gave a ceremonial, almost pagan impression, he reported. The purpose was unclear, “but everyone in the room seemed energised and hopeful.”

Tomorrow: Gameau’s films: origins, errors and synopses.

Tony Thomas’s latest book from Connor Court is Anthem of the Unwoke – Yep! The other lot’s gone bonkers. $34.95 from Connor Court here

 

[1] Email 20/12/22

[2] Among its awards: Jury Prize 2021, International Vegan Film Festival

[3] In 2023 year, revenue of $2.7m with $1.6m spent on wages for 18 fte staff.

[4] I used a quiz function on Gameau’s site to acquire an Action Plan in my persona as an ignorant student. I prioritised “Re-designing the architecture of our energy grids so they can incorporate both large and small-scale clean energy projects.” The site came up with agitprop, “Coal seam gas mining is a chief culprit in the eradication of natural aquifers which contain ground water.”

[5]  Cool.org: Regenerating Democracy – 2hrs20mins

“Have you ever wondered what it might take to rejuvenate Australia’s democracy and get you adults involved throughout the process? In this lesson, students watch a section of ‘Regenerating Australia’ that explores a rejuvenated and transparent democracy system and begin to unravel truths.”

[6] Will Steffen, et al., “The Anthropocene: Conceptual and Historical Perspectives,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 369, no. 1938 (2011): 842–867. Page 862.

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