You have to believe that what you do matters

Greetings friends. I hope you had a summer or winter break wherever you are. I’m back early this year because Australia, where I live, has hit the world media for all the wrong reasons.

You might have seen the horrifying footage from the South Coast. My  oldest friend, who was holidaying there, sent me this photo, which is one of hundreds I have seen, but knowing her husband took it, makes it extra terrifying:

My friend spent the night on the beach before taking part in the biggest land evacuation event in Australia’s history. I’d spent days without news from her, worried she was caught up in the chaos: a feeling many people have experienced this summer. My team mate and friend, Victoria Firth-Smith spent a sleepless night worried about her father, a famous artist. He resisted calls to evacuate his property, which I can understand because it contains a life time of art work and memories. By the time he left, it was clear it was going to be difficult to get to safety and V was fretting. The feeling of helplessness when people you love are in distress is horrible. All I could do was send reassuring text messages – while scanning social media and watching TV.

Yes, watching TV. I’ve done a lot of it because it’s hard to focus enough to read a book or write – things I would normally do on a break at home. Living through what my friend Katie calls a ‘slow moving disaster’ has been surreal; it’s like the end of the world, but with all the creature comforts, like Netflix and pizza deliveries. Well, not all of them perhaps. The post has been cut off and may still be for weeks. Some vital supplies, like bottled water, are under stress as Canberra expands to accommodate displaced people. Museums, galleries, swimming pools and shops – which normally offer respite and distraction from the heat – are closed. The smoke overwhelms and confuses building detectors, so they constantly go off, making ordinary life – and sleep – difficult in a most mundane way.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), where I live, is several hundred kilometres away from most of the action. As I write, there are no active fires across the border, but I just heard they are 3km away. My friend in the south has just had her power cut off. Who knows what is next? One thing Australians have learned is that nothing about this is ‘normal’. I fully expect the national parks to our south to go up. This area has not burned for 16 years and surrounds our water supply. Power is already being affected. By the time you read this, some of the creature comforts I mentioned might not be there anymore.

While there has been no fire here – yet – Canberra has been affected by the most appalling air pollution for a month now. We have gone from being a glorious jewel of a capital city to the most polluted capital city on earth. The visuals are terrible. Here’s my family at a climate change protest on the lawn in front of Parliament house in May last year (me and Mr Thesis Whisperer in the front, Thesis Whisperer Jnr behind, holding a sign). Look at that beautiful blue sky:

I haven’t seen that sky, which I love, for a month now.

(I keep party politics out of this blog, but anyone who has read it long enough has probably worked out where I stand. Please, no Greens baiting/trolling in the comments. I will just delete them. Blaming the Greens for this mess, which some people do, is just silly).

A couple of weeks ago, the lawns in front of parliament house looked like this:

 

Living with +200 air quality index is horrendous – and a pretty scary glimpse of the future (and, it has to be said, an insight into the daily struggles of people in places like New Delhi). To avoid the smoke, I’ve spent a lot of time indoors, doing the usual Christmassy things: cooking, eating, drinking, hosting visitors and ranting about our Prime Minister’s shameful inaction on climate change on social media. In fact, I wrote him a letter last month, which no doubt he was too busy to read, being in Hawaii and all:

 

Canberra had devastating bushfires in 2003 and clearly learned from the experience. Disaster management is pretty good here, especially when you compare it to other places in Australia.  We have a Green/Labor coalition who agree on the need for action and preparation for climate change – and it makes a big difference. One of the things they did was have fire volunteers doing community outreach at the supermarkets early in December. We had a long talk with one of them, who briefed us and gave us fire plan material. This collateral sat on our kitchen bench until New Years day, when I started to panic. No power is an inconvenience, but how would we cope with no water? We finally went to the hardware store to find that other Canberrans were way ahead of us on getting containers (luckily we got enough to tide us over for a few days if the worst happens):

 

I live in a beautiful area of Canberra, which means I am ‘bush adjacent’. Actually, I am in an ‘urban fire zone’, which I have never given much thought to if I am honest. But, after watching reports of places ‘never seen fire’ going up in smoke, I realised I was dangerously complacent. We finally started getting properly prepared, which included packing  ‘go bags’.

I can see why they ask you to do preparations to leave when it’s not an emergency. You only can take a small amount of stuff, but it takes a long time to decide how to dress sensibly for a crisis and what ‘stuff’ is indispensable. In a bushfire emergency, the hour or so it took to do this packing could have killed us. It surprised me how little ‘stuff’ I wanted to take. In the end, it was two things: the book bag my mother made me when I was 5 and one child artwork. I’ve cried so many times this month, but I really lost it when a sheepish Thesis Whisperer Jnr packed the only soft toy he had kept from childhood:

 

I like to think I am a woke, inner city leftie who cares about the underprivileged (I even have a mug with ‘latte sipping socialist’ on it). I give money regularly to a range of charities and for emergencies. A the start of the crisis, I upped my usual donations: starting by giving all my 2019 Amazon royalties to the RFS. I then dropped off goods for fire fighters at collection centres. But throwing money at the problems and whining on social media  is not the only answer.  Other people actually, you know – do things. 

800+ AQI is extremely dangerous: that’s 4 times worse than a highly polluted city like Mexico. There is no doubt people with asthma will be dying from this exposure. Others with underlying conditions are sustaining permanent damage. Vulnerable people are even more disadvantaged than ever in these difficult times.  A group of ANU students decided to try to get masks to people sleeping rough, who had no relief from the smoke.  P2 face masks are in very short supply in Canberra; even people with money to buy them are having  trouble getting access. These smart, passionate, empathetic young women from ANU simply activated their friend networks to solve this problem. It resulted in some of the most effective grassroots organising I have ever seen.

ANU students returning to campus from around Australia packed extra face masks, buying them at their own expense to distribute free to others when they got back. Some parents stepped in to help, sending their kids back with bags of masks as a donation. What started as a small, local network effort to help a few vulnerable people, scaled up quickly. The first shipment was astonishing 700 masks, and they had to set up a funding page to help reimburse their friends. Bear in mind: these are undergraduates on low incomes. Certainly an example of lower income people being more empathetic and generous in a crisis.

Since they were ANU undergrads and alumni, not PhD students, I didn’t know them personally. The amazingly capable A/Prof Gemma Carey, locked in one room of her house with a purifier, protecting her unborn child, connected me into their network. I guess I have a reputation locally, and via the blog, as the sort of person who would provide practical support. In this case, I surprised myself by, you know – really doing thingsRebecca Vasarotti activated networks in the Greens to help distribute to groups, like ‘Night Patrol’, who provide direct assistance to homeless people, and to domestic violence crisis centres. Members of the party came in to help me count and pack so within 24 hours we had given out 250 masks. Here’s a picture of Rebecca and Bryce from Night Patrol:

It’s Sunday today and we continue the effort. This morning I was nominated as the pick up and drop off point for masks arriving from interstate and being distributed around the suburbs. I’ve been writing this posts in between logging the deliveries and pick ups – and watching the smoke get worse. It’s now +450 and I can barely see my keyboard and it’s only 3:30 in the afternoon:

I organise plenty of things at work and for the Greens. Now I realise I do it in a meticulous ‘top down’ style that just doesn’t work in an emergency. No one anticipated this many people would need this many masks and we have to make up solutions as we go. The ACT government is doing a good job: accessing government stockpiles, trying to ensure the shops have supplies and stocking their facilities. This solves some, but by no means all of the problems, especially distribution to those in need. People are working on this problem right now.

If you want to contribute to the ANU student efforts, the donation page is still up and any extra money collected will go to other fire relief charities

Our ANU students just gave me a crash course in something I will call ‘agile organisation’. It feels unstructured and chaotic, but somehow it works. My friends tease me that I always say ‘someone should write a thesis on this’ – hopefully someone will one day. It felt good to do something positive and I have been heartened by other, similar stories of grass roots problem solving that genuinely help people.

I reflected on the moment with a friend via Facebook: what exactly is the role I would play in a disaster movie? Because I was playing it now and I didn’t feel like I’d had time to rehearse:

Is this a role I will play again in the future, perhaps with increased regularity? Or is this a one off disaster that we will remember as the start of a slow decline? Or is this the wake up call that leads to better things: a change in politics that we desperately need?

I honestly don’t know.

I’ve spent 20 years wondering what I will do when the horrible predictions from our scientist friends come to pass. These young ANU students have showed me what to do and forever changed my apathetic, Gen-X ways. When this happens again, I’m going to be out there somehow, helping. I will use what I learned this summer to do it better next time. If I do die in a future catastrophe scenario, which is one of the things that keeps me awake and staring a the ceiling at 4am, it will be handing out soup at an evacuation centre or something. I’ve now rehearsed my role. I am ready.

Yesterday Canberra hit the highest temperature ever; the outer suburbs of Sydney were the hottest on earth. Australia’s summers have always been hot, and, to be honest, I have never enjoyed them as some people do. But summer has quickly gone from annoyingly hot to terrifying. I keep thinking about the famous Hemingway quote about how he went bankrupt: “Two ways. Slowly. Then quickly'”. I thought we had another 10 years or so before it was this bad, but here we are: welcome to climate collapse. It’s really shitty.

What really makes my blood boil is I only see it so clearly because this Australian disaster is the first time rich, mostly white people have been affected at such a massive scale. I have been active in politics for a while, but not with the sense of urgency I should have felt: ‘We have 10 years yet before shit goes down’ was my own internalised narrative. This is bullshit white supremacy in action – yet again. I was indoctrinated with these attitudes as a child and I have to fight them all the time. Right now, some 30,000 people are internally displaced in Jakarta from floods. The Philippines and other tropical places have had devastating typhoons for years. People nearby in the Pacific Islands have been losing farmland for a decade from encroaching tides. Other countries affected by climate change have been begging Australia to stop selling coal, but we seem as hooked on it as ever. Not only do we fail to listen, we double down on being assholes: our politicians have literally been caught laughing at the South Pacific situation on a ‘hot mike’. Oh the shame – it’s at such a scale that I can hardly bear it. Now we will be begging for others to stop hurting us too. In my darker moments, I doubt they will listen either.

It is easy to start feeling hopeless when you look at what passes for ‘leadership’. I actually think our political leaders want us to feel this way. People who feel helpless find it hard to do anything, which is exactly what some powerful people want.  Holding on to hope and encouraging other people to be hopeful too is now a political act. We must believe every ‘little’ thing we do for the positive matters. We must do the work.

You, dear reader, are probably doing a PhD. At the best of times, the narrative around the PhD is that it’s pointless. In the middle of a real and pressing disaster, many of you might be feeling even more existential angst about your PhD than usual. Even people at the pointy end doing climate science (you are my heroes), might be thinking ‘what’s the point’. Especially when it’s clear that important people don’t listen, or even actively denigrate you.

I want to say to you right now: what you do matters.

You must believe this and continue to believe it. If you don’t believe it, you’ll be demoralised and distracted. You won’t do your best work – and you MUST do your very best work. The work is the way forward. I’m here to help you with the work in 2020 – and for as long as I can.

In Solidarity

Inger

Canberra, 5th January, 2020

 

50 thoughts on “You have to believe that what you do matters

  1. Stella Barber says:

    Thank you Inger

    I signed up recently to support you and your work with my monthly donation .

    I am at my desk seemingly night and day trying to complete my PhD for formatting on 17 Feb and then submission the week or so after. And today I have felt exactly what you write about, that in the scheme of things my work is trifling. I posted about the Gvt and its inaction and my dislike of Scomo on facebook and someone commented I am “unaustralian” for posting these “political” views. It seems to me the people who claim others are “unaustralian” are usually right wing.

    I am a vegan, mainly because I love animals, and also because it’s the best way to eat to help our planet survive. I probably love animals more than humans and millions of animals are dying because of Man’s mistakes and ignorance. They have no choice, no say in their own deaths, no vote, we must speak for them. I weep thinking of the terror of our native fauna trying to escape flames and dying in agony. That we are losing species is equally distressing.

    I have no answers, my donations will be going to the RSPCA. I shall cuddle my cats, Chloe and Gerald a little bit more than usual and continue to support you in my modest way.

    Thank you

    Stella

  2. Helen says:

    Wow Inger, I read your comments in awe and shame that our politicians continue to hide behind falsehoods for political purposes. Your words are so poignant and really got to the true core of our problems. Thank you so much for putting in words a true statement of where we as a community stand.

  3. Alison Haynes says:

    Thanks for a great piece Inger, and I hope, like others, the air in Canberra clears soon. I’m 3 years into a PhD in biology and in 2020 I really want to knock it on the head (i.e. be at least almost there with thesis submission) because a PhD in science is training in research – and I want to move on to more research that will help us deal with climate change, urbanisation and all the other major changes that are coming our way. We have so much potential to explore!

  4. Bianca Pereira (@bianca_oli_per) says:

    Hello Inger, the donation page does not seem to be working. Do you know how I can contact the group organising it?

    It gives me this information: “This account cannot currently make live charges. If you are a customer trying to make a purchase, please contact the owner of this site. Your transaction has not been processed.”

  5. Rachel Eberhard says:

    Thank you Inger. We must all act, this must be the catalyst for change! I an environmental scientist and feel my work is futile. So far from where we need to be. I recognise that feeling hopeless is part of the problem – but struggle to find hope.
    I have been reflecting this week on the words of Pablo Casal ‘The situation is hopeless. We must take the next step.’ So act, regardless, may be my strategy from here

  6. Ruth Ann Herd says:

    Dear Inger, I am in New Zealand. Over the last few days the smoke has drifted over the Tasman, turned the sky orange and we can smell the smoke. It is distressing and we are thousands of miles away. I totally feel for your situation and donated to the masks appeal, it is not enough though and I am started to see that there was a reason why I decided to change disciplines to environmental health sciences (public health) . I am sure that my degree will be useful when there is a need for my skills in the very near future. Best wishes and keep safe

  7. Helen Kara says:

    Hi Inger, there is one thing you do do, and that is write, which is not nothing. Though I take your point that direct action is also needed. I’m having the same problem as Bianca with the donation page; I wonder whether it’s because we’re outside Aus. I tried changing the currency to £ but still had the same problem 😥 do you know of any other way we can donate? Sending love (though I also want to send money!) x

  8. Paula Chadderton says:

    Hi Inger – from one Canberran to another – I understand your frustration and your concern over our changing climate, and the tragic drama that is currently unfolding around us. I haven’t had asthma for many years, and now it seems to have decided to return. But I can only wonder how the people on the streets, in the Pacific, and of course on the Eastern seaboard and Alpine regions are coping at the moment.
    Thank you for telling us about the ANU students’ efforts – happy to help out. Doing something is what we all need to do. Volunteering is good for the soul.
    Thanks also for your words about the importance of perseverance in our PhDs – as a PhD student examining financial crime, the issue of the top end of town’s power and influence over media and government are particularly relevant.
    Keep strong, keep being inspirational! Power to the People!

  9. Lynne Kelly says:

    Thank you, Inger, for expressing things so well and taking the time to do so at length. I have been feeling so distressed and negative about the future, especially for my granddaughters, but you have given me hope that there may be some sense in the world. Thank you hugely.

    May it all be over soon and the reflections on it firstly show how Australians can band together to help those who have lost so much; secondly, to grieve for our bush and wildlife and realise how precious it is, and thirdly; to do something about the horrific leaders we have, not only on the right of politics – although they are the worst – but also those theoretically on the left who have still done nothing of consequence. We need a leader, a visionary, an orator who can lead the country in the way I see only New Zealand being led in the world. That is really scary!

    I have my fourth book contract resulting from my PhD, and agreed to a chapter in an academic anthology. Thank you for reminding me how rewarding PhD studies can be.

    Lynne

  10. cathyc says:

    Re this: ‘It is easy to start feeling hopeless when you look at what passes for ‘leadership’. I actually think our political leaders want us to feel this way. People who feel helpless find it hard to do anything, which is exactly what some powerful people want. Holding on to hope and encouraging other people to be hopeful too is now a political act. We must believe every ‘little’ thing we do for the positive matters. We must do the work.’

    I’m afraid that this is exactly playing into their hands too. This may be a political act, hoping and doing the work. But this also achieves the ends of the pollies. As our despicable PM said, the firefighters are doing it because they want to. Absolving him of what one might have thought should be his weighty responsibility.

    I say ‘come the revolution’.

    • Thesis Whisperer says:

      maybe – but the work in this case is intellectual and truth telling. Our job, as academics, is to tell the truth and tell it without fear or favour. Some academics also fight fires and do community work like I did, but this does not mean that intellectual labour doesn’t matter. The more they fight us when we tell the truth, the more we know we are winning.

  11. Gretchen Miller says:

    Thank you Inger. I really appreciate most of all the clarity with which you write about this. Not a buzzword in sight! A couple of years back I left my 20 years at the ABC in order to do a PhD. Aside from the terrible managerial gaslighting (which saw me told, as a audio doco maker specialising in Australian’s relationships with the natural environment, to work more broadly and not tell any more of those stories – I find it hard to forgive this silencing given where we are now) I wanted to be able to spend the last decade or two of my working life actively to help communicate what so called ‘ordinary’ people are doing on the ground… in the small hope that these little stories might inspire others. The PhD is modelling the gathering of such stories for environmental organisations. It’s called the Rescue Project and I partnered with Landcare Australia, and now the Nat Parks Association is getting on board too. Mindful of the impossibility of doing this from within the academe, I’m building a business: this year will see podcasts made about wildlife carers and their fragile psychology (practical advice from psychologists about coping) and three audio docos about councils and their communities working together on the frontline of climate mitigation, as a means to help councils learn from one another about collaborative work of this kind. The clarity of the message, which can none the less be complex and nuanced, is critical given the community focus.
    We have been to Canberra recently and were shocked by the smoke haze though Sydney too has been horrific at regular intervals. I am worried for those in the frontline of the fires, and also those unable to escape the relentless smoke… your work with distribution is fantastic – as are the undergrads – I’d like to hear more about their grassroots distribution methods – maybe another post?
    Right now the family has sought refuge further north (also bringing our holiday dollars to another area that was hit earlier in the season). I felt guilty about it and am still obsessively watching the news and reading article after article, hoping the mood is changing but also seeing so many clinging to their beliefs in the face of irrefutable evidence, and that is terrifying, worse than the fires themselves. Rest is necessary for a big year ahead.
    I’ve recorded, over my 20 years, countless natural environments around Australia… those humankin voices always a vital part of the sound design of the storytelling. Now very fearful that they are silenced forever.
    Warm regards and grateful thanks for your work.
    Gretchen

    • Thesis Whisperer says:

      Thanks so much Gretchen – and yes, speaking up can be terribly difficult. But the fact that our government wants us to be ‘quiet’ means that whatever we are doing (protests, consumer boycotts) is working and we need to keep it up! Strength to your arms and heart x

  12. Air says:

    Thanks so much, Inger. I’d been planning to unsubscribe to The Thesis Whisperer after my PhD was conferred–December 2019, on the last ANU graduation ceremony of the year–but hadn’t got around to it. Now I’m glad I hadn’t, as I would have missed this honest, inspiring and perfectly timed post. I hope you don’t have to use your ‘running away’ bag as my mother calls her ‘go’ bag.

  13. Guy Leedon says:

    Thanks Inger, beautifully written. Even though I’m in environmental sustainability it’s been feeling a little pointless, so this was inspiring.

  14. Ben Gleeson says:

    Great post Inger. Even though I’m applying for leave this year, I’m going to take your closing message personally. Thanks for all you do.
    I also wanted to share two thoughts regards the present fire crisis. For one thing, I am someone who is guilty of thinking, over a month ago when the Sydney smoke was dominating headlines, “thank god this is also affecting a large urban population, perhaps it will finally move a critical mass to actual action”. I’m sick of seeing surveys saying most people agree that climate change is real, because the fact that they do, but they still aren’t desperately fighting for political change as if their children’s lives depended on it, just makes that knowledge even more demoralising. It does seem that because our burning countryside has created problems for so many insulated and air conditioned urban citizens, there has been a real shift in attitude and momentum. This could be seen as a silver lining to the terrible tragedies now occurring, but we must maintain engagement. No more quiet Australians.
    The other thing I’ll mention, although I’m not a fan of sharing movie quotes, I thought of this line from the Martian yesterday in mongarlowe when I pulled up next to a small blaze and the pump I was trying to start wouldn’t get going, and it came to me again when reading about your awesome group of ANU students: reflecting on his ordeal when abandoned on Mars, Mark Watney says, “That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.” The trouble has been, to some extent, all of us have been ignoring our collective problems—perhaps thinking it was someone else’s job to solve them. Hopefully the current crisis helps galvanise us all to action. Thanks again for your honest and inspiring post.

    • Thesis Whisperer says:

      I love that quote – thank you for reminding me of it Ben. And dude – stay safe. I know everyone is saying this to everyone, but I’m aware that you are literally in the line of fire and I worry. Looking forward to supervising you again when you come back to ANU x

  15. Celeste says:

    Wow, your closing comments spoke to me directly. Big thanks!
    I’ll have to re-read them a few times to balance all the negative hopelessness in the media. My PhD project, one year old this month, is in trying to get urban populations re-connected with nature. It seems so airy-fairy now, in the midst of a societal and ecological disaster of such scale. I have an emergency services background and have wished many times over the weeks that I could just get back out there and do something practical. There are actions I can and am taking. But thanks for making me feel a bit better about sitting down at the computer again!

    • Thesis Whisperer says:

      If your topic doesn’t give you the boost you need at the moment, just think of the important skills and capacities you are developing and the importance of having people qualified to speak. The ‘product’ of a PhD doesn’t just have to be the thesis, it is also the person x

  16. Ripi says:

    Hi Inger,
    Thank you for this blog post! I’ve been following you for several months now but this is the first time I’m posting a message. I’m in my final year of PhD, due to submit my thesis in Sept. It’s been difficult to focus on my data analysis over the past few days as I keep watching/reading the news online about the bushfires. It’s hard to concentrate at this time. I have several friends in Aus and thankfully all of them are safe. Your final comments were so powerful. It felt like you were directly talking to me. Thank you for the encouragement x

    • Thesis Whisperer says:

      I know how you feel because I am struggling to finish a book that feels a bit pointless too. But we must keep going! If there is something I have learned in nearly 50 years on this planet, it’s surprising what matters in hindsight. I can track back my current job to a decision to stay in a silly, seemingly pointless class on online learning. It was the one thing that got me my first job in research education and led me here. You just don’t know, so do the work and trust if you do it well, with an open heart and your best talent, it takes you somewhere good. Somewhere you can make a difference. Keep believing x

  17. Jennifer Clutterbuck says:

    Currently struggling with my the final death throes of this doctoral journey, thinking I could just walk away, it doesn’t matter it this crazy time as our country goes up in smoke. And then I read your blog and realised that my work does matter. Understanding that who & what governs the infrastructures, governs data & policy – is as applicable to our climate policies as to our education systems. So I shall get a wriggle on with this final stage. Stay safe and stay loud x

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Dear Inger,
    I found your site a couple months and read through many many posts immediately, and bought your book ‘How to tame your PhD.’ I am in my 3rd year of a PhD and testing a few writing and time-management techniques new to me – you are helping me so much with this and with personal motivation to keep it all going! Thank you.
    This particular post is very upsetting and moving. I am in Canada, far away from you and the danger of the fires, but I support you and your letter to the PM 100%. PLEASE keep us posted on his reply.
    I will keep reading, Prof.!
    Thank you,
    Elizabeth

  19. Jenny Knight says:

    Thank you
    I think I need to go away a digest a lot of what you’ve posted here. I’m in the UK, and the attitude is still that of ‘what will our children do’. I realised as I read your post, that even with the impacts across the world, I too had still been thinking about the impacts in ‘the future’.
    My PhD explores the social and physical aspects of designing landuse change, specifically re tree planting and floods. I was raised with environmental values and awareness, and taught science for a number of years. Moved to environmental science for the PhD when I felt that the teaching wasn’t cutting it, but still feel like everything I am doing is too slow and not enough…
    But…
    You are right, we can’t create change if we believe it’s already to late. I must believe that what I am doing is important. I’m lucky, I can see how my work could (might) have impact in a really direct way. But it would still matter if what I was researching at was totally obscure. The drive for original knowledge is part of what makes us human, makes us function, makes us learn. We can’t fix anything if we don’t learn.
    I can only do the best I can do now, one step at a time..
    All I can send is best wishes and the promise to keep working

    • Thesis Whisperer says:

      Thank you Jenny – your promise means a lot to me as it gives me hope too. This is not a problem for our children in Australia – it is our problem and we have to start solving it right now. So your work is important as you might find yourself in the middle of trying to solve the problem before you know it

  20. Bumble says:

    Not doing a PHD but I did finish a Masters a few years ago in conservation and getting into an entry level career after feels like an uphill struggle in itself so I’m glad for the motivation.

  21. Nicola Hanefeld says:

    I am a PhD student at the University of Hull in England, but off campus, I live in Germany. I have been a member of the German Green Party for 20 years and watch with increasing horror what the primate Homo sapiens is doing to Planet Earth. Especially the current fires in Australia shock and jolt my mind and my thoughts are often with the millions of you living through this disaster, although I have no friends in the country. Environmental awareness in Germany is more mainstream than in most Anglo-Sachsen countries and if anything “positive” can come out of the decimation and death happening in Australia at present I think it might be the long over-due wake up call regarding the fact that there is no Planet B. Thanking you for you blog posts which are helpful and inspiring. In case it is of interest, my research is on how women use the Alexander Technique in the postpartum. http://www.speek.de/research
    Best wishes and sending love and courage to you in Australia where the Technique originated (Tasmania)…

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