Financial Therapy

Money & Climate Change ... the psychology of inaction

November 24, 2020 Jane Monica-Jones / Mairéad Cleary Season 1 Episode 4
Financial Therapy
Money & Climate Change ... the psychology of inaction
Chapters
Financial Therapy
Money & Climate Change ... the psychology of inaction
Nov 24, 2020 Season 1 Episode 4
Jane Monica-Jones / Mairéad Cleary

Climate Change is the most urgent threat in our time, and if we don’t act quickly we are going to have catastrophic repercussions to clean water, food safety and ecological diversity, which is vital for humans to survive on the planet. 

One of the key weapons to fighting climate change is how and where we spend and invest our money. Every day we have to the power in our back pocket to support green businesses and green financial institutions, reduce our consumption, and care for and repair our home.  

For time immemorial our financial choices have affected economies, the decisions by political parties and even the rise and fall of corporations just think of Netflix and Blockbuster Video.  

I believe we all know this, not so deep down, that our money does impact change. But knowing and doing can sometimes be worlds apart.  So, what are the psychological and behavioural barriers that prevent us from completely using our money as a weapon for good against climate change.

Here to help us discuss the issue is Mairéad Cleary, a psychotherapist, and eco-enthusiast, whose therapeutic practise and working with clients is informed by a nature-based philosophy, which she believes is vital to better mental health.

HOST - Jane Monica-Jones, Financial Therapist & Author of The Billionaire Buddha

Financial Therapy - financialtherapy.org
Jane Monica-Jones - janemonicajones.com
Financial Wellbeing Courses - financialwellbeing.co
The Billionaire Buddha on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3kGlBv3

GUEST: Mairéad Cleary is a psychotherapist, eco-enthusiast, long distance solo hiker and the author of the Byron Bay bestselling book Byron Trails.

Mairéad’s experience in the therapeutic field has grown alongside her work in environmental and engineering projects over the last 15 years. Her work is very much informed by a nature-based philosophy.

Web: https://maireadcleary.com/
Book: https://byrontrails.com/

WE HOPE YOU’LL SUPPORT THE SHOW BY MAKING A DONATION
VIA PATREON OR PAYPAL 

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=4EDKQRRG3YNK2)

Show Notes Transcript

Climate Change is the most urgent threat in our time, and if we don’t act quickly we are going to have catastrophic repercussions to clean water, food safety and ecological diversity, which is vital for humans to survive on the planet. 

One of the key weapons to fighting climate change is how and where we spend and invest our money. Every day we have to the power in our back pocket to support green businesses and green financial institutions, reduce our consumption, and care for and repair our home.  

For time immemorial our financial choices have affected economies, the decisions by political parties and even the rise and fall of corporations just think of Netflix and Blockbuster Video.  

I believe we all know this, not so deep down, that our money does impact change. But knowing and doing can sometimes be worlds apart.  So, what are the psychological and behavioural barriers that prevent us from completely using our money as a weapon for good against climate change.

Here to help us discuss the issue is Mairéad Cleary, a psychotherapist, and eco-enthusiast, whose therapeutic practise and working with clients is informed by a nature-based philosophy, which she believes is vital to better mental health.

HOST - Jane Monica-Jones, Financial Therapist & Author of The Billionaire Buddha

Financial Therapy - financialtherapy.org
Jane Monica-Jones - janemonicajones.com
Financial Wellbeing Courses - financialwellbeing.co
The Billionaire Buddha on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3kGlBv3

GUEST: Mairéad Cleary is a psychotherapist, eco-enthusiast, long distance solo hiker and the author of the Byron Bay bestselling book Byron Trails.

Mairéad’s experience in the therapeutic field has grown alongside her work in environmental and engineering projects over the last 15 years. Her work is very much informed by a nature-based philosophy.

Web: https://maireadcleary.com/
Book: https://byrontrails.com/

WE HOPE YOU’LL SUPPORT THE SHOW BY MAKING A DONATION
VIA PATREON OR PAYPAL 

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=4EDKQRRG3YNK2)

Jane Monica-Jones  0:02  

Welcome back to the financial therapy podcast. I'm your host, Jane Monica-Jones. I believe climate change is the most urgent threat in our time. And if we don't act quickly, we're going to have catastrophic repercussions to clean water, food safety, and ecological diversity, which is vital for humans to survive on the planet. One of the key weapons to fighting climate change is how and where we spend and invest our money. Every day, we have the power in our back pocket to support green businesses, and green financial institutions, reduce our consumption, and care for and repair our home. For time immemorial, our financial choices have affected economies, the decisions by political parties, and even the rise and fall of corporations. Just think of Netflix and Blockbuster Video to prove the point. I believe we all know this not so deep down, that our money does make an impact and does impact change. But knowing and doing can sometimes be worlds apart. So, I want to know what are the psychological and behavioural barriers that prevent us from completely using our money as a weapon for good against climate change and the biggest threat that we all face as a planet? So here to help us discuss this issue, and many other things, I'm sure is Mairead Cleary, a psychotherapist and eco enthusiast whose therapeutic practice and working with clients is informed by a nature based philosophy, which she believes is vital for better mental health. Thank you, Mairead, for being here. 


Mairead Cleary  1:38  

Thanks, Jane. It's lovely to be here with you. 

Jane Monica-Jones  1:41  

I know for a long time you've seen the importance of integrating our connection with nature as part of improving our mental health and wellbeing. Why do you think it's so important? What are the benefits? 

Mairead Cleary  1:53  

So, I think it's important because there's a simple truth that seems to have been lost in the last centuries, probably since around you know, I can guess the Industrial Revolution, probably earlier still. And that is that we are separate to nature. It's very easy to forget that we actually came from nature evolved from nature, lived in the forests, for millennia, really lived on the land, and not just on a farm, like literally lived on the land for the majority of our time on this planet. It's really only in the last few centuries that we've moved into such separate living situations. It makes sense that we would need nature and we would be tuned into nature, to a large extent because we need it to be to survive. It's also very much has been and continues to be our home. There's been a lot of research done in recent decades, which is interesting in itself, that research even has to be done into the fact that we benefit from nature. But it's also good that it has been done because it really validates what many would consider to be very obvious truths. So some examples would be in the research that's been done would be that exposure to nature is responsible for higher levels of activity in the branch of the nervous system that's responsible for calming us down, which is the parasympathetic branch. There's also research that shows that viewing nature is associated with higher alpha wave amplitudes, and higher alpha wave activity is associated with increased serotonin production. And what some people would know is that anti-depressant medications are thought to work by enhancing the availability of serotonin. Exposure to nature, basically increases our serotonin levels. Then there's also things like, there's a bacteria in the soil Lactobacillus bulgaricus, that's been shown to improve depression symptoms. So that bacteria is in the soil. So literally walking in the forest, smelling soil, sticking your hands in the dirt, growing your own garden, these kinds of things have been shown to reduce depressive symptoms, also shown to reduce things like stress, anxiety, it's a kind of like a natural Valium, really. And one of the more interesting things that's been shown in the research is that people are more caring when they're around nature. So, it seems to connect people to their authentic selves, which again, to me makes a lot of sense.

Jane Monica-Jones  5:07  

Yep, I really like what you're saying, where you started, that we're doing research in order to understand how healthy and important nature is yet, there's kind of been that collective forgetting, you know. As we live in a more urban structure, and we live in  in cityscapes, if you're commuting to work, you may not even connect with nature in any way. Yet, it's part of our nature, a very known truth. I really love the way captured that.

Mairead Cleary  5:39  

And there seems to be an idea that this separation of ourselves from everything really from each other from nature, seems to some would argue it goes back to the time of Descartes, and this Cartesian reductive model of separating everything out, you know, the body is separate to the mind, and the body is separate to whatever is around it, that is the thinking by many people that goes back to that time. Regardless, that's the situation that we find ourselves in right now. 

Jane Monica-Jones  6:15  

Descartes the philosopher?

Mairead Cleary  6:17  

Yes. 

Jane Monica-Jones  6:17  

Yeah. So "I think therefore, I am." And that is, in a way separates us from a greater truth that I am part of the whole fabric of the universe.

Mairead Cleary  6:26  

Yes, yes. And my I am is in here and your I am is in there, and they are totally separate, nothing connects them,

Jane Monica-Jones  6:35  

That when we start individuating ourselves as something being separate, then nature then becomes something further away. Is that right?

Mairead Cleary  6:43  

Everything does, actually. Everything becomes further away, you become further away. Anybody that I relate to becomes further away. Any other living creature becomes further away. And any aspect of nature becomes further away. There's been this bizarre, complete disconnection from nature, that includes everything that includes you, and I because we, you know, we are a part of nature, we can't really be separate from it. It's just not possible, even though we have an idea that we are, even though we have an identity that we are, we're fundamentally part of it. I mean, consider this for a moment, right? What if you woke up in the morning, and the planet had lost its ability to propagate, or to grow new life, new seeds, new, grass, new anything. If the planet lost its ability to produce the life that it produces every day, if it lost the ability to push that little shoot through the ground, which it does all by itself, we can't force that we can't make that happen. If that's stopped, we would lose the ability to eat. We would not last longer than I don't know, few days, few weeks depends on how long the store houses could sustain us. But we assume that we're separate because all of these systems operate incredibly well and incredibly efficiently for those of us that can afford to tap into these systems and they feed us day in day out, we go to the supermarket, there's a box of tomatoes, I pick them up, I take them home, I eat them. If our planet stopped doing what it does very naturally, every moment of every day, we wouldn't be able to survive. We are intrinsically linked to every single system in nature. If the planet stopped its ability to produce oxygen, we wouldn't last seconds. If water dried off, we wouldn't last days. So, because of our comfort, it's very easy to forget how completely dependent we are. But we are utterly and completely dependent on nature's systems. I'm not sure if that answered the question that you asked. [Both laugh]

Jane Monica-Jones  9:30  

I think you've completely answered that question. But you've also opened into that place of how ... that's where I started and why I'm doing this podcast and I'm doing it with you is because it is the greatest threat. How long until it could all possibly end yet somehow, it's not getting into our heads how important this thing is. And often I see again, when I started this conversation, I talked about how we can use our money as being that tool, to make the choices or make different choices about what happens to our environment. And I'm just trying to unpack that, what are the bits that stop us from making that daily choice that is greener, better for the planet?

Mairead Cleary  10:25  

I think it comes down to priorities. I think it comes down to the fact that in our everyday life, we see things happening, but they're happening far from us. You know, some of the Pacific islands that have been very impacted by global warming, that's happening kind of far enough away that I don't really have to think about it, because it's not really impacting me, the water is not lapping on my doorstep. So, I believe it comes down to priorities. I also believe it comes down to the fact that we and this might be controversial to say this ... but I believe we live in quite an adolescent culture, not a mature culture. And it's not to make that wrong, it's really, for me, it's important just to acknowledge that we live in an adolescent culture that encourages adolescent behaviour, which is very much "I, I, I, what I want". And we also are very influenced by the people around us in our lives. So, we "think" we make our own decisions independently and autonomously. But actually, we are completely influenced by what the crowd around us are doing. And that is why we don't make green or financial choices. So if my sister takes out a loan with one of the big banks, then I'm going to think, "Okay, well if she's done it, then it must be okay", because that's how we think. I don't think we even realize it's not so much a conscious thought process. But if you make a buying choice, and I'm good friends with you, and I look at the buying choice that you've made, I will tend to go "Oh, well, Jane seemed to think it was okay to shop in there and actually if Jane shopped in there, then it must be a good place to shop, so I'll shop in there". That's why reviews are so incredibly powerful in the online world. That's why referrals are so incredibly powerful. Because we are social animals, we've also evolved to be social animals and to look to what other people are doing to feel safe. There are too many choices that we need to make every day to try and make them all consciously, so we make as many as we can. Or we have been wired to make as many decisions as we can, unconsciously. So, if I see you doing something, then my short circuit goes, "That must be okay, I'm going to do the same". So, if you go to one of the big banks for your mortgage, then I'm going to think, "Okay, well, then that big bank must be okay, maybe I'll go to them as well for my mortgage. If it's good enough for Jane, then it's good enough for me". So in essence, I would say that, essentially, collectively, we need to grow up a lot and quickly, because the survival of our way of life...well the survival of our living systems depends on that, to take responsibility for our place in this system that we live in. We need to take responsibility for the greater world that we're part of that feeds us every day, that warms us with sunshine, that provides water ...

Jane Monica-Jones  14:15  

Keeps us breathing...

Mairead Cleary  14:17  

Keeps us breathing, we need to take responsibility for our place in that system. And that can be a big leap for many people to take. Many people don't want to think about anyone but themselves. Again, it's not to make that wrong. It's very much the way we have all been brought up. But we do need to move beyond that adolescent "just thinking about myself all the time", way of being into more mature looking around us. And it doesn't mean that we have to lose out in that. If I look around me of what is going to sustain the system that I am part of, then if that system is sustained, that system sustains me. So, it's very much a collective, we need to shift into a more collective broader...it's almost like removing the blinkers, because we very much operate in this individualistic blinkered way. We need to remove the blinkers so that our peripheral vision can take in what's around us? "How can I work to benefit this system so that the system can work to benefit me?" It's that simple.

 Jane Monica-Jones  15:33  

Yep. There's something that I wanted to pick up on, you said earlier around priority. It's not a priority, or we have to prioritize making green choices. Often what I see working with people, particularly in something like where we're overspending, or we're doing a lot of retail therapy. And for me, you know, the way I see retail therapy is a pathology, meaning that we're having to get this kind of dopamine hit as a way to make us feel better, because we're looking for a little bit of happiness. And so, something like retail therapy is what we go for, we might spend on to get that quick high that we're looking for. Are you saying that if we connect more with nature, we won't need to have that so much of those kind of happy highs by something like consumerism buy something like fast fashion, or whatever it is that we choose to purchase? 

Mairead Cleary  16:26  

Hmm, great question. There's a few things that come to mind for me. I mean, the short answer is yes. Connecting with nature and for as long as possible is definitely, it simplifies everything. It calms a lot in our systems, it makes us see how little we actually need. What also comes to mind something that's become very obvious to me since COVID hit, we don't have the green natural spaces that we need for the demand that is there, for them. We need more green spaces; we need more natural spaces. So, everybody's piling into these small national parks, small beach areas, small parklands. That's going to impact how we experience them. But it's still better than not having any green spaces to move into.

 Jane Monica-Jones  17:29  

Are you saying that, if the more that we're connecting with nature, and the more that we have more nature to be able to connect with, then we're less likely a need to do consumerism, less needing to do this happy high?

Mairead Cleary  17:42  

In an ideal world, but I don't think that's how life works. Most people get out into nature on a Sunday, or a Saturday. And then there's the rest of the week to contend with "Wednesday was a very stressful day, I walk past a really nice shop on my way home from work, I'm going to indulge". So yes, I do think spending more time in nature is... it is going to always benefit, there is no question, that is always going to be a good thing for everybody. In terms of the retail therapy piece in terms of where we place our money in the context of the climate crisis that we are facing, I would be considering questions more along the lines of or I would be considering contextualizing that along the lines of "I need something right now to pep me up. Because I've had a really difficult day, I can make this choice. It may have quite negative repercussions elsewhere in the world. But I'm going to do it anyway". Or "I can make this choice; it could most likely have quite negative repercussions elsewhere in the world. So, I'm gonna hang back, I'm gonna choose something else". That requires nature and our living systems to become the priority, really. Because when... we all know that place where we've had a stressful day, or we've all had those days where we feel rotten, and the easiest thing to do is go spend some money get a little dopamine hit. We all know that space. So really consciously bringing in that context of this purchase is going to have an impact, it is going to have an impact, there is no way that it's not going to have an impact. So, is that a good impact or a negative impact? Is it an impact that I want to make right now? Do I know what the impact is going to be if I buy this? So, I guess it's really bringing more awareness to these things, I don't want to make people wrong for the things they do to soothe themselves. But I do feel really passionately that people make those choices with awareness.

Jane Monica-Jones  20:13  

Beautiful. So just to give something to our listeners about when that happens when we need that pick up, when we've had a hard week... What's some really good, environmentally friendly ways that we can resource ourselves and make us feel a little bit better in those moments?

Mairead Cleary  20:31  

Hmm, it's gonna really depend on where you live, isn't it? So, I am... I'm quite lucky in that I live in a very lovely place where nature is very easily accessible to me, I can go down the river, I can go down the beach, I can go into the forest, it's all quite easy for me. At the same time, I love plants, I can't gather enough plants around me. So, if I lived in a city, I would absolutely be surrounding myself, filling my apartment or my house with plants. And if you're looking for a nature based way to soothe yourself, take care of yourself, then plants can be a lovely way to do that. Tending to them watching them.

Jane Monica-Jones  21:23  

Exactly right. One of the big spending that's been happening in COVID is plants, you can't get plants. So, people are, I think, instinctually going for that, for that resource very naturally and organically. Yeah, I mean, I'm a big plant shopper. And it's been really hard, prices have gone through the roof. Because we're kind of somehow doing the good stuff without even consciously knowing it.

Mairead Cleary  21:49  

Yeah. So I would say stick your hands in the soil, if you're lucky enough to have a garden, take yourself down the road to a tree, if you live in the city, and you're lucky enough to have parklands around you. There's an absolutely fabulous article that I read about two years ago, about a guy who has specific relationships with... it was either six or eight trees around the world. And he often, well before COVID anyway, would travel around the world to visit each tree and spend time with each tree and take in all that was happening around that one tree. So, you know, experiment, push the boat out a little, to hell with what... who cares what anybody says. I would say push the boat out a little, go spend time by a river. If you have a river, go spend time by a tree if there is a tree close by to. Go spend time in your garden, stick your hands in the soil, go spend time with your plants. Water and green life are the two things that are most resourcing that give a lot and we can receive a lot from, so if you have access to those things in any capacity, then go spend time with them. If you have a really lovely cafe close to you that has done the most beautiful display of plants? Some people really get it, some cafes, restaurants, places where you can hang out, just do a beautifully, go hang out there, get a coffee there, get a beer there, whatever. Go, go spend time in those kinds of environments that you know will make you feel calmer, make you feel easier. Give it to yourself.

Jane Monica-Jones  23:41  

Mairead, I just wanted to take you back to where you started, when you were talking about the philosopher Descartes and his "I think therefore I am" and that separateness that we believe ourselves to be, that somewhat separate from nature. Why do you think that has an impact on our choice? Why is it not like we're totally for protecting nature and totally being warriors for green... green everything? What is it that something about our mind now, and our identity that keeps us separate, in a way?

Mairead Cleary  24:17  

I'd say it's because we've developed an anthropocentric view of life. What that means is, we believe that we are at the centre of the universe, we believe that we're at the top of the pile. You know, there's definitely a Cartesian influence in there. There's also biblical influences, you know, that God gave man dominion over the earth and all that it contained or something like that. You know, metaphorical stories were taken as quite literal. And I believe that we have come to believe that we are separate to nature. Because of that view that anthropocentric view is the term that's used to describe that. Interestingly, Dan Siegel talks about... Dan Siegel is a very well known, in therapeutic circles, neuroscientists, he's done a lot of work around neurobiology, therapy and neuroscience and how our brain works. He talks about that belief of "me and other" and that we're separate as being quite toxic, he actually uses the word toxic. So, he would say that we have a cultural message that says that the self is equivalent to your body, or the mind is equivalent to your brain. And he calls these toxic lies. And he considers that when we accept them as truth, we live a life as a separate self. So, we believe that we're separate. So, we live in a way that separate and that this is making people miserable. And it's making people really struggle with committing to mutually beneficial relationships, because it's all about "I,I,I,I,I" "what you give to me, what you do for me, what you did to me, in the ways that you wronged me", it's all about me. So, Dan Siegel is saying that interpersonal neurobiology is showing this idea of separation to be a lie. And that it's the source of profound suffering in humans and other living creatures. He considers that to be a mistaken sense of identity.

Jane Monica-Jones  26:43  

Yeah, right.

Mairead Cleary  26:44  

It's quite kind of dense stuff, dense explanation. And essentially, what it is saying is that our view that we are separate from each other, and from everything else, and that we all, each of us sits on the top of the food chain, and each of us deserves our own little castle. And each of us deserves all of these privileges that come from sitting at the top of the pile, that's actually the source of our suffering. And if you look at the rates of mental health decline, as we have become more individualistic, as capitalism has gotten more and more of a stranglehold on our culture, that just that proves to be true. As we become more affluent, we become more miserable. As we become more individualistic, we become more separate and more mentally unwell, as a collective.

Jane Monica-Jones  27:47  

Yeah, I really, I really love that you're talking about this, there was something I read in the paper, we've just recently had the budget being handed down. And it's all very around, you know, COVID and recovery. And there was something and I can't remember who said it at the moment, but they said it as in a way of "We don't live in a in an economy, we live in a society". And so when we're not giving benefits to say women and childcare, or certain areas of the society that need to be taken care of like the elderly, and all that sort of funding, then we're not looking holistically at a society that everybody contributes of value in that society, rather than "the money" in that society is the greatest contribution. And I just think it's lovely having this conversation because as I'm listening to you, I feel that sort of sense of... we are living in a sort of very skewed worldview or world perception of what life is supposed to be like. It's so it's just it's really refreshing just listening to you talk about it being in a more sort of horizontal way... that actually we're all equal, and we're just as equal as the planet and then the other creatures as well as us. And yeah, it's just really, really beautiful. Thank you.

Mairead Cleary  29:14  

That made me think of a quote, I read the other day by a guy called Peter Senge, if I've pronounced that correctly, and he said, the world is made of circles. And we think in straight lines. We tend to focus on snapshots of isolated parts of the system. And then we wonder why our deepest problems never get solved.

Jane Monica-Jones  29:37  

Beautiful. I just wanted to take you again back to something that you started with, which is about the priorities, you know, and we're very overburdened. We've got full time jobs, kids, huge amounts of priorities that we have to do in our life....

Mairead Cleary  29:58  

I would say in essence, our priorities end up being, unconsciously end up being that I take care of myself and I keep myself at the top of whatever pile I can keep myself on the top of. And also, that I keep in line with what the people around me are doing. If a close friend or relative is getting that mortgage with the big bank that I keep in line with that. Well unconsciously a lot of our priorities are around keeping in line with what everybody else is doing. And keeping ourselves on the top of the pile that is like the capitalist ideal, climb to the top of the pile, do whatever I need to, to get up there, and then do whatever I need to stay up there.

Jane Monica-Jones  30:48  

You talking about that, makes me think... I often refer to;  I certainly talk about it in my book around this idea of childhood omnipotence and our sense of power. That we often... when we were little, we felt very powerful, particularly when we were individuating from our mother, or we're starting to separate ourselves or seeing our identity separate from our mum, we started feeling very powerful. And we can often use money as a way to feel like that childhood omniscience, "I am the centre of the universe". But again, it's that sort of childish way. And a lot of people, I suppose, out there are using money as a way of trying to get back that feeling of being the centre of the universe, of being more powerful and potent. Yet maybe, I think what you're saying when we're talking about this discussion, is that the more that we connect with nature, maybe that sort of structural identity softens a little bit, that we don't need to strive so much. We don't need to be kind of continually striving continually to be seen in a particular way. All that sort of structural part of us can soften. And so that, you know, money is a tool, but it's not as a tool to make us even more separate, or higher or lower than anybody else.

Mairead Cleary  32:15  

Yeah, and that it takes place in the world, which is as like you say, as a tool, to further what needs to happen, hopefully, what needs to beneficially happen. It's become more the end, rather than the means, it was always meant to be a means. But it has become the end game in the society that we live in today.

Jane Monica-Jones  32:39  

Yeah, and maybe to you know, to help compensate? Well, we use it as a way to compensate, say, any sort of deficiencies that we may feel in our sense of self, "I don't feel empowered or I don't feel successful or I don't feel significant enough". And that often we project that onto money, as the quality that we're trying to, to retry and regain through money.

Mairead Cleary  33:06  

Yeah. And it does deliver what it promises. It does deliver status, which our modern society really values, it does deliver power, which is the most important currency in the Western world. It does deliver those things that the capitalist society, the capitalist philosophy promises. It's hard to see through because of that. The problem is that the capitalist worldview is very much at odds with the nature worldview that we desperately need to remember, at this point in time.

Jane Monica-Jones  33:45  

Yeah, and I think that's the important piece, we have to almost supplicate our egoic needs for a greater cause, which is life on Earth, essentially.

Mairead Cleary  33:58  

We need to grow up Jane, there's really no soft, nice way of saying that. We need to grow up, each one of us individually, and as a collective.

Jane Monica-Jones  34:10  

Thank you. Thanks for saying that, Mairead. I suppose people, there's a lot of questions. And I really want to wrap that in a way that we can give some sort of takeaways for people. What is it some of the things that we can do, change, do the change in us so that we can be the change in the world?

Mairead Cleary  34:30  

Yeah, and people do ask that a lot. And I would almost say that that's the wrong question. I would be asking, what would happen if tomorrow the plant's ability to produce food failed? I would be asking that question and really thinking hard about it. I would be asking quite a web or life system am I part of? And this can include family, friends, neighbourhood, community, gardens, parks, rivers, the like. They're all a part of your web of life, your life system, that you're part of. I will be asking "what is the web of life that I'm part of? That's particular to me". You know, of course, there's the entire globe, but we want to bring it back to as close to home as we can. So what life system am I part of? What natural spaces are part of my web? What places do I go to, to recharge to rejuvenate? And then how can I support that web to thrive because if it thrives I thrive. If the local parklands thrive, I thrive when I go to visit them. If the local growers thrive, then I thrive because there's food available. If food becomes short, globally, if the water systems thrive, then I thrive because that is the water that I am dependent on every single day. The fires and the extreme drought last year, were a very shocking wake up call for me living in this area where we live off water tanks, and the water ran really, really low for almost everybody. And it dawned on me quite dramatically, that we can live without food for quite a while. It dawned on me that we can live without electricity quite easily and for quite a long time. But we cannot live without water. We are completely dependent on water. So how do I support the elements in the web of life that I'm part of? How do I support my neighbourhood, my community, my gardens, my family, my parks? Because when I support them, they support me. If they thrive, I thrive.

Jane Monica-Jones  37:10  

Well, if they if they thrive, you survive.

Mairead Cleary  37:14  

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. 

Jane Monica-Jones  37:17  

And it's not even just thriving. It's just surviving.

Mairead Cleary  37:20  

It is. I would also be asking, how do I move my awareness beyond myself, beyond the individual? And every profession has a role in this ecological crisis that we find ourselves in. Every profession, really, no matter what it is that we work at, this is a question for all of us to be asking. It's really not so much about what can I do? It's asking what is the living, breathing natural world ask of me? What does nature need of me right now? And it might take time to hear the answer. It's not really an answer that comes from the mind. It's an answer that comes from, I guess, a deeper place in us that knows the truth about life. So that's what I would offer. And you know, intrinsically that question, what can I do, to me is problematic. What can 'we' do? What can I do in service of you? What can I do in service of what's happening around me? What can we do collectively? What can I contribute to the collective? How can I grow up? How can I take my place in the world as a mature adult? And face this situation? Meet this situation?

Jane Monica-Jones  38:54  

Yep. The way I introduced this episode was about how we can make those choices with our money. Our money becomes the tool that can really improve the world, create change, that's really quite vital. What are the commitments that we can start making in our next step to say ..."Okay, well, I'm going to have this renewed relationship with how I use my choices, my money, my everything”? 

Mairead Cleary  39:23  

Hmm, yeah, great, I would say, right now, or when you finish listening to this podcast, sit down and make a list of the people that you feel would be interested in moving to green finances. Do that right now, before you do anything else. Then line up a coffee with each of those people and speak to them about whether they would be interested, whether green finances would interest them? If they're a yes, then talk to them about collectively moving their finances together or collectively making financial decisions, green financial decisions, if we want to call them that together. So that they're not doing it alone, so that they're doing it with other people. Because there's a lot of, there's a lot of momentum that comes from doing things together. And it's just more fun. You know, it's lonely to try and navigate all of these big questions alone, it's also little bit tedious to get the information. You know, there are...there's a very, very well-known personal finances book on the market in Australia at the moment. I bought it, I read it, and I sent the author and note saying this is great information, but there's not a single thing in your book about ethical banks, or ethical superannuation. Or any financial organizations that are green or have any kind of an environmental value system. So, get together with people who you know, will be interested. Don't try and recruit the people that have no interest, it will drag it down. If you have a coffee with them, and you sense that it's not there for them, drop it, find people who would be interested and pull together a little pool of you and start to talk about this. What do you want from this? How can you go about getting the information that you need to make a change? And then how, what are the steps involved in making the change? So, do it with people, it can be really a nice thing to do... together Don't do it on your own? You know, if anything from our time together today, I really hope that people will start to think a little bit more collectively. What can we do together?