MAKING (A) SENSE OF SUSTAINABILITY Interviewed by Jessica Respall PROPAGATE AR poster by Ch’aska Cuba de Reed
PENINSULA by Mikayla Casey by Richard Chuanxu Wang
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EDITORS’ LETTER Dear Vertigo readers,
Our third volume, 'Holocene' marks the middle of the road for us as the 2021 editorial team. We want to thank each and every individual who was engaged with Vertigo so far this year. While it has been a hectic semester so far, the feedback and engagement from our readers has only motivated us more. We were ecstatic to see the previous volumes fly off the stands on campus, however, dear reader, you are most likely reading this issue off of a screen. We were only given the green light to print two volumes this semester, so in an effort to make the most of an unfortunate situation, we made Vol. 3 our green issue to promote sustainability. As students, we occupy a unique and privileged position to learn, and facilitate discussion about our future. We are the ones who will face the ever-growing consequences of climate change and capitalism. We've attempted to unpack the language and discussions surrounding 'sustainability' — what does it even mean?. ‘Sustainability’ is so overused; what does it even mean? Hopefully by the end, you’ll have a better idea. We'd like to thank the Enviro Collective for their generous and thoughtful contributions to this volume, and for facilitating such important discourse within the environmental movement. The stakes of the climate crisis are only increasing. ‘Holocene’ is merely a drop in the ocean of what needs to be done to effectively address the deeply-rooted issues and the new ones arising. Keep learning, keep questioning, keep trying.
Damage has been done on a colossal scale, mainly by large corporations and incredibly flawed systems in our society. The future looks grim, but this is our chance to demand rapid action from politicians, private entities, and governments, and hold them accountable. It is also our chance to acknowledge the work we’ve put in to have come so far; sustainability and ethical practice is entirely on another level than it was 10-20 years ago. However, there’s no doubt, we still have a long way to go. First Nations’ peoples have spent tens of thousands of years protecting and nurturing the lands and waterways that so many of us now call ‘home’. We owe our beautiful landscape and unique ecosystems to them, and we must fight to save it. We must recognise that climate justice cannot be achieved without racial justice. Decolonising our approach to environmentalism is a vital first step in this process. This issue details common themes surrounding the consequences of climate change we are currently dealing with: greenwashing, the detrimental impacts of fast-fashion, the environmentally harmful side of consuming meat products, and the ever-so present eco-anxiety we are experiencing. We included a range of perspectives and opinions in an attempt to convey the multifaceted approaches needed to achieve climate justice. We examine the ways in which we could all do better, and try to uplift the voices of those who can help. Just one more step towards a better epoch, out of the endless love for our holocene. Love, The Vertigo Editorial Team
& BEST / WORST GREEN THINGS SECTION NAME
THE BEST GREEN THINGS:
Shrek 1 Shrek 2 Shrek 2: soundtrack The frog emoji Choc mint ice cream Edamame beans The green m&m baby yoda! Spotify (follow us) Green care bears Green eggs and ham Artichokes THE WORST GREEN THINGS:
Rocket Woolworths Celery Zucchini Midori (ew yuck)
EDITORS: ALICE WINN, ANGELA JIN, ERIN EWEN, MAULI FERNANO & SEVIN PAKBAZ DESIGNERS: HANNAH BAILEY, KATHERINE ZHANG, RACHEL PERCIVAL & TARA FRAWLEY
THE INTERSECTION OF QUEERNESS AND ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM Cal McKinley
IS SAVING THE WORLD FROM CLIMATE CHANGE REALLY NECESSARY? Harry Wynter
R.I.P ENVIRO SUBJECTS Melissa Sukkarieh, Damien Nguyen, Finn Billyard & Anna Thieben
NEVER CROSS A PICKET LINE UTS Education Action Group
WHERE THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER Saumyaa Shukla
RECYCLED TOILET PAPER WRAPPED IN PLASTIC Anna Thieban
THE POLITICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE Pnina Hagege
HOW TO NUDGE UTS INTO SAVING THE WORLD Miranda Crossley
ECO-ANXIETY TOOLKIT Anna Thieban & Tania Leimbach
PENINSULA Richard Chuanxu Wang
WHEN I GROW UP I WANT A GREEN JOB Anna Thieban & Jordan Lynch
A COLLECTION OF PHONE PORTRAITS Shea Donohoe
FAST FASHION AT EVERYONE ELSE’S EXPENSE Vanessa Lim
EARTH SELF Nina Pirola
IN BLOOM Hannah Bailey
FICTION A PASTORAL PHANTASMAGORIA India Turner
CAN YOU HEAR US Emma Turney
I AM A RIVER AND I TOLD YOU WHAT I DID Kate Rafferty
BREATHE Joella Marcus
LOSSLESS Kiran Best & Kamran Sachinwalla
PROPOGATE Ch’aska Cuba de Reed
COOLAGOLITE Zosia Francka
SUMMER TO AUTUMN Zac Agius ASHEN WOODS Amelia Bussing
AMPLIFY INTERVIEW WITH DILHAN WICKREMANAYAKE: CO-FOUNDER OF URBAN PLANT GROWERS Alice Winn
ENTS MAKING A SENSE OF SUSTAINABILITY Jessica Respall
SUSTAINABLE STARTUPS Alice Winn
A CONVERSATION WITH EVELYN ARALUEN Erin Ewen
A CONVERSATION WITH JEAN HINCHLIFFE Sevin Pakbaz
OFFHAND HOW TO SELL YOUR SOUL TO SEITAN Joella Marcus
HOLOCENE PLAYLIST Sevin Pakbaz
MEAT ALTERNATIVES RANKED Isabel Cant
WHAT HOUSEPLANT ARE YOU? Rachel Percival
WHAT ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE ARE YOU? Angela Jin
CONTENT WARNINGS Vertigo readers should be advised that there are content warnings before relevant pieces. Please keep this in mind as you enjoy our magazine; your health and safety are important to us.
Some articles and images contain themes or references to racism, death, r*pe, mental ill-health, eco-anxiety, alcohol, queerphobia and blood. Contact the UTS Counselling Services on 9514 1177, or visit the UTS Counselling Services website to find out more and access the extensive online self-help resources. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please consider speaking to your local GP, a healthcare professional, or calling one of the numbers below. Lifeline — 13 11 14 Beyond Blue — 1300 22 4636 If you or someone you know is experiencing or has experienced sexual abuse, you can call or refer to the following confidential hotlines. General — 1800 737 732 Counselling — 1800 211 028 Crisis Centre — 1800 424 017 If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or child abuse, call or refer to the following 24/7 confidential free hotlines. Domestic Violence Line — 1800 656 463 NSW Child Protection Helpline — 13 21 11
If you are struggling with self-injurious behaviour, such as self-harming or an eating disorder, please reach out to the following: Butterfly Foundation — (02) 9412 4499 If you, or someone you know, is struggling with or has struggled with drug or alcohol abuse, please consider speaking to your local GP, a healthcare professional, or calling the numbers below. Alcohol and Other Drugs Information Service (ADIS) — 1800 250 015 NSW Quitline — 13 7848 (13 QUIT) Available Monday to Friday: 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Available Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
半島 peninsula /pɪˈnɪnsjʊlə/
noun a piece of land almost surrounded by water or projecting out into a body of water
Words and photographs by Richard Chuanxu Wang
It’s hazy but bright. The smog is severe, buildings can barely be seen out of the window. But I still like it. I wish you could see it here with me. I can still feel your breath, see how you dance alone in the darkness. The scenery at night would be very good, I know you like it best. I wish I could see it too. I stand in the same place as you, just as you stand in the same place as me, but we will never touch each other. The sun is going down. I’m leaving. Good morning.
SECTION SHOWCASE NAME
Peninsula, geographically refers to a protrusion of land surrounded mostly by water, and in this case, refers to the location where the images were taken, and represents the division within a longdistance relationship. Peninsula is a series of images taken from the same location during a different time of the day, so close to each other yet untouchably distant.
RICHARD WANG Physical intimacy has been commonly regarded as the cornerstone and necessity of a relationship. Those without physical intimacy risk swamping everyone involved with dismay, depression and despair, as a long-distance relationship often ends up no good, with nothing but hollowness and vanity. Contemporary society highlights distance as the most painful aspect, due to technological inadequacy in long-distance travel, but there is another aspect that is occasionally overlooked and has not been taken seriously: Time. The images are separated in the dimension of time, similar to a couple being separated by a physical distance, rendering an innovative experience for the audience as to rethink what matters most crucially apart from distance.
SECTION SHOWCASE NAME
It’s beautiful here. This city is sexy, just like you. I wish I could see you. You must also be giddily standing by the window and basking in the sun through the haze, right? You enjoy the sun in the day, and I dance alone at night. I stand in the same place as you, just as you stand in the same place as me, but we will never touch each other. The sun is about to come out. I’m leaving. Goodnight.
RICHARD SECTION NAME WANG
THE INTERSECTION OF QUEERNESS AND ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM BY CAL MCKINLEY
CW: discrimination, queerphobia, and mental ill-health.
Does Queerness have anything to do with environmental activism? Is there any reason gay people should especially care about the environment? Can the framework we use to analyse Queer liberation also be applied to environmental justice? And why are so many environmental activist circles just so damn gay? Maybe you’ve asked these questions before; maybe you haven’t even considered that these are questions you could be asking. But the reality is that Queer people have a rich and complex history with nature and environmental activism. In this article, I hope to shed light on the similarities between the oppressive power structures that Queer oppression shares with environmental degradation, and the ways that Queer thinking and connections to nature can differ from those of straight people. As climate change worsens, the people who are affected most will be those who do not have the resources to protect themselves. People who have power and money will be able to use their wealth and influence to protect themselves, at least initially, from the worst symptoms of the climate crisis, which will be predominantly borne by disenfranchised groups. All climate activists come to understand this as they are forced to grapple with why the people in power aren’t doing anything to stop this looming threat. Queer people are more likely to be in situations where they will struggle with the effects of climate change early on. Despite recent positive strides, the LGBTQ+ community still faces numerous challenges
“WHY ARE SO MANY ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST CIRCLES JUST SO DAMN GAY?” that come with systemic discrimination. The challenge that will be the hardest to deal with is housing instability. Queer people face housing instability at disproportionate rates to their cis, straight peers. This is due to numerous factors such as unsupportive home environments, a lack of access to support systems, discrimination in housing, employment and healthcare settings, and higher rates of mental illness due to societal alienation. Marginalised communities will have to deal with unmanaged pollution damaging low-income areas, lack of reliable access to clean water and food, minimal protection in harsher summers and erratic weather events, and more, while rich people are spared the worst of it.
Illustrations by Nina Pirola
“EXPLOITING THE PLANET FOR ITS RESOURCES WILL ALWAYS BE MORE BENEFICIAL TO THOSE IN POWER...”
People living in developing nations, in rural or remote areas and Indigenous communities worldwide, will suffer the worst outcomes. There comes a point when Queer activists realise that Queer oppression is not just caused by individual intolerance and interpersonal bigotry, but a hegemonic system. They become aware that this system is capitalism, and it furthers Queer oppression by perpetuating cisheteropatriarchal norms in order to sustain itself and quell challenges against those in power. Capitalism goes hand in hand with colonialism, which is another major force behind Queer oppression. The notions of what behaviours and identities are acceptable were imposed upon indigenous cultures, wiping out rich histories of sexual and gender diversity, that only became considered taboo post-colonisation. Just as an underclass of people must always exist under capitalism, environmental destruction will always exist under capitalism. This is because capitalism necessitates the accumulation of wealth and profits above all else. Exploiting the planet for its resources will always be more beneficial to those in power than taking the difficult, often costly, steps needed to slow the pace of climate change. Understanding that capitalism is at the root of not only Queer oppression, but the oppression of people of colour, Indigenous people, women, people with disabilities, and working-class people, motivates Queer people to fight for the liberation of people and the planet. Queer people’s involvement in environmental activism is rooted in solidarity with all the people and ecosystems suffering under capitalism.
“THE TENDENCY TO PUT NATURAL VARIATION INTO RIGID CATEGORIES AND BOXES — SPECIFICALLY WHAT IS AND ISN’T NATURAL — BLEEDS OVER INTO HOW CISHET PEOPLE UNDERSTANDS THE ENVIRONMENT.”
Motivations for Queer people to protect the environment are also born out of a connection with, and love of, nature, not just from the anger of fighting against unjust systems. There are fascinating interactions between Queerness and nature, with the natural world often acting as a facilitator for Queer healing. Nature is open and accepting in all the ways that the cishet society isn’t. The unnaturalness of homophobia as a reaction to the beautiful, naturalness of Queer love and gender variance, creates a hostile society where nature can be a respite. It takes you as you are with no demands of how you are expected to behave or how to perform your identity. The unconditional acceptance offered by understanding yourself to be a part of the natural world is intoxicating in a life otherwise spent trying to justify your existence. There’s a common joke among nonbinary people that we are similar to frogs and insects, and other strange little creatures. While much of that is just playful identity reductionism, there remains something to be said about it. When your Queerness is present enough in your childhood to make you an outsider, but not yet present enough that you are able to embrace it within yourself, you may be more drawn to collecting worms or watching birds than trying to interact with kids who only show you ridicule. There is also a sense of being able to relate to the strange little creatures that society overlooks and devalues. As Queer people grow up, they are often forced to move to inner city areas to find community, safety. The downside is that inner-city areas are often quite removed from nature, leaving Queer people alienated from accessing space that they may find great solace in. This can drive Queer people to fiercely protect and fight for nature, driving them towards environmental activism out of a desire to defend the parts of the world that have showed them love against the parts of the world that have shown them hate.
Queer perspectives can be important in conversations about approaches towards environmental care, as shown through the movement of Queer ecology. Queer ecology argues that when approaches to the environment are driven by standard cishetero thinking, the same binaristic, close-mindedness that restricts identity also get applied to the environment. The tendency to put natural variation into rigid categories and boxes — specifically what is and isn’t natural — bleeds over into how cishet people understands the environment. The way that cishet society attempts to reckon with the existence of Queer people is by breaking down identities to put them into boxes. They rationalise gay people to be a separate, discrete category from straight people simply because of their same-sex attraction. Queerness encompasses a wide array of complexities and overlapping identities that cannot be constrained by binary ways of thinking. Are the things about the environment that a cishet worldview is unable to comprehend, constrained by its need for simple classification and categorisation?
“NATURE IS OPEN AND ACCEPTING IN ALL THE WAYS THAT THE CISHET SOCIETY ISN’T.” A Queer understanding of the environment lends itself to embracing the complexity of natural systems, and acknowledges the contradictions and impossibilities of applying rigid frameworks to a world that exists completely beyond that. The categories of species, the models we use to make sense of the world, do not exist in nature; they are constructions we use to understand the world, and are not innate or infallible. Queer understandings of gender and sexuality are constantly evolving and changing, so thinking through the framework of Queer ecology enables us to be more open to the changes in our understanding of the natural world and our place within it.
Ultimately, Queer experiences are wide and varied, and the motivations that drive people to engage in environmental activism differ greatly depending on personal experience. Yet, I hope that I have been able to provide some insight into the different ways that Queerness intersects with a desire to protect the environment and how it stands against the systems that threaten it.
INTERVIEW WITH DILHAN WICKREMANAYAKE: CO-FOUNDER OF URBAN PLANT GROWERS BY ALICE WINN Urban Plant Growers (UPG) is a small e-commerce business, started in 2018 by two UTS alumni in their final year of uni. Their solution to wastage in our food chain is to empower people to grow their own food by providing easy-to-use hydroponic grow kits. We were lucky enough to speak to one of their cofounders, Dilhan Wickremanayake, and gain insight into his journey with UPG, the impact of sustainable engineering, and why green living is so important.
1. Why did you start UPG? UPG started three years ago, and at the time, hydroponics were only accessible by people who were hardcore hobbyists or mass manufacturing factories, growing hydroponics on a huge scale. A lot of this was concentrated in America, the Netherlands, Israel — countries that were more technically advanced in this field. There was nothing really in Australia, especially for Australian consumers. We wanted to teach people about this technology and get them used to growing with this tech. Hydroponics use 90% less water and 90% less fertiliser. [As] we saw all these benefits, we wanted to bring it to everyday people. For an average person in Australia, the only option that we could find was a small toaster-size product that was around $200, located in the US. There was nothing tailored, nothing affordable, nothing that made sense for Australian people, which is how we came up with the idea.
2. If the sky was the limit, what kind of vision do you have for the future of your business? We want to make having a hydroponic farm as common as having a fridge. Every house has a fridge, a microwave, and oven. These are really standard appliances. We say, why not a hydroponic garden too? If you can grow your own food in a sustainable way where you get fresh food and it’s easy to do, then I definitely think there’s a spot in everyone’s home. You can cut out so much waste: they say 30% of food grown in Australia is wasted before it even hits supermarket shelves. Once it hits the supermarket shelves, there’s even more waste and once it hits your own fridge, there’s even more waste. I feel like when you watch the food grow yourself, you know how long it’s taken, and how good it is, so you don’t waste it. You use it very efficiently. And of course, there’s no food mileage in any way. 3. You were a mechanical engineering student at UTS and now you’re an actual engineer. Explain a little about what that’s like. One thing that I thought when I was going into engineering after uni was that everyone would be designing and building things, blah blah blah, but most of engineering isn’t design. Most of engineering is some form of maintenance, operation, or optimisation. Design is typically just a small section of it. The field of engineering that I work in at the moment is energy efficiency, particularly in the quickly-moving property space. There’s a lot going on with microgrids and embedded
figuring out how to do marketing and customer service. Then, we grew to where we are now. 5. Tell us a little about your experience with UTS Startups. When we started uni and UPG, [UTS Startups] was called the ‘Hatchery’, and it was slightly different. It was very young at the time and Peter and I weren’t really aware of it. Then, maybe nine months (after starting the business), we got involved with UTS Startups. About 12 months in, we started getting a bit more involved. They’ve got weekly check-ins or mental check-ins that you do. You can get advice from other people within the community. It’s a really good space to just walk around, bump into someone, and say, “Hey, what are you doing today? Wait a second, I know the solution to your problem.” You’ll inevitably end up with a good idea, or at least a cool learning [experience]. It’s also cool being around so many people who are solution-minded. They find problems, and they want to create and solve, solve, solve. We have gotten heaps of exposure through UTS Startups. They fed us a lot of media opportunities. We’ve done a lot of stuff with them.
4. You’ve obviously been passionate about innovative and sustainable thinking since you were a student. Was it completely impulsive or did you always know you wanted to start your own business? I never wanted to start my own business. Before we started, I knew about hydroponics [and] I was passionate about broader implications to society and where it would fit in. So I was tinkering. And I was building my own systems with PVC pipes, learning how the nutrients work, how much light they needed and all that. My co-founder, Peter Cole, was a serious, — what he called) — serial entrepreneur. He was like, Oh, you’ve got a problem? How can I turn that into a business? He was [also] thinking about hydroponics, but he didn’t have the technical experience. So when we first realised we were both working on this, we chatted. By the end of the call, he’s like, “Alright, we’re starting a business”. It was a bit crazy at the time. We just got to it. We started building our website, our products [and]
networks. There’s a lot of people trying to find alternatives to where they get their power from, and how they can ensure security in their supply. Commercial buildings, office buildings, hotels, shopping centers... there’s a huge amount of waste in how their massive machinery operates to keep the place running. There’s a lot of automation currently going on to fix that. But there’s a lot more that’s in the pipeline and just starting to become common.
6. Did your degree help you with your entrepreneurial endeavours? When it comes to hydro and plants, through mechanical engineering, it’s just physics. Obviously, [it’s also] a bit of biology. But if you think about the flow of fluids in a plant and how the temperature and humidity affects things, it’s quite similar to thermodynamics and fluid flow. In that way, I am a bit technical with UPG stuff. I think I’ve been forced to become a bit more business-y. I mean, I do have a business degree as well, so I had that side covered too. I haven’t used hardcore engineering for a while. A lot of the problems we’ve had with UPG have been business and communication issues: teaching people how hydroponics works, and ensuring that they have a good user experience. But, I think the processes that you learn from engineering are quite essential. Processes need to be set up in the company that are simple enough for everyone to follow and use. The same important mindset is needed to do quality control. 7. What were the main challenges that you faced in the first 12 months? Both as a business and personally? We started in June 2018, when Peter was in his last semester and I was in my second-last semester. Peter finished uni, and went straight into full-time work. That probably would have been a bit of a job, working full-time and afterwards, going to meetings with me, trying to figure this out. For me, I had
a thesis, an internship four days a week, and was doing four subjects in the trimester. So I was getting absolutely flogged, and trying to start the business at the same time. I remember that being incredibly hectic, and probably the hardest six months of my life, but so, so rewarding. Every day, I’d go to bed thinking, I’ve done so much today, this is incredible.
At the end of that semester, the plan was to spend four months [developing] UPG over the summer. But my internship had an opportunity for a full-time grad job, and I decided to give it a crack. I wanted to try that and UPG. It got more intense, because they threw me in the deep end and I had to learn everything really quickly. I was doing work that I probably wasn’t ready for. But I was learning heaps on the business side. Early on, everything was a challenge. I feel that in the first six months or so of staring an e-commerce, it really helps to be a designer or photographer. Taking good photos, knowing how to build a website, how to get socials up and looking good were things that Peter and I were horrible at. I did all the photography myself and built the website. It was really intense on that part. Meanwhile, Peter was trying to figure out how we can find a manufacturer and get the product made. He was the one who first looked into Google and Facebook ads. We started investing a little bit there, and it was definitely unprofitable. But we realised that this is an essential part of an e-commerce business. So he started learning about how that worked. Back then, we had to pack all the orders ourselves in our garage until we moved to a third party fulfillment centre to do that for us, a couple months later. There were just a million things to do. Everything was a challenge. Everything is still a challenge. I’d say we’re still not there yet. But what Peter has done really well is realise when we need to hire and train people. If it was purely my business, I would’ve waited a bit longer and loaded my plate up a bit. He’s been really good at realising, “Okay, we need someone to do this now. And if they do that, we can spend more time doing things that will grow the business.” As a result, we’ve been able to grow UPG quite quickly, because we’ve offloaded tasks and jobs as our workload increased. 8. How are you currently juggling all your commitments? I’m not full-time anymore. I’ve changed up my arrangement a little bit. Over the past year and a half, I’ve been weaning myself off my engineering degree. [In] September 2019, I went in four days a week. [At] the start of 2020, I started doing three days a week. Finally in February this year, I said to my engineering company that I needed to prioritise UPG. [Now I work] maybe six hours a week, other weeks, I might do twenty. They give me tasks and I work flexibly to get it done within their timeline. The agreement is that UPG is my top
priority. So props to them. It’s worked out pretty well. I think having the engineering job and the business really supplement each other because it forces your brain to think in two different ways and then apply them to each other. We’ve [also] got an amazing team. We’ve got a designer who has been with us for two years, a warehouse manager, and really good customer service processes. We’ve also hired a project assistant and it has been awesome having that extra person. Last year, we’d have all these ideas, but we’d never be able to action them because we’d always be under the pump with general operations. Now, having one person whose whole job is designated to growth is really awesome, because they can do all the projects that I never had time for.
In terms of funding, there was pretty much nothing. By the time we were at the stage where people might invest, we were beyond failing. They would have invested when there was no risk, and all we needed was money. And when you’re at the point where there’s no risk, you’ve solved all the problems and all you need is money, you should just get a loan or use some form of credit, like an Amex card. I know [the] NSW Government has a startup funding process, but it’s really stupid. You have to have a working prototype, and the post revenue or post profit. You have to have someone who’s financing you, so some private investment. Then you can apply for the grant and the NSW Government will match that funding. That was really stupid, because that business doesn’t exist. You never have a business that has revenue and funding and a working prototype. It’s just silly. I don’t think there are too many other opportunities in that space. [They invest in] incremental improvements on what already exists. Software is so heavily invested in because it’s so lowrisk. If you’re building a brand new product, and you’re trying to do something crazy, it costs a lot. But software may not necessarily have that same cost attributed to it. That’s why people love investing in software. For sustainable startups, I’d say it’s quite difficult for people to measure their sustainability.
9. What opportunities were available for your ideas to get funding?
As a result, it’s hard to promote yourself based on that, so everyone has their own metric which they take. I think all sustainable startups kind of lack a standardisation in how they measure their sustainability. 10. Your business model empowers people to be more conscious of the environment as individuals. How can we best balance the roles of the individual, business and industry to create a more sustainable future? I think it comes from a couple of directions. I’m a strong supporter of the fact that businesses have to transform individuals. Statistically, if 5% of people go vegetarian, that’s still 5%. Whereas, if big companies were to reduce their emissions by 10%, that could make a bigger impact. [It’s] just the scale that companies operate at, and the resources they have available to them. Companies need to push themselves for sustainability, more so than individuals. If you’re an individual, your role should be to make your company more sustainable. You should be trying to push that company to do everything properly. By doing that, we might be able to solve this better than individual people. It’s not that individual people don’t have a lot of power, it’s just that climate change wasn’t caused by people having their fans or their lights on overnight. And if you say that it is, you’re really just trying to put the blame on individuals, when there are literally corporations who have admitted to a bulk of emissions in history.
In terms of individuals, I think changes to your lifestyle are important, they do make an impact [and] you should do them. At the moment, you should be mindful of how you solve it. There are a lot of businesses who try to sell a product and make [it] seem like it’s the solution to sustainability. I don’t think that’s necessarily true all the time. Even with UPG, we’re very careful with it. Because without doing a life cycle analysis, you don’t really know if something’s better or worse than the alternatives. My belief is that if you use the product enough, it will be better for the environment overall. But we can’t really advertise that. We can’t say that unless we are sure. If you can change people, it makes a huge impact. Me caring about the environment changed my mum, and my mum has just taken and run with it. For about a year, she was like “I don’t get why you care about this... Why is this important? This is really radical.” Then something clicked, and she just changed completely. She’s changed the way she runs her household. She’s even started a community group with 20-30 people in it, and they’ve been doing awesome stuff. They’ve been measuring how much waste they emit per house, going on walks down their local communities, picking up trash, collecting it and diverting it from going into creeks and stormwater drains. [They’ve been] tree planting as well. So I would say one of my biggest impacts on sustainability is getting my mum into it, and her getting all her friends into it. There are many ways individuals can do things.
IS SAVING THE WORLD FROM CLIMATE CHANGE REALLY NECESSARY? CW: Death by Harry Wynter Disclaimer: This is not official advice. The views in this piece are not representative of the Vertigo Editorial Team or the UTSSA.
When there is a threat to human life, it is usually morally right to take action, even when this means breaking the law. Many climate activists take this broad truth and apply it to their protests using the criminal defence of necessity, sometimes construed as the ‘environmental emergency defence.’
It has had very limited success in the UK and US, and has never been successfully argued by protesters in Australia, but the concept remains appealing to people who believe their mildly criminal actions are proportionate to the much greater threat posed by the climate emergency. So what is the necessity defence? And why is it unsuccessful for protesters in Australia?
PRINCIPLES OF THE NECESSITY DEFENCE The necessity defence is used when a person has broken the law in order to prevent a more serious injury to themselves or others, e.g. a person who drove through a red light to rush someone to hospital. It appeals to the common-sense approach to law that a person should not be punished for criminal actions if they were ultimately done with good intentions. This principle has long been argued by people in the protest movement, claiming that when there is apparent injustice and threat to human life, protest in various forms is necessary to intervene and reduce harm. Anybody arrested in the course of these protests should therefore be able to claim that they broke the law out of necessity. Despite the neat logic to this claim, the necessity defence operates under a very narrow scope within the law.
RECENT HISTORY OF THE NECESSITY DEFENCE IN AUSTRALIA
NECESSARY ILLEGAL ACTIONS MUST HAVE NO REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE
The elements of the necessity defence are not defined by legislation, so judges refer to rulings from previous cases in a system known as common law, or case law. In the landmark case R v Loughnan (1981), three tests were established to determine whether a criminal act was ‘necessary’:
As a defence, honestly believing a protest action is necessary to prevent death or serious injury seems like a relatively low bar to pass. But when a court considers whether an illegal action is necessary, they first see if there was a legal alternative to the action. As magistrates repeated to Extinction Rebellion activists during 2020, an alternative to a law-breaking protest is available through a law-abiding protest, public campaigns, divestment, and ultimately through the democratic system by supporting a political party and voting for environmental policy.
(i) the criminal act must have been done in order to avoid certain consequences which would have inflicted irreparable evil upon the accused or upon others whom he or she was bound to protect; (ii) the accused must honestly have believed on reasonable grounds that he or she was placed in a situation of imminent peril;
In R v Rogers (1996), Gleeson J argued that necessity cannot be used in cases where the defendant chose to break the law where another reasonable alternative was possible:
(iii) the acts done to avoid the imminent peril must not be out of proportion to the peril to be avoided.
“The law cannot leave people free to choose for themselves which laws they will obey, or to construct and apply their own set of values inconsistent with those implicit in the law.”
This definition was modernised in R v Rogers (1996): “[If the person] honestly believed, on reasonable grounds, that [their action] was necessary in order to avoid threatened death or serious injury.” This ruling loosened the definition so it no longer required certain, imminent peril, and focused on the genuine intentions of the person taking action. While this effectively replaces the three tests in R v Loughnan, it is still worth noting the earlier form in the evolution of the law.
ACTIONS TO AVOID THE THREAT OF DEATH The World Health Organisation conservatively estimates that between 2030-2050, climate change will kill 250, 000 people per year worldwide; Australia was recently ranked 57th out of 61 countries on the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index. The top ten CO2-equivalent emissions per capita are: Kuwait, Brunei, Niue, Qatar, Belize, Oman, Bahrain, Australia, United Arab Emirates, and Libya.
Australian courts have never accepted that lawbreaking protests are ‘necessary’ because there are many legal paths available to change policy or rally around social causes.
SEPARATION OF POWERS In most Western forms of government there is a separation of powers which divides the process of making and prosecuting laws between three branches of government. One entity cannot be judge, jury, and executioner. 1 When protests are held against government, policies — and most are, either directly or indirectly — the court has another compelling reason not to allow a necessity defence. To accept that it was necessary to break the law, the judiciary would have to directly condemn the decisions of the government, but they have no place intervening in policy just as politicians have no place intervening in court cases. The court will be reluctant to explicitly condone law-breaking protests against the government.
LOSING BUT STILL WINNING
NECESSITY AND SELF-DEFENSE
Even though the necessity defence is unlikely to lead to acquittal, there are still reasons to present the argument in court. It is an effective way of calling expert witnesses and making a statement on public record that the dangers of the climate emergency are known, and a threat to life.
In many scenarios where there is an intervention to stop a direct threat (such as a person chaining themselves to a tree to protect it from a bulldozer) self-defence is likely to be more suitable than a necessity defence. Unlike necessity, self-defence is clearly legislated and extends to defence of property as well as other people.
If someone wanted to use the necessity defence to make such a statement, they should consider reverse-engineering their protest action to meet the requirements of the defence. It is not enough to be arrested and then instruct a lawyer to put forward the defence — the judge will only allow it if it meets the common law tests: The person must reasonably believe that their actions were the only way to avoid threatened death or serious injury.
Disclaimers: The author does not encourage any unlawful or dangerous activity. None of the above is legal advice.
This will be impossible if a person blocks a road, or disrupts an office building to protest carbon emissions to avoid deaths when climate change causes mass displacement and food insecurity, somewhere in the future. While it might be true in the abstract, there is too much distance, and too many opportunities for law-abiding alternatives between the protest action and the harm.
What seems to draw activists to the necessity defence is the logic that the climate emergency constrains immediate action. There is an understandable need to have the government recognise this, but policy considerations make it difficult for the court to accept, for now. The defence offers a unique opportunity for activists to make a public statement about their cause, but to be used effectively, it must be understood in its very narrow place within the law.
With thanks to Prof. Murray Lee, Associate Dean of Research and Dr Andrew Dyer, Director, at the Institute of Criminology, University of Sydney Law School; Nicole Roberts from Extinction Rebellion; and Julia Grix and Rachel Barwick from the Environmental Defenders Office
The risk of running a necessity defence on moral and not legal principles is that if a case does succeed in the Local Courts, it would almost certainly be appealed and heard again in a higher court, under much more scrutiny. If the case was overturned, it could set a negative precedent and make it very difficult for other environmental necessity cases to run. So thinking big picture, the environmental movement may be better off to wait until there is a really strong case for necessity, prepared by a team of lawyers ready to take it all the way to the High Court.
1. PEO. Understand Our Parliament.
A Pastoral Phantasmagoria FICTION
by India Turner
I. I had known you from another boat on the same river On the same river in the same prairie Henceforth; when I was a moth Coming astern and soapy water making lisle progressions from the wing Beneath, there are pondweeds which tether wooden boats and lily pads and carcasses to the sunken banks And wings In this morning, bathing in that algae water, your hair is auburn like the sun You light a joint in your mouth Your laugh is that of a boy — it always has been — and I have always articulated you in such a way I apologise now, because I know you are more. Almost drowning between the rushes, the wings are pulled backwards and earthbound But here you are hallowed by the sun, and you will be shepherded upward to heaven Unholy and wingless, but angelic in such a way Your fishing net is untangled now Summer will bring you endless harvest Of promise Of berries, and fish, and sunlight, and love Somewhere ceaselessly in this cathedral And from beneath the water of which I am held to without enquiry, eternally I have known your dream
II. Here in this dream, I had known you From the same river The water which carries boats and lake weed pollen against the same prairie always Henceforth; when I was an angel All clovers and mushrooms circumnavigate browns of which foliage has nursed and then smothered At noon everything is in equilibrium And you tail the river this time as a hunter Searching Passive beyond the mouths of the hedgerow I hang backward over a branch So if I fall It would be to fly And you wade wide-eyed, headfirst and callow into the rushes And the water becomes a darker green, the same way you thought your eyes did in the summer Until you remembered how this land could move beneath you And you would drown each time
The river subsides to the water snakes They surface to lick the fallen leaves from your palms And I watch from my branch as you feed your killers graciously by hand Clouds move in circles around the sun The water oscillates, then settles into a single stillness As the serpents carry you through the green Clawing upon the mossy embankment, the white of my dress withers under the earth My hands below the tide Searching And sinking between the skeletons of moths and reeds I know you would go unwavering Because beneath, the seasons will escape you And in here in your dream by your river I will wait for you always
III. I dreamed I had known you These waters would dream for you every time Henceforth; when I was a child The dialogue from prairie to riverbed to sky is held between a vision now Water pearls around my neck beside the curator Or hunter And you, my wayfarer With a lacuna between the prayers of distant trees and My prairie nightgown which gathers up about my legs Here, snowfall makes ceramics of river stonesOf the river, stillness. As the way that moths await at the threshold, Liminality feels warm and light INDIA TURNER
Under the planks of this watery death Old mahogany straining against old rope by an embankment I invoke you beside me So that in this dream, in every dream I might stay In this prairie Lying tenderly beside you
IV. Life is a phantasmagoria in a wooden boat which sails through my river Henceforth; when I was a lover Wandering from prairie snakes and grass and moths and the singular anatomy of continuing To some vanishing point beyond this And you pull the oars against the water which opens by a small lamp, and the sky ceaseless and the river deathless Because wherever I am going, I have known these waters And so, with the things you have set upon my palms I listen at last Silently as things drown away
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I am a river and I told you what I did SECTION FICTION NAME
Words by Kate Rafferty Photograph by Rachel Percival
I am a river. Ripples and waves and trees rocked by thunder. The creek won’t cut it — I’m Niagara Falls. Don’t tell me your sorrows, I won’t hear them, Not over my thrash and rise. My current’s a riot and I’m flooding, All ice and fury. I don’t cower, not anymore, Not after what you did. You left me to rot, but I didn’t, I met the reeds, They wrapped their roots around me, And armoured me in green, When I grew strong I braced, I told them what you did. We’re seething, now, the reeds and me. Livid for the waters and vines, The ones you spoiled and strangled, You thought we’d let that slide, The thing is, I’m not a fan of slippery, Only steady storms, I found my temper in the torrent, Where there’s no cleansing of crimes. You say I’m churning false streams, now, A crusade against your kind, But really, I’m planning a tempest, You can’t run, you can’t hide, I’ll be bigger than Iguazú, and not as nice as Tame, And I’ve left mercy at the riverbank, Because you did the same.
A COLLECTION OF PHONE PORTRAITS by Shea Donohoe
Jimmy, Hyde Park Starbucks (2020)
Luisha-Belle, Malabar (2020)
Soph, Clovelly (2020)
Will, Breakfast Point (2021)
Will, Little Bay Beach (2021)
GRAPEVINE CW: Alcohol
by Shea Donohoe
you’re a grapevine, curling around the edges of things passing on news. when people say they heard it (through the grapevine) they’re talking about you. i guess not, you say your eyes glitter, but not in a pretty way are you crying, i ask you reply with a question, don’t you want people to like you?
SECTION NAME SHOWCASE
have you ever tried to satisfy yourself?
later that night you realise the people are thirsty i watch as you melt into wine you get people drunk and you love that they love you even for a fleeting– it doesn’t last long at the end of the night, the people go to sleep all that is left of you sits at the bottom of an unwashed glass you are poured down the sink the next morning.
HOW TO SELL YOUR SOUL TO SEITAN OFFHAND
by Joella Marcus
DISCLAIMER: I am not a health professional and this advice is just a guideline to what worked best for me. For professional advice, please consider speaking to a GP, nutritionist, or dietician where relevant. Readers should be advised that this article may be triggering for survivors of eating disorders. It is also important to note the ethical impacts of some spices mentioned in this article. Research and buy from sources that have ethical and fair farming practices.” As the plant-based diet begins to grow in popularity, some may question why. But eating plantbased isn’t just a fad or an influencer-cult; it’s a diet filled with benefits for both you and the environment — which explains why it aligns with our climateconscious generation. In Australia, our meat consumption habits are among the highest in the world, with the average Australian consuming 110kg of meat a year.1 The livestock and agriculture industry is the largest environmentally taxing industry, due to its land usage, water consumption and overall emissions being the second highest greenhouse gas producers. The agriculture industry uses 70% of freshwater reserves. To put that amount into perspective the water required to produce one beef burger is equivalent to 32 showers!2 But let’s focus on you — the consumer. This diet will not only do the world good, but will benefit your health. Firstly, your blood pressure, cholesterol, and saturated-fat.... #notallfats consumption will most likely decrease, and the types of nutrients you consume, will broaden. I’m not saying that all animal products are unhealthy, however, the gut can be positively influenced by consuming plant-based iron versus animal-based iron. Additionally, a plant-based diet has also been associated with a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and chronic diseases.
GOLDEN RULE: SEASON YOUR FOOD & ADD SOME SPICE The must-have seasonings: 1.
Garlic — there’s no such thing as too much
Cumin — a spice of all trades
Vegetable Broth — will add depth and a flavourful base to your dishes
Paprika — she has range, she can be subtle or spicy
Fresh herbs — basil, oregano, coriander (the fresher, the better!)
Get saucy — pesto, soy, peanut, teriyaki, Sriracha, and so on
ABS Statistics. The Essential Vegan Toolkit by Sara Botero 3 VIC GOV Better Health 4 GOV Health Direct 1
GETTING STARTED GO EAT! If you’re living in Sydney, the vegan/vegetarian movement is booming and there are plenty of great eateries that can show you how good plant-based food can be! Mark & Vinny’s @markandvinnys on Instagram Gigi Pizzeria @gigipizzeria on Instagram
Start small and slow Look at how often you eat meat and start by reducing it each week. If it’s everyday, start with Meatless Mondays or commit to a meatless meal-time, say breakfast. It’s a marathon, not a sprint Hopefully, you’ll want to maintain this diet for good so don’t try to go cold turkey. If you restrict yourself, you’ll be more likely to bounce back as you will crave what you haven’t allowed yourself to have. Make it special Save eating meat for special occasions, like a Sunday’s pub feed. This will make it feel like a treat and will also increase the amount of time between meat consumption, making it easier for your body and palette to adjust. Get others involved Make it a group effort and see if your household or friends want to make a conscious effort to eat more plant-based meals. It’s a lot easier when those around you aren’t eating meat and you can also enjoy shared meals together. Save your money When starting out, you may be tempted by fancy fake meats and overpriced alternatives but save your dollars. The best recipes will be using your household items. Try flipping your favourite recipes by subbing the meat for a veggie instead. Be realistic Start by focusing on the meals you can control and don’t get too funky, too fast. Yes, some will use shredded jackfruit as meat or the skins of a zucchini, but start at square one and save yourself disappointment by your lack of culinary skills — we don’t want this transition to be a miss-steak. Make it fun It will be an adjustment but get excited about it! Don’t make it a chore, make it an active choice. Save cool recipes on Pinterest, follow food-bloggers on Instagram, and have fun in the kitchen! Try alternatives out and find recipes that you would genuinely enjoy eating, Tofurkey isn’t for everyone. Get educated Millions of people who lead a plant-based diet know what works best for them. Follow, watch, listen, and read about what this diet can offer, it will make the transition 10x easier. See if there is anything, or anyone, you resonate with to provide some further motivation.
RaRa Ramen @rara__ramen on Instagram Sydney Vegan Market @sydneyveganmarket on Instagram Golden Lotus Vegan @goldenlotusvegan on Instagram Yulli’s @yullissurryhills on Instagram Two Chaps @twochapscafe on Instagram Badde Manors @baddemanors on Instagram Lillipad Cafe @lillipadsydney on Instagram Little Turtle @littleturtlerestaurant on Instagram Kindness Cafe @kindnesscafe on Instagram
Making (a) sense of
sustainability Daniel Ferreira interviewed by Jessica Respall
Who are we? SECTION AMPLIFY NAME
Jessica Respall Jess is a compassionate environmental scientist and complex problem solver. Fascinated by living systems, she studied broadly within a Bachelors of Science (Environmental). While simultaneously completing a Bachelors of Creative Intelligence and Innovation, she developed strong problem-solving skills and applied them in various projects around campus such as at the UTS Vegan Society (2017), UTS Environment Collective (2018), and her election to the UTS Students Association Student Representative Council (2019). Since completing a capstone project exploring Indigenous Solidarity and graduating, she is focused on her job hunt and further developing her anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, social justice and environmental advocacy. Daniel Ferreira Dan is a habitat designer for all creatures of this earth. From humans, to bacteria in the soil, he has a passion for building homes using materials obtained directly from the earth, like clay, sand, and wood. He applies this creative process, learned through his studies of Design and the Bachelors of Creative Intelligence and Innovation at UTS, to create beautiful homes that afford beautiful lives for the creatures that inhabit them. Since graduating, he has finished designing his own tiny home on the back of a truck, and developed his understanding of permaculture, beginning work building a food forest on a property in Rossglen, northern NSW.
Although Dan and I explored this idea through our different academic learnings and our own lived experiences, there is so much more for us to learn. If this article sparks an interest in readers to explore this feeling-oriented process of sustainability, we urge them to recognise and respect relevant sacred and cultural ties, and look to support First Nations liberation and leadership movements in Australia.
↓↓↓ Two UTS graduates, just over a year out of university and one pandemic later, sit down for a late-night chat about sustainability. Friends, Daniel Ferreira (Living on Bidjigal Land) and Jessica Respall (Living on Birpi Land), discuss their evolving understanding of the term 'sustainability' and try their best to make sense of the matter, if not a sense.
Jess: ↘ So, I have noticed these days that everyone's talking about 'sustainability.' It’s the new buzzword across every discipline, but people seem to have different definitions of it. What is your definition of sustainability? How did you form it? And how has it changed over time?
Since having this conversation, Dan and I have realised that this skill (or sense) we described in the below conversation — listening to your environment and yourself in order to recognise the right course of action and the feeling of being connected with the world around you — isn’t something new. Many cultures, including Indigenous customs, have developed an advanced sense for ‘sustainability’ and deep sacred connections between people, the earth, and their living ecosystems.
Dan: ↘ Ugh… This is a conversation that I need to set boundaries around in terms of what feels healthy for me. I can sit through a few conversations about ‘ra-ra the environment and ra-ra sustainability’. I can engage in those, and it might even be a bit of fun. But in terms of how I want to approach sustainability in my life now, it’s more about the body, feeling, and intuition. To have a conversation in the analytical, rational, masculine energy is okay, but it also needs to be balanced with the more grounded, feeling, sensing, feminine energy. I’m yearning to make a contribution to myself, my community and the planet. What is my gift? I haven’t really decided per se. I find myself cycling through creative processes and experiences, and my intended output is constantly changing and unfolding. Right now, I’m at Rossglen. The imagination I have for this space currently is to grow a food forest. The actions I’m taking to allow for this don’t feel strenuous or laborious or difficult. I have no structure or set rules to achieve it, I just trust in myself and what I am called to do next. For me, sustainability is emergent behaviour that I am called to do each day and just trusting in that emergent path that is allowed for me in a moment. It’s like a flow state.
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That kind of reminds me of what I have learned about in Ecology about how healthy ecosystems operate. In a healthy, working ecosystem all resources (for example: water, sunlight, space, nitrate) tend to be pretty locked, and so too the available actions of creatures and plants within it. As a result, an ecosystem maintains its population sizes and ratios. An ecosystem also dictates movement and available travel paths, allowing different creatures to occupy different ecological niches (unique habitats and roles). This is how ecosystems sustain themselves, this is how they work. It is less about what a creature or plant wills to do, but what path the ecosystem allows for them in order to maintain the balance and healthy function of the ecosystem as a whole. In this case, sustainability isn’t something designed or defined by any one creature, but by the ecosystem itself. I guess what you’re describing is being able to listen to that, to recognise that emergent path and to trust in it being what is right at that moment. To go with the flow. That flow state sounds pretty special though… and I feel like I too experienced that when I visited you up at Rossglen. Things just happened. For example, I remember one afternoon we were just chilling and talking inside the guest studio, and we decided to go for a walk.
We noticed that some plants on the property had dried out and their seed pods had opened, and the seeds were ready for harvesting. With no prior planning, we knew we needed to collect these seeds. After that, we walked down to the river, saw the boat and we both had this urge to go out on the boat for no apparent reason. While travelling down the river, we passed this block of land that had recently become available and we pulled up and explored the property and had conversations about what if we had access to this land and the food forest extended down the river. We returned to the studio, harvested and sorted the seeds and jammed until the sun went down. It was a completely emergent afternoon, but we got really important things done that we didn’t even know needed to get done at the beginning of the day. That was such a weird experience, but it was so nice. Have you experienced this vibe anywhere else or do you think it’s something unique to Rossglen? Dan: ↘ The vibe isn’t location-based, it’s very internal. That moment to moment, unplanned beingness, is a state that seems to be accessible most of the time just within myself. Unless there’s some nasty stuff happening, like a bad conflict or I’m not vibing a moment, then, I kinda snap out of that a little bit. But in general, the flow state feels available to me most of the time. And then when you find someone else who is in that flow state, like we were in Rossglen, it’s so glorious.
Jess: ↘ Oh wow! That’s so true — why should it have to be special to Rossglen? I could just take that state with me. Although, have you found anything beyond yourself that has impacted your capacity to be in this state? Dan: ↘ Recently I have been travelling around and visiting lots of different ecovillages that you could say are doing similar work to what’s being done at Rossglen. I have noticed that any leadership or structure haven’t ever seemed to be a catalyst for this 'flow state' and way of being.
Jess: ↘ What inner work did you need to do to let yourself trust in this way of doing things?
Not to put this idea of 'flow state' on a pedestal, as if it’s better or to be desired anymore than the more rational, analytical thinking. I just think it’s easier for me to appreciate, because the alternative rational and analytical thinking is so abundant and I feel like it drowns out most of the discussion around sustainability these days. What seems to be the gift I am giving with Rossglen, isn’t so much the food forest or the project itself, but perhaps simply the invitation I am giving to others. I am holding space for that energy, for that more body-based, intuition-based style of living. I am just inviting people to drop into that experience of self and just being...
Dan: ↘ Bureaucracy, hierarchies of roles and responsibilities, and rule structures are all in the rational, logical understanding space. They’re in the masculine space — a completely different realm. They’re okay, but to talk about them in the same sentence doesn’t work.
I very much came from a place of thinking I was an independent and isolated individual in this world. I thought I was separate from nature, other people, my family, plants, and houses. My healing process has been my reintegration into everything. I am everything. These words seem so superficial because the real internal meaning of these words is so much deeper than the words themselves. I am everything and everything is me. Every movement or interaction giving or receiving is me. Jess: ↘ I guess some humans have removed themselves from nature, and created these bubbles of concrete, infrastructure, and technology that stops them from experiencing or hearing natural cues anymore. Or at least with so much going on, natural cues can be harder to recognise. You holding space for people to reintegrate themselves with nature and with themselves is really special.
"FOR ME, SUSTAINABILITY IS EMERGENT BEHAVIOUR THAT I AM CALLED TO DO EACH DAY... IT’S LIKE A FLOW STATE.."
Propagate by Ch’aska Cuba de Reed This work was originally published in Babyteeth Arts Journal, reproduced here with permission.
I brush my hair one hundred times each morning, counting through each stroke on either side. One morning, when the right-hand side of my kitchen was being used to dry excess dishes, I realised that I could shorten my tea routine if I always plugged the kettle in to the left of the sink. I was nearer the fridge this way, and if I moved my tea bags to that side of the counter, I could finish making a cup of English Breakfast without doing more than two triangles worth of steps.
I boil my eggs with an egg timer, one that changes from light to dark as the eggs change from soft to hard. In the early afternoon, I sit outside to answer emails and complete university assignments. I sit in the middle of the wooden table, my notebooks and textbooks stacked to one side, whatever I am reading at the moment on the other. While I am studying, I look towards the corner of the courtyard, where the roof meets the wall that separates me from my neighbours. A long vine has grown, curling itself into a twisted, uncomfortable shape in its mission for light. I stand and get the scissors from the second drawer in the kitchen before snipping the vine off at the base. I cut it into pieces in the kitchen, each snip purposeful, and tip the remains into the bin under the sink. Plants can propagate if the cutting is strong enough, and I’m afraid it may grow out of something rotting in there. I type my notes into a blinking blank page first, and then handwrite summaries of my summaries after.
Illustrations by Jess Teasdale
While I’m preparing lunch, I consider the days since I last called my mother. One, I went grocery shopping and didn’t have any time after spending so long navigating the new aisle set up at my local.
town in the Southern Highlands. I was vivacious, eager to begin a Three, new life for myself in cooking the big smoke. Looking I spent the day my meals for the back, week. the notion of travelling to one destination beginning I’d never mastered one-pot pasta soand there was a lot of a hierarchical journey in aafterwards. Eurocentric system is a path I cleaning up to do inadvertently followed.
Four, my day off from studying, I’d gone to the cinema Nevertheless, I felt immense support from UTS which to watch a film and came lateras than expected, helped me gain confidence in myhome abilities a designer. meaning I had to eat one of my pre-made lunches. From the financial assistance team helping me out with expensive Adobe subscriptions, to the free Bluebird meals providing students with noodle-y goodness, Five, replacing the pre-made lunch tookI felt justas as though many all of mydishes needsaswere met by making UTS over the past couple when I was a week’s worth. of years. I lived at Yura Mudang (UTS accommodation), made friends, and pursued a degree which has given me a Six, I hadn’t wanted to. foundation to build my career upon. Seven, I hadn’t wanted to.
My goals sometimes felt impossible, especially this year. The bushfires came up to the village next to my hometown, today. I suppose I must. and thenEight, the pandemic hit while I was starting my final year. While being away from home was hard, campus life connected me with Gadigal land and theitinspiring I take large mouthfuls of my tea, once has cooled, people who live here, as mouth, well asswallowing more opportunities than and hold it in my in two large I could imagine. gulps. Living on campus made life easier when I studied the Google Project (I highly recommend that subject for VisCommers) and worked as an intern at Digitas My mother’s voice is flustered as she answers, as (an opportunity provided to some of us by the Visual though I’ve interrupted her in the middle of a workout. Communications faculty). areonce you told doing?” ready to offer to callwhat back A friend“What of mine me Itoask, become clear about later. my priorities are and follow through with those, otherwise, one’s existence becomes a fractured mess. So I found my holistic priorities finishing my degree withNothing. marks that “Nothing!— I mean, I was just… no, no. I’m will get me into study, here,further how are you?”meditation, starting my freelance business as well as being active every day — which made
it easier for me to see tiny steps of progress. Visualisation is a meditation use, which requires taking some “Are you there?”technique My motherI worries. time out of your day to imagine yourself in the life you want as athe personsound you want to be.be taken as Iand make grunting that could confirmation as I push myself onto a set of drawers I advise students to seek out financial support when in beneath the vine.
Two, I hadn’t finished a book in so long, I had to spend the day finishing the one I’d spent the last week on. I 52travelling books a year — onefrom a week. I startedhad life aatgoal UTSofby up north a small
We exchange pleasantries back and forth, and just as she begins to disjointedly discuss the pros and cons of whether we should have yum cha or high tea the next time we see each other, I see in the corner of the room a long tendril hanging. It looks the same as the one growing outside, though much longer. I wonder, as I grab my scissors, how it can be so speedy. I hadn’t even noticed it yesterday, and I could’ve sworn I’d dusted.
need. I know first hand that there is nothing worse than eating two-minute noodles every night while working part“Sorry—” snip, “sorry, yeah. I’mtrying here.”to maintain good grades. time, studying full-time and Another tip is to ask for help — see your tutor outside of Iclass eat atime, bowleither of greens tofucall for or lunch, a side of on aand Zoom in-person. They are there torice help scare you! Get together brown to you, keepnot meto full for longer. I input the with your peers forinto social hangouts friendships that will amounts a food tracker,and andmake then handwrite them giveayou heartwarming memories and funny anecdotes into small green notebook. which will be with you for years to come. When I realise that we hadn’t come to an agreement Consequently, the pandemic became a wise tutor that about where to eat, I call my mother back.
taught us how connected we really are. As designers, we have the chance to change the way people see and “Doesn’t high tea have champagne?” I ask. feel about things and how well people are educated on important issues. Aritvism is a way people express activism visually onOne social media and has played a key role in the “Well, yes. glass, complimentary. I don’t really BLM that protests asbe well LGBTIQA+ liberation. Design can think would an as issue— ” be used for the betterment of society or perpetuate more negative influences, such as “And promoting toxic ideologies “Let’s do yum cha,” I interrupt. not this week, through propaganda. Rather than succumbing to our maybe next. I’m really busy right now with exams.” animalistic natures (you’ve seen it — people fighting over toilet paper), we have the privilege to help people connect When welove, hangfriendship, up a secondjoy time, that I hadn’t through andI realise empathy. cut the vine high enough at all, it must have had an offshoot thatvalues I hadn’t noticed. It wraps overand me,live my life These are the I wish to design with by. smaller vines gripping it to the plaster of the ceiling like tiny hands.
Concept statement for showcase piece:
When I take the cuttings to the bin this time, I use the stove lighter on a few of the small tendrils and watch them as they curl into themselves. I set an alarm for my washing and hang it out to dry in the courtyard immediately. I hate that musty smell of clothes that have sat in the drum for too long.
CH’ASECTION SKA CUBANAME DE REED
Every Wednesday, after my study, I do the glass and stainless steel. In a studio apartment, there isn’t much space and I constantly feel it concaving in on itself. When I take the microfibre cloth and cleaning spray to the fridge front, I see white flecks staining its surface. With a shudder, I realise that they could just as well be toothpaste as they could be tiny flecks of dried cream. Keeping the room clean is the only thing that keeps it open enough for me to breathe. openby thetravelling cupboardup beneath the sink to put the I startedWhen life atI UTS north from a small town in cleaning the Southern Highlands. I was eager to supplies back, I have tovivacious, hack through shoots begin a of new life forImyself in the Looking back, bamboo. stack them bybig thesmoke. door like firewood. the notion of travelling to one destination and beginning a hierarchical a Eurocentric system is aout path I bring journey my studyinthings inside and lay them on Ithe inadvertently followed. dining table. I read for half an hour until I’ve reached a point that’s good to bookmark.
Nevertheless, I felt immense support from UTS which helped me gain confidence in my abilities as a designer. a warm assistance enough dayteam that my clothes From theIt’sfinancial helping mehave out dried with in just a few hours. My shirts are crisp from themeals sun, expensive Adobe subscriptions, to the free Bluebird providing students withmy noodle-y I felt as though cracking under hands asgoodness, I fold them, placing them all of mycarefully needs were met by UTS over the past couple in their respective drawers. Anything that of years.doesn’t I lived look at Yura likeMudang new I put(UTS to theaccommodation), side to be donated. made friends, and pursued a degree which has given me a foundation to build my career upon.
I’d pointed out that the curtains were colourful; that they meant the light coming in from the living room wouldn’t wake me with a startle but with a gentle yellow hue. She shrugged and said it was my choice. Now the curtains are green with moss. I pace the perimeter of the apartment as I eat an afternoon snack of cheese and crackers. When I finish, I lick up the small crumbly pieces of cheddar that remain in the bottom of the plastic container. Even though I know it makes more sense to exercise in the mornings, I like to do it in the late afternoon. I roll out my foam mat, the thicker kind to counteract the hard floors. I lay the mat down at the foot of my bed, where a patch of clovers lie. As I stretch I spot a fourit easier for into me downward to see tiny dog, stepsI think of progress. Visualisation is a one. meditation I use, which requires leaf Leaningtechnique close, all that looks up at me aretaking some time out of of three, your day imagine life you want bunches andto I stamp theyourself pockets in of the green and thethey person be. of brown dust. I downasuntil turnyou intowant a finetolayer sweep them up into a dustpan and pour them into my I advise students to seek out financial support when in compost bin by the sink.
need. I know first hand that there is nothing worse than eating two-minute noodles every night while working partAn avocado seed I threwand out atrying weekto ago sits in there, time, studying full-time maintain good grades. it’s smooth surface cracking into perfect halves, Another tip is to ask for help — see your tutor aoutside of long out.aWhen try toorclose the lid They that are classstalk time,sticking either on ZoomI call in-person. there to help you, not to scare Get fit perfectly just moments earlier,you! I have totogether snap the with your peers forinsocial seedling two. hangouts and make friendships that will give you heartwarming memories and funny anecdotes which will be with for years to come. I answer emails andyou messages at the dining room
In the bedroom section of the apartment, I’ve set up curtains that my mother said reminded her of a My goalsthe sometimes felt impossible, especially this year. hospital whenupshe me move in.my hometown, The bushfires came to helped the village next to
table. I ignore my phone vibrating with an incoming Consequently, the pandemic became a wise tutor that call, turning it off to ensure I won’t check it.
A friend of mine once told me to become clear about what my priorities are and follow through with those, otherwise, one’s existence becomes a fractured mess. So I found my holistic priorities — finishing my degree with marks that will get me into further study, meditation, starting my freelance business as well as being active every day — which made
move at all. When I stick the tip of my blue pen into it, the plant shut and thentothe smaller mouths thatmy life These aresnaps the values I wish design with and live by. lie across all my other notebooks slam shut in echo. I have never felt more invisible.
and then the pandemic hit while I was starting my final year. While being away from home was hard, campus life connected me with Gadigal land and the inspiring people who live here, as well as more opportunities than I could imagine. Living on campus made life easier when I studied the Google Project (I highly recommend that subject for VisCommers) and worked as an intern at Digitas (an opportunity provided to some of us by the Visual Communications faculty).
taught us how connected we really are. As designers, we have the chance to change the way people see and It’s whichand means the sun stays feelsummer, about things howthat well people are out educated on longer and I can leave the lights off until 7 or 8pm. important issues. Aritvism is a way people express activism and a keyfor role in the Ivisually use theon lastsocial of themedia daylight to has fill inplayed my planner BLMnext protests well as LGBTIQA+ liberation. Design can the day. I as have classes in the morning, a few be used for the society or perpetuate assignments due,betterment though I’ve of handed those in already. more negative such toxic Early is oninfluences, time and on timeas is promoting late, I always say.ideologies through propaganda. Rather than succumbing to our animalistic natures (you’ve seen it — people fighting over There is a Venus flytrap protecting my leather-bound toilet paper), we have the privilege to help people connect planner. I reach intojoy its waiting mouth, it doesn’t through When love, friendship, and empathy.
Concept statement for showcase piece:
I use my pen to pry their heads open one by one and colour their insides blue. I eat dinner in front of my laptop, using the time to re-watch a lecture in preparation for an exam in a few weeks. Recently, I’ve gotten into baking bread. I like to do miscellaneous cooking at night. There are a few hours that I leave free for wiggle room, things that may come up out of the blue or that don’t fit into the more structured parts of my day. I decide to make sourdough loaves for two friends who’ve recently moved out together. I get out the flour and my sourdough starter, which I’ve nurtured since moving into the studio over a year ago. Removing the plastic twist top from the plain flour, I find lemongrass sprouts peeking through the white. I dig six cups out from around them, twisting the lid on extra tight when I close it.
When the loaves come out of the oven, they are draped in waxy leaves that are starting to brown from the heat. I slide the tray back in and burn everything, deciding to pick up candles for the housewarming instead. I have a cup of tea to dispel any post-dinner sugar cravings. I sip it in bed while watching a show. With nothing but my bedside lamp to light up the apartment, the jungle loses its green. Dark shadows of Devil’s Ivy curve over my fresh white sheets, and when I lean onto my pillows, I hear the squishy crack of a stem beneath me. I reach over to my bedside and finally turn my phone back on. Seven missed calls sit from my mother, a flurry of text message notifications beneath. I turn it off and put it back on the bedside table and slip further into the sheets. A tendril wraps around my left ankle. Another slides across my collarbones, holding me into the downy, soft of my duvet. In the morning, when I open my mouth, all I taste is green.
R.I.P ENVIRO SUBJECTS: NON-FICTION
Geological Processes Alpine and Lowland Ecology Forest and Mountain Ecology Semi-arid Ecology
An open letter to UTS
by Melissa Sukkarieh, Damien Nguyen, Finn Billyard and Anna Thieben
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece are not those of Vertigo or the UTSSA.
I would like to begin by thanking you all for coming today, and for those who have sent in their condolences. From this day forth, the hearts of all Environmental Science students will be heavy. Four environmental subjects have been tragically lost. Last year, the Liberal government brutally hacked away 29% of funding for Environmental subject courses.1 This was one of the largest cuts to any university course. A crime of this nature must be investigated and condemned. Actions like these should not be condoned, under any circumstances.
We miss you, Geological Processes. You would have taught students so much about the geological history of ecosystems and their effects on the resulting environments. You are, and forever will be, my favorite subject. Your absence leaves a gaping hole in the quality of our education. You were the last of your kind; the only geology subject we had left. Alas, we are left, on the top of this mountain, stranded, with no way of identifying the rocks beneath our feet. We will never forget Alpine and Lowland Ecology, Forest and Mountain Ecology and Semi-arid Ecology. You took us outside our comfort zone, on excursions into the ecosystems of NSW. You showed us our environment, its unique problems, and the challenges it faces from human activity. In an industry that is so focused on fieldwork, you were key in exposing us to these practical skills. You were loved by students. In fact, you were used in every orientation day presentation to promote how practical and exciting this degree could be. Too bad, you were too expensive for this university to justify. It is heartbreaking that our journey with you ends here.
hypocritical for this university to declare a climate emergency, whilst continuing to strip funding from the education of future environmental scientists. After all, scientists will be at the forefront of fighting climate change. With zero transparency between students and staff, entire subjects that are still being used to promote environmental courses are being cut away, and the quality of education is slowly decaying. Yet in the wake of these murders, we have seen no action from university management… an interesting lack of reaction from a university that claims to be environmentally conscious. It’s sad to imagine current and new Environmental Science students mourning the loss of subjects they never got to know.
We gather here today to mourn the loss of our fellow courses.
UTS, we condemn you for reducing the quality of environmental science education at such a pivotal time in the environmental movement.
It causes us even more pain to realise that Environmental Science is only one domino in the line of courses to fall. Just within the past year, 357 UTS staff members have been cut through the ‘Voluntary Separation Program’. Countless more casual and fixed-term staff will become casualties in the coming years. While we mourn these subjects, we also mourn adequately funded tertiary education. We mourn the lost staff. Above all we mourn universities functioning for students, instead of for profit. We know it will not be in vain, as students we will continue to fight for staff, continue to fight against subject cuts, and continue to fight for free and accessible education. Zhoe, N. (2020). Environmental science hit with severe funding cuts in Coalition universities overhaul. The Guardian.
Dear UTS, we’re blaming you. By removing these subjects, you are not only letting students graduate unprepared and inexperienced in their field, but you’re also preventing us from tackling the real and ever-looming issue of climate change. It’s
SUMMER ↘ AUTUMN
Words and photographs by Zac Agius
SECTION FICTION NAME
CW: Alcohol, blood
Doing things methodically Repeating and repeating The chaos becomes clear The unnatural natural Do this Do that Do this again Keep on keeping on and
Do that again
Keep on keeping on Change will come in ways you want And ways You don’t Be with the water and the air And the grass and the trees and the soil And the concrete pillars that grow because we plant them Second nature is still nature, I suppose Deadly tired (but I’ve been tired-er) And I will be so, again Drifting and drifting, I hear you call I listen and remember and wish you can hear me call back to you Drifting and dreaming Drifting and dreaming
Drifting and dreaming
When they strike it is beautiful. They come, one after the other Flashing by, almost too quickly to catch When they do not strike it is hard. The world becomes harder The days longer The music bleaker And they have not struck for some time now Enough time, that I wonder if they will strike again. But if my faith wavers elsewhere it cannot waver here.
Where will I be? What will I be? What am I this year? The city passes by the carriage windows and slowly turns to bush The green I crave But where is the blue?
Surely I will make it to the ocean soon For now the changing sky will have to suffice Graffiti thins and disperses and congregates on the train line I don’t remember there being so many billboards when I was younger
In the new year In the new year In the new year
SECTION FICTION NAME
Something, something, something It will come if I work hard enough Write hard enough Think hard enough Or is it the easy thinking that works better? The water refracts and reflects the speckled blue The hot coffee warms me, but I am already too warm It is summertime and the rain is always almost here My handwriting gets worse and better and worse again The door stays open, propped by an old artist’s stool The hours I spent talking and working and thinking on a stool like that and probably that stool exactly. The plants are growing even if we feel we aren’t The music plays and we listen The camera clicks and we smile Smile wide and the world opens (It completes when you smile) For that infinitely small moment it completes, I smile too The wind comes through the house and whips at my shirt My legs My hair I am grateful each time The rain is coming, I know. The house is leaving and I am staying Staying and continuing The year is done and the paintings will leave the walls and the magnets the fridge and I will retreat to the comfort of the beach to ring in the new year with a bottle of wine and a beautiful girl. The floor is dirty and we will clean it The lights will come on and then go off The sun will set and rise again and if I am lucky I will watch it That is a free luxury for all, but especially the Poor and lonely Because we cherish each day or at least try to. It is the trying that matters and when you cannot try, The knowing that you will try again and it will be good That’s a riff on an old Hemingway quote, who I always seem to come back to despite his problems Write a true sentence, he says. Write it true The truest. Why lie? Why do we lie? That’s above my pay grade. That’s a lie. A cop out. If anyone has the means to try and decipher an impossible question it is someone who might call themselves a writer. We live and lie for love in all its forms. Even if it is love of the self My hand starts to cramp from the writing It has been that long, yes.
Too long since we’ve known anything. The mind warps and fades and comes to, for shorter and shorter bursts. To be on all the time To be driven and passionate and alive To be free The coffee is warm and ‘Me And Your Mama’ plays and almost all the conditions are right yet I still feel vaguely suspended in life A waiting point and I am searching Searching My mind is learning, working, training, being. Why sleep? Why do? Why be? Why do we feel a little more complete when looking at a painting? A film, a plant, a mix of words on paper stolen from a tree that just wanted to grow? Just wanted to be. Just be. Live and breathe and drink coffee and nice Japanese whisky and look at the mountains and listen to the rain and the music and feel the warmth of blood rushing round your body as you run and cherish the pain and be. There are things to be grateful for if you only look, You don’t even need to look too hard
Again, again, again. I feel low and uninspired and unhappy It’s a new year and the tea is brewing but my mind is not. No thinking no breathing no desire Water is not enough anymore The well has dried and nothing is the same but everything is And I can’t stop thinking and doing But I can’t start thinking and doing The door is closing from the wind and the music is anxious and the tea is bitter But now the door has swung open and I must jump through before it shuts— There it goes. I have propped it open with the old artist’s stool and let’s try again.
BY NINA PIROLA
This project investigates the idea of the earth as an extension of self, in the development with a mutually sustaining and energising relationship between the body, the environment and each other. It builds on existing research into ecology and eco-psychology (deep ecology, ecofeminism), somatic ecology, and Indigenous knowledge to develop a range of embodied environmental empathy exercises. These multi-sensory exercises enabled a comparative study of both prior and post participation responses. The study investigates the impact of improving one’s relationship with their body and the environment by invoking personal and planetary healing. This healing includes greater personal well-being, pro-environmental behaviours, and a transition to regenerative modes of thinking and interacting with the environment, rather than extractive paradigms.
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Photographer: FJ Gaylor
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a ‘holocene’ playlist
Meridian - Odesza Flowers - Willow Cosmic Love - Florence and the Machine Runaway - Aurora Tourist - Elixir Venus as a boy - Bjork Good days - SZA Sentimental Trash - Sweet Valley Violet - Daniel Caesar Cherry - Lana Del Ray Black Rain - Rhye Holocene - Bon Iver September - Earth, Wind & Fire Laps Around the Sun - Ziggy Alberts Love It If We Made It - The 1975
by Hannah Bailey
by Emma Turney
never cross a picket line:
how to support staff in a strike SECTION NAME
by UTS Education Action Group
What’s happening at the moment? University management are, under the ever-thinning veil of the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing away at the quality of education, student services and staff working conditions at UTS. Nearly 400 staff members have been lost to ‘voluntary separation’, and countless casual staff have lost work. This has meant that workloads for remaining staff have drastically increased, their job security jeopardised, and their work conditions worsened. Courses have been cut — worryingly, some examining race, sex and colonisation — and many student services and housing have been sold off or removed altogether. Class sizes have increased, tutorial and lecture times have decreased, and online learning is being maintained past its need in the context of COVID-19, now in the name of ‘blended learning’, i.e. cost cutting. The university has told us in their Fit for 2027 financial plan that these measures are a last resort, however this is not true. The university is in an ideal position to borrow through this global financial crisis, and thus retain staff, the quality of education, and services in the short and long term. Instead they have chosen profit, sacrificing staff and student learning conditions at the altar of their bottom line.
How has tertiary education worsened over time? In the 70s, we had free higher education. But over time, higher education transitioned from a public good to a privilege. Government funding for universities has decreased from 90% in the 1980s to now just 48%. To make up the difference, universities charge exorbitant fees (particularly to international students, but increasingly to domestic students), cut staff, merge faculties, and engage with corporate partnerships, to name just a few responses. Arts faculties have particularly suffered cuts and restructures, although cuts have occurred across subjects. Student to staff ratios have ballooned, from 13:1 in 1990 to 20:1 in 20001. Staff employment has also changed, with casuals now overtaking full-time staff, which is a shift from the past. Previously, academics were hired on a casual basis. Cuts have also occurred to student services and student unions. Today we are being sold shabby degrees.
How can we fight back? These cuts are extreme but we do have the power to fight back. While university management owns UTS, they don’t run it. UTS runs because of the hundreds of workers — tutors, lecturers, admin staff — that teach and keep the uni functioning, as well as the students that go to class. But if staff and students strike by refusing to attend, then the university management is powerless. Protests are also highly important; they show that there is resistance and make it politically challenging for the bosses to push through their attacks. They do care about their reputation and so protesting can threaten to ruin it. With students and staff fighting together, management cannot compete.
Workers striking is the reason we have five-day weeks, paid sick-leave, maternity leave, superannuation, safety regulations in workplaces, child labour regulations. It is the reason social movements such as Civil Rights, Women’s suffrage and antiwar movements have had as much power as they did (and still do). Rights are not given, they are forced into implementation through workers using their power. What is an EBA? EBA stands for Enterprise Bargaining Agreement. It is a type of collective bargaining, where an agreement is made between employers and employees about wages and conditions at an enterprise level within individual organisations, rather than across a whole sector. Why are EBAs important? Australia has incredibly strict industrial action laws that prevent workers from taking industrial action outside of a distinct period, and they may only take industrial action for issues directly related to their wages. Therefore, the EBA period this year is the only time that university staff can fight for better wages and working conditions.
Industrial action is a type of protest taken by workers that directly impacts the employer’s production. At universities, industrial action is supported by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), who represent academic, general, and professional teaching staff at all tertiary institutions. For staff to take industrial action, the NTEU enters a negotiating period for the EBA, then staff vote whether or not they want to take industrial action. It is likely to happen later in 2021. Why do we strike? Striking is the main form of industrial action taken by university staff, and it is very important that strikes are supported by students. By striking, workers are stopping or delaying the means of production in order to show their power in the workplace, and convince management to concede to their demands. If we do not strike, management will continue to squeeze students and workers tighter to ensure they make profits.
Do strikes work?
What is industrial action?
What are staff striking for? Across the public sector (especially in higher education), the government is implementing a range of austerity measures that involve cutting costs at universities. Management does this by cutting staff, employing people more precariously, stealing the wages of the precariously employed, increasing class sizes, forcing more classes online, and much more. Why should students support striking staff? Staff working conditions are students learning conditions, and it’s clear that things are in a very dire state. Every negative change that management makes to staff also affects students. With larger class sizes, we have less chance to engage and get feedback on our ideas. When tutors are struggling to pay bills because their labour is being stolen from them, they can’t provide the same attention to students. Striking staff need students to join them to hold picket lines and allow the industrial action to go ahead. Without student support, strikes are at risk of falling through.
Won’t a strike impact my education? Yes, a strike will impact your education positively. University education is under serious attack, and the quality of your education is rapidly decreasing from an already sorry state. Staff taking industrial action is an incredibly important part of the fight to change that. Their demands around conditions, workload, and pay will better your education. As students striking, we are fighting for our education, and that is something we must sacrifice classes for in the short term.
What are we striking for? As students, we are striking for the same future as staff. No staff member should be cut, the university should make casual teaching staff permanent, and pay back staff for all stolen wages. We are also fighting against the austerity measures of the government that have significantly impacted higher education. Higher education should be free, not run-for-profit by corporate managers. We are striking to save the quality of our education. In recent history (the past couple of decades), higher education has been cut continuously. Government funding to education has dropped to below 50%, and to make up the rest, universities have relied on charging exorbitant fees to international and now domestic students, cutting staff numbers, and merging faculties. This needs to stop! Education is a human right and should be freely available to anyone who wants to learn.
for casuals, a limit on 50% casual teaching in any faculty, and more paid hours for meeting and research. While the university refused many of these demands, the strike won a conversion mechanism for casual and fixed-term staff, creating more secure work for university staff. Recent history of student education activism. Last year, a significant range of attacks were launched on higher education. The federal government introduced the Higher Education Amendment Bill, which faced significant student backlash because it reduced overall funding to universities and raised fees for most degrees. At the same time, the university implemented a range of cuts to its staff and to course options. Student activists and staff were faced with significant barriers from police repression, but fought back for the right to protest and organised a wave of actions. Longer history of student militancy. Students have always played a crucial role in political activism and forcing change in society. Students have always organised protests, occupations, and mutual aid to fight for left wing issues and support vulnerable communities, such as the huge fight against the Vietnam war, systemic racism, Australia’s treatment of refugees and the consistent attacks on education in Australia. Students also have a long history of supporting staff strikes; striking alongside them on the picket line. What is the role of university?
Why you should not cross the picket. The future of higher education is at the picket line. By not attending classes, showing up to picket lines, and supporting our teachers, we are showing who runs the university, and making a substantial difference to the future of education, for students and workers.
The university should be free. It should be an institution for learning, where students are supported to learn in the field of their choice, and receive an anti-colonial education, the curriculum of which is decided upon by staff and students; the two parties who are actually involved. It should be for the sake of education, not for profit, and not for the production of economically useful workers.
Recent history of strikes. In 2017, during the last EBA period, UTS staff went on a 24-hour strike for paid sick leave for all casuals, increased marking pay per-student, per teaching period, 17% superannuation
University education is a right, but it is also necessary for Australian capitalism at large. It was free in the 70s as the government needed an increase of university educated workers to compete on the world stage. Australian capitalism
today still relies on uterierty educated graduates, but now they want us to foot the bill. We should be demanding that because they need it, they should pay!
UTS management claims that the university is struggling due to the pandemic and has to fire staff, sell student housing, and cut courses to stay afloat. Is that true?
How are universities connected to the climate crisis?
No. UTS is an incredibly wealthy institution. Firing staff and attacking courses and student services are not a last resort. The university is cost cutting (branded as a move to ‘blended learning’) in order to increase their bottom line — something they have always wanted to do. As the NTEU demonstrated in their response to the university’s Fit for 2027 Blueprint, the university is in a perfect position to borrow through this crisis and retain staff and courses. What is happening to staff and students is not inevitable, it is a calculated financial move of the corporate university to prioritise profit over education. What can you do?
Is free education possible? Why do we need it?
Don’t go to class while staff are on strike Stand on the picket line Never cross a picket line Talk to your friends and classmates about why they should support staff Use a lecture bashing script to talk to your lecture or tutorial about the issues Attend EAG events and meetings Let your tutors and lecturers know that they have your support
Yes. Higher education was free from 1974 until it was abolished by the Hawke Labor Government in 1989 and replaced by HECS. Education should not continue to be bought and sold as a commodity. If higher education were free, it would make universities more accessible to students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. University education should not be a privilege. It has been proven to impact your lifespan and many other facets of health and quality of life. Education is a human right, and should not be reserved for the elite few. University education has always been a factor in perpetuating inequality, and this is steadily worsening. Free education is a necessity.
Universities have a responsibility to educate people about the climate crisis and equip workers with knowledge needed to work in green jobs. When we talk about the need for a just transition to renewables and green jobs, this means supporting public sector jobs such as teaching, nursing and the public service, many of which need university qualifications. Furthermore, the university should be run according to the interests of students and staff, and keeping millions of dollars in fossil fuel and arms manufacturing reserves is not in our interests. UTS needs to divest now.
This explainer is a collaboration between the USYD and UTS Education Action Groups.
How do the struggles at UTS and other universities, such as USYD, relate to each other? It is not just individual campuses that are being attacked by their own management. Education itself is under attack in Australia from a system that only finds a use for education in producing useful workers. During a strike, it’s important to know that the struggles of staff and students are not isolated. We must be united and support each other in industrial and student action.
Barrigos, R. 2013, ‘The neoliberal transformation of higher education’ 1
Where the Grass is Always Greener* *A Take on ‘Green’ Education
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by Saumyaa Shukla The pandemic led to an emphasis on well-being, and a longing to be around nature like never before. All of us then realised how simple life could be during lockdown. We realised that life could go on without a lot of the luxuries we thought were essential to us. Rather, it was about keeping each other safe and sane through the madness of isolation. The world was also really confronted by the fragility of human life. This sentiment rejuvenated a deeper care for the planet we live on and our future generations. The pandemic and its urgency reminded us of the overused yet overgeneralised buzzword ‘sustainability’. This word has become ubiquitous in the conversations of every industry. This past year led us to rediscover its true meaning. For those of us that are trying to be environmentally conscious, how do we sustain good practice over a long period of time and pass on these lessons? To be able to sustain a minimalistic and ‘green’ lifestyle over a longer period of time, it needs to be developed and regularly practiced by people at an early stage. Future generations can still get access to what is known as ‘green’ education. This access will help spread the knowledge behind sustainable living and how to achieve it. Green education is not only about learning about the environment and its sciences. It’s more about the disruptive and normalised habits that impact the planet. The scope of the issue implies that educating people about taking positive action should be incorporated into their everyday lives. Sustainable living is not a singular act of effort for one day. Education on sustainability would be continuously evolving, just like the concept itself.
Every other day we are faced with a new environmental issue that requires our immediate attention. In 2019, Australia went through one such climate emergency, the Bushfire Crisis. This was regarded as one of the biggest wakeup calls to take climate change seriously and was right before we were hit by COVID-19. Clearer skies and brighter stars seemed to be a burgeoning appreciation during lockdown and we should want to keep it this way.
The curriculum in schools and universities should include updated theory and more practical workshops revolving around sustainability and ‘green’ education. For example, helping students learn more about practices that tackle local and global issues regarding waste, an increasingly disturbing concern and a major source of contamination diseases. Inviting guest lecturers to speak about environmental issues, biodiversity issues, climate justice, and the impacts of such knowledge would build a more holistic understanding of the world and its interdependences. The internet and social media are huge resources for this too; creating content for students to consume in an interesting interactive way can be another way to educate them. Moreover, to help students grasp local and national views on such matters, educational institutions can partner with non-profit organisations where students can volunteer to help them understand which social issue they personally feel passionate about. This involves a lot of personal reflection and aligning our thoughts with others to achieve the collective goal of a healthier and safer planet. Educational institutions should invest in more research and development whereby they allow students to be creative and come up with new ideas for technologies or home practices that help to live a sustainable life. There is an abundance of intelligence and passion amongst young people today and this energy should be nurtured!
As mentioned earlier, it’s imperative to have the conversation on sustainable practices every day. What’s more, it is now a topic which is crucial in any and every field of study and life in general, be it infrastructure, consumerism, diets, daily hygiene and so much more. This discussion being incorporated in schools and universities with more nuance is important and should be further encouraged.
This generation is quite aware and quite willing to bring about positive change and it is time that the educational institutes harness this energy so that we can get ourselves down and dirty. It is only the combined effort of individual and community action that will carry local and global equity and fairness into future generations. What one studies and the education they receive can often shape how they approach and envision the world; a simple nudge to where the grass is greener is sometimes all it takes.
Recycled Toilet Paper Wrapped in Plastic by Anna Thieben Greenwash /ˈɡriːnwɒʃ/ noun
The meticulous advertising brands adopt to appear environmentally conscious without changing the ecological impact of their products or manufacturing process.
It’s the idea that a brand can use loaded and completely unregulated terms to appeal to the moral compass of customers such as: Natural Organic Plant-based Conscious Eco-friendly And it works! I definitely feel a lot better using a bioplastic cup. Even though they are just as polluting as plastic until broken down in an industrial composting facility. The green packaging and picture of a leaf must mean they are doing something for the environment, right? And how about vegan leather. What a creative name for PLASTIC! Greenwashing was born from the growing concern citizens from developed countries have for the environment.
“Putting all the responsibility on individuals to live sustainably is unjust and unrealistic.”
We saw the effects of climate change in events such as the 2019 bushfire crisis, and there is a growing public consensus that we have a duty to rapidly reduce emissions. This coincides with activism trends that have led companies and governments to realise they can majorly profit or grow support for themselves if they appear to be environmentally friendly. In short, navigating the supermarket aisle as a conscious consumer is a fucking challenge. You are looking for products with:
No testing on animals Safe manufacturing processes FairTrade certifications Carbon neutrality The list goes on. Yet, these claims often do not align with each other. This nightmare is evidence that putting all the responsibility on individuals to live sustainably is unjust and unrealistic. People like us need to hold these companies and our government accountable for their destruction of the environment, and scrutinise their contributions to the cause. You can do this in so many ways: attend rallies, get in contact with your local MP, or sign a petition or two to support community groups pressuring companies to take legitimate action. Most importantly, don’t let the fact you have not subscribed to greenwashed environmental practices, like using keep cups, or bulk buying wholefoods, stop you from contributing to systemic change.
No palm oil
It is not okay that we live in a world where multinational fossil fuel corporations, such as BP, can greenwash us into believing they have an environmental conscience. Did you know BP crafted the term ‘carbon footprint’ in the early 2000’s? It was part of a strategic PR campaign that released a carbon footprint calculator to encourage individuals to calculate their own environmental impact. If BP used the calculator themselves, they might find the 3.7 million barrels of oil they extract per day (2018) contributes infinitely more to the climate crisis than an individual’s meat consumption, or their half-hour drive to work. What’s more, such schemes reflect our own government, who time and time again, use accounting tricks to ‘greenwash’ Australia’s contribution to global emissions targets, without taking measures towards preventing climate change. We saw this when the government originally weaseled its way into using ‘carryover credits’ from the Kyoto protocol to account for some of their contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement. And then later, when they denounced this idea, they branded this as a big win for environmental targets. It’s like fessing up to cheating on a test, and assuming you passed, because you have now renounced the need to cheat. We must go further than choosing recycled toilet paper wrapped in plastic! We must uproot the system and no longer fall for manipulative corporate schemes. Are you really making a difference? Or just spending more money? The only way to really tell, is to question everything you do.
LOSSLESS Kiran Best and Kamran Sachinwalla, UTS graduates of Visual Communication and Media Arts & Production are creators and founders of Lossless. They stand for quality without sacrifice, creating made to order, responsibly-sourced goods. They screen print everything themselves and hand-make rugs in their Sydney studio. How are you utilising green practices in your business?
All rugs are hand-tufted and operate on a pre-order basis, again to reduce waste and we only order yarn that we need. All of our garments are produced in a windmill-powered, Fair Trade Certified facility, which means that they are crafted and traded in ways that improve lives and protect the environment.
We don’t pre-print any stock! Everything is made once it’s ordered to minimise waste and to maximise the available blanks we can use for future designs. Early on, we found that outsourcing printing on garments almost always creates wasted stock due to ‘minimum orders’ that make the manufacturers time worthwhile.
What inspired the creation of Lossless? In a world of plain logo shirts and fast fashion, we grew frustrated with the options available and the huge amount of waste this industry generates. So our reason for existing is twofold: 1. We want to be part of the growing movement of slow-fashion and help the industry move away from low-quality, throw-away garments. 2. Our outlet for creativity. There’s nothing better than seeing someone wearing our designs out in the world. We love to see brands supporting slow fashion and carefully considered garments. Do you see the industry embracing slow fashion in the coming years? We would love to enthusiastically say yes! But the truth is, we are not really sure. Based on what we’ve seen in the industry in recent years, the movement is definitely growing. Processes like upcycling, pre-order and made-to-order models are continually growing in popularity due to their low environmental impact and ethical practices. With more people who really care about how and where garments are made, the industry will have to shift and evolve to meet those demands.
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Buy Lossless here
THE POLITICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
BY PNINA HAGEGE
Climate change, a topic of contentious debate, has dominated much of recent political discourse. And yet, in spite of all this talk, a series of fatal natural disasters and record-breaking temperatures, Australia’s climate policy remains weak, at best. My guess is, Australia will not embrace a government who will adequately act on climate change in the upcoming federal election. So, why is Australia so reluctant to accept a green future? More specifically, why are our politicians? Based on my own general interpretations of our unique landscape, here is what I’ve narrowed things down to:
1. Post-Pandemic Progress Plateau
It’s no industry secret that beating an incumbent who has led a nation out of a crisis (like a pandemic or a recession) is no easy feat. In fact, the odds are usually heavily against any opponent who so bravely wishes to do so. But, for a society which has seen nothing but change in its most daunting, threatening, and invasive forms, during the past year, a politician or their party who have become the symbol of regained stability will (I suspect) become even more desirable. To address climate change adequately, substantial structural changes to our society are required. It also demands a considerable amount of foresight into problems climate change will pose in the future. I don’t believe much of our society is ready for either of these things after a pandemic. In turn, I believe we have reached a post-pandemic progress plateau, where many forms of change will be treated with caution and resistance as our world endures a change overdose from COVID-19. For a conservative government, built on notions of continuity, tradition and therefore largely climate inaction, this is very much a positive thing in terms of locking down a loyal voter base.
2. Hyper-Partisanship The Australian political landscape has grappled with a profound hyperpartisan approach to climate change policy for the last few decades. According to popularised media, there exists a simple opposition between two main types of people; the conservative, climate-denying Bible bashers, and the radical tree-huggers who roam the streets of Byron in tie-dye shirts. In reality, things are far more complex. These polarising stereotypes, among other things, stand between Australia’s ability to spearhead progress toward climate action.
The two-party system acts to the detriment of climate change progress. Term after term, election after election, Australians have been offered the same two major parties to choose from; the Liberal Party of Australia and the Australian Labor Party. Sure, you can vote for an independent party, or the Greens, but the chances of them successfully securing a seat is often obscenely limited in Federal Politics, with some exceptions. While we’ve seen the formulation of powerhouse Independents like Zali Steggal, Rebekah Sharkie, Dr Kerryn Phelps and Helen Haines unite successfully on the crossbench for a plethora of issues, independents remain the ‘new kids on the block’. That means, during elections with high stakes, like the battle over the seat for Wentworth in 2019, one of the two major parties usually takes the cake. Not to mention, the major parties are usually far better equipped with resources — both financial and human. In turn, we are offered to tick one of the following two boxes (as far as climate change goes), 1. The Liberal Party of Australia, where everything stays pretty much the same, with minimal improvements to climate change policy, or 2. The Labor Party of Australia, where there are seemingly huge changes to our climate change policy and the inherent sacrifices that come along with that sort of structural change. Dually, I predict that Anthony Albanese’s moderate stance on coal and climate change as a whole will push more voters toward the Greens, but the chance of seeing a Greens Prime Minister is less than likely. In order to address the often bitter and non-constructive by-partisan discourse Australians are offered each term, we must provide smaller parties and independents the privileges that major parties receive. In the interest of introducing greater nuance to the political spectrum, Australians have to be given more feasible options come election time.
3. The Myth of Joblessness Labor Party policies on climate, particularly in recent times, have been made to appear as radical, by mainstream media or otherwise. It is claimed they will result in mass job-loss and economic ruin, both baseless statements. Last year’s quarterly essay stated that there are only around 35,000 jobs in coal mining as of June 2018. Yet, when Joey Jockey and Tony Abbott made the call to shut down Australia’s entire car industry, about 44,000 people lost their jobs. Even Adani’s own economist said (under oath) that the Adani mine creates, and I quote, “not that many jobs — we can agree on that”. But, telling people that they will lose their jobs, rather than communicating the myriad of opportunities that climate technologies can bring to our economy, is a scare tactic that (unfortunately) works like a charm for the Coalition.
In a nutshell, many Australians can’t handle more change right now, even if it is for our own benefit. The allure of consistency and security that the Liberal Party offers, especially in the aftermath of a pandemic, is dangerous and profoundly tempting. For these reasons, I am (sadly) never surprised when voters elect representatives who refuse to adequately address climate change. In order to truly tackle climate change, we must reckon with this post-pandemic world, riddled with fear of more changes to daily life. When we next fill out a ballot box, we must vote in the interest of positive change. We must forgo archaic policies now, so we are not forced to in decades time.
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Sustainable Start-ups Spotlight by Alice Winn Vertigo was very lucky to interview some of the 2021 winners of the 2021 Green Sprint: a two-week accelerator for green ideas made possible through the collaboration of UTS Deep Green Biotech Hub, UTS Startups and Macquarie Group. Join us as we dive into the innovative minds of Julie and Bodhi.
Julie Leung: Founder of Makeshuffleshift AMPLIFY
Give us your elevator pitch, and a little introduction about yourself. Makeshuffleshift is a social enterprise seeking to invent and influence for maximum social impact and benefit. I am currently inventing disruptive battery technologies with my company Power Blocks Pty Ltd to allow everyday people to have easy access to micro-grids with the convenience of not needing to call your electrician or builder. It will help people in remote places who may need emergency assistance as well as reduce the load on the power grid. Strangely, it will be providing control over how we power our own homes. What role can entrepreneurs play in Australia’s fight against climate change? Now is the time to work in start-ups and to foster healthy relationships with people around us to tackle the big problems that big business doesn’t solve. The responsibility from entrepreneurs stems from within — to be ethical and compassionate with yourself and with others. Currently, big business is riddled with red tape and contradictory work objectives.
Are sustainable start-ups being adequately supported? What opportunities are available for your ideas to get funding? Being in the early stages, I am yet to determine the success of how adequate the funding opportunities are. I was really fortunate to get the Greensprint21 microgrant with UTS Startups. There is also the NSW Treasury MPV Grant which matches up to 50% to a maximum of $25k of investment. I am still at the seed phase of the business and learning the differences between grants, competitions and investors. How can we best balance the role of the individual and businesses in creating a sustainable future? Sustainable futures are nurtured through how we live in our microcosm, such as staying true to your word, and having integrity and values. To not be so wrapped up in the superficial world of materialism, but in the quality of life and having empathy for complete strangers. It is about calling out for accountability and maturity of individuals around us despite our political and business leaders. If we can model these behaviours and make this the status quo, hopefully long-term solutions will be adopted by small and big businesses.
Give us your elevator pitch, and a little introduction about yourself. Do you ever wonder what happened to the rubbish bin that The Jetsons promised us? The one which we can throw everything into and never worry about again? My co-founder, Riley Lankshear, and I are building a really exciting solution to a very important problem; we are fixing the broken waste system through an onsite waste-to-energy appliance. EYWA is an on-site appliance for small-medium businesses and homes that allows them to convert common waste materials (paper, plastic, coffee cups, etc.) directly into green electricity — saving time, money, and the environment all at once! What role can entrepreneurs play in Australia’s fight against climate change?
Geography and Talent: Australia is a very unique place in terms of the ecosystems it hosts — from tropical rainforests, to the Snowy Mountains, Australia pretty much has it all. This level of eco-diversity attracts some of the world’s greatest environmental minds to the Australian university system which gives Australian entrepreneurs arm’s reach access to a massive brain trust of sustainability experts. If an Australian wanted to start a business aimed at saving coastal reefs, they could find an expert team in no time. It would be hard to say the same for a place like Germany for example. We’ve got smart people, use them!
Yes and no. In one way, there are boundless opportunities for startups to find support, funding, talent and advice which is made available through a long list of public and private sources. On the government side; Tech-Vouchers ($15K) and MVP grants ($25K) are available, private: Accelerators (e.g StartMate, Climate Solutions Accelerator etc) Venture Capital (Blackbird, Airtree Artesian etc), Family Offices/Angles (Grok Ventures, Sydney Angles Network). Yet, on the other hand, this level of support is only really available if you are the ‘right kind’ of sustainable start-up. The ‘right kind’ usually translates to software products or sustainable twists on established business models (e.g. sustainable skincare). If you are trying to do anything that’s too radical or game-changing, the pool of available support quickly shrinks.
In short, the role of Australian entrepreneurs is to be ‘on brand’. In any venture, entrepreneurs should try to leverage what makes them unique to build competitive advantages. Being in Australia gives entrepreneurs a few massive advantages over the rest of the world in terms of starting climate-focused companies. Australian entrepreneurs should leverage these advantages to lead the fight against climate change.
Are sustainable start-ups being adequately supported? What opportunities are available for your ideas to get funding?
Bodhi Kawulia: Co-founder of EYWA
It’s definitely a hard balancing act, as fighting climate change will require a radical transformation of modern living, but in order to support that transformation, funders (public or private) still need to see safe, stable monetary returns. Radical transformation is certainly needed, but if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense. How can we best balance the role of the individual and businesses in creating a sustainable future? It’s important to remember that there are 7 billion of us and each one of us is facing their own complex challenges simultaneously and so creating a sustainable future isn’t going to happen overnight. We shouldn’t expect to all be pulling in the same direction or even focusing on the same problems because there is a lot going on — creating a sustainable future will be like steering a big ship with a small rudder. I don’t think we should expect all individuals to spend time and energy riding a bike to work or stay constantly up-todate with the latest recycling rules. Instead, we should focus on developing better solutions to the problems that matter to us individually whilst supporting the solutions of others to different problems.
Want more Vertigo?
3 NIGHT STAND WITH RNA by Olivia Mathis and Sevin Pakbaz
COVER ARTWORK by Tara Frawley
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TECHNOLOGY’S IMPLICIT RACIAL BIAS by Katherine Rajwar
READ VERTIGO ON ISSUU
Brekkie & Dinner On Us! The UTSSA runs Bluebird brekkie and Night Owl noodles, right in the heart of UTS.
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MEAT ALTERNATIVES: ranked by Isabel Cant
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Science has told us loud and clear: eating less meat is key to the world reducing its carbon footprint. But eating less meat is not (and we can’t stress this enough) a death sentence to delicious food. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. With the world developing more meat alternatives, plant-based products, and recipes than ever before, eating a plant-based or meat-adjacent diet has never been easier, both at restaurants and at home. Whether you’re an omnivore to cutbydown on your I startedlooking life at UTS travelling upmeat northconsumption, from a smallor a town in veggie-lover the Southernneeding Highlands. vivacious, eager to someI was inspo, let me give you a begin a hand new life myself in the big to smoke. Looking back, withfor this personal guide meat alternatives.
the notion of travelling to one destination and beginning a hierarchical journey in a Eurocentric system is a path I inadvertently followed.
Nevertheless, I felt immense support from UTS which helped me gain confidence in my abilities as a designer. From the financial assistance team helping me out with expensive Adobe subscriptions, to the free Bluebird meals 4.5/5 providing students with noodle-y goodness, I felt as though all of my needs were met by UTS over the past couple of years. I lived atTempeh, Yura Mudang accommodation), just like(UTS our old mate tofu, is also made friends, andmade pursued degree which has givenwhich me a with asoybeans, but fermented, foundation to build my career upon.
instantly makes it ~cool~ like what kombucha did for tea. Hailing from Indonesia, tempeh My goals sometimes felt impossible, especially this year. hasup a stronger, almost nutty — and The bushfires came to the village next to flavour my hometown, texture — compared to tofu, which makes and then the pandemic hit while I was starting my final it for those about tofu’s year. While beingperfect away from homewho wascomplain hard, campus life connected meblandness. with Gadigal and the inspiring You land can cook it almost any way people who live here, as well as more opportunities than (grilling and pan-frying are the best, IMO). I could imagine. Living oniscampus made meat life easier when Tempeh also a perfect alternative I studied the Google Project (I highly recommend that for curries.
subject for VisCommers) and worked as an intern at Digitas (an opportunity provided to some of us by the Visual Communications faculty). A friend of mine once told me to become clear about what my priorities are and follow through with those, otherwise, one’s existence becomes a fractured mess. So I found my holistic priorities — finishing my degree with marks that will get me into further study, meditation, starting my freelance business as well as being active every day — which made
Tofu 5/5 Tofu is the Kanye West of meat alternatives. It has made its fair share of enemies and haters for being ‘too bland’ and ‘slimy’, but likeme Kanye, tofu’s are convinced it easier for to see tinydefenders steps of progress. Visualisation is a meditation technique I use, which requires taking some everyone is just misunderstanding its genius. time out of yourthe day to imagine in the and life you want It has ability to take yourself on any flavour, and as the person want tovariety be. of textures. comes in you a versatile We’ve got soft, steamed, silken tofu, or I advise students to seek out financial support when in spongy tofu that’ll soak up your laksa like need. I know first hand that there is nothing worse than a delicious ShamWow, and everything in eating two-minute noodles every night while working partbetween. Tofu really is the perfect blankgood grades. time, studying full-time and trying to maintain canvas. Get on it ASAP. Another tip is to ask for help — see your tutor outside of
class time, either on a Zoom call or in-person. They are there to help you, not to scare you! Get together with your peers for social hangouts and make friendships that will give you heartwarming memories and funny anecdotes which will be with you for years to come.
Consequently, the pandemic became a wise tutor that taught us how connected we really are. As designers, we have the chance to change the way people see and feel about things and how well people are educated on important issues. Aritvism is a way people express activism 4/5 visually on social media and has played a key role in the BLM protests as well as LGBTIQA+ liberation. Design can be used for thetalking betterment of society or perpetuate more We’re legumes here people. Don’t negative influences, such promoting toxic ideologies @ me saying thatas legumes aren’t meat through propaganda. Rather than succumbing to our alternatives, because anything can be if we animalistic natures (you’ve seen it — people fighting over try hard enough. More importantly, beans toilet paper), we have the privilege to help people connect and lentils are the through love, friendship, joybest andalternative empathy.to minced
Beans & Lentils
meat. Brown lentil bolognese can stand up your family’s triedto‘n’design true spag-bol anyday, These aretothe values I wish with and live my life by. and black beans are the ultimate mince replacement for all your Tex-Mex needs. Concept statement for showcase Points are taken off for thepiece: horrific farts they may induce the next day.
Seitan 4/5 No, not the guy that Lil Nas X was giving a lap dance to. This meat alternative — essentially made from gluten and water — originates from China. Seitan only loses points for being a coeliac’s worst nightmare, however, it can be used basically in any way you would use tofu or tempeh. Its texture is probably the rubberiest out of the three but is often likened to chicken or duck. Nonetheless, it takes on flavour well, and is a popular bacon alternative (although it doesn’t get nearly as crispy), so I’ll give it some credit where credit’s due.
Beyond Beef 3.5/5
My heart lights up when I see Beyond Beef as an option at burger restaurants. The product, an OG of Beyond Meat’s range (#notsponsored), tastes, looks, and feels so similar to a beef patty. It’s an absolute no-brainer for any meat-eater looking to decrease their meat intake without missing out on those meaty flavours. It’s even pink in the middle like a perfectly cooked mediumrare patty! However, vegos and vegans who don’t miss meat in the slightest might find all of Beyond Meat’s products redundant. New vegans, this one’s for you!
Jackfruit 3/5 Both incredible and terrifying. Is it meat that’s trying really hard to be a fruit, or a fruit that is trying too hard to be a meat?! Get yourself a girl who can do both. Jackfruit rocks as a meat alternative in Mexican and Caribbean cuisines, (be it sliiightly slimy). When cooked correctly, it does a freakishly good pulled pork impression. But I’m deducting points for the fact that it’s a fruit. Unless you eat a tonne of it, its lack of protein will give you absolutely no sustenance to function throughout your day and may leave you ravenous in an hour. Not ideal.
Portobello Mushrooms 2.5/5 Mushrooms are great, don’t get me wrong. Sauteed in a creamy pasta dish? Chef’s kiss! Eating hotpot? Gimme more. But no amount of seasoning or char-grilling will ever improve the sad sight that is a portobello mushroom replacing a burger patty *sigh*. They are too thick for their own good, meaning that they’re always bland in the middle, and don’t have that rich flavour that you want in a burger patty. Sorry Portobellos. Instead, legume-based patties or Beyond Beef patties will give you that oomph. In defence of the mushroom, grating or chopping any kind of mushroom and stir frying it will give you another healthy and cheap mince meat alternative. Plus, it’s juicy as.
Illustrations by Hannah Bailey
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Words by Miranda Crossley Illustrations by Emma Turney
D L R O W E SAVING TH A personal reflection on writing an honours thesis and my findings on encouraging sustainability within UTS
I researched using environmental nudges to foster sustainable behaviours in higher education institutions such as universities. I wanted to investigate nudges such as ‘defaults’ to encourage sustainability as it takes the onus away from the individual. Climate action is undoubtedly overdue and imperative. But placing the blame and a sense of guilt on individuals to enact change is unethical; huge companies are responsible for most of the environmental damage. Nudges are a set of instruments that change behaviour through changing a context. For instance, a green default is a nudge with an option pre-selected so that the user makes a green ‘choice’ without doing anything. I focused on three specific nudges; over the seven months, they evolved and changed based on what my research was showing me. I believe these findings are incredibly important for universities like UTS to learn from and implement my recommendations. We all have a role to play when it comes to climate change and UTS definitely still has a long way to go. My research involved interviewing many individuals within UTS who know how these nudges could work. It was exciting to learn from these individuals and I am incredibly grateful to them for sharing their wisdom. Here’s a summary of my findings:
Undertaking an honours thesis is — as you would imagine — a rollercoaster of stress, new knowledge, fear, excitement, and a giant sigh of relief as it finishes. But one thing I did not expect to find during the honours process was friendship. Students frequently bemoan the loneliness of writing an honours thesis. However, completing my honours as part of a Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation meant I had the opportunity to complete my thesis within a cluster of five other students. While most group assignments (especially those that may span over several months) are met with an eye-roll and a sense of frustration, this was a unique group experience that had no such negative feeling. We worked closely, though still writing separate theses. We could check in and help each other, conduct research together, and share a laugh. But there was still the freedom to write our papers individually, without an unsavoury sense of waiting for each other’s parts of the assignment.
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The first nudge, which retrospectively is the least important, is carbon offsetting staff flights. Offsetting flights ‘compensates’ for the unsustainable behaviour of flying by paying for measures that would have a positive impact on global carbon emissions (e.g. funding reforestation or building solar farms). Currently, staff arrange travel through a software program that currently has no carbon offset option. Opinions on carbon offsetting are varied. Some see offsetting as a cop-out, many are sceptical of it, and most see it as important, yet not urgent. While some of the other environmental initiatives I investigated directly impact the individual, choosing to offset a flight doesn’t (as the university would pay for the offsetting cost). Therefore, this initiative could be compulsory. My long-term suggestion for universities like UTS is to tender one company to offset all of their travel emissions, or make carbon offsetting compulsory through the travel agency. Again, carbon offsetting won’t save the planet alone and shouldn’t be the priority (especially when so few staff are travelling anyway).
The most urgent and impactful nudge appears to be changing the staff superannuation (retirement fund) investment option to a sustainable portfolio. All Australian universities are required to have their staff’s super investments with UniSuper. The default investment portfolio at UniSuper supports fossil fuels and other unethical and harmful companies. There is very little awareness around this, and I believe it’s a significant area for meaningful change. I recommend that UTS: A. Change their staff’s default investment portfolio within UniSuper to one of the three ‘sustainable’ options; B. Create awareness among staff around green supers; C. Lobby and push UniSuper (alongside unions and other universities) to make all their super funds more ethical and fossil-free in their investment policies.
My two suggestions are: A. For university management to push all catering events to increase the proportion of plant-based food on their menus; for any new caterers that come to campus to have at least 30% of their menu as plant-based. B. For universities to implement environmental nudges, we need to consider the barriers and enablers for implementation. For example, the three biggest barriers I uncovered are logistical problems not directly under the university’s power, high costs with no direct return for the university, and lack of awareness and resistance to change.
The final nudge focuses on food. Plant-based foods have been proven to produce lower greenhouse gas emissions than animal-based foods, therefore decreasing the intake of animal products is essential in reducing the carbon footprint of humans. Important decisionmakers at the university are open and excited by the idea of increasing the amount of plant-based food on campus (which are currently quite limited). However, despite a move towards plantbased foods globally, a negative perception of ‘vegan’ diets lingers.
Conversely, the biggest enablers for implementing environmental nudges in a university setting are support from senior management, structural support (e.g. teams dedicated to sustainability), and collaboration and solidarity (e.g. student and staff involvement in sustainability initiatives). Understanding these barriers and enablers will encourage the university to make meaningful change beyond just recycling schemes or renewable energy. My promising findings are largely due to the commitment and passion of numerous staff members and students. I am so inspired to see so many people within UTS dedicated to sustainability. Over the past few years I have been fortunate to work with many of these people. But, there is still a long way to go. Universities pride themselves on preparing students for the future. Therefore, universities must listen to the demands of students regarding the climate crisis and form partnerships with students.
by Anna Thieban and Tania Leimbach CW: Mental ill-health
Adapted from a toolkit written by Anna Thieban and Tania Leimbach Have you ever felt a sense of hopelessness or despair about climate change? Many young people feel strongly about environmental issues and feel genuine anxiety about the scale of the challenges and inadequate global response. Climate change was the number one concern in Deloitte’s 2019 survey of millennials and Gen Z in Australia. A survey of over 1500 young people by ReachOut Australia found that 80% are anxious about climate change, 46% feel anxiety about it on a weekly basis, and 77% do not believe their concerns are being addressed. For those who have already experienced ecological grief and anxiety over recent losses to habitat, biodiversity, cultures, and ecosystems, or anticipated future changes, it is worth acknowledging that your emotional reactions are a healthy response that signal your relationship with the living world. Acknowledging, rather than denying heavy emotions is really important for addressing the anxiety and depression associated with complex, macro issues. If we can engage with our messy feelings from a position of compassion, acceptance, curiosity, and understanding, we can remain more present with environmental challenges instead of switching off or numbing out. We need a safe place where messy feelings can be shared.
“Safe spaces you can visit. Look them up!” headspace A foundation that provides under 25’s with wellbeing and health support. UTS Enviro Collective A group of Environmental student activists at UTS. Commons Social Change Library An online distributor of key lessons around progressive movements in Australia and across the globe. Psychology for a Safe Climate A not-for-profit network of psychologists fostering engagement with climate change.
Reachout An online service and peer support forum for people aged 14-25 that provides information around issues affecting youth. Climate Conversations A unique psychosocial project addressing the practicalities of carbon reduction while taking into account the complex emotions and social pressures that make this difficult. UTS student services Student counselling services at UTS.
The Work That Reconnects A network pioneering the work of Joanna Macey, transforming despair and overwhelm into collaborative action.
GenDread A newsletter pitched at 16 – 35-yearolds, offering ingredients for good mental health in the ecological crisis.
When left unacknowledged, anxiety and depression can be negative and harmful. However, when addressed effectively, they can lead to positive outcomes. Psychologists who work with climate- and eco-anxiety state that people benefit from turning ‘feelings of distress’ into tangible action as an outlet and way of processing.
Individual actions Use your money for good Switch to renewable energy at home and/or work Make positive personal lifestyle choices, like reducing food waste and taking public transport where possible Supporting indigenous cultures and traditions
Collective actions Becoming an active member of a climate activism group (have you heard of the UTS Enviro Collective?) Protest for climate and environmental justice Engage your family and friends in discussions Get political — write to a local MP or corporate/industry leader to show your concern
HOW TO TALK ABOUT THE CLIMATE MOVEMENT 1
Focus on local issues
Make it personal and relevant
Try to find mutual points of empathy and connection
Try to highlight what we have to gain from action and not just what we’ll lose
Try not to focus on blaming, villainising, or setting up an ‘us vs them’ dynamic
Focus on the present - not just the future
Be honest about the size of the truth but try to avoid catastrophising
Recognise people’s negative feelings of anger, grief, anxiety and guilt
Understand that this is hard, no matter who you are and what you believe
Encourage a form of active hope, despite what science tells us
ASHEN SECTION FICTIONNAME
by Amelia Bussing
WOODS CW: Death and PSTD
SECTION NAME FICTION PG#
She stood in a graveyard. The charred corpses of burnt-out pine spread out before her, rows upon rows of bare, sullen, dead husks. Treading upon lingering ashen soil, she bit her lip and tried to keep her breathing even. They’re just trees, she told herself. She clenched her eyes shut, and sucked in a deep breath. It had been over a year, yet she could still smell the smoke. Taste it. Its weight conjured bitter memories, images of orange skies and tears running down grimy cheeks. They’re just trees. She opened her eyes and looked across the blackened forest, letting out a shaky breath. There was a lump rising in her throat, but she forced it down. She didn’t want to cry. She had grown up among them. Growing, as they did. Playing in them when her father brought her along to work. He often told her not to stray too far from the section they were logging, but she always tried to go far enough so she couldn’t hear the screeching. She would run through the undergrowth as the machines hummed in the distance. She would make up stories and dance amongst the leaves as though she were a fairy. Something about the forest always made her think of magic. The wind whispered spells in her ears, and she was sure that if she searched for long enough, she would find pixies among the leaves. But the magic was long gone now. The lies burnt away to reveal the harsh reality beneath; land, torn from its original greenery and barred from its native title. This forest was not supposed to be here. They’re just trees, she told herself again. But when she pulled her hand away from the trunk, her palm was blackened, and she was no longer so convinced. These skeletons were lifeless. Mere remnants of the forest they’d once been. Were they even trees anymore? She wiped her hand over her jacket, leaving traces of soot behind. Her fingers were trembling, and she tried to steady them by taking a deep breath and forcing her eyes shut. But when she closed them, she saw the fire. Racing across the mountains, burning through farmland, state forest, the bush, grassy plains, all the places she had grown up in. She remembered packing her valuables into a couple of suitcases before shoving them into the back of her dad’s ute. She remembered clinging to the dogs’ fur in the back seat as they yelped to be let loose. The roads had been blocked back to back with hastily packed cars, but no one was going anywhere fast. She remembered listening to the radio, waiting for news on when they might start moving again. All the while, planes hummed overhead as they circled back around to the battleground. Most of all, she remembered the fear — absolute terror — crawling just beneath her skin.
The memories surged to the surface, and she struggled to keep her sobs contained. She began to walk, forcing herself forwards, scrambling upwards. The frigid morning air stung her cheeks, and she focused on the feeling, letting the biting cold bring her back to reality. She reached the crest, a clearing in the forest where the ground evened out, and the burning in her chest gave way. The sky stretched above her, crystal clear and shockingly blue. And as her eyes fell, she could see the mountains on the horizon. On the far ridge, and she could see trees. Real trees, with leaves, and branches, and greenery crawling up the hill. There, the eucalyptus grew. It had been burnt the same way the pine had. She’d seen it with her own eyes. And yet, those trees were already changing. Leaves, growing through charred bark. Fresh shoots growing alongside old giants. Greenery slowly spreading. The fire didn’t destroy those trees. It ushered in sleep. Peace. A moment of silence. But then, the bush woke up. Born anew. And life carried on. She felt her eyes sting, felt the lump rising in her throat, the past catching up to her, burning across her skin. But this time, she did not push it away. She could not ignore it any longer. 97
BY ZOSIA FRANCKA
SHOWCASE Coolagolite centres around themes of home, change and comfort. Located in and around the small locality of Coolagolite, near Bermagui, on the south coast of New South Wales, the images capture the interplay of nature and living. Interwoven with the nostalgia of returning to a past home and the losses during the 2019/2020 bushfires. The series came together naturally, not originally intended to have any kind of context, though it grew into a journey of self-discovery and understanding through the viewfinder of a 35mm film camera.
A Conversation with Evelyn Araluen by Erin Ewen CW: Racism, death, r*pe This is an excerpt from the full conversation. To read the full piece, go to:
Vertigo was thrilled to sit down with author, poet and researcher, Evelyn Araluen, to talk about her new release, Dropbear. Dropbear explores ideas of country, nation and being an Aboriginal Australian at the intersection of settler coloniality. Through poetry and personal essays, Evelyn dissects her complicated relationship with Australian iconography as an Aboriginal woman, born and raised on Dharug country. For Evelyn, this collection examines “what it means to love country through, around and in spite of, those images that sometimes distance us from our own ancestral lands.”
EE: I’m really excited to chat with you Evelyn. Firstly, could you introduce yourself to our readers? EA: I’m a poet, writer and more broadly a researcher, in the very final stages of submitting a PhD on contemporary Indigenous women’s writing, in the global and international context of how we read and interpret that literature. I’m also the co-editor of Overland, a literary journal, which is a publication focused on social justice, equality and broader political issues in our community.
I’m an Aboriginal woman, born and raised in Western Sydney. My family line, from my dad’s side, is Bundjalung. Through my mum’s side, I also have connections to Central NSW and into the South Coast through Wiradjuri and Yuin. EE: Can you talk us through your process of writing Dropbear? EA: Yes! It’s my first solo-authored book, or collection. The official stuff is that it was developed through a Wheeler Center Next Chapter fellowship, under the mentorship of Tony Birch. He’s a really amazing novelist, poet and researcher himself. The unofficial stuff is that it came about following a couple of years’ process of me reading, researching and writing responses to the broader canon of Australian literature, particularly focusing on what I was exposed to as a child.
Image courtesy of 3CR Radio
I write about my parents choosing Australian books for us, trying to ensure that their kids were growing up with a strong sense of the place that we were living in; the place that is a part of our ancestry. Along the way, in that storytelling, they encountered a lot of racism and representations that made them uneasy. I was raised not just with these stories, but also with a lot of critical thinking skills, so I developed a very strange relationship to these stories through my parents and the border community that I grew up in. EE: One of my favorite things about Dropbear is the play between light and dark. Some lines tore me apart, and others had me stifling a laugh. The line: I hope this email finds you aching, from your piece ‘In Fright’ perfectly encapsulates this tone. Is this space between making a joke, but actually making a strong critique, one that’s comfortable for you to occupy?
“...honesty and vulnerability are found in your willingness to engage with things that are painful for you.” EA: I’m somebody who has developed a pretty strange sense of humor over the years. I really do think that honesty and vulnerability are found in your willingness to engage with things that are painful for you.
I’m willing to make jokes about burning down institutions and taking back land, because for me, these are political objectives that I know disorientate and disarm a lot of people… Throughout the whole collection I tried to play with an impulse that I don’t really feel is often extended to Aboriginal people, and particularly not to Aboriginal women — the idea of the larrikin spirit — in Australian culture… It was an intentional balance to evoke — I don’t necessarily know if it’s one that’s going to make me a lot of friends — but was very much an active and intentional process in my writing. EE: The selective memory of white Australia is a really strong theme in this collection. Your poems ‘The Last Endeavor’ and the ‘Last Bush Ballad’ both explore this in a sort of dialogue. Can you share the experience of writing them? EA: We’ve got a very, very literary history in terms of writings about conquest — influences of Biblical traditions in Cook’s writing, in Phillip’s writing — during the early exploration of Australia. There’s a real richness of imagery that doesn’t seem to understand the country that it is on. There’s this constant invocation of the idea of the landscape’s hostility.
The implication that we get from reading a lot of these stories is that Australian land and country is hostile to the white gaze. In my process of writing this book, I initially found this constant emphasis on hostility and ghostliness to be really problematic. Because of course, it just turns Aboriginal people into spectral creatures. We don’t have agency, we don’t have a voice, we don’t even have a corporeal presence in the landscape. I attempted with those pieces to conceptualise what happens if we think of the ghosts that are being described in the colonial writings as white ghosts — as ghosts that were brought over here and that escaped. In this weird pseudo-imagining, things like SnugglePot and CuddlePie, Blinky Bill, and even the dropbear... these are the things that grew out of those white ghosts. This is what happens when you let something like that marinate in this land. It takes on shapes that might look like they are of this country, but they’re not really. They’re all the escaped ghosts of the settler colony from the invading nation. Messing around with that just opened up a lot of possibilities. I think it’s a really rich poetic and creative space to reimagine the spiritual and cultural states of conquest. I could say a million times, in a million ways — and I kind of have in this
collection — invasion was bad. You killed us, you raped us, you stole our land. That was bad, that was awful, you shouldn’t have done that. Readers these days would be like, ‘Yeah, they shouldn’t have done that.’ Where it’s more interesting to push that — and more importantly — is beyond this guilty acceptance that doesn’t produce anything. It doesn’t produce advocacy. It doesn’t produce justice. It just produces guilt. What happens if we push that into a more creative and conceptual territory? EE: I think the best place to wrap this up is with your acknowledgements section. It was a very powerful chapter. As words that so often get skimmed over — a sentiment explored in your piece ‘Acknowledgement of Cuntery’ — what did it mean to you to write the acknowledgements for Dropbear?
The acknowledgement in my book is really just one thing that I can personally do. Placing it there is a structure of accountability. I’m committing myself to that acknowledgement and also, I hope, throughout my career, committing myself to fulfilling those expectations and that need for the continued struggle towards justice. And opportunity for future generations.
You can find Dropbear at: uqp.com.au/books/dropbear
EA: I have really tried to guide my work by some very Indigenous centered principles, around the time that we have, and the time that we owe. I know that all the work I do is made possible by generations of Aboriginal people, but also people of color — specifically women — who’ve been working for many years and decades, to create opportunity, to create access and to create more equity in literary and artistic spaces. The work that I do would not be possible without many of their sacrifices and their struggles.
for many of the people who lost their own struggle against these institutions. The book was written in memory of them, with an acknowledgement and a commitment to hold space — as I think everyone should — for the legacy that they built.
You can find Evelyn online at: @evelynaraluen on Instagram and Twitter.
In developing this book, I was struck by the centrality of racism and misogyny in the Australian literary tradition. Also, by the way many stories were clearly missing from the archive. Many stories and representations of women, Aboriginal people and people of colour had been erased, or had never come to their full potential. I believe that was very deliberate on behalf of some individuals in some institutions. But, I also know that it must have just been exhausting, and I have the deepest sympathy Dropbear, published by University of Queensland Press. Cover art by Jenna Lee
When I grow up I want a green job NON-FICTION
by Anna Thieben & Jordan Lynch
Let’s begin with a simple concept: a just transition. It’s a shift to a climate-resilient, fossil-fuel-free society in which we place the needs of the working-class community at the forefront. It’s not just about decommissioning mines and sewing fields of solar panels, it’s about ensuring that within this transition, no worker is left without a job, or without the skills to find stable employment. Green jobs should fit snugly within the framework of a just transition. It is important to note that a ‘green job’ applies to any type of employment that does not actively, or indirectly, fuel climate change. Your teachers have green jobs. Nurses, bus drivers, bartenders, and tourguides all have green jobs. These services are needed to help communities affected by climate change, and thus the elusive ‘green job’ title applies. 106
So, what does a just transition demand of green jobs? There’s a reason why Australians who work in mines are paid so exorbitantly; the job is dangerous. It exposes you to toxins, and takes you away from family for long periods of time. Unless we actively fight for workers’ rights, green jobs of the future could easily become exploitative. Earlier this year, 230 casual staff working on a solar project in Wandoan, Queensland were fired via text message. Was it a green job? Yes. Did they have job security? Absolutely the fuck not. The envisioned ‘green jobs’ need to be secure, safe, and long lasting. They need to be in unionised workplaces, and resilient to the threat of automation and casualisation. This means that workers will have power over their situation, and are not just cogs in the means of production.
They should be more than just the idolised heroes of our nation — firies should be recognised as workers with green jobs who deserve job security, protection, and fair compensation. Who do we blame…? The government. Again.
Proving that we are not just government-hating lefties with no actual goals! For a just transition — abundant with stable, unionised green jobs — we must, as a nation, invest in public renewable systems and stop all funding for new fossil fuel projects. It’s obvious, honestly. We need to stop putting public money into the pockets of mining CEOs and funding a ‘gas lead recovery’ that’ll give fossil fuels a new boost of life in this nation. Instead, how about we provide proper funding to essential workers and establish a publicly owned, renewable energy grid. This already-existing social system has been pioneered by democratic Scandinavian countries. The idea is that recovery from an economic crisis (such as COVID-19) does not have to come at the expense of the climate and our society. Australia should emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with plans to invest in public renewable energy programs, public transport, health, and education. This will both sustain green jobs, while setting us on the path to economic and diplomatic reward, as we will not be left behind in the worldwide advancement of renewable technologies, and will become respected in the global coalition for climate action. Simple, yes...? Getting overwhelmed with corrupt political arguments? Also, yes...
Jobs in regional communities are few and far between. It is illogical to demand that a worker Green jobs cannot be expected of the future. chooses unemployment over a job in the fossil Alongside climate action, they must be fought fuel industry. As such, please don’t blame your for from the grassroots and won. coal-miner uncle for climate change! Don’t think bad of him if he happens to be an environmental activist too. These positions are not mutually exclusive.
Climate change is making everyone’s life more challenging, and will continue to do so. But it’s the communities and workers on the front line who feel its effects the strongest. In the summer of 2019, fires raged across Australia, and over 150,000 volunteer firefighters across the nation fought on the blazing battleground. They worked day and night in unbearable temperatures, undercompensated and understaffed. Many fire-fighting units are under-resourced, and health risks such as lung damage are widespread. Volunteer Firefighters give their time with no guarantee that their employers would be sympathetic to them taking compensation for their efforts.
Instead of blaming your dear uncle, throw all your shade at the corporations profiting off the exploitation of their workers and the land. Blame companies — such as mining giant Adani and gas-overlord Santos — who operate on a capitalist model of greed and exploitation, and are the common enemy of environmental activists and workers alike. These companies and systems capitalise on the extraction economy and force workers into unsafe, unhealthy, and polluting industries.
$ $ $
UTS: FAST FASHION AT THE EXPENSE OF LITERALLY EVERYONE ELSE
BY VANESSA LIM
CW: racism Fast fashion is secretly destructive. It enables poverty and sets an unachievable standard that dictates how we look, while devastating the environment at the same time.
Fast fashion produces high volumes of clothing very rapidly by replicating fashion trends, using cheap labor and low quality materials. Personally, I hate how fast fashion made sustainable fashion seem really fucking expensive in comparison. When I buy a $3 no-brand shirt, I know that there’s a sweatshop behind it, but the price is often too good to pass on a tight budget.
Slowly, but surely, we have moved towards unsustainable fashion becoming the norm. Within 8 years the market growth of the apparel industry has doubled from 3.5% to 6.16%2, which means the demand of fast fashion has only continued to increase. Both high-end and affordable fashion brands continue to choose the unsustainable route despite being called out by consumers.
In the past: In 2015, a supplier from Uniqlo violated labor rights in China by expecting their staff to work excessive overtime in dangerous work conditions.3
While fast fashion may have cheap price tags, it’s at the expense of everyone. Many workers in these industries are being paid less than 50 cents per hour while working overtime in severely unsafe working conditions.1 Societies in developed countries are neck-deep in overconsumption and poorly made clothing. Every year, I have to buy the same basics because they don’t last. This wasn’t always the norm. I remember my parents telling me that in the good ol’ days they bought one new set of clothes per year in the 70s; clothing was meant to last years, sometimes decades. Now, cheap jeans get worn out faster and stockings get ripped in no time.
In 2011, a report on Victoria’s Secret found that they used child labour to produce their clothing despite it explicitly being prohibited by their country’s legislations.4 In 2018, Boohoo was named and shamed in the UK Parliament for selling £5 dresses of such poor quality that no charity shops would take them in.5 In 2017, it was found out that Missguided had illegally used fur from animals such as rabbits and cats.6 In 2017, Zara churns out 12,000 designs while making claims recently that their ‘fast fashion’ empire can become more sustainable despite potentially benefiting from forced Uighur labour in China.7
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“FAST FASHION ALONE PRODUCES 10% OF ALL CARBON EMISSIONS IN THE WORLD”
So, why not slow fashion? Because it’s so expensive. Beware, an item’s cost does not reflect how sustainable it is. Brands such as Gucci and Prada still potentially use sweatshop labour, waste the majority of their textiles, and promote a quick fashion cycle.8 It’s a struggle between being unable to afford certain garments, and not knowing how to shop ethically when you can. Also, like many, I was raised in a household where I couldn’t afford many luxuries, so choosing the cheapest option was often the only option. But a good way to mitigate your impact is to just buy less clothes. Finally, the contribution of fast fashion to climate change is shocking. Fast fashion alone produces 10% of all global carbon emissions and uses 1.5 trillion litres of water annually, while also polluting existing rivers and streams. Most textile materials in the industry aren’t even used. 85% of all textiles in the fashion industry are being thrown into dumps every year, further polluting the planet.
1. What She Makes: Power and Poverty in the Fashion Industry
2. Global apparel market growth 2012–2020
3. Media reporting on UNIQLO manufacturers.
4. Report alleges Victoria’s Secret linked to child labor.
5. With Allegations Of Slavery And Unsafe Working Conditions, Is Boohoo The Unacceptable Face Of Fast Fashion?
6. “Fake” fur sold on UK high street found to contain cat fur.
7. Uyghurs for sale
8. Prada and Gucci Not Immune To Sweatshop Labour In Their Supply Chains
A CONVERSATION with JEAN HINCHLIFFE Interviewed by Sevin Pakbaz Illustration by Tara Frawley
Young people are stepping outside their classrooms and marching in their communities to voice their concerns about climate change. Not only are they loudly demanding action, but they are looking for immediate solutions. And it seems like the world is taking notice. In 2018, on the other side of the world, a 15-year-old Greta Thunberg started skipping school to strike for climate action outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm. Since then, youth led climate activism has rapidly gone global. Vertigo had the chance to chat with 17-year-old Aussie climate justice activist, Jean Hinchliffe — and much like Greta, she is also a school striker. From the age of 13, Jean has been involved with various social justice campaigns and protests, including the YES campaign for marriage equality, GetUp! and StopAdani. Her brand new book, Lead The Way, is an easy-to-digest guide on ‘how to change the world’, where she shares powerful tips and tricks from her lived experiences in climate advocacy. For the full conversation Vertigo had with Jean regarding her book, Lead The Way, head to our website.
Sevin Pakbaz: So to start the conversation off, what main piece of advice do you have for other young people who might want to start getting involved in activism, but don't know how to?
Jean Hinchliffe: The number one thing is to always look at what's happening in your community and see how you can get involved. I think often people see these massive movements, and it seems like that's all there is to activism, when you have these protests with hundreds and thousands of people involved. But really, where massive change happens is at a grassroots level, with community organising. And it's lots of the smaller initiatives that all are demanding change. Look around you, see what initiatives already exist, how you can get involved and how you can help out. SP: Another issue is that a lot of students are studying in school and don’t have time. How do you think schools can get involved with the climate movement? And what can schools do to encourage their students to get involved? JH: It's difficult on a school level, particularly within high schools and whatnot, because there's a lot of control regarding it. Often, it's frowned upon because it's seen as a political thing, even though it's not a political issue. It's a global crisis. But generally, the best work that comes out of it is what’s driven by students. And it's really great when they're out with environment clubs that look not only within the school and making changes there, but also seeing how they help in broader systemic changes, campaigns and movements outside of just their schools. SP: A lot of the older generation, as you said, see climate action as a political issue and don't speak up about it. Have you received any backlash from boomers? JH: Well we've had some feedback, that has been dreadful, from politicians themselves. I mean, you have the infamous Scott Morrison quote, saying that we need more learning in schools and less action — which has done nothing but rile kids up and generate more support for us. But we also just see so much hate on our pages, and even on my personal Instagram from random people. But I find that if they weren't
threatened by us, and if they weren't worried about our influence, they wouldn't be bothering to comment or put their energy towards us. The fact that we're actually receiving this backlash, and they're putting the time into it shows just how powerful and influential we are. SP: Do you have faith in the younger generation to pick up the pieces? And how do you think our generation is going to be helping in the climate field of the future? JH: I think that we have been so instrumental in changing the dialogue regarding Wworld, and is seen as a far-off problem, to showing how it’s real and happening now. It’s not just impacting, say, random sea-level rises or a few holidays, but it’s a very real human issue that drastically impacts people's lives. I think that young people's involvement has just been so useful in that way. And as we continue working, and continue organising, I think that will continue to play this enormous role. But I also worry that sometimes we rely too much on Gen Z, and say how when we get into power, and when we have all the influence, everything will change. Because even if that is the case, it'll just be too late. That's why we have to demand this action right now and get support from all generations.
SP: What was one event or protest from your climate activism that has stood out to you the most? JH: I think the first ever climate strike will forever hold such a dear place in my heart, because a part of it was that I was so young, but also we really didn't know what this movement was going to be like and what the scale of support would be. And then, when the day came, seeing how many young people came together, to protest and rally and demand immediate action against the climate crisis, was just incredible. I was so ecstatic that entire day. I think that will always be one of the most meaningful and important protests to me.
SP: Who do you feel most supported by? JH: I think just generally, all the young people. Seeing other people who believe in the cause and show up. Even if they're not super involved in activism, they see that this is important, so they take the time out of their day to fight for a cause that they believe in. I think it's just so incredible. And something I'm very grateful for. And I find that sort of support is so useful.
SP: Do you have any other plans for the future? JH: School Strikes 4 Climate, is having another strike on May 21 - that'll be a big thing, but on a personal level, I'm really not sure. I'm graduating from year 12 this year, and then probably going off to uni. Not exactly sure what to study yet, but I just know that's what I'm interested in. I’ll just sort of see what interests me and go down whatever path seems best. Follow Jean on her Instagram @jeanlola.h You can find Lead the Way here
WHAT HOUSEPLANT ARE YOU? by Rachel Percival
2. Do you prefer humid or arid heat? a. Humid b. Arid c. I don’t like any heat
3. Are you scared of the dark? a. Yes b. YES *turns light off and sprints under covers* c. No, I’m not a child
4. How do you plan your meals? a. Meal prepping all the way b. I’m more of a snack person c. I eat whatever I feel like
7. What’s your go to winter wear? a. Fluffy scarves b. Lots of layers c. Scratchy jumpers
8. What kind of friend are you? a. Come over right now, bring food b. I’ll see you everyday… after exam period c. We should catch up! *doesn’t catch up*
9. Where do you like to take photos? a. Wherever the lighting is good b. Tropical locations only c. Dark, moody surroundings
1. Are you a winter or summer person? a. Take me to the desert! b. Regular warm weather will suffice c. Brrrrr - winter please
5. Do you drink enough water? a. I love moisture b. Ehhh, I can survive on the bare minimum c. Sometimes I drink litres… sometimes I drink none
6. How would you describe your fashion sense? a. Monochrome b. A little pop of colour c. Patterns
Boston Fern Like the Boston Fern, you can be a little needy! You want lots of water, the perfect place to sit with the right lighting, and for people to be just as organised as you are. You don’t mind when things start to heat up.
SECTION OFFHAND NAME
Barrel Cactus Like the Barrel Cactus, you’re pretty chill! You love summer, the beach and good vibes. You have lots of friends, but don’t need to see them all the time, much like the Barrel Cactus’ water intake.
Pothos Like the Pothos, with a nickname ‘devil’s ivy’, you can withstand nearly pitch-black conditions. You don’t mind being in the largest crowds or at home by yourself. You can go a couple days without food but aren’t opposed to a binge too.
HOW TO SUBMIT SECTION NAME
Vertigo is always on the lookout for pitches and submissions of creative writing, non-fiction, visual art, feature articles, news and reviews in the following sections:
Have something you wrote a while ago? Or maybe an assignment that you’re quite proud of? Send in your completed piece to email@example.com with a brief summary and what section you would like to be featured in!
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Home to culture, music, fashion, arts and lifestyle. This section showcases individuals in their creative elements. We’re looking to support and promote the creative scene of UTS and cover events near you.
This weird and wonderful section features quizzes, games, playlists, satire and comics. Nothing is too quirky or weird!
Interested in presenting some visual art you’ve created? We’re always looking for standalone artworks, as well as visuals to feature alongside written pieces. We want to see any of your architecture, fashion, photography, typography, or any other art-related works.
Have an idea that you’re not quite sure how to finish? Send it over with the following: • Title • Summary of themes and content • Style and tone • How long you’d like the piece to be If you have any examples of previous work, please attach them to your email too!
Email your work or ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org. au and one of our editors will be in touch! Remember to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for callouts! For other inquiries, please contact us at editorial@ utsvertigo.com.au
SOCIAL MEDIA @utsvertigo
early bird or night owl?
how do you unwind?
night owl drawing gaming
early bird where do you spend most of your time?
best meal to hang out with friends?
Instagram Tik Tok
what do you crave right now?
dinner what snack do you prefer?
are you the life of the party?
confidence what are you drinking to have a good time?
DEFORESTATION: You’re self-centred and detached from any compassion or sympathy. It’s your world and everyone else can either live in it or...what? What are they going to do? Move somewhere else? Ha.
GLOBAL WARMING: You are here for a good time and a long time. Once you make your mind up about something, you’re unstoppable. You radiate main character vibes, and you’re always ready to fight. Why do you always take things to 100? Stop escalating problems.
what are you listening to?
what’s your best quality?
Easter patience charm
Christmas New Year’s
You take ‘treat yo self’ to a whole new level. You lack the awareness it takes to realise that you’re too extra. You’ve never learned a single lesson in your life, you’ve never had any character development.
You’re that person who would rather do nothing than do good. You’re also a major procrastinator. Nothing bothers you but nothing drives you either. You are the human equivalent of lukewarm milk. How reliable of a friend are you, really?
what environmental issue are you?
by Angela Jin
taking a nap
HOROSCOPES BY ‘P’
Aries, validation is a tricky beast to accept properly. We know you might always be willing to show off your projects, but in these months, make sure to really appreciate the words others give you. To create is a self-fulfilling process, but it’s fulfilling for those around you too. Say ‘thank you’!
Capricorns will start to become their best morning selves these months, as Saturn starts to rise ever closer to midnight. Though don’t forget, not everyone is a morning person. Hold that patience for others that haven’t had their third coffee yet. Take a slow morning to yourself every once in a while too. Do a watercolour.
Trust your gut, especially around Virgos this month. As the moon crosses Jupiter at the start of May, pay attention to the instinctive feelings you get from those around you. They’re not always the be-all and end-all, but those feelings are true and valid. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinions based on them. If it’s important, speak up. Start some drama.
As we build up to the months where you’re at your peak, take stock of what’s on your mind.See if you can grow from that self-reflection. The moon is your guide, as always, but remember it’s there in the day and night for you. You don’t need to wait on everything to line up perfectly; it’s better to give things a shot than not at all, even if it doesn’t feel like it’s your time yet. Go for a walk too.
Sagittarius, remember to share your travelling spirit with others. In months where others will be continuing on their own journeys, your adventures will keep them grounded in the world around them. Appreciating the environment is something everyone needs to be reminded to do every once in a while. Go to the beach, it’s nice.
For Aquarians, look inward at the close relationships you hold. As Jupiter and Saturn start to drift apart, it’s easy for Aquarians to let those relationships take a back seat. This distance can be healthy in the long run, but important connections can get missed in these busy days. Check for birthdays, it’s usually those.
Taurus, your wish for a steady life is being tested. Remember sometimes life is about going with the flow, and finding new beauty and enjoyment in the unexpected. But don’t go too far into the chaos — and maybe bring a friend. Go to a music gig once in a while.
Geminis, this is your month to shine. Take bold steps, but be ready for them to unfold not exactly as planned. As the moon goes to full, remember that you have the capability to handle life’s chaotic events. Don’t forget to appreciate life from a grounded point every once in a while. Take up a hobby, play some guitar.
Venus is quiet this month. So Libras, take the quiet path, and don’t forget the happiness that comes from being snuggled in warm blankets on a cold night is just as important as the happiness tied to bigger events in your life. Watch a movie with a friend.
Leo, you’ve got that year-round strength going, but as these months get dimmer, take that time for self-reflection, so you’re performing like your best self. When you’ve got a good rhythm going, it can be hard to change tack but change happens when it needs to, so trust yourself. Sign up for something new. Perhaps try life drawing?
Mercury, the planet of the messenger, and Venus, the planet of romance, come close together this time of year. If you have any love letters unsent, now’s the time to throw caution to the wind and go for it. This can mean dating, or you can just book a coffee date with someone you know and see if the friendship deepens. Romance is also about romanticising what’s around you, so appreciate the little loves in your day, like a good hot chocolate.
Scorpio, Mars just got a new flighty friend. Focus on those new people in your life, and what they mean to you. It’s easy to settle into patterns with just a few close friends, but new friends can come from acquaintances any time, and you never quite know when it’s about to happen. Message someone first this time.
STUDENT’S ASSOCIATION REPORTS
AIDAN O’ROURKE PRESIDENT Hello Vertigo readers, The Student’s Association has had an eventful past few months, however, the business of student advocacy and representation never ceases. The Students Association has, as a team, investigated how the university’s administration affects students, with a particular focus on timetabling, e-requests, and student misconducts. We found that students are frustrated by the lack of evening and night classes being offered, the process of changing class times and location, the long wait time for e-requests, and the extended process when appealing student misconducts. Accordingly, the General Secretary, Welfare Officer and I arranged a meeting with the Director of the Student Services Unit (SAU) to discuss the issues. I also had further discussions with the Deputy ViceChancellor (DVC), Shirley Alexander. Following our meeting, the SAU has taken action points to improve student interaction with the e-request system, investigated better methods to communicate changes to class details with students, so you can engage more efficiently with university faculties. Additionally, the Teaching and Learning Committee, chaired by the DVC, has recommended changes to the student misconduct process to reduce the excessive wait times students currently face. The Student’s Association will be watching for how these changes play out and the effects they may have on students, if any. With the semester coming to an end, I would like to wish every student the best during their exams and final assignments. If anyone would like to raise a concern about their experience at UTS, or if you require any assistance, you can contact email@example.com and we can help you out!
ENVIRO COLLECTIVE ANNA THIEBEN UTS Enviro Collective has been busy at work over the last few months. We have elected some wonderful new facilitators, including a Creative Director, Social Media director, Education director, Secretary and Co-Convenor. It is a testament to how much the Enviro Collective has grown, that these elected members represent only a few of the hardworking and dedicated members of our Collective. As you may have realised this issue of Vertigo is the ‘green’ issue and jumping on this opportunity, Enviro members have flooded its pages with articles about a range of environmental issues we are passionate about. From green jobs to environmental subject cuts, to the intersection between class struggle and the environmental movement. We hope these articles give you some more to think about when it comes to the intersectionality of the environmental justice movement, and some avenues for you to consider if you want to get involved in climate activism (a.k.a. join the Enviro Collective!).
campus and protect our right to protest here at UTS. As we continue into the year, UTS Enviro is standing to its promise to build a safe Collective space for environmental activism here on campus. Collectives should be safe spaces where students can congregate to fight for issues they believe important. These spaces should not be censored and restrained in the grip of Student Association bureaucracy. The Collective space should be autonomously run. A funding agreement might be nice, and the ability to elect our own officers, also would be kinda cute. The ability for collectives to protect their members and their right to remain anonymous in meeting minutes is absolutely essential. The Enviro Collective fights in solidarity with autonomous collectives and students who feel threatened by the By-law amendments handed down by the UTSSA! With that in mind, we can’t wait to see what rest of the year has in store for Enviro. We certainly aren’t shutting up anytime soon.
Depending when you read this copy of Vertigo, the May 21st Climate Strike could be tomorrow, or it could have passed. Workers and students across the city will be walking off work and school to strike for the climate, fighting against the Liberal Party’s gas-fired recovery. We will be demanding:
1. First Nations’ justice. No mining or fracking on Indigenous lands.
2. Shutting down the fossil fuel industry. No to Morrison’s gas-fired recovery.
3. 100% publicly-owned renewable energy now!
4. Supporting communities: a just transition to green jobs and funding for firies and essential workers.
Students and staff from UTS will be gathering for a speak-out outside Building 1, and then joining UNSW and USYD as we march towards Town Hall.The UTS Enviro Collective is building very actively for this event and we hope it is massive and powerful! We are manning a stall on campus, running ‘Your Rights at Protests’ workshops, organising forums, and holding banner paints. Will you get involved? Part of this event involves organising a petition and open letter addressed to our Vice Chancellor, Atilla Brungs, demanding students and staff be able to walk off campus without academic penalty. The success of this petition would validate student activism on
QUEER COLLECTIVE CAL MCKINLEY It is important to the Queer Collective that we exist both as a space for students to find community, safety and connection with fellow LGBTQ+ students, and a space to engage in activism for Queer rights both within the university and offcampus. To reflect this, we have been holding social events to give people the opportunity to hang out and make friends with people with shared experiences, as well as addressing numerous political issues by attending protests and collaborating with other UTS Collectives. We have kicked off a fortnightly queer book club where we read and discuss a variety of queer novels and texts while eating baked goods and drinking tea. This has been an activity we have been wanting to do for a while, and so far it has been a lovely way to interrogate and learn more about different parts of the queer experience. We also had success with a crafternoon, where a number of us worked on various crafting projects, some of us teaching people how to crochet, and others knitting miniature pride flags. We hope to expand the crafternoon into an ongoing community project where we knit and crochet squares to join together to make blankets to then donate to unhoused queer people. Another wonderful event we had was a games night where everyone brought along their favourite board games and we had a fantastic evening of hanging out, playing games, and eating cake. These social events have been a great opportunity to meet and get to know new Queer Collective members, and we hope to continue them in the future. In addition to these social events, the Collective has been active in attending protests to advocate for Queer rights. On March 27th, we had a large contingent attend the Trans Day of Visibility rally in Newtown, which fought for trans liberation with demands to stop the transphobic Religious Freedom In Schools Bill, the right to trans self-identification on birth certificates, the support of the BLM movement, and the defunding of the police that systemically oppress Queer people of colour, and the decriminalisation of sex work nationwide. We had a great turnout of Queer Collective members and met up with the UTS Womens’ Collective who were there in solidarity with us. The Queer Collective has also been staunchly standing up for the autonomy of Queer students by opposing measures imposed by the UTS Student’s Association that threaten the safety and autonomy of closeted Queer members and limit our ability to engage in effective activism. Recent changes made to the UTSSA bylaws would force us to reveal the names of students anonymously attending Queer Collective meetings to the SA President, therefore outing people for whom remaining
closeted is a safety necessity. The Queer Collective stands in solidarity with all collectives who are opposing these and other restrictions imposed by the UTSSA We look forward to continuing our events and activism efforts, and if any LGBTQIA+ students wish to get involved in the Collective, feel free to email us at queer@ utsstudentsassociation.org with your student ID number and we will get in touch with you about how to join our wonderful Queer community here on campus.
EDUCATION ACTION GROUP ELLIE WOODWARD As the staff Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) period at UTS approaches, it is vitally important that students support staff in their negotiations and in any industrial action they decide to take. The future of our education is at the picket lines, and we must fight alongside staff for their working conditions and our learning conditions. More information about strikes, the EBA, and what you can do can be found on page 124 in this issue of Vertigo! Earlier this semester, the EAG and other UTSSA collectives faced oppression from the Students Association Executive over the incredibly controversial and wild issue of... *drum roll* putting up posters not exclusively on the designated notice boards around campus. Since I am writing this from ~the past~ I can’t let you know what the conclusion of #bluetacgate was, but at the time of writing, the EAG Officer and Convenor have been banned from Students Association spaces, have had swipe card access removed, Collective spending withheld, and my own honorarium is being considered for suspension before council. This is an incredibly rare and extreme repression of student activism, especially coming from within the student union itself. The EAG is committed to fighting for education and for staff, and it is very shameful that within this context, with the EBA approaching, the Executive have placed sanctions on the EAG, restricting our ability to continue our campaign and using up our precious meeting time arguing about bluetac. I can only hope you are reading this in a time when posters hang proudly from the bannisters (concrete masses) at UTS, and students can fight freely and joyfully for education and staff working conditions.
Zac is a fourth-year Media Arts & Production and Creative Writing student. You can find him at zacagius.cargo.site
Shea is a second-year Media Arts & Production and Social & Political Sciences student. She hasn’t saved up enough money for a proper camera, so her iPhone will have to do for now. You can find her on Instagram @sheadonohoe.part2 or @sheadonohoe
KIRAN BEST Kiran is a 2019 Visual Communication graduate. He loves a fat sleep and claims to be able to eat anything.
FINN BILLYARD Finn is a second-year Environmental Science student.
AMELIA BUSSING Amelia is a third-year Creative Writing student. She has a vast collection of funky socks and knows pi to 89 digits. She likes spamming willing individuals with pictures of her dogs, dislikes tomatoes, and frequently opens drawers using her feet. You can find her on Instagram @ameliarosesb
ISABEL CANT Isabel is a second-year Journalism and Social & Political Science student. She plays the recorder, and can make a mean carbonara. You can find her on Instagram @isabel.arrabella
MIRANDA CROSSLEY Miranda is a Environmental Science and Creative Intelligence & Innovation (Honours) graduate. You can find them on Instagram at @miranda_crr
CH’ASKA CUBA DE REED Ch’aska is a second-year Communication student. You can find her on Instagram @chaskacdr
ZOSIA FRANCKA Zosia is a third-year Media Arts & Production student. She loves all kinds of music and a good cup of coffee (non-dairy milk though!). You can find her on Instagram @fosharz and @zosiaf
PNINA HAGEGE Pnina is a final-year Journalism and Political Science student. You can find her on Instagram @pninahagege or on Twitter @pninaaaaa
VANESSA LIM Vanessa is a fourth-year Digital & Social Media, Journalism, and Creative Intelligence & Innovation student. They enjoy doing calligraphy in their spare time. You can find them on Instagram at @vanessa.987
JORDAN LYNCH Jordan Lynch is a first-year Social & Political Science student. He has no skills. You can find him on Instagram @jerdunlunch
JOELLA MARCUS Joella is a second-year Visual Communication student. You can find her on Instagram @jj.oella and @joella_studio
Cal is a fourth-year Environmental Science student. They are one of the 2021 UTS Queer Officers, and love reptiles and musical theatre. Contact queer@ utsstudentsassociation.org for more information on the Queer Collective.
Saumyaa is a first-year MBA student. She loves talking about her favourite classics and desserts to anyone who’ll listen. She also enjoys being outdoors and sometimes even pours her heart out to the moon.
Melissa is a third-year Environmental Science student. Her favourite train line is the T1, choo choo.
Damien is a second-year Environmental Science international student. He is the current convenor of the UTS Enviro Collective. You can find him on Instagram @Plueish_
‘P.’ P is a third-year Creative Writing student. They’re very involved in student theatre, love fantasy, space, and science, with aspirations of painting large oil paintings with sea monsters in them. You can find them on Instagram @paris.o.parys
NINA PIROLA Nina is a 2020 Visual Communication and Creative Intelligence & Innovation (Honours) graduate. They funnel their fears and sadness about the apocalypse into creative work that celebrates the natural world. You can find them drawing and bird watching in their garden or on Instagram @ninapirola. design and @inksphinx
KATE RAFFERTY Kate is a Journalism and Diploma of Languages student. You can find her on Instagram @kate.rafferty
JESS TEASDALE Jess Teasdale is a second year Visual Communication student. They are a selftaught left hander (after a cheeky accident with some monkey bars as a kid!). You can find them on Instagram @jessteasdale_creative
ANNA THIEBEN Anna Thieben is a second-year Environmental Science student. You can find them on @enviro.uts
INDIA TURNER India is a first-year Creative Writing student. Her favourite thing to do is go swimming in thunderstorms. You can find them on Instagram @indiaturnerr
EMMA TURNEY Emma is a third-year Visual Communication student. In her spare time, you can find her making coffees, daydreaming, and creating art from her bedroom studio. You can find them on Instagram @emmaturneydesign
Jessica is a Science (Environmental) and Creative Intelligence & Innovation graduate. She is a compassionate environmental scientist, complex problem-solver, and a quintessential libra. You can find her on Instagram @jess_resp
RICHARD CHUANXU WANG
Kamran is a 2019 Media Arts & Production graduate. He has literally every streaming service you can imagine and drinks too many teas for his own good.
Chuanxu ‘Richard’ is a 2019 Design in Photography graduate who somehow ended up pursuing a degree in Software Development. He’s a nostalgic person who often endlessly self-contemplates his life choices. You can find him on Instagram @chuanxurichardwang
Harry is a second-year postgraduate Law student. He volunteers to assist people in the environmental protest movement and loves river otters. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Passionate about change? Get involved with your UTS Students’ Association.
Photographer: FJ Gaylor
COVER ARTWORK by Hannah Bailey