My next charity project: funding women indigenous rangers on country
reckon it's time to give effectively again + this one is a ripper
I’ve been disappointed and disillusioned with our race the past week or two. Ditto the waste. The waste of lives, time, nights not slept spent tying to right the wrongs of the powerful while simultaneously trying to wake up the comfortable and complacent to said wrongs (and their complicit role in all the wrongs and the perpetuation of the powerful).
Evil and banality…which comes first? Is evil banal or banality evil? I think both.
When I get like this I have to pull myself right back in the proverbial cinema. I gotta get away from the action on the screen and get me some perspective. Many of you have asked me how I cope with this particular kind of despondency (presumably because you share it), so I’ll give a little detail of this recent despairing episode (it leads to the charity project!).
In such moments, I will generally fret and get wobbly and unable to complete tasks for days on end. I lie awake with relentless thoughts and feelings going hell-for-leather in my brain and body. Material stuff crashes around me. This episode I lost a podcast record. I got food poisoning that turned into a histamine reaction and then an autoimmune flare and I had to cancel (paid, finally) jobs. I try to do circuit breakers, like having a morning away from my computer. But my frazzle follows me. Plus, I’ve had a fever for six days. It’s hard to bust a circuit from the confines of your fusty bed.
Eventually - afters circles and circles of pain - I wrestle my way to a philosophical resting place. All the wrestling sees me cast back layer after layer of constructed meaning and social pretence and expectations and false concerns… and I arrive at that question I ask many guests at the end of my podcast interviews:
What is left if we lose it all?
What is left when the layers are wrestled away in feverish pain? What is left when you realise you can’t beat the banality or the evil but here you still must stand with another few decades left to fill on the planet? How does a soul spend their hours meaningfully? (For we are a meaning-seeking machine, we humans; we perish without a ‘why’ to guide our ‘how’.)
For me, hobbies don’t cut it. Nor do shopping, improving a house, idle socialising, getting toenails painted, even self-healing baths with candles. Not when the world is burning and Ukrainian kids are being murdered. So all such layers go. Year after year I shed or shun these things.
This is not a moral or judgemental stance, mind. It’s just the world as it is now necessitates me paring things back - so I can decipher the original point to it all. The clutter of recreation and ease has to be cast aside so I can see what matters.
I feel the perilousness of it all, I sense the finiteness and I note that the assumptions we used to hang on to - clean air for kids, a world that leans to better, leaders who care about us, the comeuppance for men like Putin and Trump, an eventual simplicity to be found somewhere - are no longer a given. So I go down layers (shedding them) searching for a commonality, a “given”, a core principle I feel that can unite us, explain our behaviour to each other.
My answer to the above question, as I’ve articulated before, is…
To make life a study in work and love.
That is, to perfect and hone being of service and loving the basics of what we’ve been all granted, which is, pared back, other humans and the natural world (as it still strives so righteously to exist). This is what’s left in the final wash. This is all we will be able to cling to in the apocalypse, on our deathbeds, etc. And so, an alive soul, must ask, “Why not cut to it now?”.
Which brings me to the charity project…
In one of my “shedding of layers” episodes some years back I committed to giving all profits from the sale of my I Quit Sugar business to charity. I’ve done three major charity projects already; this is my fourth.
This time I’m supporting indigenous women rangers in Arnhem!
I’ve decided to work with the Karrkad Kanjdji Trust (pronounced gar-gut gun-jee, or KKT) on this incredible initiative because, well, it’s brilliant and is a win-win in so many directions. It’s effective altruism at full tilt.
As with all my charity projects, I don’t ask you to (just) donate cash. I ask you to get involved with me. This means I choose projects with associated social issues that require awareness and compassion. We get educated together on shit that matters. We keep the story going.
Also, as with the previous projects, I ask you all to donate what you can, and then
I match your donations dollar-for-dollar
…and together we’ll make good stuff happen faster.
Oh, and our aim is to hit $120K by June…reckon we can do it?
What is this KKT female rangers project?
The money we raise will fund women ranger programs in West and Central Arnhem Land, which is about the size of Switzerland, to effectively manage their country as role models in their communities and to ensure their knowledge, culture and language is passed down to the next generation.
Why am I so excited about it?
There are so many wins…
It enables Indigenous people to live, work and thrive on country in one of the most remote parts of the world. KKT directly funds Indigenous ranger groups, Australia’s biggest remote enterprises, to provide meaningful work where it matters most to the people that need it most.
Ranger programs really work! They reduce carbon emissions, protect native species, strengthen language and culture, contribute to better health and educational outcomes, lower rates of interaction with the criminal justice system, increase people’s pride and self-esteem and wellbeing, create strong role models and so much more.
Women rangers programs are particularly awesome. Studies show when women are involved in local decision-making, you get better natural resource and conservation outcomes. Plus, Indigenous women have exclusive access to certain areas of the land and hold very specific knowledge about animals, habitats and traditional management techniques.
Some more boons
Within one year of the program, women’s participation increased from 18% to 40% for one of KKT’s partners.
Arnhem Land ranger groups reduce carbon emissions equivalent to taking 140,000 cars off the road every year.
Every $1 invested in IPAs delivers $2.70 in social, economic, cultural and environmental benefits. So…
Every $100 we raise equates to $270 return in social, economic, cultural and environmental outcomes for these communities. If you contribute $100, together we’ll create $540 of good stuff!
Also, if you’re a corporate who wants to be involved in this with me, I have ideas…reach out to me firstname.lastname@example.org.
I feel more alive and pared back having put this out into the world. Thank you in advance for giving a shit and giving what you can. Please share this page around…It would be awesome if we can really get some good work and love going on here.