Does 2020 Spark Your Joy? Pondering Fearlessly With Karen Brooks
words by Karen Brooks
It seems appropriate to raise the spectre of the decluttering dynamo, Marie Kondo – someone who inspired an unparalleled cleaning frenzy – as, Janus-faced, we look both backwards and forwards as we reach the threshold of a new year.
The truth is whether you “Kon-maried” your home or not, over the last twelve months it’s been almost impossible to declutter our hearts and minds as social media and the news are filled with stories more likely to raise despair, angst, anger and frustration. Whether it’s the appalling state of our politics and politicians (and not just in Australia), where not only have humane policies and platforms been belittled and trashed by a variety of leaders and media commentators as “woke”, “lefty” or the product of “inner-city elites”, but climate science has been turned into something akin to a religion/faith which you either choose to believe in or not.
Just when you think it cannot get worse, as our country burns and lives and livelihoods are tragically destroyed, the Prime Minister goes on holidays offering, as he is wont to do, “thoughts and prayers.”
What saddens many people (and it breaks my heart) is how denialism, inhumanity, lies and complacency have not only become normalised, but entrenched in our politics and sections of the media and thus cultural conversations, causing huge ideological rifts in families, communities and the nation.
Remember the adage? Divided we fall.
As the year draws to a close, it’s more important than ever to try and carry over whatever positives we can wrest into 2020 – a year that signifies balance and clear vision – seeing the “truth” of a situation.
If there’s anyone who has come to exemplify truth and “de-cluttering” the fabricated information we’re being fed, who has cut through the BS, exposing those who wilfully peddle it for what they are, it would be Greta Thunberg, wouldn’t it?
Described as a “lightning rod” for the climate change movement, Greta is that and so much more. She’s an ardent, positive, no-nonsense voice in a world filled with mainly old white men proffering lame excuses and outright lies, despite the evidence around them and which many of us experience on a daily basis, insulting us all in the process.
This young woman has united people across the globe. Using protest and affirmative action, she’s inspired us to shake off inertia and use our voices, our presence – digitally and physically.
Greta has reminded us of not only of the power and passion of youth, put the conservative older generations on notice, but our own clout. Whether it’s climate change, Indigenous, LGBTQI and women’s rights, gun violence, political and corporate corruption, the overwhelming importance of the arts and a free press in any society, we’re no longer content to sit by and bear witness to our freedoms, rights, our future being trashed, ransomed and sold.
Contrary to our politicians’ insistence that they represent “quiet Australians”, they’re exposed. They don’t and never have: they represent self and shareholder/corporate interests.
This is why, more than ever, we need to raise our voices – together. Instead of emphasising our differences as our binary-minded leaders do, telling us we’re either left/right, hetero/homo, religious/non-religious, city/country, pro/against climate change (which is ridiculous – are you pro or against a cancer diagnosis?), believer/non-believer, PC/unPC, refuse to be categorised and aspire to demonstrate we’ve far more in common than they allow.
Not only will uniting and collectively acting and demanding change spark some much needed joy, but it’s our only chance to show we care; to shore up a brighter and clearer future for 2020 and beyond. In other words, as Greta illustrates, we must be the change we want to see.
Happy New Year.