The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Wednesday 26 May 2021

I Ain't Marching Anymore

In 1965 the protest singer Phil Ochs wrote and recorded a song called I Ain’t Marching Anymore – a song about the futility of marching off to war.1  It became one of the songs that Ochs most often played in his concerts.  In it, Ochs sings,

I knew what I was learning,

That I ain’t marching anymore. 

What was Ochs learning?  Was he learning something, not only about the futility of war and his reasons for not wanting to take part?  Was he also learning something about himself, and the act of marching?  Perhaps?  Perhaps not?

I have.  I have learnt something about protest marches.  I have learnt something about marching – and chanting as I march along.  I have learned that marching (and chanting) as a form of protest is personally unhealthy, and possibly even contributing to a world that I do not want.  What follows is my personal reasons for no longer participating in protest marches.  If you, dear reader, wish to withdraw from such marches for similar reasons, then that is your choice.  Here, I am not suggesting that those seeking a more just world discontinue marching.  I do not have the answers.  All I know is what I have learned.  All I know is the impact marching has upon my psyche and my interactions with those around me.  So, with that caveat, here are some of the things I have learned:

·       Marching and chanting tends to be highly confrontational.  It sets up an us versus them mentality.  Yes, perhaps confrontation is needed.  I want to participate in confrontations with the act not with the actor.  Yet, marching (and its associated chanting) too often results in confronting people, other human beings, instead of engaging with the issues.

·       Marching has a militaristic connotation.  For me, militarism is one of the major obstacles in our way towards a more just, and peaceful world.  I do not wish to evoke one of its features in any protest.

·       There has long been debates as to whether the ends justify the means.  I won’t go into a discussion of those debates here, suffice to say that many of us in social justice movements over the past half century or more have come to understand that there is no distinction.  Means and ends are the same thing.  Means are simply ends in the making.  Marching and chanting disregards this understanding.

·       Marching enables the marcher to point the finger elsewhere, to shift the blame.  Yet, we are all participants in, and proponents of, the systems that we wish to change.  As Alexandr Solzhenitsyn (in The Gulag Archipelago) noted, “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts.”  We are all culpable to some degree.  Marching tends to suggest that I, as a marcher, bear no responsibility.

·       Marching seems to elicit “boos” and jeers, and shouts of “shame.”  Hurling abuse seems to me to be unbecoming of someone seeking a more humane society.  Verbal abuse is not an element of a society I aspire towards.  I would rather have no part of such abuse.

·       The five statements above could all be summarised by suggesting that marching maintains the myth of separation.  It separates me, as marcher, from the non-marcher and from the “object” I am marching against.  The myth of separation is possibly the single most potent factor spawning the problems we face in the world.

Learning from neuropsychology

Over the past half-century or more our understanding of neuroscience and neuropsychology has grown significantly.  We now understand a lot more about how our mental images and the stories we tell ourselves come to influence our behaviours and beliefs.  And vice versa.

When I add the understandings of neuropsychology to the statements above, I have to conclude that marching has an unhealthy impact upon my psyche and my mental state.  That unhealthy state cannot help but impact upon the world around me.  Hence, I choose to not march.

I ain't marching (off to war) anymore.

I Still Protest

I still wish to place my witness in front of (the literal meaning of protest) issues and problems that I consider to be unjust or wrong.  How do we do that if old forms of protest are unhealthy, and possibly counter-productive?

David Suzuki (the highly respected environmentalist and science commentator) has pondered this also.  In his autobiography he states,

“It is clear that the old ways of confrontation, protests, and demonstrations so vital from the 1960s through the 80s, have become less compelling to a public jaded by sensational stories of violence, terror, and sex.  We need new alliances and partnerships and ways of informing people.”2

I concur with him.  We need to be more creative and find life-affirming ways of testifying our disagreement with policies, procedures, and practices that are dehumanising and destroying the Earth. 

Meanwhile, I will attend rallies, I will listen to the speeches, I will condemn acts of oppression and degradation of the environment.  However…

I Ain’t Marching Anymore.


1. Phil Ochs, I Ain’t Marching Anymore, Elektra Records, 1965.  Phil Ochs performed at many protest rallies during the 1960s and 70s.  Sadly, he succumbed to depression and committed suicide in 1976.  I must admit that he may not have agreed with not marching anymore, in the sense I have written here.  If so, then my apologies to you Phil Ochs.

2. David Suzuki, David Suzuki: The Autobiography, Greystone Books, Vancouver B.C., Canada, 2006.

Wednesday 19 May 2021

When Will Young People Be Listened To?

l to r. Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Greta Thunberg, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

At the end of this week (on Friday 21 May) students from all over Australia will be attending School Strike For Climate rallies.  Inspired by Greta Thunberg these have been gaining millions of participants all over the world since late 2018.

Will they be listened to?

Young people have been raising their voices for decades.  How many more decades before their pleas, ideas, and suggestions are heard?  Greta Thunberg was not the first – she is unlikely to be the last.  Here are just three of these young people from the past three decades.

Severn Cullis-Suzuki

Severn was born in 1979, a third-generation Japanese-Canadian.  At the age of 9 she founded ECO (Environmental Childrens Organisation).

In 1992, at the age of just 12, she and three other members of ECO raised funds to travel to Rio de Janeiro to attend the U.N. Earth Summit.  Whilst there, she was invited to speak to a plenary session of the delegates.  A YouTube recording of her six minute speech has now been viewed well over one million times.  A link to her speech is here.

In the year following her speech she was honoured as a member of the U.N. Environment Program Global 500 Roll of Honour – which includes such notable environmentalists and conservationists as Sir David Attenborough and Jane Goodall.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

Xiuhtezcatl’s mother, Tamara Roske, founded the Earth Guardians Community Resource Centre in 1992 (the same year Severn Cullis-Suzuki spoke in Rio) in Hawaii.  Beginning as a high school focussing on environmental issues, this morphed into the international environmental organisation, Earth Guardians.  Xiuhtezcatl is the Youth Director of this organisation.

In 2015 (at the age of 15), he and 20 other young people filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government alleging that the government was denying them their constitutional right to life, liberty, and property by ignoring climate change.

In that same year Xiuhtezcatl addressed the U.N. General Assembly, speaking in English, Spanish, and Nahuatl (his native tongue.)  He spoke for all young people when he told the delegates that,

“What is at stake now is the existence of my generation.”

In 2017 Rolling Stone magazine named him as one of the ”25 under 25” young people who will change the world.

Greta Thunberg

In August 2018, at the age of 15, Greta Thunberg began spending her school days outside the Swedish Parliament with her now famous sign – Skolstrejk för klimatet (School strike for climate.)  She may not have known it then, that this one-person action would go on to instigate one of the world’s most prominent campaigns – the strikes by millions of students across the globe in favour of action on climate change.

Within four months of her beginning those lone strikes she was addressing the 2018 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poland.  Her attendance at the 2019 U.N. Climate Change Conference in New York caught world-wide attention by her sailing to the conference rather than flying. 

At that conference she delivered her now famous “how dare you?” speech.  The context of those three words is worth quoting here:

“This is all wrong.  I shouldn’t be here.  I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean.  Yet you all come to us young people for hope.  How dare you!  You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.  And yet I’m one of the lucky ones.  People are suffering.  People are dying.  Entire ecosystems are collapsing.  We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.  How dare you!”

To this writer (who is almost exactly 50 years older) those three words – how dare you! – of admonishment are entirely appropriate.

Greta Thunberg was named Time Person of the Year for 2019.  She has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three years running, in 2019, 2020, and 2021.


Greta Thunberg’s words – how dare you!punctuate three decades of young people speaking, beginning with Severn Cullis-Suzuki in 1992, passing on through Xiuhtezcatl Martinez’s activism, to the school strikes of today.

When will the world’s leaders finally listen?  When will they dare to listen?

Tuesday 11 May 2021

See What You Made Me Do (Book Review)

Perhaps the most prescient comment in Jess Hill’s award winning book – See What You Made Me Do: Power, Control and Domestic Abuse1 – comes not in the main text, but in a footnote on page 225.  In that footnote, Hill quotes Ellen Pence (a prominent worker in the field) as asking:

“What would change if women stopped being violent towards men?  The answer is clear – nothing like the change that would occur if men stopped being violent towards women.”

That women are sometimes violent towards women is one of the most common apologies given to dismiss the need for men to change their behaviour, thoughts, and beliefs.

Yes, it is so; some women do act violently towards men.  Yet, if you read Jess Hill’s thoroughly researched and example-laden book it is clear that the perpetrators of domestic abuse, and coercive control, are overwhelmingly men.

Jess Hill is an investigative journalist who spent over six years researching and writing See What You Made Me Do.  That time and effort shows.  The personal stories of women who have suffered years and years of domestic abuse are compassionately and forthrightly told.  The research is wide and exemplary.  The writing style is compelling and accessible.

From the perspective of a man who has had almost fifty years involvement in men’s organisations and has tried to understand sexism, male violence, misogyny, and patriarchy, this book is one of the best I have read.

What makes a perpetrator of domestic abuse has been studied by psychologists, feminist writers, and sociologists for many years.  Hill presents the ideas of many of these analysts and researchers.  She concludes that, “only by integrating both (major) viewpoints – feminism and psychology – can we start to truly comprehend the phenomenon of men’s violence against women, and find effective ways to stop it.”

And – stop it we can.

Hill writes of several possible solutions; ranging from the novel, and highly effective, Argentinian and Brazilian, Women’s Police Stations, to the preventative measures introduced by Police Superintendent Greg Moore in Bourke (NSW, Australia) in 2016.

A further way to stop men’s violence against women is for men to read this book, and at least, become informed as to the severity and widespread nature of the issue.

Much of this book relates to the tip-of-the-iceberg; the physical, mental, emotional, and financial abuse that a large percentage of women endure daily.  It could be tempting for some men to read this and claim that the problem lies with “other men” or “that group of men,” but “not me, I’m not part of the problem.”

To read it this way though would be to do the book, Jess Hill, and the thousands upon thousands of abused women, an injustice.

Hill devotes one chapter to Patriarchy, and concludes that, “the entire system of patriarchy is organised around an obsession with control.”  With an understanding of what patriarchy is, how it operates, and who benefits, Hill confidently states that patriarchy is, “critical to our understanding of perpetrators of domestic abuse.”

Understanding this suggests that the solutions to domestic abuse, coercive control, misogyny, and male violence against women, are not just in the hands of; the police, the courts, legislators, women’s refuges, and men’s behaviour change programs.

We all (especially men) have a part to play.

The best place to start to comprehend that part is to read the script.  See What You Made Me Do is an excellent script to begin with.  Indeed, if there were a University course titled Twenty-first Century Masculinity 101 this book would be on the required reading list.


1. Jess Hill, See What You Made Me Do: Power, Control and Domestic Abuse, Black Inc., Carlton, Victoria, Australia, 2019.

Monday 3 May 2021

The Other Pandemic

There is possibly not a person on this planet who has not heard of the pandemic that is
sweeping the world.  Whether we believe the whole thing to be fake or not, we will have heard of it.  This pandemic threatens the human race.

Interesting word – pandemic.  Meaning all people, the word did not become identified with disease until the middle of the 19th century. 

Whilst all this is going on there is another pandemic that we should be a whole lot more concerned about.  This one concerns Pan – the ancient god of the wild, nature, rustic music, and shepherds.  Interestingly, there is a, not rigorously proven, link between pan (meaning all) and Pan (the deity).  Being associated with nature, Pan is identified with everything – all.

However, I digress.

The pandemic associated with Pan is a pandemic relating to nature – to everything.  We are running out of it.  Running out of what?

Nature.  We are losing more and more species as the minutes go by.  In the time it takes me to write this blog we will probably lose around a dozen species.  The rate at which species upon Earth are going extinct is estimated at anywhere from 100 to 10,000 times the natural extinction rate.

Some experts predict that there is only twenty-six more years worth of seafood in the oceans.  NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) expect all rainforests to be gone by 2100.  (Does anyone remember the last turn of the century?  Well, the next one, in 2100, is only 78 years away!)

That means something “unnatural” is happening.   

It doesn’t take much research or thinking to realise that it is us that contribute the “unnatural” element.

Not only are we eliminating the alive features of nature, but we are also decimating the un-alive features.1  Each year we extract 90 billion tons of fossil fuels, minerals, and metals from the Earth.  That’s enough for eleven tons for every person on the planet.  Those of us in the rich nations do so at a much higher rate – between 20 and 30 tons each!

Since 1970 (in just 50 years) the amount of material we have dug up, pumped up, or blown up has more than tripled.

And in the rich, industrialised nations, two-thirds of this material has been for private consumption.

Yes, we are in the middle (or perhaps, the fateful end game) of a grand Pan-demic.  It is a pandemic which has been proceeding since at least the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

What is even further horrifying is that if we do not recognise this Pan-demic, then the likelihood of more pandemics (such as the one we are presently experiencing) will only increase.

For we are pan (all) part of Pan (nature.)  


1. The terms alive and un-alive should not be read too literally.  I am simply using them as a way to distinguish aspects of the same all-encompassing Mother Earth.  I acknowledge that many people (me included) view all aspects of nature as alive.