Social Inclusion Platform

Another year and one of the highlights of the hackathon scene came and went – govhack – the now international data hackathon focusing on open government datasets.

Our intrepid team of six, five from Deloitte and one ring in came together and had to figure out what challenges to solve for. Always the hardest part! After much angst – should it be transport, environment or social impact? Our team had tackled climate change as a topic the year before using SEED data sets so this year – as we thought transport would be too popular – we opted for social impact.

After trawling through the sponsor challenges, we ended up looking at how we could help start-ups and small businesses, especially ones focused on social good to make better decisions throughout the value chain of a business.

Firstly, during their initial phases, giving them some data to make decisions on the problem space, issues that were growing, competition from other businesses – basically improving decision making when looking at the demand side of the equation. Then we look at the end of the value chain – giving them a common outcomes framework to work to – so that their work could be measured and to ensure that they focused on issued that mattered and maintained transparency on how they were performing.

Food was surprisingly good this year. The traditional pizza had been banished and replaced with a pretty good curry and salad combination. So hats off to the organisation for taking a chance – there was no riot!

By the end of Friday our team had figured out the problem they wanted to solve and we left feeling good. We even finished the night with a trip with some team forming at Chinatown.

However, by Saturday morning we came back… scratching our heads and trying to figure out exactly what had we agreed to!


With hackathons you can go small or large. Build something niche with an idea that can be easily demonstrated but potentially has little prospect of making an impact, or something large that tackles a big problem but is difficult to explain in a three minute pitch. To that end, most of Saturday was spent trying to figure out how simplify, simplify, simplify. It all seemed so easy when we started…

The tech team got busy finding useful datasets across the overwhelming number of websites and datasets building a demand evaluation dashboard. Data that is never quite right or accurate.

“It is always darkest just before the day dawneth”

Thomas Fuller

By the end of Saturday, well we had nothing. Nothing. No dashboard screens. No running code. No video. So just like all hackathons before, night beckoned, the final stretch was upon us and we questioned if we were up for the challenge? Travis, Joe, Michael and Jay

So lets say I’m a morning person but even for me I got up a bit earlier than normal! My job was to create video and pull evidence of assets created together. So by 7am I had the script written, narrated, edited with b-roll stock video footage so we had a solid foundation for the work the rest of the team would complete during the rest of the day.

The day passed with a hectic blur. Travis and Jay worked on demand dashboard pulling views of predictive trends of issues together. Then Joe and Michael started pulling additional views of services needed together. Very helpful and insightful mentors gave advice and we doubled down on more code and machine learning to recommend locations for new services. Umar worked remotely on Sunday and Joe and Umar got a great website together explaining our architecture approach. Jay battled a presentation slide for a few hours on Sunday but it came good in the end!

Who said miracles couldn’t happen?

A frantic rush from start to end. Furious video editing ensued as piece by piece the video came together. With stress levels rising, and the 5pm deadline looming, we managed to submit with 15 minutes to spare.

That was a relief! A job well done and time to say well – we did it! Great job team!!!

Now a 6 week wait for the judges to make their selection.

Exhausted teams at the closing ceremony – thanks John!

Always challenging. Always fun! A weekend full of learning. You meet great people and have the opportunity to tackle wicked societal issues.

Can we make the invisible visible?

Can we make the invisible visible?

Our downtrodden

Trembling masses

Casting their waning shadows

On forgotten plains

Our near silent

Our near vanquished majority

Our shameful oversight

Hidden with our tacit knowledge

In plain view

Living on the borderline

Our most shirked

Our most forgotten

Fellow man



Woeful creatures

Rooted unbeknownst

To a fractured and dimming spotlight.

Can we not just shine

Just for an instant

A piercing

Penetrating beam

Into the recesses

The crooks and crannies

And truly see

Not glazing over

The uncomfortable truths

Of our oh so comfortable lives?

If we had the slightest inclination

Could we not draw our collective breath

Inhale a little more deeply

And exhale a defiant challenge to our status quo

One that now so obviously benefits our elites

Our carefully manicured role models

Born to fortunate privilege

Primping and preening

Believing it was their talent

And not their postcode

Those who walk in wilful ignorance

Seemingly across water

But if you took the time

And peered closely

You would see

That this is on the arched backs

Of our drowning brothers and sisters

Asphyxiating in a system corrupted

No longer a meritocracy

No longer part of our vocabulary

Perhaps it never was…

Corporate greed is now our mantra

Our secret state

Profits at exponential rates

Inflation pressures we’re told

Must keep wages down

Out of reach of common man

While they wallow in their big fat juicy bonuses

At the top end of town

Peddling a perverse, inverse stew

Of capitalist socialism

Peddling us false prophets and propaganda

The pinnacle of populist views

Shamelessly, triumphantly echoes

“What’s in it for me?”

Where sowing fear and distrust of strangers

Left from right

Black from white

Race and religion

Is the new regime

What’s in vogue

Our new status quo.

As if there is no other honourable way

That being poor means you need to be punished

That instead of sharing the spoils

For your own good

When you are down

We will not pick you up

We will not help you

We will beat you into a final submission

For you are not worthy

You in your miserable state

We will smite you

We will shame you

We will subjugate you

We will fuck you when you are down

Simply we don’t give a shit

Who sees

Who knows

We are untouchable

For we wear the crown.

We could draw a line

If willing

We could wake

If willing

Challenge our indoctrination

Turn off mass media

Owned by billionaires

That numbs our senses

Hysterical infotainment parading

Thinly as news

Desensitising our minds

Falling into a stupor

Leaning further and further

To an alternative point of view

Playing into capricious goals

Of a skewed, racist agenda

A horrendous dystopian view of reality

An Orwellian state in the making.

All in the name of progress and equity

Because that is the American way

Our brothers in arms

Our star spangled role model


The poor wannabe

The fifty first state

A lapdog

Leaving behind all sense of decency

All sense of morality

For what

To bask in the shadow of another’s making

To catch the snacks that fall on the floor

For what?

To be their slaves?

No more.

Let me tell you of the everyday Australian

In our vernacular –

The fictitious honest battler

Let us keep their stories alive

Let us hold them ever so briefly in your minds eye

Shine brightly

Our beacon

To illuminate

Get close

Smell their desperation and despair

And use our teeth

To snap

To bite




And eventually


The knots that bind our fallacies

Our inbred prejudices

Our intemperance

Of those not worthy of our might.

Let us hold ourselves accountable for our intolerance

Our scorn

Our ridicule

Our unwillingness to accentuate

Their unfair

Pitiful plight

Let me tell you of their story

But let me ensure it is not simply a flight of fancy

Easily dismissed

Fingers snapped

In an instant due to naive simplicity

The optimism of our youth

But something oh so grounded

In a brutal


Visceral reality

An awful chilling

Heartbreaking tragedy

An unending brutality

That surrounds

So pitifully

So many

In their unfair


Everyday lives.

Can you imagine that in our lucky country

Full of overflowing riches

One in eight

Of our brothers and sisters

Live in intolerable subsistence

Below that shrieking, shameful poverty line

That in this land down under

We have a tale

Of haves and have-nots

Thirteen unlucky percent

Do not unfortunately share

Its embarrassingly rich bountiful fare

And to add to that injustice

One in six children

Share that miserable fate

A dire and destitute state.

And if your skin is black

And if your only sin is to be born Into a sunburnt land

Born as one from our First Nation

Then that shocking number escalates

Shatters records and shoots to

Thirty percent

It’s incomprehensible

Beyond comprehension.

And then to pour further fuel to a beaker that is already full

Let me take away our most precious commodity

What should be all of ours inalienable right

By taking away a precious gift

A span of ten years from an inglorious, unfair existence

Our people

From the First Nation

Born to fail

Bereft of the gift of life

Quickly and quietly dispensed.

And where do we house our invisible?

How do we sweep them out of plain sight?

Giving them no realistic option

But to live on the fringes

In distant urban dwellings

In sleepy country towns

Far from opportunity

To live below the poverty line

Many eeking out a meagre existence

Challenging them to find

Safe harbour

Where out of twenty-four thousand homes around Sydney

Only fifty are affordable

For a family on the borderline

Just fifty.

Putting all on Newstart

Regardless of age, health or family

Soul destroying politicians

Cynically peddling bullshit

A false

And evil ideology

That their amounts are fair

Indexed with inflation

Punishment with perpetual poverty

A shame they must continually bear.

And in the same breath

Voting though their shameful pay rises

Perks and bonuses

Tax cuts for those that don’t need it

Leading us all into oblivion

Corporate greed at its finest

Our final solution

Perpetuating a cycle

With major inequalities


Built into the very fabric of Australian society.

Can we make the invisible visible?

Yes we can


Only if we are willing

To open our eyes

Only if we have the will

And the way

Only if we finally

Finally chose to look

And not look away

To say enough is enough

For a time will come

Where we must all pull together

To save our land

To save our planet

From our shameful history

Our indulgences

That has raped and pillaged

This land

Heartbreaking mismanagement.

Otherwise I propose

That we will all vanish

Screaming and scratching

In pain and agony

Sliding into the blackness of despair

Realising only on the way down

That we too will vanish

Vanish into the bleak and bleary night


©Vinod Ralh. 2019

Ivy – a domestic violence survivor’s story

An angry fella. His face full of red rage. Full of hate.

An angry fella

His face full of red rage

Full of hate

His rancid, putrid breath

Stinking of cheap whiskey

His rotten, decayed teeth

On full display

His brain shut off

To rhyme or reason

His visceral thoughts

A myopic focus.

Staggering forward in false bravado

He’d pick up his well worn bat

Caressing it’s end in theatrical play

His old trusted friend

His old acquaintance firmly at hand

In prelude

And for devastating effect

He would smile

His all-knowing smile

And with eyes full of malice

Slurring incoherently

“Smash your fucking face”.

Then tensing at his fullest

He would swing that bat

With all his might

In violence, in vengeful hate

The reward for some small slight

That made him remember

Who he was


A pitiful man

Exercising his daemons

His self-loathing

And his terrible ritual would continue


Now a muscle memory

He would slap her bloodied face

Again and again.

And if she did not fall, or cried or moaned or whimpered

Or if she did not cower or crawl away

Or if she did show the fear

Or respect his twisted brain craved

As close to adulation as he came

If she did not do it

His way

If he did not see it

His way

“That bitch”

He would kick her for the justice

He demanded

His way.

And as she laid down in her own blood

And as she laid down in pain

While that pathetic bastard had

His way.

In silence

In her shame…

To take his own anguish away

That angry man

That coward

That wife beater

All the while

Our survivor would pray

Her tears would mix with her blood

Pooling again

On that oh so stained floor

Which had seen this play

Play out this encore



This time though enough was enough

Inside her a barrier

Taunt from years of abuse

Beyond breaking point

Finally snapped

Shattering Into a thousand pieces

And she saw the universal truth

One she had tried so hard

To put aside

To ignore

This dangerous game

He would not stop

Or change

For this was his way

Why he had sought her out in the first place.

For nine times she had left him

And nine times she had returned

Nine incomprehensible times

To us

But not to her

The denier of history

To replicate

Her fate.

This time though

With new resolve

She reached an escape velocity

An escape trajectory


This time she would break free of her shackles

He would not bind her

This time she would not come back

This time

He would not own her

This time

She would be the master

Of her destiny.

So this time she fled

She ran away

Far from her land

Away from her people

Away from her shame

Alone, she would have to start again.

The best years of her life behind her.

To fight for existence

To battle her own demons

To fan her own faltering flame

A future yet uncertain

A life of continuous subsistence

But a life that was free.

But a life full of unknowing

Ill prepared

Not required you see

In ignorance of the economy

Now with white fella’s cards

To dig in their claws

To abuse

To misuse

A new ritual

To bash her another way.

For the cycle continues

Despite all our good intentions.


One of series of stories that were inspired by workshops around financial inclusion I helped organise and run for the Salvos in Australia in Nov 2018 while working for Deloitte’s.

We collaborated with the Salvos, on our national charity day, looking at how to resolve issues related to the stigma and access to Salvos financial services across the five personas, each with complex issues. In this case it was of an individual who was also facing domestic violence.

I’m a bit of a newbie at Unity but I’ve given a go using it for animation, using Mixamo for the character creation and Adobe tools to try to bring these stories to life. I’ve updated the Unity 3D animation with improved models and lighting effects. It’s a step up with what I was able to do with Unity before but I have so much more than I can do!

Poems and videos by Vinod Ralh. 2018. All rights reserved.

Illustrations in video by Jean-Baptiste Vincent. 2018. All rights reserved.
Music in video Life Is by Scott Buckley -

Photos modified from

Remember Me

A poem that explores the challenges of dementia, Alzheimer’s and the recent submissions of the Royal Commission on Aged Care.

A poem that explores the challenges of dementia, Alzheimer’s and the recent submissions of the Royal Commission on Aged Care.

Remember Me

Remember me
Remember me
For my life is fading
Remember me
My glorious years
Bittersweet distant memories
So precious
They melt away inexorably.

Before my eyes
Shades are drawn tightly
Mist surrounds my senses
It is dusk for me
Fear for company
My words escape
A hideous leak
A breach I cannot seal
An affect I cannot mask
A remedy I cannot make.

I sit alone now
A strangers place
In the dark
In piss
And shit
Leaking on the floor
A stench so strong
It’s nauseating.

And wait for others
To remember
To remember me
Scurrying past
No time
No regret
Absent eyes
On a clock
They’re gone again
Gone again.

A cycle ending
A babe again
But without that innate curiosity
For life is spent
Zeal stolen
Before my time
It’s not fair!
I had more time!
Twenty more years!
Please more time!

Remember me
Please remember me
As I once was
Living life
Laughter an anchor in twilight years
Before I was a burden
Before I was too much
Too much to share
To care
The shame I brought
I’m sorry
Remember me.

But in an instant
A joyous moment
Trigger unknown
Confusion gone
For the briefest time
My past
Sings so sweet
My family remembered
Bathe me in sweetness and love
They embrace me
Colour returns
And the laughter
As if it was yesterday
They bring tears to my eyes
My hands they tense
My throat constricts
I shake
A sob

Remember me

© Vinod Ralh. 2019

Trapped by your minds creations

More needs to be done to monitor, support and intervene with those that need it most – some of the most vulnerable and invisible people in society.

My brother Sushil battled mental health issues most of his life and passed away recently and unexpectedly. This is his story, his eulogy.

The World Health Organisation states that people with severe mental disorders on average die 10-25 year earlier, often due to preventable chronic physical illnesses and suicide. More needs to be done to monitor, support and intervene with those that need it most – some of the most vulnerable and invisible people in society.

My brother
I’m sorry I was not there for you
My shame forevermore
For alone you fell into darkness
Your last moments
In a cage
Trapped by your minds creations
Voices that could not be silenced
Though sometimes faded
Remained split
And hidden and trampled in their midst
A small but not so innocent boy
Who never got that chance
To grow up
To grow old
To grow wise
To experience everything that is life
That unadulterated joy.

My brother
Your body so cruelly and savagely
Added to your anguish
Locked into grotesque pose
Attacked itself
Every step
Every shuffle
A reminder
Another harsh unfair
Sharp pain to endure

My brother
Do you remember happier times?
Sweet moments
Where you let in those who loved you?
Where pain and humiliation were forgotten?
Where you forgave yourself for what you had said and done?
Where anger and frustration
When it seized you
Was not your fault
You were not in control
You were along for the ride
With your life marked by such cruel tragedy
Surrounded by never ending sadness
A longing for normality
You displayed such strength and resolve to carry on
You persevered
You fought on.

My brother
Fate left you
One weapon
With which to yield
With which
To make a mark
With humour
To compensate
To hit bullseye
To show your defiance
To show you were alive
That you were here
A sentient being
With pride intact
To a system
That did not seek to understand
That simply
Did not care.

My brother
Did you see the beacon
Your sister had lit for you
Our cherished one
Who went two years ago
To light a path
For you to join her, mum and dad
Our dear departed family
Their love and compassion
Was so strong
And you for them
The bonds were unbreakable
Your grief insurmountable
And now the anguish of separation is naught
For the ones that loved you the most
Now beckon you
Now speak to you
With tenderness and compassion
With eyes moist, tears and joy
They sit with you
They embrace you
Their son
Her brother
Holding hands
Firmly grasped
Never letting go.

My brother
Do you remember your family?
Aunties and uncles?
Your cousins?
Your friends?
Those who reached out to you in the wilderness?
Sometimes quizzically
Cooking endless supplies of curry
That had to be just right
Not too hot
Not too spicy
Copious amounts of roti
Yes more roti
More roti!
Sharing your cooking wisdom
Hard won sitting on the couch
Amazing imagination
Pure fiction
Barking orders
Mirth in your eyes
Simple pleasures
Small, sweet
Grasped moments
Of escape
Pushing limits
Rejoicing life.

My brother
Do you remember
Those who cared
And strangers ambling by
Caught in your net
Who sat
Who shared a Costa coffee,
And in the stillness smoked
Modern day philosophers
Brothers and sisters in arms
Who took time
To talk, to reflect, to dissect
To solve the country’s woes
To be crass
To talk real truth
Of what is inside
To conjure stories from nothingness
To laugh aloud
To feel human
To fill that ache
That void
That loneliness
To mute your many voices
To remember that precious irony
Called life.

My brother
Do you remember when we were young?
Can you part the mists of time?
To when life was simple?
Our house full of laughter
Of so much warmth and love
Of sunshine
And you – a maelstrom
In the centre of it all
Teasing, using that sharp mind
Pushing playfully at the limits
Stepping beyond
Damn the consequences
Feeling a mother’s wrath
A sharp stinging slap
False anger
A smile quickly escaping her mask
Point won
Easing the path of those that followed
Thanks bro.

My brother
Our eccentric dresser
Our fashionista
Gold jewellery your currency
Funny man full of wit and pathos
Laughing your crazy, infectious laugh
Music your lifeblood
Crooning along to Elvis
Rolling your cigarettes with precision
Small pleasures inhaled
A man
Larger than life
Moments that linger
To touch oh so weary hearts.

My brother
So much time has past
so much is faded and forgotten
Childhood a distant memory
Embers spent
Growing cold
And as ashes gently fall
So too does sleep beckon
So rest in peace now
Dear brother
Go gently and rest in peace
Let go of all that troubled you
Turmoils finally soothed
Your journey now
At an end
To a far better resting place you go
A place that is without cages
Are free.

© Vinod Ralh. 2019


Real life peeks through, with its creaks, its cracks and crevices.
The ugly but plain truth casts its shadow on our green plains

Be the difference

I was asked why I had been focusing on participating in workshops, hackathons and initiatives with a focus on social impact . I thought about it for a while and this poem expresses why technologists participation can potentially make a significant impact on societal issues and cut through traditional, risk adverse and often manually intensive current practices.

The fantastic illustrations here are by my son Ben. In the video I also have amazing illustrations by my colleague Jean-Baptiste Vincent.

A beloved father

Eyes so wild


Screaming at the world

His family slowly disintegrating around him

Helplessly, watching on.

A young daughter

Her innocence lost

Clutching her beloved teddy

Stares vacantly ahead

As her uncle closes her bedroom door.


A teenage boy

Family a distant memory

Inhaling and numbing his mind

Vanquishing thoughts of the tricks he’s performing.

An elderly lady

Deep lines etch her face

Teeth rotten


Swollen feet her grace

Preferring the safety of the streets to the danger of a shared home.

A woman

Toils with years of emotional and physical abuse

Incessantly beaten

To breaking point

Calls the police


To just make him stop

Charged for wasting police time.

A teenage girl

A bright and beautiful future ahead

Drowning in dread

She sees no other way

She steps into the abyss.

An old, pitiful man

Slowly shuffling on the streets

Confused and afraid

His mind slowly

Whittled away.

The hopelessness of the refugee

Feared for colour and religion

His qualifications not recognised

Loosing not just a home

But his essence

His meaning and his pride.

The middle-aged man sits at home

Solitude for company

And In that silence he is alone




The carer

A parent, sibling or child

Driven by love and duty

Makes the ultimate sacrifice

Their life not their own

Here – Oh Dot – in our pristine towers

We lead such safe and privileged lives

Our endless selfies showcasing our beautiful lies with our beaming, megawatt smiles

Our burning question no more inconsequential that our order

“Earl Grey. Soy on the side”.

But occasionally…

Oh so occasionally…

Real life peeks through, with its creaks, its cracks and crevices

The ugly but plain truth casts its shadow on our green plains

We join the unwashed masses

Gravity holds sway

Our feet touch the ground

We smell our fear

Our faces crease in uncertainty

We pause…

We have to turn away from our PowerPoint

We remove our hands from the keyboard and coding is stopped for the day.

Can we as technologists do more?

Can we in our youth focus our energies and passion?

Can we open our eyes to the world around us?

To the injustice that surrounds us?

To take some time out and do battle for a worthwhile cause?

Can we bring meaning?

Can we make an impact?

A social impact and make our lives matter more?

Last year, we gathered on several occasions

Our zealous zeal unbounded

In smalls teams to tackle a cause

We used hackathons to focus

To learn. To think. To try. To feed the soul.

It is an imperfect system

But if we can start to look beyond our iPhone’s camera lens

At a younger age, to really see beyond our field of view

To see what’s authentic and what’s fake

To refuse to let destiny become reality.

The fusion of technology, creativity and humanity

Where everything is possible

Not baulking, but applying to where there is the greatest need

Can technology transform society?

Can we serve people more?

That would be a sight to see.

Join me

Or don’t join me

Just take stock

Just think beyond your safe and pretty life

Apply that brain

That passion

Those ideas

Bring change

Breathe Change

Make change

Be the difference.

Oh my beloved father

My daughter

My son

My wife

My mother

My sister

My friend

My grandfather

A stranger.

One day, you will fear no more.

© Vinod Ralh 2019

Climatic – a climate change story

At its heart its about the issue of apathy towards climate change, why there such a lack of interest and how we can engage people in this important issue. It discusses how we can find a way to move people from a position of apathy to interested and then finally to become activists.

Advance Australia Fair – A Climate Change Story

The idea for this poem came out of GovHack 2018 – a programming competition in Australia using government open data sets . Our team settled on climate change and environmental data sets and I wanted to experiment with using poem structure to explain the issue and our solution. My first attempt at a poem and recording it over a weekend was terrible but I felt so alarmed by the research I had done on climate change that I continued refine it for several months afterwards.

At its heart its about the issue of apathy towards climate change, why there such a lack of interest and how we can engage people in this important issue. It discusses how we can find a way to move people from a position of apathy to interested and then finally to become activists.

It represents one of my first spoken word poems and I was initially quite nervous to put it out in the wild… but then I thought life’s too short!

I recorded a video version using many photos from – so thanks to that site and the many photographers whose excellent work I’ve used that are provided for free to the community.

It’s extraordinary climate deniers remain in Australian Politics

David Attenborough

Australians all let us rejoice

For we are young and free

We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil

Our home is girt by sea

Our land abounds in nature’s gifts

Of beauty rich and rare

In history’s page, let every stage

Advance Australia Fair

In joyful strains then let us sing

Advance Australia Fair

The majestic beauty of our land 

Its frailties so easily exposed.

Crops inundated by floods

And starved by drought 

Farmers wandering what to sow

The beauty of our coastal plains 

And our coral reefs diversity,

Whispering their bittersweet  swansong

To our nation 

So Poignantly 

A story of unrelenting turmoil and tragedy.




Affected by this new and terrible reality.

The imperceptible creeping rise of H20

It’s higher tides and storm surges 

With its urges 

To wash away all signs of our humanity

While we struggle to see the impending calamity

As it lurches ever closer

The harsh price we pay

With weather patterns 

Taking no pity on our damaged lands

Our bedraggled homes pummeled by  downpours and blight

Our browning lawns gasping

Eeking out paltry vapours as they fight

For their very  survival.

We stare on in false ecstasy 

With false bravado at our lucky country

With idle chatter and polite social conversation 

We fixate on investment, 

Of house prices with all their fallacies

Choosing to ignore the elephant trumpeting in our room

Can you not see Caesar!

Rome is burning!

We stare on…

Our gazes carefully ignoring that which  is in front of our eyes. 

Like lobsters in a pot


Oblivious of our impending culinary demise

An hors d’oeurve, 

To be quickly nibbled, digested and our remains to be cast aside

Why so much apathy to this danger?

The signals clearly in front of our eyes

How big do the billboards need to be 

to be recognised?

Do the neon lights need to be flashing?

The foghorns blaring?

What can we surmise?

What will it take

For us to stumble off the couch

Stumbling as if drunk

With bleary eyes

With uncertainty 

With sweaty bodies fattened by inaction

With little consensus of the right path

With trepidation and meditation

But now with conviction 

Be brave

Suck it in

We will enter the fray.

Lead on McDuff!

Lead on!

Are we deer frozen by some blinding headlights?

Is our political system too broken? 

To focused  on sound bites that have no might

Our media chasing headline stories 

Of vacuous celebrities that amount only to a pregnant pause.

Our scientists shouting in the wilderness 

Their voices drowned out

Not finding a voice that can be heard 

Not finding a connection to the greater cause

In this desert

Do we simply bury our heads in the sand?

Is the problem too large for us to understand?

So do we shrug our shoulders and continue on our way?

Do we have the power and wherewithal to stay

To fight

Are we delegating our responsibility?

Believing that a higher power will be our salvation?

That there is no need for consternation.

That the Mighty Lord in his revelations 

Will save us from our flaws.

Is that our mitigation?

But just in case…

Can we not in our busy lives,

simply take a moment to


Close our eyes



Do we not feel some foreboding?

A faint tingling in our bodies

The tip of our tongue

Our second sense

If we strain our eyes 

do we not see the shadows lurking?

How do we tear away a popcorn generation.

One weaned on the teat that is our fixation.

A Facebook generation that will pout, take a pic, and share their devotion 

Hungrily counting their ephemeral adulation

And a commitment so slight 

That as a wispy breeze it simply ends with a like. 

How do we put a stop to mind numbing activity 

How do we shift our gaze to the fore

To help us realise that the world’s fuse has been lit

That this may lead to a moment

A moment that leaves the world with no option

No option but to eject us 

Eject us while our species 

Our species that is still in its infancy

A not-so-innocent babe in arms

Snuffed out

Before Its legacy has even  begun 

How do we wake up a generation from its slumber

That it is being led by a Joker

An orange pied piper – a ludicrous New Yorker

Perhaps to our eventual elimination?

To shake man, women and child  from their complacency

To show them it is not too late

That we can crawl to the starting gate

And That we through many small steps walk the talk with conviction

And then,  as a nation our future generations will be ready to run at the problems head on, tempered by experience

 and armed with the knowledge that there is no one else

That we have gifted this world to them

This problem to solve

In our shame…

For there is no one else to blame…

I hope …not too late…

The is hope…

Can we use technology effectively to connect emotionally

To tear the bleary eyed from their stupor

With tools to hook them

Not with far fetched fantasy

But to show them the effects of climate change now to their hometowns, communities and families

With tools that let them see the impact first hand

That tell a  story that they can understand 

To open their eyes and digest a future chapter to be written

From that dusty book

You know – that book that they never picked up from the library

In a lonely corner

What’s it called?

Ah yes!

That’s the section

That’s called non-fiction

With attention hooked

Can we take the protagonist on their life journey

The ups and downs

Can we show them the bigger picture

The impact of inaction 

not simply to the economy.

But life itself in all its glory

On a knife edge 

and in that cutting moment

Which way will it fall?

Can we help them guide its sway?

Can we show them how the lack of environmental policy,

not demanding we answer  the hard questions, 

Gaia’s wicked problems to be solved.

Can we put data  in their hands.

Help them with the crossword puzzle

To make informed  decisions for our land.

Can we dis-intermediate  the flow of information

Not controlled by faceless men 

Of corporations who seek to profit

From a status quo

That cannot be maintained


Those who want to hide and ignore the worse cases

And those who seek to alarm of only worst cases

Allow people to understand 

To understand the risks

and take their own journey

Allow them to find their own story

Can one empowered with information 

Armed with knowledge

For with knowledge comes enlightenment 

Can one build a sense of urgency

And With conviction to follow it to its bitter end

To be willing to make sacrifices on the way

A way that should have started yesterday

And though we fear our fortune

Let us believe, let us hope that it is not too late

Than our pregnant pause has not Sealed our fate

That we can get out of the starting gate

Let us embark on our journey

On its twisted and turning path

 that will require some radical change

We must remember

To be resilient

To be tenacious

Not give up hope

We must realise that

To run we must first walk

To walk we must first crawl

To crawl we must first know why

In our youth and freedom

To rejoice, to be free

For history’s gaze

Will require that we toil

Nature’s gifts are waiting

And through our strains

We will rebuild our luck country

And we will sing

We will advance Australia fair.

© Vinod Ralh 2019