Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Greatest Business Opportunity in the History of the World.




There’s a popular cartoon depicting a scientist at a climate summit pointing to a list of benefits that would be achieved if the countries of the world could unite to fight human induced climate change. The list is, ‘Clean Water and Air, Sustainable Prosperity, Healthy Children, Liveable Cities, Energy Independence, Preservation of Rainforests and Biodiversity, Healthy Oceans’.
Someone from the audience stands up and asks ‘What if it’s a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?’.



In 1988 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential impacts. On Friday in Stockholm, after years of work, the IPCC released the summary of its fifth major assessment. This is taken from the ‘Summary For Policy Makers’.

‘Warming of the climate system is unequivocal…’ ‘The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. CO2 concentrations have increased by 40% since pre-industrial times, primarily from fossil fuel emissions and secondarily from net land use change emissions. The ocean has absorbed about 30% of the emitted anthropogenic carbon dioxide, causing ocean acidification’

The most terrifying words ‘Ocean warming dominates…’ suggest an acceleration of ocean acidification



So how is our new Coalition Government reacting to this climate change information from the IPCC?  Do you think our Government is taking action by continuing to implement the previous Government's strategies and building on them in order to protect Australia and its people? Well it's not. Instead, it's doing the direct opposite because it wants to take the budget to an early surplus.

How are we to understand this Government’s determination to conduct its business as though nothing new is happening to our world? 

 

The Liberal Coalition is all about winning and now that it has won the election, it sees itself as the business manager or CEO of the large corporation called Australia with the most important participants in that corporation being the stock holders, Gina Rhinehart, Rupert Murdoch and other wealthy corporate owners.
However, a balanced perspective permits us to see that managing the economy is but one part of the complex role of governance. Without balance, the focus of governance becomes solely money and power. This single focus can lead to corruption, loss of human rights and the exploitation of the masses.




For six long years the Liberal opposition talked the economy down. Many tried to explain that Labor, a minority Government with the help and support of the Greens and some independents, had successfully steered the country through a serious global financial crisis resulting in an economy that was the envy of most of the world. However, the constant negativity of the opposition coupled with a series of unavoidable downturns convinced the Australian public that their country was in trouble. Though the Labor Government proved successful, having passed a record number of legislations, it nevertheless could not prevent the loss of manufacturing jobs, the downturn in retail, a much touted slump in commodity prices and a volatile stock market coupled with a high level of personal debt. Add rising power costs which the Liberals erroneously claimed were due to the ‘carbon tax’ and Labor’s constant internal disputes and leadership challenges and you have a recipe for electoral failure.

And so, despite the fact that Australia enjoys one of the best economy’s in the world, the Australian public believed the negative rhetoric of the Liberal Coalition, while at the same time ignoring dire warnings on climate change. In the minds of the public, jobs trump a healthy environment, even though an unhealthy environment will most certainly create a very unhealthy economy and a drastic drop in the standard of living. 

 


 The Coalition Government’s main interest is to protect and increase the finances of what it sees as its financial corporation, Australia. Consequently, its only real focus is the short term profitability of creating a budget surplus and keeping large corporations happy. The larger the corporation, the happier they must be kept.  


                                                                                                 
 All businesses are money focussed. Be they banks, energy suppliers, computer companies, mining companies, oil and gas companies, packaging companies, food conglomerates, supermarkets, drug companies or clothing manufacturers, their only aim is to make as much money as is physically possible. Sure, if there are tax breaks involved, they’ll put something back into the community but ultimately, big business simply wants your money. There is no concern for the well being of Australia and its people. Only when Australians, in large enough numbers, stop spending their money do corporations and banks question their own actions. Consequently, one role of the Government is to regulate industry, corporations and banks, in order to protect its citizens and the environment. The economy should work for the people and not the other way around.

                                             


In relentless pursuit of profits and left to their own devices, corporations would naturally resort to unlimited exploitation with no concern for consequences such as the escalation of human induced climate change, the degradation of ecosystems, animal and plant extinctions or the well being of the Australian people. The new Coalition Government has shown no interest in taking any action to regulate corporations. In fact it has done the opposite. 
That Tony Abbott is our Prime Minister is very bad for the long term health of Australia and its people. If he stays on his present trajectory, he will have a devastating impact on our economy.
 
So, in this political climate and in this peaceful, democratic society, how do we who dream of a healthy, more equitable and prosperous future for Australia, address such pressing problems? How do we convince the government to continue to regulate corporations in order to deal with the problem of climate change? After all, that’s what the so called ‘carbon tax’ was all about and for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, it did manage to reduce our greenhouse emissions by nearly 10%. 

 

 
The other day I heard Ann Sherry, the ex-CEO of Westpac, speak of her successful initiative to introduce the first corporate paid maternity leave program in Australia. She said that having worked in parliament in the Keating administration, she was used to speaking in terms of fairness and equity but she soon learnt that such concepts meant little in the corporate world. Rather, she had to demonstrate that this fair and equitable program would save the company money. Fairness and equity alone were not desirable outcomes.

This formidable woman, convinced Westpac to spend a considerable sum for long term financial gain. Without the lure of long term financial gain, Westpac would not have been the first corporation in Australia to offer its employees paid maternity leave. Ann Sherry’s idea became a great marketing coup for Westpac which gained many more new customers and an increase in experienced, quality staff which in turn improved and expanded the Westpac brand and business.




Due to the vice like grip corporations have on our government, it would seem to me that in the present political climate, we who want to achieve all the fair, equitable and sustainable outcomes of a clean and prosperous world, will have to use the language of money and economics to do it. Even though it’s obvious to most that our very survival is at stake, listing good outcomes without reference to finances is simply not enough.
The Coalition Government and big business will continue to ask that seemingly ridiculous question, ‘What if it’s a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?’ and by ‘nothing’ they mean the possibility of no financial gain. In other words, this Government is more willing to risk our well being and possibly our lives, than to risk its finances.

Addressing climate change is similar to Ann Sherry’s Westpac paid maternity leave. There are untold business opportunities for those who are willing to deal with it. Only renewable energy will have lasting financial value, so those who invest in the research, development and the adoption of renewables will be the successful corporations of the not too distant future. Those who have become sustainable by its very definition, will last. 


 

As much as the Government has everything to gain through regulating greenhouse gas emissions, if it doesn’t continue the previous Government’s strong and immediate action, it also has everything to lose. Rising sea levels combined with king tides and storm surges will destroy much of our valued coast line and huge tracts of real estate along with it. Floods, fires, storms and reduced annual rainfall will eat away at Government revenue. More people, less water, less food and poor air quality will become an enormous financial burden for the Government along with increased demand for public services. There will be ever increasing numbers of climate refugees permanently occupying the army and navy with so called ‘border protection’. 

 

 
 The previous minority Government instigated measures negotiated by the Greens, to help assure a brighter future for Australia but the present Government, with its focus on corporate short term gain, has already begun to shut down emissions reduction strategies. It has dismissed the Climate Commission and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and with its election catch cry ‘We’ll scrap the carbon tax!’ still ringing in our ears, it intends to stop Australia from joining the European Emissions Trading Scheme. Tony Abbott has dispensed with the Minister of Science and the Minister of Climate Change. It’s the first time since 1931 that Australia has not had a Minister of Science.

According to a new report, if Tony Abbott dismantles the price on carbon, electricity prices will certainly go up! 

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/axing-carbon-price-will-hit-power-prices/4882394

 

 People who think that it makes no difference which party is in power will have a very serious wake-up call when this Government introduces austerity measures in an attempt to take its bank balance to an early surplus. Unsurprisingly, it will not be the big corporations who pay, but rather ordinary Australians who voted the Government into power.

This Government has a choice between short term profit, which will have a bad result for us all and possibly a bad result for it at the next election, or some short term investment with a long term financial reward which will have the happiest of outcomes for everyone, including corporations.

Preventing the worst of climate change and creating a sustainable world for everyone, is possibly the biggest business opportunity in the history of the world. If this Government is to become financially credible, it must make climate change its top priority.

 

            



Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Premier Napthine. Help the people of Tecoma.

Dear Premier Napthine,
                                   I note a picture of you with school children on your twitter page. You must care about children? The MacDonald's store in Tecoma will be next to a school. By placing the store next to a school, children will have access to food that has been proven to make them sick.

The people and the Council of Tecoma voted against a  MacDonald's in there community. Where is our democratic process in all of this? We have the right to vote on these issues but those above step in and override us with decisions that are bad for the community. How is this a healthy democracy at work, when the rich and powerful override community decisions?

Here in Warrnambool, I see MacDonald's unbiodegradable plastic containers being washed down the storm water drains to the sea. I see them lining our roads. I see them on our footpaths. I have them in my front yard and we have a high fence.

When this non-biodegradable plastic is swept out to sea it ends up in one of the five, ever growing, huge rubbish vortexes in the world's oceans. Some say they are each the size of Tassy; some say the size of continental USA.

The plastic never biodegrades but is eaten by sea life and kills them and becomes a toxic sludge poisoning our seas, our sands and our soil. Every beach in the world now has plastic sand. It is most notable where the tides sweep it ashore in places like Hawaii where there is not only plastic sand but also plastic rubbish covering entire coastlines. Many other islands are also affected.


Why do our governments not ban un-biodegradable plastic for nearly every purpose? There are healthier alternatives. Or is it again about money and greed.

I heard you say you are in favour of a ten cent container deposit levy. Why haven't you fought for it? I hear you say you believe in democracy, yet both the Council of Tecoma and the people of Tecoma have voted against this store being built in their street.

Imagine the support you would receive from Victorians if you were to act on this show case issue. Please do the right thing, not the expedient thing. If you act on this issue, you will go down in history as the premier who stood up for the battler; who brought democracy back to Tecoma and gave the rest of us hope for a better future.
Yours Sincerely,
Lisa Owen

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Metrimonster

On the weekend I visited a Metricon display home. It was forty five square feet of unsustainable living. FORTY FIVE SQUARE!

Why is this unsustainable?

Because it's 45 square feet of unsustainable and unethically sourced building materials which will require 45 square feet of heating, cooling and cleaning. Metricon builds many of these homes a year with the average size being 40 square, with on average only 2 adults and possibly 2 children living in each house. Why have houses grown so much? The average home used to be 18 to 26 square and now it is 40 square!

After I tweeted my dismay at the size of this home, Metricon replied that their homes have a 6 star rating due to the use of '...LED lights, insulation, minimal waste in build etc' and while those are good things they're certainly not enough to class Metricon homes as sustainable structures.

Metricon should reduce the size of their homes in order to lessen the need for heating and cooling and to reduce the need for non-biodegradable or un-recyclable waste and unsustainable building materials.

http://www.greenconceptbuilders.com.au/green-options.html


They should change the colour of their roofs to a lighter shade in order to reflect heat in summer.

They should demand sustainable orientation on building blocks for all their homes. (Which would inspire a change in building regulations throughout Australia!). Bedrooms should be on the south side and living areas on the North side. Houses with an east West orientation have better passive solar. House materials should be chosen to enhance warmth in winter and coolness in summer. 

Imagine if on a chilly winters day you didn't have to use the heating because the afternoon sun warmed your sitting area and ktichen. Imagine if on a hot 40C day with the sun beating down your house stayed a cool 23C without turning on the air conditioner! This would mean lower bills, better lifestyle and a healthier environment for all of us 
AND IT IS ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE AND AFFORDABLE!

Idea for passive solar sun room

Metricon should within their costs offer water tanks, solar panels, domestic wind turbines, composting systems, alternative toilet systems and solar hot water services including evacuated tubes. 

This is how solar panels work

 New designs for domestic wind turbines
This is the Helical 'Wind waddler'. Great name!


Wind flower turbines in the USA

And as far as water collection is concerned, why waste it?


Underground water tanks

Metricon should  offer designs for recycled water for gardens and separate tanks for toilets as we are told there in the future there will be ongoing water shortages.

Things such as air flow throughout the house for cooling and the sealing of drafts to keep the extremes of temperature out should be automatically included in every house. The fridge in the glamorous Metricon kitchen was inside a cupboard. Fridges are the biggest energy users in most homes. They create a lot of heat which can make a fridge work harder and use more energy. Fridges are better placed outside a cupboard or enclosed area so the air around them can stay cool and the fridge will use less energy.

An example of a beautiful sustainable home.




www.shaare.com.au 

Compost bins and recycling bins should be large and rubbish bins small.
 Espalier fruit tress, wall gardens and vegetable patches with the provision of worm farms and compost heaps are very doable within Metricon garden plans.



AND if they say these things are too expensive or that it's too hard to change government regulations, that's what they said about smoke detectors before they became compulsory and now every house has smoke detectors and the risk of fire has diminished dramatically. According to Fire and Rescue NSW smoke alarms have reduced deaths by 50% in the USA where they have been compulsory for 20 years. Seat belts were another life saving introduction. Both industry and big business fought these regulations but now it is universally accepted that both these changes have saved lives.

Sustainable building practices save money, help to fight climate change and prevent pollution which means they also save lives.

The mortgage belts in our cities and towns are growing astronomically and there is some indication that the desire for larger homes is creating a worrying increase in financial stress.

http://m.theage.com.au/victoria/wyndhams-services-under-strain-20130630-2p5c7.html

Some say that glossy magazines such as 'Home Beautiful' encourage people to live beyond their means and Metricon, which is in the end a company focused on making lots of money, is feeding this. Consumers are living unsustainably in every way.

However what Metricon and Home Beautiful are not realizing is that there is huge potential to grow this market. While it is still a specialist area that only environmentally aware home buyers pursue,  Metricon and Home Beautiful could be leading the way for the financially, environmentally and ethically sustainable homes and products market which is the fastest growing market in the world. 

In the not too distant future building legislation both in Australia and around the world will demand that the building industry use only sustainable designs and ethically sourced materials. Now many are prepared to pay the expensive prices set by this market but when legislations change, costs will go down and this market will snowball and those companies who are not a part of it will fail.  

Sustainable home design.

Metricon and Home Beautiful and all the companies who are resisting change will be left behind if they don't act very soon. So come on Australia. You know you want to!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Kevin Rudd

So now Kevin Rudd will take Labor to the election. Hopefully it won't be an early election because those of us who roster polling booths will need at least another month or two to get that done.

Anyway, after all the drama and media hype, will Labor now win the election? The dreaded polls, that have been very wrong in the past, say Labor has a better chance with Rudd at the helm but I'm not sure.

I wonder will Rudd win the election only to be dumped after it? From what they all say, he is impossible to work with. Such a strange but inevitably predictable turn of events.

Julia Gillard was by far the better PM. She introduced a number of good legislations including the price on carbon which was negotiated by the Greens and for the first time in Australian history has made emissions actually gone down. Kevin Rudd failed to introduce a workable plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But despite some good things, Gillard has let us down with the mining tax and asylum seekers. Those two legislations have created an eerie similarity between Liberal and Labor or LibLab.

This election has become less about getting Labor in and more about keeping Abbott and Liberal out. Abbott would be worse for Australia and indeed the world than Rudd. Rudd is the lesser of two evils.

It was a chilling moment when on QandA the supposedly small 'l' liberal Malcom Turnbull struggled to justify the Liberal policy of turning back the boats. Chilling indeed. I'm pretty sure Labor will not sink quite that low but stranger things have happened. A few weeks ago I was saying that if we do indeed turn the boats around  into Indonesian waters, we risk harming our relationship with Indonesia. Now Rudd has said the same thing, accusing the Liberal's policy of being a diplomatic minefield which may lead to an escalation of strife between the two countries.

It seems to me that the Greens are the moderating influence in parliament. Some still accuse the Greens of being extremists when in fact we are the ones with the most humane, sensible, caring and least extreme policies. The Greens have put forward an idea that I believe will solve the problem of asylum seekers drowning at sea while at the same time eliminating people smugglers from the final leg of the journey to Australia.

The proposition is that Australia should set up Australian refugee centres in Indonesia and Malaysia. Asylum seekers could then arrive at our centres, receive an airline ticket to Australia and within a few days be processed by the staff we could afford to pay by shutting down most detention centres. Those who take longer to process could reside in asylum seeker centres or halfway houses in the community. Rural towns and cities would be the ideal place for asylum seekers. We have many vacant houses here in Warrnambool that would suit such a purpose. Those who are not refugees would be sent immediately home and those who are refugees would be released into the community with minimal psychological damage and maximum training, educational and employment potential. It works for me!

And before you say 'but that's just letting everyone in', it's not. Less than a 20th of the asylum seekers who arrive in Australia each year arrive by boat. Most arrive on planes and overstay their visas but for some strange reason, only those arriving on boats are sent to detention centres. That's just letting anyone in! They are only processed when they declare themselves and sometimes that is years after they've been living here illegally.  Many 'plane' asylum seekers are what Bob Carr would call economic refugees from New Zealand, Britain and Canada looking for a better lifestyle here in Australia.

I believe that all informed and caring people should vote for the Greens in both the Senate and the Lower House. We do more than keep the bastards honest. We provide good, sane and sensible governance for the Australian people. We have a far reaching vision. We really care about you!!
So VOTE GREEN people. You know you want to!

Monday, 17 June 2013

My memories of Cardinal George Pell

Thirty nine years ago, as a naive and passionate young student teacher, I attended Fr.George Pell's theology lectures at Aquinas Teacher's College Ballarat. I loved theology and ever the eager one my hand shot up at every question. Fr.Pell often responded with 'Not Lisa this time!', 'Have a rest Lisa.' or 'Someone other than Lisa!'

Fr.Pell was articulate, logical in a Thomas Aquinasy sort of way and extremely well versed. The other students, largely from farms in places I'd never heard of like Warracknabeal and Woomerlang, dozed off during his talks. Some thought I was nuts to be so interested in such a dry subject but I thought they were a bunch of hayseeds who couldn't appreciate quality when it was before them. I was a bit of a snob and looked down on the country students, assuming that when they left teachers college they'd go to little Catholic country schools, raise country kids and live the rest of their country lives in blissful ignorance and I was largely right. None of my cool, alternative peers were impressed with Pell nor indeed with anything Catholic; so that left me, listening attentively, with overused arm muscles.

                               'Manifold House' Aquinas College Ballarat, now the ACU Ballarat Campus

Fr.Pell was youngish, upwardly mobile and already principal of Aquinas Teachers College. We all agreed that he was really going places. My naive eighteen year old self found that very impressive. He was a kind man and helped me deal with a nasty old nun who would lock the door when she saw me coming down the hall. Good times! I exacted some revenge when each Friday I performed a soapie drama in the common room called 'Mary Manifold of Manifold House' in which I played the old nun as a gnarled, creaky voiced witch.

But never, in my most wild dreams could I have imagined that at that same time and for some years beforehand, the church had been infiltrated by monstrous priests who abused young children and that a number of those simple country kids who had studied with me at Aquinas had been brutally effected by those same priests.

Neither could I have imagined that thirty nine years later, Fr. Pell, the proud man with the grizzly bear posture who would become the leader of the Australian Catholic Church, would be called before the Australian Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses To Child Sexual Abuse, for days of interrogation. If you had told me any of this all those years ago, I would have thought you were barking mad. In those days, for me the worst thing about the church was that crabby old nun.

But when the awful tsunami of truth hit us, the laity, it rocked the Catholic Church to its core and created ongoing ripples of trauma which are still being felt. As a result faith communities diminished and many stopped attending Mass. Many faithful left the church.

We have lived with that awful knowledge for a number of years now but we are still feeling the effect of it. Catholics are still stunned that an institution of perceived holiness could hide such vile evilness within it's walls and the secondary damage, next to the damage done to the poor children, their families, teachers and communities, is the damage done to the larger community of believers; to our trust, to our faith and to our sense of security. The response to pedophilia within its ranks by the brotherhood of priests and bishops has shattered our faith in the institution of the church itself.
In the belief that child abuse was a sickness, offenders were given therapy and when they were considered 'healed' they were simply moved into other parishes with no concern for those who had been abused and no duty of care for children in the parishes and schools to which the abusers were moved.

Entire communities, especially small country communities have been decimated by child abuse. Parishes everywhere have been affected. The damage done to young children, their families, their communities and the institutions themselves has been incalculable.

But pedophiles not only infiltrated the Catholic Church. All denominations and Government institutions have had these monsters in their ranks and all of those organisations reacted in a similar way; in self-defense. They kept it under wraps and moved the abusers away. There was no duty of care for the victims or their families and absolutely none for the vulnerable children waiting elsewhere.
So what does all this say about our society and it's institutions? What does it say about our churches?
The church I grew up in had a very clearly defined hierarchy. The pope of course being at the top and laywomen and children being at the bottom. Though my father tells me that all laity were powerless in the church, the broader society of the time did not see women as equal to men and in Australia today, despite the fact that women are free to study and enter any profession, there is still an undercurrent of sexism and inequality toward them. The rigorous hammering of our first woman Prime Minister has demonstrated that.

It must have been hard work covering up such a deep and scandalous secret. It must have been a kind of hell on earth, living with the knowledge of it and waiting for the news to break. The stress must have been unbearable. It reminds me of an aristocratic family, trying to hide their dirty linen, only worse.

Strangely, these crimes were happening during a time of openness and broad mindedness within the church. No wonder Cardinal Pell knee jerked himself and the Church back into the dark ages. No wonder he was so fearful of the new open church. He was probably worried the secret would get out. He may have even blamed the new openness for the pedophile problem itself.

Now, he must be nearly dying of shame and if he isn't then why  isn't he? Perhaps they had all lived with the mess for such a long time it may have been a relief to have it out.

Cardinal Pell and his brotherhood of priests and bishops do not feel responsible for the abuses of children in their church. I suppose the priests who didn't know about it can claim innocence but what about the rest? They did not respond appropriately to the abuse. They did not look after the victims and protect the children in their care and now they are suffering the consequences, if not by public prosecution then through the damage done to the church itself. If the church never recovers from this scandal, it will not be the fault of those who have stopped going to Mass or believing in the church.

I believed in George Pell. As a young girl at teacher's college I admired him. Now it seems to me that he is imprisoned by the institution and grasping at the life boat of tradition for survival. It does sound a bit like the British aristocracy.

Our new Pope Francis is trying to let go of that life boat and learn how to swim. If our church is to survive, we must all learn how to swim. We must learn from the past and embrace a more open, inclusive and accountable church. Like Mother Teresa, we must have respect and compassion for the least of us but most importantly, we must LISTEN TO OUR CHILDREN and never let it happen again.
'So the last shall be first and the first shall be last..' Matthew 20:16




Friday, 14 June 2013

How much sex should you have?

I watch 'Offspring'. I enjoy the Melbourne setting and Asher Keddie is a talented actress. There have been some really funny scenes. I laughed more than I had for a long while during her 'drunk and trying to buy a souvlaki' scene. Not that I'm condoning drunkeness but when I was younger I had a few souvlaki nights myself and her timing is spot on. Most of the time it works for me.
Nina's quirky, slightly neurotic mannerisms are fun, if occasionally over done. She demonstrates a degree of self doubt to which many of us can relate which brings me to the next point.

Recently Nina, Asher's character on Offspring, had reason to think there might be some competition for her boyfriend's affections. She confronted him and somehow the conversation led to the question 'How many people did you sleep with before me?'.

Her answer was six. That's six men.
Her boyfriend thought it was funny that she had only slept with six men. This gave her a complex about not having slept with enough men. So she asked her friends what they thought. Is six bed mates scoring less than the average or too few maybe? They all looked surprised and giggled as though they couldn't believe she had slept with so few men.

I found this story more than a little disturbing. This is an extremely popular Australian 'dramady' and Nina is a bit of a role model with young girls and young women. She has everything many young girls would want; a brilliant and admirable career as an obstetrician; a lovely boyfriend; a loving somewhat selfish family; a great figure and attractive visage and she is pregnant but the story line always plays her as lacking because she doesn't necessarily behave the way the others do.
Why is six a derogatory number of lovers? And who's counting anyway? I know it's only a TV show but does this demonstrate the pressure on people to have sex with just anyone to get the numbers up because it's frowned on to sleep with too few people? We encourage people to have safe sex but do we also encourage people to have lots of sex with many different people? When did this become so important?

I was very disappointed with this episode and with the recurring theme of what we used to call promiscuity. Are we pressuring young people to sleep with as many partners as possible before marriage? Is this the new norm or is it only a demographic?

I feel concern for the mental health of young people and in particular girls and women. The normalisation of promiscuity has had consequences. The numbers of young people suffering from anxiety and depression bear this out and suicide is an ever growing issue.

Women and young girls are subject to abuse. Abuse takes many forms and community and peer pressure can have the same effect on a young woman as traumatic abuse. Bullying is an example of this.
I believe Offspring missed an opportunity to support women and girls in this episode. If Nina's friends had said to her, 'Don't be concerned with something so unimportant! You have a lovely partner and you're having his baby. Who cares how many people you have or haven't had sex with? How is that relevant to anything in your life?'

We need to look after each other and help build resilience through self esteem.

Nina, is a straight laced, extremely accomplished, beautiful, sensitive and caring woman who because she is striving to survive in a promiscuous, mediocre environment, suffers from self doubt. She should be praised not belittled!
/

http://www.upworthy.com/girl-on-girl-not-as-sexy-as-it-sounds

http://www.upworthy.com/what-being-one-of-those-girls-means-in-america-today-2