One of the reasons I was originally drawn into the orbit of environmental sustainability is that it demands a commitment to remain optimistic in the face of overwhelming odds. It seems perverse, but there it is. Like this happy ending story by the New Economics Foundation, the imagining of a future where we live sustainably seems to excite us all into an brouhaha of innovative ideas that will time and time again be ignored by politicians and investors in favour of maintaining the Machiavellian status quo. And yet the environmentalists trudge on, heads down, breath steaming and one hoof in front of the other as they slowly wind their way up the rocky face of a political Everest. The Australian Conservation Foundation is one such mule. In this week’s edition of their magazine, Habitat, one article in particular caught my eye because of its perfect encapsulation of that beautifully stubborn refusal to give up hope I described. Graham Tupper, ACFs National Liasion Manager writes;
The election campaign is over and a new Parliament elected, bringing with it many new opportunities to make real progress on climate change and the environment. What can be achieved in the first 100 days, the first year, and the next three years of life of this Parliament? A great deal- if there is the political will and strong public support.
He goes on to suggest 17 different policy proposals to dramatically restore Australia’s national sustainability over the next few years. Some of his suggestions include; ‘Build our ecosystems resilience to climate change, boost clean renewable energy, protect our forests and stop the importation of illegally logged timber products, protect our marine habitats’, and ‘stop subsidising pollution’. I won’t reveal any more, read the full article here (page 10)….
The federal government’s approach to the development of a sustainable Australia remains fractured, ad hoc and reactionary to individual public demands months after the election. They would be doing themselves, Australia and the world a favour if they were to develop a holistic, consultative, science based sustainability policy agenda. And, let’s not forget, set aside the funding to support it. By bringing their own green paper to the table, they could lead the debate with some positive solutions instead of constantly playing catch up to climate action opinion polls. Maybe they ought to give Tupper a call…