Well at least they could make them sell their coal in plain packaging.
Perhaps it’s time to call a spade a spade on climate change action. Call me a pessimist, a simpleton or both. But here’s how it looks from my kitchen table …
There are really just two parties. Party ‘A’ – the parliamentarians; and Party ‘B’ – us voters. (The latter includes all sectors and interest groups.) Now for the analysis: Of party ‘A’, numbering 226, about half think action is vital in theory but electorally hazardous. The latter angst is fuelled by party ‘B’, numbering 18 million (aged 15+), about half of whom want action in theory, but not if it encroaches on our wallets or lifestyles. Not in my back pocket, thank you!
Likely outcome? Perpetual stalemate. Winner? Well certainly not the planet.
Global climate change treaty looking doubtful? Well not to worry. The seas will eventually reclaim all the world’s industrial sites, and then it won’t matter. But Copenhagen needn’t go down as another week of happy snaps and silly clothes. I propose an alternate agenda:
- sport: some swimming lessons wouldn’t go astray. And how about a water polo world cup?
- trade: a global exchange in rubber life rafts, fishing rods and mosquito repellant.
- construction: relocate UN headquarters to Quito, Ecuador (altitude 2850 m)
- military: strengthen naval defences. 3 or 4 life rafts per continent should do it.
Or failing agreement:
- a new age of discovery: if NASA get their skates on maybe we can find another planet somewhere and start again. (Yeah I know – we’ll wreck that one too, but at least it buys us some time … )
The Rudd government is under heavy fire from it’s own constituency on many fronts, most prominently asylum seekers and climate change. Ultimately the two are united by the question of lifestyle. How thinly can a finite pool of resources be spread before the general populace considers itself deprived and cries foul? And as day follows night, any such discontent will surely find its fullest voice on election day.
And there’s the rub, not just for the government but for all Australians. It’s easy to label the PM as “Howard lite” and charge Government and Opposition alike with gross moral relativism, driven by electoral self-interest. “Vote buying!” cry some. “In bed with the coal industry!” say others.
But at least some of the righteous protesters might well live in glass condominiums. Compassionate largesse and serious community action to slow climate change must eventually cost us all in lifestyle, reducing all our options at home, at work, and in leisure.
Our politicians may be vote-driven. But with 3-year terms and a very comfortable electorate, who’d be surprised?
I’ve just “finished” reading the Saturday Age. Or in translation – I’ve perused the news and ‘Insight’ sections. On a suburban Saturday with cleaning, washing & shopping to do, I think I’ve done well. My wife thinks I spent too long with my head in the paper.
Meanwhile, the second half of the paper lies neatly wrapped beside last Saturday’s (also unread). I dream of the gentleman’s life in which I might actually get to the comics and puzzles, and speculate on property, motoring or travel.
I doubt I’m alone. One can only wonder how many business, property and employment sections go from press to van to front lawn to table to recycle bin – unread and even unwrapped. Surely a publication with generally green sympathies and a substantial online presence can do better than this. What about a leaner print edition limited to core or most-read content? What about a mix of online expansion and sectional print subscriptions?
Such paper wastage in these times is unconscionable.
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