Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Climate change in Australia!

In my blogs I made a decision to avoid the recent election campaign - I was engaged right up till the actual start of the official campaign but after that I found my quality of life to be severely undermined if I listened or read too much. There was little to fire the imagination. I realised my own thinking was well outside that of mainstream Australians when, after leaving a Greens event in Melbourne addressed by Bob Brown, I felt his policies were not radical enough! This experience in itself triggers some reflections - is it that Europe is so different or is it merely that the discourse has been so different there for so long I have come to believe it is very different? Of course we started developing Open University course in the 1990s that took climate change seriously and the EU and UK government's attempts at institutionalising sustainability are much better developed than here. For example, last week I attended a meeting hosted jointly by the University of Melbourne and the Ambassadors of Latin American countries. The aim was to talk about and foster collaboration with Australia, the themes for the day being mining, agriculture and foreign relations. What particularly struck me about the day was how much of the discourse was in a 'business as usual' mode even though climate change was mentioned in passing.

The election of a Rudd government is to be welcomed. It is indeed climate change of another form. Climate change marchers (see photo), of whom I was one, now have government with whom they can hopefully be in step!

Of course I have a number of aspirations as well as fears like most others. I sincerely hope that the new government will not take too much from the Blair years - something they have already done in adopting the so-called 'education revolution' and choosing to populate it with new computers. As we know from UK experience computers per se do not enhance learning! At the moment I am toying with offering my agenda for action if for no other reason than all democracies need new insights and a healthy 'critical' community if they are to thrive.

On this point Clive Hamilton offers a well argued analysis of the implications of a Rudd victory for Australia's re-engagement with the international community on the matter of climate change.

The need for action is urgent. I noted on a recent visit to the magnificent Mountain Ash forests in the Yarra Ranges National Park that these trees looked stressed. If they are then this does not bode well.

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