The first week of the newly elected Tony Abbott in charge of Australia’s government indicates a course designed to destroy the natural environment and dismantle sustainability. Reactions by concerned organizations and political parties were faced with political repression. What can we do against climate criminals that try to silence worried citizens and NGOs?
It is certain that we in the West are not very much used to handle political repression anymore. Spain had chosen to go back to anarchy after 38 years of democracy in 2011, Australians chose a similar direction on 7 September 2013. As a result, many of us who believe that there are many urgent issues of global extend that should be addressed and that will likely be ignored, find ourselves in a political vacuum. Is there a way forward or is there not?
Individuals under restrictive regimes and in times of political repression did often escape unwinnable situations by fleeing into the 4th dimension. Knowing that time is relative, we might find it easier to endure an unbearable situation by adapting that strategy. After all, a normal legislation period in Australia has three years (one less than in Spain) and we all know that it will eventually come to an end.
I myself often reacted by resistance or complete abstinence in poor situations. Yet, I learned that participation is often the more effective way, even in a difficult situation. One thing I observe is that even if more and more people in the West read and try to understand different concepts (e.g. Asian philosophy), few of us actually manage to integrate them in our acting. It shouldn’t be that difficult if we were to look for the right elements.
As an example, according to the 1st thermodynamical law, energy cannot be destroyed, a finding shared by science and Asian wisdom alike and reflected in the latter as the balance between Yin and Yang. In terms of the new Coalition government we should ask ourselves what the perspectives of direct counterforce are.
With a clear majority in parliament there is little chance of defeat for the Coalition in terms of numbers and given their ignorance, lack of proper judgement and irrational behaviour, it seems useless trying to educate them. Should we nevertheless try to eliminate an enemy that due to its political legitimacy is simply omnipotent (at least for the time being)? Why wasting our time and energy? Are we ourselves stuck in fixed patterns?
Again, above mentioned knowledge about energy could provide us with some solutions. Why not spending all the time and energy we don’t waste in opposing an ignorant government by creating something useful?
Sustainability doesn’t end with politics; in fact, policies can only provide a framework for a sustainable development, which in the end still has to be applied, no matter how nice plans and regulations are.
The Greens have – actually as the only party – provided a detailed political agenda showing how sustainable development works in practice: integrating social, environmental and economic factors in one plan that allows for an equitable future. The good thing about “The Greens’ Plan for a Better Australia” is that due to its integrity, it is also achievable without the help of a regressive government.
A clean energy future is also possible without an incompetent government. Most energy suppliers have “eco or green plans”. By subscribing to a green plan we force them to invest in renewable energy and divest from other forms of energy production.
Apart from that we are all allowed to put some solar panels on our roofs or use less energy, regardless of whether that suits Tony Abbott or not.
By investing in clean energy we help Australia’s economy creating jobs in an industry that allows for international competition also in the future and not for some fellow citizens and our environment being exploited at present to be left alone and hopeless in coming years.
The plan to help farmers sell their products directly to us consumers is another brilliant idea that will only see winners. Although it will be more difficult to implement such a plan without the help of the government, we can all contribute to make it happen: by buying local (farmers markets, small shops), avoiding the big supermarkets and choosing seasonal products that were farmed locally and preferably according to ecological/organic standards. Focussing on fair trade and sustainable products helps to care for producers overseas when buying imported goods (e.g. coffee, tea).
There are many platforms and consumer guides that help us taking the right decision and if we make it to the farmers markets, we can learn directly from the producers themselves.
Liveable cities are not necessarily defined by available parking spaces. One of the criteria that make Australian cities rank high in international ratings is our favourable climate (mild and dry weather). An ideal ingredient for people to cycle or walk to work and definitely a way to keep our cities liveable far into the future by keeping them green, fighting climate change and caring for our own health.
An equitable, fair and well-educated society is the basis of sustainable development. Given that every second Tasmanian is functionally illiterate, we can expect that many among us do not have the means to access relevant information to make the right choices. A well-educated society can definitely take better decisions. Maybe the 10% that voted “green” during the election were simply more fortunate than others, knowing things their colleagues don’t. By talking to neighbours and friends and informing them about the strengths of a sustainable development we can increase awareness and show them better ways to create wealth than by simply exploiting natural resources. Wrong decisions are often based in wrong assumptions. You can help to make sure that in the next elections, no one will write the wrong candidate on their ballot paper. I’m sure that many more people have their heart with the “Greens”, they only don’t know it because they are stuck in traditions and well-established routines. Give them a chance: talk about what you know and they don’t.
A sustainable development doesn’t necessarily need the support of a government (but latter needs the support of its people). If we all stand up for what matters, we can create the future we want. If we prove to our friends and neighbours that a sustainable development is the better development, then we will not only have more liveable neighbourhoods for the future but also win the next elections.
 For all those not familiar with Spanish politics, please don’t take it too literally. The situation there is not any worse than here, but neither any better.