Why do I do what I do – and want to help you and your organisation develop and implement game-changing visions and strategies to help us survive and thrive in the face of climate change and other ecological crises?
Here is the bulk of a letter I wrote to Australia’s then-Prime Minister in July 2009 that explains why. It still holds true to day…and it applies to all of us.
‘[T]his is a moral issue that requires you to put your faith in action by showing moral leadership...
‘Climate change is the greatest problem that has ever faced humanity. It is not just another discreet economic or political problem. It is a systemic crisis that requires concerted action locally and globally. It is about this planet and its ability to support life as we know it. It is about your children and your fellow humans.
‘The decisions you take now and the actions we take under your leadership are vital if life on Earth as we know it is to survive. Evidence is increasing that climate change is accelerating. This amplifies the imperative to act quickly and boldly : we are beyond the stage where we can take a ‘gently, gently’ approach.
‘Australia is in the unique position of being both a developed country and a primary production country – and of suffering severe impacts as a result of climate change. If we, in that unique position and already experiencing some of those impacts, do not show the world that we understand and are prepared to really tackle climate change, what hope is there for other developed countries and newly industrialised countries to do so?
‘[Y]ou have the opportunity and responsibility to lead Australia and the world in dealing with climate change. It is not about protecting our coal industry and native vegetation destruction; quite the reverse. It is about shifting to sustainable energy and sustainable practices. And it is about providing some equity between generations, and between those who are contributing most to the problem and those who will suffer its impacts most severely.
‘I and others look to you for the strong leadership needed to transform current human-made systems from ones that are destroying our planet’s resilience and ability to support us to ones that sustain life. We need you to set strong short-, medium- and long-term targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases urgently. Those targets need to be for the major greenhouse gases, and at levels and timeframes that stabilise the atmosphere quickly. (This means around 300ppm atmospheric CO2 and dramatic emission reductions over the next 10 years and beyond.) And you need to put in place the mechanisms for meeting those targets.
‘Australia is a nation of innovators, world leaders in relevant technologies such as renewable energy. We are also leaders in efficient agriculture. And we have vast natural and sustainable resources of sunshine and native forests.
‘But we need your leadership for Australia to foster, care for and profit from these natural advantages, rather than to ignore them or destroy them.
‘We need your quick and decisive action to lead the way in looking after our planet’s climate. This is needed in order to protect our world as we have known it throughout human civilisation. It is the current climate that allows us to have our civilisation, including our economy and standard of living: if the climate changes, so does human civilisation – and that will make economic challenges like the ‘Global Financial Crisis’ look miniscule. If we do not change the way we live, the economic security systems on which most political leaders focus will no longer be there. And that is without even looking at the human toll, through such things as dramatically increased deaths, adverse health impacts and population displacement. What we face now is a Global Future Crisis, and it needs serious action.
‘I note that Senator Wong said on 12 July 2009 in relation to showing leadership and gaining agreement at Copenhagen on action to tackle climate change, ‘Australians don’t run away from things that are hard, and particularly when it is the right thing to do, and it is the right thing.’
‘Only in doing the right thing by Australia and this planet, by your children and your fellow humans, can you show true leadership to Australia and the world to take immediate action to tackle climate change and protect our world. Only then can Australia reap the economic and social benefits of being first movers to sustainable energy technologies and land management. And only then can you be acting in a morally defensible way.
‘We need you to proceed on this imperative with courage, vision, and passion, to make up for lost time in addressing climate change.
‘So, please do the right thing by Australia and this planet, fellow humans and future generations….
‘PS If you are in any further doubt about what you…need to do in responding morally to climate change, I urge you to consider what Professor Michael Northcott said in his talk The Carbon Crunch. Greening the economy and mitigating climate change, that he gave as the Felix Arnott Memorial Lecture. Professor Northcott is an Anglican priest, Professor of Ethics at Edinburgh University, author of several books including A Moral Climate: The Ethics of Global Warming.‘
Contact me (or send me a voice message by clicking on the tab on the right) to discuss how I can help you to transform the way we live, work and do business so that life on Earth as we know it can continue.
Founder of Sustainable Jill