Friday, August 30, 2013

Where is the vision for a sustainable Australia?

Where is the vision for a sustainable Australia

by Marni Cranna


            Marni is a young volunteer with Australia21. She is  employed in the environmental services industry and has a tertiary
in Environmental Science and Land Management. She says: " I was introduced to Australia21 through their
            published work on
 'Australians in the Landscape'. I started following the organization because it facilitates the combination of
             public discourse, 
scientific research and policy so well."

I would like to hear a vision and a comprehensive, long-term, plan addressing the challenge of environmental sustainability. Environmental limitations and population growth are the most prominent issues of this century and I think it matters greatly how each party will choose to navigate them. The stance our leader takes on this global issue will come to define our national identity. Are we carrying on the tradition of being ‘the lucky country’, as Donald  Horne put it, trailing the lead of England and America? Are we going to break away and reform along the lines of models set by Norway and Sweden? Or are we going to pioneer our own technology, investing in education and innovation?
What is the vision for a sustainable Australia in the 21st century? I would like issues such as food security, water security, natural resource conservation, economic prosperity and population growth put on the agenda this 2013 Federal Election. These are all need to be addressed  if we are to meet our basic needs and maintain a safe and secure population in future. If I had to choose just two of these issues they would be food security and economic prosperity. I think these areas are under the most immediate threat considering climate change, international relations, the state of the world market, and environmental limitations. 
For food security the key themes I believe should be touched on are community engagement, innovation in the agricultural sector, managing risks such as desertification, and the possibility of relative national independence (from the world trade system). For economic prosperity, I would like leaders to talk about how involved future government will be in interacting with the capitalist model. Will basic resources be protected and conserved, will public goods such as water be economically acknowledged as such, will pricing for natural resources reflects it's actual supply? Are we open to changing the system entirely in future? Could we phase in a change to another economic model which takes greater account of sustainability? 

The question remains: How does the next Australian Government plan to navigate the challenge of environmental sustainability? 

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