Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tim Flannery - climate change talk @ NTL Darwin

Last Month the Northern Territory Library had a special guest speaker.
Mr Tim Flannery.

It was a great opportunity to hear the man speaking in person about the troubling situation our country is currently in. I was particularly interested in his opinion about how the PM Mr Rudd has completely backed down from making any meaningful commitment to reducing carbon emissions in this country.

After having read his Quarterly Essay - 'Now or Never' I was not quite so inspired as I thought I would be. In particular I felt that his vision for the future did not take into consideration the need to alter our personal behaviour, in particular reshaping Western Culture out of the consumer mentality. Basically although he claiming that we can't turn our back on the problem and hope that science can find an answer yet at the same time he seemed to be trying to reassure us that we could maintain close to the lifestyle that we are currently living without making major sacrifices. The proposal that the answers will come through large scale infrastructural adjustments does not seem entirely valid to me. He seemed to have overlooked the need for social change and the need for an adjustment of our general attitude toward the earth. Having gotten the ear of politicians and the High end of town it seemed to me that he had little concern for the views or contribution that could be made by regular citizens or the absolute imperative for us to be part of the solution...

After listening to Mr Flannery I have to say my opinion of his position is far better than it had been. At the beginning of his talk he made very clear the certainty of climate science as opposed to the guff put out trying to dispel it. He spoke appropriately scathingly of Kevin Rudd's betrayal of Australians and the planet with his lack of taking action to battle climate change, being completely contradictory to his rhetorical gushing about it being the single most important issue of our time... However I remain disappointed that Mr Flannery appeared to discount the roll of ordinary citizens in changing the World. Most surprising were his comments on population. I know that due to the tendency for people to turn against vulnerable members of our society when population control is mentioned I still believe there's no escaping the connection between the number of people on the planet and how much of the worlds resources we are using...
From a local perspective the way we deal with population doesn't have to mean we start treating people inhumanely but I could mean that we cease providing financial incentives to increase population... Surely policies designed to increase population are ideologically contradictory to our attempts to reduce the pressure we are putting on the planets (and ultimately people's) resources.

1 comment:

Peter Burt said...

Correct David. Policies that include financial incentives to increase population are generally driven by people who are locked into a mindset dominated by capitalism and consumerism. Neither of these approaches to human existence on this planet makes a great deal of sense. Much like survivors floating in a lifeboat who, on becoming cold, decide that the solution to the immediate problem is to burn the lifeboat. Sadly it's a very ingrained mentality and I'm as guilty as the next person but we ALL need to start slowing the juggernaut down by our actions as individuals and passing on our attitude to this to the next generation. I'm with you mate.