Has sustainability become a dirty word in Australia?

Let me close by quoting from Peter Senge’s book “The Necessary Revolution” because it reminds us why sustainability has become, if not a dirty word, a sorely overlooked organising concept as modern Australians grapple with the here and now and the material challenges of paying off the mortgage, funding the school excursion, and saving for a holiday.  Lost in all of that is any thought of the needs of the next generation.  But as Senge asserts, we cannot talk about sustainability without the unborn generation figuring in our calculations.  “There is no viable path forward” he wrote “that does not take into account the needs of future generations.” And while institutions matter and big business can do so much and networks like your community-based resource management group rule in shaping our world, “all real change is grounded in new ways of thinking and perceiving” by people like us – individuals one by one.a title=”” href=”#_edn33″>[xxxiii]


[i] <This paper has been developed from a presentation delivered to the Fitzroy Basin Association Muster, Leichhardt Hotel, Rockhampton, 18 September 2012.

[ii] See The Economist 16 June 2012 p 58

[iii] Al Gore The Assault of Reason (2007)  213

[iv] Quoted in Mark Bowen, Censoring science: inside the political attack on Dr James Hansen and the truth of global warming (Plume: 2009) New York p 1

[v] The Lowry Institute Poll 2012 p 7

[vi] See The  Economist 28 July 2012 p 48

[vii] See the work of the CSIRO, “Our Future World: an analysis of global trends, shocks and scenarios” (Draft) March 2010 – compiled by Stefan Hajkowicz and James Moody with detailed input form over 50 CSIRO scientific and business development staff.

[viii] See Australian Financial Review, 20 October 2012 p 26

[ix] Quoted in a graph Australian Financial Review,  4 October 2012 p 10

[x] Infrastructure Australia,  Implementing Change Australia’s Infrastructure 2012 and Beyond – Report to COAG June 2012 p 30

[xi] Professor Peter Shergold “Seen but not heard”, Australian Literary Review, The Australian 4 May, 2011 accessed at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/books/seen-but-not-heard/story-e6frg8nf-1226047007515

[xii] The description “disposable politics’ is drawn from Paul Kelly, The Australian 31 October 2012.

[xiii] See Stephen Kirchner, “Why does government grow?” Centre for Independent Studies policy monographs PM117 accessed at http://cis.org.au/images/stories/policy-monographs/pm-117.pdf

[xiv] Laura Tingle, “Great expectations: government, entitlement and an angry nation”, Quarterly Essay, No 46, 2012

[xv] Geoff Mulgan (2007)” Ready or not: taking innovation in the public sector seriously” NESTA: UK  p 14 accessible  at http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/provocations/assets/features/ready_or_not_taking_innovation_in_the_public_sector_seriously

[xvi] James Packer quoted in The Australian Financial Review, 27October 2012 p45.

[xvii] See World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2011 – 2012 accessed at http://reports.weforum.org/global-competitiveness-2011-2012/#=

[xviii] Quoted in the Courier Mail, 16 October 2012 pp 22-23

[xix] Courier Mail 9 October 2012 p 24

[xx] See the Courier Mail 15 and 16 October 2012

[xxi] Courier Mail 20 October 2012 p26

[xxii] Ibid

[xxiii] Mike Sandiford , “An incumbent industry beginning to squeal”, The Conversation, 1 October 2012, accessed at http://theconversation.edu.au/an-incumbent-industry-beginning-to-squeal-9907

[xxiv] Productivity Commission, Electricity Network Regulatory Frameworks, Draft Report Volume 1, October 2012, p 2

[xxv] Goldman Sachs data reported in Australian Financial Review 17 October 2012 p 36

[xxvi] David Uren, The Kingdom and the Quarry: China, Australia, Fear and Greed,  Black Inc: Melbourne (2012) p 217.

[xxvii] Paul Gilding, The Great Disruption: How the Climate Crisis Will Transform the Global Economy, Bloomsbury: New York (2011) p 1

[xxviii] Paul Gilding, ‘The Earth is Full’, TED  talk February 2012  accessed at http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_gilding_the_earth_is_full.html

[xxix] See *Elisabeth Kubler‐Ross, On Death and Dying, Simon & Schuster/Touchstone: New York, 1969.

[xxx] Stafford Beer, Platforms of Change, New York, John Wiley and Sons: 1975

[xxxi] See Time Magazine, “Five Ideas that are changing the world: for the better” 1 October 2012

[xxxii] Bloomberg New Energy Finance quoted in The Economist 28 April 2012 p 59

[xxxiii] Peter Senge et al, The Necessary Revolution: how individuals and organisations are working together to create a sustainable world, Nicholas Brearly Publishing: London (2008) pp 9-10.

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