I am writing to you because you are the leader of the nation of which I am a citizen. Though the matter about which I write is essentially a global issue, the inability at this point for the international community to overcome the barriers that divide us into separate nations, compels me to pursue this matter at the highest level of governance within my own nation. I do believe that it is possible for Australia to stand up and take the lead that is required in the face of this issue.
Julia, as you are close to my age, I am quite sure that in the 1970s you attended high school and were compulsorily required to study science as a core subject. I can clearly recall that the “greenhouse effect”, caused by the increasing concentration of certain gases in the atmosphere, was well and truly accepted and documented in our science text books at that time. I also recall doing an experiment which entailed growing bacteria in a petri dish that contained a nutrient rich medium. Several days later, the teacher warned us not to open the petri dish because the bacteria population, which had consumed all the available nutrients, had died in its own toxic waste. This warning proved to be too much of a temptation for at least one of us in the class and one or more petri dishes were opened. The stench exuded from those petri dishes was overwhelming and nauseating. As I sit here today, I can, more than ever, appreciate the inclusion of those lessons in the curriculum and yet I sadly ponder why, we the students of that era, did not apply our understanding of nature to the real world when we left school.
We are bound by the same limits and laws of nature as those bacteria in the petri dish. The abundant supply of nutrients that has allowed an exponential growth of the human population has only been possible by the large scale burning of fossil fuels. The toxic waste of this consumption may be primarily an odourless gas, but everything associated with this exponential growth truly does stink. The multifaceted crises, that we continue to accelerate towards, are just as well accepted and documented as those two science lessons that we were taught in school nearly 40 years ago. Unlike bacteria though, we have a highly evolved brain that possesses both consciousness of the consequences of unrestrained growth and a moral conscience that is screaming at us to do something about it. If we choose to ignore the reality of our situation, and continue with mindless consumption and growth, we must accept that we have consciously chosen the same fate as the bacteria in the petri dish. I do not believe that any informed and sane person would make that choice.
Julia I believe that you do genuinely care about the future of this planet. With that in mind, I would like to invite you attend “The Automatic Earth Tour” on Sunday March 17th at the Big Pineapple on the Sunshine Coast. My partner, Linda, and I would also like to extend the invitation to have you and your partner stay as guests at our home on the Sunshine Coast on that weekend. I understand that you might not be able accept this invitation so I have included a link below that advertises the dates and locations of this event as it moves around Australia. The main speaker is Nicole Foss and the picture she paints, with eloquence and raw honesty, is alarming. But it is also a call, for every one of us, to seriously consider how we are going to best survive in a post carbon world. Nicole claims that our governments are not going to save us from collapse and that we must prepare lifeboats at individual and local community level. I would like to think that the Australian Government and society at large can work together to prove her wrong.
Recently your unprecedented early announcement of a date for the next federal election was lauded by many as an example of great leadership. Leadership of this nature is required on all fronts to tackle the real issues that confront humanity at this point in history. Business as usual is irrefutably leading us to a future that we do not want to see written in the history text books of our great grandchildren. The island nation upon which you and I walk is uniquely positioned, in many ways, to be a model of sustainable and just human habitation. You may or may not be the Prime Minister after the next election, but regardless, I implore you to heed the lessons we teach in our schools and to make the most of your position to lead us forward in a direction that nature necessitates.