News from the front desk: Issue 472: The Fifth Estate needs a bit of help right now. And yes, we know we’re not the only ones.

Our best hopes and wishes are with all the people out there who are suffering either physically through Covid-19 or through the massive attack on our economy that’s come with it. Small business, staff, and people on low income who are wondering how to get through this winter. As if the summer wasn’t bad enough. And please, let’s not forget the huge number of people who lost their homes in the fires along with treasured country.

But if The Fifth Estate’s stories, inspirations, insights and plain old-fashioned news are important to you then please join as  supporter/member for whatever you can manage, or as an advertiser or sponsor.

We are fiercely determined to pull through this and keep telling the critical stories of the moment. How we can deal with COVID-19 and its impact on buildings, the entire built environment, sustainable businesses and our community. What will be more important are the new tools we will develop to collaborate and learn and work out that there is a new world shaping up. It needs to come back green and sustainable. Business as usual is over. Done. We are learning our lesson.

What’s most critical now is that we have a powerful platform that serves this fantastic community.

This is the time to let it flourish and grow.

Our team is prepared to do their bit to get us through – whatever it takes!

Right now, like everyone else, we’ve been working double time to pivot, switch, invent, change and mine new depths of creative energy to make sure we can work with the times.

Our new channels will be even better than before: more interactive (online), more inclusive because they will be able to reach anywhere into the country and globally. And don’t fret abut our creativity…there is plenty there for everyone!

We’ve already got fantastic robust platforms in place and we need to keep these rolling. As well as our main website we’ve got The Green List, our directory/magazine that helps people and businesses find the sustainable solution they need.

The Green List is an investment in our collective future. The more businesses and individuals on it, the greater its value as a resource, and the more it generates interest and confidence for new green businesses to start and established ones to grow.

Our promise – and fierce determination – is to keep fanning the fires of the green business and green building revolution. We’ve got podcasts, live video streaming of webinars, and workshops, all in the wings.

For bigger businesses and organisation, think how we may have told your positive stories on The Fifth Estate – sometimes frequently – and how this may have helped you with more business opportunities. Or your KPIs.

Good reliable information can build great opportunities or help shift the agenda. Sometimes a new insight or comment from an influential person on our pages might reach a government or leading business figure who’s teetering on the edge of change and needed just a slight nudge to jump to our side.

Exciting, isn’t it?

But guess where all those ideas, thoughts and nudge opportunities come from?

You: our readers, our sources, our contacts or contributors in our Spinifex column, which is so named, in case you were wondering, because it’s the spikey end of sustainability; the place where the tough and courageous work happens. Spinifex, by the way, is not a weed, it’s the plant that binds the fragile topsoil together in an otherwise harsh environment.

So if you’ve had a thought to use our platform to tell your story on Spinifex or through our news channels, get in touch.

Right now, you can capitalise on the most vigorous appetite for reading and deep thinking we’ve seen for a long time.

If people are stuck at home and not socialising they will want interesting, thrilling ideas to focus on.

For those who can, this is your time. Get those fingers flying across your keyboard and come up with ideas of how we’re going to smash the climate and sustainability challenge as soon as we’re out of this tunnel.

If you are interested to become a member, here’s the link. If you are interested to sponsor our new suite of live-streamed interviews, workshops or special reports, then please get in touch. On our landline, eventually (when Telstra deigns to give us our landline number back which it inexplicably removed two weeks ago), but in the meantime, here.

We’re a lean team at the best of times, but right now (with the loss of so many events that we advertise or hold ourselves) we will need some sustenance to get through the few weeks and months ahead.

Because this thing will not last forever.

The physical side of it won’t last long at all probably.

It’s the massive global economic and social impact that is both terrifying and weirdly fascinating. And which will go rolling on. It’s up to us to make sure it flips to the positive side.

Right now, it’s amazing how much more creative and inventive people are already becoming.

There are ideas popping up everywhere, along with huge energy and determination.

Technology is powering exponentially. One academic at the University of Sydney said his colleagues were coming up with great ideas to teach students remotely. For town planning students, they’re looking at drones, so the students can plan a journey to visit a town centre, see how the locals move around the place. Perhaps we will all soon invest in virtual reality headgear to enhance learning and fun experiences.

Most impressive is the intense goodwill and mutual support that is flooding the airways, telephone calls and emails.

As for bad behaviour, community outrage will soon put an end to that. Besides Peter Dutton is back and he’s on the case.

Big thanks to Tosh Szatow with his LinkedIn post on Wednesday that pointed to the incredible opportunity that lies at the other side of the Covid-19 frightener.

Tosh, a sustainability advocate we’ve known from way back, pointed to the work of Catherine Wood, CEO of ARK Invest, who predicts a V shaped recovery.

Her stats on the virus are now dated (they change hour by hour) but the interesting thing she points to is the power of coordinated global actions to create strongly resurgent economies. It happened after the Plaza Accord in 1985 (to stabilise currencies), Y2K in the mid-to-late 1990s, and the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-09, she says.

Even more exciting, Tosh says, is that the ground work under way to mobilise to beat Covid-19 might just be laying the “social and political foundations for an emergency response to climate change. Hint: lets focus on the positive social and economic outcomes an emergency response delivers, and set aside the ‘gotcha’ political opportunism and wedge politics…”

What a nice note to end on.

Stay safe everyone, and strong.

And a massive thanks of course to all our existing members, supporters and all those who have helped this ship stay afloat so long. You are much appreciated.

Please send a note to if you want to get in touch for any reason.

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  1. Great to read such an optimistic blog. Perhaps we will learn important economic and social insights form this emergency. Our challenge will be to make our politicians and corporate leaders not return to ‘business as usual when we emerge the other side.