News from the front desk – Issue No 400: It’s four weeks to go before Tomorrowland.
Our signature event is a point in time. A time to measure what we won and what we lost or put aside in the past 12 months, and see if we can influence the next 12 months.
How exciting is the world right now?
The biggest passive house building in the world is planned for Melbourne if the ambitions of Cox Architecture, Dutch practice UNStudio and sustainability consultant Atelier 10 come to fruition.
And on Thursday we heard that scientists have developed a way to pull carbon out of the atmosphere and turn it into magnesite much faster than this would happen in the natural world.
But the world is scary too.
As we come out of winter, slowly, tentatively, peeping out over the parapets, we see strange and unnatural sights: Europe with fires blazing, cracked earth, and ice mountains turning to raging torrents.
It’s been cold this winter. But who among us would dare complain? We welcome it, with a sense of guilt. But it’s our turn next.
From Canberra comes news that no longer shocks or even saddens. Confirms, that’s all. See how even a major Senate inquiry on climate fails to dislodge sentiment and the Coalition does not deign to even make a comment. Nothing.
The only predictable thing in this fast-changing world is no longer death and taxes. It’s this country’s staunchest coal supporters glued to their determination to sell us down the river.
Death is no longer quite the certainty it was thanks to galloping science and cryogenics.
And of course taxes are totally optional if you can afford the creative accounting.
But when it comes to accounting and making loads of money it must be really unnerving to the pollies, when people like investment doyen Jeremy Grantham jumps over to our side and does Al Gore-style presentations of why he thinks we’re in trouble.
Grantham has taken the official data, applied the objective analysis that made him famous and successful and come up with what he’s called the “Race of our Lives”.
What worries the hell out of him is the big pressures that are about to collide: “climate change, population growth, increasing environmental toxicity, and the impact of all these three on the future ability to feed the 11 billion people projected for 2100.”
Combined with the social impacts of our economic system it’s a grim picture, he says.
“We face a form of capitalism that has hardened its focus to short-term profit maximisation with little or no apparent interest in social good just as its power to influence government and its own fate has grown so strong that only the biggest most powerful corporations and the very richest individuals have any real say in government.
“The timing could not be worse. It is likely we in the US will lose – indeed, we are losing already – the stable and reasonable society that we have enjoyed since The Great Depression. Beyond the US, the risks may be even greater, with the worst effects in Africa – threatening the failure of an entire continent.” Grantham thinks there will be a flood of humanity out of Africa.
See Frazer Anning’s Nazi speech in Parliament this week to see where some people are pushing the weak and closed-minded among us. Anning has made Pauline Hanson look reasonable.
Grantham says there’s good news too. In particular, “the accelerating burst of green technologies, which has been better than anyone expected 10 or even five years ago”.
In China there are 9500 electric buses added each week, he tells us.
We don’t know if the cavalry will arrive on time.
Check out Grantham’s full presentation here.
But while there’s gadvances in renewable energy, Murdoch’s junk news stable does its best to bolster the negative, much like Anning. A full page excerpt of a book in today’s Oz says it all. The book is entitled, “Green Tyranny: Exposing the Totalitarian Roots of the Climate Industrial Complex.”
There’s no shame. No attempt at conscience or balance or science by the people who feel their bread is buttered on the oily side.
They take the three legged stools and smash two of the legs, leaving just capital.
The Indigenous people of this country placed all three in balance: environmental (of course); economic, an efficient way of allocating resources among the community; and social: they had powerful laws and agreements that pretty much prevented warfare.
See Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu: this book has just been reprinted again, and is causing so much excitement.
Pascoe shows how the First Peoples farmed and almost sculpted great swathes of this land all at once. Sowing crops on the banks of creeks, casting seed into the natural rivulets where the rain would fall and water channelled.
He quotes white explorers noting houses filled to the brim with harvest grain. Yes, houses. It’s information wiped from the history books (like climate science in some quarters) but still in evidence in the primary sources, the diaries of the eye witnesses themselves.
Slowly, thanks to Bruce Pascoe and so many other rising stars in the Indigenous communities, we’re learning the truth and starting to get an inkling of how their generosity of spirit can contribute to protecting this amazing land we are honoured and privileged to live on.
One Indigenous star we are excited to announce will be our keynote speaker at Tomorrowland is architect Jefa Greenaway, who’s featured in our pages before.
We’ll bring you a taste of what he will talk about in coming days.
There’s so much more that will be packed into our most exciting day of the year.
So if you are the kind of person who feels you can make a difference, ask the tough questions, take back into your world some open knowledge and better ideas, then come along.
Meanwhile, it’s a sad week for us here as Cameron Jewell leaves after nearly six years to start a new job as strategic urban planner at Liverpool City Council. Cameron will do well wherever he goes and we wish him the best. He’s been sent on his way with a written promise he can come back anytime, should the pollies fail to implement all of his strategic planning immediately and without question. Because we’re sure they’ll be right. And that they’ll be sustainable.
In Cameron’s place we welcome Poppy Johnston who will be stepping up to some big shoes, but she’s game. And so are we.
This is a changing world, but if you want to help us out in this transition, please send us your Spinifexes (OpEds), buckets of them. We’re going to need some help for a while.
Don’t forget this is your publication.