The end of the world as we know it

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This article is a work in progress that describe the challenges and opportunities that we are posed by climate change and the need to live sustainability.

The topics to be expanded upon will be:

Where are we at?

In the 21st century the world has entered a time of great change. Following the industrial revolution, humans learned how to extract and use fossil fuels in great quantities. This led to an era of time of cheap and apparently abundant energy for keeping warm, artificial light, transport and creating electricity. First world countries in particular availed themselves of pleasures and benefits of using fossil fuels. Whole cities, indeed civilisations, came to depend on the use of fossil fuel for food production and transport.

In late 2008 the world's financial system collapsed. Inventive but dodgy financial products and practices were revealed as unsustainable and basically without value. The rot started in the United States with "sub prime loans" and Collateral Debt Obligations (CDOs), but it soon spread across all countries.

Suddenly, the doctrine of free markets and unfettered capitalism collapsed. Banks, car companies, car dealers and even real estate interests were bailed out across the globe by governments who suddenly regained prominence and power, basically because they alone are able to print money and raise taxes.

In Australia, the government even handed out about $42 billion as an "economic stimulus" to assist the Australian economy through the world wide recession. However, a large proportion of this money - over 75% - was handed out as cash payments (around $900 per person) for them to spend at their own discretion. This was a missed opportunity to invest in the infrastructure and new green jobs we need for a low carbon economy.

Where do we need to get to?

  • Human behaviour and the psychology of change
  • Democracy and the failure of representation
  • Party politics
    • The source of party policies
    • The vagaries of pre-selection and factions
    • Elections - substance or sideshow?
    • The party line in parliaments
  • The blame game and adversarial contests
  • The tendency toward incrementalism and compromise
  • Case studies in perverse outcomes
    • Water resource management and supplies
    • Power generation and usage
    • The logging and woodchip industries
    • Transport - excessive carbon emissions
    • Housing and buildings - energy efficiency is still seen as optional and costly
  • Stakeholders and their interests
    • The Legislature (parliament)
    • The Executive (government departments)
    • The Judiciary
    • Education
    • Industry
    • NGOs
    • Scientists
    • Unions
    • The public (you and I)

See also


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