Are you the type of person who revels in reading horror stories? If you’re a ‘yes’ then the next paragraph is just for you as it is a snap shot of the world today. If you’re a ‘no’ then read further down about how we fix this mess, focusing on what can be done. Of all the groups working towards conservation and climate action, we are all committed to deep and genuine systemic changes such that we live within the planet’s biophysical realities and ecological processes.
Sadly, protecting the environment and transitioning towards zero emissions is not a fundamental driver of decision-making for the majority of governments, businesses, communities or individuals. Rather, the environment is mostly an optional extra that can be conveniently pushed to the periphery. The more urgent protecting biodiversity becomes along with the need for stronger action on climate change, NQCC and our supporters become ever more anxious to see transformative change. Our society is polarised like never before as people yell down the echo chambers of social media, bolster each other’s unchallenged beliefs from all sides and turn on the caps lock for people with opposing opinions. There are great people within governments and politics but unfortunately any of their best efforts don’t measure up to the scale of the problem. At the same time, governments are harder to engage in environmental advocacy at such a crucial time.
So how do we get out of this mess?
Well, different groups try different approaches. It is important that we support the diversity that reflects varying contexts that respond to different factors e.g. city versus regional, forward-thinking communities versus fossil-fuel dependent ones, deep-green messaging versus communications that resonates with wider audiences. NQCC is not alone in asking what work are we best placed to do in the current political environment. Like other conservation councils we have identified that we can initiate public education and engagement with the sorts of people who start their sentences with “I’m not a greenie, but…” These are the people who don’t identify as greenies but like us, they know that without fresh air or clean water, humans have absolutely nothing.
At NQCC we acknowledge that different thinking and approaches are needed. We also know that we have to take risks and find experimental ways to engage Scott Morrison’s ‘quiet Australians.’ They are people who were told to accept the world as it is despite how broken it may become and those are people not already on our Paperbark email list! Meanwhile, the folk who profit from polarising communities don’t want us to do this work. And it is because of them that we are driven more than ever to reach out to wider audiences and show how the environment and a safe climate is no marginal interest.
We can’t go on this path alone so we invite you to come along and help us shape new approaches and strategies. We are all doing this for the public interest and that is why we are not going to be put in a corner! Contact us if you'd like to contribute your thoughts and ideas.