Our democracy – the need to educate, to influence better environmental outcomes

Increasingly you might hear the comment – we don’t have a democracy anymore and all that we get is push marketing and the pedaling of misinformation. We are told what to think, act and what we feel in order to react ‘appropriately’. Scenario the phone rings – hello, its Adrian mate and if you don’t want to let the community down you will adopt our stance, you don’t want to let the sky fall do you?  You react and say hang on I am a good upstanding community member….you are hooked and steered into a psychological twist.

Whatever scenario you want to paint on the issue a properly functioning democracy requires an educated, well-informed and proactive community. Backing this thread up is a quote from the Executive Director at Liana Downey & Associates – Strategic Advisors to Governments and Nonprofits – contributing to the discussion about the morality of government and some leaders on action on climate change – “I think it just strengthens the impetus to keep educating, and keep moving forward, particularly for those of us with a good understanding of the science. I have had plenty conversations with reasonable, educated professionals who admitted they just weren’t sure if “all this climate change stuff” was really an issue. We have to take the time to acknowledge doubts, and respond to concerns in an informed way that doesn’t patronize people but allows for conversation and progress. Who says there isn’t scope to address the concerns of the cynics? 

This would be an easy time to fall into despair – it’s certainly tempting. But it’s also the most important time to step up, be clear about the facts, and help lead. Government are obviously important players, but not the only decision makers or leaders in our society. There is still plenty of scope to help shape thoughtful sustainable investments, shift consumer and corporate behavior, and keep doing what we know to be right to protect future generations”.

Then we have the comment by Michael O’Flynn – Sustainability and Financial Risk Consultant: “The real culprits are the politicians with their lack of accountability, aspects of the media who cherry-pick “evidence” to push their backer’s agenda, large immoral corporations and their executives who simply care about profits, rates of return and $$$bonuses and some of the mega-rich. We are basically facing a fight between the gung-ho capitalist model who call for less regulation and as happens, have the big bucks and consider all resources as simply a means to derive a profit first and foremost, versus the people. 

It wasn’t so long ago that the god-Father of the current Libs, John Howard and supposedly the Libs too, were keen on an ETS. Exhibit A for long-term culpability for any inaction.”

CO2Land org finds this potent stuff, maybe a little emotive, but puts the point across vey well – we are influenced as opposed led. So is the real problem that we have ourselves to blame, that we are followers and not leaders – short answer is not everyone can be the leader. But, we need to stay focused and committed and advocate for what we believe is right. The Adrian example at the beginning of this post was and example of an advocate that recognized that public opinion and political policies are never static and will ebb and flow. Even from within governments positions on issues are not necessarily entrenched within the Party’s or even its voters. It is a case of reacting from the popularity base both within and outside the party and will influence those that make the hard decisions. A documented illustration of this is in Australia where a newly elected Government is already facing rough times over the party’s previous support of climate change policies such as the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). With the current Prime Minister saying his party does not support the view that climate change is real, and then others within, such as the popular Malcolm Turnbull, openly being supportive of an ETS. This suggests we will be in for more push polling efforts and misinformation peddling is in the wings. Sadly it will also auger well for those that will react with ‘we will review this matter’ and behind the scenes say – no further action required it will go away! He recipe for ‘seeing to be doing and not doing at all’!

CO2Land org will argue that until the opposition parties start acting professionally we can expect nothing more than talk on what is needed on meaningful climate change policies. But either way, neither the government nor the opposition parties can exempt themselves from being detrimental to the obvious environmental dangers we are facing now, and merely taking the arguments to the next election will just be too late.

Thank you to those that contributed to this thread – it shows the potential that there is still some really positive discussion going on. It also put into focus, what recently happened when the Australian Climate Council was established as a privately funded model after the government of the day chose to abandon public funding for its predecessor. We speculate that the thinking behind the funding denial was that it would put aside the issues the entity has uncovered. It might actually come back to bite the climate change deniers and we might even see better outcomes for the betterment of how society views the working of our democracy.

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3 thoughts on “Our democracy – the need to educate, to influence better environmental outcomes

  1. Hi — thanks for quoting me and for the work you’re doing to continue to drive an important dialogue. Just a note — my quote actually ends on the lines … what we know to be right for future generations”. I’m not sure who the second paragraph is attributable to (that starts … the real culprits… etc.), but I am not the author. Stay well, keep talking! Liana Downey

  2. Thank you Liana, the post has been corrected to accurately reflect your contribution. We certainly don’t want to be peddling unnecessary angst. CO2Land org

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