Nobody Left Behind – Including Ecosystems
These are extraordinary times. Everyone I talk to at the moment is feeling like their head is spinning. As well as fearing for our own and our loved ones’ health, and trying to keep our kids focussed on their education from home while we work or search for a new job, so much is happening in the world at such speed that it’s hard to keep up.
I want to start this rather full update, then, by wishing you, the Green Institute’s supporters, well. I hope that you are safe and healthy, taking great care, and managing ok in these circumstances.
Many of you have let me know that you are keeping busy with local mutual aid projects, some inspired by the wonderful webinar we held what seems like an age away but was less than a fortnight ago! You might find this brief interview I did on ABC Radio Canberra this morning about what we’re doing in my neighbourhood interesting. My segment starts at 1 hour 16 into the segment. Mutual aid is such a wonderful way of making sure we stay connected while physically distant, and, of course, of doing what we can to ensure that nobody gets left behind.
Making sure Nobody Gets Left Behind has been the focus of the Institute’s work this week. With the participation of Prof John Quiggin, Eva Cox, Prof Greg Marston and others, we have instigated and coordinated a major open letter to the government calling for what is in effect an emergency UBI, although we’ve called it a Liveable Income Guarantee.
Over 100 economic and social policy experts, unionists, artists and writers signed the letter calling for an end to conditionality and mutual obligation requirements. We’ve now opened it as a petition for public signatures. In just a couple of days, it has smashed through 500 signatures. With your help, we hope to see that figure rise a lot more, to increase the momentum for this vital step. At a moment when economically conservative governments are introducing bans on evictions and talking of nationalisations, who knows what could be achieved if we can put it seriously on the agenda?
Ensuring that nobody gets left behind in these times doesn’t only apply to humans, of course. Despite the tremendous and justified focus on Coronavirus right now, we mustn’t let the fact that we are in an ecological crisis fall from our minds.
The review of the Commonwealth environment laws, the EPBC Act, is still going on, and submissions are due in a fortnight, on April 17.
Given the extraordinary steps both backwards and forwards that governments are taking right now (the NSW government has approved a new coal mine and the Victorian government rolled back their ban on onshore gas in devastating demonstrations of disaster capitalism), it’s vital that as many of us as possible find the time to write submissions to this review calling for new laws which truly protect the natural world which is our only home. You can find the resources from our recent webinar on this here to help you write yours.
The Guardian published this piece from me over the weekend drawing together Coronavirus, the climate change-fuelled fires, the EPBC Review, and ecological politics. You might find that a useful stimulus as you start to think about your submission.
Finally, watch out for the announcement of three exciting and timely webinars coming very soon.
Once again, take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and help us to make sure that nobody – including our the natural world – gets left behind.