Oct 252007

My credit union, MECU, is committed to environmental and social sustainability; it was a primary factor in my choice of banking institution. This morning when I logged on to check my account balance I saw the link ACF is asking the question: Who On Earth Cares?

This Australian Conservation Foundation initiative is very nicely thought out. You can add yourself to the map, and show that you really do care by sending a letter to your local representative in parliament. In 5 simple steps you fill out a basic profile and a personal letter is automatically generated for you to print out. Their system is beautiful – you can even edit the auto-generated text of the letter before creating a pdf copy to print.

So here’s a challenge: put yourself on the map and see who else cares. To help inspire you, here is a copy of the letter I’m sending to Bob McMullan MP, my federal representative:

25 October, 2007

Mr R. F. McMullan, MP
Unit 8/1, Torrens St
Braddon, ACT 2612

Dear Mr McMullan,

Thank you for replying promptly and personally to the comment I left on your MySpace webpage some weeks ago. I was heartened to find you seriously trying to be in touch with your constituents, and that experience has encouraged me to write this letter.

It is natural for Earth’s climate to change over time, but the changes currently occurring are being accelerated by human activity. The cost of fast environmental change will be high. Although it is the developed world that bears most of the responsibility for the changes we have wrought upon the climate, it is the undeveloped nations (who depend most directly on their ecosystems) who will suffer first and most significantly. On top of our need to care for the environment, we have a duty to fellow humanity. We only have a short window of time to act before much of our ignorant trampling will be impossible to undo. We need to step out of our comfort zone and take much more action than we have to date.

To reduce my greenhouse pollution, I have personally committed to:
– Switch my household power supply to accredited GreenPower
– Install a water efficient shower head
– Collect greywater from my washing machine, bath and shower to re-use on the garden
– Turn off computers and screens overnight at work and home
– Eat a vegetarian diet
– Drive 20 kilometres less each week (Canberra is a great place to cycle instead)
– Reduce my household electricity and gas usage by 20%

Australia has some of the largest tracts of nature as it was before human exploitation. I would like this country to be a world leader in caring for the environment that supports us.

Ordinary Australians are doing what we can, but we also need your leadership. I would like you, as my political representative, to step up to the challenge of reducing Australia’s greenhouse pollution.

The government of Australia over the last decade has placed supreme importance on the economy, and the god of economics is growth. Recently, Prime Minister John Howard has argued that the economy could keep growing indefinitely. This shows ignorance of the fact that all economic resources are fundamentally sourced from our environment – and environmental resources are absolutely finite. Even we as humans only grow for the first two decades of our life, and then stabilise. When something in our bodies doesn’t know when to stop growing we call it “cancer”.

Will you act to promote stability and sustainability in Australian society, and raise awareness of the disastrous consequences of the cancer-like growth that Mr Howard has endorsed?

I understand that the Labor Party has plans to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, and am excited about this prospect. What other goals will you set to reduce our emissions by 2020 and 2050 as part of Australia’s contribution to avoiding dangerous climate change? How will you ensure that at least 25% of Australia’s electricity comes from renewable energy by 2020?

I ask that you raise these important questions with your party and let me know your party’s position on them.

Please acknowledge receipt of my letter. I look forward to receiving a prompt response to my questions.


Lachlan Rogers

  6 Responses to “Say you care”

  1. I’ve done one now too..

  2. Good letter! I just finished James Lovelock’s “The Revenge of Gaia” and I recommend it as an excellent pragmatic guide to the health of the planet.

  3. I appreciated your letter Lachlan. It introduced a viewpoint on the economy I had not thought of before. I will be interested in the response you get.

  4. […] year I wrote a letter to Bob McMullan as part of the Australian Conservation Foundation’s WhoOnEarthCares campaign.  I received a […]

  5. What did his letter say??

  6. It was 3 pages long, so I won’t reproduce it here word for word. He agreed that climate change was a serious problem, and outlined the things that a Rudd Labor Government would do (it was pre-election) including:
    1. Ratify the Kyoto Protocol
    2. Develop an effective emissions trading scheme
    3. Set 20% renewable energy target for Australia by 2020
    4. Lead by example in purchasing new efficient technologies
    5. Drive a clean renewable energy revolution
    6. Offer $10 000 low-interest loans for Australian families to green their homes
    7. Invest in cleaner businesses and create new jobs
    8. Invest in sustainable agriculture and protect biodiversity
    9. Invest in cleaner transport
    10. Commission Professor Ross Garnaut to review climate situation
    11. Secure future water supplies, and ensure that 30% of wastwater is recycled nationally by 2015

    He then pointed out how recklessly the Howard Government had ignored this issue, and thanked me for taking the time to write my letter. I was impressed to find that he actually signed off in pen.

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