I saw a story today about Peru giving free solar panels to its citizens with no electricity and that sparked a thought in me. The project began in 2012 since which time Peru had attracted international investment and support based in its progressive and innovative government energy policies.
Rather than immediately contrast that with Australia and feel angry I realised that it is easier to innovate when you have next to nothing. To decentralise power when there is no central power grid to unpick, to boost an economy that is coming off a low base line.
Australia is not like that.
In that moment I wondered if Australia will become the new poor, the left-behinds growing so fat and lethargic that by the time we realise it’s time to change it will be too late.
On that point…..
Australia has 110 years of coal left to mine, good quality coal, the kind of coal that a coal miner would be proud to mine. Yet we all know that burning coal releases CO2 and NOx into the atmosphere, hastening global warming, changing the climate. Australia is pursuing deals with India, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam to maintain exports, maintain jobs, maintain much needed income.
The Adani project in Queensland is a case in point, this coal mining operation has just won the right to ship the mined coal out across the south end of the Great Barrier Reef and on to India. A journey that takes the coal out through a protected and beautifully diverse natural wonder. This project only makes sense on one level and that’s financially.
Queensland tourism industry is worth $8 billion annually.
Queensland coal industry is currently worth around $23 billion pa.
There is little hope that the Great Barrier Reef will be prioritised until those figures switch around. Will that happen before it is too late?
I applaud Peru’s government for investing in Solar and for providing solar panels to its citizens while at the same time realising that we can’t expect our government to do the same without a monumental push.
For Australia we have to influence change from the ground up whether it be by unplugging ourselves, protesting decisions on coal mining or voting with our wallets and shopping smarter.
If Australian people want change we have to go after it both politically and practically.
Because it sure as hell ‘ain’t going to come after us any time soon.