How many Australians? The need for Earth-centric ethics
By Dr. Paul Collins
Australia is a big country. Surely, we should allow the world’s ‘tired, poor, huddled masses’ to settle here? And yet, despite its physical size, Australia is limited in biophysical and geophysical terms. All our State of Environment reports have found the demands of the current population have been degrading natural systems irreversibly. We are not living sustainably with the numbers we have at current standards of living.
And yet, the world is clamouring at our doors. Millions want to come and share the riches we enjoy. Do we have a moral duty to let them come and allow them a better life? Or should we protect the ecosystems in our care, not least the habitat of our iconic koala that is currently threatened by urban expansion and deforestation?
Immigration has made up the bulk of Australian population growth for the past quarter century. This critical discussion paper on the ethics of immigration addresses the competing demands of human beings seeking a better life with the rights of our natural systems to prevail against the demands of human activities.
In this paper, Dr Paul Collins calls for a new moral principle to guide and govern our ethical behaviour as a species. He describes his thinking in this short interview recorded at the event.
Paul Collins with “How Many Australians” Discussion Paper FULL (PDF)