Insiders program needs to look beyond short-term economics and engage with broader issue
The Chair of the national 1996 State of the Environment report has warned of adding huge numbers of people to the population when the present population is already degrading our systems irreversibly.
Emeritus Professor Ian Lowe says the panel on last Sunday’s Insider program had a long discussion on bringing hundreds of thousands more people to Australia to produce short-term economic gains.
“The latest State of the Environment (SoE) report, suppressed by the Morrison government when it was delivered last year but recently released by the responsible Minister, Tanya Plibersek, paints a grim picture,” says Professor Lowe.
“It is the most recent of six such reports at five-year intervals, all saying that the demands of the present population are degrading our natural systems irreversibly.
“This does not just affect aesthetic considerations like the state of our natural areas and the loss of unique local species; it also affects such basic issues as our ability to grow food, to provide fresh water, to manage our wastes and to be responsible global citizens.
“At some point, Insiders should look beyond short-term economics and day-to-day politics to engage with this serious issue.”
Professor Lowe is one of five Patrons of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA). His views were endorsed by SPA national president, Ms Jenny Goldie.
“We have to move beyond the current paradigm of constant economic growth,” says Ms Goldie. “We have to live within the confines of our natural resource base. Immigration policy must be set within a broader population policy that takes into account the state of environment.
“As Professor Lowe notes, all SoE reports since 1996 have said that the demands of the population are causing irreversible damage to the environment. Our economy depends on maintaining a healthy natural resource base. That has to be the priority.”