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The Truth About Australia’s Cavalier Attitude Towards ‘Sustainability’

An inconvenient truth.

Tinnies. Takeaway flat-whites. Tasmania. Tesla? Australia is known more for gas-guzzling than ‘sustainable energy’. Public-transport-complaining is a national hobby and if you’re not heading “up the coast” or “down the coast” on holiday then you’re not ‘true blue’.

Besides: if your ‘eco-friendly’ Prius breaks down in the middle of the Outback you’re in hotter sand than a backpacker who never got round to watching Wolf Creek. Anyone who grew up here will know this. However, many European tourists are shocked that a country so renowned for its natural beauty can be so cavalier about sustainability.

But the truth is Australia was not designed with public transport — let alone ‘sustainability’ — in mind. And for every dollar Angela Merkel spends on renewable energy, it seems the Australian government spends two on road-building.

There are three reasons for this.

Firstly: many Australian consumers don’t care about sustainability as much as the cultural capital their third gen ‘keep cup’ lends them.

Secondly: as reported by the Australian Financial Revieweven while there is a renewable energy boom in other parts of the world, “Big infrastructure investors are steering clear of Australia’s energy sector because of the risks and political uncertainties.”

Thirdly: many people have forgotten that, as one surfer recently put it, “The real eco-warrior is the one wearing 20-year-old, mass produced boardshorts, not the one wearing the brand new recycled plastic monstrosities,” (paraphrased from deep in Swellnet’s commentary board).

Anyway — while we applaud small businesses like Who Gives A Crap for making their processes eco-friendly and socially responsible, the corporate anxiety around whether consumers really care about sustainability suggests most companies see sustainability as a cash cow rather than a moral responsibility.

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