But that Franklin trip changed me profoundly. As I believe wilderness experience changes everyone. Because it puts us in our place. The human place, which our species inhabited for most of its evolutionary life. That place that shaped our psyches and made us who we are. The place where nature is big and we are small.
And at this moment in history, our core value happens to be the raw, aching truth of the human predicament. It may also be the only belief that can save us as a species. A species that will continue to find comfort and delight in the companionship of animals, the miracle of birds, the colours of the corals and the majesty of the forests. We are in it together, on this blue spinning marble in the cold and silent void. And we must act on that belief, if we are going to be able to continue to live a good life here, in this beautiful and fragile country, on this lovely planet, our only home.
What’s wrong with leading the way? We’ve played that role before, after all. We gave the world the secret ballot… that did so much to raise living standards and improve conditions for workers worldwide. We were a leader in extending to women the right to vote. We were barely a nation when we set the bar for bravery and sacrifice by common soldiers in foreign wars. We grew up out of racism and misogyny and homophobia to become a mostly tolerant, successful multicultural society. We did these great things because we know we are in it together. It is our core value as Australians.
Renewable energy is proven technology, the price is dropping, the rest of the world is going that way, that’s where our investment should be going as well.
In securing the future of the planet, we secure happiness for ourselves. One of the aims of the Greens is to turn around the tide of pessimism amongst the young people of the world.
Wilderness has become one of the world's fastest disappearing resources, and it is non-renewable. Yet unlike oil, gold or woodchips, it is essential to the wellbeing of humanity. We are made of it and fashioned by it?our psychological beings resonate with it.
So far as we know, Earth is the only planet which supports life, and it is the only planet on which we can survive. Our bodies and our minds are fashioned by it. Our hearts resonate with it. There will be little joy for the human spirit if we destroy the natural fabric of Earth with nothing left to do but go shopping. When we imagine the world a century from now, when we look our great grandchildren in the eye and see them smiling back at us because they know we cared for them, we smile too!
We are all born bonded to nature; that’s why we put depictions of flowers and forests, rather than bulldozers or log piles, on our walls.
Whereas our common past, out of Africa, saw a global diaspora of humankind, our common future depends on a global coming together and consensus, resulting in a more equitable distribution of the Earth’s largesse. When Africa, which gave us the wealth of life, has that debt returned, the world will have come of age.
The reality is that if we in this rich, lucky quarter of the planet cannot make a stand for the 30 million other species we share this planet with, let alone our own species, then who can?