From an economic perspective, the sustainability crisis is ultimately characterised by a worsening relationship between the resources required to support the global population and the ability of the earth to supply them. Despite the ever-increasing threat of a calamity, modern society appears unable to alter its course. The very systems which underpin global human endeavour seem to actively prevent meaningful change and the one irrepressible goal to which all societies seem to strive is the very thing that makes such endeavour ultimately life-threatening: that of global growth. Using the Australian experience as an exemplar, this paper explores how the concept of growth infiltrates societal reactions to the crisis at various scales – global, national and regional. Analysis includes historic studies, a critique of current misconceptions around population demographics, comparative evaluation of various interventions in the Australian context and considerations around potential ways to address the crisis. It is argued that the smaller scales of intervention such as the localisation movement offer the best leverage for societal change.
Murray Craig Lane, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Stream: Economic Sustainability: Environmental Challenges and Economic Growth
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