Coronavirus arrived on top of the trauma and destruction of summer’s unprecedented firestorms. And like the summer bushfires, this pandemic is a moment to reflect and make caring for people and nature our top priority.
For decades we’ve been told GDP growth matters above all else; that worker’s rights are a barrier to profits, that we can’t ‘afford’ to properly care for people and our planet.
But times like this remind us what really matters. Strong communities, benefits like sick leave that protect working people, clean air, accessible green spaces and good public institutions like Medicare and the ABC.
It’s a healthy environment, and our capacity to care for each other and our living world that counts the most. And Environment Victoria’s campaign to #BuildBackBetter is built upon this simple idea.
The campaign has three key elements: the vision for fairer and sustainable societies where nature thrives and our communities are powered by clean energy, the practical ideas to get us there, and the people power to make our decision-makers listen.
But we’re not working alone. All across Australia and the world, diverse organisations are speaking up. For example The Victorian Council of Social Services and the Australian Industry Group are also calling for a response that will “cut greenhouse gas emission and build resilience, while creating secure sustainable jobs.”
As governments look ahead and start to invest and kick-start economic activity. It will be a once-in-a-generation moment to grow modern industries that can create sustainable careers and a fairer, cleaner future.
Simply going back to ‘business as usual’, where individualism and private profit go unquestioned, means we’ll be left with the same problems as before. So, together we’ll be working to make sure our representatives put us on a fairer and more sustainable path. One where people and the planet are the priorities. Where our wealth is measured in terms of wellbeing, not just GDP and endless economic growth.
From locally manufactured wind farms to rooftop solar and storage, energy efficiency and urban agriculture to building new bike superhighways; a lot of sustainable solutions are fantastic job creators. And these opportunities exist across all of Victoria’s cities and towns.
We’ve already sent a submission to the Victorian government to put these ideas front of mind as our representatives decide what our recovery looks like. You can learn more in our blog post here >>
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The communities and ecosystems affected by summer’s climate-fueled bushfires must also not be forgotten. You can find out more about these impacts through our video storytelling project, and help promote opportunities to restore bushfire ravaged landscapes by sharing our ideas with your local MP.
Over the coming months the Environment Victoria community of volunteers will be talking with their communities (while following physical distancing rules) about ways we can create a healthier and cleaner society, and restore our living world. We’ll be surveying the community to develop a collective vision for #BuildBackBetter, holding virtual neighbourhood meetings, and harnessing that community power to advocate for action.
By connecting and moving forward together we can plant the seeds for a fairer and more sustainable society where we live in harmony with our natural environment — you can get involved by filling out the form below.
Communities all over the world are responding to the pandemic with a huge outpouring of creativity, solidarity and compassion. And as we move through this moment of crisis, we can reflect on our shared values and use them as a guide for what comes next.
Together we can hold our leaders accountable and build the momentum for a cleaner, fairer and sustainable society.