Let's squeak! Thursday, February 17, 2011
They say the squeaky wheel gets the oil. I know from my own experience that this is true. I will respond the "loudest" problems (or people, or Labradors) first, even if there are other people, problems or animals with greater needs.
I have just read an account on the ABC website by a Sydney woman, Lindsay Soutar, who became so concerned about climate change that she made an appointment to see her local member of parliament, Anthony Albanese. She made an impassioned case while "Albo" listened carefully. Then he told her that he understood and even agreed with her but "until people on every street corner, in every community, all around the country are telling us they want more, we're not going to be able to do it."
At first Lindsay was a little depressed. If he agreed with her, why couldn't he show some leadership? But then she understood what he was saying: this is how politics works. If you want the oil, you need to squeak.
Over the last couple of weeks, we've seen people power in action in Eqypt, with spectacular results. A dictatorship that existed on "emergency" powers for 30 years has been overthrown. On the home front we are coming up to a state election. Our election campaigns may seem dull by comparison, but they're always a good time to "squeak". The very least we can do, if we think more needs to be done, is to write to each candidate and ask them what they are doing about climate change.
Better support for renewable energy in New South Wales is one outstanding issue to raise with candidates. At the moment we have many projects poised and ready to go. The only barrier to becoming viable is an unfriendly regulatory framework. For example, it is technically feasible to connect a solar precinct (a combination or network of solar systems) to the mainstream electricity grid, but current policies make this enormously difficult.
Another outstanding issue is the state government's lavish support for coal mining, including on valuable agricultural land.