I read this quotation from the Australian Greens’ leader, Senator Bob Brown. He wrote this in a newsletter for a conservation group in Tasmania, back in 1976. That’s almost 30 years ago. The comments are still as challenging, the issues still as urgent, if not more so:
‘Selfishness prevails on Earth. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Australia. We live for maximising personal wealth and ignore the miseries of our neighbours; we plunder our natural resources as if we are the most deserving generation that has ever been or ever will be; we rush to gain advantage from technological innovation even when there are appaling risks; we claim parenthood as a joyous right but leach the joy of our childre’s futures. As a result mankind faces a needlessly wreteched future. At best there will be proplonged repression, cruelty and hate until reason gains ascendency in a human community desperate for happiness. At worst human life will cease at its own hand.’
The gloomy prospect might be easy to dismiss if it came from someone who didn’t care and didn’t try to make a difference. I doubt whether any Australian has acted with more hopefulness, and more faith in the possibillity of another way, a life-affirming and mutually respectful way than Bob Brown.
His challenge to the values of our life-style, which he rightly sees is really a death-style, is profound indeed.