Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 21:07 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 21:07 | SYDNEY

The environmentalism of hope


Sam Roggeveen


1 August 2008 15:14

Tim Dunlop is right on the money with his latest commentary on selling climate change to the public. In fact, Shadow Treasurer Malcolm Turnbull made a similar argument on Q&A last night: you don't actually need to believe that climate change is happening or even to invoke climate change to agree that reducing pollution and conserving energy are good things. So let's do those things, and if climate change turns out to be the biggest hoax since War of the Worlds, we'll still be better off.

Selling environmentalism should be easy in our political climate, and Tim notes the high level of public goodwill. But there is a danger that relentless environmental doomsaying will undermine that goodwill by creating fatalism or cynicism when the promised apocalypse does not arrive. If I had my pick of environmental activists, I'd sooner the Arnold Schwarzenegger model than that of Al Gore. Arnie is an optimist; Al is a scold. Al thinks we're doomed if we don't act; Arnie thinks lasting political movements are built on hope, not fear.

At the moment, I'd say our government is a little too Al. Perhaps the opposition's niche lies in being more Arnie.

UPDATE: Al Gore places infant son in rocket to escape dying planet.