A new Meriton apartment complex under construction is seen in inner Sydney on Friday, April 8, 2016. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING
A new Meriton apartment complex under construction is seen in inner Sydney on Friday, April 8, 2016. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING MICK TSIKAS

OPINION: Australia's fossil fuel addiction burns my eyes

"WE CANNOT solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." This is a quote by Albert Einstein. I think he will be looking down from his armchair and pipe in the sky shaking his head at where humanity is going now.

I would like to base this article around this quote, and focus on two main issues.

About 11 years ago I walked the Camino de Santiago. The walk starts at the most western point of France at the Pyrenees through to the most western part of Spain at a little town called Finistere. It's just short of 900km and was a most amazing experience. During this time Spain was in major drought and was also going through a water crisis. Spain was also covered with eucalyptus trees (their previous dictator Franco cut most of the old Oak forests down to sell the wood off at a high price). He then replaced the forests with fast growing eucalyptus. Right now, they are making changes and creating a system where their energy will inevitably be a 100% renewable.

My body and bones hurt walking so far but not as much as my eyes looking at what we could be doing here in Australia and seeing so many blocks and government groups addicted to fossil fuel.

Which leads to another point, we have a housing crisis here in Australia, with which the government is now trying to take away red tape and open more land to development.

This is crazy, already we are struggling with resources, already we have had come through a major drought and our water supply is struggling. Is there another solution?

"Freshwater makes up a very small fraction of all water on the planet. While nearly 70% of the world is covered by water, only 2.5% of it is fresh. The rest is saline and ocean-based. Even then, just 1% of our freshwater is easily accessible, with much of it trapped in glaciers and snowfields. In essence, only 0.007% of the planet's water is available to fuel and feed its 6.8 billion people", according to National Geographic Oct 2016. Australia is also the driest continent in the world.

When is too much, too much? Do we just keep dominating the land, until the point we cannot grow more food, until there is no water left? The US is in a major water crisis right now. They had large fresh water supplies, such the Great Lakes in the Midwest and many rivers such as the Mississippi River which was crucial to agriculture and drinking supply. The lakes have shrunk and rivers drying up.

There are many opportunities for humanity to take ownership of their mistakes and move forward to the future. Just like Einstein said: "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." I think the evidence is so undisputed; we must move forward, look at different perspectives, and realise there is nothing wrong with being a business person and nothing wrong being a greenie, so let's combine the knowledge and make a difference together.



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