Published on Webdiary - Founded and Inspired by Margo Kingston (http://webdiary.com.au/cms)

Judging by the company we keep...

By Ian McPherson
Created 22/08/2005 - 22:49

by Ian McPherson

For years, I took no interest in political affairs or debate. It is far easier, in some ways, to take what is dished out by our leaders and just join the line at the checkout. But I found myself incensed at the latest Iraq invasion, and at the misleading manner in which our leaders swindled the public into supporting their neo-colonial resource war. Our other military engagements closer to home, in particular our involvement in East Timor, I found just as misleading and contrived, as it too smelt of neo-colonial greed over vital resources.

It is clear to me now that the world, and Australia, are in a perilous position; drawn and quartered over rapidly depleting oil and gas supplies, or hung out to dry over climate change and habitat destruction. This is not a time to be timid or quiet, or to bow one's head to the inevitable. It is a time to be vocal and to argue the political toss. I no longer believe in the War on Terror. We are involved in a War on People, as the world's more predatory corporate interests look further afield for their shareholder's returns and economic growth.

Unless we actively fight this ominous trend, by rejecting onerous seed patents, inhumane resource wars, the destruction of the environment, the extinction of species, and work to address the population destruction that will accompany climate change, it is hard to see that we will deserve a life worth living in the future. We cannot continue to treat this planet as one huge mine and toxic dump, useful only to propel our exorbitant western lifestyles, and expect it to repair itself without a major geophysical event that will allow it to recover.

Webdiary gave me the chance to talk about these issues, and debate some of the people who believe our current system can accommodate these enormous challenges to the longevity of the human race. Suffice it to say that there are few other forums in the mainstream media that would have had the courage to do so. But, more importantly, Webdiary also gave me the courage to take that message further, to educate and engage, and to help take some of these debates to our political leaders, who many of us believe are "sleepwalking into the future".

Lester Brown, world-famous environmentalist, is renowned for his statement: "Saving the world is not a spectator sport." I now believe that too, as do many who contribute to Webdiary. We may not all agree on the relative priority of these issues or their potential solutions, but the commitment and passion shown by the Webdiary writers and readers is always thoughtful, timely and commendable.

There's an old saying in life that we can be "judged by the company we keep". If that is so, then I am particularly pleased to be in the company of Margo and the many other committed Webdiarists as we move forward into the challenging times ahead!

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