Urgent Social Change requires a Culture Shift. To support the urgently needed scale of changes in technology, policy and lifestyle behaviour, we need a shift in our cultural paradigms and narrative. SustainableWA involves engaging our community and encouraging and supporting those who are asking questions about:
- what constitutes economic, social and environmental well-being and prosperity;
- the nature and sustainability of business, and our modes of production and consumption;
- the urgent need to shift ‘life as usual’ and ‘business as usual’ practices;
- the imagination needed to see the necessary changes as opportunities, not costs; and
- a sense of hope and possibility in our capacity as citizens to influence these outcomes.
Communicating, Connecting & Catalysing. A social movement for sustainability in Western Australia is already occuring and it is part of a rapidly growing global movement. SustainableWA can contribute to this global movement by sharing good news stories from here and around the world of what’s happening, and what’s working. It’s about offering inspiration and ideas for further momentum from elsewhere to WA and from WA to elsewhere.
Becoming the most sustainable society for the world will mean unprecedented levels of collaboration! Networking and bridging across all sectors of our society — local communities, media, corporate, not-for-profit and faith-based communities, governments at all levels, academia, individuals etc — is vital and SustainableWA is an opportunity to enable this vital connection.
SustainableWA is about providing space, facilitating conversation, fostering networks and connection, promoting activities and events, identifying synergies and encouraging others to do the same. It is not about being experts, but about encouraging the sharing of expertise, and encouraging experts and facilitators to collaborate for better results. It involves actively networking and linking people, organisations and sectors, cross-fertilising ideas and initiatives, and creating new opportunities for partnership to bring about sustainability.
Think Global, Act Local. We believe a local focus on sustainability, including on global sustainability issues such as climate change, is necessary and significant. We believe that urgently addressing this crisis, and transitioning to a sustainable society wherever we find ourselves, is a moral responsibility for us all.
What we do here in WA matters! Western Australians have a strong sense of identity and place. Our society is small enough to be influenced, and large enough as a society, economy and geography to matter. We are a rich state whose wealth comes largely at the expense of our environment. Because our ecological footprint is significant, making a difference here can have a commensurately large impact — our per capita carbon emissions are amongst the highest in the world and our economy is currently centred on non-renewable natural resources.
People Power — “If it is going to be, it’s up to me!” We need to abandon the belief that governments will provide the leadership we need and hope for. History shows governments, including democratic governments, tend to follow, not lead the people, and that genuine change must first come from you and me (and those we know, and those they know). We need to mobilise and energise a critical mass of citizens to increase political pressure for change.
If we genuinely want a more sustainable WA, we will have to reclaim our ‘popular sovereignty’ and go beyond the usual political processes to build genuine engagement and support for change. The more we raise awareness and interest, foster debate, ensure participation, change our own behaviours, and successfully advocate action together for sustainability (and the more visible are such activities), the greater our capacity to influence our political representatives to legislate for stronger action.
Adding to, Not Detracting from, Existing Efforts. Many local, national and global organisations already make major contributions to promoting sustainability issues through advocacy, research, education and consulting, community and neighbourhood action and so on. Reinventing the wheel is simply wasted energy. SustainableWA is about unifying and leveraging our collective results through greater focus, collaboration and visibility, particularly in Western Australia. Our clear focus is on supporting and enhancing the work and contributions of individuals and organisations, not detracting from them or duplicating them.