Australian content alert: Yeah, this is a bit of geekery.
There’s a Sunday morning politics show called Insiders, which is a ritual thing I do with my mum and her next door neighbour. The format is solid (stolid?)- a host (usually Barrie Cassidy) and three hacks, sorry, journalists. There’s a long interview with a pollie, a roundup of cartoons and photos, and a comedy video skit. Bish bosh, all done in an hour.
At the end of the show Barrie Cassidy invites the hacks to say one thing each as a takeaway. That’s usually some observation about the horserace politics of it all. But two weeks ago Lenore Taylor pointed to the ‘planet may become unlivable’ study and Mike Seccombe wondered out loud about all these farmers suffering from drought who consistently vote for climate-change-denying politicians in the National Party and when that might change.
The thing is this. Lenore Taylor has been reporting -very very astutely- on environmental stuff since at least 1989. She reported for the Australian on the December 1989 summit that kicked off the legendary (I move in small circles) Ecologically Sustainable Development process.
Taylor, L. 1989. Secret Green Summit Praised. The Australian, 8 December, p3
Meanwhile, in December 1991, Mike Seccombe had a front page story on the Sydney Morning Herald about the final reports of the ESD process.
Seccombe, M. 1991. Blueprint for a greener Australia. Sydney Morning Herald, 3 December, p.1.
So, while Laura Tingle’s point about lack of institutional memory in political parties, bureaucracies and the media is mostly accurate, there are exceptions. And very fine exceptions indeed.
We’re toast. It’s not a problem of science- the scientists communicated. It’s not a problem of (some) journalism – we’ve had brave and smart reporters. It’s a problem of the power of incumbents, and an inability of social movements to sustain themselves. Or it was. Now, now our problems are different. And a little bit bigger.