THE POWER OF NUN | Post-parliamentary pushing and shoving, let’s put earth first

NEW FOCUS: Sister Mary Trainor hopes environmental issues will take centre stage in Parliament. Photo: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
NEW FOCUS: Sister Mary Trainor hopes environmental issues will take centre stage in Parliament. Photo: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

After all the trials and tribulations of the recent weeks in Parliament, hopefully a more stable, well-grounded and informed, respectful and well-focused modus operandi will become evident.

Perhaps the most urgent item on the agenda, or certainly one of such, would have to be care for our planet earth, and ensuring that we are contributing to its well being, and not to its degradation.

The climate change argument has been around for far too long without appropriate resolution, and the Paris Agreement is still being kept on the long finger.

Unless and until proper regulations can be put in place and activated, human beings will continue to pollute the atmosphere, and contribute to the frequency and ferocity of storms, tornados, floods, earthquakes, rising ocean levels and natural disasters of all kinds.

This is not just a financial or economic problem, but rather something reaching to the very basics of our lives.

The debate around developing more coal mines needs to be looked at in relation to the amount of pollution this activity sends into the atmosphere, and weighed in the balance against the pollution-free usage of wind and solar ways of creating energy.

We all still need to look after this wide brown land and ensure its survival into the future.

The current move to decrease the use of disposable plastics will hopefully have a beneficial effect on our waterways and reefs, although introducing so-called reusable plastic bags seems to raise more questions than answers.

I would dare to suggest that these too will make their way into the waterways, and could possibly cause more damage than they were invented to prevent.

It is not that long since it was commonplace for restaurants to allow patrons to have a cigarette with their meal, and the air in the room would get thicker as the day wore on. Hotel bars were often filled with smoke fog.

Thankfully there are now rules in place regulating cigarette smoking in public places, although it is still not unusual to even see a young mother with baby in the pram polluting the air her little one is breathing.

The onus is on all of us to ensure that the planet which we inhabit is properly and sensibly looked after.

While some matters like national and international agreements and ways of carrying them out are beyond most of us to handle, there are many ways that each of us can make our contribution to a more sustainable environment.

Careful use of water, especially during the present drought, has to be high on the agenda. Proper disposal of waste and recycling are important. Sensible use of electricity and gas also comes up high.

Some of us can well remember the days when water came from a tank which needed rain to let it function – when lighting was provided by a kerosene lamp – when the butter sat in a cooler in the window and the meat hung in a safe in the tree covered with a wet sugar bag.

We’ve come a long way from there, but we all still need to look after this wide brown land and ensure its survival into the future.

Sister Mary Trainor

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