A vision for 20 million careful owners

A vision of 20 million careful ownersLast week was definitely a bad news week. There was North Korea's nuclear weapons test, then the further meltdown of Australia's relations with the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. The record high October temperatures coincided with the release of the findings of the first stage of the national assessment of Australia's water resources. It's likely there will be further bad news on all of these fronts before there's good news.

Mistakes have been made in our dealings with these countries, and in our use and abuse of water and the environment in general. We can choose to make more mistakes, or fix those that have been made. Fixing mistakes, for us and future generations, will take considered management of what we have inherited. Moreover it is a state of mind.

We should not be too proud to learn from others, even our cousins from across the Tasman. The New Zealand Government has adopted its "4 million careful owners" campaign, to encourage responsible water management. This reflects a stewardship mentality, rather than the "steady as she goes" approach that has caused our environmental degradation.

The international relations problems we have are more likely the result of perceived and actual strongarm actions that have caused resentment. This includes our close collaboration with the United States in its misguided attempts to bring so-called "rogue nations" into line, and our attempts to do the same thing with corrupt elements in governments in our own near neighbourhood. The lesson is that careful management, and not brute force, will avoid catastrophe and put us on the right track.

To this end, Dr Joe Camilleri of La Trobe University, argues in this issue of Eureka Street that the North Korean regime is "more likely to be loosened from its present grip on power by the slow but persistent attempts to change the economic and psychological landscape inside North Korea, than by the external application of brute force".



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