Maybe it’s age or just the ongoing compression of time people have felt over the pandemic – but it’s hard to believe that the first three months of 2023 have already evaporated.
One of the key features of the world we have built for ourselves is that technological advancements are ever accelerating – while our personal and societal systems are slower to advance.
This also means that the challenges we face are multi-valent and coming at us even faster. To deal with challenges and develop solutions we have always sought to define and compartmentalise – our knowledge production functions through faculties and subjects; likewise, our politics by discrete ministries. Yet our problems do not adhere to neat boxes.
The times where we might have been able to comprehensively assuage an issue with a single type of intervention have long passed. With so many people on the planet and so many systems pushed to their limits, the feedback
loop from one intervention could have dire, and sudden, ramifications on a different social or environmental issue. Trade-offs and unforeseen consequences make it feel like we’re in a constant game of crisis whack-a-mole. Yet the inverse is also true – how can we become better at identifying where interventions could have positive and synergistic benefits across multiple issues?
This edition is largely about rejecting simplification and rebutting binary options. For example, human health and the environment have generally been dealt with as two distinct areas of development – yet there are deep causal dynamics between them. As such it’s great to have Montira Pongsiri leading the issue on the concept of ‘Planetary Health’.
Likewise, emissions reduction has been elevated as the panacea to climate change, yet stripping the goal of its political and historical context ultimately puts it closer to failure. Kate Dooley takes us through the details of COP27.
Similarly, Steve Sharp draws our eyes to the Pacific, to discuss the structural issues that are undermining current and future initiatives for a just transition.
No person or problem is an island. If we can master the synergies at these intersections, then we might just meet the agendas we have set for ourselves.
Grant Mills – Editor AQ Newsletter
Subscribe – AQ: Australian Quarterly 94.1 – Jan-Mar 2023 – AIPS