Were there other ways this group could have achieved the urgent sustainable change they were seeking? Is getting arrested the only meaningful way to achieve intergenerational justice?
There is no jurisdiction in Australia that secures the rights and wellbeing of future generations in law or policy, or requires the ethical stewardship of resources over time. Into this vacuum, school students are marching, nannas are knitting to save the Pilliga, parents are creating climate action platforms, First Nations elders are taking mines to court.
Globally there are movements like Fridays for the Future or the Third Act group for ‘experienced Americans’ over 60 trying to provoke urgent change. Climate impacts throw this gap of long-term planning and decision-making into stark relief but there are many other policy domains, youth policy, urban planning, education, or closing the gap for First Nations Australians, which have an innately intergenerational impact.
Should we all start saving up for bail or are there other measures we can take? I am part of a diverse coalition of experts who have surveyed global practice and settled on the Welsh Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 as a great model for Australia. The Well-being of Future Generations Act has real teeth as it requires public bodies in Wales to think about the long-term impact of their decisions, to work better with people, communities and each other, and to prevent persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change. Wales has created the role of Future Generations Commissioner and the role is already making a visible difference after the first seven years.