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Philanthropy Briefing: Sustainable Economy

In a sustainable economy, we live within our means. We use no more resources than the environment can replenish. And we leave a legacy, not a liability. This kind of economy isn’t hard to imagine. Underpinning its appeal is the comfort of knowing that the way we work from day to day can be sustained for decades, and the joy of leaving our children bigger forests, healthier rivers, oceans and soils, cleaner air, and a more secure future than the one we inherited.
Yet the Australian economy is fundamentally unsustainable. Our carbon emissions per person and per dollar of national product are among the highest in the world. Compared to other countries, we have one of the worst records for species extinctions and biodiversity decline. We are depleting our natural resources at an alarming rate and social inequality is on the rise. To turn this situation around requires urgent action and a demonstrable commitment to a sustainable economy.
This briefing by economist Professor John Quiggin suggests that with the political will, a sustainable future is possible. It outlines the key environmental and social challenges we must address, the obstacles we face in tackling these challenges, and the measures needed to successfully transition to a sustainable economy