Letter to the Editor / Duty of Care to Future Generations

I had noted, but not grasped the significance of, the recent decision brought down in the case of Sharma v the Minister for the Environment, where eight school children challenged the minister (Sussan Ley) to uphold her duty of care for the future generations, and not approve a specific coal mine expansion in Northern NSW.

They won the case.

And one paragraph in Judge Bromberg’s judgement particularly stands out:

” It is difficult to characterise in a single phrase the devastation that the plausible evidence presented in this proceeding forecasts for the Children. As Australian adults know their country, Australia will be lost and the World as we know it gone as well. The physical environment will be harsher, far more extreme and devastatingly brutal when angry. As for the human experience – quality of life, opportunities to partake in nature’s treasures, the capacity to grow and prosper – all will be greatly diminished. Lives will be cut short. Trauma will be far more common and good health harder to hold and maintain. None of this will be the fault of nature itself. It will largely be inflicted by the inaction of this generation of adults, in what might fairly be described as the greatest intergenerational injustice ever inflicted by one ­generation of humans upon the next. “

I read about this in this month’s “The Monthly”.


Can we expect our politicians to take notice and change their policies?

I doubt it.

John White
Nautilus St, Port Douglas

1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Hugh Spencer
1 year ago

Thanks John, especially for the Monthly link. It’s all a bit late, but we have to keep trying. We have a Federal Gov, bonded at the hip to the Nats, that wants Business As Usual. – screw the future. It’s NOT just the children of the future, it’s the whole environment and if we don’t wake up, it alone has the capability of biting us very hard.

Unfortunately, we have become so urban, than the environment is now just something you watch on a David Attenborough programme. I was a rather horrified to very recently, see someone who is supposed to be one of our local environmental activists, hop into a very new (and large) 4WD. Which is why, I sadly, have to call so many of our so-called environmental activists, “Latte conservationists” – “Happy to be seen doing something, so long as it doesn’t affect MY lifestyle”. Can we change ? – I sincerely hope so… but maybe it’s the old adage, “don’t be part of the problem”. We are running out of time.