Whilst 2020 has been a rollercoaster year for many of us, with a global pandemic seeing millions of people around the world placed under ‘lockdown’ – whatever that meant for them in their local area or country. A positive flipside of this however has been the innovation and heightened awareness of global issues that many of those same people have had plenty of time to contemplate over the year.
As global pandemics seem to be the direct result of humans’ increasing proximity to wild, natural spaces, how to answer the question of what we can do to help improve our ongoing relations to the environment remains to be seen. Remaking this new world that we emerge in is going to take on many forms in the government’s Million Jobs Plan, and construction workers and builders will be key intermediaries that help us to navigate a more sustainable future for our environment.
Tony O’Connell from Wonthaggi, a coastal town in Gippsland, Victoria, is just one of the construction workers working towards a more eco-friendly future who was recently featured in a Guardian report as part of the paper’s Green Recovery focus. The focus looks at post-pandemic life and how to reduce inequalities in housing that are exacerbated by a lack of resources to improve material quality and energy efficiency.
Fixable problems such as leaky roofs and energy-hungry old appliances stem from lower-income families having less cash to spend, but then contribute to their increased spending in energy bills to cover inefficiency, or medical bills from poor health due to faulty insulation in their houses for example. A transition to solar energy panels and better insulation with support from the Australian government therefore could not only help individuals and families, but contribute to a wider tackling of emissions and the global climate crisis also.