Adventurer and conservationist David de Rothschild has branded Australia’s two major political parties “almost” climate change deniers.
The 31-year-old heir to the Rothschild banking fortune says Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott are as bad as each other when it comes to tackling climate change.
“It’s frustrating for me to see two politicians jab at each other, trying to win votes by coming out with statements that are basically short-term, populist policies that aren’t going to set the platform for a sustainable future,” he told AAP.
“You’ve got almost climate deniers sitting there on both sides of the fence.”
Mr de Rothschild, who sailed Plastiki, a boat made of 12,500 plastic bottles into Sydney Harbour a week ago, is on the Gold Coast where he and two members of his science team are exploring ways his business can work with Bond University’s School of Sustainable Development.
Plastiki, made from reclaimed soft drink bottles and fully-recyclable plastic, has attracted worldwide attention since setting sail from San Francisco on March 21 to raise awareness about plastic waste in our oceans.
Mr de Rothschild says many people he’s talked to in Australia are frustrated because they don’t see a viable alternative in either of the main political parties.
He says voters need to rediscover people power to force change and bring about real and meaningful policies to help the planet.
“If you’re a politician you need to be a leader and you need to have some accountability, and it seems to me that we’ve forgotten that as voters.
“We’ve got to start finding our voices again…sustainability’s not just about the environment, it’s about health, it’s about security, it’s about education, it’s about things we all want.
“There’s a basic human need for things like access to education, access to clean drinking water, access to a safe environment to live in, and all of those are integrated, they’re not policies that are isolated any more and everything has an effect.
“When I make these kind of statements I’m sure it’s easy for some people to take pot shots at me because of who I am, but we’re all citizens on this planet, we’re all individuals with basic needs and desires, and I think the system we’re seeing right now is failing us.
“We’ve got to start recognising the power of the individual and stopping these short term sound-bite jockeys we’re seeing as politicians.”