Monday, April 30, 2018

Andrew Charlton: A Bold Voice For Australia

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to visit Australia. From my coastal Virginia hometown, I dreamed of what the view from the coast of a country across the world would be like. I would spend hours in the library reading and researching everything I could.

And, of course, I particularly loved the pictures and stories of kangaroos, koalas, and The Great Barrier Reef

Once the internet came along, I had all of the information I wanted at my fingertips. As I got older, my interest in Australia went much deeper than just the wildlife. 

I found many articles written by Andrew Charlton that were fascinating. Andrew Charlton is an Oxford University Rhodes Scholar who has a doctorate in economics. He is the co-author of Ozonomics, Fair Trade for All that he wrote with Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz. He also served as senior economic adviser to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd from 2008 to 2010.

The most interesting article I came across is Man Made World, winner of the 2002 John Button Prize, which chronicles the failure of the Copenhagen Climate Conference. From the article:

"This was the conundrum in Copenhagen. A fraction of the world’s people had become rich by plundering our planet to the point of exhaustion; now the still-poor majority wanted to do the same. “We shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves,” a German colleague said to me. “We have to be realistic about the problem. The world is split between those who want to save the planet and those who want to save themselves.”

This essay is about that split: rich versus poor; planet versus progress. Copenhagen was just one global summit, but it was a symbolic battle in a broader conflict between economics and the environment. That conflict is defining the most important choices facing Australia and the world in the twenty-first century."

His writing is both inspiring and educational. As I have written about before, environmental issues are extremely important to me. I was enthralled with his writing and could not digest it fast enough.

In The Dragon's Tail, Charlton chronicles the banquet held for the prime minister at the Australian Embassy in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic games. The meeting was to discuss the twenty six proposals to acquire Australian resources companies by  China. Australia is one of the world's largest exporters of both iron and coal, which literally fuels the life force of China. I knew none of this and found it extremely fascinating. It put a lot of the world economy and how it works globally into perspective for me. 

Somehow, I must have always known that I would find the answers to my deepest concerns in Australia and because of the writings of Andrew Charlton, I want to visit there more than ever.


  1. I hope you get to check Australia off your travel bucket list! 🌟

  2. It's great when you can find an author who helps fuel your passions.