Signs of change can be unsettling eve in a road name.
Signs of change can be unsettling eve in a road name.

Change is the one constant

AS A general rule, people tend to be resistant to change. In fact, change often invokes anger.

When I first entered politics as a councillor for Division 12 on the Sunshine Coast Council, I received some terrible personal threats over a council suggestion to alter the name of a road in order to reduce confusion for emergency services. Never mind that the council was simply trying to save lives.

Like it or not, change happens. Let’s have a look at some happy stats, starting with infant mortality.

Two centuries ago almost half of all children on the planet died before they were five years old. Today just 4 per cent die before turning five.

Fifty years ago, 30 per cent of the world’s population was undernourished, whereas today it is more like 10 per cent.

Literacy has boomed in recent years. In 1800, only 12 per cent of the world’s population could read. But by 2016, the number of literate people had reached an incredible 86 per cent of the world’s population.

Some change seems benign at first, only to turn out later to be problematic. The first synthetic plastic, known as bakelite, was produced in 1907. By 2015, the world was producing 381 million tonnes of plastic per year, equivalent to the mass of two-thirds of the humans living on the planet.

And, of course, the changing climate is an enormously significant matter with which governments across the planet are grappling. Local government is at the … er … coal face on dealing with that issue.

In many ways, the role of Council is to adapt to change. To ignore the unstoppable march of progress would be an abrogation of Council’s duty of care. But not everyone is going to be happy with Council’s actions, particularly if those people prefer to deny the changes that are afoot.

As Alvin Toffler said, “Change is the process by which the future invades our lives.”

Better a council that looks to the future than one with its proverbial head stuck firmly in the sand.


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