Dick Smith’s population Puzzle Screened at 8.30pm Thursday 12th August on the ABC
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“Like many Australians, Dick Smith hadn’t thought much about how our rising population might be affecting the nation. He hadn’t joined the dots connecting our record levels of population growth with increased congestion, property prices and hospital queues.
He just accepted the mantra that a Big Australia was a Good Australia. But a fateful phone call from Dick’s daughter, Jenny, changed everything. Jenny asked her father why nobody was talking about population in the lead up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. After all, she queried, wasn’t it people who created carbon emissions? Population was the elephant in the room that no one was discussing. And it set Dick off on a six-month journey of discovery to explore how rising population was changing Australia and the world. The answers, as revealed in the film, came as a shock.
“We’re undertaking an unplanned social experiment that is literally changing our way of life” says Dick. What he discovered was that for most Australians, population growth was most likely means a lower standard of living. And despite the pressure it’s placing on our infrastructure and environment, no one really has a plan to deal with the massive increase in population we’ve been experiencing in recent years.
“This is the most important issue I have ever undertaken in my life,” says Dick. “I won’t rest until we have a proper plan in place that informs Australians just how many people we can sustainably support in this country.”