Public opinion and will to act

The most powerful pressure forcing governments and industry alike to improve Australia's industrial ecology is public pressure (Janicke and Weidner 1995; EnquĂȘte 1994). Public concern for the environment has been widespread in Australia, as indicated by sustained and widespread campaigns to prevent damming, mining and logging of ecologically sensitive areas, as well as popular support for recycling and energy efficient technology. Public support for the environment is also indicated by the growing importance of the Australian Greens as a political party (Brown and Singer 1996).

There are, however, many Australians who pursue environmentally destructive goals of having bigger houses, bigger cars and more motorways (IEA 1999c). Structural factors, such as the development of car-dependent urbanization, as well as Australia's abundant natural resources and low population density, may partly disguise and encourage such unsustainable behavior (Boardman 1990). Raising and harnessing public awareness of the need for a sustainable industrial ecology in Australia is therefore a high priority when considering anthropological forces driving material flows.

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