Let us Follow the Enlightened, Sustainable Ways of Land-Locked African Death Pits. Tim Blair


According to the Australian National University’s Liz Hanna, our “shameful” 174th-place ranking in the UN’s sustainability index shows that Australia has “lost its way”. So which countries should we look to for guidance? Which index-leading nations haven’t lost their way and are getting it right?

We’ll find out in a moment, but first let’s examine why the UN – along with the World Health Organisation and Lancet – thinks Australia is such a terrible place to raise children:

In Australia children had detailed recall of sports betting advertisements and an extensive knowledge of sports betting products and terminology.

Results showed that children and adolescents were exposed 51 million times to alcohol adverts, with 47% of this exposure occurring during the daytime

In Australia, children’s exposure to unhealthy fast-food advertising did not change following the introduction of self-regulation

The already substantial proportion of single parent families is expected to continue to rise, to up to 27-40% of households in the USA, Australia, Austria, Japan, and New Zealand by 2025–30.

Women who are divorced or separated and single-parent families are more likely to live in poverty, which has implications for the social determinants of health.

Hmmm. My sister and I were raised by a single parent, and we’ve done OK.

But imagine how much better our lives would’ve been – how better all of our lives would’ve been – if we’d grown up in one of the UN’s top five countries as ranked by using carbon emissions “as a measure of a country’s threat to future children”:


Too poor to even own a single beach, Burundi is best known as a free-fire slaughter zone where Tutsis and Hutus take turns genociding each other.

Blood flows everywhere in Burundi, that’s how things are,” a refugee from this brilliant place told the Guardian in 2016. It’s a wonder Burundi doesn’t adopt those optimistic words as a tourism slogan.

Still, if you are able to survive murderous, machete-armed gangs, starvation and poverty, you’ll have the massive advantage of living (briefly) amid sustainable carbon dioxide levels.

Which makes Burundi, in the eyes of the UN, the global least-emissions champions. And no child ever suffers from an extensive knowledge of sports betting products and terminology, mostly because they never live long enough to learn them.

No 2: CHAD

Another beachless paradise, Chad is celebrated for its colourful traditions of disease, corruption and female genital mutilation.

And with its low, low carbon dioxide output, Chad is 172 countries better than awful Australia. Why, it’s an absolutely ideal place to ride out any threats to your future children.

Unless they’re girls.


Last month in the UN’s third-placed sustainability wonderland:

At least three children between the ages of 4 and 6 died from hunger and disease in Mogadishu’s Kahda neighborhood internally displaced camps Friday, local media reported.

“At least 3 children have died from extreme hunger at IDP camp near Mogadishu. This comes days after UN agencies called for $1 billion to help 3 million people in Somalia,” said Radio Shabelle.

Our life here is miserable, today at least three children died because diseases, hunger and malnutrition and no one cares about us,” Fadimo Hassan, a mother in one of the camps told Anadolu Agency.

Cheer up, Fadimo. You’re living in the UN’s third-best place on earth, so don’t let a few dead kids get you down. Think of the carbons! They’re sustainable!


Sure, it might be the rape capital of the world, but don’t let that minor cultural quirk blind you to the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s impressively minimal and totally non-shameful emissions levels.

And even if you can only expect to live for just 60 years or so, that merely means you’re doing your bit to keep emissions from ever reaching dangerous Australian levels.


Proudly among the ten poorest nations on earth, which is their secret to preventing any future carbon dioxide sustainability problems, the Central African Republic is somehow considered to be the worst country in the world for young people.

This must be a mistake, because Australia has “lost its way” and is “shameful” on account of our emissions and all. We’re obviously 169 countries worse than the Central African Republic.

The UN says so.

There you have it. These are the top five nations according to the UN/WHO/Lancet sustainability index. If you have any questions about the methodology, please direct them to ANU expert Liz Hanna.

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