in service of the
Global Climate Strike
The time has come for civil society to take control of energy policy by our actions and by our activism, if necessary, through civil disobedience. Political leadership has failed us, worse it is failing those who will come after us. It is worryingly true that liberalism is declining, replaced by a global trend toward right wing nationalism that cares for nothing other than national self-interest. Australia is sadly on the spectrum, with our leaders telling us that what Australia does will not make the slightest bit of difference. But the real question is: “do we want to be on the side of a planet which will support healthy life into the future, or do we want to be with those invested in a self-defeating isolationism destined to destroy any hope for a sustainable future”. Those who doubt that smoking is a health hazard, or that vaccinations have kept humanity clear of many diseases, or that the holocaust occurred, or that human activity is contributing to global warming should not be given oxygen. Sustainable and healthy outcomes are far too important to allow the ignorant, arrogant and self-opinionated any credibility.
On Friday many will gather in strike protests around the globe. This should not be necessary. 21st century health, communication, agriculture, travel etc are all the beneficiaries of development based on scientific discovery. We live the lives we have come to take for granted because of scientific research and application. Why then is it an option to ignore science over an even more important matter - the health of the planet? To put the planet’s health at risk is to gamble with all our futures and is reprehensibly irresponsible. Those in the fossil fuel industry who are investing millions, trying to frighten us into believing that we cannot afford a healthy planet, those who use Alan Jones, Barnaby Joyce and Malcolm Roberts as their foghorn, should be unmasked.
Fortunately the statements of Senator Malcom Roberts and his ilk are so stupid that few, if any, bother to report them. But it is quite another matter when David Littleproud, the Minister for Water Resources, says he is not sure whether human activity is contributing to climate change. He may well have been attempting to give comfort to sectors of the national party electorate dependent upon mining, but he is doing the whole Australian electorate and the agriculture base in particular, an extraordinary disservice.
Of course no climatic event: flood, drought, fire, or storm, can be attributed to a single cause. However the combination of events the world over should be enough to tell all humanity that we need to be very cautious. So far warming has only exceeded a little over one degree above pre-industrial levels. Imagine what it would be like if it were two degrees, or between three and four degrees, which we are on track to exceed this century unless we radically change. If climate science is wrong, sadly it is not, but if it were wrong, and we took all the precautionary steps science demands of us if we care about a sustainable future, nothing is lost. But if climate science is right and we do nothing to eliminate emissions, then the outcome will be catastrophic. For those who claim to be unsure, why doesn’t the cautionary principle prevail?
When I hear idiotic statements emanating from parliament it is hard to know whether to laugh or cry. One such statement this week was that “carbon is a stable element it does not emit heat”. The blanket on my bed does not emit heat either. Greenhouse gases are called greenhouse gases because they have the capacity to trap heat and radiate it back.
In my travels last week I picked up a ‘free’ copy of the Australian from a stand and read an article opining that the ABC, Fairfax and Channel 9 are stymying debate and free speech by not printing or reporting articles from climate sceptics. When there are two or more possible ways of perceiving an issue, as of course in the abortion issue before the NSW parliament, of course there should be debate; but the fundamentals of climate science have been understood for more than 100 years. Like gravity and the fact the globe is not flat, this is not new science.
It is reported that Antarctic Beech, some estimated to be between 2500 -3000 years old
https://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/26607028 have burnt in the Gold Coast hinterland fire. If this is in fact the case, it is yet another example of irreversible damage and an icon that points us to a future none of us would like to imagine.
Prime Minister, don’t tell the children in Friday’s strike that they should be in their class rooms; they are on strike as a result of their education and the understanding they have gained about the selfish shortsightedness of current governmental policy, or lack of it, that puts misguided populism above investment in a secure future.
Students: come out onto the streets in your thousands. Teachers: encourage and facilitate them. The rest of us, be proud of the youngsters’ initiative, almost certainly those who have the initiative to be present, to speak in an articulate fashion are the ones who will excel in their adult lives contributing to sustainable jobs which will be both fulfilling for them and also aid the planet’s capacity for renewal.