As regular readers know, I’ve written extensively about climate change science, climate change politics, and climate change communication, and I am a passionate advocate of passing on a planet with healthy ecology and a safe climate to future generations ( TT here ). Like the majority of the Australian population that supports action on climate change, I start with the assumption that we just don’t have the right to pass on a trashed and overheated Earth to our kids and grandkids.
I’ve urged readers to check their facts, listen to the science, and challenge the climate denial rhetoric of conservative politicians and vested interests in this country, so Australia can take strong action to limit carbon emissions and thus limit the damage of global warming. And I’ve spent my own time, money and energy working towards the kind of future that I want for the human race – a future where we respect the Earth and each other, and recognise that healthy functioning natural systems underpin the survival of all life, including humans, on this little blue-green rock hurtling through space that we are lucky enough to have inherited as our home.
All this is well and good, but the recent election of the Coalition government, with its ‘do nothing’ Direct Action policy on climate change, means the time has come to go beyond polite arguments and factual debates in this country. Since attaining government, the Coalition has dismissed the Climate Commission, begun scrapping the Climate Change Authority, told the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to stop making investments until it can be repealed, dumped the Ministry for Science, and sacked department heads involved in the development of the emissions trading scheme. When Parliament resumes sitting in November, the Coalition will attempt to repeal Australia’s price on carbon, which if successful will send Australia backwards not only environmentally but also economically as I’ve written about at length ( http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/weblog/article/abbotts-great-big-carbon-tax-lies-part-1/ and, http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/weblog/article/tony-abbotts-great-big-carbon-tax-lies-part-2/show_comments ).
Many of us who accept the science of anthropogenic global warming are already taking positive action towards mitigation. We may donate to environmental organisations, write letters to the editor, grow our own veggies, drive a fuel efficient car, recycle, sign petitions. All these actions are useful and meaningful and set a great example for others to follow.
I have to tell you, though, that the times we are living in right now require more than just your signature on a petition or keeping your own carbon footprint in order. We’ve just elected a government whose primary party line has been to deny or diminish the reality of climate change. The party of prominent coal miner Clive Palmer, who seeks to massively expand his operations in Australia, will soon hold the balance of power in the Senate. American billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, including our only national paper, The Australian, give publicity to climate denial arguments that have long been discredited by the climate science.
These forces of climate denial are powerful, they’re backed by a great deal of money, and they think they’re invincible. So they would be too, if money and institutional power were all that were required to shape the world.
But I know that’s not true, and I think you know it too. A quick glance through history shows us that whether it’s black rights in America, the right of women to vote, or the abolition of slavery, real social change doesn’t occur within the ranks of money and power, it starts in the hearts and minds of ordinary people like you and me.
On Sunday 17 November, at Noon, on Parliament Lawns Hobart, Getup is holding climate rallies in every capital city and hundreds of towns. If you care about ensuring a safe climate for future generations, come along and put your feet in the street to show Tony Abbott, Rupert Murdoch, Clive Palmer and the others that you won’t be silenced on climate change. Stand up for your future, stand up for your kids’ and grandkids’ future, and stand up for this beautiful planet.
See you there!
* Find our more details and RSVP for the Hobart climate rally: https://www.getup.org.au/events/national-day-of-climate-action-hobart-day-of-climate-action?t=dXNlcmlkPTY2ODU2MyxlbWFpbGlkPTI5NDU=
** Events like these cost money to put on. Any donations: https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/climate-action-now/national-day-of-climate-action/national-day-of-climate-action—2?t=dXNlcmlkPTY2ODU2MyxlbWFpbGlkPTI5MTc=towards requirementssuch as PA systems, stages, permits etc, will be gratefully received by Getup.
*** Wear ‘hot’ colours – think orange, red, and yellow – and get creative to make the biggest visual impact possible! Don’t forget to bring a hat and sunscreen.
Miriam Moriarty is a Tasmanian writer with a focus on environmental and social issues.