Des Pensable copyright 2016
Note : This story has been slightly updated to make it more relevant to 2017.
In December 2015 about 200 countries from around the world had a meeting in Paris and agreed that Climate Change was becoming a serious problem that needed to be fixed. They agreed that the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal was the cause. They agreed to phase out the use of fossil fuels over the next few decades replacing them with renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind power.
That sounds wonderful, our politicians are finally doing what we pay them to do you might say. Well you would be wrong. The politicians have been brought together several times before and would not or could not agree to do anything about the problem. This time they made a few difficult decisions but left many issues undecided such as how much to spend and how quickly the problem should be fixed.
So what was different this time?
The difference was activists. These are people like you and me, religious and non religious that care about the world and their own families. There are millions of them who are in all the world’s counties, all the religions and all the cultures. They want their children and grandchildren to see and live in the wonderful world that we have inherited from our ancestors. They believe that if not stopped, Climate Change has the potential to change the world to be different and much more hostile world than we or any of our ancestors have ever known.
Over the last several years these people from all around the world have noticed the changes in our world. They’ve noticed trees and flowers blooming earlier. The bush and wild fire seasons starting earlier and finishing later each year. They’ve noticed the storms, hurricanes and cyclones getting bigger and more damaging. They’re seeing droughts where before there were none. They’ve seen mass deaths of wildlife. They are witnessing these changes with their own eyes.
They’ve also heard about and seen videos of the melting glaciers and arctic sea ice. They’ve heard about sea level rises and the predictions based on real evidence of much worse to come if the people of the world don’t act to fix it. They see Climate Change as being like a cancer diagnosis. It’s a shock at first, they deny it, but eventually they accept it. Then they get busy trying to fight it. That’s what is happening right now all around the world.
There are lots of reasons and excuses why people were not fighting Climate Change. The worst excuse was that it’s somebody else’s problem. That’s where you’re wrong. We all breathe the same air. The air is a world community commons. It belongs to us all. Governments and corporations don’t own it but governments are allowing fossil fuel companies to pollute it by dumping massive quantities of greenhouse gases into it causing Climate Change. This is affecting people’s health and livelihoods all over the world.
The big excuse it that it’s really too difficult for an individual and should be left to the government. While this may be true it’s not that simple as governments listen to the rich and powerful first. The people who have lots of money invested in fossil fuels that care more about money than people. If you’re not rich and powerful like most of us you won’t get heard at all.
Aussies do know about the problem and want action to fix it. Before Christmas in 2015, in Sydney 45,000 people like you marched with their kids for Climate Change action. 60, 000 marched in Melbourne. Thousands more in towns all around Australia. Millions marched all around the world. You are NOT alone.
The way to be heard is to join in with others as a group and make so much noise that you are heard. This is what democracy is all about. This is how all the people of the world managed to get politicians to Paris and get them to make the decisions that the wealthy fossil fuel investors and banks didn’t want them to make.
The next thing is you need to keep doing it. Persistence works. We need to keep making a noise so that politicians hear us and will actually do what they committed to do in Paris. They have a bad habit of promising to act on a problem and then forgetting their promises later. We must keep them honest. We really can make a difference by being activists.
When dodgy gas companies wanted to mine for Coal Seam Gas (CSG) in our Sydney water catchment area using dangerous methods and poisonous chemicals hundreds of people objected then joined together to protest. Dozens of small groups protested all over Sydney. They made CSG mining a state election issue and won.
Two years later the incoming government killed the idea by cancelling the gas mining licences. The activists not only protected Sydney’s water supplies from pollution but also helped reduce Global Warming by keeping the gas in the ground where it can’t be burnt to pollute our air. People uniting in the fight against fossil fuel pollution works !
Government decisions should put people first and profit second. This doesn’t always happen. That’s what being an activist is about, reminding the politicians that the people are their boss not the rich fossil fuel corporations or investors. When are you going to become an activist and help your friends and neighbors stop Climate Change?
Watch this – The world’s Astronauts plea to the Paris Climate Conference … (8 mins)
Here’s a few ideas to get started.
- Join an activist group such as Lock the Gate, the Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenpeace, 350.org (Australia), Friends of the Earth or one of hundreds of local organisations.
- Divest in fossil fuel assets by moving your savings to a bank that doesn’t invest in Fossil fuels.
- Become independent yourself on power by going Solar.
- Resist new coal mine development in Australia
- Resist Coal Seam Gas mining in Australia
- Lobby hard for the removal of ALL government subsidies to fossil fuel companies.
- Vote for politicians that will take serious positive action to mitigate Climate Change – get them to put it in writing.
- Fight against the corruption of our politicians by the fossil fuel energy mining companies as revealed by ICAC.
- Join the Greens who have the strong anti corruption and environmental protection policies.
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Read more by this author at the Des Pensable Graphiti web site.
Des is a Climate Reality Project Leader who can give a talk about Climate Change to groups in your locality.
Post publication additions and updates.