Global Climate Change Week & Coming Together for Planet Earth
Did you know that the past week has been Global Climate Change Week and the 24th October 2021 is Global Climate Action Day?
The key theme for 2021 is: ‘Climate, Health, Action’ and this special global event is about us all coming together for our home – Planet Earth.
Given the catastrophic impact climate change will have of human and environmental health, we decided it was important we talk about it as a business.
After many months of lockdowns and seeing the impact the pandemic has had on human life, particularly for vulnerable, marginalised people and society in general, the time has come for us to all speak up.
Before COVID-19, there were countless blogs about climate change and the impact on the environment and sustainability was trendy.
After Australia’s apocalyptic bushfires in 2019-20 there was strong concern for the environment and thousands of climate protesters packed the streets of Sydney. For many people it was the first protest they had ever attended. They were deeply upset about the bushfires and the lack of action. Climate change felt real, and they wanted their voices to be heard.
Following COVID-19 a deep sense of social and environmental responsibility has now been embedded in our collective consciousness. So, while our attention may have shifted during the pandemic and we may be feeling weary, our dream for a greener future for our children and the generations to come continues.
The Australian government’s lack of climate action
With a refusal to commit to the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 – despite most other UN countries committing to the task at hand, it’s no secret that Australia is now seriously dragging its feet. With our Prime Minister recently in the spotlight about his seeming reluctance to attend the upcoming COP26 UN conference in Glasgow this November, climate change doesn’t appear to be a priority for our government.
Even the Queen recently vented her frustrations about world leaders (including our very own ScoMo) ‘dithering’ over attending the COP26 Climate Summit. The Queen slams ‘irritating’ world leaders over refusal to attend COP26 (sbs.com.au)
At the April 2021 climate summit hosted by US president Joe Biden, leaders from 40 counties showed the world that they were ready to take action by significantly reducing emissions to mitigate the effects of climate change. “Yet, failing to keep step with the world’s other leading economies, Australia’s paltry emissions reduction commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030 remains unchanged.”
“Climate change is the environmental challenge of this generation, and it is imperative that we act before it’s too late.”
Time is ticking
As our politicians continue to argue about the issues at hand, the lack of commitment to climate change action, will undoubtedly have devastating effects for each and every one of us now and in the future. Surely, the Morrison Government is failing to act on its duty of care to protect our population whilst this inaction continues.
Campaigns like the recent ‘PASS THE BILL, NOT THE BUCK’ movement, seen in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, implore our government to put party politics aside for the good of the nation (and the planet) and adopt the Climate Change Bill ahead of the COP26 Summit.
According to new research published by the Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy Program “When it comes to a clean energy transition, Australia is lagging significantly behind other countries, with our overall performance worse than 22 OECD economies and Russia. And despite Federal Government claims to the contrary, Australia’s fossil fuel reliance for energy has in fact risen since 2005.”
And yet here we are. Still waiting on a clear plan of action and genuine commitment from our leaders. It’s no wonder that Australia’s commitment to climate change action is in the headlines for all the world to see.
Climate change & Australia’s future?
The science of climate change is getting darker by the day. In Australia, not only are we one of the biggest contributors to the global climate crisis, but we will also face some of the most catastrophic consequences.
The October 2021 MJA-Lancet report on health and climate change found that “Australians are increasingly exposed and vulnerable to excess heat and that this is already limiting our way of life.”
With the emergence of even more extreme weather events like droughts, giant hailstorms, storm surges, flooding and bush fires on the rise, Australia is increasingly out on a limb. These weather extremes will result in “escalating social, economic and health impacts and climate change will disproportionately threaten Indigenous Australians’ wellbeing in multiple and complex ways.”
The Torres Strait Island people are now on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Advancing seas levels and king tides are damaging homes, fresh water supplies, crops and sacred cultural sites. Urgent action is required from the Federal Government to protect their island homes. Our Islands Our Home
With the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20 causing the death of 33 Australians and costing the country an estimated AUD$103 billion, can you imagine the impact on outback communities and our health system if are unable to mitigate the effects of climate change?!
And in case that doesn’t concern you, on a global scale the following has also occurred:
- 2016 and 2020 are tied as the warmest years on record, ever
- The last decade was the hottest period in the last 125,000 years
- CO2 levels in the atmosphere are almost 50% higher than any recorded levels in the past 800,000 years
- The Arctic is melting away with astonishing speed, decades ahead of schedule and sea levels are rising across the world.
"We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it".
What we can do, right now
We genuinely hope that the upcoming COP26 Conference will be Australia’s moment to showcase a stronger commitment to emissions reduction, with a clear transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy.
“According to the 2021 report by the MJA-Lancet, Australia has responded well to the COVID‐19 public health crisis (while still emerging from the bushfire crisis that preceded it) and it now needs to respond to and prepare for the health crises resulting from climate change.”
Whilst Australia continues to be at a crossroads with its responses to climate change, we need to start adapting and any positive action we take will be a step in the right direction.
Even if our voices feel small and insignificant in the face of the impending climate crisis, we need to be heard.
“Talk to your friends, your family, your communities about the issues we’re facing. Arm yourself with knowledge and facts and don’t be afraid to highlight the severity of the situation. Get together with your co-workers, your local environment group or human rights campaigns, your church, your synagogue, your mosque or your temple.” Shea Gunther’s Treehugger article
All over the planet, we can organise ourselves and take action – even while our government keeps dragging its feet.
We are the guardians of this wonderful planet, and we owe it to our children and the generations to come to do everything we can to protect it.
If there was ever a time to get passionate, get involved and take action, it’s right now, Australia.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Climate Action Resources
The internet is full of useful information when it comes to educating people about Climate Change.
Here are a few resources that were used to help write this article:
- Shea Gunther’s Treehugger article
- Sara Redmond-Neal’s Smart Company article
- Climate Action Tracker’s assessment of Australia
- Together for Our Planet – Together For Our Planet (ukcop26.org)
- Climate change: Australia needs plan for health impacts (afr.com)
- The AMA’s position statement on environmental sustainability in healthcare
- The 2021 report of the MJA–Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: Australia increasingly out on a limb | The Medical Journal of Australia
If you are passionate about the environment and Australia’s desperate need to address climate change, please leave a comment below!
Your voice is important and continuing this conversation is vital for real change to happen.
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”