This will be my final entry for globalweatherstations. In some ways I will unfortunately end where I began, as a citizen of a climate change backwater that goes by the name Australia. But I am also heartened by many aspects of the project. No more so than in the pride I feel for the young people involved. They have become the project’s life-blood. This morning at the Berlin Literature Festival students from the four European schools we worked with presented their views on climate change. They were magnificent; creative, energetic and provocative. I spoke with several of them after the performance. They are thoughtful young people. They want a future for themselves, and their families and friends. I am convinced they will work for a future that accepts climate change as a reality. They won’t become us; the older generations of global citizens who simply have not done enough to seriously tackle the issues we need to address.
The future is now in the hands of the generation who will need to clean up the mess they have inherited from us. Unfortunately, we seem to have convinced ourselves that the young are apathetic, disinterested and cynical. What a convenient lie we have created to get us, older people, off the hook. The young may be confused at times about climate change. And I am sure that they sometimes feel despair. But we should never mistake this for apathy. Armed with information and guidance from some older people who are committed to being good teachers and working with the young, those that we have worked with on the weatherstations project have become passionate and innovative champions for both their own communities and the planet. What we need to do now is continue to invest in each other, the older with the young, local and global communities, people who produce more energy than they expend. We need each other. We need to refuse the rhetoric of some governments that prefer that we see ourselves as individuated subjects, sapped of energy, creativity, community and ACTION.
In the last few days we have discovered that members of the Australian government, including the prime minister, Tony Abbott, has moved from believing that ‘climate change is crap’ to sharing in jokes about it at the expense of communities (in the Pacific) who are already being dramatically impacted upon by climate change. The communities that he and some of his ministers were laughing about, produce some of the smallest carbon footprints on the planet. Their homelands are threatened by rising sea levels as an outcome of the excesses of those who do nothing to alleviate the situation. People will soon lose their homes and lives in the Pacific partly as a result of the lifestyles of Australians.
And yet Abbott cannot get that stupid, infantile grin off his face. For those who do not think climate change is not the major issue facing Australians, and believe that policies introduced to deal with it will adversely impact on the ‘Australian way of life’, I can only say that such thinking could not be more narrow-minded. If we do not proactively deal with climate change now, life as we know it will alter dramatically. We need to get rid of politicians that continue to avoid the issue, or spend their spare time in bed with industries that continue to wantonly attack the planet. And we need to realise that if change for the better is to happen with have to act for ourselves, on behalf of our communities.
I will become a grandfather for the first time in less that 3 months. I refuse to believe that I have the right to do nothing, and to leave my grandchildren with nothing but crap. I could not be a more irresponsible person if I were to allow that to happen.