A significant day
Today is a significant day. Today as thousands of people in the Philippines search for their lost ones and wait for clean water and food to arrive to their communities the 44th Australian Government is doing the first part of what’s necessary to remove the small protections we have legislated for our children and grandchildren.
Under the disguise of ‘reducing our electricity bills’ we are about to legislate in the lower house the repeal of the Clean Energy Act. We are saying through our parliament that we care more about paying a few dollars less each month than protecting our most vulnerable people and places.
We have not sent a Minister to the UNFCCC Climate Talks in Warsaw, Poland for the first time since 1997. In fact our Federal Government has made it perfectly clear that we have no intention of signing up to any new agreements. What are we really saying? Is it true we do not care? Are we really so selfish? Are we really so blind to the dangers we face?
Whilst this legislation will not pass the upper house until next June (and then there’s always an outside chance a miracle could happen) we have communicated loudly and clearly to our domestic community, those in the Philippines and the international community that we are willing to sacrifice our collective futures for short term gain.
Of course it’s a long way from over, and even if the Government are successful in repealing the legislation there is more we can do as individuals and as a community. Indeed there’s more we must do.
80% of our international fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground to give us a good chance of staying below 2 degrees (given Typhoon Haiyan even 2 degrees scares the bejesus out of me).
So for now – Abbott is right. We do need Direct Action. We need Peaceful Direct Action that resists the power of the vested interests and the fossil fuel companies, that resists and slows down the destruction of our pristine places. We need to show up, to stand up and to let those in power know that we want to protect our futures.
As Yeb Sano, Chief negotiator for the Philippines at the Climate Talks in Warsaw said:
“I speak for my delegation. But more than that, I speak for the countless people who will no longer be able to speak for themselves after perishing from the storm. I also speak for those who have been orphaned by this tragedy. I also speak for the people now racing against time to save survivors and alleviate the suffering of the people affected by the disaster.
We can take drastic action now to ensure that we prevent a future where super typhoons are a way of life. Because we refuse, as a nation, to accept a future where super typhoons like Haiyan become a fact of life. We refuse to accept that running away from storms, evacuating our families, suffering the devastation and misery, having to count our dead, become a way of life. We simply refuse to.
We must stop calling events like these as natural disasters. It is not natural when people continue to struggle to eradicate poverty and pursue development and gets battered by the onslaught of a monster storm now considered as the strongest storm ever to hit land. It is not natural when science already tells us that global warming will induce more intense storms. It is not natural when the human species has already profoundly changed the climate.”
Take the pledge here to let the fossil fuel companies know you’re willing to stand up to them. And join thousands of Australians around the nation this Sunday the 17th November as we join together to let this government and the world know that we care – and we want to aim higher on climate change. We want higher renewable targets, we want clean energy and we want to protect this world for our children and grandchildren.
My work in Climate Change and Social Justice is purely funded by contributions from the community. To make a tax deductible contribution click here.