By Richard O’Brien
Today is ‘Don’t Give a Shit Day’ – a national day for not giving a shit about the planet.
Today is that one day of the year when all Australians can afford to take their minds of the catastrophic impact of human-induced climate change.
Forget this week’s news that global concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – the primary driver of climate change – has now passed 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in recorded history. Put aside your worries that the most recent data suggests our annual increase is more than 2.75 ppm CO2 per year, and rising. Stop stressing that even with recent efforts to reduce emissions – if we remain on our current trajectory, we will reach 1000 ppm within 100 years.
This Saturday, take a break from remembering that CO2 levels have been above 350 ppm, the upper limit of what experts classify as safe, since 1988. Ignore the fact that levels have increased by 10 ppm in the last four years, and stop fretting that it would take about 1,000 years for that increase to occur naturally.
Today, don’t let yourself be overwhelmed with the knowledge that we now have an atmosphere that resembles the mid-Pliocene era, about 3 to 5 million years ago, when sea levels were 15-25 meters higher, average temperatures were 2-3˚C higher, the polar regions were between 10-20˚C hotter, and several mass extinctions occurred.
This Saturday don’t burden yourself with the fact that CO2 stays in the atmosphere for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Dismiss concerns that we need to reduce global emissions by 80% to slow this increase, and by even further if we want to reverse it. Today, let’s just relax and not care that even if we stop all Carbon emissions right now, we won’t bring CO2 levels below 400 ppm again within the lifetime of anyone on the planet today.
Most importantly, this is a day to stop being angry with the government for its negligent inaction, if not outright sabotage, of emissions reductions targets. On this day, Australians can put aside their contempt for an Environment Minister whose actions have been to abolish the Climate Change Authority, scrap carbon pricing, and repeatedly approve a coal mine projected to produce 60 million tonnes of coal per annum.
This is our one day of the year to forget about all of that – and the reality that Australia, with just 0.3% of the world’s population, is the 15th biggest producer of CO2 emissions in the world, and the biggest per capita.
So come on Australia, take a deep breath, kick back and relax, and for just one day, don’t give a shit.