This is the third time in the last 8 weeks that I have started to write an article to be published on the AIM Network.
The first two I junked, because I did not think they were worth publishing.
Hopefully this time I will be able to say what I think needs to be said.
Some relevant background.
I was born and initially educated in England, arriving in Australia on 1/1/71, with an honours degree in Mathematics from Imperial College, London and 5 years full time, and 3+ years part time, experience of teaching maths – plus three children.
Just 2 weeks after my arrival here, I celebrated my 35th birthday.
All told, I had 19 years out of mainly full-time work while my children were growing up, because of the fact that, despite my work record, I was not ‘qualified’ to teach in Australia without a Dip Ed!
I was able to teach part-time, which I continued to do somewhat spasmodically.
Thanks to Gough Whitlam, I was able to study in the late 1970s, for my Dip Ed in secondary mathematics through external studies, and, by the time I had achieved that, I was faced with the prospect of working with teenagers and living with teenagers!
So in the intervals, I completed the first year in a Diploma in Accounting, which introduced me to Business Law, and spent 3 years working for AMP – then a respected body in Australia as a Mutual Provident Society.
I re-entered the teaching profession, full-time, in 1984, in the secondary system, moved to the ITAFE portion of NTU halfway through its first year of existence, and remained with that body (now, of course, Charles Darwin University) for a total of 151/2 years.
During the1990s, I also completed a Master of Science (Science Education), having submitted a thesis on Mathematics Education.
In my last few years of teaching, I was also teaching mathematics to first year engineering students.
By this time I knew I wanted to study Law, because I had encountered so many people whose lives were damaged by their inability to get timely and affordable legal advice.
So in February, 2008, having completed the LLB (Graduate Course), I was admitted, aged 72, as a Barrister and Solicitor, and spent nearly 5 years practising as a lawyer in a small law firm.
I had also gained accreditation as a mediator, and I continued working as a mediator for 2 more years after quitting the law practice.
Then life changed.
I became an activist – albeit on a modest scale.
I had been involved in a quite wide variety of community organisations, these included Lifeline Top End, The Darwin Community Legal Service, Life Education NT and the Environmental Defenders Office NT.
My younger granddaughter, who lives in the UK, joined Extinction Rebellion, and took part in their activities in Edinburgh and London and I started, for the first time, really noticing what was going on in the world.
When you need to concentrate on finding and maintaining a job, it is not necessarily easy to keep watch on what is happening elsewhere.
But – when you do start keeping tab on the events unfolding everywhere – you have to choose what to believe.
Truth or lie.
I have a comfortable income, but an acute awareness of mortality, particularly enhanced by having had a really mild stroke on the eve of my 85th birthday.
I had 3 nights out all lined up – all, as it turned out, spent in RDH!
I lost my driving licence for a month, but am, happily, back behind the wheel again as the doctor checked my eyesight and reckoned that if I could still play bridge and do Sudoku, my brain must be good enough for me to drive – and MVR accepted his recommendation!
Since 5 February, 2020, I have spent 2 hours on every Wednesday afternoon (bar one), sitting outside Parliament House, talking to anyone who stops, about Global Warming and the need for action.
While I am aware that we can all take some effective action, clearly the attitude of government and the policies it adopts are going to be critical.
AND WE HAVE ELECTED A NATIONAL GOVERNMENT WHICH HAS NO INTEREST IN WHAT REALLY MATTERS AS LONG AS THEY GAIN AS MUCH POWER AS THEY CAN!
I winced at the Attorney General’s mock turtle tears when he revealed himself as the Cabinet Minister who has been accused of raping a young woman when she was 16.
She committed suicide last year so no legal action can be taken – BUT and it really is a very big BUT – there is no good reason why an inquiry cannot be held.
In fact, if the AG is innocent, it would be to his advantage to be able to establish that.
But that is yet another instance where we have been sadly let down by the calibre of our politicians, and totally in line with their inadequacies when it comes to climate change.
The world is facing an existential threat, and it will only be by a combined efforts – strongly led by the developed countries – that we have any hope of living in viable circumstances in 20 or 30 years time.
I am in the Top End of the NT, and everyone here is currently complaining of the heat.
A glance at world news reveals a continuum of first-time-ever events, glaciers melting, permafrost melting and releasing methane – one of the greenhouse gases which are causing global warming – the list goes on, and the COVID-19 pandemic has distracted us from watching these events as carefully as we should.
Having lived in wartime Britain, I know that, if governments provided a truthful explanation for the need for massive change, we would accept the loss of convenience that would result from meaningful policies to help control the world’s climbing temperatures.
And make no mistake.
The fact that some states in the USA have recently suffered an extreme cold spell, is the result of equally unusual increases in temperatures elsewhere.
Overall, we have increasing amounts of greenhouse gases causing what will become permanent climate changes which, in turn, will ensure that the adverse effects of global warming will become more severe.
We need to step back and look at what we are passing on to those who will follow us.
We all need to be taking responsibility for ensuring that we choose a government which will lead us back into safer waters, not simply bow down to the fossil fuel masters and deny our grandchildren a viable life.
We need to stop using fossil fuels to the greatest possible extent.
We need to stop seeking convenience when it carries an ever increasing cost.
We need to savagely reduce waste and pollution.
Our oceans are being irreparably damaged yet we need to support and feed an ever increasing population.
And we are still concentrating on increasing the size of our arsenals, while we avoid the vital steps to empowering women to contribute to controlling population.
Actually – when you stand back and look at how our governments – particularly here in Australia – are making such a mess, maybe we do not deserve to survive!
These are personal views which I know are largely shared by many others.
But, if we are going to achieve change, it will be a fight and the longer we leave it, the harder it will be.
My mini-stroke has definitely affected my brain, and I know I no longer have such a strong drive to force change, but I think I have not said anything here which I would not have said, over and over again, before the stroke occurred.
We need to unite, force change in government, accelerate action to ban fossil fuels – and keep the pressure on!
Let’s stop complaining and get stuck into effective action.
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