We are destroying the future for our descendants
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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Congratulations and many thanks for your splendid posting. I have read, admired and stored many of your AIM messages. This one is top class! Your message is perfectly clear, urgent and vitally necessary. Government inaction on the looming catastrophes caused by global warming is tragic but, sadly, not surprising. The unfolding disasters of last year: heat, bush-fires, storms, floods – such a ominous foretaste of worse to come, still seem to leave politicians floundering and inadequate. Thank you so much for your biographical details. I was born in Melbourne in 1935 and became a Maths & Science teacher in 1959. After 6 years I resigned, took a temporary job in the AMP head office in Melbourne. I moved to the UK in 1965, teaching in Northumberland, Aberdeen and London – but as a music teacher, which I had always wanted to do. Returning to Australia on the day Gough Whitlam was sacked, I taught for a while in Canberra, then in Adelaide for almost 20 years – music with some maths. Taking early retirement in 1995 I did some world touring: Canada, the US, the Netherlands, Pakistan ending up in Malaysia where I have been since 2000, teaching music – first at a British International School and now privately.
I share your frustration, Rosemary, and, as another oldie, wonder if the cultural change that has occurred in our lifetimes – from the cooperative, selfless spirit of so many in and immediately after WW2 to today’s selfish individualism – plays a part in the short-sighted approach of our governments. Certainly, the influence of fossil fuel companies plays a huge role.
A very impressive career living the ”education for life” philosophy well before it was made popular.
Perhaps the most pragmatic way that we can create change is to start with removing the present Liarbral Nazional$ Federal misgovernment at the 2021 early federal elections.
In Metropolitan electorates; VOTE ANYONE BUT LIARBRALS
In Regional electorates; VOTE ANYONE BUT NAZIONAL$
Thank you for such an informative post I certainly agree with you on so many things. The one that really hits a nerve is so many working people do not have the time or inclination to inform themselves of what is occurring in this country by the mean incompetent government that we are saddled with currently how do we get them to pay attention and to vote for the country and the planet’s survival let alone vote out a government that cares nothing for betterment of everyday Australians and focuses on corporate subsidiaries and lowering taxation of the wealthy and lowering the standard of care for services that support the many. Unfortunately education and changing people’s minds takes time effort and lots of money and I fear time is running out
I remember you having mentioned that you hailed from Gravesend originally, my home for many years as a child – also Rochester and that fabulous Norman Castle, overlooking the River Medway and almost a thousand years old : they knew how to build in those days.
I’m glad you became an activist and I appreciate your writings.
Incidentally, I have just been reading how we could remove the scourge of plastic waste by recycling into building materials, road and footpath surfaces and so many other uses – if only we had the will………
Warren Entsch has written a great article in the Guardian today.
“The warming of the planet is not some arbitrary political concept one either subscribes to or doesn’t — it is a scientific reality that we have to deal with”
Couldn’t agree more. Then comes the issue of what constitutes effective action and, perhaps more importantly, what structures or mechanisms are available to facilitate this and other effective actions. It can be argued (and often is) that we live in a representative democracy with citizens voting and able to change governments, or not, every three years or so if they choose. That’s the mechanism we have and it works well enough or so the argument goes. Except of course it doesn’t.
Generally, elections are fought on a very limited range of issues. And for many it’s a single issue as a glance at the historical record will reveal. That’s simply not good enough, particularly when we have the technology in (most) of our homes to provide timely responses to so many issues. We have the means. What we lack is the political will. And that WE includes the political parties – all of whom have a clear conflict of interest when it comes to power sharing.
Either we want active and informed citizens actively involved in this democracy of ours or we don’t. Do we want effective structures for decision making on a broad scale or are we satisfied with what we have? What say you?
Yours is a remarkable and brave story, Rosemary. You have my utmost respect.
Who would have thought that the dirty, smog-ridden country you left behind would now be putting our country to shame when it comes to action on climate change. I don’t often agree with anything that comes out of Westminster, but at least they’re taking action on what’s choking our planet.
Our government will be forced to take action – kicking and screaming, and years wasted.
Carbon border adjustments are coming and that will hit our exporters.
As Warren Entsch said, “we could become a world-leading exporter of green hydrogen and ammonia, zero-emissions synthetic fuels and a producer of green steel and aluminium. All this enabled through the virtually boundless amounts of renewable energy resources our continent is blessed with.” Exempting agriculture would put “the industry at risk, leaving them uncompetitive and ill-prepared to interface with an increasingly decarbonised global economy.”
No electric vehicle policy is holding us back. Putting a tax on them whilst giving out rebates/subsidies for diesel and other fossil fuel users is madness. Make government vehicles electric. Offer incentives to private fleet owners.
They listened to the health experts about COVID and got a great health outcome. Do the same about climate change.
Agree. But the saddest part is that the effective pressure is coming from the generalised other – from outsiders – and not from within.
What does that say about how our democracy works – or doesn’t? How can I take action today? As I can in so many other areas of life.
There used to be a time – not long ago – when travelling abroad the locals, upon hearing we were Australian, listed all the good things they know about Australia.
Oh how quickly that has changed. Now they run off a list of the not-so-good things.
You’d be surprised how many beyond our shores are well aware that ‘we’ are now a climate change-denying country.
It’s a total shame job.
Rosemary J36, thank you for the many informative articles you write and for the thoughtful person you are. I read almost every article on this site and I’m one of the oldies from John Lord’s start of FB days.
I often wonder, as we hear from one Royal Commission to another on so many different lost and neglected causes how much more does it take for a nation to get shaken up into action? For you, to be standing in front of the Parliament for so many hours in order to inform the public ( and politicians).. sadly does not bring a ripple to the daily NEWS.
I’m afraid, as many are aware, changing Government from one side to the other no longer is the real option and solution. A change every 3years does not bring along the needed long term policy changes. A shake up from the ground up and change to our Constitution the only way for a better path? The word ” Compromise” stands firm with people who want for a better society.
The greatest threat to Australia and its people, is not the Chinese, or Islamic fundamentalists, but the Coalition parties of Australia. Their only consistent policy is keeping the Labor party out of power. Due to their embracing of neoliberalism/neoconservatism, they are unable to do anything for its own good. When confronted with a need for action, they do not get their collective heads down and get on to planning. No, they first consider what profit they and their mates can gain out of the situation. And that’s why so many of their plans are inefficient and downright clumsy and even failures.
I’m going 79 and spent much of my life as a secondary teacher (Physics) and really miss being with young people. During my time as a teacher in NSW I got sick of society wanting teachers to fix the world’s ills through education of young people, while the adults went about wrecking the joint. Fairness and equality, well bugger that, that’s for losers in the view of so many conservative politicians. As Lindsay Tanner referred to those opposite, with utter contempt…’spivs and shonks’.
Thankyou Rosemary. Do you have some photos of your stand in Darwin which could be shared on Climate Action pages on Facebook?
kimg1394 – if you connect with me on Facebook, we should be able to meet your needs.
Under Howard’s watch at first global warming and climate science were accepted but then became denialism, deflection and avoidance, not just influenced by, but imported straight from the Koch playbook (IPA); by mid noughties?
This included the lack of policy, planning and strategy to enact robust environmental legislation, denialism or studied inertia and the significant role played by media including NewsCorp (and all outlets).
Aspects were ‘owning’ the LNP, promoting junk science, attacking empirical science (and higher education, nowadays under guise of free speech), creating doubts about any research e.g. linkages between fossil fuels and environmental degradation, spruiking technology solutions but avoiding if linked with wind/solar, promoting ‘cost’ of action and ‘taxes’ for people…
Then encouraging people not to adapt, under investment in PT and EV infrastructure, tax breaks for fossil fueled company cars (using cheap and nasty RON91 on now tollways) and old ZPG arose as SPA to meet the new (but suspiciously unannounced) NOM definition spiking population in 2006 to make ‘immigration’ the enemy, hence, responsible for environmental degradation (no need for environmental legislation or restriction of fossil fuels, simply impose immigration restrictions aka Trump, win-win).
A little later capped off by the Greens cooperating with Abbott on trashing carbon emissions legislation proposed by the Rudd government, at least a start but not enough for Bob Brown; he also blames the existential ‘population growth’ through ‘immigration’ for environmental degradation and had admired Howard’s hero Menzies in his twenties……
Now we are a pariah nation exemplifying radical right libertarian ideology joined at the hip with Malthusian eugenics infecting policies, media, discourse and society, voted for by electors led to believe in retro nativist conservative ‘values’, so that Australia has not progressed at all in fifteen years.
Now even exemplified globally, or at least in the Anglospehere, by grifters formerly LNP MPS, NewsCorp sock puppets or IPA….
Forget to add, on politics of climate science and warming, anything potentially constraining fossil fuels and related, according to DeSMog, we are witnessing and confronted with ‘delaying’ tactics e.g. wheeling out contrarian and/or unqualified academics, replicated by the Covid denialism campaigns in the US/UK especially, and demands for no restrictions which may crimp business income and the economy at the expense of society and humanity…..
Obviously, if less than 8 billion humans have caused so little damage to our collective habitat, we can jam in a few more billion without our planetary ecosystems suffering any further serious stress.
In my personal observation, a greater number of humans in any area has merely happenstantially coincided with a visible decrease in habitat available for other species and ecological processes.
I mean, people only comprise around 35% of all mammalian biomass, and our mammalian domesticates are only another 60%.
That still leaves about 5% of mammals being wild things ( including human vectored ferals).
Plenty of room for human expansion.
Andrew J. Smith: “A little later capped off by the Greens cooperating with Abbott on trashing carbon emissions legislation proposed by the Rudd government,…”
…and yet in agreement with the Greens, the Gillard government introduced a “carbon tax” (which wasn’t a tax at all) which effectively brought down Australia’s carbonaceous gasses emissions, but whuch was demonised and then scrapped by the incoming Abbott debacle.
The Rudd proposal was a weak compromise which would hav achieved very little, if anything.
So, slough your indoctrination and get with the facts, please.