Listening To Our Children And Giving Them A Safe Climate
I live on Noongar land and pay my respects to their elders, past, present and future.
I also love to learn about the Noongar people and their language and culture, who consider themselves the “carers of everything.” This generous philosophy is their creation story and extends to them caring for all visitors to their land, including recent settlers like me.
I’ve been learning about Noongar seasons, and we’ve just finished Makuru, Winter, which should be the wettest and coldest time of year, except it was surprisingly dry and sunny. Many of the plants in my garden thought it was Spring already, Djilba, fruiting and flowering too early.
It was a Noongar friend who told me of the decline in our local penguin population. I live near Penguin Island which is home to the largest penguin colony that far west in the world. But weather conditions, rising sea temperatures and overfishing have halved the penguin population in the last ten years. Penguins now have to swim so far to find food that they and their chicks are dying of starvation and malnutrition.
I recently went for a walk on my local beach, Port Beach in North Fremantle, except at high tide there was no beach to walk along due to erosion. This local restaurant is in danger of being washed away and the carpark further down the beach is already unstable.
Building seawalls and piling up the sand with earthmovers are temporary protective measures, but if we don’t stop carbon emissions sea levels will continue to rise and extreme weather events will be more frequent.
Urgent Change Is Required
And these are just local manifestations of global events. July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth. Nearly a million species worldwide face extinction. The UN has given us just 11 years to drastically reduce our carbon emissions, or face dire consequences. That would require, in the words of the IPCC, “rapid and far-reaching transitions” in “all aspects of society.” We’re talking about much more than reusable straws.
‘I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change. I thought that with thirty years of good science we could address those problems. But I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy […] and to deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation – and we scientists don’t know how to do that.’
– Gus Speth
I believe our work as mothers and professionals who care for them is such an important part of the spiritual and cultural awakening that is required. I also believe that we need to be led by Indigenous voices, they looked after the land sustainably for tens of thousands of years and we have so much to learn from them.
And I also believe it’s time to take more direct action.
What Brings Me Hope...
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all this and bury our heads in the sand, but the truth is all the solutions already exist (see the reading list below.) We just need to mobilise people power to send strong signals to our leaders that we want ambitious goals and immediate action.
Recently our children have woken us up. Led by the inspirational Greta Thunberg, school children (especially girls) all over the world standing up for a safe, clean climate by striking from school.
And now they are asking for our help.
No social movement has ever failed once it achieved sustained and active participation of just 3.5 per cent of the population. So school strikers are calling on everyone: young people, parents, workers, and all concerned citizens to join massive climate strikes and a week of actions starting on the 20th September 2019.
Friday 20th September will be the beginning of a week of climate actions all over the world through to 27th September and beyond. We hope it can be a turning point in history with 4000 events registered in 150 countries, perhaps the biggest action the world has ever seen. All of this will lead to the UN Climate Change Summit 2019.
Disrupting a day in the life of the world is a big ask, but I’m not comfortable letting schoolchildren carry all the weight.
Please join me at the #GlobalStrikes on 20-27th September around the world!
If you are in Australia find all the details here: https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/sept20
You can also find global events and resources for getting your school or workplace or union involved here: https://globalclimatestrike.net/
And if anyone wants to march with me in Perth please get in touch.
We can walk together.
Danjoo Koorliny. Walking Together.
If you need some resources to help you feel less overwhelmed about our climate, here are some articles that have helped me.
“How can we find that sweet spot between denial and despair?” -http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/articles/entry/despairing-about-climate-crisis?fbclid=IwAR3PWjtQ5YJrVixLaXC2Vc5kMYCgVxZSyJzyVX-xnjXGkHDzsxBQhedDJj0
“I have felt hopelessness over climate change. Here is how we move past the immense grief.” - https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/09/i-have-felt-hopelessness-over-climate-change-here-is-how-we-move-past-the-immense-grief?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard&fbclid=IwAR31icOWfOneyOpMLeN4_hAhOD8UqU2wIHpK7G42lsjkk1R6x5r_DeMZwrA
“We are not defending nature, we are nature defending itself.” - http://www.wildopen.net/we-are-nature-defending-itself/?fbclid=IwAR3npwxF0SPAKZZV-qrONqhtKOPCCmvXBIhkKTugjVaujsx_fQpsnXZ1eDI
And if you want to learn about the exact solutions that will help us avoid the worst impacts of climate change and create a safe, clean future for our children here are some more inspiring resources:
2040 - Join The Regeneration
2040 is a hybrid feature documentary that looks to the future, but is vitally important NOW! Award-winning director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film) embarks on journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream. Watch the movie, buy the book and create your personalised action plan at whatsyour2040.com
Drawdown - The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed To Reverse Global Warming
Drawdown describes the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. For each solution, they describe its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works. It’s a hugely inspiring solutions-focussed book that shows the exact steps we can take using only technology that already exists. Get the book and watch some TED talks here: https://www.drawdown.org/the-book
Climate Of Hope - How Cities, Businesses And Citizens Can Save The Planet
Bloomberg and Pope explore climate change solutions that will make the world healthier and more prosperous. They aim to begin a new type of conversation on the issue that will spur bolder action by cities, businesses, and citizens – and even, someday, by Washington. Get the book here https://www.climateofhope.com/
(Better still order all these books at your local library, both to reduce consumerism and make them available for others to read too!!)