Now is the time to make a stand together

 In Letters, Opinion

Thank you to all of you at The Echo keeping this great little newspaper alive – all of us here are lucky to have such a rare community resource, a bona fide local paper. To wit, a place to read and ruminate on Sara Sniderhan’s honest, frank and reflective (qualities not often seen together) letter a few weeks ago, the kind of writing that should inspire a community to come together and get things done.
Truth be told, we need to get a lot of things done, and now is the time to make a stand together, as hard as it may be.
“Our house is on fire” as the young environmentalist and now international inspiration Greta Thunberg has commented, referring to the rapidly escalating pace of climate change taking place all around us.
Sixteen-year-old Greta, for those who have not heard of her, after initially being paralyzed by anxiety induced from her scientific readings on climate change, started a campaign of ‘school strikes for climate’, to protest, by herself, in front of her Parliament.
Now, a year on, as the latest UN Action Climate Summit prepares to meet, she has asked everyone, young to old, to strike with her Friday, Sept. 20th and 27. Hopefully hundreds of thousands will be joining.
With our upcoming federal election, now is a particularly vital time to take a stand. As the UN IPCC has noted we have 12 years left to turn things around, the scope is immense, and will require “unprecedented changes,” per Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.
Twelve years left to act before things get irreversibly bad.
“The decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future… The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” (Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II). “One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice” (Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I).
Our office will be closed on both of these Fridays, in strike solidarity with Greta, as we join in asking all our politicians for a non-partisan united response to our climate crisis. If you cannot strike, please take the time to watch Greta (with your kids), read the IPCC report summary, or one of the many in depth articles or books on climate change – as Greta says, “listen to the science and the scientists”. And then act, in whatever way you can, to get your federal party of choice to commit to a solid climate plan. We need massive change coming from the federal level, and reaching all levels of government, in the next few years – “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities (IPCC Special Report, 2018).
I leave the last words to Greta: “People sometimes ask me if I’m an optimist or a pessimist. I am a realist. If we do the change that is required, then we will prevent this from happening and we will succeed. But if we don’t, then there will be horrible consequences. Hope is something you need to deserve — that you have actually done something. But definitely, we could do this. If we decided today that we were going to go through with [combating climate change], then we definitely could do that. But only if we choose to and if we take the measures required.”
“Please think about it from a bigger perspective… imagine yourself in about 20 or 30 years. How do you want to look back at your life? Do you want to be able to say that you did fight against it and tried to push for a change early on? Or do you want to say that, ‘No, I just went on going like everyone else because it was too uncomfortable.’ ”
Suzanne Wesetvik,
Rockside Campbell Design, Duntroon.

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