I’ve had a blog on climate change in my head for some time…having spent the summer watching Australia burn and then flood, watching the aftermath of this on my fellow country men, women and children.
But – what to write and, when?
I sat on this topic for a while for several reasons. I found it hard to articulate what I wanted to say. A creeping suspicion developed that as time marched on from the terrible fires raging through our country in the second half of 2019 and early 2020, people would forget and move on and nothing would change, especially attitudes.
I notice in times of emergency and tragedy, people get all caught up in emotion of the moment and are hungry to change things and make a better world, until they’re… not. A large number of the populace gets tired of the surplus of information, and not necessarily because they don’t care, they just become immune to it being constantly in their face.
As a reminder, here are some photos capturing the absolute shit-storm that was Australia over the past several months…
In our own country a month to six weeks out from the worst of the fires…it’s no longer the topic on everyone’s lips. The thing is – it should be. It’s important. But people get complacent.
Why is that?
Well…time, and normality. Apparently if we are not experiencing extreme weather conditions ALL the time then it’s easy to dismiss climate change. I can’t fathom this at all. So what…we need to be living amidst dangerous weather patterns constantly for people to even believe let alone act? There seems to be no recognition of the concept that getting to THAT point means it’s probably too late to do anything about it.
In case you missed my subtle(🤔) commentary above – I believe climate change is real. I believe it is having a devastating effect on our planet and we need to do something about that – not at some point in the distant future. Now. RIGHT.BLOODY.NOW.
Segue here to briefly outline my view of just what IT is…
Throughout the history of the world there have been occurrences of erratic weather patterns and subsequent events. I’m not sure scientists are going to agree with me lumping the Ice Age in as an ‘erratic weather pattern’ but bear with me here.
We have things such as tsunamis and cyclones, avalanches and volcano eruptions, bushfires and floods… natural occurrences, mostly. They happen periodically with sometimes tragic outcomes, people and animals die, forests and homes are decimated. But we rebuild, we go on. That’s not climate change that’s just life on this planet. Been going on since the dawn of time…the Ice Age remember? The actual thing…not the movie…just bear in mind though, that cute prehistoric squirrel was responsible for the seismic ice age events in his pursuit of that little acorn…
Nothing to see here.
BUT…what has happened since the beginning of time are developments influenced by humans. The evolution of farming and agriculture, the industrial revolution and the technological age. Sourcing power from natural resources -electricity gas, coal, redirecting water sources, decimating forests through logging. Emissions from our cars, from the methane produced by cattle farmed in large numbers, from agricultural fertilisation using nitrogen…all to feed our growing population and voracious consumer appetite for an ‘easier’ life.
We have taken and taken and taken from our planet and not given back. Or not given back enough and that’s why levels of greenhouse gases are out of balance and our planet is warming up at rates much faster than over the past several million years. And we need to change that around, ALL of us, to try and firstly to undo the damage and then to recover. It’s a mammoth effort. Not impossible, but very bloody difficult. And how do we do this?
Firstly what can YOU as an individual do about it? Here are some things you can change around your home, or personally to try and make a change for the better:
- Read about it…search google, read articles, watch programs on TV, YouTube…be intelligently informed. Then…get vocal and get involved. This is NOT OPTIONAL.
- Plant trees, fruit and vegetables (or grow them in a pot if you have an apartment) Eating less beef, pork and dairy and organic food choices is also helpful.
- Think about the energy you use. Switch stuff off when you’re not using it. Put a jumper on, don’t turn the heating up. Install ceiling fans. DON’T switch on your air conditioner the minute it gets above 24°C (72°F) and then leave it running 3 days straight.
- Recycle your house water onto your garden instead of leaving your hose running for hours. DON’T water your concrete driveway-it doesn’t grow. Trust me on this one, I’ve done exhaustive research with a couple of my neighbours…none of their driveways has grown even a thousandth of a millimetre despite the tons of water they’ve wasted on it. Don’t have 30 minute showers twice a day. (I’m speaking directly to my son here!)
- Install solar panels. Not only is it good for the planet…I can’t adequately describe the joy you will feel when you watch your electrical meter whirring backwards storing up all those lovely kilowatts. OR, can you imagine this…waiting for the electricity bill, to see how many credits you’ve earned feeding your solar energy back into the grid. You’ll no longer be just an energy consumer…you’ll be an energy provider. (To all the users attached to my grid…you’re welcome!)
- Walk, don’t drive whenever you can or take public transport.
- RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE …better yet, think about packaging when you’re at the supermarket and choose loose items or recyclable packaging where you can. Also have a read of the Victorian Government initiative with regard to waste disposal – kudos to them for trying!
- Get used to a bit of inconvenience. It won’t kill you.
Remember how I said above that this weather stuff has been around for ever, bit of a disaster and we recover, go on? Thing is …our forebears went without a lot of these ‘conveniences’ I’ve mentioned above so they did less damage, and consequently, had a better recovery rate. Ours is slipping, has slipped cumulatively over time because of all this stuff each successive generation thinks it needs to use or do in order to lead more comfortable lives.
I’m not saying let’s go back to the dark ages and live in caves, although if that’s your thing…power to you. Just pull back a bit. Do the things you can do to make the environment better. And then do a little bit more. Keep making changes till it hurts a little bit. Because then you see…our planet will be a little less sick.
Will this fix everything? Of course it won’t. In fact it could open up a host of global economic problems, which is why there needs to be a world consolidated view on tackling climate change. The UN has been trying to have this conversation for a number of years.
It requires a lot of big changes from governments and industries that up till now have been very disinclined politically and financially to wise up and save our planet. Ceasing mining of fossil fuels will impact the economies of some countries (Australia among them), and likewise farming and agriculture could be impacted if billions of people suddenly started growing fruit and vegies at home or eating less beef and pork.
On the flipside, one of Australia’s biggest industries-tourism- will take a hit if we do nothing. It’s already suffering due to the deteriorating ecology of the barrier reef and took a major hit with the fires raging in tourist areas and the smoke pall circling the globe.
It’s a global catch 22 – if we do nothing our planet will die, but if we change things our global economy will be altered. Not an easy resolution by any means. But not talking about it or acknowledging a problem exists, achieves nothing. One of my favourite comments to make over this summer to climate change denialists: ‘Go ahead and stick your head in the sand. The rest of us will be getting on trying to save our planet while your ass burns.’
If you’re wondering what the title of this blog has to do with anything, it’s this: You take the things you need to worry about, the things you care about, with you always in your head and heart. Make the weather on our planet one of those things. Keep in mind the impact on our planet when you’re going about those little everyday things we do. And the big things too.
In other words…always take the weather with you.
Now go forth in peace and love, do your bit to make our earth green and whole again.
Links below for more information and images in relation to climate change, Australian bushfire, what individuals can do: