I started learning about climate change, or global warming as it was more commonly called, back in school. Back then, climate change felt far away, and yeah, I was sad for the polar bears, but it really felt like one of those issues that the adults and those smart people in government would surely have solved by the time I grew up. Right?
Door knocking volunteers to have meaningful conversations about climate change in Cairns.
Distributing Climate Action Now signs in the Cairns community.
I am now 26 and have long understood that we can’t rely on the government to safeguard our future. Apparently, securing a liveable future is up to us, young people, and future generations who don’t have another option but to be loud and unrelenting in our call for climate justice – not just for the polar bears and the reef, but for the sake of humanity and all things we hold dear.
Alongside some incredible volunteers, I’ve been going door to door in the Cairns community, having conversations with strangers about climate change for just over a year. In analysing the data that we’ve gathered, we have found that most people express some level of concern about climate change, whether they are alert to the issue or very concerned about it. Many of those concerned people, however, have begun to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and pessimistic about the future. Some of those people are starting to disengage from the issue – they’re ready to give up, which is exactly what fossil fuel corporations and the politicians in their pockets want us to do. So, we’re walking a fine line here, between urgency and hope.
Due to decades of misinformation, denial, false promises, and empty pledges, our window of opportunity to mitigate the most harmful and devastating impacts of climate change is small and it is rapidly closing. But it exists! There is still hope, and we need to hold on to that tightly and make the most of this opportunity.
The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, recently pointed out that, “climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals, but the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels” in the face of climate disaster. He also said, “we need to build on the work of young people, civil society, and indigenous communities to create a grassroots movement that cannot be ignored.” Here in Cairns, generations of individuals have built a strong grassroots movement that continues to power all of the work we do at CAFNEC – and we should be proud of ourselves for representing those who don’t have a voice: the generations that will come after us and the young people alive today whose pleas are being ignored by global leaders.
There are so many ways to take action on climate change as individuals, whether its putting up a Climate Action Now sign on your fence, letterbox, or office; changing your superfund to one that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels; chatting with a friend or family member about climate change; volunteering with CAFNEC in our climate campaign; or donating to CAFNEC to help us continue listening to the community’s needs and concerns and doing what we can do address them.
What we’re asking for isn’t outrageous and it is not radical. We’re simply asking our leaders to listen to the experts and turn their inadequate promises and pledges into necessary action and policy NOW – before our small window of opportunity closes and we are forced to look back on this time with the same dismay and indignity that we look back on the last lost decade with. We, want climate action now and we cannot and will not stop calling for it until our leaders finally listen.