Contributed by Joe Montero
Once again, the world is being warned by nature of the disaster climate warming is causing. This year has seen record heatwaves in Europe and devastating floods in other parts of the world. The planet is now paused on the eve of an El Niño on a scale never seen before.
These sort of weather events are not new. Records have been breaking year after year. Ice cap melts, raising sea levels, and a slowing down of the Atlantic conveyor are major causes of worsening weather patterns. 3 July saw the hottest day for the planet ever recorded. The evidence is indisputable.
Massive cyclone activity in the Indian Ocean, sinkholes appearing in California, unbearable heat in Spain, the spread of bushfires in Canada, record ocean water temperatures, are the reality. Records are being smashed. Species eh]extinction is accelerating, and ultimately, our own extinction is a real possibility.
Yet many governments, including that of Australia, don’t seem to notice. They remain in a denial zone, too busy pleasing their big money backers to bother. This is a new wakeup call. We must call out our governments or their failure to act. We must not just get angry. It’s important to divert our anger into constructive action.
What does this mean? It means becoming active in our communities, joining pour organisations, being loud, and taking our demand for change to those who hold the power. Our survival depends on winning this war. And it is a war. Those who stand in the way of the necessary climate action must be vanquished.
It’s just as important to move beyond protest, towards being pro-active in building the future, by being involved in projects that cut emissions. When governments don’t do it, its communities that must act. There is some of this already. But there must be much more. It starts from modest changes to individua l lifestyles, to community efforts that stop polluters and build clean local economies.
Only the combination of demanding change and being pro-active in making change will save the day. Part of this is the protection of livelihoods. Preventing the extinction of species is Important, but his should never be seen in terms of nature versus human beings.
The impacts on living standards, health, happiness, and social harmony are important too. Furthermore, without championing these causes and making it personal, it’s impossible to mobilise people on the scale that is necessary.
Change requires building new power of the people. In Australia are primary focus is on change in our won turf in tune with our own conditions. Our task is to find forms of social organisation that serve to assert this people power.
No one can produce a blueprint that will make it work. People can and do make suggestions, and sometimes act on them. One is the building of cooperatives as part of a new economy. There have been suggestions for local government initiatives with community involvement. Another proposal ha been the building of community assemblies to supervise elected representatives and officials and all levels of government. The best combination can be found by doing and learning what works best.
Our window of opportunity won’t last for ever, and it would be foolish to fail to take up the opportunity.