Yes, what I have to say relates to climate change, but no, this isn’t an argument. I want to talk about my experiences and how I’ve felt about discussions I’ve had. I may stray briefly into why I view issues the way I do but I’ll try and keep that to a minimum as what I want to talk about are my frustrations and my hope.
In case you are wondering, I do think that the climate is changing and anthropogenic factors have been a growing problem for centuries. I’ve been hearing about climate change for most of my life, from articles in the early 2000s through to documentaries and news segments in the 2010s. As a teenager I remember feeling a little skeptical, research was only just ramping up, so there was less information to make a decision on and less action an individual could take.
What made up my mind
Predictions made in some of the earlier articles I read started happening, rising sea levels and the loss of islands to rising tides solidified my position. But just believing that climate change is real isn’t the same as acting on it. Instead it just moved the question to be “how big a problem is climate change?” but at least I was more open to expert opinions on the topic now.
A positive time
When I first entered adulthood it seemed like Australia was approaching climate change as a serious issue. Our leaders were funding significant innovation into clean alternatives to older technologies and policies were put in place to support the funding. In the latter half of the last decade my hope turned to frustration as I saw that forward thinking leadership disappear as funding was scrapped and policies diluted.
I felt frustrated, seeing our nation's leaders abandoning a national plan to proactively protect not only Australia but the earth, was compounded by the torrent of new research results which continued to underscore the far reaching consequences of our actions. The catastrophe we’ve built for generations after us to try and survive.
That frustration hasn’t left. I don’t understand why so many people don’t see climate change as an issue. I don’t want to think poorly of people but the dismissal and ignoring of the problem makes one think that they must have other motives, otherwise why would they be so callous?
I’m worried by inaction
From my perspective, I think if God has given us the faculties to predict and see the coming danger, he has also given to us a capacity to avoid it. This agency cuts both ways because although we have the power to prevent suffering, we also can permit suffering, if we fail to take action. Therefore I feel that inaction is damning and that is not an easy burden.
Hope for change
Although I could try and offer solutions, public policy really isn’t my area of expertise, but my impression is that many people are ready for change, to take action, which gives me hope.
But time is being wasted and I feel a lot of frustration at watching while so many people ignore the warnings and block meaningful progress to protect future generations.
Why aren’t they listening!? By ignoring the impending danger they are sacrificing future generations, and stealing the resources of the earth for themselves. I feel outrage, but my shout only rings out in an echo chamber.
I pray and do what I can but I don’t think it’ll be enough without a united effort and a united effort will need a leader.
Sam Gillespie is a composer, programmer and PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales.Sam Gillespie's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/sam-gillespie.html