Last Friday, right across Australia and across the world, people marched through cities demanding that governments actually bother to take the science behind climate change seriously and act accordingly. I could be wrong about this but I think that this is the single biggest day of protest in Australia since the 8 Hour Day marches of the 1890s and certainly bigger than the protests against the war in Vietnam.
I suspect though that the Federal Government is determined to ignore these protests on the basis that as long as they can convince enough people in just enough electorates that this is all a hoax, then they do not have to do anything at all.
As it stands, we have an Environment Minister who believes that the environment exists but will not be held on the subject of the degradation of the environment if it happens to interfere with his friends' business interests. He certainly doesn't seem to believe that as the relevant minister that he necessarily needs to be held responsible for anything (which he isn't going to be held on).
We have a Finance Minister in Mattias Cormann who said that children should be at school during school time to learn things but who doesn't seem to believe that having learned things in science class especially, that children should take those things seriously.
We have a Prime Minister in Scott Morrison, who was conveniently half way across the world in another country that also doesn't believe in climate change. How good is Australia? How good is coal?
Conveniently, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison rather than actually having to face the Australian media over the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government's continued refusal to take the issue seriously, was in the United States with his new best mate in the whole world, President Donald Trump, who also doesn't believe in climate change. Our Prime Minister Scott Morrison, actually planned this trip to the United States after Australia was banned by the United Nations General Assembly from speaking at the Climate Action Summit because of our repeated commitment not to take the summit seriously. How good is coal?
There is something really disturbing about the climate change debate; that something is that the debate exists at all. Svante Arrhenius who was a scientist in the 1890s wrote a paper on the effects of carbolic acid (CO2, aqueous) in the atmosphere and gave us the concept of the greenhouse effect. The evidence and the calculations point to fact that the atmosphere acts like a blanket; which retains and regulates the amount of heat on the surface. The moon in comparison which has no atmosphere, has conditions on it which mean that water would boil during the day time but freeze at night.
We've spent roughly one hundred and twenty years improving the science and getting a better understanding of how the mechanics of the atmosphere works, however one of the great ironies of the latter half of the twentieth century was that it wasn't until we looked at the other planets that we truly discovered what we'd spent four hundred years doing to the earth. This earth, which is unique in our current knowledge of where life is held in the universe, is more precious and fragile than what we give it credit for.
One of the other great ironies of the latter half of the twentieth century and turning into the twenty first, is that the generation who had the privilege of looking upwards to see 12 men walk upon the moon, are now openly chastising their grandkids for having the temerity to stand up and champion the cause of the earth.
All I can say is what a bunch of nitwits. Clearly this is not an argument and climate change is 100% man-caused. And I don't even mean that in a gender-neutral way either. Climate change in the Anthropocene is 100% caused by the males of our species, who despite having a hundred years of science to look at, are the chief cause of why government and business are enmeshed in their unwavering commitment to do diddly squat about it.
To all of those people who marched last week, just like the Occupy movement or the marches against sexism: just give up. The 1% of straight white men who run the world, who neither fear God, common sense or decency, or other straight white men, are perfectly fine with putting their foot to the floor as the rolling coal 620cid V8 Deathtruck of Destiny heads for the wall of inevitability and falls off the cliff of any ability to do anything about it.
In the meantime, while my superannuation becomes worthless and it takes the equivalent of a day's wages to buy a loaf of bread because the intensity of droughts means that crops are likely to fail more often, I can take some comfort in knowing that although I will be homeless because I will no longer be able to afford the rent, at least my house in Marayong which is 96m above sea level will be higher than the 5m expected increases in sea level which in due time will take out most of eastern suburbs of Sydney. Keep on burning that coal, I am looking forward to beach front property in Blacktown. Leave the car running in the driveway all day and all night and leave a fire going in the hearth and the air-conditioning up full bore at the same time.
As for those people in those Pacific island nations, well they have to take the good with the total flooding of their homes. It was the climate which gave them their place in the sun and it was straight white males who used the climate to take it all away again. That was pretty much the take home message from our Prime Minister a month ago at the Pacific Islands Forum. If you've got no homes anymore because your country is now submerged beneath the waves, then don't worry because you can always get a job picking fruit in Queensland. We're not going to stop our coal and steel industries just because your homes might be destroyed. What about the pockets of our billionaires? How good is coal?
These marches across the world can find their beginning in the one-person school strike by 16-year-old Swedish young lady named Greta Thunberg. The work that she has gone onto inspire ought to be a clarion call for the leaders of the world to sit up and take notice but unfortunately for her, she appear to be the most mature person in the room in a lot of places, with the invective being directed at her from the media being more akin to that of 9 year old boys. She represents everything that they do not, including the hope for the future and a legacy that will outlive her, rather than the impending jaws of Sheol and Abaddon which are open all the time.
I suspect that the media in Australia is neither unique or even original in its attacks on Ms Thunberg. Again, it is mostly straight white males like Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones, Rowan Dean, Greg Sheridan, who have all written pieces which are an affront to common decency. Ms Thunberg does have Asperger's but that in no way shape or form means that the warning that she has sent out to the world isn't valid.
It must surely be one of the biggest coincidences in the world that the media organisations who want to propagandise climate change as a hoax, are all on the economic right of politics. It must also be a coincidence that the entities who benefit the most from the propagandising of climate change as a hoax, also just happen to be mining and petrochemical companies. How good is coal?
My biggest concern with this issue is that governments will continue to be resolute in their determination to ignore these protests until the point where the political climate means that they will be no longer able to. The scary thing is that when you had people protesting against the war in Vietnam, governments ignored those protests until the point where they were no longer able to and that point was well after the war was unwinnable. Ignoring climate change protests might very well be an excellent strategy for winning a dozen electorates in a Federal Election but in doing so, it might end up meaning that the war on climate change is also unwinnable. The average political life of an MP in the House of Representatives in Australia is 6.3 years; the average life of a citizen who has to live with the effects of climate change could be twelve times that.
Personally, I think that that point happened at roughly the turn of the century. What that means is that we've already started down the path of extreme unpleasantness with respect to climate change. Greta Thunberg hasn't just led a protest movement but the song of the canary down the coal mine. How good is coal?