Gambling is a societal issue and one that creates a lot of grief in our communities. There are many opinions as to why people are willing to make inordinately risky decisions; be it lifestyle, financial or social. This is no more so than when the risk is perceived to be in a nebulous future and especially so if there appears to be a debate about the facts. I guess this is probably the reason that Climate Change is failing to stir the hearts and minds of many people in the US and here in Australia but, strangely enough, not in the vast majority of the rest of the world. Both here and in the US, this issue has been badly politicised.
There is an overwhelming degree of certainty (greater than 97%) in the international scientific community about Climate Change. There is NO national scientific organisation in the WORLD that contests the major points about Climate Change. The only contention is with the DEGREE of the impacts and each time a major review is written the extent of the problem becomes greater and the predictions become more dire.
I believe that a lot of people discount the personal risk because they believe that the impacts and adaptations will not happen ‘in their lifetimes’. My mum, fit at the ripe young age of 83 and intending to live to 100, will be impacted considerably by this threat to our way of life. Whether this is in a good way or a bad way will be determined by our response in this decade. We have the opportunity to create a better world and I believe we owe it to ourselves and our descendants to make sure we grasp that opportunity.
For the sake of our individual and collective futures (health, societal and financial) we need to be making the changes that the science has been telling us for the past 30 years we need to make. These changes need to be in both mitigation AND adaptation (though without mitigation – reducing GHG pollution – we have NO hope of adapting) and, according to the science, we only have a very small window in which to act. Do you want to believe the disinformation from the fossil fuel interests who stand to lose billions from their bottom line and other misguided people who may fear any change to their comfortable lifestyles – it is no coincidence that the most vocal deniers are amongst the most affluent – or do you trust the combined pronouncements of every major scientific body in the world – scientists who are definitely not getting rich on their research but whose dedicated efforts are making them targets of extreme elements?
We have had 30 years (an entire generation!) already in which to begin to act – the time for talk is over, the time for action is now. There is much that each of us can do personally and perhaps the most important thing is to get this conversation going with your friends, family and colleagues – you need to create a groundswell of informed talk that will sway the country to action. For without action, our collective future looks bleak.
We stand at a nexus. I believe that we, as a species, can rise to this challenge that Climate Change presents – I certainly hope we will and, with that rising, help to create a better, more equitable place for all in it. I know in myself that the world is not at risk – the world will continue on no matter what we are likely to do or don’t do. In the end, this is more a matter of weighing the odds – do you take the 3% chance that the scientists may have got it wrong and we can continue with business as usual, or do you accept the much greater chance that, in an effort to not be controversial, the scientists have erred on the conservative side in their predictions about the impacts. Unlike other games of chance, however, we only get to play this one once and, if we get it wrong, we either will be too busy just trying to survive or we simply won’t be around to witness the outcome.
A wise man once said “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and that step can be your action today. Make a contribution, start a conversation, get beyond the petty “me, me, me” that seems to characterise today’s society – you are better than that – and together we can go that thousand miles.