Communicating about our climate crisis just keeps getting tougher. It doesn’t matter that the people who do the science on our future tell us we’ve got a problem we really don’t have time in our busy lives to listen. The experts’ increasingly alarming reports are ignored or ridiculed by mass media mouthpieces. Day in day out ignorance, and worse, are broadcast through our mindless popular media. Our current political leaders refuse to listen to the pleas of groups like ours; chosing to remain deaf to the crisis they are delivering us.
Who wants to know that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a cautious and conservative body of the world’s scientific experts, keep updating the disastrous consequences of the climate change already locked in by rising global temperatures? Who wants to hear the costs of adapting our cities and lives to heat, inundation, storms and fire far exceeds the cost of reducing the emissions driving them? There’s certainly no winning tune backing the demise of the natural places we love; no popular lyric underpinning the loss of the biodiversity which sustains us.
Switch channels and block out the news that our own Great Barrier Reef will experience irreversible damage within 16 years. The warning that our children will inherit food, water and energy shortages and political insecurity of our making is inaudible. The noise of deniers drowns out the message that our damaging levels of consumption, waste and destruction are not our entitlement.
But the planet is now speaking up for itself. At first a faint background murmur of unseasonable weather, species moving southward and dwindling natural bounty. But increasingly the planet is giving us resounding and shocking feedback – in the roar of spring bushfires, the shout of battering gales and thundering rains; even the parched air of rainlessness in our food bowls carries a sharp message. All we can hope now is that when the planet speaks it can no longer be lost in translation.
Tracey Carpenter is President of Bathurst Community Climate Action Network