It was a great day at the Peoples Climate march yesterday, but after some more water under the bridge, I had time to put things into perspective.
As I previously mentioned, over 30,000 concerned citizens marched yesterday in Melbourne as is their democratic right. But it got me thinking.
Where was everyone else? In a city that has a population of 4.35 million, that is just 0.6% who attended the call to action on climate change. It doesn’t sound like a lot when you compare it to these other events that occurred on the same day;
- The Royal Melbourne Show had about 80,000 people through the gates.
- The Victorian Football League Grand Final at Etihad Stadium saw 23,816 raving fans attend the game.
- Even the home renovation TV Show “The Block” open day saw approximately 20,000 fans walk through the set.
I am sure there were other events that I missed, but that is quite a turnout.
I realise too well that we are a free and democratic people here in Australia. We can do whatever we like within the law during our own free time. I am only comparing attendance at events, not judging. Even Ben and I hope to go to the Royal Melbourne show this year as well.
However, the figures may indicate that concern about the effects of climate change is still not a mainstream issue or even on some people’s radar (yet).
So let me ask this. What will it take to make the rest of the population show their concern if not with a climate march like yesterday?
Do we need another Angry Summer like the last few? Do we need our reservoirs to nearly dry up again? Do we need a repeat of the Black Saturday bushfires?
I hope not. These events in themselves were terrible and horrible enough, but with the current climb in global greenhouse gas emissions, they are more than likely to occur again soon.
What will it take?
Archdruid John Michael Greer of the Archdruid Report observed that;
Until the people who claim to be concerned about climate change start showing a willingness to burn much less carbon, it’s unlikely that anyone else will do so, and so I think it’s a pretty safe bet that fossil fuels will continue to be extracted and burnt as long as geological and economic realities permit.
I tend to agree with him.
So whilst the Peoples Climate mobilisation was a brilliant way to raise awareness and beneficial to the wider cause, there is so much more to be done.
Lifestyles need to change to more sustainable ones. Legislation needs to change to put a price on carbon emissions forcing business to change. Governments need to stop talking about it – or start talking about it – as the case may be, and begin to embrace renewable energy technologies and strategies to reduce consumption and phase out fossil fuels.
These things are all still in front of us if we are to bring the climate back to within a habitable range for our children and grandchildren.
Without such changes, our continued presence on this planet is indeed uncertain, as the climate science suggests.
So what can you and I do to keep the momentum going now that hundreds of thousands throughout the globe expressed their concern yesterday? I suggest we set an example, lead from the front, and continue to place firm pressure on the gaping wound that masquerades as our federal governments.
Some people power is good, but a lot more is a whole lot better! Keep applying pressure where necessary.