Yesterday, my neighbourhood had its monthly coffee morning. Four or five neighbouring families get together for a catchup and a chat. We are mostly retired and the chat is usually about grandchildren, home maintenance, and other mundane matters.
Tim is a retired high school headmaster, his wife is still working, and he has a son at high school — a bright, quiet, sensitive boy called Mark. John is a retired miner, built like a brick shithouse and still incredibly strong, his wife retired from teaching fashion at TAFE recently. Rudy drives buses for the Brisbane City Council.
At times, the conversation gets around to electric cars – they have all been for a drive in my Tesla but haven’t taken the plunge to get one yet. And there are times when climate change is discussed.
Mark doesn’t talk much, but yesterday he turned to me and said, “I am concerned about the future, climate change and stuff.” The pathos in his voice hit me. Climate change has been ignored in the Australian media (all controlled by Rupert Murdoch) until recently. Now it is being mentioned, but highlighting the danger and provoking fear.
He found it hard to believe that there was much hope. I endeavored to talk about the things that are being done globally, but especially in Australia, to try and reduce the impact. I particularly like the live feed of electricity generation found on the reneweconomy website. This shows that some Australia states are already 100% renewable (Tasmania with hydropower) others hit 100% occasionally (South Australia with wind and solar and batteries). The most heavily populated states are at 25–30% renewable electricity.
This conversation brought home to me how we need to protect the mental health of the young who will be bombarded by horrific scenes of heatwaves, burning oceans, floods, etc. I fear the argument will shift from — “there is no such thing as climate change!” to — “it’s too late/difficult/expensive to do anything about it.”
Although we are a long way behind, a lot is being done. We have 9 years to get actions in place to stave off the worst. In the meantime, we need to care also for our vulnerable youth.
Top photo by pexels/pixabay (free to use, CC0).