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Climate Change

Can Organized Charities Save the World?

This morning, I was approached by a lovely young lady with a great patter — “I have been waiting here all morning to talk to you,” she said. I had a laugh and just kept walking, musing, “Can organized charities save the world?” On the way out of the supermarket, I stopped to chat to her and explain my position. She was collecting for a well-known and worthy charity that helps restore people’s sight. Is that so that they can watch the Armageddon of climate change?

We then had a great discussion on the changes in the climate and what it means for her generation. My generation has reaped the benefits of the last 60 years; her generation will have to pay for it. They will have to fight the entrenched interests of the elite and the apathy of the spoiled millennials. The eastern coast of Australia is going through what is being called a once in a lifetime flood. However, lifetimes are getting shorter as these floods come more frequently and get worse. Over and over again, people point to the muddy lines on the sides of their houses and say something like “in 2011 it only came up to here,” or “three years ago it didn’t go through the living areas.” Businesses have to make the decision do we clean up and restock (again) or do we just walk away?

Many homeowners couldn’t get insurance, or couldn’t afford the premiums and so were uninsured. I say that I am fighting climate change for the sake of my grandchildren — I’ll be long gone before those catastrophic events take place. Now, I’m not so sure. We are living through events that were predicted to happen at the end of the century, or at the earliest 2050.

So, I don’t give anymore. Many of the animals we don’t eat will end up in zoos. Certainly the koala will — we’ve bulldozed down their entire habitat for housing developments. The kangaroo will survive in the wild — they can handle the harsh desert environments where families don’t want to live. I don’t give anymore because next to climate change, all these other issues are meaningless.

I do think organized charities can do some good. However, I think our energies and our money need to be better used and focused. Instead of giving money to save the reef, put solar on your roof (or change to a green provider if you don’t own your roof). That will reduce the burning of fossil fuels, which is raising the ocean temperatures and bleaching the reef. Instead of protesting against Adani (or any other coal producer), get a politician elected who will stop subsidizing fossil fuels.

It is no use giving to environmentally friendly causes and thinking you have done your bit if you don’t make some choices which will affect the outcome of their work. Can organized charities save the world? Not without our help, they can’t.

Live simply, eat better, and don’t throw your clothes away so soon. Walk where you can, use public transport, and if you have to have a car, buy electric.

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David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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