My Daughter Is Missing School For The Climate Strike. Here's Why I Couldn't Be Prouder.
My daughter is attending the School Strike 4 Climate today instead of classes. I couldn’t be prouder of her and here’s why.
To my mind, climate change is the world’s biggest problem. Not because a few polar bears will be stuck on shrinking icebergs, and not because your favourite beach might lose a few metres of sand at high tide -- although these things are harbingers of much worse to come.
No, climate change is a problem because, at its heart, it’s a food security issue.
No food, no humanity. It’s that simple.
The world’s population is currently 7.6 billion people. By 2050, when my daughter is my age, it’s projected to be 9.8 billion.
We already depend on incredible advances in agriculture to feed the world’s population. Often we don’t manage it -- or at least, we don't distribute the available food adequately. A changing climate makes it so much harder to keep feeding everybody.
Optimists say “some areas will be wetter, others drier, some will win, some will lose”. But it’s not that simple. A changing climate makes it harder to grow food everywhere. And if you don’t believe me, ask the World Food Program.
There are countless other reasons why climate change presents problems for the future of human civilisation.
Just wait till we have a vast tide of climate refugees from countries larger than sparsely populated pacific atolls. Just wait till whole ecosystems break down. Just wait till countries go to war over water. Just wait till the oceans acidify and fish stocks crash.
None of this is sci-fi. This is all on the cards if scientists' projections are even half-right, and some of it is already happening.
Speaking of scientists, on the issue of the rapidly changing climate and its human causes, the science is of course well beyond serious dispute.
I write about sport for a living because I enjoy the challenge about writing about humanity at its playful best. Climate change denial is humanity at its cynical worst.
It's funny how people will sit in a 300-tonne piece of metal with wings and not dispute the science when it somehow leaves the ground. A movie will appear on a device held in your hands while you're sitting in bed and no one will declare that too amazing to be true.
Yet there's a group of people out there who would dispute science more basic than the fact that water turns to steam at 100 degrees.
Fact is, we live on a planet that would be a frozen inhabitable chunk of rock in space if not for existing heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. The more of those we add, the quicker it warms. It's that simple. And the accelerated warming of the last 30 years is way beyond the bounds of any natural cycle.
Nor is climate change a hoax for scientific grants. I know a climate scientist in Tasmania who left a $200K job in IT to do climate science work on $80k because he felt compelled to do his part. There are many more like him.
The kids marching today are doing their part too. It's all they can do, and missing a class or two is a very small price to pay for it.
For years I've yelled at my kids to clean up their room. This is them yelling at us to clean up ours.