Scared of warmer oceans

Wonders of the Great Barrier Reef (pc: www.gbrmpa.gov.au)

Wonders of the Great Barrier Reef (pc: http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au)

I just returned home after attending Australia’s national coastal management conference, 2016 Coast to coast, which was held at the MCG in Melbourne.

Travelling from the Gold Coast I had packed my thermals, gloves and beanie and neither left my suitcase while in Melbourne. It was a warmer than usual beginning of Spring and I even slept with the window open and fan on. It was as if I was in Queensland. But I was in Victoria, where the climate is changing and you can feel it. It’s warm, closer than you think.

Sadly, I am becoming accustomed to the stark reality of the future. Mass coral bleaching, mangrove forest die back and beaches squeezed between rising seas and built up coasts behind or on the dunes. So, a warmer trip to Victoria should be expected, an expectation I am scared about.

You see, it was only last week when I let loose and posted a rampage on my brother’s Facebook page about a post he had posted ‘celebrating’ the Carmichael Coal Mine… although it is awaiting finance. You see, people who can’t connect their actions to the recent mass coral bleaching and mangrove dieback think 4000 jobs to build and operate the economically and environmentally disastrous mine is a good new story for jobs in central Queensland. Yet, the coal mine, if finance is found (which I doubt), will jeoparadise the 69,000 jobs that rely on Queensland’s healthy reefs and coasts.  For me, this should be a straight forward argument, do you want short-term gain now which will continue to fuel the warming seas and put our future at risk, or do you want to secure the future for all generations, and all ecosystems and cycles that are fundamental to all life on earth. There is no ifs or buts now, because now is the time to change.

Because climate change is real and it is here. And I am scared of warmer oceans.

With this fresh in my mind I sit their listening to Tim Flannery’s keynote presentation about mobilising communities to mitigate and adapt to climate change. I completely get and understand what he is saying, and if anything, it wasn’t new to me. But what I grappled with was how to inspire my own microsystem, my own family, to change their own ideals for a cleaner, fairer future. A future without coal.

Feeling sluggish from the night before I share my concerns with a colleague as we munch on some vegetarian pastries. As Tim Flannery approaches the pastry pile and I took the opportunity to share my tangent. What advice could he give me?

The good news is that he was compassionate and got what I was saying. But the better news was hearing about how the unions, which my brother is a member of, are talking about how to transition a fossil fuel fuelled workforce to a cleaner, fairer, and renewable workforce.

I always thought welding windmills would be much more rewarding than welding pipelines that are killing our future’s pipeline. A future where my nieces and nephews can visit the Great Barrier Reef and be inspired to be eco-stewards for all humanity on earth.

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