I’m extremely grateful to Kate Grenville for initiating the group Writers for Climate Action, to which I have added my name, alongside authors including Anita Heiss, Sally Hepworth, Helen Garner, Alison Lester, James Bradley, John Birmingham, Mem Fox, Andy Griffiths, Charlotte Wood, Kate Mildenhall, Kim Scott, Matthew Reilly and many more. You can see the full list at Authors — Writers for Climate Action.
The intention of this group is stated clearly as this: ‘The members of Writers for Climate Action write all sorts of books and come from all shades of the political spectrum. The one thing we agree on is that we need real, immediate action on climate change, and that the 2022 Australian federal election is a chance to make that happen.’ You can read the full statement at Writers for Climate Action – along with general advice as to how you might put climate first when you cast your vote (IMPORTANT: this advice does not tell you who to vote for).
Back in 2007 I went to a Perth event with David Suzuki, renowned environmentalist and broadcaster, where he said, ‘We’re in a giant car, heading for a brick wall, and everyone’s arguing over where they’re going to sit.’ This was 15 YEARS AGO, when there was already vast knowledge about climate change, and recognition of the urgent need for action. And yet, today, on climate policy Australia ranks last in the entire world. We won the Colossal Fossil Award at Cop26 for failing on five critical commitments including being the only nation without a climate policy. In addition, we are the only Commonwealth country without a recognised Indigenous voice to Parliament.
This time next week we’ll know the results of the Australian election. Personally, I’m devastated by the state of national and international politics at present. At this time, when humanity needs strong, moral, humble and democratic leadership, across the political spectrum there is fearmongering, money-grabbing, power-driven selfishness that is further sensationalised by a headline-hungry media, in a 24/7 news cycle that deadens the senses and leaves little room for engagement and reflection.
Over the last few weeks I’ve avoided the election spin as much as possible. I’ve seen enough of every aspect of the Morrison Liberal-National government to know I’ll be voting for change. And I hope that enough people feel the same so that we can at least head into the coming years with new possibilities for the future. The considerable number of independent candidates challenging for seats across the country is one of the most exciting things that is happening in politics right now. Likewise, I’m grateful for the voices of young people who are becoming eligible to vote. If you’re interested in what’s happening across the political spectrum, I highly recommend Sarah Wilson’s current podcasts covering different aspects of the election and exactly what’s at stake.
Once the climate crisis reaches a tipping point, it is IRREVERSIBLE according to a vast scientific consensus. I’ve had a keen environmental interest for 20 years and I’ve listened to many different voices discuss the issues – from David Attenborough to Tim Flannery – and there is across-the-board agreement that we are either already past that tipping point, or unbearably close. We need brave leadership to instigate wholesale changes and deal with the uncertainties of the next few years, and I pray that those in power from next week onwards have got what it takes. I also hope that all of us have enough drive and determination to hold our leaders to account. The next generations are counting on us now, to raise our voices and fight for their future, as well as our own.