By Dermot O'Gorman
On Friday 20 September, three days before the UN’s Climate Action Summit, people everywhere will take to the streets to march for a stable climate future for our planet. Australia is one of 117 countries taking part. In Australia alone, there will be over 100 locations participating in the Global Climate March. I'll be in Sydney marching with my young son, supporting a safe and prosperous future for Australian students.
The relationship between people and our planet is dangerously unbalanced. With reports of heatwaves, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes on the rise around the world, this imbalance is becoming part of our day-to-day norm. In our own backyard, drought and bushfires are threatening the people, places and species we love. We can’t let this be the norm for the next generation.
We are driving the planet, our home, to the very brink. WWF’s Living Planet 2018 report found that, as a result of human activity, global wildlife population sizes decreased by 60% on average between 1970 and 2014. Recent reports (IPBES & IPCC) show our planet is under unprecedented pressure; we stand to face the extinction of an estimated one million species within decades. Koalas are likely to disappear from Australia’s east coast by 2050, and are just one of many native Australian species, found nowhere else on the planet, facing a high risk of extinction if current trends continue.
The many services nature provides for free, like fresh drinking water, nutritious food supplies and clean air are all set to decline. Our most vulnerable communities will bear the brunt of these impacts unless we change something.
The science is clear, we can no longer ignore the warning signs of this planetary emergency. Doing so is at our own peril. Our survival depends on a healthy planet.
It is the duty of global leaders to take action to reverse nature loss. We know now, more than ever, that protecting nature is also about protecting people. We know now the steps we must take to address a destabilised climate, depleted oceans, deforestation and degraded land and rivers. Now is the time to act.
The plan we need is clear. For people to flourish sustainably, we must place the environment at the centre of everything that we do; our economic, political, social and financial systems must integrate efforts to tackle threats to the environment.
What we need is a new deal for people and nature.
The good news is, young Australians know that their future is at stake and are standing up. It is the responsibility of older generations to support our sons and daughters, nieces and nephews and grandchildren in their call for climate action.
Join a global climate march near you to encourage global leaders to take action for a stable climate future.