Next month I'll be having a baby.
Starting a family is usually a time filled with excitement, joy and hope for the future. But personally, I've had a lot of mixed feelings. The reason? Climate change.
I fell pregnant in January. My partner and I had been trying for some time, and rode an emotional rollercoaster through three miscarriages. With this pregnancy we waited hopefully through the first trimester, keeping our fears to a minimum and trying to stay positive.
Then a whole new fear emerged for me. The fear that I may not be able to provide for and protect my child. That our dearly-wanted child would have to battle for survival in the future due to climate change.
I'm not usually anxious, or someone who's imagination runs wild with terrible thoughts. However I had read a policy paper endorsed by Retired Admiral Chris Barrie (chief of the Australian Defence Force from 1998 to 2002). The report warned of "planetary and human systems reaching a 'point of no return' by mid-century, in which the prospect of a largely uninhabitable Earth leads to the breakdown of nations and the international order".
This report is just one of many that are seriously discussing the climate-induced breakdown of human civilisation, not as an improbability, but as something security experts are urging each other to come to terms with.
This problem is too big for a few consumer choices to save us. The scale of the problem requires a massive transformation of the economy, the kind that comes from governments. Yet here was our government, indeed both major parties, not acting anywhere near as much as is necessary to prevent runaway global heating.
So, when I think of the kind of life my child will have it's hard to imagine a future of carefree innocence. I'm not sure she'll get to enjoy the privileged youth I had studying, going to the beach, sharehousing, enjoying live music and exploring the world.
If we don't change our current trajectory, she may spend those years witnessing societal collapse and finding a way to survive.
Before becoming pregnant I was concerned about climate change and had made certain lifestyle changes - switching to ethical super and green power electricity, driving less, going vegetarian and reducing my air travel - but I knew it wasn't enough. This problem is too big for a few consumer choices to save us.
The scale of the problem requires a massive transformation of the economy, the kind of transformation that comes from governments. Yet here was our government, indeed both major parties, not acting anywhere near as much as is necessary to prevent runaway global heating.
On the contrary, by supporting Adani and other fossil fuel extraction projects, and with domestic carbon emissions still rising, the Morrison government seems hell bent on destroying my child's future.
To make matters worse, as a taxpayer I am expected to subsidise this insanity for the sake of the fossil fuel corporations making a quick buck.
For a while I started to despair, feeling hopeless.
I live in Newcastle East and each day watched the ships exporting more and more coal wondering if that shipload, once burned, would be what tips our planet's ecosystems out of control.
Then I saw the school strikers taking action and remembered something. The most reluctant of governments can be forced to act in the face of an alternative power: that of the people.
When a population not only sympathises with a cause, but is actively involved in a movement to change the very ideas and values of society - that's when the magic happens.
It may seem unlikely, the forces against us may seem huge and powerful. But through history peaceful mass movements have taken on powerful forces time and time again, and have won. If we act together and make our voices heard, we have the possibility to ensure a habitable planet for our kids.
But as the fires burn around us we have to be honest with ourselves: we don't have long.
Since March I have had the honour of working with the school strikers in Newcastle. They are smart, passionate and determined. There is no way to look them in the eye and say our situation is hopeless. They are in a fight for their lives and anyone who is serious about climate change needs put despair or cynicism aside and join their cause.
Strike with us noon on Friday at Civic Park, and tell your grandkids you were a part of making history.
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