Swedish school student Greta Thunberg has dramatically illustrated the urgent need for action on climate change.
Thunberg warns young people internationally not to have faith in politicians who talk about the need for action but who do not have the political will to do anything real about the growing climate crisis.
Her comments are very pertinent to this state given the coming elections.
The Newcastle part of the National Student Strike for the Climate, to be held today in Civic Park, illustrates that there has been a dramatic shift in youth and public consciousness of the need for climate action. People are increasingly connecting beach erosion, fish deaths, and loss of waterways with corporate greed and lack of action on environmental vandalism.
In the United States, the newly elected socialist Congressional Representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has sponsored a Green New Deal.
Her proposals have captured people’s imagination and shown that real action on climate change is popular and is possible.
In Australia, as young people are telling us, we need similar action, not talk.
The ALP has made recent comments about energy transition.
However, this is contradicted by its support for new mines, such as Adani, and coal-fired power stations.
We need to start negotiating the transition away from coal while there are still workers, and profits, in the coal industry so we are not left with holes in the ground and communities of unemployed people.
Two proposals that could help NSW rapidly transition to an economy based on clean, green new jobs are:
1. Conduct massive investment in free, fast and efficient public transport so as to provide an incentive for people to leave their cars at home. Mass uptake of free public transport would unclog our roads and make them safer for cyclists and pedestrians. It would also make our cities more liveable.
2. We could help reduce domestic emissions and meet the state’s housing shortfall by building 60,000 affordable and eco-friendly homes.
The community’s experience of service privatisation has shown that the private sector profit motive does not deliver for the common good, nor for the climate.
We need to listen to the calls of our youth and vote for politicians who will form governments that will take action on, and not just talk about, climate change.