It’s Not Easy Being Green

Campaigning for change, Food & climate change article written on the 12 Oct 2010

Trying to live an environmentally friendly existence is difficult enough, but in my job it goes even further, my work as a climate change campaigner is to do a multitude of things not the least of which appears is getting people to accept that science proves climate change is happening now and its happening because of human activities.

This part of my work is definitely the hardest part of being green, in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence we are still bombarded with the opinions of those who do not have the necessary expertise to weigh all of the scientific evidence. We are confused by a media, that in an attempt to show both sides of the story – give as much attention to the 2% of corporate sponsored scientists and their political followers that claim that climate change is not happening, or that humans are not the cause, or that it’s just too expensive or too late to do anything about, as they do to the 98% of scientist that accept that climate change is as real as the sun itself. Politicians and columnists can use all of these arguments, while climate change advocates can only argue facts, hard cold scientific facts.

The arguments used by politicians and columnists are often convincing, but simply being convincing does not give scientific credos to their arguments. Let’s take for example the argument used by Miranda Devine in her first Daily Telegraph article last Thursday, she states that surface air temperatures are unreliable due to the fact that temperature gauges may be close to airports and industrial areas as opposed to in fields and paddocks (as they would have been the case when reading were first being recorded), thus giving a false positive reading in temperature increases. Sounds reasonable on the surface, however anyone who has actually studied the International Panel on Climate Change report and has even the mildest capacity to understand the science, knows that surface air temperatures are only a very small part of the indicators showing us the climate change truth. There is also the ice sheet data, the information gathered from tree rings, the temperatures taken from the oceans, the atmosphere and troposphere, the measurements of arctic ice, glaciers and sea level, as well as the studies of natural disaster patterns and monitoring of ecosystems.

It is the combined scientific information of all of these studies that show us climate change is a reality we have to deal with, none of which can be explained by a highway being built next to a temperature gauge.
Miranda also very dishearteningly drew a correlation in her article between climate change advocates and extreme religious organizations preaching doomsday scenarios. This could not be further than the truth, as a climate change campaigner I know that there is still hope for the future. I know this because the science shows that our individual actions can and do have lasting impacts. I know that we can and are making positive changes, it is already happening both here in Australia and all over the world. It is evident by the success of the events arranged as part of the 10.10.10 campaign, by the uptake in solar usage in NSW and through other actions such as the implementation of base load solar power stations in Spain using new salt and malt technologies. I know that we can turn climate change around, the technologies to make it happen already exist.

I also truly believe that if we make our voices loud enough and clear enough, if we demand action often enough from our political leaders they will (eventually) make the hard decisions needed to ensure a stable climate for generations to come. So join the number of people demanding action on climate change.

Oxfam Australia NSW/ACT Campaigner Debbie Hunt