Why do you care about climate change?
Another step I took as part of my recent eddy of activity on climate change was to sign up with the 'Who on Earth Cares' website. An initiative of the Australian Conservation Foundation, the site allows people across Australia to express their concerns about climate change and pledge to take certain steps to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, and record and share their initiatives on a map. It also allows you to see how people in your neighbourhood are taking similar steps. It's quite encouraging.
The site asks you three basic questions, thus providing a frame for what you share online, and asks you to nominate various steps you pledge to take to cut your personal and household greenhouse emissions. I've decided to share what I wrote for Who on Earth Cares here – also because it captures my latest thoughts on action on climate change:
Why do you care about climate change?
I believe that global warming is one of the most pressing crises facing our planet, and our human society, and we need to take the most effective action possible as soon as possible to avert the most dangerous aspects of climate change. I want to be able to say to my children and grandchildren that I did what I could to help slow, stop and even reverse dangerous climate change.
How concerned are you about climate change?
I'm very concerned about climate change, and I'm very concerned that despite its promises, the efforts by the Rudd government will be too little, too late. The Rudd Government must commit to strong targets in any climate change plan – namely a reduction of greenhouse emissions by a minimum 40% by 2020 and no less.
Although I believe that the most effective action on cutting greenhouse gas emissions must come from government and industry, I think that families and households can reinvigorate our action to cut household emissions to show the government and industry that we are serious, and that we can 'do' as we 'say', just as we expect them to act. This is why I am renewing my and my family's commitment to continue reducing our climate impact and to cut our household emissions further.
What do you want Australia to be like in the future?
I want Australia to be carbon neutral – to be weened off the fossil fuel industries and generating our energy needs from sustainable, renewable energy. I want Australia to be nuclear free, and tapping into the vast resources of solar, wind, and geothermal energies. I want to see whole communities working together to make our food, transport, housing, health, well-being, culture, industry, education, government etc ecologically and socially sustainable – to be human and humane.
To reduce my greenhouse pollution, I have personally committed to:
* Switch my household power supply to accredited GreenPower
* Set my washing machine to wash my clothes in cold water
* Turn off computers and screens overnight at work and home
* Eat one less serve of meat a week
* Avoid one domestic air flight this year and purchase carbon offsets
* Drive 20 kilometres less each week
* Reduce my household electricity and gas usage by 20%
A lot of the steps I've pledged above are things I already do, like cycling and taking the tram to work instead of driving, but I'm renewing my comitment to do them.
Some steps are new – we're switching to 100% wind powered GreenPower. This has been a useful exercise because I discovered the GreenPower plan we're on at home only includes 20% wind energy, leaving the ballance to come from coal and hydro (which the government no longer accredits as GreenPower, I gather).
The other great thing about the site is that it encourages you to write to your local federal member of parliament to share your concerns and urge them to support stronger action from Australia on climate change. It automatically generates the letter's text based on what you've written for the first two questions above and additional material they provide on greenhouse gas emissions targets. Brilliant! I also used this feature to amend and prepare a second letter to federal Minister for Climate Change, Penny Wong. More action that is usefully directed at lobbying your MP and Minister.
I encourage you to sign up with Who on Earth Cares (if you haven't already, of course) and perhaps share what you've written there on your own blog if you have one (drop me a comment here to let me know if you've done this). One reason for this is that most bloggers I know aren't too keen on outing their locations so publically on a google map, which is what Who on Earth Cares does. After all, we are fond of our privacy and security, aren't we? Though perhaps not as much as we are fond of a decent and secure future for our kids.
So do remember to send your letter to your local member.
[Image is a screenshot from Who on Earth Cares]