Jane Morton to speak in Bairnsdale

Jane Morton, author of Don’t Mention the Emergency: making the case for emergency climate action will be speaking in Bairnsdale on Tuesday March 19 (see here for full details). Jane “is a clinical psychologist, who worked for 30 years in public sector mental health services. She is the lead author of a book on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and a number of consultants reports to the Victorian government. Five years ago, she went into semi-retirement to campaign on the climate emergency. She is convenor of Darebin Climate Action Now, and active in the Australian campaign to declare a climate emergency.”

In her introduction she notes that “Recently, climate experts have started talking about a new category of threat: not just ‘dangerous’, or even ‘catastrophic’, but ‘existential’ – a threat that could annihilate most people on earth” and that the current warming we are experiencing is not safe. “Even the current level of warming (just over one degree) is clearly far from safe: extreme weather is increasing, ice caps are melting, and coral reefs are dying.”

The need for emergency action is not reaching the public. “Time is running out to address the climate emergency, but there remains a vast gulf between what political leaders and the media say, and the truth. The most frequently heard message is that staying under two degrees of warming will keep us safe, and that gradual emissions reductions of around 26% (Coalition) or 45% (Labor) represent ‘our fair share’ of the challenge. The catastrophic risks are not explained and the speed and scale of action required is massively understated.”

There is a need for “leaders to step up, but they must hear a clear, strong emergency message coming from all sides before they will be willing to lead the public on emergency action.”

Organiser of the event Ro Gooch stated: “The aim of the meeting is to help inform people and to discuss ways we can help both locally and globally.” Ro heard Jane recently speak at the Sustainability Festival and invited her to speak in Bairnsdale. Hopefully the audience will include local councillors and representatives of the media, as well as a cross-section of the general public. A full report will follow the meeting.