Our Heroes by Rosemary Gooch

First Published in the Bairnsdale Advertiser 21May

During the devastating fires this summer, the firies were our heroes… universally recognised and applauded, rightly so! During COVID-19 our health workers and medical scientists have been and still are our heroes, universally recognised and applauded, rightly so! Now we urgently need to do the same for our climate scientists, often ignored or downplayed in the past by our governments.

People are saying let’s get back to normal, but what’s normal? For us in East Gippsland pre-virus meant a three-year drought and a devastating bushfire that burnt more than 18 million hectares of south east Australia and sent smoke plumes around the planet. A bushfire predicted by scientists and firefighters alike. A bushfire, that research has shown, was significantly more likely because of human-induced climate change.

With COVID-19 our government took heed of the scientists and acted quickly and decisively and in doing so they significantly reduced the potential pandemic deaths for us here in Australia. They have shown us that they can put aside their differences and work together for the good of us all. COVID19 has also shown us that the Australian people, when presented with the facts, respond enthusiastically and responsibly. There has been a tremendous sense of community support and good will. Most people want to do what is right for society as a whole.

So, this is a plea to our Government; follow the science and take the actions needed to make a difference on climate change. This is a plea not to go back to party politics and simplistic one-liners. This issue is too important for that. People need to know what is at stake and what are the possibilities. We need the facts laid out truthfully and clearly, not the fear mongering, political spin and actual misinformation we have had in the past.

We need to honour our climate scientists* just like we did with our firies and medical professionals. We need to listen to and act on climate research and modelling just like we have with the pandemic. Flattening the curve is a concept well understood now and is equally important for minimising the worst of climate change. We have the resources and the know how to build a healthy sustainable environment as well as a thriving economy.

So, let’s do it.

The Author if from Nicholson and one of the founders of EGCAN

* See similar blog on our science heroes here.