In the week starting Monday 22nd March, Extinction Rebellion, a non-violent, apolitical worldwide movement, initiated a coordinated national series of protests to draw attention to the climate and ecological emergency we are currently facing. I, along with others from Gippsland, attended some of these protests because our government is ignoring the urgency of this crisis and in doing so, is endangering all future generations and us.
We are sleepwalking into a catastrophe. The path we are on in this country and around the world is not sustainable. If we continue with our present climate change action plans, we will have a three plus degree rise in the average temperature from the industrial times, which will make our world almost unliveable.
I chose to be arrested by gluing my hand to the road on the day of the Women’s March for Climate Action. I chose this day because women worldwide will bear the brunt of climate change. They are the food gatherers; the lynchpin of families and communities yet are affected inequitably by natural disasters as highlighted by COVID19. As scientists have warned us, with climate change there will be more frequent and more severe climate related disasters. I did this because I am angry and filled with grief for what I see is happening around me.
I glued my hand to the road because my beloved snow gums are in trouble, my favourite birds are on the extinction list, and old growth forests are disappearing. My grandchildren may never see or touch a 400-year-old towering tree and think about who has walked beneath it, contemplate the elegant beauty of our mountain ash, swim in a beautifully cooling mountain stream or experience the magic of the Tasmanian beech forests. They may never ski on the Bogong high plains or experience the challenge and joy of bushwalking in the wild parts of Australia. The grief caused by the changes I see is present. I cannot sit and watch while this happens.
My generation (baby boomer) has reaped the benefits of fossil fuel, we must now step up and pay our dues. We cannot leave this fight for a healthy, liveable planet to the young people. We, as in our scientists, technicians, farmers, have the answers but our politicians refuse to take the necessary actions despite years of public letter writing, petition signing, rally walking. I glued my hand to the road to demonstrate the depth of my feelings and the urgent need for action by the Federal Government. I glued my hand to the road in solidarity with my fellow activists who feel the same grief and work in a myriad of ways to make our government take this crisis seriously.
*Ro is the founder of East Gippsland Climate Action Network and a member of Extinction Rebellion