Australia, we need to talk


Climate change has become a national debate. The science agrees, yet many people still remain in doubt. The evidence is there; it seems that some of us just chose to ignore it. Weather records are being broken. 50°C degree heatwaves are taking lives. Extreme rains and heatwaves are murdering our crops. Whether you believe in the reality or not, making the world a better place can’t be a waste of anything.

Right now the future isn’t very bright for the young people who are going to have to inhabit it. It’s a fair call to want a future with a stable climate, clean air and sustainable food.

Let’s look at the Climate Justice movement: Some of us think of a radical change to become vegan. Others think it’s the immediate destruction of jobs. The reality is that it’s not about everyone becoming vegan and hugging trees. It’s not about dramatically changing our way of life. It’s about just transitions. It’s about creating more jobs. It’s about small changes. It’s about a liveable future for your children.

The science says we only have an average global temperature rise of 1.5°C degrees before things become extremely grave. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a lot. The trouble is we are currently passing 1.0°C degrees of global warming already, and the amount of carbon dioxide we keep polluting the atmosphere with every year has already locked us in for a 1.5°C degree global temperature rise in the near future.

It sounds radical but it’s real. We are at a critical time in human history. We have a choice to stand up and fight for the future of the planet. To make the world a better place through small actions in our daily lives.

Alternatively, we can ignore it, knowing that it won’t go away. Should we let our children bear the consequences of the actions of the past generations? It’s time that we all make that decision. We need to take action because it’s only together that we can make the changes that are so desperately needed.

We are the future
I am a young person, and like all young people, I won’t be young for much longer. We all have to grow up. It’s a simple fact of life. In the same way, we all have to die. Like it or not, death is coming for you. He will win. Hopefully that’s a long time to come.

When death does come for you in the night, and you pass into where ever you believe you go, who will take your place? That’s right! It’ll be our time to shine. It may be a scary thought for some but we young people are going to take your place in the world as fully grown-up and responsible adults. In other words, we are the future.

There’s an old saying ‘We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.’ The Native Americans were wise. This saying has never spoken louder. Our nation is currently facing major issues. Climate Change, Marriage Equality and Multiculturalism are all hot topics. These pressing issues will have lasting impacts.

We are the future, and the world will be ours. No evil laugh needed. Today’s politicians aren’t working for the long term. Like you, death is coming for them too. The question is, do they care about the world they leave? With so many decisions being made today, with such long term affects, why aren’t young people being consulted? We are the future! – Well, at least I thought we were?

When it’s our future that is at risk, it’s our problem. So why aren’t we being asked to be part of the solution?

A good example is what recently happened in the UK. The Brexit was decided by a public vote. Most of the people who voted to leave were older. This has left the young people, who voted to stay, to pick up the mess and deal with consequences.

The same thing is at risk of happening right here in Australia. Why should we have to clean up for our parents’ and grand parents’ generations?
It’s time young people were invited into the conversation. Australia, we need to talk.

Jack Nyhof is a 15-year-old high school student and founder of Earth People Animals.   Read more about Jack Nyhof.

» Jack Nyhof’s Twitter account

“The world is a lot closer to a “total climate catastrophe” than you’d think”
Josh Fox

» The New York Times – 20 August 2016:
Think It’s Hot Now? Just Wait

» The Guardian – 6 August 2016:
Scientists warn world will miss key climate target
Grim backdrop to vital global emissions talks as new analysis shows 1.5C limit on warming is close to being broken

A good science-based podcast on climate change

Bill Nye the Science Guy and Chuck Nice answer ‘Cosmic Queries’ about humanity’s major challenge, with a little help from climatologist Dr Gavin A. Schmidt of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

» Download the episode: – 65 MB, duration: 47:21 minutes, published on 27 July 2016

» Show notes on: