Opinion

Stand up for change

By John Lewis

Things are hotting up.

Queensland is still burning, snakes are waking and the climate change debate is being ignited by young people across the world.

Today thousands of students across Australia will walk out of their classrooms to light a fire under the sleeping dinosaurs of Canberra and the fossil-fuel companies that are driving us off a cliff.

And this time it's not just zealous teenagers hitting the streets.

They are being joined by union members, public servants, teachers, college students, doctors, shopkeepers and senior citizens who are worried about their and their children's future.

Yep — the usual Greenie, left-wing, pinko-commie, over-educated mob.

Except this time even the corporations are waking up. Hundreds of companies across the world and at least 20 companies in Australia including the tech giant Atlassian have formed the Not Business as Usual alliance and are encouraging employees to go on strike.

The Investor Group on Climate Change, which represents institutional investors with total funds under management of over $2 trillion, wants governments to phase out coal power and put a price on carbon pollution.

Here in Shepparton, the charge is being led by 15-year-old Emily Minotti-Watson, who has bravely stuck her head above the parapet and called on people to join her in the Maude St Mall to make their voices heard.

What are these voices saying?

Well for a start, they are saying the world is disappearing before our eyes and people in power don't seem too bothered about it.

Despite the majority of the world's scientists warning us that things are going to get worse, a lot worse, unless we change our ways, conservative governments across the world have joined the Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt conspiracy theory school of science: stay calm and do nothing — it's all fake news.

I am not a scientist but I have taken the trouble to read the opening statement of the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the IPCC.

The opening words are not scientific — they are simple and stark: "Human influence on the climate system is clear and growing, with impacts observed across all continents and oceans.”

Now, anyone arguing with 97 per cent of the world's scientists who say that climate change is real and is caused by humans is either arrogant or foolish. Or invested and devious.

The arrogance of those who belittle younger generations for trying to drag the cloth-eared heads of their uncles and grandfathers out of the sand is breathtaking.

No wonder it takes the passion of teenagers like our own Emily Minotti-Watson and others like Greta Thunberg to shout the loudest.

It's their future, not ours.