Just want to get the job done – Anon

Just want

to get the

job done

Climate change has become more than just a global crisis; it’s deeply personal. It’s etched into the very core of identities, igniting a fervent passion that propels those who are inclined toward a career dedicated to addressing this pressing issue. My journey began in Australia, a land of stark contrasts, where the impacts of climate change varied dramatically between my two childhood homes – Wagga Wagga and Sydney.

Wagga Wagga, a conservative regional city, was no stranger to the capricious forces of nature. It experienced both devastating droughts and destructive floods, with the Murrumbidgee River flooding up to five times a year in some periods. The community’s lifeblood was agriculture and fishing, but the increasingly severe floods and droughts threatened their very existence. I vividly recall the hardships endured by local farmers – a resilient yet vulnerable group. They were forced into unsustainable practices due to rising feed prices, causing devastating consequences. Crop yields plummeted, livestock struggled to survive, and rural communities were strained to the breaking point. During droughts, rivers ran dry, and the once-thriving waterways turned into graveyards with thousands of dead fish. Climate change has multiple faces, as in 2012, the city faced a catastrophic flood as the Murrumbidgee River reached a 159-year high, displacing around 9,000 people, including my family.

In stark contrast, Sydney offered a different perspective, where the impact of climate change was evident in the realm of biodiversity.

I’ll never forget the summer of 2013 when over 6,000 young flying foxes perished due to extreme temperatures in Kiama. This event highlighted the perilous threshold of 42 degrees Celsius for many native species, and it struck a chord with my young, aspiring veterinarian’s heart. As I delved into my studies and the agriculture sector, I realized the direct link between extreme temperatures and the decline of crucial species.

Australia’s history includes bushfires, but their increased frequency and severity, notably the 2019 bushfires, were alarming. The unprecedented scale of these fires left an indelible mark on my memory. The impact wasn’t confined to rural areas; urban regions, including Sydney, suffered from the smog and air quality plummeted. It hit home for me personally, as someone who had just recovered from meningococcal, leaving me with vulnerable lungs. I wondered about the consequences for human health and medicine.

The Great Barrier Reef, a world wonder, and the Southern kelp forests bore the brunt of the changing climate. And this was just with a 1-degree Celsius rise in global temperatures. As I reflect on these events, I can’t help but wonder: What lies ahead if we fail to take immediate action? We must remember that signing the Paris Agreement doesn’t guarantee we’ll achieve our climate targets. Even if all nations fulfill their current commitments, we’re still on track for a 3-degree Celsius temperature increase by 2100. Our international promises are insufficient to avert an environmental catastrophe.

But even in the face of these daunting challenges, there’s room for hope. With collective will, innovative solutions, and unwavering dedication, we can still rewrite the narrative and steer the course toward a sustainable and thriving future for all.

The magnitude of what we stand to lose is immeasurable, and we’ve already witnessed significant losses. Yet, with rapid action and decisive leadership, we can change the course we’re on. Australia, with its rich scientific tradition, stable democracy, and innovative community, bears a moral responsibility to lead the global charge for effective climate action.

I’ve heard the most devastating of stories from communities all around the world, all at times more devastating than my own experience in Australia. We are so lucky with the rich resources, stable political democracy, and healthy community of innovation and scientists that we can push this! I understand how daunting the task is.

What we discuss at these international conferences isn’t just about economic adjustments; it signifies a profound societal shift. Unfortunately, this critical perspective often gets lost, as these platforms are not always accessible to those who bear the brunt of climate change. It’s crucial to remember that decisions are being made by those who have not yet experienced the worst of what’s to come.