By Emily Harle, Year 12 student and Issues & Action Leader at Strathcona Girls Grammar
My parents have fostered a love of nature in me my whole life, always encouraging my brother and I to learn about the world around us. This passion has continued throughout secondary school where I have been engrossed in learning about the environment and how we influence the planet.
During my geography classes last year, I studied the many factors contributing to the degradation of our planet, and the grim impacts that climate change is having around the world. While learning about the melting glaciers in Greenland, the widespread deforestation in Cameroon and the desertification of the Sahel region, it struck me that communities in these areas were coming together to protect their environment. These formidable activists and organisers often come from countries where poverty is rife, and life expectancy is terribly low. This begs the question, why do we as an extremely wealthy country repeatedly fail to do our bit to reduce climate change?
Global warming and environmental degradation do not only affect people across the seas. We have seen in our own backyard how the changing climate can take lives and livelihoods. The bushfires that burned for an unprecedented amount of time, the drought that devastated our regions, and more recently, devastating floods across huge parts of the country. These impacts are not endemic to a certain geographic location or social group, climate change can and will affect everyone.
During my studies of economics this year I have formed the view that the shift away from fossil fuels is an opportunity to harness our wealth and vast resources and to secure future prosperity. This is a view shared by many leading economists and academics. The shift towards a secure future for my generation and those to come does not have to cause as much pain to the economy as some say it will, in fact, with the right planning today we can further grow the economy and become a world-wide leader in renewable energy tomorrow.
All around our country there are everyday heroes doing their bit to create a brighter future. But these people can only do so much. That is why we need to ensure that our commonwealth government is leading the charge for a better tomorrow. What they need to deliver is clear – a pragmatic, concrete plan that will tackle climate change and secure a better future for Australians to come.
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