After a summer of fire and smoke many times the maximum hazardous level, loss of life and property and the catastrophic impact on so much of our precious wildlife, many are experiencing anxiety and concern for the future.
I am among you. So are my children. Also Greta Thunberg and Australian economist Steve Keen (see attached article).
I changed my degree thirty ago after realising that if we don't get our climate and environmental management within sustainable levels, nothing else will matter. I have degrees in Economics, Arts (Political Science and Resource and Environmental Management) and a Masters Degree in Science.
Yet in the past thirty years we had the opportunity to first stop an increase in global temperatures but the required action was not taken. We now have the opportunity to keep warming below two degrees average surface temperature and the necessary action is not being taken with urgency or on the scale needed.
Economists are divided on the cost of climate change, with some predicting Armageddon, while others say a warming planet will be business as usual.
The Australian representatives on the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) advise that we must do all that we can and that limiting temperature rise to 1.5˚C has material beneficial impacts on sea level rise and on biodiversity and ecosystems such as coral reefs.
Adaptation is expected to be more challenging for ecosystems, food and health systems at 2°C of global warming than for 1.5°C.
I believe the science and the economics overwhelmingly supports taking urgent, large scale action on climate change. Here at Merici we are a five star school under the ACT government's sustainability accreditation system. Our efforts were recognised last year by the ACT government in awarding us ACT Sustainable School of the Year. This year you will see efforts to maintain our current award winning strategies as well as to increase our efforts to minimise our environmental impacts and nurture future sustainability leaders. We must do everything that we can.