There has been a lot of pain and suffering across Australia recently that has brought home the scale of the biggest challenge we face as a species: bullying.
There is no more anger-inducing sight than seeing the powerful seeking to cower the weak. It isn’t easy for the victim to declare: “I will not stand for this!”
Whatever we may think of his policies to hasten an eco-holocaust, we should applaud the courage shown by Prime Minister Scott Morrison who recently insisted that he would not be “bullied” on climate policy by “the inner city”.
Bullying is never okay, whether it is the big kid in the school yard demanding your lunch money or people exercising their democratic right to ask the government to “Please, for god’s sake, do something or we’re all going to burn to death!”
Anyone on the receiving end of nasty abuse can tell you that it’s not just the flames from out-of-control mega fires that burn — so do words! It is almost as bad as that time those thugs violently tried to refuse to shake the PM’s hand just because he wasn’t doing anything about the fact their homes burned down.
It is not like the federal government is in any position to do anything like, say, declare a climate emergency and invest in a large-scale, publicly-driven green new deal to reverse the ultra-destructive policies undermining the planet’s ability to sustain civilisation.
Sure, there was a detailed, fully-costed energy plan released by Beyond Zero Emissions to shift to a zero-carbon economy by 2020 that Malcolm Turnbull even helped launch (before he became Coalition Prime Minister and forgot he’d ever heard of it).
Honestly, humanity has not achieved all it has by listening to a “lunatic fringe”. Or “scientists”.
It’s not like Morrison is doing nothing. He’s put $2 billion into “bushfire recovery”, a full sixth of the $12 billion in taxpayer subsidies fossil fuel corporations are given annually. By their standards, that is pretty serious.
Being a practical man, our PM is focusing on “adaption and resilience” to climate change. It is an approach we could all learn from, and not just humans.
When I heard that the Dungeness crab shells are dissolving due to rising acidity in the oceans, I thought they could use a bit of ScoMo common sense and start adapting to living life with no shell. Why not? It’s what the Quiet Crabs want, however much noise the minority inner-sea crabs make.
The gap between what this country — and humanity — needs and what our political overlords are offering has been brought home by the fact the Coalition is currently badly split. Rebels in the National Party have declared war on the Morrison government because it isn’t pro-coal enough.
That’s right, Scott “I-love-coal-so-much-I-brought-a-giant-lump-of-it-into-parliament-to-demand-the-opposition-worship-it-too” Morrison isn’t pro-coal enough! These people want to ensure households have a coal mine in every pot.
How powerful are fossil fuel interests in Australia? When extreme weather is wrecking unprecedented havoc on millions, it is managing to split the government between those who support fossil fuels and those who really, really, really love fossil fuels — more than rebel Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce loves filming batshit crazy rants while clearly being smashed. OK in his case that's probably a draw.
Luckily, we have an opposition that is willing to stand up as Labor’s shadow resource minister Joel Fitzgibbon did the other day tweeting: “Freshly minted Resources Minister Keith Pitt is off to an inauspicious start, threatening a big new tax on the Australia’s wealth-creating gas sector just two days after his swearing-in”.
Yes, Fitzgibbon is vying with Joyce and Matt Canavan to insist that fossil fuel corporations are not seriously taxed, much less forced to help pay for a transition to a sustainable economy underpinned by a major growth in green jobs.
It is almost as if mainstream politics is entirely owned by corporate interests whose profits are killing us.
What can you do about it?
One answer is to look at what these forces try to stop, be it the federal government trying to outlaw “climate boycotts”, Queensland Labor cracking down on climate protests, or Victorian Labor cheering as police bash peaceful protesters blockading a mining conference.
They don’t mind if you post an angry status on social media, or a hilarious meme. They don’t even mind if you write an angry rant in a left-wing media outlet.
They do mind, however, when you work to build a mass movement that seeks to mobilise the huge support for climate action to stop this fucking madness and give humanity a future.
Find out what they are trying to stop then do more of it.
[Join your nearest climate protest on February 22.]