The following article is based on a talk given to the Wollongong Climate Emergency Rally on June 13 by Vanessa Organo. Organo is the environment representative at Wollongong University Students' Association and a member of Resistance.
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Young people are the most important group in the climate change debate. My generation and those younger than me will be most affected by climate change.
Climate change is about time and about the future. Neither of these things have been realistically addressed in the current debate. Our future has been ignored by the current government.
Averting climate change will have to continue beyond our lifetime and certainly beyond PM Kevin Rudd's political career. And it has to start now. The path to sustainability can't begin by 2020 through a ridiculous 5% cut in emissions.
It must be difficult for politicians to think of the future beyond their term in parliament. Their career span doesn't have time to prioritise an issue that is as complex and as long-term as climate change.
But those politicians aren't the ones who'll be living the history that they're creating if they implement the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).
Their grandchildren will still be dealing with the consequences of their decisions — when climate change begins to affect biodiversity and weather patterns, causing extreme natural disasters and climate refugees.
The CPRS does not guarantee a safe-climate future. The things that will halt climate change now are our demands of 100% renewable energy by 2020, a transition to green jobs and a focus on climate justice.
Unlike Rudd, we, young people, see a long path ahead. He is ignoring the future of Australia's youth when he implements a policy that invests $9 billion into dirty coal industries. This will secure a change in our climate, poison in our air and provide polluting rights for big business. That's not the type of security that we want or need.
But we can overcome this lack of political vision. I call especially on young people to stand up for our rights and for the environment. We have the vision and power to change current practices and policies. One hundred percent renewables by 2020 is realistic and possible.
We will not be a generation that settles for anything less.
We can win the fight for renewable energy, green jobs, green education, and environmental justice. We will change our way of living and thinking, we can change politics to ensure the survival of this planet.
I urge you to become involved any way you can to keep this movement going.
There are already events planned to continue the campaign for a safe climate future. On October 9-11, there is a Camp for Climate Action occurring in Helensburgh, south of Sydney, at the oldest coal mine in Australia.
It is our right to take control of our future, because we are going to be the ones living it. We will not be ignored and we will win a safe climate.