For the future

Thousands of protesters calling for action against climate change swarmed down George St in Dunedin today. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Photo: Gerard O'Brien
The world is becoming a scarier place by the week, writes parenting columnist Ian Munro.

Ian Munro
Ian Munro
It's not just the renewal of the arms race between superpowers, it's also the vast sums of money dedicated to it.

It's not just politicians telling the usual porkies. It's also those in democracies who now maliciously use social media and lie outright, even when the truth is obvious, and have no shame when this is pointed out.

It's not just the predicted economic downturn and the massive gap between those who work to create wealth and pay taxes on their earnings and those who hoard the wealth and pay minimal, if any, tax. It's also the potential for the former to turn violently on the latter. Nor is it just about climate change and the paralysis of our decision-makers and those among us who shrug it off as of no great consequence - either it's a normal cycle or something will turn up, it always does. It's also about the inevitability of a breakdown in food production and social, economic and cultural disintegration.

None of these can be viewed separately; they're already interwoven. It's enough to keep you awake at night if you start thinking of your youngsters' futures.

Heat records are being set monthly, the Amazon is being burnt, Australia is drying up and burning and it's only early spring, places are being blown apart and swamped and the ice melts at alarming, faster-than-predicted rates. Yet world leaders seem to fiddle as we burn. They prevaricate and even reverse measures already taken. Or rub their hands with glee over the mineral resources soon to become accessible.

Declaring a climate emergency is an easy but empty gesture if a country is not then put on some sort of "war footing". We're mostly agreed on the bad news. Now we need to hear detail of the potential solutions. Action is going to be pricey and painful. Many businesses and people will be hurt and will require support.

How are we explaining ourselves to our youngsters? Are we even trying to? Possibly not. So, this Friday, they will again explain to us that political, business and religious leaders continue to drag the chain. This brings me to Greta Thunberg, whom I've quoted in the past.

"[Our] future was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money ... you lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to.

"The basic problem is that basically nothing is being done to halt - or even slow - climate and ecological breakdown, despite all the beautiful words and promises."

Don't just give moral support and "beautiful words and promises" to our young people next Friday. We need to join them and then demand our national and regional leaders be courageous, take politics out of the equation, listen to the scientists and work together to provide leadership on this - for our children's sake.

• In Dunedin, Friday's (September 27) Climate Strike involves meeting at the Dental School at noon and marching to the Octagon.


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