Environment

Climate Change and Sustainability

I have recently completed a Master of Environment degree focusing on Governance, Policy and Communication at the University of Melbourne, I have also received training from former US Vice President Al Gore in presenting his Climate Project presentation on the causes and impacts of as well as solutions to climate change.

I now speak to a wide range of audiences on the issues of climate change and environmental sustainability and their relevance and importance to all sectors of society.

In 2008 while President of the Australian Commercial Galleries Association I initiated the Green Galleries Guide in association with the Australian Conservation Foundation. The Guide sets out simple steps to help art galleries lower their carbon footprint and become more environmentally responsible.

Why should you act on Climate Change?

Climate Change poses fundamental challenges regarding our relationship with nature and our relationships with each other. Our response to these challenges will have far reaching consequences over vast distances and even vaster timescales. More than any other environmental or social problem, climate change requires us to think and act according to the well known slogan, ‘Think Global, Act Local’.  We must appreciate these issues on a global scale and, as individuals and communities, take action at the local level.

One only needs to see the latest scientific data to be reminded that most currently observed indicators of climate change, such as temperature increase, sea level rise, ocean acidification and glacier and ice sheet melting, are tracking at or above the worst case projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The causes and impacts of climate change from an Australian perspective have also been thoroughly discussed by the Australian Academy of Science in its August 2010 publication The Science of Climate Change: Questions and Answers.

Hazelwood Power Station, Victoria

Our own responsibility for these global changes might not be immediately apparent. After all, it is often pointed out that Australia contributes ‘only’ around 1.5% of the world’s total annual Green House Gas emissions (GHG). Yet we emit more GHG per person than any other country in the world, almost three times more than the Italians, around six times more than the Chinese and a staggering 50 times more than most Indians and Africans. Here in Victoria our reliance on brown coal to produce electricity places us at the top of the world polluter’s ‘hall of infamy’.

We live in a world where we already use the equivalent of 1.4 planets to provide our resources and contain our waste. But this generation,your generation, is in the privileged position of being able to change history for the better for every generation that is yet to come. We alone possess both memory and foresight. We alone can imagine and create the best and worst of futures. We alone have it within our power to take action now, for as a sage once said, “If not now, when?”