The climate is really starting to heat up and we are now experiencing some extreme weather as a result of that. This year February was an alarming 1.35C above a century of global averages, an unprecedented leap that has many scientists warning of a climate emergency. This comes on the back of a record January, and a record 2015.
A month is normally too short of a time period to comment on climate, however, lately things have really started to change – the last 5 months have seen a jump in the average temperature to over 1 degree above historical averages.
On a political level, we are slowly starting to move into gear. Recently Canada and The US agreed to lead the transition to a low-carbon world, and of course last year we saw the historic agreement reached in Paris. But here in Australia, not enough is being done despite strong public support. So when will Australia’s Federal Government take heed and implement real action?
The answer is probably a little scary but also empowering.
Implementing real climate action is going to be expensive, and so from a political standpoint, it is going to be practically impossible to implement before it’s too late, when an increase in extreme weather events start to impact our way of life and can no longer be ignored. We all saw what happened when we tried a Carbon Tax. The issue got dragged through the mud, power prices went up (don’t get me started), the media hype distorted reality and nothing productive was achieved. I think in the end Australia breathed a collective sigh of relief when the whole mess went away… unfortunately, though, the actual problem just kept on growing.
So in a time when politicians across the board are generally unwilling to implement real change, the weight of responsibility lies with us, the people. The time to act was clearly many years ago, however as the world surges towards environmental tipping points the next best time to act is now.
It’s time for a paradigm shift in the way we act, and it doesn’t matter that our political vote isn’t going to change anything (for now) because we still have our most powerful vote in our pocket – the power of how we spend our money.
In a society where money is king to the point that economic growth is almost worshipped, our real power lies in how we spend our money.
Individuals have an incredible influence, far beyond what most of us could imagine. Just as a small example, when I was at university working at a bottleshop, one customer came in every day and bought two bottles of beer from a micro-brewery that literally no one else bought. One day, he just stopped coming in, and within two weeks the product was reduced to clear and replaced with more shelf space for one of the main brands. Extrapolate this power out to even just 10% of the population, and according to the ‘minority rule,’ this is enough to create a tipping point in society, as long as the 10% have a firm belief and stick to it.
Solar power is now well beyond this tipping point. Over 1.5 million households have solar power, and that number is set to skyrocket now that battery storage is rolling out. If you are still sitting on the fence wondering if solar is worth it, it’s now time to act. A 5kW solar system takes around $50,000 off the books of the coal industry, and in big business, it’s all about forecasting future demand. This is why coal industry experts now see the writing on the wall. The tipping point to a cleaner energy grid has already happened. We have well over 10% of the population with a firm belief, and we are now seeing that view spread through society.
It’s up to us to fast track this transition. It means installing solar power, it means supporting the renewables industry by choosing brands that are investing money in R&D such as Q Cells, LG and Enphase, it means investing our money in renewable energy projects, and yes it especially means doing the small things such as eating less meat and even starting a garden.
The world is changing and it is changing fast. It is time for us to grab this opportunity and steer our energy grid and our society at large in a direction that ensures our world continues to prosper. Last year Greg Hunt said it’s time for our politics on climate change to catch up to the people. Well, I say it’s time for the people to start running even faster. Catch us if you can!