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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald

Climate change needs mindset change

Toddler Margot Norsworthy at Queens Wharf in September 2023. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

An examination of climate data at Nobbys over the past century gives a clear indication that our part of the world is warming, just like the globe overall.

In eight of the past 11 years, annual maximum temperatures at the iconic beach have been in the top 10 for this measure over a century.

The data again backs up what most of us know. We can see and feel climate change happening before our eyes.

In a media release on Monday, the CSIRO noted that 2023 was "officially the hottest year in recorded history".

Its climate intelligence director, Dr Jaci Brown, said "the heat in 2023 is a useful glimpse of our not-too-distant future".

"In a few decades this won't look like a hot year, it will be a normal year or possibly even a cool year.

"We need to be asking ourselves - how do we prepare for that?"

Perhaps we should all be asking ourselves what we can do to make a difference.

An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, released in March last year, stated that global greenhouse gas emissions had "continued to increase" from historical and ongoing "unsustainable energy use, land use and land-use change, lifestyles and patterns of consumption".

Australia, like many parts of the world, is making progress in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Land use across the world remains a big concern, especially given stories like sections of Amazon Rainforest being cleared so people can eat more cheap fast-food burgers.

But there are stories of hope. Consumers can show their support for the cause by supporting companies that give back to projects that tackle climate change.

Our lifestyles and patterns of consumption contribute to the state of the planet. Consumers need more ways to show business they care about the environment.

Governments should be working on incentives for this, as it's too easy to buy cheap and polluting products from corporations with no conscience.

If this doesn't change, how will the world change? How will we ensure clean air, water and food for future generations? How will we get hold of the runaway climate?

Humanity gives us cause for optimism and pessimism. The endless wars obviously fall into the latter, with Ukraine and Gaza the latest conflict zones to receive the most attention in the Western media.

Stories of people pushing for change need telling. Take the British aviation journalist and consultant Nick Cook, who held a conference with aerospace and defence sector bosses to turn their minds to the state of the planet.

As Cook writes, the world's top contractors in this sector had "knowledge of the planet from the ocean floor to interstellar space".

"They knew the environment better than any other sector - and the planet was in trouble. Not just from a climate perspective, but across all ecosystems.

"Forests were burning, coral reefs were dying, oceans were being poisoned and species were disappearing at eye-watering and heart-rending extinction rates."

Could the minds that built aircraft, ships, tanks and missiles be turned to solving the climate emergency?

It turned out their business model wasn't suited for the purpose. This, Cook wrote, was "a problem of mindset".

It's a point that's hard to refute.

ISSUE: 40,116

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