By Jeff Canin
Green Turtle Films has been working on our film, 2 Degrees, about climate justice, for over 4 years now.
Having been immersed in this subject for so long, we take it for granted that climate change is real, humans are causing it, and the planet will face dire consequences if we continue with the currently universal “business as usual” approach.
But the reaction of the Australian media to the recent fires and heatwave still manages to shock us.
There have been very few mainstream media articles linking the recent events to climate change.
The few that have resulted in a storm of sceptic voices, led by the national newspaper, The Australian, and members of Parliament from the conservative opposition.
Interview: UK journalist and campaigner George Monbiot
This silence on the part of the media was not by accident. Scientists were speaking up, such as Liz Hanna, from the Australian National University, who made an impassioned plea:
“Those of us who spend our days trawling — and contributing to — the scientific literature on climate change are becoming increasingly gloomy about the future of human civilisation. We are well past the time of niceties, of avoiding the dire nature of what is unfolding, and politely trying not to scare the public.
“The unparalleled setting of new heat extremes is forcing the continual upwards trending of warming predictions for the future, and the timescale is contracting.
“This trepidation on the part of scientists and researchers, and in some cases flagrant resistance by stakeholders in the fossil fuel industry, to allow the real story to be fully revealed and comprehended by the public at large, has allowed the stalling of action to save the planet, and ourselves”.
CONGO: Destruction of forests filmed in DRC
The media’s behaviour has made us even more determined to finish our film and have it distributed as widely as possible.
The message of our film is that we will not have a “top-down” solution to climate change from the UNFCCC process or from governments in the timeframe the science demands.
The only way we will see a reduction of emissions is for the general public to take action: to both reduce our own personal emissions and to demand more from our governments, media and industry.
Only when it is clearly an electoral issue will governments take it seriously.
People power has forced change in the past, and we need to do it again now. Our film is a call to arms, and clearly it has never been needed more urgently.
Interview: Climate scientist Kevin Anderson