When you bring a child into the world, you are faced with an honest reckoning about the future that they will inherit. On current forecasts, my son Otis and children who are playing in kindergartens all over Australia will face about four degrees of warming in their lifetimes.
Reading the recent reports of women under 30 surveyed about their plans for parenthood, I understand why more people are rethinking whether or not they’ll have kids, faced with the prospect of a rapidly changing climate and the devastation it’s already bringing. Floods, droughts, bushfires destroying property and wilderness, and our cities becoming hot and unlivable for vulnerable people.
For those of us who have children, the despair and guilt is a heady mix when you add it to the sleep deprivation that new parents know all too well. I worry a lot during those hours in the dark rocking my baby back to sleep.
But most days as the sun rises and the coffee kicks in, I manage to find hope.
There’s hope in the determined action of the young people organising the Schools Strike for Climate. There’s hope in the forest defenders putting themselves on the line to halt logging in the carbon-dense forests of Victoria’s central highlands and far east Gippsland. There’s hope in the force of the epic Stop Adani campaign pushing for a coal-free future. And there’s hope in the local towns like Yackandandah who are propelling themselves to 100% renewable energy.
I am inspired to build on the work of these movements, striving for a safe climate for all the world’s kids, and it’s why I’m running for parliament.
Our current decision makers are letting our kids down badly and we need to replace them. They’re compromised by the donations they take from fossil fuel corporations. They have shown they can’t see beyond the next election cycle.
We need to turf out these short-sighted, ignorant politicians if the world’s children have any hope of thriving, or even surviving, into adulthood and older age.
This is the climate election and we must make it very clear to the major parties that they must dump their love affair with coal, and they must invest in renewable energy. Climate action and justice must be a real priority.
I feel a huge weight of responsibility to my son, and to all the children in our global community, to leave the planet in better shape than we found it. It’s a massive ask, given the trajectory of pollution and warming.
If I’m elected by the voters of Macnamara, it won’t be easy to be a mum and a member of parliament. It’s a tough job, no doubt. But the vision of a safe climate future drives me. With hope, we’ll see real change this election.