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Climate ‘rebellion’ required

Opinion Piece

I support the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations now under way in New Zealand and elsewhere.

Such unified action would have been unimaginable a decade ago when I began campaigning for action on climate change.

Thank God for teenager Greta Thunberg, for shaming the adults into action and sparking the Skolstrejk for Klimate strikes and worldwide acknowledgement we have a climate emergency.

I have supported local school climate strikes, and joined Extinction Rebellion New Zealand.

Most of our GDC election candidates have pledged to commit to a climate emergency. Our district will at last join the 790 local governments in 17 countries which have already done so.

I also urge the vulnerable to dismiss the National Party’s denialism, with climate spokesman Todd Muller having said “climate change emergency is nothing more than hot air” . . . and Simon Bridges with his “I don’t believe there is a climate emergency”.

Also there is the ANZUS allies’ influence: Australia under Scott Morrison is increasingly seen as running a “denialist government”. In the USA under Trump, climate change is “A Hoax”.

Since I began on this, the climate debate has changed.

Critics used to tell me I’d be dead anyway. To me, personal death is a fact of life.

However, I’ve been through a period of grieving for humanity’s likely near-term extinction — and am still coming to terms with this.

I was disappointed our PM Jacinda Ardern criticised Wellington’s Extinction Rebellion protest disruption on Tuesday.

To me, a short-term inconvenience compared with longer-term disruption against our offspring beginning to join the Sixth Mass Extinction is a no-brainer.

Alert readers may have noticed my altered focus. In my March, “What do we do next?” column, I wrote of rapid species decline, a likely reversal of the present human population trend, and our species joining the decline. I’ve had columns since “Avoiding extinction meantime” and “Emergency or extinction?”.

Finally, it is impossible to make it with business as usual. We must embrace climate emergency action and rebel against extinction in earnest.

We are part of the big picture, and life on Earth is at stake.

Bob Hughes