Why should we care about Climate Change?

The earth is changing and we are all a part of that. It is changing, and not for the better as we face unprecedented levels of CO2 emissions that we have never seen, and all the while our national government remains blissfully ignorant and unaware of the catastrophic environmental emergency we are facing on a global scale.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was recently quoted at the United Nations to say in response to courageous school girl and Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, “The Climate Change debate is subjecting Australian children to needless anxiety.”

Greta Thunberg delivered her own impassioned plea to the world stating, “How dare you – you have stolen my dreams and my childhood…” Quite aptly put as we face the greatest environmental emergency of our time.

Pictured: Climate Change Activist Greta Thunberg

“Right here, right now, we draw the line and change is coming whether you like it or not,” she said.

No stranger to controversy and activism, in August 2018, Greta chose to skip school every Friday to protest Climate Change outside the Swedish parliament until it took more serious action to tackle this issue.

“Human rights and the climate crisis go hand in hand. We can’t solve one without solving the other. Climate Change means people won’t be able to grow food, their homes will come under threat and their health will be compromised. Governments have a duty to protect us, so why are they doing nothing to stop climate change from devastating our lives?” Greta said.

Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International said the organisation was humbled and inspired by the determination of youth activists across the world.

“They are challenging us all to confront the realities of the climate crisis. They remind us that we are more powerful than we know, and that we all have a role to play in protecting human rights against climate catastrophe,” he said.

“Young people are often told they are the leaders of tomorrow. If they wait until tomorrow, there will be no future for any of us. They have proved that they are already leaders, and now it’s time for adults to follow their lead.”

Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International

“The climate emergency is the defining human rights issue for this generation of children. Its consequences will shape their lives in almost every way imaginable. The failure of most governments to act in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence is arguably the biggest inter-generational human rights violation in history.”

On September 20, 2019, there was a global strike which had school children exiting their classrooms and taking a stand for the climate. #SchoolStrike4Climate was a momentous event and pictures across the nation proved the sheer power of young people embracing climate activism.

School Strike 4 Climate is a grassroots movement of passionate students across Australia and the world, who are striking from school to tell politicians to take their futures seriously, and treat climate change for what it is – a crisis. 

We at Amnesty stand firm with the students and boldly declare: enough is enough.

Climate Change is a human rights violation and we all have the right to a healthy environment, including a safe climate. It is essential for the enjoyment of so many other rights.

At a global level, we live in a world populated with roughly 7.5 billion people and counting and we at Amnesty appreciate the connection between human rights and climate change.

We fundamentally advocate for all human rights and the rights that are impacted by climate change include: the right to life, the right to adequate food and water, the right to health, human security and the rights of Indigenous people. Now more than ever, climate change has become one of the biggest human rights issue to affect our world.

Amnesty have widely advocated on climate change to the UN and a global human-rights-based approach seems to be the solid answer moving forward, especially as our population continues to grow and our footprint on Earth gets increasingly larger.

 Together we can raise our voices and be brave, like Greta and face this global climate emergency head-on. We have one world, one shot and one opportunity to change the course of the future for all who we will leave behind. This is our issue. It is our family, our hearts, our future generations that will inherit this chaos, and they deserve better. Rise up against Climate Change. Speak loudly and proudly, even when your voice shakes. Rise up united. Let’s beat this together.

Learn more about Amnesty International’s approach to climate change here.

Words by Jacqui O’Leary

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