The most recent IPCC report from working group II focused on the impacts of warming on communities. The findings are stark.
Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, said, “Today’s IPCC report is an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership”.
Climate warming in Australia has increased by over 1 degree since 1910, with most of that warming occurring since 1950. As a result, we have already experienced the 2019/2020 bushfires and catastrophic flooding along the east coast.
Amongst wealthier countries, Australia is the nation that will face some of the most significant climate impacts soonest due to its already highly variable climate of droughts and flooding rains. Still, we have the capacity to put climate change mitigation measures in place. In less wealthy countries, the consequences of warming will be nothing less than catastrophic. Global emissions are not a problem of nations, all of our emissions impact everyone and in Australia, our emissions per capita are amongst the highest in the world. So making reductions here will also reduce emissions worldwide.
If the recent flooding has shown us anything, it’s that we cannot and should not rely on slow-moving bureaucracies to solve the problems that face us. We can and must take action as individuals, families and communities. The future is in our hands.
The main findings of the IPCC report are:
- Taking action now can secure our future
- Safeguarding and strengthening nature is key to securing a liveable future
- Cities: Hotspots of impacts and risks, but also a crucial part of the solution
- A narrowing window for action
So what practical actions can you take based on the latest IPCC report? Taking action now can secure our future.
We can all:
- Buy less, reduce, reuse, repair and recycle
- Switch to banks, investment funds and superannuation funds that do not invest in fossil fuels
- Support businesses with ambitious climate and environmental policies
- Vote for parties with sound commitments and sensible policies to take action for a healthy climate
- Support forest protectors
- Plant native trees and shrubs and have a water-wise garden
- Buy local, seasonal produce
- Support organisations working in the climate space
- Choose public transport
You can also more about individual actions you can take and your carbon footprint. Or listen to our where a range of experts talk you through subjects such as waste and managing your money for a healthy climate future.
Safeguarding and strengthening nature is key to securing a liveable future.
You can support our tree planting for carbon sequestration. We plant native plants that increase biodiversity, create habitat for native flora and fauna, and halt soil erosion. This leads to improvements in soil health which in turn leads to more carbon sequestered. Our tree planting is measured and monitored. We also ensure that the carbon sequestered is additional and not carbon that would already be sequestered so it provides genuine climate benefits. We plant here in Australia to benefit regional communities. We source our plants from the areas we grow in to ensure that they have the best chance of survival. We replant if trees die due to pests, drought, flood or fire.
Cities: Hotspots of impacts and risks, but also a crucial part of the solution
In 2021 after a survey of our supporters, we decided to use some of your donations to fund and work with community groups providing heat mitigation solutions in our cities. In 2022 alongside Dr Grey Coupland of the Harry Butler Institute and other collaborators , we will be planting six Miyawaki forests in Perth, one in NSW and another in Victoria. Miyawaki forests are named after their pioneer – Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki – and were designed as highly biodiverse micro forests for urban areas.
The urban heat island effect is an increasing problem in Australian cities. When vegetation is cleared and replaced with buildings, bitumen and concrete, the sun’s heat is much more readily absorbed. These materials absorb heat during the day, increasing temperatures significantly and releasing heat during the night. Pockets of urban heat have a severe impact on human and animal health, especially for the elderly, pregnant women, those who are unwell, and people who live in disinvested neighbourhoods. The death toll from heatwaves in Australia has exceeded that for any other environmental disaster, including floods, bushfires and cyclones.
We will be funding these micro forests in schools and community parks. Planting Miyawaki forests offers schoolchildren multiple learning opportunities (including monitoring growth, species diversity, fauna, etc.). It enables them to take very practically empowering action in the face of climate change.