GEORGINA BINNS | NEWS
Am I the only one who feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and no one else cares enough about climate change? I get it- Climate change is scary AF. If even half of what climate scientists predict will occur in the next 20 years, eventuates- the catastrophic nature of events that we won’t be able to stop or even mitigate, the extinctions and biodiversity losses- it’s too unbearable to think about, let alone know how to help.
I’ve just spent the last decade doing science degrees and racking up HECS debts to get jobs that won’t even exist because, damn- fires will have killed all the best habitats, all the fish and coral will die from overheating and actual acid poisoning, like some demented James Bond movie. It’s a fucking bleak future and I wish I didn’t know any of it. But I know too much to do nothing. And if I don’t do something, I’ll go and cry in the corner in a foetal position forever and that won’t help a single damn stick insect, will it? It kind of feels like you’re trying to build a haystack, but you can only throw in one straw at a time. I turn my lights off when I leave the room, I recycle nearly everything (I’m a glass jar hoarder now, what the hell), I don’t eat meat. But what difference does it make? Like most students, I can’t afford an electric car, or get solar panels on the roof of my rental property. I’m sure as shit not running for government. How do we make a real difference?
I saw our Distinguished Professor Lesley Hughes (of the Australian Climate Council fame) do a seminar last year, interpreting the latest IPCC report findings. It was a bit of a shock (the report is brutal; you might need a psych on hand if you want to read it), and the other attendants of the seminar (hardened and resigned biologists) were all kind of listening to Lesley in this stunned heartbroken silence before someone bravely asked “Lesley, what can WE do?”. With the empathetic face of someone who probably gets asked this question a lot, she replied “There are three things we can all do to assist in climate action,”
“Firstly, vote for governmental candidates that place fighting climate change at the forefront of their policies. Secondly, put your money into institutions that invest it in sustainable investments. And lastly, join your local climate action group. Get involved. Make your voice heard.”
So, because we didn’t already have a society on campus, I founded MQ Climate Action Society in late 2021. Turns out I’m not the only one who feels the weight of the world: We have students, academics, and staff on board, from many different schools and departments, because we all feel this sense of needing to DO something, to turn our frustrations into actions. We are (for the most part) the next cohort of caretakers for this planet, and it is our responsibility to ensure that our current leaders hear and meet our needs.
MQCAS is determined to make change and act as conduit of information between the students and the administration levels of the University.
MQU has already achieved 100% renewable energy usage via a contract with Red Energy, and this is a great start, but we can go further than this. We can become a sustainable, net-zero lighthouse to lead the way for other Universities to follow. We helped create Wi-Fi, my dudes, so we can do anything! We’re planning a student Town Hall in May. Please come and show your support for a net-zero future!
MQCAS is pretty new, and we’re hoping to register as an official society with the Univeristy in Semester 2. If you also feel like us, get involved: We have a Discord channel, a Facebook page, and a website currently being built (www.mqclimateaction.wordpress.com). We aim to have information on how to vote for climate change, what banks and superannuation are the most sustainable to invest with, and a bunch of accessible tips and actions for all, including our international students, so we can all make the most informed choices. Join us. Collectively, our individual actions will make a bigger impact.
Peace and Solidarity.
By Georgina Binns, Biology PhD Candidate