Dear Member of Parliament

Normally I try to keep my posts lighthearted and steer clear of anything too political, however, with such a tragic start to the year here in Australia I feel this is one of my most important posts yet. Personally I haven’t been directly affected by the fires, except for a few smokey days, but I’ve experienced a range of emotions including grief, anxiety and defeat. These feelings go beyond the fires themselves and extend to what they signify.

There is overwhelming consensus amongst experts including: scientists, environmentalists, those working on the front line of the fires and the communities affected by the fires, that the extreme events of 2019 and 2020 have been exacerbated by the effects of climate change. We have witnessed drought, above average temperatures and record-breaking heatwaves, which are all making an enormous contribution to these mega fires.

THIS IS A CLIMATE EMERGENCY

Read: Australia bushfires factcheck: are this year’s fires unprecedented?

I don’t mean to be bleak but, time is not on our side when it comes to minimising the impacts of human induced climate on the environment and, our own existence for that matter. A report released in 2018 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  (IPCC) stated that, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius we have only about a decade to do so.

Why 1.5 degrees?  What happens if we don’t keep temperatures to below 1.5?

Here are the facts so far:

  • The Bureau of Meteorology has released a report stating 2019 was Australia’s hottest and driest year on record
  • Australian temperatures were 1.52 degrees above average
  • Rainfall was 40% below average, nearly 37 mm below the previous lowest rainfall on record in 1902
  • The 2019/2020 bushfires have burnt over 10 million hectares
  • More than 1 billion animals have perished
  • Australia is just 0.33% of the world’s population
  • Yet we emit 1.08% of the world’s carbon dioxide
  • Per capita, we emit more than China, The United States, India, Russia and the European Union (we’re the 14th highest in the world)
  • In 2019, Australia was the third highest ranked coal exporter in the world
  • Coal mining employs less than 0.4% of Australian workers: check here and here for figures
  • Coal accounts for 2.75% of Australia’s GDP (in comparison manufacturing accounts for 6%, finance 9%, health and education 13% , tourism 3%, agriculture 3%)

If we don’t act on minimising global warming now, we will have exceeded the point of no return. 

The number one thing that people can do, says Libby Peake, senior policy adviser at the Green Alliance, “is to press your representatives to hold politicians to account over their environmental promises”.

As my friends and family, I’m asking you to join me in the fight against human induced climate change and demand our politicians take immediate action. Below is a letter I have sent to my local MP requesting urgent action on the following areas:

  1. Complete divestment from fossil fuels, no new coal or gas projects, including the Adani coal mine
  2. Development and implementation of a zero-carbon plan for Australia
  3. Investment in carbon sequestration and reforestation initiatives to return some of what we have lost

What to do:

  1. Find out who your local MP is here 
  2. Use the correct title
  3. Be polite (regardless of how you feel about politicians or their party) – your message wont be heard if you are rude or vulgar
  4. Make it personal to you and your electorate
  5. Include facts and figures/statistics
  6. Call upon the government to act, list what you want them to do
  7. Sign off sincerely, with your name and include your contact details on the letter

Read: 1 Million Women’s step-by-step guide here.

A personalised letter will have a much bigger impact, but any letter is better than none at all, so feel free to copy and paste any part of my letter that you want to use. I have gathered my information from many different sources Iincluding robbing some from the example in 1 Million Women) and checked all the facts.

Ms. Catherine King, MP
5 Lydiard Street North
Ballarat, VIC 3350

Monday January 13, 2020

Dear Ms King,

I have been living in your electorate for the last 18 months, after having spent 10 years living in Melbourne and overseas. My husband, daughter and I moved back to my home town of Ballarat because we felt it aligned more with our core values, being closer to family and the outdoors. One of my favourite things about Ballarat is how green it is, I love that from any vantage point you can see forest and that our garden is visited by a variety of insects and birds. We are lucky enough to live near the Wookwookarung regional park, often spotting kangaroos hopping by.  

Today, I am writing to you to express my concern for the effect’s climate change is having on our nation including the people, flora and fauna. This bushfire season has been unprecedented, with horrific outcomes for our natural environment, communities and vulnerable people. The scale and intensity of the current bushfire emergency is nothing like we have seen before in our history. I can’t even fathom the pain that the people and animals have suffered during these catastrophic fires, let alone picture a world where this is the norm, as predicted by scientists.

There is overwhelming consensus amongst experts including scientists, those working on the front line of the fires and the communities affected by the fires, that the extreme events of 2019 and 2020 have been exacerbated by the effects of climate change. We have witnessed drought, above average temperatures and record-breaking heatwaves, which are all making an enormous contribution to these mega fires. The Bureau of Meteorology has released a report stating Australia has just experienced it’s hottest and driest year on record, where temperatures were 1.52 degrees above average and rainfall was 40% below average, nearly 37mm below the previous lowest rainfall on record in 1902.

Australia is just 0.33% of the world’s population, yet we emit 1.08% of the world’s carbon dioxide. Per capita, we emit more than China, The United States, India, Russia and the European Union. In 2019, Australia was the third highest ranked coal exporter in the world. Despite this, coal mining employs less than 0.4% of Australian workers, and makes up only 2.75% of Australia’s GDP. Australia doesn’t need coal.

I feel fear and anxiety for the world my children will inherit. I want the Australian Federal Government to acknowledge that we are in a climate crisis and we need urgent action now.

I am asking you to please call upon the Australian federal government to act on the following three areas to ensure a safe future for all of our children and our natural environment:

  • Complete divestment from fossil fuels, no new coal or gas projects, including the Adani coal mine
  • Development and implementation of a zero-carbon plan for Australia
  • Investment in carbon sequestration and reforestation initiatives to return some of what we have lost 

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter, I look forward to hearing from you and what you’re going to do to help the people of Ballarat during these time of uncertainty.   

Yours sincerely,

Samantha Rodgers

 

 

2 thoughts on “Dear Member of Parliament”

  1. Well done – I love your posts and if I was Australian I’d certainly be writing to my local MP. It’s so sad to see what’s happening in Australia – a total nightmare scenario.
    I might even borrow your letter to do an Irish version for Irish politicians. We are worst in Europe so we’ve a lot of work to do too.
    Thanks Paula
    Paula Butler Ecoconscious Living 6 Edward Square Bloomfield Avenue Donnybrook Dublin 4 *Mobile:* +353 (0)87 2490385 *Email:* butler.pb1@gmail.com *Instagram:* ecoconscious_living *Website: *www.ecoconsciousliving.ie

    Liked by 1 person

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