High tide

Ever since I can remember, my family have been going on holidays to this little coastal town called Minnie Waters. It’s one of my favourite places in the world. It’s tranquil and beautiful and, for a fair percentage of the year, largely deserted.
Almost exactly seven minutes up the road is another coastal town. Wooli is a little bigger, with a couple more shops and a post office. On special occasions and birthdays we go to the Chinese restaurant at the bowling club. When I first got my driver’s license we drove through the pouring rain to buy chips at Wooli, just because we could. The first time I ever got really, properly sunburnt was fishing off the breakwater there.
The township is almost at sea-level and it won’t take a very significant rise in ocean levels for Wooli to start noticing. In fact, Wooli is one of the first two towns in Australia that will be affected by rising sea levels.
Global warming is one of my greatest fears. I know that sounds ridiculous but when I heard that global temperatures are predicted to rise 6 degrees this century, a much higher number than previously predicted, I just wanted to hide under the covers and never get out of bed again.
I don’t understand an awful lot of the things they saw about global warming. I get the basics, thanks to an excellent high school science teacher, but most of it sails right over my head. I know a collection of facts and tips about reducing energy use which I learnt during my time as one half of Grafton High School’s environment committee. For a while I actively educated myself on the subject. I read articles and I watched documentaries on TV. Then one day I just sort of stopped. It isn’t that I stopped caring, not at all, but I started to get a little too scared.
When I was in year 8 or 9 I represented my school at some public speaking competition or other. I decided to write a speech on whaling. I was interested, I guess, and thought this was a good chance to learn a little more. With the help of our flimsy dial-up connection, I started reading. I read about whaling in the Southern Ocean and the international moratorium and then somehow, almost by accident, I started reading about climate change.
I realised something, in the middle of writing this speech about whaling that turned my line of argument, and rather a lot of my world view, on its head.
Whaling doesn’t matter. I mean it does matter, of course it matters, but here’s the thing –
 if global temperature rise more than a few degrees, the ocean temperature will follow suit. If we don’t stop global warming there’s a chance the krill’s habitat will change. And the thing about krill is they’re remarkably delicate creatures. Global warming could drastically change the habit in the Southern Ocean. If the krill died, the whales probably would do, and a whole lot of other things besides.
Even with my rudimentary knowledge, it’s hard to look at the facts and not be frightened. The worst case scenario is bad. Even the conservative worst case scenarios are bad.
Climate change is the big picture. I can’t say that nothing else matters, because it does. It matters that we care about all the other things, even the little things. It matters that we live now in the best way that we possibly can. But if we don’t care about this horrible, terrifying, giant thing, then sooner or later there might not be a now to live in. 

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year