As the climate catastrophe morphs from looming threat to ever-present reality, our relationship with it is changing. Australians in particular are watching its effects play out in record-breaking natural disasters, from fires to floods.
It’s clear by now that our actions have consequences. Those consequences are being felt around the globe, often in those regions that are most vulnerable to extremes of weather and climate and, ironically, the least responsible, and the least able to afford the consequences, of the climate catastrophe.
Just two weeks ago, the UN Human Rights Committee found the Australian Government had violated the rights of Torres Strait Islanders by failing to act on climate change, and should compensate them.
The language of climate has shifted from unity to accountability: instead of ‘we’re all in this together’ it’s ‘who’s to blame?’. The answer, almost invariably, is the so-called ‘developed’ economies.
So, how is Australia – as a nation and a public – actually performing across a range of different environmental and climate metrics? What can people, at the individual and collective level, do to help? And, ultimately, whose responsibility is it anyway?