Americans fighting climate change:
Australians fighting climate change:
It's takes all kinds, right?
Contrary to the appearance that the Aussies are perhaps collectively grappling with some intense hangovers in interesting ways, they're actually demonstrating against climate change today on Australia's famous Bondi Beach in Sydney. And it's pretty brilliant.
Aussies are taking to, um, the sand in the run-up to Sunday's G20 meeting, this year hosted by Australian prime minister Tony Abbott. Standing for the much lamer-sounding "Group of 20," the G20 is an international forum for 20 of the world's largest economies. Sometimes they get together to chat, like this weekend. U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that for this meeting of the mega-economies "there will be a focus on economic issues and how we are co-ordinating with the global economy. Climate in our view is part of that."
Abbott, however, is decidedly not feeling it. In fact he's be the only major world leader to reverse measures implemented to combat climate change.
And last month, he asserted that "coal is good for humanity" and would remain an "essential part of our economic future" in Australia. Concerning the G20 gathering specifically, Abbott said "for Australia, I'm focusing not on what might happen in 16 years' time, I'm focusing on what we're doing now and we're not talking, we're acting."
This is quite the ballsy statement in light of the U.S. and China striking up a landmark deal earlier this week on climate change. After nine months of quiet talks, the No. 1 and No. 2 (that's us!) biggest carbon polluters on the planet reached an agreement to cut down on emissions. Per the New York Times:
"As part of the agreement, Mr. Obama announced that the United States would emit 26 percent to 28 percent less carbon in 2025 than it did in 2005. That is double the pace of reduction it targeted for the period from 2005 to 2020.
China’s pledge to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030, if not sooner, is even more remarkable. To reach that goal, Mr. Xi pledged that so-called clean energy sources, like solar power and windmills, would account for 20 percent of China’s total energy production by 2030."
And while this agreement falls short of actual legislation, it is decidedly a huge and historic step in the right direction, especially since the U.S. and China don't always see eye-to-eye on things. So it's a pretty bold stance for Abbott, of the generally super-progressive Australia, to staunchly refuse to address climate change.
Enter: our dear, sand-covered demonstrators, who have literally dug their heads into the beach to take a stand against inaction. One particularly colorful exchange reportedly involved activist Pat Norman bellowing “Obama’s on board, Xi Jinping’s on board, everyone’s on board except one man” into a megaphone, to which protestors cried back "Tony Abbott!" and Norman replied: "Wiggle ya bums if you feel like it!"
In other words, it sounds like the best protest ever.
What's the motivation? A desire to emulate the ostrich, which lore would have you believe sticks its head in the sand to avoid danger. Ornithologists say the African bird doesn't actually do that let's not let that fact derail the purpose of these demonstations—especially when, if we're talking birds, over 300 bird species are threatened by climate change in North America alone.
More broadly, a UN panel's report released earlier this month announced that climate change was "irreversible," and that only an unprecedented global effort to slash emissions real quick-like would save us from triggering even more dangerous disruptions of our ecosystem. The report concludes:
“Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts.”
So if head-in-the-sand-bum-wiggling gets Abbott to wake the hell up? We're all for it, Australian activist mates!