Protestors dressed as Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten during the anti-Adani Rally outside Parliament House in Canberra.
Protestors dressed as Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten during the anti-Adani Rally outside Parliament House in Canberra. ROHAN THOMSON

Youngsters have had enough of Aussie politicians

OPINION:

Kaiya Ferguson is a junior doctor on the Sunshine Coast and a member of Doctors for the Environment Australia.

YOUNG people in this country are fed up with the state of Australian politics.

In Triple J's What's up in Your World Survey in March, 85 per cent of respondents didn't believe politicians were working in the best interests of young people, 79 per cent didn't believe politicians were working in the best interests of Australia and a whopping 89 per cent didn't believe politicians were working in the best interests of the planet.

The survey was completed by 14,000 Australians aged 18-29.

Seventy per cent of them said they were interested in federal politics and the upcoming election.

That's a big deal when it comes to votes and yet the two major parties continue to ignore young people and climate change in this country, choosing instead to remain on a path of global destruction.

FED UP: Kaiya Ferguson says young Australians have had enough of the state of politics.
FED UP: Kaiya Ferguson says young Australians have had enough of the state of politics.

Earlier this month, the Federal Government granted the climate and health damaging Adani mine final Commonwealth environmental approval.

The project still needs Queensland State Government approval before it goes ahead.

Sadly, this does not inspire hope, with Labor's Bill Shorten currently proposing to spend $1.5 billion on opening up dirty natural gas drilling in the Galilee and Beetaloo Basins, to fast track fracking in the NT.

Stalling on action on climate change is a time-sensitive issue that is impacting the health of Australians and all of our futures.

It's no wonder young people care so much about climate change - it is the greatest threat to human health this century.

A recent authoritative study by world-leading experts reported that failure to reduce emissions and to boost our response to climate change would threaten lives and also overwhelm our health services.

The study pointed out that current changes in heatwaves, labour productivity, vector-borne disease and food security provided early warning signs of the overwhelming impact on public health that was expected if temperatures continued to rise.

It reported that people in more than 90 per cent of cities breathed polluted air and that in 2015, fine particulate matter was responsible for 2.9 million premature deaths.

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Coal, which is a major cause of climate change, was to blame for more than 460,000 of these deaths.

For those wanting to ignore the costly human health impacts and focus on dollars and cents instead, in 2017 a total of 712 extreme weather events resulted in US$327 billion in overall global economic losses - that's almost triple the total losses of 2016.

The majority of the increase in losses occurred in high-income countries, like Australia.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority just this Monday warned there was a "high degree of certainty" about financial risks because of the warming climate.

In March, the Reserve Bank of Australia said climate change posed a threat to Australia's financial stability and that immediate action on climate change was needed to avoid an "abrupt, disorderly" economic transition.

There is no way you can spin this, our government cannot continue to ignore climate change.

With increasing despair in our political system, citizens are taking matters into their own hands.

A global coalition of doctors and health care organisations have this month issued a call-to-action for all health practitioners to act on the health impacts of environmental change within and beyond the clinic.

The Stop Adani convoy is travelling up the East Coast, collecting hundreds of Australians concerned about this planet's health.

Tens of thousands of school students are once again walking out of classrooms to demand hope for their futures. Increasing numbers of women are reconsidering having children because of climate change.

The Extinction Rebellion is staging acts of civil disobedience across the world.

In the Triple J What's Up in Your World Survey, 51 per cent of respondents were yet to decide who they would vote for on May 18.

With record numbers of young people now on the electoral roll, the Australian political parties better get their act together and start recognising we're a force to be dealt with.

Australia's youth want a future that prioritises our health and that of the planet and we want our political leaders to start building it today.

At the upcoming May election, we will vote 1 for action on climate change.



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