It’s been a crazy start to the year in Australia weather-wise with record temperatures and droughts, deadly bushfires and then flooding and hailstorms to top it off. The topic of climate change has well and truly been thrust into conversations all over the country and indeed the world. As distressing as it’s been, one positive is that it’s been a wake-up call to many that climate change has moved from an abstract thing in the future to being in the here and now.
One of the conversations I had, just days into the new year, was with my hairdresser who until that point had little knowledge of or interest in climate change. Suddenly it seemed important to know more but she wasn’t sure where to turn for trustworthy information. I think there are many people in the same boat which isn’t surprising.
Even though the science around climate change has been known for decades, a lot of misinformation has persisted in the media, greatly confusing the issue. This has been especially so in social media where warring tribes have appeared who seem to like nothing better than shouting at each other and hurling insults. Such a pity as we’ve wasted decades fighting about something which isn’t even a debate.
As part of my stated goals for the year, I’m going to do whatever I can to help others understand what’s happening with our climate and why it’s so important to act quickly to stop it getting worse. And really, in my opinion nothing is more important. It’s been keeping me up at night and made me feel incredibly sad and worried. I have to speak out and do what I can to put more truth in the picture. I know that not everyone who reads this will agree with what I’ve written, and for those I especially urge you to look at some of these source of non-emotive, factual sources of information and read them with an open mind.
This issue shouldn’t be about choosing sides in a cultural or quasi-religious war. This is actually just science. The question isn’t whether you ‘believe’ in climate change; it’s whether you accept the scientific facts, or deny them—and that’s one hell of a body of scientific evidence to deny.
I’m not a climate scientist, but I’ve worked closely with many for some years and I do know where to go for clear and accurate information. Nor is this political and this is not a list of political sources of information. To be honest, all sides of our Australian government have been disappointing on the issue.
I believe every person needs to understand the facts of what’s happening so they can take part in informed conversations and decide what they want to do about it themselves.
In coming weeks I’ll be providing information about how to take action, useful groups and all sorts of other things.
Where to find the facts on the basic science
For anyone who wants to learn more about the basic science of climate change, I’m starting with some great resources that provide accurate and easy to understand information. These explain things like:
- the greenhouse effect and the role played by fossil fuels
- the difference between weather and climate
- the links between climate change and bushfires
- the effects rising temperatures have on our world.
Click on the headings to go straight to the source of information.
The Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communication organisation, which means they’re all about making the complex science easy to understand but they don’t dumb it down. As a non-profit independent organisation, they provide expert advice on climate change and solutions based on the most up-to-date science available. Members of the council include climate scientists, health, renewable energy and policy experts.
This easy to read report produced by the Australian Academy of Science provides an overview of climate change including answers to common questions on climate science. It aims to address confusion created by contradictory information in the public domain. The Australian Academy of Science provides independent, authoritative and influential scientific advice, promotes international scientific engagement, builds public awareness and understanding of science, and supports excellence in Australian science.
explains climate change science and rebutts misinformation and common myths. If you’ve heard an argument against climate change, you’ll probably find a scientific rebuttal and explanation of it here.
is a worldwide network of scientists sorting fact from fiction in climate change media coverage. Their website helps readers know which news to trust.is a worldwide network of scientists sorting fact from fiction in climate change media coverage. Their website helps readers know which news to trust.
Bureau of Meteorology website provides accurate and reliable observations and information on the science of climate change.
The IPCC is a United Nations body that assesses the scientific, technical and socio-economic information needed to understand the risk of climate change. Their 5th assessment summary report is here. They are currently in their 6th assessment cycle which will be published in 2022. These are the big boys of climate change reporting.
How to keep up with current happenings
The following media publications provide accurate coverage and do not have vested interests in the coal and fossil fuel industries. I’ve provided links to their websites but they usually have other social media accounts to follow as well.
The Guardian is an independent source of clear, accurate information. They use infographics and ‘explainers’ to break down current climate issues and are on Intagram and Twitter.
The Conversation is an independent source of high quality news and views, sourced from the academic and research community. They provide in depth analysis of current affairs and complex issues. They only allow authors to write on a subject on which they have proven expertise, which they must disclose alongside their article.
The ABC provides clear and accurate articles about climate issues. They do a lot of ‘explainers’ as well to explain complex information.
The Climate Council also do regular reports on current issues using subject experts, including putting information into a range of different formats. Their resources section includes podcasts, videos, explainers, mythbusters and more.
All of the above resources are free to access.
Something positive to finish with
Like many others, I’ve found the first few weeks of this year pretty difficult as we lurch from one disaster to the next and been left reeling in the wake of the fires, the loss of life and their massive destruction. I can’t imagine the suffering of those directly affected.
I need something positive to hang on to (I think most of us do) so I’ve found Damon Gameau’s social media posts to be a breath of fresh air. He’s a filmmaker (he directed That Sugar Film) and his Instagram account and Facebook page are full of lots of positive information and ideas on the way forward with climate change. Check him out.
If anyone has any other sources of great information, please let me know. If you have questions, I’ll be happy to point you in the direction of accurate answers.
PS I’m noticing this post is getting lots of reads but few comments, which is unusual. I’m very open to respectful discussions on any topic. If you disagree, I’d really like to understand why.