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Living Lightly column

Live lightly, live better

By Tony van Rompaey, Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health (WATCH)

In recent years climate change has had more and more exposure in the media. There are many organisations across the world that are advocating governments to take ‘climate action.’

Despite calls for action, little seems to change and each year carbon emissions continue to rise.

Many political parties across the world receive money from fossil fuel companies and this gives these companies an enormous amount of political power. Fossil fuel companies should cop a great deal of blame for the catastrophe.

Back in the 1990s, ExxonMobil created campaigns of climate denialism which put action back two decades. However, it is a mistake to lay all of the blame onto fossil fuel companies for it is the modern consumerist way of life that is also driving us towards a climate disaster.

We cannot continue to consume as much as we do from the Earth without destroying it.

Though renewable energy may help mitigate against the warming of our climate it won’t entirely replace fossil fuels. The truth is that we cannot simply flick a switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy and then maintain our current way of life.

Australians are one of the highest emitters of carbon per capita. Naomi Klein in her book This Changes Everything  writes that “…there is a simple, direct correlation between wealth and emissions – more money generally means more flying, driving, boating and powering of multiple homes.”

It is easy to find something outside of us to blame for the climate crisis rather than looking more closely at ourselves.

Australia has been let off the hook on the global stage because we don’t have the population to collectively be a large emitter, but that is not the point; the average Aussie uses more carbon than an entire rural village in India.

If we have any hope to save our beautiful planet from climate change then we need to consume far less than what we do and return to a far simpler, less consumerist, regenerative and happier way of living.

More consumption does not equate to better lives; happiness levels peaked in the 1970s when people had much smaller houses, when international travel was not so common and when people had a lot less stuff.

Living lightly can equate to better and happier lives.