Enough of the noughties, it’s time for the Transition Decade.
We are at a crucial time in human history. Societies have collapsed before because they destroyed their environments and failed to take the necessary steps before it was too late.
- The great civillisation of the ancient Maya destroyed their forests and sucked their rivers dry until their land was uninhabitable and they were forced to abandon their cities.
- The Middle East was not always a desert – it was originally a heavily forested area that was stripped bare by the ancient Sumerians, turning a once fertile area into the barren desert it is today.
- And the Rapanui people on Easter Island created an ecological collapse in a relatively short time period – for them, everything was a consumable resource. With nowhere else to go and nowhere to expand, their entire civillisation collapsed.
We are heading down the same road as those who have gone before us. But this time the collapse of civillisation will be a whole lot worse. This time it will be a global catastrophe like nothing we’ve seen before – the science is clear about that. Unless we make major changes, and make them fast.
The Victorian climate movement has initiated a campaign, the Transition Decade (T10), which recognises the deep structural changes we need to avoid ecological collapse, and the urgency of the timeframe needed to embark on these changes. The Transition Decade approach recognises that we are in an emergency situation, and that the next ten years are critical to avoiding dangerous climate tipping points that will lead to sudden and irreversible climate catastrophe. To avoid this, the major T10 strategies are: to drive greenhouse gases down to zero emissions, to draw down excess CO2 from the atmosphere and store it safely, and, if warranted, to directly reduce the earth’s temperature until the first two strategies have restored a safe climate.
The goal is a 10 year social and structural transition that will enable the restoration of a safe climate. This will be achieved by a collaborative approach with an alliance of organisations and individuals working together and sharing resources. The first step is to mobilise whole communities in support of the Transition Decade. Mass social approval will lead to a building of political will in government and business, and open up a space for the necessary policy reform that will provide a framework for new economic development and innovation. With the policy reform in place, we can shift to the design, construction and production of the necessary systems, services and goods.
Humans have historically demonstrated an ability to overcome immense challenges in times of emergency, an ability to work together for a common goal. The climate crisis has unique challenges, in that our actions today will most likely have more of a direct impact on future generations than on our own. But given the dire warnings coming from scientists that the climate crisis is looming much sooner than was supposed even a few years ago, it is in our own interests to embark on this project as much as it is for our children.
Over 1200 people attended the launch of the Transition Decade on 14 February at Melbourne Town Hall. We are working to build on this support, and spread the message out beyond the climate movement and into the general community. Let’s work together, within CAM and also with our friends and families, our workplaces and communities, to make this a priority in our lives. Our future literally depends on it.
Climate Action Moreland is an official supporter of the Transition Decade, a non partisan campaign coordinated by an alliance of climate and environmental groups.