Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

Beetles

Beetles

Elisa Ho

Year 12

I consider myself a dabbler in the fine squabbles of politics, maybe even a dipper-of-the-toe if I allow myself to be that.

But, I am angry.

More and more so, as I see headlines on headlines on the next thing our world leaders has said to defend, attack, and surrender in this nonsensical game of politics. Without a doubt, every day, these blubbering faces on the big screen- yet Mother Nature gets only a skimpy segment broadcasted. But climate change is on my mind, like it should be on everyone else's.

My earliest introduction to our dear friend climate change was in year 7, for what I believe was a geography project. In my PowerPoint slides, I had the iconic picture of a polar bear stranded on a melting piece of ice and the stock image of a dripping planet. I did not think much about the statistics I was dribbling from my mouth about carbon emissions, and I doubt my engrossedly interested peers and teacher did either. A couple of years later, my interest in climate progresses incrementally further as I consorted with Gen Earth fellows (a school environmental club) and tried out vegetarianism. Despite my seemingly vested interest in climate change however, I still paradoxically cycle through my every-day, just like everyone else in this ashen gym. And everyone else is like a scatter of self-consumed beetles, each unaware of the scorching pan underfoot.

Admittedly, I do occasionally ponder rather fatalistic and pessimistic visions for the future, despite my slight propensity to save the world.  You might ask, why the defeatist outlook? I answer: Hope is all but squandered by the copious excuses and argument of convenience propagated through the cicada mouths of TV persons, politicians, advertisements, social media, heck, even friends and family. I'm having to watch us ignore the strangling hold we are pressuring on our vulnerable planet. “My parents wouldn't allow it.” “I don't think I can give meat/cheese/chocolate up.” “I don't know how I would do it.” Excuses which I have unfortunately pooled into too. That is why I struggle with committing to the cause. Unavoidably, I also believe part of the global inaction is due to technology. As much good as it does for progress, technology immobilises us. It makes us slumbering and sluggish consumers trapped inside a muted grey box. It sips away our attention, time, and effort. Once again, I am a guilty participant as well. But obviously, the blame game is not very conducive to action. This is the culture and world with which we have been granted, and taken for granted. So to muster the willpower to wage combat against the system like Greta Thunberg has in recent times - it is pretty damn formidable. 

All that desolate pessimism aside though, I am still here voicing against the tidal class unconsciousness and inertia. I am still here, like a troubled youth does, launching these pebbly thoughts off into the abysmal darkness that is our future. I am still here, caring about the climate, mobilising myself, presenting it as more than just a bear on a floating piece of ice, engaging others, having faith in the cause, and raising the flag that beckons goodness to dawn, because someday, things might change.