I will make no apology for my column being about climate change. Again.
Make no mistake that it won't affect us all.
In the last couple of months climate change and its issues and effects have often been in the news, regularly at the top of bulletins.
Recently 11,000 scientists came out and said that there was a climate emergency and governments needed to act now and decisively.
These climate scientists have done their studies and collectively have come to the conclusion that we must act now, starting today, with positive actions to move towards zero carbon emissions.
So many people seem to think action is discretionary and, for some reason, needn't affect them.
• Young and old come together in Whanganui to support climate change action
• Whanganui students issue wake up call to climate change deniers, plan strike action
• Speeches, submissions and a march at Whanganui climate strike on September 27
• Leading professor James Renwick gives Whanganui climate change talk
Certainly one individual person's carbon footprint is small in the scheme of things. But if it is not me making an effort, even incrementally, who should I expect to give up carbon for me?
We need to realise that our Western lifestyle is disproportionately carbon-intense compared to subsistence farmers in many parts of the world.
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The Australian bushfires are an example of the disconnect between what we "want" and its consequences, which is what Australians are now getting.
It was summed up brilliantly, with a degree of black humour, by a cartoonist in the Chronicle on Thursday November 14, about how Australia's economic love affair with coal - and its export - is coming back to bite them in the form of unprecedented bush fires.
It gives some idea of the separation from reality of their current government's attitude when Prime Minister Scott Morrison doesn't think climate change should even be discussed in relation to these fires.
But maybe, just maybe, it could be beginning to dawn on him and his cronies that there may really be such a thing as climate change, and no amount of wealth can save them from it. He commented that people should not talk about climate change when so many homes had been destroyed and people had been killed. I'm sure he would have been quick to mention a connection if the cause had been an arsonist and "We will make every attempt to bring them to justice!".
It doesn't need to be an arsonist with a match to be at least indirectly responsible for these fires. The industrial revolution began the release of millions of years worth of sequestered carbon, safely buried, into the atmosphere.
At the time there was no understanding of the long-term effects of this release, and it wasn't until about 40 years ago that science began to realise and calculate the consequences of this massive release of carbon as CO2 to the atmosphere, the oceans and the climate.
Morrison is either embarrassed that these bushfires have raised his awareness of climate change, or he is as blinkered as the Orange Peril in the US who invents the "true" scenarios as he wants to see them and therefore the 11,000 scientists are plain wrong.
Meanwhile, the Westland and Grey district mayors are concerned that the conservation estate will become "locked up" and not available for mining, in particular. Westland Mayor Bruce Smith said: "New Zealand will never not be able to use coal. Coal is a critical part of how we live every day. Is there a future? Absolutely there's a future."
But, as Scott Morrison is hopefully finding out, coal is the problem of climate change, certainly not the solution - and must not be our future.
• John Milnes is a Green Party candidate for three elections, foundation member of Sustainable Whanganui, parent and grandparent.