OPINION

We don't have to fight each other on climate

Almost every week reports of direct action at the Adani Carmichael mine site make the news.

Small groups of people are regularly arrested. I know because I was one of them.

I'm an ordained Buddhist. I was recently arrested along with five other people of faith, including a Uniting Church minister, for blocking access from the Adani work camp.

About an hour before being arrested, I found myself talking to one of the security guards hired to protect the site - let's call him Mike.

He said "I'm just trying to feed my family". How could I argue with that?

What he said hit a nerve. My partner and I are thinking about starting a family.

I found myself thinking about Mike's kids and the thousands of kids calling for action over the climate crisis.

The Adani mine has pitted people against each other when in reality we have much in common.

We all want a future for our children that is as good as it can be.

When I see how climate change is already hurting us - and that our federal government is doing nothing - I am terrified of bringing a child into a world of more fires, floods, and chaos. The problem is burning more coal is bad for everyone.

We need political leaders with an economic plan that works for all of us, instead of dividing people like me and Mike.

The science is clear: climate change, driven by burning coal, oil, and gas, has worsened the severity of bushfires and droughts.

This has destroyed lives, farms and forests across the country and will continue to threaten communities and put people in danger.

We need to move towards an economy powered by renewable energy.

It is possible, affordable, and achievable yet it needs the political will to make it happen.

At the same time, people working in those industries need to know that they won't be left behind, that there will be good, secure jobs.

Buddhism has taught me compassion for all living beings.

At this time of climate crisis it is clear to me that human survival is at stake.

I see no alternative but to stand and fight.

But I'm fighting just as hard for Mike and his family, who have every right to a safe and prosperous future.

We're all in this together and the sooner we realise this the better.

Tejopala Rawls is a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order