Opinions Pieces The Age Newspaper
‘No wonder so many of us are starting to shout’ Sunday Age, The (Melbourne), 10341021, Jan 19, 2020
Edition: First, Section: Opinion, pg. 28
FLAMES AND FURY
You have to love Leunig with his gentle approach to life "Flames and Fury" (Sunday Age, 12/1). Sure, we need to be a bit kinder and less raucous in pushing our ideas, but he misses the point that relying on polite discourse and pointing out scientific facts for more than 20 years has been ineffective.
We are facing a climate catastrophe of truly unimaginable dimensions that will affect our kids and grandkids in hideous ways. On current projections, day-to-day existence in three decades will be terrible and rapidly deteriorating beyond our human power to rein in, let alone reverse. There is only a small window left to take effective measures before this process of global heating runs out of control.
Most of the effort needs to be in the next 10 years. Many politicians and right-wing newspapers are deaf to the science and pretend that these views are simply hysteria. No wonder that many thinking people are increasingly angry, frightened, desperate and a bit shouty.
Why we need the loud, passionate people
Michael Leunig's criticism and the trivialisation of people's response to climate change and the bushfires is arrogant. He and "the quiet ones" (where have l heard that before?) have higher standards than those voicing opinions. So the answer to our problems is "more humility and decency".
Opinions about the government, bushfires and climate change are not trivial. They are driven by anger, passion and care about the world, not point scoring. Change and positive actions by the government to the bushfires has been a result of the dissatisfaction of a large part of the community. Even the stance on climate change has softened.
Frankly, I prefer the loud, passionate people expressing their opinions to the quiet ones, whose thoughts l do not presume to know and who, quite possibly, do not care about these issues.
Fanatical fringe has too much influence
Michael Leunig's article was a salient analysis of how technological Australians react in a crisis. Social media has its role in generating great results, such as the huge amount of funds for the victims of fire raised by comedian Celeste Barber.
Those who use it to spread their vitriol about all and sundry, while in the minority, gain too much attention for their misguided causes.
The vast majority of Australians are in the caring, supportive category, with the fanatical fringe gaining too much attention and influence.
Michael Leunig has faced his own demons, which have given him an even greater appreciation for those who are doing their best to support the victims whose lives have been shattered by the devastating fires. As Michael said, "humility and common decency is what the nation needs".