• Eric

Eric has lived in or just outside Hughes (the boundary keeps changing around him) for 50 years. We met up with Eric at Joseph Banks Native Plants Reserve. He shared with us his reasons for wanting change.

Eric and Carolyn Hatfield

How do you measure something that is changing?

45 years ago, one of my first jobs was measuring and working with data on river flows. It is necessary to know what is happening in our rivers to avoid being flooded and to understand how much water can be taken from a river without destroying the river ecology. Working with data shows that climate isn't static, and I had to know how to account for this variability. I didn't know about the Greenhouse Effect back then, but my interest in a changing climate was born. Planning for the future About 20 years later, working for a Government organisation, I was tasked with reviewing how rivers and catchments in NSW were being cared for. Were the profits being made from water being balanced with the community's human and ecological values? Were we planning well for the future? Global warming was clearly becoming an issue that I was required to consider. On my office wall was a map of NSW with the CSIRO's predictions of how climate change would affect rivers in NSW. These predictions were alarming. And unfortunately, they have proved to be fairly correct. One time my work took me to Canberra to meet with CSIRO climate scientists to be updated on their work. I recall being impressed with their commitment to the evidence, even when the government of the day wasn't sympathetic.

The changing nature of climate scepticism Since I retired, I have continued to take an interest in climate science. I have found that scepticism about climate change is generally dishonest. Statements are made with confidence, but when they are shown to be wrong, opposition morphs into a different form. I've seen most of these statements come and go.

  • "It's not really happening."

  • "It might be happening, but it's nothing to worry about."

  • "Well, it is a problem, but it's not our fault, it's just natural."

  • "This is nothing new, it's been like this before."

  • "Yeah, sure, it's bad, but trying to fix it will be worse, it will destroy our economy."

  • "Don't worry. Human ingenuity will find a solution."

  • Ha! Ha! We don't have any answers, so we'll just mock you

Every one of these responses is false or misleading .... and dangerous.

There IS a problem, we CAN do something about it, and the cost will be less than doing nothing. The main opposition comes from the fossil fuel lobby, which is powerful, wealthy and has extensive influence over our politicians. The economic case for decisive action is strong, and our businesses and financiers have picked up on this. The solutions require long term planning and some short term cost, but our political system doesn't encourage long term thinking.

I'm not just going to sit and watch I'm committed to supporting positive action ... and a change in government policy. I've set up a fact checking website (https://hughesfacts.com) to assist people to know the facts. I deeply hope to see change, and soon.

All photos taken at Joseph Banks Native plants reserve in Kareela.