Growing up with a cartoonist for a dad, I’d be lying through my teeth if I didn’t say I am a big fan of cheeky political humour.
Riding the tram each morning to Hotel Maritim (where the UN climate change talks are being held) is a great way to get the daily gossip. Since the meetings started on Monday I feel like I’ve been living in a bubble, removed from what is really going on in the real world. But I digress, this morning I heard that global citizen action group, Aavaaz.org published a very clever ad in the Nikkei – Japan’s popular financial newspaper – depicting Japanese Prime Minister Aso, as a super powered robot fighting off the two great enemies: climate change and recession. Check it out, especially if you’re a manga fan like PM Aso, and can read Japanese… I’m searching for an English version, promise!!
Hooked in by the cleverness of the ad, I decided to check out the press conference held to launch the ad (and associated polling) hosted by the Climate Action Network. I’m not sure what I expected, but it quickly became clear that no matter the chuckles induced by the manga style cartoon, insufficient emissions reduction targets from developed countries is no laughing matter. Speaking at the press conference was Fei, head of the Pacific Conference of Churches.
His message was one of survival, not satire. He spoke of communities in Fiji who have had to move inland because of rising sea levels; Carteret Islander families, who are among the world’s first climate refugees, and have had to relocate permanently as rising sea levels and increased salinity destroy their homelands; and Fei spoke of Solomon Islanders loosing their sacred burial sites as the sea turns their land to swamp.
Fei’s message was pretty simple. LISTEN TO HIM HERE:
For small Pacific Island nations – climate change is serious.
For wealthy developed nations,like Japan, but also including Australia, the United States, Canada, and New Zealand, it’s time to get serious about addressing climate change.
These developed countries have historically been global champions at producing climate change causing emissions. Now science tells us that if they continue to emit carbon at current levels we’ll be on a race to the finish, but what’s the prize? A very hot, very wet planet incapable of sustaining life. Now, where’s the fun in that?
Now, I don’t want to suggest that Australia has been laughing in the face of climate change, like the tough dude laughs in the face of danger in a B-grade flick. But, if I’ve learnt anything over the first two days of the UN climate talks is that, ironically enough, we don’t have time to simply keep talking (and swapping jokes) what is needed is real action on climate change. Australia, like Japan, has the chance to play an integral role in moving the international talks into action. In the words of a little known sports brand, the time has come to, just do it.
What do you think? Has the time to come to inject more humour into the climate debate?
Having fun in Bonn, though still a wee bit worried about our planet
PS. Check out Eri, the Japanese tracker’s blog for her inside scoop on the ad (English translation coming through soon)