My wife listens to ABC Illawarra radio in the mornings (much to my irritation) but sometimes it pays a perverse dividend. Without a recent broadcast broadcast I would not have known that we, in the Illawarra, are blessed with our own superhero. Let me introduce you to – drumroll please – Climate Girl, aka Parrys (pronounced Paris) Raines. A law student (environmental law, naturally) at Wollongong University. Her ambition, she tells us, is:
…to become a world leader in Environmental Law and an environmental entrepreneur. I plan to use my law degree and environment knowledge to develop Climate Girl into world class sustainable business. The primary focus is to educate young people, to inspire and motivate them to take action locally on sustainable issues that ultimately benefits the communities they live in. Benefits gained from these sustainable actions will ensure a healthy planet, healthy people and a sustainable future.
As very few Quadrant Online readers will have caught this young woman’s insights at the time, let me refer you to the video clip below, which amounts to a neat self-portrait.
I caught only the tail end of Climate Girl’s ABC feting of its guest, in which she lamented with all the certainty of her 22 years that her Third World counterparts are hard hit by climate change because it is foiling their educations, but that was enough to pique a degree. I discovered she has impeccable credentials for a life in her chosen field, having boarded the UN gravy train earlier than most.
In Climate Girl’s own words, she has been a three-time keynote speaker for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in Norway, South Korea and Java. A little research determines that these were children’s conference she attended at ages 13, 14 and 16. She’s also the recipient of a grant from the Layne Beachley Foundation. When she was 14 she launched her website Climate Girl, with the aim of educating fellow youngsters in the articles of her green faith.
She certainly has accomplished a lot in her short life:
I have travelled extensively through my environmental work. I have seen the planets natural capital being misused and not replaced. I have seen shrinking glaciers, I have seen vast amounts of precious rainforest cut down, I have seen animals that are on the brink of extinction, and I have seen extreme poverty. I have heard firsthand from children I have met from around the world about issues they are facing everyday due to environmental impacts.
Just what we need, I hear you say, another earnest young undergrad educating us about climate change. But fear not. Her climate change credentials are built on very solid foundations. Here she is explaining when she started:
I have had two defining moments where I have learnt how humans are having a negative impact on our planet. The first was when I was about six years old, I was at the beach and questioned why I had to wear sunscreen. I was told that the planet was changing and we needed to protect our skin.
The second moment was when I was ice climbing in New Zealand when I was 11. I noticed a red line in the ice and I was told it was red dust from central Australia that had blown across the South Pacific. I learnt about impact and how our actions impact on people and places elsewhere but because we don’t see what our actions have contributed to, we are unaware of the problems we have caused.
Who knew that CO2 causes ultra violet radiation?
Recently, Tony Abbott opined that climate change might be doing more good than harm. For Climate Girl and her seminar-addressing ilk that is certainly true, certainly as far as opportunities for travel and self-promotion are concerned. Could one of such tender years and so little actual learning be treated to an ABC profile if her predilection was opining about, say, phrenology or the physics of phlogiston, each in its dubiousness still more credible than grant-fed climate science and its endless string of dud predictions.
But I’m being cruel, surely. Is not a little ambition tempered by youthful idealism a good thing? So why am I picking on this moppet? Well, mainly I admit, because the smug sanctimony and puerile prattle of so many like her really gets on my wick. But also because of what she represents. Would Australia’s electricity be so costly and so increasingly unreliable if our political class had not spent so long and so much of other people’s money attempting to ingratiate itself with the voting cadre Climate Girl represents?
More than that, there is the damage climate cult is doing in fostering a generation of cosseted university graduates who learn what to think, not how to think.
By 2030 there will be millions of Parrys Raines clones around the world and they will render even the climate scientists irrelevant. Why would you need scientists to tell you, in terms you can’t understand, what some globetrotting intellectual nonentity can explain with breathtaking clarity simply having seen a shrinking glacier?