It is Total Earth Care's responsibility, as one of the leaders of the environmental industry, to lead by example when it comes to environmental education, awareness, and action.
Between December 2019 and February 2020, all of our 50+ employees voted on the climate emergency declaration as a private company where the majority expressed their belief that without radical action our planet and therefore humankind has a very grim future ahead.
It has now been more than four years since the UN's Paris Agreement conference took place. The Paris Agreement is the first truly global commitment to fight the climate crisis which explicitly recognizes the role of businesses as well as others as critical to meeting the global warming target of 1.5 °C (degree Celsius).
Total Earth Care recognises the apparent negative impacts of the climate crisis, which we witness first hand on a daily basis during our works in our native bushland.
In the month of December 2019, two of our employees had to evacuate their homes due to the bushfires threatening their lives and safety. Many of our employees' friends and family members were affected by the December bushfires needing to evacuate or look for a temporary safe house.
Our ecologists have been noticing many plant species disappearing in large numbers in the Sydney basin area. Our bush regenerators were unable to perform their duties during the 2019-2020 Sydney summer, having to cancel works more frequently than any previous summer seasons either due to catastrophic fire danger being declared or actual bushfires in the vicinity of the worksite or smoke and ash causing extreme breathing difficulties and triggering asthma attacks.
The climate crisis is affecting the company's productivity, health, and safety and it will only be getting worse.
What we are seeing right now is the result of humankind's negative impact on the climate from 40 years ago! So can you imagine what will the world and Australia look like in 10 or 20 years' time?
We have had 2 million hectares of our beloved bushland with its trees and animals burnt during the 2019-2020 Summer in Australia.
You might be thinking that bush fires are an annual and natural event in Australia and yes you would be right but not at this scale. The RFS officials were using words like "unprecedented and catastrophic" and they know what they are talking about!
In one week the levels of smoke and ash in Sydney placed us as the most air-polluted city in the world and the drought meant that water restrictions had to be escalated to Level 2. In this week we as a company decided to take action and proposed to declare a climate emergency.
That one week will stay in our memory as the week when we were forced to stop and see the devastation around us.
Climate crisis can be invisible sometimes and that is why so many of us fail to act. But not anymore.
The negative impact in that one week alone was hard to un-see.
Northern Australia was flooded at the beginning of 2019, the south was in drought. The reef is bleached. Our rivers are dying and forests are burning or being logged. We, humans, are devastating the world's plants and causing a frightening number of extinctions with Australia making up 72% of the total threatened species list. Australia also has the highest rate of vertebrate mammal extinction in the world and we have also had the first mammalian extinction in the world to be caused by climate change - The Bramble Cay Melomys!
It might be scary to be visible, different, or vulnerable but we don't have time to hide anymore. We need to speak up and be LOUD. The rhetoric has dramatically changed in a very short period of time from the terminology of "a climate change" to "a crisis" and now CLIMATE EMERGENCY* which has been adopted by many institutions just like the Guardian newspapers and especially the 11,000 world scientists who have endorsed or declared a climate emergency themselves!
It is time to be bold and courageous and lead by example. It is not about being perfect or flawless, it is about being willing to take initiative and leadership. It is about changing our habits, improving our happiness, shifting our thinking and reducing fear of the future, hopelessness, and the emotional toll climate change has on so many people.
It is our moral obligation and responsibility as one of the leaders of the environmental industry to Declare Climate Emergency.
We are living the reality of a climate crisis and that is why we must stand united, strong, and be the pioneers of change and BOLDLY declare climate emergency!
We hope that the wider community of our clients, competitors, suppliers, and the general public will welcome this initiative, come on board, and collaborate with us to ensure continual improvements and growth.
*The term 'climate emergency' is to be understood as follows: the climate emergency has resulted from humans putting additional greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. These have heated our planet and at current levels are already a true disaster on a global scale. Unless removed, these gases will result in a level of global warming that will be catastrophic for humanity and much of the world's remaining ecosystems.
The declaration of Total Earth Care's Climate Emergency was also possible thanks to the collaboration with Mik Aidt from climateemergencydeclaration.org.