OPINION

Why I've reinvented myself as a climate warrior

Jim Main. Picture: Supplied

Jim Main. Picture: Supplied

At 77 years of age, I never thought I'd be reinventing myself as a climate warrior.

But here I am, a successful taxation lawyer from Cootamundra, NSW, learning to wrangle Zoom so that I can give presentations to anyone who'll listen about the importance of slowing down climate change.

I'm not a climate scientist, I don't belong to any political party, and I've never joined an environmental activist organisation.

So what on earth has come over me?

I can give you seven answers to that question - and their names are Susie, Indi, Tom, Harry, Freya, Annabelle and Charlie.

I want my grandchildren to have a safe and hope-filled future, like I did. It's as simple as that.

I first became interested in this issue 15 years ago, when I noticed that what the scientists were saying was at odds with the views I kept hearing from local farmers and other conservative commentators.

And so began my mission: to educate myself.

The more I read from renowned climate scientists like the ANU's Professor Will Steffen, the better I understood the problems we face.

From there, I started writing monthly group emails to friends, and letters to editors calling for more action to tackle climate change. I even had a couple published in The Land and the Australian Financial Review.

But that wasn't enough for me.

I realised that pictures really can tell a thousand words, and so I started including graphs showing warming trends (interestingly, I've found that graphs make it harder for people to rubbish the science) and soon after that, my emails morphed into PowerPoints.

Last year I delivered more than 20 free presentations, some to groups of up to 70 people at a time.

These talks were a mix of online and face-to-face events, and my audience was mostly students at the University of the Third Age (older Australians interested to learn about a whole range of topics) and some farmers' groups.

My favourite part is the Q&A afterwards - that's where I get a sense that my message is cutting through.

I've had people tell me, "I didn't think I believed in climate change but you're showing me the trends, and that's changed my mind."

I live in a politically conservative part of country Australia. I grew up on a farm and, apart from attending boarding school, I've lived in the south-west slopes of NSW my whole life.

I remember the winters use to be so cold the frost on the puddles would form a thick layer of ice that you could pick up and throw like a plate. I haven't seen that for years.

My family still farms and it's become obvious too that with less rain, my family's dams no longer provide enough water for our sheep and cattle.

It's sad to think about, but it doesn't have to be.

There are so many things we can all do and that's what I like to impart in my presentations - the science and the solutions.

We can make our homes more energy efficient, we can switch to renewable energy and offset our own carbon footprints.

Governments and industry can do more too, of course, like using more electric vehicles, restoring vegetation and promoting renewable energy industries.

I'm hopeful for the future - but I'm also hungry for more speaking opportunities too, so if you're looking for someone to deliver a free but vitally important presentation, hit me up.

Jim Main is a lawyer, business owner, husband, father, grandfather and passionate climate defender. He can be contacted at jim.main@hotmail.com

This story Why I've reinvented myself as a climate warrior first appeared on The Canberra Times.