Yesterday, I was arrested protesting the Whitehaven coal complex, in north-western NSW.
In 1991 my first scientific paper concerned climate change and health. Since then, concern for what I have called “environmental brinkmanship” (of which climate change is a major part) has steered my academic career. Now, increasingly, it drives my personal life. In early 2013 I sweltered through the two hottest days in Australian history. Unprecedented heat reached our cabin in the Tasmanian forest. What should have been a holiday was instead spent continually checking bushfire status. Towns were burned, some people survived only by sheltering in the sea. Australian fires can outrun cars. Had a fire entered our valley we could not have tried to leave on the single road. It was an anxious time.
There is also a spiritual dimension to these protests, as well described by the journalist Graham Readfearn.
Postscript: A video was recorded in 2015, before the devastating 2016 fires in Tasmania. It tries to explain why I, a contributor to the 2014 IPCC health chapter, was arrested to protest coal exports from Australia. Thanks to Jody Lightfoot and everyone at Common Grace for this chance to explain my actions further.