By David Springett, a Far North Queensland dad and Managing Director of Silver Tip Ventures in Cairns
This Father’s Day, amidst unprecedented disruption, reminded me how dads take pride in building, fixing and protecting.
But as a father in Far North Queensland, dependent on Reef tourism for my family business, 2020 hit with challenges so big I had to question how I could do this.
COVID restrictions gave us a glimpse of what our economy looks like without our crucial Reef tourism industry.
Our region suffered some of the worst unemployment figures in Queensland. Many of my mates lost jobs overnight and my business came to a sudden halt, leaving our family wondering how we will make ends meet.
At the same time, another threat to our tourism industry struck; the third mass bleaching of the Reef in five years, driven by climate change.
The Reef is my passion and my livelihood, so news of yet another bleaching was like a gut-punch, not just because of the risk climate change poses to my business, and our town, but what it means for my girl’s future.
Climate change is not just a dire threat to the survival of our Reef, it’s a threat to our kids’ safe future and our way of life here in Australia.
Will we condemn them to a world of fires, floods and food shortages, of mass migrations and global instability? Or will we embrace the clean energy technology and solutions available now, demanding our politicians show real leadership?
While I have moved through moments of frustration and despair this year, I do have hope for my daughter’s future, because I have come to understand that hope is an action, not just a belief.
I had never considered myself an activist, but our daughter’s birth, amidst a time of coral bleachings, fires and drought, was a powerful wake up call.
What our children need from us is action.
They need us to face the facts on climate and seize the opportunities of this moment to create the type of world we all want for them. A safe, sustainable and cleaner world, that still includes the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.
I’m an average dad, and as handy as I am with superglue, I can’t fix climate change or the challenges of a COVID recession by myself. But I can use my voice and demand the major parties get serious about tackling climate change with a renewable-led recovery.
This Father’s Day, that’s how I will be strong for my daughter, that’s how I show her my love, by demonstrating that her future is worth fighting for and calling for the action we so urgently need.
A version of this article has been published across Fairfax titles.