Dads, let's keep working on what really matters

Simon Richardson and his daughters. Picture: Supplied

Simon Richardson and his daughters. Picture: Supplied

Since the passing of my wife, and finding myself as the sole parent of two young girls, some special occasions have grown in meaning. Mother's Day has, of course, taken on a different significance for me and my girls. But, so too has Father's Day.

The question of what it means to be a father has deepened. My girls have embraced the occasion more. Sure, I'm still expecting to stump up half the cash for them to buy me a gift, but the day is more special for them.

For me, it's also a time of reflection. As their father, what am I doing to prepare them to be empathetic, self-aware and kind adults? Am I doing everything I can to create a world that is safe, healthy and filled with opportunity?

With the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report sounding "code red" for humanity stating that climate change is already wreaking havoc around the world, deep down I know the answer is no.

Climate change is a threat to my, and your, kids' safe future.

As a Byron local and former mayor of nine years, I've felt the first-hand impacts of climate change.

We've endured drought, bushfires, coastal erosion and more that have damaged Byron and its beaches - a place so many people know and love.

What's worse, we know it won't be the last time. Our township is not alone.

To prepare for these worsening impacts, our community is doing its bit to tackle climate change.

We have a goal to become Australia's first zero emissions community over the next 10 years and are actively talking with the agricultural, building, waste, energy and transport industry, as well as businesses to support their shift to clean energy solutions.

But more must be done.

As I think of my responsibility to this role as father, I want my kids to have the future they deserve. And, that means our federal leaders must take their heads out of the sand and commit to immediate, urgent and sustained emissions reductions action.

To all the fathers - let's keep working on what really matters.

Let's use our voices to vote for the parties who have credible climate policy. Let's consider where we invest our money.

Let's be more mindful of how we consume. And let's do what we can to source our energy from renewable sources.

Together, we can work to protect our planet and give our kids the best possible place to shine.

Simon Richardson is a former mayor of Byron Shire Council, NSW and father of two daughters.

This story Dads, let's keep working on what really matters first appeared on The Canberra Times.