OPINION

Portrait of a father in 2021 - what's making 5am wake-ups worth it

Portrait of a father in 2021 - what's making 5am wake-ups worth it

I wake up at 5am to the sounds of my kids climbing out of their beds; their tiny little feet creating ripples on the floorboards as they stomp down the hall to our bedroom.

The sun is yet to rise, and still their fidgety little bodies yearn for the day to begin.

To start burning through their pent up energy; starved of stimulation and adventures that living in a Sydney lockdown prevents.

It's the life of so many parents in Australia right now; caring for bored, crazed kids hungry to get out of the house and break free.

As I hide under the covers, savouring every last second of quiet before chaos rains down and summoning the father gene to kick in, I create our plan for the day - mostly an hourly incremental schedule of backyard and indoor play, with routine meal breaks thrown in.

And so, every day begins this way.

Father's Day is today (Sunday); a day usually spent surrounded by extended family, sharing a meal and maybe a few beers.

This year, however, as the pandemic prevents such social get-togethers, we will continue the tradition over video calls and elaborate text messages.

For me, though, this Father's Day will be one I will remember for a long time.

If I am honest, the past two Father's Days are worth a reflection.

From extreme weather, including the bushfires, scorching summers and drought, to wild storm surges destroying our coastline - a favourite holiday destination for our family.

Being a dad these days isn't just about "bringing home the bacon".

No, being a dad means doing what we can do right now to ensure the future prosperity of our environment and economy - chipping in our extra energy to do our part to prevent more climate-fuelled disasters in the future.

Climate change is playing a role in how dads plan and act today, and the urgency to respond to the climate crisis has never been more important.

We only need to look to Australian Federal Courts to see that change is under way, and that we have an important role to play.

That's why I've joined Australian Parents for Climate Action - an incredible community of support and determination to secure a safe climate for our children.

By supporting positive solutions and calling for bi-partisan climate action, parents around the country are gearing up to shape the next election.

We are committed to creating a clean economic future for this generation and the next that will see Australia become a renewable energy superpower, with more jobs and opportunities than fossil fuels have ever had to offer. And we're calling for it now.

We are also a support group in the face of a pandemic, with our dedication to climate action providing us with the stimulation to get through the daily challenges of lockdown with kids.

Giving us something to work towards that is meaningful and will create change.

This work was rewarded a few weeks ago when a federal court judgement between young people and the Federal Environment Minister, Sussan Ley, found that the Environment Minister had a duty of care to protect Australia's children from climate harm.

A duty of care that seems so obvious to any parent. But one that needs a judge to make it real for the federal government, or so it seems.

The judge put it frankly: "As Australian adults know their country, Australia will be lost and the world as we know it gone as well ... None of this will be the fault of nature itself. It will largely be inflicted by the inaction of this generation of adults, in what might fairly be described as the greatest intergenerational injustice ever inflicted by one generation of humans upon the next."

Again three weeks ago, to help us through the lock-down blues, we supported the release of the most-comprehensive climate science report, which spelled out the futures we as a global community will face.

For me, it was like breathing a sigh of lock-down relief: 'finally, we can be certain that there is a pathway to safety for our kids.'

And so here we are, two months out from the next global climate meeting in Glasgow, and the Australian Government remains without a credible plan for this critical decade.

But with the right policy settings, global collaboration and political will, there is a pathway to stabilise global temperature increases to a safe level (of 1.5C).

We now have certainty that it's doable. And we have a duty of care to all children to see it through.

So, to all the dads out there hiding under the covers at 5am, know that work is being done in this lockdown to ensure the future of all Australian children.

But your job as a dad is now more important than ever, so stand up for climate action and call on our government to protect our kids' future.

Nic Seton is CEO of Parents For Climate Action.

This story Portrait of a father in 2021 - what's making 5am wake-ups worth it first appeared on The Canberra Times.