Poppy Niotis Climate of the Nation 2012

Jul 24, 2012 - 1:00am

For Poppy Niotis, all the talk about climate change is confusing.

“I think it’s real, but who helps with it? There are population issues, clean water issues, farmers with pesticides.”

She adds: “We don’t know what happened with the climate 1,000 years ago. It’s a natural phenomenon. So I think it’s a bit of both,” meaning man-made and natural phenomenon. “It’s really more the environment that is a problem."

Growing up in Blacktown, it was all farm lands, Poppy recalls. “Now it’s all condensed housing. And how do you think that changes the environment?”

Poppy, who is 45 and works as a pattern maker in ladies’ fashion, s deeply concerned about the air she breaths and wants “a cleaner world.” With an 11 years old daughter and a husband suffering from a degenerative muscle disease, living in Sydney is getting harder. The family aims to sell their Hurstville home and relocate to Bathurst by the end of the year.

“I want a veggie patch and some chooks and clean air,” says Poppy.

“My husband always says ‘bloody Greenies’,” and that usually ends conversations on climate or environment related issues. “He believes the world is doing what it will; basically he thinks [climate change] is a bunch of crocks,” says Poppy. “But I’m not like that.”

“I’ve got my front loader, do the washing with cold water, this house here is fully insulated. All that kind of thing helps keep my bills down and is for my environment.”

The first focus group Poppy ever partook in was for Climate of the Nation. She says the conversation made her realize how confused people are about climate change and the carbon pricing legislation. She was against the tax, but has changed her mind.

“I don’t mind paying the tax if I know it’s going to do something for our future,” she says. “But I don’t want that money just going into someone’s pocket. We need some research, universities, or some R&D to find better ways of fixing this future thing, because I want a future for my daughter.”

She wasn’t sure in what form the price would come. “There hasn’t been any information. To us it’s just another tax. How are we going to pay it? Is it just another bill that we’ll get?”

Poppy thinks companies should pay for their emissions, as long as it doesn’t hurt their bottom line or jobs are lost.

A company she worked for some years ago attributed its closure to new government regulations. The new rules required that water used for dying fabrics be filtered before it goes into the drainage.

“That company lasted only a year after,” Poppy says. “You see the government brings in these processes, but they don’t think about industry. Companies need help to make transitions with these kinds of processes.” Politicians are at the heart of the problem, she says.  

“Politicians are politicians, you know, they forget what it’s like to be everyday people like us.”

“I think if politicians are involved, people put the red flag up straight away. They are only talking because they want the vote. For me, give me my veggie patch and some chooks and I’ll be happy.”

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