Blog | 19th Nov, 2013

The biggest rally that Melbourne has seen in over five years

Well, it’s a couple of days after the big event, and I’m still buzzing!

Environment Victoria teamed up with local and national groups to pull off the biggest rally that Melbourne has seen in more than five years as part of the National Day of Action on Climate.

Speaking from the stage, I literally could not see the end of the crowd!
I saw kids with face paint calling for climate action and elderly people talking about leaving a safe world for their grandkids. I saw firefighters, mums and dads, school groups and even a dog holding a climate action sign in his mouth! This was a massive event for community power to take action on climate change. And we certainly supersized it!
Our volunteers have spent the last six weeks SMASHING the promo for this event. Here in the office we’ve had phone banks every Wednesday, where we’ve made thousands of phone calls to our supporters, spruiking climate action as the best thing since sliced bread.
If you’re a Melbourne commuter, chances are you would have seen our crack team of train station flyerers out in force over the past two weeks. Along with incredible local groups like Lighter Footprints and the Baby Boomers for Climate Action, we handed flyers to 42,000 people around Melbourne.
We hit the train stations first thing in the morning, day after day. And in the last few days we seriously ramped it up. I had friends telling me they had flyers handed to them by three separate groups of volunteers in blue t-shirts around the city!
It was such a privilege to have the chance to speak on behalf of Environment Victoria supporters everywhere, and to share the stage with strong community leaders telling incredibly powerful stories.
I was so moved when Peter Marshall from the Fire Brigade Employees Union told the crowd that ‘there are no sceptics on the end of a fire hose’, telling of the incredible bravery and strength of his representatives who are fighting in increasingly dangerous conditions each summer.
Mick Pope, a church leader and climate activist spoke of the morality of the decisions that our leaders make today, and the implications that these decisions have for those who will come after us. Lucy Manne from the AYCC described the incredible campaigns being run all across the country by young climate activists.
I always love talking about the incredible work being done all across the city and the state by our volunteer extraordinaires – and yesterday was no exception! I am genuinely amazed by the power that we hold as engaged and active citizens, standing up for the issues that we care about, like environmental protection and strong action to safeguard our climate.
When I was writing my speech, looking back over the past social movements that have inspired me as a campaigner, the civil rights movement in the U.S, the movement that worked to abolish slavery, the community campaigns that won the vote for women and right here in Victoria won the eight hour day – I am reminded again of this power that we hold, and I am reminded again of my belief that we will win. We don’t have any other choice.
So, thanks for reinspiring me, and I look forward to working harder than ever with you in the coming twelve months and beyond, to stand up for our environment, and to ensure a safe climate for those who come after us.