Blog | 1st Apr, 2020

Taking action from home: Resources to help you stay engaged during COVID-19

Once again we’re in the midst of a crisis that renders our lives almost unrecognisable.

But amid this devastating social and economic turbulence, at least one thing isn’t going to change. And that’s our determination to work together for a just society and to heal our living planet.

Many of you are looking for new ways to get involved and stay engaged. There are a lot of pieces to that puzzle, so we’ve put together this post to help.

In this post:

1. Why we need to stay engaged
2. Join our online action community
3. Self-Care
4. Caring for others
5. Share the love (and the toilet-paper)
6. Ideas for taking action at home

• Divest
• Speak up
• Join our volunteer group on Facebook
• Get creative
• Learn a new skill
• Tell us your ideas!

Why we need to stay engaged

Right now our role holding governments and big polluters to account is as important as ever.

There’s a real risk that our leaders could use the crisis as cover to make unpopular decisions. Decisions that would attract much greater opposition under normal circumstances (this is often referred to as the ‘shock doctrine’).

Under the cover of COVID-19 the NSW government has already approved coal mining under a drinking water reservoir in Sydney, and the Andrews government lifted the ban on conventional gas exploration.

At the same time journalists have paused coverage of environmental issues to focus on COVID-19. We’ll be publishing more content over the coming months to help plug that gap, so please visit our blog and share!

Everything is changing quickly in this crisis. Government policies that we would not have imagined were possible a few weeks ago are being debated and implemented. Let’s work together to ensure our governments look after those hit the hardest and put us on a path towards a healthier, more resilient and more sustainable society.

If we adapt and work creatively we can still make big, important wins like halting fracking in the Northern Territory.

Join our Online Action Community

In response to the Coronavirus crisis we’re going digital like never before.

We’re working to create new ways for you to connect with our community of supporters, setting up a new series of online trainings and shifting the way we work together.

We’d love for you to be part of it because, while we are all facing new challenges and uncertainties, our work together remains as important as ever.

Self-Care

Self-care is critically important right now. Looking after ourselves and our emotional needs means we can continue to help others and remain engaged with the issues we care about.

There are plenty of resources online to help. We especially love the free resources from Psychology for a Safe Climate. But you might also be interested in these tips from an astronaut on dealing with self-isolation.

We also love this practical 7 step list from findingsteadyground.com.

Caring for others

Despite our physical distance, day by day we’re reminded just how connected we are. Communities all over the world are responding to this crisis with a huge outpouring of creativity, solidarity and care. Thousands of mutual aid projects have already sprung up around the world.

Physical distancing doesn’t have to mean social disconnection – let’s think of it as “spacious solidarity”.

In Australia the ‘ViralKindness’ hub is a great way to find your local mutual aid group. The groups are focused on supporting people in need or in self-isolation (e.g. shopping for food, picking up medicine and regular check-in calls).

There’s a good chance there is already a mutual-aid group in your area. If not, the hub includes resources to help you start your own.

Share the love (and the toilet-paper)

Our society is shaped partly by the stories we tell about ourselves. So instead of spreading videos of people fighting over toilet paper, let’s help tell the story of what resilient communities look like.

If you see stories of people supporting each other, building connections, or creating solutions (like the one below), please share them.

Socially distant bear hunts popping up all around the world to distract children from coronavirus

ABC

Teddy bears and rainbows are beginning to pop up in gardens, windows and on fences around the world to create some social-distancing magic for children.

It’s also important to express gratitude for Australia’s strong public institutions, like the ABC and Medicare, and the value of workers rights like paid sick leave – which should be extended to all workers (thanks Union movement 💖).

Ideas for taking action at home

💰 Divest

If you haven’t had the chance to switch your superannuation or bank account to one that doesn’t fund fossil fuels, now could be the time.

Market Forces have some great info and resources to help you switch your bank or your superannuation.

Are you a customer of AGL for your electricity or gas?

AGL is planning to build a polluting gas import terminal in beautiful Westernport Bay, potentially destroying precious wetlands and wildlife in the process. AGL cares about what it’s customers think, so we’ve set up a form where you can let AGL know you’ll ditch them if they go ahead with their dirty gas plan.

📣 Speak up

We can’t join together in the streets, but there are still plenty of ways you can make your voice heard.

  • Write letters to the editor for any papers you subscribe to. Stay tuned and call or text talkback radio. Our local media guide has some great tips.
  • Get active in the comments section of your decision-maker’s Facebook or Twitter accounts, and let them know what you think.
  • Call your friends and family and talk to them about an issue you’re passionate about.
  • Hang a banner or put up a yard sign outside your home.

🖐 Join our volunteer group on Facebook

Coming together online will be critical for maintaining and building our community in the coming months.

As we move our campaigns fully online there’ll be a lot of creative actions, webinars and training. We’ll be regularly updating our volunteer Facebook group with new opportunities >> you can join here.

🎨 Get creative

Creativity nourishes the mind and is a great way to make issues visible online.

One idea is to get a group of friends together online to make a sign. Everyone makes one letter and then takes a picture, you can then use the images to make an amazing ‘banner’ like this one below!

👩‍🏫 Learn a new skill

Most social change and environment organisations are shifting their events online. Is now the time to sharpen your skills so you can participate?

First, get familiar with joining online meetings or webinars. Zoom is a popular tool which makes online meetings easy. If you haven’t used it before, sign up to attend a training at environmentvictoria.org.au/zoom (and read this guide to help you get started).

💡 Share your ideas!