Blog | 2nd Dec, 2021

Meet the Victorians building a new movement for climate action

Our Action Network members are organising with their friends and neighbours to make sure that anyone wanting to represent our state at a federal level gets the message loud and clear: we must do better on climate.

With a federal election looming it’s not just candidates preparing: from Westernport to Ballarat, communities have launched open letters calling on their federal representatives to urgently replace polluting fossil fuels with clean energy, while supporting our regions to adapt and thrive.

Over the next few months they’ll be reaching out to local businesses, community groups, schools, sporting clubs and many more groups across the region to show just how widespread the support for climate action is. If you live in Ballarat or the Central Highlands, Gippsland, the South-East suburbs of Melbourne or Westernport you can join your local Action Network group and help them gather support.

But who are the incredible people leading this change? They’ll be the first to tell you that they’re just people who care about their community and the natural world. We spoke to some of them to find out why they got involved.

Ballarat and the Central Highlands: meet Jacqui

Members of the Ballarat Action network gathered around a table

Jacqui (front left) with other members of the Ballarat and Central Highlands Action Network.

Jacqui is mother of two teenage girls and has always loved animals and the natural environment .

How did you get involved in your local Action Network group?

I was invited to attend the Environment Victoria workshops held recently and then I joined our local group to try to do something to help reduce the effects of climate change.

What’s your message for your local federal representative?

We are deeply concerned about what the future holds for our children, the environment and the animals. Please show you care too by supporting an end to fossil based fuels and a complete shift to renewable energy before it’s too late. In the words of Dr Seuss, ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.’

What would you say to other people in the Central Highlands who are thinking about getting involved?

I would say that we are like-minded people with the same goal of reducing the effects of climate change. The more people we have, the more we can achieve.

Read the Ballarat open letter and join Jacqui and other locals organising for a better future.

 

Ballarat open letter

Gippsland: meet Ro

Ro has always been an environmentalist – protesting at the Franklin Dam, making submissions to inquiries, signing petitions and showing up for rallies and marches. In January 2019, when Ro attended ‘Don’t Mention the Emergency’ at the Sustainable Living Festival it hit home just how urgent the climate crisis was.

“I came out of the tent with three main messages; the situation was dire, there was still time to stop the worst of global warming and, despite nearly 40 years of trying, environmental groups around the world had failed to make an impact on government climate action policies.

Once I had this ‘Oh Shit we are really in deep trouble’ moment, I could not continue with business as usual.”

Ro has been organising for climate action ever since.

What’s your message for your local federal representative?

Please listen to the science and stop playing politics with my children’s future. Future generations will condemn you and your government’s lack of effective action on climate change.

What would you say to other people in the Gippsland who are thinking about getting involved?

This is an ecological crisis of monumental dimensions, and our government is not taking it seriously. Based on work by the IPCC Climate Change impacts will be significantly worse at 2C than at 1.5C, and that limiting heating to the lower level will require “rapid, deep and sustained” cuts in emissions. That includes reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030 compared with 2010. Despite this the Australia Government continues to hand over tax funds for new fossil fuel projects, against scientific and economic advice and refused to update its very weak 2030 carbon emissions target.

Let this fire you into action. Being an activist is not easy, there are many ups and downs. Find your place in a climate action group that suits your sensibilities but keep in mind we are in a climate emergency, and we must be prepared to move out of our comfort zone to help make a better future for our kids.

We, the ordinary, everyday person, may need to do extraordinary things. Things that will need courage and conviction. If being on the front line of protest is not for you, find a way to support those that are there. For every person on the front line, there needs to be many people in support jobs, from media to admin and coordination, all are equally important and challenging jobs. There is so much work to be done we need everyone working at different levels.

There is so much work to be done we need everyone working at different levels.Click To Tweet

Using your skills and creativity to help make our government take climate change seriously is desperately needed. Acting with other like-minded activists is the best antidote to climate anxiety and is very empowering.

Read the Gippsland open letter and join Ro and other locals to put climate and clean energy on the agenda.

 

Gippsland open letter

South-East Melbourne: meet Amy

Members of the South-East Action Network

Members of the South-East Action Network launching their open letter to federal politicians.

As a young local Pakenham resident and environmental researcher, Amy is incredibly concerned about the future we’re moving towards due to a lack of climate action.

“I have joined other concerned community members from all across the south-eastern suburbs to create an open letter calling for our federal government to make a real and fair plan for net zero emissions.”

Read the South-East Melbourne open letter and join Amy other locals fighting for real climate action.

 

South-East suburbs open letter

Westernport: meet Jillian

 

local people at Phillip Island (left) and Woolleys Beach on the Mornington Peninsula side (right). Both groups are holding onto a rope to symbolise the connectedness of Westernport Bay.

Jillian is a Crib Point resident and part of our Action Network group in Westernport. 

People around the Peninsula and Westernport have a long legacy of standing up for nature, and now, in the midst of a climate crisis, it’s even more important to do so – that’s why I got involved with the Action Network. Together we’ve drafted an open letter that calls for the waters and lands around Westernport to be protected, and for the federal government to make deep cuts to our emissions this decade by phasing out fossil fuels like coal and gas.”  

“People around the Peninsula and Westernport have a long legacy of standing up for natureClick To Tweet

Read the Westernport open letter and join Jillian and other locals working to protect Westernport and put climate action on the federal agenda.

 

Westernport open letter

When people come together and organise like this, we become a force that can’t be ignored! We know it works because we’ve done it before. During state and federal elections in 2014, 2016 and 2018 we built momentum for change and put our environment back on the agenda. Read about Environment Victoria’s 2018 Victorian election campaign >> 

If you live outside of these areas, you can still make your voice heard – we’ve pulled together highlights from a range of recent research to show the case for investing in our clean energy future, you can send it to your federal representative with your own message, here. 

 

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