action-story | 14th Oct, 2014

Faces of the 2014 election: Kylie Rhie-Jones

I had been aware and concerned about climate change for many years and had been trying hard to engage people around me on this issue. I started attending rallies, letter writing events and phone banks and took my children along too whenever I could.

I often felt isolated and frustrated by the lack of action to address climate change, so when an opportunity to join up with other like-minded people came at Environment Victoria I went for it. At the time – and now – I found Environment Victoria to be approachable and passionate. I found they were welcoming and engaged in tackling the issues I thought important, but I also noticed they embraced others who had completely different environmental concerns than mine.

As a member of the ‘Southies’ group I have been involved in phone banks, doorknocks, street stalls, petition signings and advertising campaigns for rallies, and more recently I’ve been volunteering at the Enviro Hub in Frankston.

I’ve been inspired by people who take their first tentative step towards becoming more active about protecting the environment. I really admire the people who have taken a train and a bus to come for the first time to an event and then meet with people they have never seen before. It is amazing when people go outside their comfort zone to take action. That’s just plain awesome.

To people thinking about joining the campaign I would say that taking the first step to move from thoughts to action is really the critical point. If enough people care and move from thoughts to action then that is the game changer. It’s a numbers game.

Numbers determine policy. What makes governments change their behaviour and policies is a sense that there is a groundswell of opposition to the choices they are making. This is exemplified by the recent proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act. It’s all about local people contacting their local member and expressing their opposition.

Whenever I feel like not putting in the effort, or would rather lie in bed, I say to myself ‘Whatever It Takes’. ‘Whatever It Takes’ pushes me to do just a little more.  ‘Whatever It Takes’ is the attitude the world needs us to have if we are going to change the trajectory of global warming we are currently on.