The devastating losses our nation has endured throughout the catastrophic bushfire season in Australia, have helped illustrate the scale, speed and intensity of the climate crisis.
But if anything, this has only galvanised public support for action on climate change.
Even the Federal Government is starting to feel the heat, and is showing possible signs of movement – Scott Morrison even said the words ‘climate action now’.
But we need to make sure his words are matched with real action.
So how do we do that? What are the next steps? And how can you help us transform this social tipping point into real policies and tangible change?
We’re glad you asked.
Here’s how you can use your time, money and resources to effectively fight for climate action in Australia.
STEP 1 – Grow awareness of the urgency of the problem and educate people on the solutions
One of the major roadblocks to climate action in Australia is that people still don’t connect the issue to their daily lives. Most Australians are genuinely concerned about climate change, but too many see it as a future or faraway threat – only affecting polar bears and low-lying islands in the Pacific.
So the first step in combating the climate change problem is to help people understand it. We need to grow awareness of what climate change is, why it’s happening, and how it affects us – personally, as well as it’s larger impacts on society, the economy and our environment.
And critically, we need to educate people on how we can fix it.
You see, stating that climate change will cause catastrophic extreme weather or mass extinction often scares people into ignoring the problem, and has the opposite effect on motivating people to act. Understanding the urgency of the problem is important, but we also need to communicate the path forward. We need people to know that, as scary and daunting as climate change seems, it is solvable.
And to do that, we need to work together.
What can I do?
- Share our content – The Climate Council creates blockbuster research reports, web articles, fact sheets, videos and social media content for exactly this purpose – getting accurate, scientific information to as many people as possible. We decode and decipher key facts and figures, explode myths and aim to ensure anyone and everyone can make informed decisions when it comes to climate change. Click here to find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
- Have conversations – In addition to sharing content and resources digitally, one of the best ways to raise awareness and educate others, is by having face-to-face conversations. Talking to people let’s you find common ground and understand where their perspective might stem from. And ideally, they’ll begin to understand why you think the way you do too. Check out our range of conversation guides here to help you spread the word.
- Join, or invite people to join our mailing list – The Climate Council regularly updates our community on the amazing solutions that local communities, businesses, and local and state/territory governments are up to. Like the fact that Australia *technically* has a net zero emissions reduction target (because all the States and Territories do!) or that through the Cities Power Partnership program, more than 120 local councils across Australia are implementing solutions like large-scale renewable energy projects. Join now!
Why does this help?
Every conversation, real or virtual, that you have about climate change and climate science is strengthening our movement – because it brings diverse ideas, opinions and perspectives on board. We must create a chorus of different communities, united in asking for urgent action.
Through a platform like Facebook, the Climate Council can communicate climate change information, solutions and the need for action, to several million people a month – people we would otherwise be unable to reach.
This is critical, because some people haven’t seen much information on climate change before, or very rarely talk about it. If people don’t know enough about the issue, they can often feel locked out of the conversation, or be confused by false or misleading information.
Through our regular email updates, we empower you with the facts and connect you with the resources to help you communicate the science in your day-to-day life.
We often mobilise our community to share ideas and solutions, and regularly ask for your help with spreading our fact-checking guides and myth-busting articles. This is critical when it comes to pushing back against misinformation.
So whether it’s in the pub, supermarket, classroom, newsfeed or overcrowded train, keep sharing and talking about the science!
Let’s educate people on the solutions, and the urgency with which we need to act and build a stronger, more powerful and united consensus around the push for climate action in Australia.
Why not invite 5 of your friends to follow our social media or sign up to our mailing list today?
Just remember, it’s not about telling people that they are wrong. It’s about growing awareness, and making climate science accessible to everyone.
STEP 2 – Make sustainable choices in your personal lives about things like diet, transport and money.
Below are some simple swaps you can start implementing today to help reduce your own carbon footprint.
What actions can I take?
- Divest your super – Have you checked whether or not your super contributions are actively funding the fossil fuel industry? What about your bank? Click here to check! Some financial institutions essentially use your money to bankroll fossil fuel projects, but some are making a conscious effort to avoid them. You have power over where your money goes, and can choose to put it into ethical banks and super funds that will take your dollars out of the fossil fuel industry and invest them in renewable energy projects instead. Super!
- Eat less meat, shop locally, reduce waste – Did you know that if the greenhouse gases emitted from livestock were their own nation, they would be the world’s third-largest emitter? Everyone has different dietary and cultural needs and we recognise that a plant-based diet isn’t for everyone. But even small actions can have a big impact, like incorporating just a bit more plant-based foods and less meat into your diet, or shopping locally to reduce food transport emissions.
Travel sustainably – Travelling uses energy and that energy has to come from somewhere, but transport produces around 19% of our annual national greenhouse gas emissions, (the equal-second-largest source of greenhouse gas pollution after electricity – in year to June 2019). By making smart travel choices where you can (like using public transport, walking, cycling or carpooling), or switching to an electric vehicle, you can significantly reduce the amount of energy you use to get around.
Invest in solar panels – The biggest solution to the climate crisis is to meet our energy needs with renewable energy. You can contribute to this by either purchasing accredited green-power, or by investing in solar panels on your roof. Already, 2 million Australian households are powered by the sun, and this number is expected to continue going up. Not only do solar panels slash your carbon footprint, they’ll also slash your electricity bill – with some houses generating more energy than they consume. It’s a win-win.
What difference can one person make?
You’re more powerful than you think. Your voice, and the opinions you share, can carry real influence.
Greta Thunberg is the perfect example of the power of one. She started striking alone on the steps of the Swedish Parliament, and in less than 12 months, up to 7 million people took to the streets in more than 150 countries, as part of the global climate strike movement.
While the individual choices you make daily add up to make a big difference, we also desperately need strong, national climate policy reform. But you can help influence this.
STEP 3 – exert political and social pressure everywhere you can.
- Email your MP – We’ve got the solutions we need to address climate change. But in many areas, the political will is missing. Contacting your local, state and federal representatives about the importance of climate action is one of the best ways to force their hand. After all, we voted them in, and they have a duty to represent their constituents, so make sure your voice is heard.
- Vote – We know sometimes it’s hard to see through the political spin, and that there are lots of other factors that can determine how you vote. But more than ever, we need strong political leadership, with the guts and determination to make the policy changes required. Under the Federal Coalition Government, Australia’s action on climate change has gone backwards, and wIthin its ranks, climate deniers still hold power. The next time you get a chance, exercise your democratic right with the climate and future generations in mind.
- Attend rallies and marches – We need to harness our collective power and show our leaders in Government that there is a strong consensus for climate action. The more people who attend, the stronger the message – inaction is not an option.
How does emailing a politician or voting achieve climate action?
Our MPs are there to listen to the views of the public, understand your perspective, and represent you in Parliament. As one of their constituents, your opinion holds a lot of weight, because based on your vote, they could win or lose elections. The more people who contact their local MP on a given topic (e.g. climate change), the more likely they are to raise this matter in the Parliament and their party room.
Politicians also respond to public pressure, so getting involved with your local climate action group is a great way to use your voice and make sure your opinions are heard.
Use this tool to send our pre-written email to your local Federal MP right now, or click here to download our Climate Action Toolkit for more tips on writing your own letter to your MP.
STEP 4 – Help us unite your efforts and scale them up to a national level
Tackling the climate crisis requires leadership, strong advocacy and strategic intervention. The Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation. Raising awareness, educating the public, exerting political pressure – we achieve this day in, day out, but on a national scale.
We’ve been working to foster a political, economic and cultural shift in the way Australia views and acts on climate change, but there’s so much more to do.
We need our community alongside us.
- Become a regular giver to the Climate Council – Through our team of researchers and climate scientists, media experts and communications specialists – we keep the public informed and our governments under pressure. We had a big impact connecting climate change and the bushfire crisis, through the work of Greg Mullins and the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action.
But our work is powered by our community, and less time fundraising means more time putting climate change at the top of the national conversation.
With your regular support, we can:
- Empower key groups and voices, like the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, to lead, act and advocate for the urgent emissions reductions.
- Support replicable solutions that can be scaled up quickly to demonstrate that a clean, renewable-powered future is not only possible, but already underway.
- Shape the national conversation and ensure more evidence-based information in the media.
- Fact check myths and misleading information.
- Communicate accurate information to the public and make climate science accessible to everyone.
Can you join thousands of other Aussies supporting climate action in Australia, by making a monthly gift?
- Fundraise for us – If you can’t make a financial contribution on your own, why not try and crowdsource a donation from your friends and family? You can host bake sales, compete in fun runs or marathons, or set yourself a unique challenge (one person cycled across Australia!) to fundraise on behalf of the Climate Council. By getting involved, you can help us raise both money and awareness about climate change impacts and solutions amongst your friends, family and colleagues – as well as inspire them to get involved themselves! We’ve put together a range of resources to get you started, including a Fundraising Toolkit, and a Social Media Pack.
Thanks for taking the time to read this guide. Now, by taking these actions, you’re stepping up and leading the way.
Remember, every little bit helps.
So keep pushing, keep using your networks, communications skills and personal power to push for climate action – whether that’s by supporting us financially, writing to your local MP to voice your concerns and making sustainable choices in your everyday lives.
As we move forward following the bushfire crisis, we must harness the power of collective action, and ramp up the fight against climate inaction.