I’m Sue. Teacher, writer, parent, and passionate advocate for government action on climate. I’m also a volunteer facilitator with Climate for Change and the MP Engagement Groups coordinator.
By late 2017, I'd been a facilitator for about a year. I'd talked to many people about the power of citizen democracy, but had never visited an MP myself.
So on a whim, deciding I should "walk the talk" I turned up nervously to a Preston cafe in response to a request for volunteers to visit my then local MP, David Feeney.
Unwittingly, this single action would lead me to create a project supporting many community groups to engage with their MPs on a regular basis.
A dozen locals turned up for the briefing and to elect a spokesperson - I was the dummy with the notebook so everyone looked at me. Initiation by fire. As it happened, I only had to introduce the group and say why we were there, then more confident people took over and I could relax. Phew!
David gave in to our pressure. He signed a short statement opposing coal and had a group photo taken with him holding a Stop Adani sticker. He agreed to post it on social media and also to speak in Parliament about coal and climate. The Guardian saw his tweet and ran a story. David spoke in Parliament and the Guardian ran a second story.
I was amazed. This was proof citizen democracy could work.
After David’s resignation, Ged Kearney won the byelection in 2018. Emboldened by my previous experience, my friend Helen and I visited her about two weeks after the election. We were nervous but had prepared talking notes, which really helped. We asked Ged to include climate change in her maiden speech. She took this ask seriously and I nearly fell off my chair when she asked if I’d help with that part of her speech, though I didn’t seriously think it would happen.
However, a couple of weeks later, Ged emailed me asking for comment on her draft. I sent back what I thought, and she included some of it. Incredible.
Me meeting with my local member, Ged Kearney, and with Victorian Senator, Janet Rice
Since then, with other friends, we’ve visited Ged regularly. We’ve helped inform her on climate and she’s educated us on the realities of parliament and party politics. It’s a fruitful relationship, though we keep pushing her to do more!
Based on my experiences, I wanted to encourage others to engage with their MPs as well. Imagine the change we could influence if lots of us did this!
During a meeting with Ged and Mark Butler, I asked what was the single best thing we could do to make MPs listen, and Mark said: “Make a lot of noise”. He defined “noise” as writing, visiting and calling, and said even a humble email could be very powerful. Other MPs have endorsed this, and staffers in several MPs offices have told us if people knew how seriously correspondence was taken, they’d write more often.
It matters to MPs what the mood in their electorate is and what constituents want. But they can’t know that unless we tell them.
MP Engagement Groups (MPEGS) were created about a year ago to help people make a lot of “noise”.
The idea is simple - you get a group of friends together for a couple of hours to write emails and plan visits to MPs. There’s no compulsory agenda, but we have a guide for running a productive session, templates, examples, suggested issues and other resources to make it as easy as possible. It’s much more enjoyable doing this in a group than by yourself. My group meets every 3-4 weeks, drinks wine, and talks and laughs a lot, but we still send heaps of emails and plan MP visits.
MPEGs have sent thousands of emails and had dozens of visits. Groups have started in other states. Some groups have evolved into climate action groups with their own focuses. Interest has increased lately due to the growing outrage over the bushfires.
Along the way, with friends, I’ve visited Senators, and State MPs. It’s productive and rewarding and I’d love to inspire more people to do this.
A sign at a recent climate rally said: “I kept waiting for someone to do something - and then I realised I was someone.”
If any of you are “someones” who’d like to do something, let us know and we'll be in touch.
You could also take action straight away and use the email tool on the Climate for Change website asking Federal MPs to support the bipartisan Climate Bill that Zali Steggall plans to introduce to parliament in March.
Using our tool only takes a minute or you can substitute your own words instead.
Thank you and hope to see you at one of our MPEGs soon.
MP Engagement Group Coordinator
Marta Zajac published Fundraising hackathon with Deloitte and Our Community in News 2020-01-15 11:51:59 +1100
Climate for Change’s Community Fundraising Manager, Marta Zajac, and Data Volunteer, Olivia Bicks, partnered with Our Community for a full day hackathon-style workshop as part of the annual Deloitte Impact Day on November 22.
Powerful speech about how we can all create a climate for change from our Founder and CEO, Katerina Gaita, at the VPELA Conference in August 2019.
Marta Zajac published Global Climate Strikes: thank you and what's next in News 2019-10-09 13:16:55 +1100
A letter from Katerina Gaita, Climate for Change's Founder and CEO, on the impact of September Global Climate Strikes and what we can collectively do next.
Marta Zajac donated 2020-02-16 21:32:09 +1100
Your regular support is crucial in achieving long-term change. Donate monthly to systematically grow the climate movement and meaningful, bold action on climate change.
While the support for climate action among Australians is at it’s all-time high, we still have a lot to do to harness the movement’s momentum to achieve urgent and meaningful action on climate change through conversations.
You can help inspire, engage and support more Australians to act on climate change and grow the climate movement through deep, face-to-face conversations in communities across the country.
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Whether it's a monthly contribution of $10 or $100, we appreciate your support immensely and wouldn't be able to continue growing the climate movement through conversations without you. Thank you.
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Build your capacity, challenge yourself and create positive change
Our 2020 NFP Fundraising & Marketing Fellowship is an exciting opportunity for up to 25 people with passion, drive and initiative to develop skills and experience valuable to the not-for-profit and climate sectors, while making a tangible difference to Climate for Change and the work that we do.
"It's honestly been one of the most life-changing experiences I've had. I'm just so inspired by how much of a difference we can actually make." - Cait Coffey-Wong, 2017 Fellow
Sounds exciting? Express your interest below!
Please note: the program has been moved back by five months and will now commence in July 2020, not February. You can express interest via the form at the bottom of this page and we will be in touch once applications open in May 2020.
About the fellowship
Following the huge success of our 2019 Fellowship program, we are back bigger and better, looking for a new group of up to 25 committed volunteers to join us in 2020.
This Fellowship has been designed to give those interested in working in the not-for-profit, advocacy and climate sectors a range of skills and experience foundational to all these sectors, mainly focussing on fundraising, community organising, marketing and communications.
Over four months you will attend weekly seminars with a select and passionate group of volunteers to learn from experts in their field. Over that period, you will also work together to develop and implement an ambitious real-life crowd fundraiser in a fun and supportive environment.
This is a great opportunity for someone wanting first-hand experience in the not-for-profit sector, while gaining fundamental skills needed for fundraising, communications and community organising.
Knowledge and skills
The Fellowship curriculum has been designed to expose our Fellows to almost all aspects of fundraising, community organising, marketing and communications in a not-for-profit setting. Topics covered in the retreat and weekly seminars will include (but will not be limited to):
- Communicating to inspire action and social change
Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising
- Volunteer recruitment and support
Digital storytelling and campaigning
Personal Narrative Training
- Narrative and storytelling
Working and breaking into the not-for-profit sector
What's in it for you?
"Participating in this year's Fellowship was truly an unbeatable experience; the array of skills I've gained from it (fundraising, communication, teamwork, project management, etc!) have been invaluable. I now feel way more empowered to advocate for effective climate action. I wish I could do the entire thing again!" - Daniela Spilkin, 2018 Fellow
Gain valuable practical experience in the not-for-profit and climate change sectors
Receive formal training in many aspects of fundraising, community organising, marketing and communications in the not-for-profit sector from experts in their fields
Develop your skills on a real-life fundraising project
- Be part of a dynamic organisation reaching thousands of people and make a meaningful difference to Climate for Change and the work that we do
Meet and work with like-minded people, making lifelong friends and connections
Develop your professional profile, particularly in the climate change and not-for-profit sectors
Welcome Dinner – June 2020, TBC
Three day retreat - weekend in early July 2020, TBC
- Crowdfunder launch event - September 2020, TBC
Weekly sessions from 6pm to 8:30pm from July until end of October 2019, TBC
Please note: our dates for 2020 have changed and we will now commence the program in July, not February, with applications opening in May.
Our weekly training sessions will be held in Melbourne CBD. The retreat will take place at a location within driving distance from Melbourne. Our event locations are TBC, however they will all take place in Melbourne.
Worth thousands of dollars, the training in this Fellowship is offered free of charge as participants will help fundraise for Climate for Change as part of their project work. Participants will need to cover the costs of the retreat (accommodation, food and transport). These costs are yet to be finalised, but we aim to keep them as low as possible (around $500 for three days). Some full and partial scholarships will be made available to applicants based on need.
Please express your interest in taking part in the Fellowship via the registration form below.
Official applications will open in May 2020 - we will notify you as soon as we're ready to accept applications.
“I would say to any future fellows, just go for it! There are so many vital general skills and also transferable skills that you will learn, and the feeling you get when you know you are making a positive change is the most valuable thing of all.” Alice Anderson, 2018 Fellow
Marta Zajac donated 2019-10-21 17:59:59 +1100
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Every fortnight we collect the most important climate change news and compile it in an easy-to-understand format that helps you to see the bigger picture of climate change. We also include at least three actions you can take.
Our Climate Updates are compiled by Julian Atchison, a long-time volunteer of Climate for Change.Sign up
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