• published Becoming a citizen climate activist in Take action 2020-01-31 13:21:25 +1100

    How I accidentally became a citizen climate activist

    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 a sustainable future in the economic stimulus after Covid.

    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.

    Sue Dwyer

    MP Engagement Group Coordinator


  • Fundraising Hackathon with Deloitte and Our Community

    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.

    Read more

  • published At VPELA Conference in News 2019-10-09 13:22:58 +1100

    Putting climate action on the agenda at the VPELA Conference

    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. 

    Read more

  • published News 2019-10-14 12:42:50 +1100

  • published Global Climate Strikes: thank you and what's next in News 2019-10-09 13:16:55 +1100

    Global Climate Strikes: thank you and what's next

    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.

    Read more

  • donated 2020-02-16 21:32:09 +1100

    Multiply your impact and donate monthly

    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.

    By donating monthly, your impact on our ability to be strategic and inspire more Australians to act on climate is multiplied.

    We are powered by thousands of people passionate about creating a safe climate - people like you. We cannot stress enough how crucial regular donations from our supporters are. Can you join our community of monthly supporters and help us achieve meaningful change?

    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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  • donated 2019-10-21 17:59:59 +1100

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    Thank you for choosing to become a member of Climate for Change. 

    This page will sign you up as a volunteer member. Volunteer membership is for people who have volunteered with Climate for Change for a total of twenty hours or more over any three month period in the last year. 

    Thank you again!

     

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  • signed up on Subscribe 2020-02-28 10:41:00 +1100

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    Our Climate Updates are compiled by Julian Atchison, a long-time volunteer of Climate for Change.

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