Step up and transform

Posted: 16 January 2020

"In times of crisis we must prioritise the needs of those most affected. And we must listen to those who best understand how we got here... Record-breaking drought and heat are making bushfire conditions ever-more catastrophic. This is climate damage.” - Kelly O'Shanassy, CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation

In the face of stress, anxiety and despondency driven by the bushfire crisis and it's underlying cause, people are stepping up in all sorts of ways. Volunteering. Donating. Making. Speaking up and speaking out.

This week in the New York Times, Emma Marris sets out a five-step plan to deal with the stress and become part of the solution.

The first step is to 'Ditch the Shame'. You are not personally responsible for the climate crisis. Your sacrifices alone can't fix it. As Marris puts it, "our daily lives are undoubtedly contributing to climate change. But that’s because the rich and powerful have constructed systems that make it nearly impossible to live lightly on the earth".

Step 2 therefore, is to focus on systems, not yourself. "Our current crisis will be solved by electing the right people, passing the right laws, drafting the right regulations, signing the right treaties — and respecting those treaties already signed, particularly with indigenous nations. It will be solved by holding the companies and people who have made billions off our shared atmosphere to account".

The third step is to join an effective group. Groups that focus on climate already exist at local, state, national and global scale. Examples are WATCH (Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health) with a focus on climate information and action, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, which is Australia’s largest youth-run organisation, with a mission to build a movement of young people leading solutions to the climate crisis, and the global Project Drawdown, which researches decarbonizing solutions. Australia's Climate Action Network has a plethora of member groups to choose from.

Step 4, when you do join a group, is to define your role. You can't do everything, and probably have particular skills you can offer. As Maris explains, "The power of these groups is not simply strength in numbers. They work well because they divide up the work that needs to be done and give each task to those best suited to it." 

Finally, you need to know what you are fighting for, not just what you are fighting against. Images of destruction and doom are all around us. Let's keep the alternative that we want before us. For the strength and fortitude to keep fighting, we all need to keep that good future in mind

See the full article here.