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Beyond overwhelm into action
Pass it on
Pass it on
I'm reading
Beyond overwhelm into action
Pass it on
Pass it on
I'm reading
Beyond overwhelm into action
Pass it on
Pass it on
Articles
15 January 2020

Beyond overwhelm into action

Being proximate to climate-related disasters can make us feel powerless. We’ve put together a list of ways you can start to transform your overwhelm into much-needed action.

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DONATE TO BUSHFIRE RELIEF AND WILDLIFE RECOVERY

An immediate way to respond to the climate-related disasters in Australia is by contributing to relief and wildlife recovery funds. Some of these are also organisations working to regenerate the land and restore balance to our ecosystems. 

SUPPORT BUSINESSES AFFECTED BY FIRES

It can feel a bit strange to be consuming right now, but there are some initiatives popping up across social media which directly support local businesses in fire affected communities. 

OFFER HOUSING SUPPORT

There are also some great initiatives happening which connect those displaced by the fires to people with spare rooms or homes. 

PROCESS YOUR FEELINGS

It’s important to come to terms with how we feel about our changing environment and the impact humans have had. Maybe you feel grief, denial, rage, fear—it’s all valid, and probably changes from day to day. The important thing is that we’re connecting our emotional states to our natural world. This puts us in good stead to act.

  • Take part in a workshop with Psychologists for a Safe Climate and look into their resources
  • Consider working with a climate psychologist to work through your feelings
  • Download this handbook about moving beyond states of denial and apathy.
  • Write yourself a letter – or have a conversation – exploring your experiences and feelings about climate change. What are the various feelings you have? What causes them to change? What are you grateful for in the midst of loss and tragedy?

JOIN A CLIMATE ACTION GROUP

Social movements have been the basis of all significant change throughout history—from labor rights to feminism. In each case, groups of people have come together and dedicated enormous energy to get mainstream culture and ultimately government to change. Here are some incredible organisation putting pressure on government and business to act on climate change.

ENGAGE WITH YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL

Around the world, towns and cities of all sizes are getting on with the job of climate action. They are creating emissions reductions plans, switching to cleaner energy and building more resilient communities. Towns and cities can shape how land is used, investments are made, homes are built and people travel. They also lobby for state and federal change.

  • Research what your local council has already done on climate change. Set up a meeting with your mayor to talk about new ideas and programs, and lobby them to make a Declaration of Climate Emergency.
  • Nominate your council for the Climate Council’s “City Power Partnership” at climate so they can be a stronger force for change
  • Take these issues to state and federal representatives and ensure climate change stays in the forefront of politician’s minds. Find contact details & guidelines for contacting senators and members here.

MOVE YOUR MONEY AWAY FROM FOSSIL FUELS

Divestment means making sure your money isn’t invested in things that clash with what you care about. It’s up to us to remove the “social license” of the coal, gas and oil industries. If super funds switched even a fraction of their investments to renewables, it would completely transform the energy industry. 

  • Switch to a bank that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels like Bank Australia (also, check out their Clean Energy Home Loan)
  • Move your superannuation to funds that invest in climate solutions like Future Super and Australian Ethical.
  • Check whether your insurance company invests in fossil fuels by going to marketforces.org.au. If they do, switch and let them know why.
  • Start investing in geothermal, energy storage, solar and wind farms, transmission infrastructure and distributed generation. When money moves to renewables, it sends a strong message to the rest of the investment community that there’s no long term future in fossil fuels.

 INCORPORATE SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES INTO YOUR LIFE

The paradigm shift needed requires all of us to make changes in our lifestyles that will pave the way for a green economy. Here are just a few things you can incorporate into your home and daily life.

  • Switch to a green power provider like Amber Electric and Powershop. Some energy companies now also have options for renewable power – enquire about changing your source.
  • Minimise water and energy use by insulating roofs and walls, flicking switches off, installing solar panels, using shade windows and limiting water times.
  • Think about offsetting the carbon footprint of your home, business or project by investing in a tree planting initiative or running a tree planting day with your local community
  • Consider moving towards a more plant based diet
  • Cut out waste in your home by limiting plastic use, composting food waste, buying bulk and purchasing items that are recycled or pre-loved.
  • Support businesses that are leading us towards a more sustainable economy. The B Corp certification is a helpful measure.

HELP REBUILD LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS

Returning to local economies and industries is one of the most powerful things we can do to resist the corporate globalisation that is causing havoc to our social structures and natural ecosystems. Join or start:

  • A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture Program)
  • Farmers market
  • School garden
  • Community garden or allotment in your neighbourhood
  • Tree planting group in your local area

ORIENT TOWARDS WISE VOICES

What we listen to, read and watch matters big time. We’re not saying you have to get rid of all your guilty pleasures, it’s important to switch off sometimes, but more important is that we are listening to the voices in the world that are showing us what we need to do and who we need to become in this moment.

  • Move away from media that is denying the realities of climate change
  • Go through your social media feed and curate according to what you want the world to look like
  • Read about Joanna Macy’s work
  • Check out Damon Gameau’s documentary 2040
  • Firesticks is an Indigenous-led network reintroducing cultural burning through workshops and education.
  • Read Jem Bendell’s report Deep Adaptation
  • Go through the Dumbo Feather archives and find people who’s thinking resonates with you

Feature image by Gregory Lorenzutti

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