On Sunday morning I descended into a deep despair. I’m not usually one to despair. I much prefer hope. Or at least a glass of wine. But we had tried, and failed, to get to a climate change rally. It had just been too hard. And if we couldn’t even get to a rally, how could we possibly stop the world from imploding? I have to reveal at this point that it was also that special time of month when your body is one gigantic biological imperative and you just want to poke your eyes out with a stick.
Then on Sunday night we went to a Sydney Fringe show, a cabaret, which left me feeling inspired. I know, you’re thinking mood swings – also symptoms of that special time of month. But it was the artist herself – she not only had a lovely voice and amusing repartee but her show was about something. And she did something even more extraordinary. She asked us: What can you do to make Australia a better country?
Here was an artist, on a stage, asking her audience to think about their country, think about what they could do. She was assuming that we knew that we were the ones who could do something.
We could blame society. But we are society.
We could blame politicians. But we are the voters.
We could blame ourselves. Or we could do something.
As soon as I got home I got out my To do list and wrote: Do something.
And then I had a glass of wine.
The next day, I still hadn’t done anything. (Give me a break. These are big issues we’re talking about!)
I was browsing in one of my favourite bookshops, but not in my favourite section, the children’s section, or in my favourite position, curled up on the window seats. Not because I didn’t want to, but because some little people were already there. So I skulked around waiting for them to move and trying to come up with ways to make them move. I thought about horrible smells and freaky noises and as I was occupying myself thus, and to make myself look like a legitimate adult not a pervert of some sort, I browsed through a new book. An adult book.
It’s was called This Changes Everything. And it turned out it was written by one of my favourite authors – Naomi Klein of No Logo fame. And it was about climate change! I read the first few pages and decided to buy it. I would take it home, curl up on my couch and keep reading comfortably.
“That’s not what the book’s about,” said a little voice in my head.
I know that special time of month is really annoying but never have the symptoms included voices in my head.
“The book is not about being comfortable. It’s about doing something.” The little voice persisted. “You’ve got a To do list at home, about the size of this book. Why don’t you read that? And then do something.”
“Who the hell are you?” I whispered fiercely. Some of the little people looked at me. “Leave me alone!”
By this time several other people were also looking at me. I was too embarrassed to buy the book. I left the store. I went home. And just to make sure that stupid voice didn’t come back, I picked up my To do list and grudgingly read through it. It was very long. And there were a lot of things about climate change on it. None of them crossed out. It was all too hard. Was it actually a To do List or was it just a Too Hard Basket.
I was beginning to understand why the despair had kicked in.
One item in the too hard basket was: talk to people I know about climate change. You know, you sign a petition and the organisers ask you to spread the word, talk to people you know, Facebook it, Twitter it. It’s really hard to do.
“Or maybe you’re just scared.” It was that little voice again.
This time I was going to confront it. “Don’t be ridiculous. What’s there to be scared of?”
“That people won’t like you.”
“F***k Off!” I said, quite loudly. I was a little taken aback that I’d used the “F” word. It’s a rather harsh word. Did I really say that to myself? Because I’m guessing the little voice is me. My conscience. Otherwise climate change will be the least of my problems.
So to prove the little voice wrong I decided I would start talking to people about what we can do. That’s when I remembered that I had a blog and some wonderful people read it. So I have no excuses – here goes in starting the conversation.
What can we do?
And then the little voice said, “Why don’t you actually do something that you can talk about on your blog?”
And this time rather than abusing it, I said. “Good point.”
And so I did some of the things that were on my To do list:
- I signed a 350.org petition to the United Nations Climate Summit – http://350.org/
- I emailed the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and Liberal Senators urging them to maintain Australia’s Renewable Energy Target– the Federal Government is voting very soon to abolish it. (http://www.solarcitizens.org.au/protecttheret)
- I shared an OXFAM Food and Hunger campaign on Facebook
- I started divesting from fossil fuels: I rang my banks to ask if they invested in fossil fuels – one does, one doesn’t. I wrote on my To do list – close bank account. I rang my super to get the forms sent to me to change to an ethically responsible investment portfolio. I was told they don’t have one. I told them I would have to take my super elsewhere. They told me I would have to resign my job to do that. What??!!!
So I’m really pleased that I’ve started doing a few things on my To do list. That feels good. And the first three things were easy. The last one is a bit harder. Yeah Ok – the last dot point has just spawned a whole lot of other things on my To do list but that’s the way it goes, just one more thing to do!
But I am starting a conversation about climate change.
And hopefully it will change everything.
What can you do?
Resign your job to change your super fund? Most employers are obliged to let most employees change their super fund, but apparently some government employees and some people with archaic superannuation arrangements (“defined benefits” etc.) still cannot.
This is one of many interesting articles. Nice to see a newspaper covering it. 🙂
You made me think and act. I find myself complaining and feeling exasperated on the short-sighted decisions of the government on climate change (and frustration over the previous government). I followed your lead and did a few things you suggested adding signing up and donating to the Climate Council.