Phew…. there’s much to do
What on earth! Did someone just say it’s December?
As I reflect on the past couple of weeks I’m blown away by what I’ve been able to accomplish and participate in – and it probably shouldn’t be a surprise I have so little time for updating this blog 🙂
Let me share a little with you here (ok, so I’ve just written the rest of the post and come back up to the top to say… it’s not really a little, it’s actually quite a bit, perhaps grab a cuppa):
November began with Dj and I heading to Sydney for a 2 day conference (and yes the hypocrisy of travelling for climate work never gets any less) with folks involved in climate work from across Australia and many of the larger environment and climate organisations… We were exploring strategy at a national and local level, networking, discussing how we can be more effective and how we can broaden our movement. It was a challenging and rich few days where I learnt a lot and hopefully did something to bridge the East West divide.
I then led a couple of workshops in an all girls school here in Perth on climate action and transforming our world view. We discussed how they can take leadership and use their skills and passions to make the world a better place and address systemic and local concerns.
For the past couple of years I’ve been a member of the Perth Community Organising Collective, a group set up to provide free training and networking opportunities to campaigners and activists across a wide range of campaigns and issues. Together we participated in a workshop exploring ‘team work and communication’ where we learnt about and discussed different organisation styles, models of leadership and approaches to campaigning. It was a challenging workshop as it took place on the day of the US election, so it also included many a conversation about ‘what now’ and what does this result mean for the issues we care the most about.
In recent months I have been working with others to develop the WA Climate Network. This is a pretty exciting network made up of individuals and organisations from various sectors including Health, Faith, Unions, Aid and Development, Social Justice, Environment, Academia and Social Services. We’ve hosted a number of events including a ‘Just Transitions’ webinar and two networking evenings. At our last event we heard from Dr Paul Hardisty who heads up the Land and Water Division of CSIRO. Members of the network found the presentation useful and sobering and from that event there have been a number of initiatives including an election working group.
As a steering group we’re doing the unglamorous work of developing our foundational structure, including terms of references and codes of conduct. Our steering group is deliberately made up of people from different sectors so it means simple conversations are frequently not that simple and it’s taking time, however we know that we are stronger together and it’s critical work we need to do for the long term strength of our movement.
And then there was the US election, and #allthefeels that have come from the results… I was talking to my husband yesterday and we were discussing how many people we know who are struggling with mental health issues as a result of their/our work. It’s so difficult to remain motivated and inspired to take action, never mind assist others in taking action when we have ‘leaders’ such as Trump doing all they can to forward a destructive agenda (and of course we have many a destructive ‘leader’ here in Oz). So following on from the US election I’ve hosted a debrief and support group for campaigners and activists and have initiated alongside an inspiring young woman Noemie a ‘creative intervention into the US election’.
The support group was really useful for many of us. It allowed us to take a moment to recognise our reactions and to be heard. To share in a safe environment and if needed to express our fears and concerns. I’ll be working to ensure many more of these sessions happen and people have the support they need.
The ‘creative intervention’ has been enlightening. We decided that it wasn’t only those who were actively engaged in politics and campaigning that needed a space to be heard and to share their thoughts but folks in the streets too. After conversations with my new neighbour it became clear that these are not conversations that people are having in their every day lives, and yet they are conversations needed to be had. Note the photo on this post if from the first event in the city of Perth.
We gathered a few of our friends and headed first into the city and then into Leederville to talk to people about what they thought about the election results. We asked them open questions about their thoughts and concerns, their hopes and fears. We asked questions with the intention of learning, and oh boy have we learnt. It’s absolutely fascinating and deeply worrying to hear people’s thoughts about what’s happened and their understanding of why and what will happen next. And what’s so worrying is how far we are from being able to effectively communicate with people in the street. There’s much more to learn from this ‘intervention’ and I think it’s one of the most inspiring actions I’ve been involved in since the results a few weeks ago. And I firmly believe it will make a tremendous difference to our effectiveness as campaigners.
On the 9th December co-hosted by Amnesty, the WA Women’s Council and WA Injury Control Council, SEED Mob and Women in Social and Economic Research there is an event on Climate Justice. It’s a really exciting event, with inspiring key note speakers and an incredible panel. It’s possibly the first time this conversation has happened in Australia (you can rsvp here and if you can’t make it physically we’ll be livestreaming it here). The past few weeks have seen me working with all of these organisations and a number of incredible volunteers to pull this together.
As many of you know, much of my work day to day includes the formal and informal mentoring and training of activists and campaigners. It’s so rewarding to see the fruits of a couple of years of this work. To see actions and events happening that just wouldn’t have happened if I and others hadn’t been developing leadership and supporting so many in increasing their skills.
There’s so much more I could share about the last few weeks, my liaising with campaigners in other parts of Australia and WA on creating a ‘common agenda’ for our future, connecting campaigners from different sectors together so they can work on the State Election, meeting with a public servant about state climate action and participating in a conference call about Civil Resistance….
No wonder I find managing my email a bit challenging and all of this alongside hosting a 3 day Cultural Journey and a 1 day Cultural Tour with a local Nyoongar elder and teacher.
It’s truly inspiring that all of this work has been funded by contributions from the community and I want to take a moment to thank some of those who contribute monthly… they are the start of my 1 of 100….
I now understand why organisations request people become monthly donors. Monthly donations allow for security, it means less time spent on raising funds and more time on doing the work that needs to be done (and as you can see, there is much to be done). If 24 people donate $100 a month, my crowd funding campaign is successful. Or this could be 50 people at $50 or 100 at $25. I’m calling this the 1 of 100 campaign. And these people below are the first members of this truly inspiring community.
In no particular order I want to acknowledge:
Luke Skinner, Simone Van Hattem, Kylie Wrigley, Karma Lord, Brooke Fowles, Tamara Lampard, Steve Gates, Sallie Forrest, Dr Fiona Stanley, Ivy Penny, Dominique Chanovre
These are some of the incredible people who contribute monthly, allowing me to focus on what needs to be done and where my skills excel.
If you are able to join the 1 of 100 community please set up a regular donation at www.givenow.com.au/itsuptous I’m asking people donate $25, $50 or $100 a month. Contributions are tax deductible and every dollar makes a difference (and of course, if you are unable to donate monthly however can contribute in some other way please do and know it is appreciated).
And last but not least a shout out to Linda Selvey, Natasha Kepert, Richard Yin, Naomi Godden, Cathy Hall, Gina, Lucy, Erika Jacobsony Ivy Penny, Jemma M Green, Jake Elliott, Jenita Ene, Piers, Jess Topping, Inan Ahmed, who have contributed since June…
To those who sustain me financially thank you.
To those who sustain me in other ways thank you.
Now more than ever the future is Up 2 Us…