Recycling plastic bottles is great. But leaving the oil that makes those plastic bottles in the ground is far better. Placing the responsibility for addressing the climate crisis on individuals is not only unfair, it’s insufficient. It requires huge numbers of individuals to constantly take a large number of small actions to counteract big problems created by big organisations. And we all know how little time, money and attention most of us have for anything other than getting through each day.
What does collective action look like?
Powerful, collective actions may take a little more up-front thought and effort but they often require less effort to sustain over time. They are ways to use your personal assets, including:
- YOUR VOICE – voting for your local, state and national representatives
- YOUR MONEY – spending your money on products and services that align with your values or purchasing shares in companies you wish to support, and using your votes at shareholder meetings
- YOUR WORK – talking to your employer about what matters to you, or if you are in a position to do so, preferring to work for companies/projects that align with your purpose
These actions become far more powerful when they are taken collectively. It’s time to start having conversations with your friends, family and colleagues, in person and online, and join the movement. Here are just a few of the Australian groups working in these areas:
- 350.org Australia aims to rapidly end fossil fuels by building a global climate movement.
- CACE (Council Action in the Climate Emergency) was created to encourage and support councils adopting a Climate Emergency response.
- Citizens Climate Lobby Australia advocates for Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation, a climate solution accelerator that returns net revenue directly to households. Be part of the team that meets your MP.
- The GetUp movement is powered by the values and hopes of everyday people. By combining the power of one million members, movement partners and a central team of expert strategists, we do whatever it takes to make extraordinary impact.
- Market Forces believes that the banks, superannuation funds and governments that have custody of our money should use it to protect not damage our environment.
- Not Business As Usual is a group of Australian, New Zealand & global businesses that supported worker participation in the climate strikes on September 20 and 27, 2019.
You can also join or start a professional group such as:
- Doctors for the Environment Australia
- Lawyers for Climate Action Australia
- Farmers for Climate Action
- Engineers Declare
Ultimately, as Wael Ghonim pointed out:
“The power of the people is much stronger than the people in power.”