Updated: Nov 4, 2020
Turns out that despite the limitations posed on our every day lives by the restrictions in place to manage COVID-19, now can be the perfect time to take climate action. Here's a list of 100 restriction-friendly actions you can take to help in the effort to secure a safe climate future. They're categorised to help make this list a resource you can keep coming back to. And with such a diversity of actions, no matter who you are, how much you've done already, and whatever you skill sets, there's something for everyone.
Acknowledging that we're in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic - our hearts go out to everyone affected, we hope you and your family are safe and healthy and we thank the amazing people working hard to look after our health and needs at this challenging time.
On the Internet
Great actions you can take on your phone or computer.
1. Sign up to receive emails from climate, related issue and environmental groups in Australia. You’ll receive useful information including details about actions you can take and events you can attend. Check out the Groups page on our website to find the groups that most appeal to you.
2. Sign petitions. There are a multitude of climate related petitions available online. Petitions are a powerful tool that are used to lobby governments to create meaningful change. If you’ve signed up for emails (action #1) you’ll likely receive some petitions in your inbox. You can also search for climate related petitions on petition dedicated platforms like Change.org.
3. Join online climate events. Now, during COVID-19 restrictions, there are a multitude of group meetings, trainings, talks, working bees and other events online. These events are usually open to anyone, free, accessible, fun, informative, and productive. Many groups have event pages on their websites and/or Facebook, but being on email lists is often the best way to stay in the loop (see action #1).
4. Attend online rallies. While smaller events are happening all the time, big rallies are being held occasionally by climate groups. They're fun to attend and help propel momentum for the cause. An important upcoming live stream rally is the School Strike for Climate rally to be held on May 15. You don’t have to be a student, this event's for everyone.
On Social Media
Moving beyond Facebook resharing.
5. Offer your own thoughts about the climate crisis on social media. A thoughtful, personalised sentiment goes a long way. Make it social by tagging friends and interactive by posing a question. It only takes one post, to set your stance on climate change, amongst those who have read it. It’s important to break the silence surrounding the climate crisis and to break the ice amongst those close to you.
6. #DigitalStrike – When the world’s not in the grips of a pandemic, the global movement Fridays for Future not only organises big rallies, but they also strike in locations, commonly in front of town halls, around the world every Friday. Since COVID-19 kicked in, this every-Friday climate strike movement has moved online. Simply take a selfie (or a shot with your house mates), with a climate change protest sign, post it on social media, on a Friday (every Friday if you can) and use the hashtags #DigitalStrike #FridaysForFuture #ClimateStrikeOnline
7. #SilentStrike – Silent protest for climate has had a place in Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future and elsewhere. Silent striking is an accessible form of civil disobedience that can bring awareness to the climate crisis. There are no real rules – it’s been done at events, some people do it every week on the same day, others maintain their silence for an extended period. So, if this sounds like fun then get ready to be mute, have a notepad or whiteboard handy and consider explaining yourself to friends, family and colleagues beforehand. Don’t forget to post on social media with a photo of you during your silence and use the hashtag #silentstrike
8. Use Hashtags to spread your reach. If you’re making a climate related Instagram post, don’t forget to use all 30 allowed hashtags to get the word out! Also, its powerful to use relevant campaign-specific hashtags where possible. Examples include: #dontfrackthent #dirtypower #outdoorspeopleforclimateaction #placesworthprotecting #savetassiesforests #stopadani Use other well-known climate hashtags as well, for example #keepitintheground #actonclimate
9. Tag people. Tag relevant people, where possible, on your climate related posts. You might be requesting something from, or giving feedback to, a politician or a company so make sure they hear you. Also tag friends, campaign groups, and influential people where appropriate.
10. Check in to places. This is just a little tip to extend your reach for your climate related posts. Checking in places on Facebook is commonly used for large collaborative digital actions (for example, by checking in at political building where a targeted politician works). You can also use this concept in your own posts, to increase exposure of the issue more broadly. Likewise, 'geotag' your climate posts on Instagram where possible to increase engagement.
11. Make a video about you and the climate crisis. What concerns you? Has it impacted you already? What are your thoughts? What should people do about it? Videos are engaging. Pop it onto Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, IGTV or wherever else.
12. Create or participate in large social media waves. There is power in numbers when getting the attention of the public, or relevant politicians/companies. Keep an eye out for any upcoming mass-actions on social media and make sure to get involved.
13. Get a Linked In account. This is a great place to interact with companies and their employees to help achieve company-specific campaign goals. This is a tactic used by groups who regularly target companies as a part of their campaigns, namely 350.org and Stop Adani.
If you’re an Outdoors Person
Actions relevant to Outdoor enthusiasts, outdoor guides, outdoor educators and other outdoor workers
14. Join Outdoors People for Climate Action. It’s so simple, just add your name to the joint Statement of Concern here.
15. Check out the Outdoors People for Climate Action website – where you can learn more, access resources, and find out how to get active in the climate movement.
17. Check out Outdoors People for Climate Action's Facebook discussion group – and join the discussion.
19. Check out Protect Our Winters. POW is the leading climate advocacy group for the winter sports and outdoor community, representing 60 million people across 12 countries, with an Australian branch launched in 2018.
20. Read articles in the Mountain Journal, the online publication that covers Environment, news, and culture from the Australian Alps. You can find important updates about environmental issues in our mountains and what you can do to help.
21. Support Expedition Climb8. It’s an 800km team snowshoe expedition across the Australian Alps during winter 2020. The expedition will include adventure, science, community and conservation. Why not add a little something to their GoFundMe to support their trip expenses or even join them for a leg (if you’re experienced in gruelling winter journeys)?
Community and Communication
Building stronger and more informed communities during the climate crisis.
22. Write a letter to the editor. Your letter could be general and about the climate crisis, or about more specific issues, like renewable energy in your local area. Check out this Climate Council guide: How to write an effective letter to the editor.
24. Write letters to other influential people. Get creative. Got a favourite Instagram influencer, blogger, musician or performer in mind? Why not ask them to speak out on the climate crisis. Here’s an Elle article Can Instagram Influencers Help Save The Planet?
25. Do some letter drops in your local neighbourhood. Hand-write a personalised note, type a letter or print an informative pamphlet and away you go. You could share your concerns about the climate crisis, reference further resources and include an ask – like to vote with climate as the priority at the next opportunity. Remember to wash your hands and follow COVID-19 restrictions. The Climate Council has a variety of printable resources.
26. Check out the Transition Streets Movement. Transition streets is a global movement, where neighbours spend time building relationships and working together to make their homes, lives and streets more sustainable! Resources are available with meeting and discussion guides, questionnaires, challenges, and worksheets to keep your team focused and productive. Check out the Australian workbook here. Feel inspired with this video from Transition Streets Newcastle. Due to restrictions, you won’t be able to do everything as a group now, but could do some planning, get linked up as a group over social media (you could pop invites into your neighbours mailboxes) and have meetings over Zoom. After all, people are spending a lot of time at home and it seems gardening, DIY and general domesticity is on the rise so now’s a great time to improve our sustainability!
Our money can do a lot. It’s up to us to decide if it’s for better or worse.
27. Donate to climate, related issue, environmental and/or conservation groups. It really helps, if you can, to sign up to donate regularly, say every month. This helps groups and organisations forecast their finances and it’s an easy way to donate more in the long term. Some people like to create a portfolio of groups, giving each one a share of their donations (however small), to spread the love.
28. Pay for solutions to offset your footprint. It’s always better to reduce your footprint than to just offset it. But none of us will eliminate our footprint entirely and considering that we need to reduce emissions as much as we can, carbon offsetting projects are a great thing to support. Also, many of the projects provide additional benefits in areas such as biodiversity, education, jobs, food security, clean drinking water and heath & well-being in developing countries. Learn more here.
29. Divest your bank account. If you’re with a bank that invests in fossil fuels, it’s a great time to move your money somewhere else. The big four banks invest a lot of money into the fossil fuel sector, helping it to expand in Australia, which hinders Australia in meeting its Paris agreement. See where your bank stands, and find a bank that doesn’t fund fossil fuels, here. Make the most of your divestment by sharing some information with Market Forces (optional) and sending a message to your bank explaining your decision here.
30. Divest your superannuation. Just like Action #29, divesting your super helps to divert funds away from fossil fuels. Super has a sizeable impact considering that you’ll rack up a fair amount of money in your account and hold it there for some time. Check how your super compares, and which supers are worth switching to here. You can also check out how Ethical Advisers’ Coop ranks the ‘sustainable/ethical’ super funds here.
31. Have shares and stocks in only ethical funds and companies. Check out the Top Rated Funds chosen for ethical investment by Ethical Advisers’ Coop. Check out their full comparison of ethical/sustainable funds here.
32. If you’re a shareholder, take action by holding to account the companies you invest in. Use your weight to get big companies to make positive climate decisions. Lobby the company and then attend and speak out at their Annual General Meetings (AGM). Check out the Market Forces Shareholder Action page here.
33. Ask people close to you to divest. Once you’ve gone through the steps of divesting your own bank account and superannuation, why not tell your friends, family and colleagues why you did it, about your experience and offer your support in helping them to divest.
34. Get institutions to divest. Do you go to university, attend a church or are involved in community group? Institutions invest a lot of money. For example, 350.org.au reports that Australian universities invest millions of dollars through their endowments into fossil fuel companies. Get involved with the 350.org.au Uni Divestment campaign here. Some churches in Australia are in the process of divesting, if you attend church find out if your church is one of them and if not ask why. On that note, if you do go to church, check out the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change group here.
Big companies have huge impacts and influence. There's much to gain in compelling them to take climate action.
35. Give companies constructive feedback on social media if they are recklessly contributing to the climate crisis (for example, when HSBC continues to lend money towards coal). Private message the offending company and comment on their social media posts. Bonus points if you follow the company on social media so you can continue to comment on their posts for a period (until the offending behaviour stops). This is a tried and true tactic. Big companies have policies they use to manage their social media accounts, and so your comments could contribute to the company having a meeting or review about the issue. Stop Adani, Market Forces, 350.org, Greenpeace and GetUp! are all active in campaigns against bad company behaviour (refer to Action #1).
36. Give companies good feedback on social media if they make a positive change. Refer to Action #35. This could be in response to a positive decision from any company (for example, when Greyhound ended its work with the Adani mine). But also, don’t forget to share the love with the ‘green’ companies too (for example, if you buy electricity from Powershop you could tell them how much you love their 100% renewable energy)! This is helpful to make sure a company gets rewarded with praise and good publicity for making positive decisions.
37. Rate companies on the internet with the star system based on their climate performance and give feedback in the comments. For example, you may want to give Origin Energy 1 star for their unashamed plans to continue fracking in the NT despite public outcry. Or maybe you’d like to give Telstra 5 stars for their leading renewable energy target. Explain why you’ve given them this rating in your comment so they can take your feedback on board and the topic gets some public exposure – but do be aware of posting guidelines (keep it polite). You can leave a review on Google Maps or on websites like Product Review.
38. Write emails to companies. There are frequently calls to action from climate or related issue groups to write to a company/CEO to ‘make a demand’. For example, why not write to Joe Kaeser the CEO of Siemens to ask him to stop plans to provide rail signalling to the Adani Carmicheal mine project. Climate/related issue groups will make these key, coordinated, letter-writing tasks known to you on their websites or social media or within their regular emails (see Action #1). You can also always write letters to companies on your own accord, if you see reason to.
39. Boycott companies that are worsening the climate crisis. Or even boycott companies that work with companies that are worsening the climate crisis (called secondary boycotting, this is a key tactic employed by the Stop Adani movement). You could boycott alone (by being a responsible consumer), but you’ll have a bigger impact by joining or starting a large boycott. Boycotts are a powerful tool. If you choose a company (for example Newscorp), be clear about the behaviour you want to see them change (for example to stop showcasing climate denial), and then stop buying goods or services from that company. To give your boycott the best chance of success, try to get a lot of people to boycott the company, contact the company about the boycott and aim to get media coverage. Check out the article: Organizing a boycott.
40. When choosing companies to buy goods or services from check out their green credentials first. There are a multitude of resources on the internet to help you get the inside scoop on the sustainability of big brands. Have you ever wondered which streaming or other IT services are the most or least sustainable? Check out the Greenpeace scorecard: Click Clean. Don’t forget to tell your friends about your findings, make a social media post about it or write to the company about their good or bad reputation.
41. Call companies – If a company is doing something irresponsible. Give them a call and leave your feedback. There are many groups (like Stop Adani) that use this tactic with as many people calling as possible, so get involved where you can.
Use your artistic side for climate action
42. Make climart. If you’re a creative type, why not create a song, dance, painting, drawing, sculpture or installation relating to the climate crisis. Share it with the world – even if just on social media. For inspiration check out the Climart project or checkout climart on Pinterest or Instagram.
43. Put a sign in your window. It could be promoting something important (like the Climate Change Bill 2020), a word or phrase like “Climate Action Now”, a protest sign, a piece of ‘climart’ (action #42) or anything else. Your window is a personal place, off the internet, and ideal for spreading your message locally.
44. Use chalk to spread the message. Check your state or territory laws before doing this outside of your own property and consider COVID-19 restrictions.
45. Leave nature art with a climate crisis or climate action message where other people will see it. What about Climate Action written in beach sand, or an Extinction Rebellion symbol made of fallen leaves. Consider COVID-19 restrictions.
46. Good with design? Why not make an eye catching, memorable, shareable, climate-related graphic? Here’s some example climate change graphics from NASA.
47. Wear climate-related t-shirts, badges or other paraphernalia to promote climate action, when you’re out buying food or exercising.
48. Put a photo of any of the above on social media to increase your impact.
Shrink Your Footprint
Here’s some of the most important actions to quickly and greatly reduce your footprint
49. Find out how big your ecological footprint is and view your consumption by category with the Global Footprint Network's ecological footprint calculator. This calculator is great because you can add more or less detail depending on how much information you have (things like your exact house size).
50. Reduce your consumption of animal products. Eating a plant-based diet was one of the four recommended actions (as in the best things you can do), to reduce your footprint, given by a popular study The Climate Mitigation Gap.
51. Buy food from your local farmers market. This will help reduce your food miles. Also, much of the food you buy there is likely to be organic, small scale, plastic free, wholefood and vegan friendly. Outdoor markets are also handy for social distancing, and for supporting local economies at this tough time.
52. Start a veggie garden. For many this has been a great time to start a veggie garden, so much so that orders at the Diggers Club have gone up tenfold during the pandemic. If you don’t have much space why not grow just a few easy and quick veggies, like lettuce, rocket and silverbeet in pots. Your food miles will be lowered, you’ll eat organic and there’s no doubt you won’t waste any of your lovingly grown tucker.
53. Get and use a bike. Because living car free was one of the four recommended actions, to reduce your footprint, given by The Climate Mitigation Gap study. It’s also a handy way to avoid public transport during social distancing.
54. Buy green electricity. Buying renewable energy for your house was identified as a high impact action (especially in places with carbon-based energy grids like Australia) by The Climate Mitigation Gap. There are a number of options when buying renewable electricity in Australia. Powershop is one provider that’s frequently ranked the greenest electricity company in Australia, is 100% carbon neutral, powered by renewable energy, and offers great discounts if you buy your electricity before using it. Of course if you own your roof you can fit it out with solar panels.
55. Contemplate your family size during your extra quiet time. We say this in the most caring manner with full respect for your reproductive decisions. Its interesting to know that having one less child was identified as having the very highest impact of all actions by The Climate Mitigation Gap study.
56. Kindle your appreciation for local spaces, nearby places and 'staycations' during this oh-so home bound time. Why? Because avoiding just one round-trip transatlantic flight is listed as having a higher impact than even eating a plant-based diet by The Climate Mitigation Gap study. Likewise, reducing your road trips and driving kilometres is also highly beneficial.
Continue to Shave Away at Your Footprint
The smaller things add up.
57. Cook more at home, from scratch. By doing this you’ll eliminate some of the industrial processes, back and forth food miles (tomatoes grown wherever, processed somewhere else, sold as sauce near you), and packaging associated with your meal. You also eat healthier food, most likely with less sugar and preservatives and with fresher ingredients.
58. Repair, mend and clean your stuff. Repair your gear and belongings, mend your clothes, clean upholstery, appliances, sleeping mats and other items regularly, as required, and just generally care for your things to make them last longer. If you’re not familiar with how to sew a patch on your canvas backpack, darn a hole in a sock, or do any kind of cleaning or repair job just check the internet for articles or videos. Also, consider professional help where the task is complicated and risky.
59. By less and second-hand. Buy less stuff in general, but when you do buy, buy second hand. Op shops, pawn shops, Facebook marketplace and other online forums are all great places to find second hand. Sometimes you might not find what you need straight away, but often with a little patience it will pop up eventually. Likewise, sell your stuff (or give it to an op shop) when your done with it (rather than just storing it indefinitely) to support the reused economy. If you only need something temporarily why not borrow or rent it?
60. Reduce your use of packaging. We’re all familiar with the failings of plastic, especially plastic pollution. Single use plastic sucks and we should avoid it where we can. But also, did you know that, as single use items, metal and glass packaging are energy intensive? This just means when you have an option to choose no packaging, that’s ideal.
61. Manage your waste responsibly. After reducing your waste (see action #60) make sure to recycle and compost. Ensure that you understand your local recycling system so you can use it correctly and responsibly. Check your council website. If you're still after more advice check out Planet Ark. Soft plastic recycling is available across Australia through the company Redcycle. Make sure to check out their list of what they do and don’t accept (they take more than most people think!). Once you’ve got a pile simply take it to Coles or Woolies and they usually have a bin at the front of the store for it. Don’t forget to research where you can drop off tricky items like printer cartridges, daggy textile waste, dead batteries, electronics etc. Composting at home is great and many councils offer discounts on the equipment. However, if this doesn’t work for you, you may be able to find someone else in your community who can take your organic waste. Why not check out Sharewaste, an online compost network? Some people like to freeze their food scraps in between trips to their neighbourhood compost heap.
62. Reduce food waste. For most of us this is mostly just remembering to eat your leftovers and checking our fridges regularly for food on its last legs. However, if you want to go pro, why not checkout how to make stock from vegetable peel, ends and innards as well as veg that’s sad and old, with the help of this article by 1 Million Women.
63. Track your progress when lowering your footprint. Make sure to record what it was originally (action # 49) and to revisit it after you’ve made and sustained your reductions. It’s reassuring to see that you really are lowering your emissions. If you get really into it, consider switching it up and using a few different footprint calculators.
64. Get Off Gas. Gas isn’t renewable and everything we do with gas, in a domestic setting, we can do with renewable electricity (See action #54). The ACT plans to move their residents off gas cooking as a part of their plan to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2045. This probably isn’t a task you’ll do over the next weekend, but it’s good to keep in mind for the future, especially if you had to replace your gas stove.
Read About the Climate Crisis
Being informing is essential. Understand the issue, the obstacles and the solutions.
65. Read IPCC Reports. The IPCC is the leading review globally of climate change and is produced by a team of hundreds of scientists and specialists from a diverse range of disciplines, used to inform policy makers worldwide. The reports are long and technical.
66. Read the CCPI 2020 and information from the Climate Action Tracker. The Australian government maintains that it is doing very well in addressing climate change. Objective analysis tracking policymaker performance across the globe disagrees. To see how Australia and other countries are faring, and how likely we are to meet the Paris Agreement, check out these sources.
67. Read material by the Climate Council. The Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation. They are independent and provide expert advice to the public about climate change and solutions. Reading reports, news and resources from the Climate Council keeps you informed about the state of climate change and climate action in Australia. They’re solutions focused and have information about what you can do to make a difference as well as providing feedback as to how our governments, local, state and federal are preforming.
68. Read Information from Project Drawdown. Project drawdown is a comprehensive evaluation of the world’s top 80 existing climate solutions that can be used to achieve a path to drawdown, the point at which the concentration of greenhouse gases begins to decline. Their book is fantastic, and the website is also great.
69. Read books about the Climate Crisis. Here are some recent, well-regarded books.
The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis by Christiana Figueres, Tom Rivett-Carnac - describes two possible scenarios: in one we fail to meet the Paris climate targets, in the other, we thrive in a carbon neutral, regenerative world.
The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here by Hope Jahren – describes the key inventions that led to global warming, the projected consequences of the climate crisis and what we can do about it.
Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know by Joseph Romm - offers up-to-date examination of climate change's foundational science, its causes, its implications for our future, and the core clean energy solutions.
The 100% Solution: A Plan for Solving Climate Change by Solomon Goldstein-Rose – addresses the full scope of solutions to reach negative greenhouse gas emissions worldwide by 2020.
The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future by David Wallace-Wells – described as a brutal and terrifying read, this book describes just how bad unmitigated global heating could really get.
70. Attend the Climate Council virtual book club. They recommend a book or film related to climate change every three weeks, and then host an online discussion with prominent Councillors, experts, scientists and members of the community. They list each book or movie a few months ahead so you can take more than 3 weeks if you want.
These documentaries are heartfelt, profound and call for urgency.
71. Water is Life – an inspiring documentary by Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network about the Aboriginal communities fighting against fracking plans in the NT. Watch it for free on Vimeo. It’s 30 minutes long.
72. Takayna | What If Running Could Save a Rainforest? A documentary by Patagonia that showcases the fight to save the Tarkine/Takayna in Tasmania from logging through the lens of a female ultrarunner and activist. Available on YouTube. It’s 40 minutes long.
73. Chasing Ice – a 2012, award winning documentary on climate change. A surreal, epic, alarming, narrative journey into capturing time-lapse footage of the world's ice melting. Available on the Films for Action website for free and on Netflix. A story of heroism, adventure, photography, environmentalism and the enormity of climate change. Post film, Chasing Ice has partnered with The Wild Foundation to pursue non-profit work in conservation education and communication. The film's 1 hour and 16 minutes long. Watch the trailer here.
74. Chasing Coral – a 2017 documentary by the director of Chasing Ice. Full of emotion and suspense, watch the battle to catch coral reef bleaching, before and after, on camera. A heartbreaking story of bleaching and dying reefs narrated by the passionate people working their tails off to capture the evidence on camera. Available on Netlflix and for free on YouTube. It’s 1 hour and 33 minutes long. Watch the trailer here.
75. 2040 is our most highly recommended film! An Australian documentary that’s gone worldwide, created by the talented director Damon Gameau. Structured as a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, Damon embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if only we embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream. Community screenings of the film are common so you may be able to find a virtual community screening to attend. Otherwise it’s available for $6.18 which I can assure you is well worth it. Since release the 2040 team have become a powerful force of change making in Australia – check out their work here. It’s 1 hour 32 minutes long. Watch the trailer here.
There are a lot of podcasts out there about climate change. Here are a few of our favourites. Find these podcasts on Castbox or wherever you listen.
76. Full Story by the Guardian. We highly recommend Full Story by the Guardian as a chance to get a detailed insight into key topics related to the climate crisis, with a focus on Australian politics. How did a decade long toxic debate lead to Australia’s current stance on climate policy? How did the shooting of an environmental officer influence our land clearing debate and law? Is the Australian government really “meeting and beating” it’s targets? Just scroll past the 100 or so COVID-19 episodes and you’ll find these gems.
77. The Climate Council podcast provides climate change information through an Australian lens. Episodes are under 20 minutes each and provide a short insight into various topics. Unfortunately, their last episode was produced in 2018, but no doubt their pretty busy with all the great work they do!
78. Ted Talks Daily – Ted Talks is a seriously great place to hear inspiring and informative talks on various topics relating to climate change and solutions. There have been episodes on carbon storage in soil, artificial carbon storage, climate psychology, cloud brightening, how climate change makes food less nutritious and many, many more. Just search 'climate', to find relevant their relevant episodes. You can also find Ted Talks on YouTube.
79. Audio Books – If you like listening, why not download climate change books as audio books? This is also an easy way to avoid the book shop.
Engage with politics at a federal and state level.
80. Write a letter to your MP explaining why you care about the climate crisis and what you want to see them do about it. At the time of writing, it’s a great idea to ask your MP to support Zali Steggall’s Climate Change Bill 2020. Check out this Climate Council guide – How to write an effective letter to your MP.
81. Write letters or emails to other MPs. There are impactful opportunities to contact other MPs about climate issues. Why not write to 12 key moderate liberal and national MPs to ask for their support for the Climate Change Bill 2020? Check out this action on the Australian Parents for Climate Action website.
82. Write to other politicians about your concerns. Choose politicians to whom your issue is relevant. It’s usually best to write or email them. At a federal level you could contact: ministers, shadow ministers, and Australian senators. Find the directory of National Senators and Members here. At a state or territory level you could contact: state ministers, state MPs, state senators and state shadow ministers – find these people, their roles and their contact details on your state or territory parliament website.
83. Build relationships with politicians and lobby them for climate action. Team up with Citizens Climate Lobby an organisation focused on political lobbying for climate solutions. Citizens Climate Lobby is actively lobbying politicians, during COVID-19, using Zoom.
84. Write submissions for inquiries and reviews and similarly, comment on government policies, plans and laws. Speak up for the importance of effective climate and environmental action. Often, important submission opportunities will be emailed to you by environmental NGOs or activist groups if you’ve signed up to their email list (see Action #1). Also, check out this listing of opportunities on the Environmental Defenders Office NSW website. Inquiries relevant to the climate crisis can vary in topic, from investigating this past bushfire season to reviewing environmental law in Australia.
85. Speak out at a Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) public hearing or public meeting; at a State or Federal parliamentary inquiry; or at a government consultation. Check out this guide from Environmental Defenders Office about this action and others similar to it.
86. Vote for climate action. NT, ACT and Qld all have state/territory elections in 2020. Qld, NSW and Vic have local council elections in 2020. Would you vow to always vote with climate action as your top priority?
Local councils can do a lot to address the climate crisis but it’s up to residents to ask for action.
87. Get to know your local council. In Australia, it’s local governments who are often applauded for leading the way on climate action, whilst the federal government lags. Research your council and have a look at their website. What are their sustainability initiatives? Attend council meetings, many council meetings have moved online because of COVID-19. If you can’t make it to the meeting, usually recorded meetings are made available to the public on the council’s website. Many councils also have public access meetings or public forums which give you the chance to speak to your local councillors. Local government can be a complicated topic to learn about, so look for helpful information about how your state’s councils operate on your state or territory website.
88. Ask your local council to take climate action. Write or email one of your local councillors. Decide which councillor is best to contact. Which councillor represents your “ward” (your neighbourhood area)? Consider which councillors may be on a sustainability committee. For some issues it’s appropriate to contact your mayor. If you’re not sure who to contact, call your local council and ask. Remember, your requests as a resident and voter hold weight, because mayors and councillors are elected representatives (see action #86). Have they declared a climate emergency? If not, ask them to. Close to 100 jurisdictions in Australia have declared a climate emergency. Declaring a climate emergency is usually a stepping stone for councils in further addressing the climate crisis. Here’s a Change.org article on how to use a petition to get your local council to declare a climate emergency. If they have, does your council have net-zero emissions or renewable energy targets?
89. Team up to achieve local change. Is there a community group or a group of individuals already lobbying your council for action on climate change or a related issue? If so team up with them. For example, Lock the Gate is successfully lobbying councils in Sydney as a part of their Don’t Frack the NT campaign.
90. Ask your council to join the Cities Power Partnership, if they haven’t already.
The Climate Council makes it easy to see if your council has joined, and if not to encourage them to here.
91. Ask your local council to divest. Councils are an important player in the divestment movement. Many Australian councils already have divestment clauses in their investment policies. Let’s get that number to grow. Visit Fossil Free Australia to learn more about council divestment.
92. Speak on an agenda item at a Council meeting. Take your involvement in lobbying your local council a step further by delivering a speech or asking a question at a council meeting. Usually you’ll need to apply beforehand to do this.
Relationships and Reflection
Focusing on yourself and those close to you.
93. Spend some time developing climate goals. They could be short, mid or long term. Write your goals down, put them somewhere you can see, track your progress and celebrate your wins. This can be a huge step up in fast-tracking your personal climate action. Here’s a few examples - in the next 3 months I will bike to work 20 times, donate a set amount of money to climate groups, swap to a green energy company and talk to 10 people about the climate crisis.
94. Talk about the climate crisis with friends, family, housemates and/or colleagues. For some of us, talking about the climate crisis can feel unnatural. You could warm yourself up by talking about something you’re doing to make a difference. There are lots of great articles with advice on how to talk about the climate crisis: here’s one.
95. Encourage your friends, family, housemates and/or colleagues to take a climate action or to attend a climate event with you. Why not start with something accessible like School Strike 4 Climates weekly gigs? This can also be a great icebreaker to have a meaningful conversation about the climate crisis with the people close to you.
96. Familiarise yourself with Earth Emotions. Ecological grief is a commonly described emotional response to natural disasters and other environmental issues. Other environment-related emotions include eco-anxiety, solastalgia and eco-paralysis. To find a summary of 7 earth emotions and other helpful information check out the Extinction Rebellion Australia Regenerative Culture booklet. Once you understand how these emotions affect your internal world, normalise them in conversation and support your loved ones with their earth emotions.
Diversify Your Approach
Embrace intersectionality in the climate movement, because many of the world’s biggest problems are interrelated.
97. Support the empowerment of women. Project Drawdown recognises the empowerment of women and girls as a top tier solution to addressing the climate crisis. Watch the fantastic Ted Talk given by Katharine Wilkinson of Project Drawdown. What can you do? Educate yourself about this link, spread the word, and support gender equity, education of girls and access to family planning either through donations, volunteering or activism.
98. Practise Mutual Aid. Mutual aid is a serious buzz word right now in activist circles and for good reason. Mutual aid refers to a group of people organising to meet their own needs outside of the formal frameworks of charities, NGOs and government. During COVID-19 mutual aid is helping people act quickly to help those in their community who need support. Check out this article about mutual aid during COVID-19 in Australia Check the mutual aid group #ViralKindness and keep an eye out in your area for a local group.
99. Support Indigenous Rights. Indigenous peoples all over the world have spoken out against environmental destruction since colonisation. Environmental stewardship is ingrained in indigenous peoples through culture, religion, identity and history. And unfortunately, indigenous peoples will be impacted more severely impacted by the climate crisis. In Australia, an example of indigenous people fighting against environmental injustice is in the effort to end fracking in the Northern Territory. Support indigenous rights in general and support indigenous groups within the climate and environmental movement, like Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network.
100. Spend time in nature. A pleasant action, but no doubt an important one. Continue to kindle and nourish your relationship with nature and keep what really matters in sight. One of the reasons why outdoors people are so important to the climate movement is because our lives, our work, and our passions are tied to the living environment, for which we have a great appreciation and dedication to. Spending time outdoors (whilst observing COVID-19 restrictions) helps us enjoy the benefits to our physical and emotional well being, protect us from the burnout of activism and work through our ecological grief.