What can my community do?
Working with your community
Every year, Australian communities face devastating losses and disruption caused by emergencies such as bushfires, floods, severe storms and extreme heat. These events are becoming more extreme and more frequent due to climate change.
As the devastating 2020 bushfires have shown, the best way to be safe and secure during such extreme times is to band together and support each other.
From the tireless volunteer fire fighters, to the millions of dollars crowd funded, to crafters crocheting pouches for wildlife, when our communities come together and make a stand it’s incredible what we can do.
Amidst all this, we also need to focus on changing the larger system. That’s where we have the greatest opportunity to reduce emissions so that we’re on track for a habitable future.
1. Start a community renewable energy project
Households, neighbourhoods, schools and community groups are banding together to create their own clean, green renewable energy.around Australia – from putting solar on the roof of a local community building, to using their collective purchasing power to get a better deal on solar panels.
Read this to learn how to get a small-scale community solar project off the ground, and this Climate Council guide to feel prepared to field tricky questions about renewable energy. Check if your project is eligible for funding assistance through the Emissions Reduction Fund.
2. Join a climate movement
One of the ways we can encourage real climate action at the local, state, territory and federal level is to demonstrate there is a groundswell of public appetite and vocal support for this issue.
Here’s a comprehensive list of Australian organisations and grassroots groups advocating for climate action.
3. Support/join youth-led climate movements
Young people have the most at stake when it comes to climate change. Their futures are on the line. All over the world, kids, teenagers and young adults are taking matters into their own hands in inspiring ways. Help them grow their movement by joining and supporting them.
If you’re an adult, be careful not to take over. Be humble. Listen. Let the youth lead.
Some youth-led climate movements in Australia include
- SEED Indigenous Youth Climate Network
- Australian Youth Climate Coalition
- School Strike 4 Climate Australia
4. Contact your local representative
Our local councillors and MPs are there to listen to your views, understand your perspective, and represent you. The more people who contact them on a given topic, the more likely they will compelled to do something about it.
There are 3 main ways to influence public debate:
- Write a letter or email to your local councillor and MP
- Call your local councillor and MP.
- Participate in one of your councillor/MP’s public consultation sessions in your area
For more information on who to contact and what to say, see the Climate Council’s Climate Action Toolkit.
Also make sure you are enrolled to vote and then get informed. Candidates’ positions on climate change vary widely, so research the parties, ask questions about climate change at town hall meetings and let your candidates know you are voting for the climate.
If you’re too young to vote, you can talk to your parents about the importance of voting for climate action (this research will tell you how).
5. Tell your climate impact story
The Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub is running an exciting column in Melbourne’s Leader Community News to feature local climate stories in their newspapers. The column “Changing Climates”, the first of its kind in Australia, is bringing the climate discussion back into the community by publishing opinions and experiences alongside established climate science.
If you’d like to be quoted in your local Leader to share how climate change has impacted you, you can fill out their Community Climate Survey.
6. Plant trees
Trees absorb carbon and other gases from the atmosphere, can protect coastal communities from severe flooding and storms, provide shade to help soils retain moisture and support plant and wildlife biodiversity. Planting forests and protecting existing forests from deforestation is an important part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
So why not get your school or street to host or join Planet Ark’s National Tree Day planting event? Be sure to plant trees are native to your local area.
The Climate Council
Eight million reasons to support homegrown climate action.
The Climate Council
Hepburn is home to Australia’s first community-owned windfarm.
Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network
Standing together to protect country