20:20 VISIONS: DE-POLARISING THE CLIMATE MOVEMENT

The City of Sydney launched its C40 Women4Climate Mentorship Program in May, with Mayor Clover Moore stating “Climate action is the City of Sydney’s top priority”, as reflected in the City’s 2030 Strategy and Climate Emergency declaration. 

Ahead of the Global Climate Strike called for 20 September, the program’s 20 mentees are taking the opportunity to share their vision for the project they’ll present at the global W4C event in Sydney in April 2020 and their view on climate activism.

Anna Jane Linke, CEO and Founder of Seaside Scavenge

 

DE-POLARISING THE CLIMATE MOVEMENT 

MY VISION

My vision is for action on climate to be a movement that does not polarise communities across the globe. Being conscious of our individual environmental impact does not translate to living a life with no carbon emissions, no meat, no plastic or no ‘fun’, as some like to put it. Almost every person has at least one path – big or small – available to them that can change direction and make them part of the solution to reduce global temperature increase. This path, when pointed in the right way, is a stepping-stone to much bigger change. The general public need to know they are key in the solution and be shown simple avenues to do so.

MY PROJECT

The Seaside Scavenge is a conduit to living this vision. The Scavenge is a for-purpose organisation aimed at educating communities and businesses about marine debris and textile waste using a fun and unique approach that inspires participation by turning trash into cash.

Since 2015, the Scavenge has been hosting eco-action festivals where litter collected from local waterways becomes a currency in a pop-up market to purchase pre-loved clothes and goods that have been donated by the local community. Alongside a line-up of local musicians, there are talks and stalls hosted by local community groups working in waste reduction and environmental conservation.

82% of participants (over 6,000) to the past 53 Seaside Scavenge Festivals had never previously attended a clean-up. These are the humans we need to activate; to show them that contributing to the solutions on climate action can be fun and rewarding.

Whilst cleaning up waterways is not going to stop rising temperatures, the clean-up and the clothing circular economy component of the festivals, provide a gateway for inactive and unaware people to become environmentally active in a positive and friendly atmosphere.

Expanding ‘gateways’ like this, that incentivise action, is important if we are to successfully change the face of the climate action movement.

The Scavenge is expanding its programs to tailor workshops and activities that engage people working in the corporate sector to wake up to the solutions available to them. The Scavenge Festivals themselves are changing shape to have more touch points that influence ongoing behavioural change.

Whilst many may argue we shouldn’t need to incentivise action on climate, the reality is, we do. Especially if we are to make it mainstream.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CITIES

Cities are perfectly placed to communicate climate action benefits to their public and local businesses. As City of Sydney has done through the ‘Better Buildings Partnerships’ program, they have quantitatively shown that implementing measures that benefit the environment, such as reducing their emissions, also keeps dollars in the bank.

$30 million a year to be exact, is the amount slashed by more than half of Sydney’s commercial floor space in the city centre since 2015. That’s an overall 145,000 tonnes of carbon in the past year alone!

Councils both rural and city-based have the responsibility to be actively disseminating figures and facts to their constituents that illustrate the shift to ‘greener’ solutions will not only benefit the planet but also their wallet, the job market and overall the economy.

Whilst it is a sad realisation that this sort of incentive is required for genuine action to take place, it can be used to our advantage. The climate movement needs to play to our strengths, and money saved is a big one. Cities should be in a position to freely promote this information.

MY SUPPORT FOR THE GLOBAL CLIMATE STRIKE

The upcoming climate strike is a contemporary demonstration of the interconnectedness of the world we live in. It is an incredible opportunity to be part of a global movement bringing together people irrespective of their gender, their race, their age or their geographic location, all with one objective: to voice our concerns about the deteriorating state of the climate.

Whilst the climate strike day will be a unanimous voice for the climate, we need to consider the people who won’t be attending and why. The action of striking in itself is not accessible to everyone.

My hope for the strike is that it provides a moment of reflection for those not yet aware or active on the climate issue; to offer them insight into why warming temperatures will impact them directly and how they can act to be part of the solution. If the strike drives the division between the “believers” and “non-believers” deeper this will be a step backwards.

“If not you, then who? If not now, then when?

Seaside Scavenge volunteers at Balmoral Beach, Sydney 2019

Find out more at www.seasidescavenge.org