It's reported that 88 per cent of “young people think they should be learning more about national hazards and how to reduce to risk of disaster,” but they don’t feel like they are receiving this important information.
The youth are trying to tell the government “That they feel unprepared, under-educated, concerned and increasingly scared by the prospect of a disaster.” But they do not feel like they’re being listened to - in fact, only “13 per cent of young Australians felt they were listened to by leaders in the government.”
Triumphantly this hasn’t discouraged young people from using their voices to demand change.
Most famously, the School Strike 4 Climate protests that have been held across Australia in the past few years have brought much-needed attention to the issue.
It seems real systematic change will take longer to blossom in government, but small things can be done to support the fight against climate change.
Here are five opportunities to encourage change.
Contact your minister, local MP, and councillors
In most democratic countries, ministers and councillors must allow their electorate to contact them to voice their concerns.
It’s a quick google search to find your local MPs and councillors and their contact details, and it’s an exceptional use of your democratic privilege.
You can write whatever you want in your letter, but one good tip is to include a few statements about climate change and facts to back your claims.
From there, you can tell your representative what you would like them to do and why they must make change.
In NSW you can contact, Minister For Energy and Environment Matthew Kean here.
In SA you can contact, Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs here.
In ACT you can contact, Minister for the Environment Rebecca Vassarotti here.
In ViC you can contact, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio here.
In NT you can contact, Minister for Environment Eva Lawler here.
In WA you can contact, Minister for Environment, Climate Action and Commerce Amber-Jade Sanderson here.
In QLD you can contact, Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Meaghan Scanion here.
In TAS you can contact, Minister for Environment Roger Jaensch here.
Join a community group
There are plenty of environmental groups to support, and the Australian Conversation Foundation has a map of Australia that outlines all the local groups available to join.
Find a group near you here.
Join climate change strikes and protests (Once Covid is at bay)
The privilege of protest is another hallmark of democracy that is a fundamental marker of a functioning government and society.
While it can feel like you’re screaming into the void, it puts pressure on elected officials to acknowledge the public.
Basically, politicians mostly care about one thing, and that is getting elected. So, if they feel like their chances of winning an election are in trouble, they will likely alter their policies to suit the majority (well, in an ideal world).
Shop mindfully or not at all
A 2019 report for the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, called Transitioning to a Circular Textile Economy in Australia, found that “every 10 minutes, an estimated 6000 kilos of textiles and clothing are dumped in landfill in Australia.”
It has been encouraged that people donate their clothes to help reduce waste for a long time, but today, this is an empty gesture because the industry is drastically overwhelmed.
Monash reports that “only 1 per cent of total collected disposed garments are recycled” by op shops.
So, it’s no longer good enough to leave your clothes in a charity shop bin because it just adds to the problem.
Therefore, the only way to positively impact the earth is to buy less.
Ditch the car and walk for short trips
Walking is a great way to reduce the impact of emissions on the earth.
The British walking and cycling charity Sustrans report that ditching the car will reduce air pollution, encourage more green spaces in the community, and boost biodiversity.
Plus, it’s excellent for your health too!
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