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Calling women taking climate action!

Applications for the Zonta Club of Melbourne on Yarra’s Women Taking Climate Award 2022 are open!

Spread the word!

Do you know a woman who has been leading the way on climate action through her innovation, communication and service?

Does she come from the Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria or Western Australia?

If so, tell her about the Zonta Club of Melbourne-on-Yarra’s Women Taking Climate Action Award.

Applications close on Friday 26 August 2022.

Let’s celebrate women in our community who are walking the talk of gender equality and climate action!

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World Oceans Day 8 June 2022

Can we protect the coral reefs that are the home of this beautiful clownfish?

Our climate is inextricably linked with the oceans. The June Edition of the Zonta Says NOW NEWS celebrates the UN World Oceans Day and describes a range of ‘current’ ocean-related issues.

Over three billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods – with women making up nearly half of the people involved with small scale fisheries and over 70 per cent of the aquaculture workforce. We need everyone, men and women, young and old to be involved in actions to protect our oceans.

Women are at the forefront of protecting our oceans. Learn how Dr Syvia Earle, Dr Penny Chisholm, Dr Sasha Tetu and courageous adventurer Lisa Blair – are all contributing to the science that helps us understand the wonders and threats to our oceans.

A big threat is plastic litter that physically ensnares, or fills up the stomachs of our marine creatures, leading to their death and starvation. Huge garbage patches of plastic cover thousands of kilometres of ocean. Humans are not immune from microplastics – with scientists estimating that we eat on average 5 grams of plastic a week, equivalent to the weight of a credit card. What is that doing to our health and that of young children?

On this World Oceans Day, here are three actions you can take:

Take action today!

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‘Bee’ plastic free and have a cup of tea

Where would we ‘bee’ without our pollinators?

You may think that 21st May 2022 is all about the Australian Federal Election – but after you have voted, take some time in nature to watch the bees, have a cup of tea and appreciate the world around you.

Yesterday 20 May was World Bee Day. Bees maintain our biodiversity and around 75 per cent of our food crops rely on bees and other pollinators. Let’s thank and protect bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, which are increasingly under threat from human activities. ‘Bee’ engaged with this quiz.

Today (21 May) is International Tea Day. Tea is the most consumed drink (after water) in the world and many countries rely on it for their income. Tea production and processing contribute to the reduction of extreme poverty (Sustainable Development Goal 1), the fight against hunger (SDG 2), the empowerment of women (SDG 5) and the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems (SDG 15). Who would have thought that drinking tea empowered women?

Tomorrow (22 May) is International Day for Biological Diversity. Be inspired by these women who are taking action to protect biodiversity through their leadership, art, and sheer determination. They all took a first step on their journey to protect biodiversity – what will yours be? Here are 22 actions to choose from.

Reducing plastic is a simple way we can help protect biodiversity. In March 2022 the UN mandated to develop a plastic pollution treaty by 2024 which is wonderful news. For practical tips on reducing plastic, get involved with Plastic Free July!

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Calling Creatives!

How would you like to take some climate action with a difference?

Can you, or anyone you know, create a new photo/image for Zonta Says NOW? If so, please enter our digital competition!

We need a photo/image that more accurately reflects our mission of creating a gender-equal, sustainable world by educating girls, advocating for women’s rights, and inspiring more female leaders.

We are calling on photographers, graphic designers and other creatives to come up with inspiring digital photos/images that we can use on our website, on our pull up banner and in our online publications.

Hobbyists, students or professionals are encouraged to enter.

Image format:

  • JPEG file format
  • At least 4 megapixels, with a minimum size of 2592 px by 1520 px
  • No added watermarks, borders, graphic or text elements

Entries to by 30 September 2022.

The prize:

Seeing your work acknowledged and being used to inspire gender equality and climate action!

We will ask Zontians to vote for their favourite images.

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Ending Violence Against Women

At Zonta Says NOW, we are working at both ends of a runaway train. We aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and close the gender equality gap. Together we strive to create a gender-equal, sustainable world by educating girls, advocating for women’s rights and inspiring more female leaders.

One way we advocate for women’s rights is through the Zonta Says NO to violence against women campaign. This campaign will be front and centre during the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence that runs from 25 November to 10 December.

In Australia,

  • one woman a week is killed by an intimate partner;
  • violence against women has increased during the pandemic; and
  • family and domestic violence is one of the most common reasons given for homelessness from people seeking help from specialist support services.

Zontians will be wearing orange to raise awareness of this critical issue, with many events, marches and social media campaigns planned during this time.

Two Zonta online events will also highlight issues and actions you can take.

Event 1: Zonta Says No to violence against women online summit on 30 November

This Zonta International event is on 30 November Chicago time (CST) and will consist of three sessions:

  • Violence against women is a men’s issue from 9:00 am to 10:30 am CST (WA 30/11/21 midnight , SA 1/12/21 2:30 am and Vic/Tas 1/12/21 3:00am)
  • Taking your Zonta Says NO action to the next level from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm CST (WA 1/12/21 4:00 am, SA 1/12/21 6:30 am, Vic/Tas 1/12/21 7:00am)
  • Young voices for change from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm CST (WA 1/12/21 9:00 am, SA 1/12/21 11:30 am, Vic/Tas 1/12/21 midday)

Register on Eventbrite today! Tickets are US$10 (for all three sessions), with proceeds going to the Zonta International Foundation for Women

Event 2: ZEDX – Changing men’s violent behaviour towards women on 25 November

The Zonta Club of Melbourne-on-Yarra is hosting this free online webinar. It starts at 7:00 pm AEST. (WA 4:00 pm, SA 6:30 pm)

Over the 16 days, the Zonta Club of Melbourne on Yarra will look at how culture in sport, male youth education and gender stereotypes can contribute to GBV in Australia and address how we can prevent violence before it occurs.

Zonta has always supported the victims/survivors of family violence, but we also need to prevent violence from occurring. Preventing violence means considering the responsibility of perpetrators, who are most commonly men. If men’s behaviour doesn’t change, we are never going to keep women and children safe.

This webinar panel discussion speakers are experienced practitioners and researchers who will provide insight into gender-based violence prevention from various perspectives, including academic evidence-based research, social workers in the field and facilitators of men’s change behaviour programs.

Tickets are free and available from Humanitix.

Create the world you want to live in by supporting these events and taking action to end violence against women!

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Monday is a big day for climate action in Australia

Improved Climate Bill

The improved Climate Bill will be tabled in the Australian Parliament. It has been revised to reflect feedback from the inquiry process and introduce a new, short-term emissions reduction target of 60% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

As Zali Steggall, the independent MP for Warringah, puts it in her media release:

“Climate change is the single biggest threat to Australia’s prosperity and largest opportunity for economic development,” she said. “These bills will ensure Australia gets a share of the estimated $1.7 trillion per annum invested globally in the net zero transition.”

“The Government hasn’t done the work and is letting Australia down, scrambling to negotiate a last minute plan with the Nationals. We must act decisively in this next decade to set Australia up.”

“There is a new wave of opportunity, and we need leadership and commitment to be part of it.  We need to set ambitious targets to drive investment and uptake in clean technologies.”

“I call on the Morrison Government to pass the Bills without delay and go to COP26 with a strong, responsible position on climate.”

Sharma Case Appeal to be heard

In May this year, the Federal Court found that the Minister for the Environment has a duty of care to protect young people from the future harm caused by the climate change impacts of a proposed coal mine extension project (Vickery Extension Project).

The case was brought by eight children led by Anj Sharma with the assistance of Sister Brigid Arthur, their 86 year old litigation guardian.

The day after the decision, the Minister of the Environment announced she would appeal to the Full Federal Court.

Since then, the Minister has approved the extension of three large coal mines: the Vickery Mine extension, expansion of underground mining at the Russell Vale Colliery, and expansion of the Mangoola mine.

Three judges heard an appeal from 18-20 October, and you can see progress on this Federal Court link.

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Mass Mailout for Climate

Thousands of people around Australia have not given up on the Climate Change Bills. A concerted effort is underway to get them reintroduced into Parliament.

The recent IPCC report showed we are in a climate emergency. We must achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 to have any chance of preventing runaway global warming. Are you worried and don’t know what to do?

A Different Approach Community (ADAC) has been writing 227 letters a month to all Federal parliamentarians since 2019, asking for urgent action on climate change. They have devised this ingenious Mass Mailout for Climate campaign and have asked community groups to send letters to their MPs:

Throughout September, an expected 30,000 letters will be collected in a post office locked bag in Canberra and delivered to independent parliamentarian Zali Steggall at a media photoshoot event in October.

Visit the Mass Mailout for Climate website to view videos of Zali Steggall describing the campaign, get instructions on where to send your letters and some ideas to get your creative juices flowing!

UPDATE: The pandemic stopped the letters being presented, but follow progress on the Mass Mailout for Climate Website.

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Update from Climate Act Now

Last month, the Energy and Environment Committee published its inquiry report into the Climate Change Bills.

Over 96,000 people had signed a petition in support of the Bills and 99.9% of the 6,500 submissions made to the enquiry supported the Bills. However, on 3 August, the chair of the Committee publicly presented the report back to the House of Representatives with a recommendation that the Bills be ‘not adopted’. Therefore, the Bills do not get to be debated or voted on in Parliament at this time.

Zali Steggall, the MP who introduced the Bills had the opportunity to introduce an accompanying, dissenting report to the House to show how strenuously she objected to the government’s decision not to recommend the Bills be adopted.

You can watch a video, and read the full transcript, of the proceedings here.

What happens now?

The report on the Bill has been referred for further discussion in the Federation Chamber at Parliament House. Zali Steggall is incorporating amendments from the inquiry process so she can re-present it.

On 9 August the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be publishing its latest climate report and indications are that it will not be good news. It is likely that Australia’s climate change policy will come under increasing scrutiny as the world prepares for the COP 26 conference in Glasgow starting on October 31st.

What can you do?

  • Write to your local federal MP asking them to support a debate and vote on the Climate Change Bill
  • Write to your local newspaper in support with a letter to the editor
  • Call in to your local radio station
  • Talk with your friends and neighbours about climate change impacts and how your community and lives might be impacted

For more information visit Climate Act Now and take action through the Mass Mailout for Climate

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Love Earth Festival – Zooming in on the Highlights

One Million Women know how to put on a show, even in a pandemic! This year’s LoveEarth Festival on 5 December was enjoyed by hundreds of women and men around the world – all on Zoom.

Hosted by Natalie Isaacs, the founder of 1MW and lively co-host Bernie Hobbs, the award-winning science writer and broadcaster with the ABC – this event had it all: connection with country, mind, heart and soul.

Highlights for me:

  • Auntie Bea Ballangarry’s welcome to country that prompted spontaneous acknowledgement of country around the world via the chat line
  • Alice Skye a young first nations singer-songwriter who nailed singing live on Zoom
  • Christiana Figueres, who led the historic Paris Agreement, and made me ferociously optimistic – I enjoyed the line ‘men created climate change, women are going to solve it‘,  (even though I knew it wasn’t entirely accurate!)
  • Paul Kelly’s song, Sleep Australia Sleep, got me Googling the lyrics as I was so touched by his words. (Think animal kingdoms…)

Sleep my country sleep, as off the cliff, the kingdoms leap, count them as they pass on by.  Our children might know them, but their children will not, we won’t know ’til it’s gone all the glory we’ve got.

Just like the boiling frog, as we go, we won’t feel a thing…

Paul Kelly from Sleep Australia Sleep
  • Craig Reucassel, the ABC TV climate crusader, who stressed the importance of taking on one new action at a time and making it a habit before taking on another action
  • Kathy Jetnei-Kijner a young poet who lives in the Marshall Islands that are only 2m above sea level and will be one of the first nations lost to rising sea levels. She read a poem she had written for her daughter to give her hope. I lost it with the line ”They’re marching for you baby…”
  • Missy Higgins singing ‘Going North’ and sharing how living in Broome in the north of Western Australia taught her that we are all part of the land – we are not separate from it
  • Margaret Kein Salamon a climate psychologist from New York who urged us to be non-judgemental, to talk about the climate emergency from a personal perspective. Don’t be scared to say how you feel. This prompted a flood of sharing on the chat line that was very moving. There are a lot of worried, angry, frustrated and frightened people out there – and also a lot who are motivated, optimistic and empowered to take action!
  • Mary Robinson – yes the first woman president of Ireland and climate champion. Such a wise, inspiring woman who urged us to take three steps  [In Step Two, I mentally inserted Zonta Says Now!]:

Step One: We must take the climate crisis personally and make it our own issue. 

Step Two: We must get angry and be active about those who are not doing enough – join an organisation

Step Three: Imagine the world we are hurrying towards; new jobs, new opportunities and make it a just transition.  Don’t neglect those who helped build the economies

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and climate champion
  • Yes, I was so inspired by Mary’s words, that I rapidly wrote down more of them!

Women globally have woken up to the fact that we have to be there at the table. 

There has to be parity of decision making. We need women to be half of the cabinet, half of the board in business.  We need women to be involved at every level – we need their voices.  

Yes, I say to all women globally, this is our time, our century and we must step up and take that responsibility… We must walk tall, take our place and make it the century where women’s leadership will lead us forward.

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and climate champion
  • Uncle Kev Carmody, acclaimed singer-songwriter, rounded out the event with his haunting rendition of Earth Mother’s woman child.

Throughout the event Natalie and Bernie kept the virtual event personal, feeding off the comments in the chat line. One Million Women are doing some great work and their new initiative is the Marketplace where they showcase a range of sustainable products – check it out.

My verdict? A thoroughly enjoyable, educational and moving morning. Congratulations to the One Million Women team for putting it together!